Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Round Up

I have had numerous frantic realizations over the past week, all of which have been resolved.  Two involved gifts that I thought hadn't been delivered, which I found later under some other package.  Whew!  And then the whole problem that once I had everything laid out in front of me, I realized I was short on my parents.  My parents who go completely overboard on us.  It turned out okay, though it is still a bit of a shy of normal year for me for them.
So for the girls,  Thing 1 had decided she wanted a pet, not a dog or a gecko like we already have, but something that could be HERS in HER ROOM for HER.  After some internet research, she settled on gerbils.  They're small, they're friendly, they're not completely nocturnal, they're social and she could have two living happily in her room.  Thing 2 seemed okay with getting the gecko in her room as a compensation, instead of having the gecko aquarium in the hall.
Now this sounds fine and dandy until the actual day would approach.  I was pretty sure that Thing 2 would find this all horribly unfair and would decide that a single gecko does not equal out to a pair of gerbils.
I sort of ignored this whole situation, kind of hoping it would go away.  While I'm not opposed to having pets, this situation befuddled me and I figured if I put my head under the sand long enough it would go away.  After all, it worked last spring when Thing 2 started begging for a guinea pig, didn't it?  I had been nearly ready to go with the guinea pig then, but she stopped begging and Hubby said we should just figure we'd dodged that bullet.
Hubby took the bull by the horns, and on Christmas Eve started making the rounds at pet stores.  He talked to many pet shop employees, did some reading on his iphone, and then called me with the conclusion that while cute and social, gerbils are rascally little escape artists and you mostly play with them by watching them or catching them if they get out.  Getting a cage that would actually contain them would be a little more problematic.
He settled back on Guinea pigs.  They are social, friendly, and if tamed and held they tolerate being held just fine.  Each girl could have a cage in her room with her own pig, and we could put them together to play while the girls are at school.  Our investigation indicated that if handled frequently, guinea pigs will be easy to handle and are somewhat cuddly.  They are not nocturnal, they're not gnawers on the same level as gerbils.  We saw reports on websites that people's guinea pigs would follow them around the yard, and sit for hours on laps while you watched TV.  This is looking good.  We went so far as to privately talk to Thing 1, and ask her if her heart was set on gerbils how would she feel about a guinea pig?  We told her briefly what we'd found, and she said she was completely on board with the guinea pig, in fact would have asked for one in the first place but thought she'd have a better chance of getting a gerbil because they were smaller and she thought we might agree to that.
So for Christmas we wrapped up two guinea pig cages, and told the girls we could let them go pick out their very own piggies soon.  That was a sticking point for me, Hubby thought we should have the piggies there on Christmas morning, I was pretty sure the girls would want to pick their own.  Yesterday we went to my folk's for Christmas Part Deux, which left today as Guinea Pig Selection Day.

Apparently the choice was rather picked over from two weeks ago.  I like the long haired ones, and might have influenced the girl's choice when I started gushing over those... one had what looked like a large pimple on the back of his ear and the Petco girl told us she couldn't sell him.  We ended up with two males from the same cage, both long haired.  I think both girls kind of liked the same one the most, a little guy with a black head, and yellow and white body. Thing 2 also liked a rather sandy bed-headed looking guy.  Both weren't very skittish, sat quietly while held, and seemed quite lovely.  We finalized our selection, boxed them up, bought the necessities that weren't provided with the start up cages, and brought them home.  Several times I looked to the back seat to see the girls bracing the Petco box on the empty seat between them, with both of them leaning over to brace it with both hands.  For the whole 1/2 hour drive home.

After things were all set up and assembled back home, I came upstairs to take a nap, and Hubby and the girls went downstairs to watch a movie, the girls with the piggies on their laps.  Hubby reported that they appear to be "lap rodents."  (He said I could quote him on that.) Major score for Mom and Dad.
Shortly after we got them home and set the cages up, we noticed that Thing 2's piggy, preliminarily called India, has one eye crusted shut.  Sigh.
I expect they wouldn't have sold them to us if we would have noticed.  Thing 2 is already completely attached.  She came to me in tears and said it was worse, that before though he could open it, it is now completely closed and oozing a little white gunk.
I got on the phone and called two veterinarians, the one nearby who said they don't seem any piggies, and the one back in town where I always took Kelso.  Apparently they see guinea pigs fairly frequently... so I made an appointment.  Tomorrow I am driving the $34 guinea pig to his $45 check up appointment.
Kelso is Very Interested.  Since he figured out they exist, every time I turn my back he's gone upstairs to the girls rooms to look at them.
 Thing 2 posed with India
 Thing 1 with a close up of ... Maybe Maxwell

Monday, December 19, 2011

I found the camera cable!

I stopped taking pictures a while ago because I thought I'd completely lost the cable that hooked the camera to the computer, allowing me to release the photos from the bowels of my camera into the wild.  Why just create a worse blockage by making more photos?
Well, in an effort to de-frustrate myself I put up a shelf in the office and put some stuff on it, and underneath that stuff the camera case (containing said cable) emerged!
I haven't blogged much lately, partly because I've been very busy, but partly because of my frustration of not wanting to have to type the thousand words that the pictures would show, wanting to just show them instead!
Here is our house right before the craziness started:

Yes, there is a house behind those trees!

Right after we moved in we hired three different groups of people to 
1) take down some of those trees - most of which were diseased and sick
2) repair the exterior rain flashing stuff and repair the handrails on the porches
3) paint the exterior

There was one wild Friday when all three groups were here at once.  The day they took down the trees there were easily eight trucks parked on the street in front of our house in addition to the huge dump truck in the driveway, and a flurry of activity.  First the tree to the left of the front door came down:

And then the trees to the right: 

The temperature in the rooms behind the trees immediately shot up the minute the trees came down.  Good thing I hadn't taken down those nasty vertical blinds yet, but their days are numbered.  You can see on that right hand roof line how they started to paint the trim before the trees came down.  The guy in the green shirt is the carpenter, who found he couldn't just replace a couple of risers on the front steps because the whole thing was all corroded and falling apart... He had to replace everything from that front porch down, the whole step system.

The painting really helped perk the house up, and I really like the contrasting brown on the porches.  This is what it looks like today:

Vast improvement, eh?!  Why yes, thank you, it is!  
Next year we'll plant a few new trees, kind of at the lower edge of the grass line, which will give us some pretty landscaping, a little more privacy from the street.  I'm just happy there are no longer trees that look like they're trying to break into the house.

Interior construction has been going on too...
Most impressive is the new cubby wall, right as you walk in from the garage.  There were a couple things wrong with this house when we bought it, one of which was I really wanted a mud room.  There is a wide hallway there, and now it is sort of a mud-hall.  I now have a BEEEYOOOTEEEFUL wall of cubbies for family members and guests to hang coats, drop backpacks, and store shoes.  I am so tickled with how it turned out - except for one thing.  It's totally beautiful wood, I had to put some shelf liner on the lower cubbies so people's wet shoes wouldn't damage the wood.  DON'T HURT THE PRETTY WOOD!!

Notice the sweet little bench part where I sit when I'm putting on/taking off shoes...  These have reduced clutter around my house dramatically.  We found space for these by cutting into the bedroom closet on the other side of the wall.  We originally planned to put in IKEA cabinets in the bedroom on the opposite side, to line the wall in there with them, but turns out I didn't get the right measurements to the contractors/carpenters, so that didn't work.  And it would have not utilized the space so well, and cut into the room somewhat.  So this last week I told the carpenter to make me a utility room closet in there, 2/3rds shelves and 1/3 hanging closet, with dry erase doors.   That's a month out, now.  Had I figured that out originally, my utility room/sewing room/computer room/ on the other side of the cubby wall would be complete.  As it is now, there is still a big pile of stuff on the floor (where the cable was previously buried) waiting to be unpacked and put away into the closet that hasn't been built yet.  Photos will follow.

The completely unfinished basement has been framed in.  My storage area is currently storing stuff!  I did not have to drag Christmas, box by box, backward, out of the eves this year!  Do you have any idea how liberating that was?

More to follow...  Someday...

Monday, November 7, 2011

The New Kid

I have very little to complain about... but I can usually find something.  Mostly the same old things recycled.  I'm good at recycling.

I posted a while ago that Thing 1 was having trouble adjusting...  It's still got me upset.  I volunteered at the school's book fair, one of the very nice mothers who was also volunteering asked how the kids were adjusting and to my horror and embarrassment I started to cry.  Great.  In addition to whatever personal issues she's having, her mother is a blubbering idiot.  Great.

We've found a few more friends for both girls, but consistently find more likely seeming ones for Thing 2.  She found a friend on the school playground who isn't even in her class, but they have so much in common, and she seems like a really lovely little girl.Thing 1 still struggles.  She finds friends but she's much slower about it and they're not as good a fit.  Everything is painful.  Her school work has shown improvement,  nearly up to the levels I would expect, but she is very reluctant to go and lets her dread of the upcoming school week color her her weekend.  
She also hates church so desperately, she asked if I could "home-church" her, and started calling it "the C word."


Still struggling.

A little renovation

The new house needed a facelift.  When I would show pictures of the house around I noticed I kept adding "We didn't buy it for its curb appeal."  It would seem I'm embarrassed by how the house looks.
Fortunately that can be fixed.  So we started fixing.  A good coat of paint will work wonders, and will protect the exterior siding, which is in really bad shape anyway.  Also there were some trees that were dead or dying, and some that were so close to the house it looked like a dog in heat surrounded by its would be admirers. 

It took over a week to paint, a couple days to redo the exterior wood because of course when the carpenter started trying to put new steps on, he found the boards he needed to attach them to were falling apart, so he had to build whole new front steps.  The trees came down in one day, the same very busy day that the painters and carpenters were here as well.  Our house looked like a movie lot with nearly a dozen trucks parked out front, a huge dump truck in the driveway, and people moving all around.

The tree guys delayed a day because Thing 1 had asked so nicely to be able to see the tree outside her window coming down.  We filmed it.
The pictures are trapped on my other computer.  Long story.  But the renovations have begun.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

No pictures for me...

I keep meaning to download the photos on the camera, so I can have a record of the "before" and "after" house.  There are some great pictures of before we hired a team of testosterone laden men to come cut down and haul away a dump truck load of trees, and the house that was hiding behind those trees.  Then there is the before and after the new paint pictures.
The camera I'm using isn't mine (mine needs to go to the camera doctor) and my husband had a nice one sitting around that he wasn't using so he gave it to me.  But I just found that none of the seven or eight camera cables I can find work on this camera.  
Will the pictures I took be trapped forever in the confines of the camera?  Will I be required to buy a whole new cable for this camera, because EVERY OTHER NORMAL USB CABLE DOESN"T WORK?  Perhaps.  But not tonight.

Monday, October 3, 2011

We moved in HOW long ago?

There are simply not enough hours in the day.

Hubby and I have been discussing what are the "top 10 things to do" around the house.  He thinks if it's not in the top 10, why am I doing it?  I think if it's going to take me 10 minutes or so, and it's bugging me, I'm going to do it no matter how far down the list it is.
He is right, the boxes that persist in the front room, bedrooms, and hallways are totally annoying.  It looks like we moved in last weekend.  Cleaning them out or moving them to the basement is in the top 10, I agree.  All the pictures that we somehow managed to find wall space for in the old, small house, are now leaning against each other in piles around the floor.  We have a lot more windows in this house, less wall space, and therefore hanging pictures has become a challenge.  So there they sit.

But the rug that I put under the living room furniture but immediately decided I didn't like there but left for a while, that's probably in the low 40s, but it bugged me so I took 10 minutes or less to move the furniture off it, roll it up and move it downstairs.
Blogging?  Certainly not in the top 10.  But here I am.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

She could have been a contender

I am racked with fear and guilt that I have ruined my daughter's life.

This was going to be a great school year.  She was at a school she loved, with friends who loved her.  Her favorite teacher of all times was just down the hall, available for quick hugs and advice.  She won the back-of-the-school-tee-shirt-art contest, her art would be worn occasionally by other members of the student body on their school shirts.

This was a situation that had taken many years to grow. It started that our next door neighbor and for many years Thing 1's best friend was one of the inherently "cool kids" in school.  He's a cute and nice and athletic little boy, who for some reason or another was just born cool.  He has always been very kind to Thing 1 and 2, and though their friendship has had a few ups and downs, for the most part they've been very good friends since they could both walk.  He was over at our house or the girls were over at his house most of the time.  Just associating with him has given Thing 1 a certain vicarious coolness.
She has developed a bunch of other friends over the years, and was for the most part very comfortable and happy in her relationships.  I had found an after school art program where she was able to further vent her artistic side, when she found the regular programs in the school insufficient for her needs. However her 4th grade teacher was going to be the teacher in the school who is most actively involved in the school arts program.  Everything was perfect, except our house was too small.

Then we picked her up by the short hairs and moved her 30 minutes East.  Not far in the grand scheme of things, but way too far for me to drive her to her old school.
While Thing 1 gained her own room (with its own PATIO) and a huge back yard,  she lost everything else.
Since we moved she has been experiencing various stages of continuing misery, from substantial discomfort to abject sorrow.  Sometimes it's minor but it seems to be lurking beneath the surface at all times.  Things that didn't bother her before have now become daunting and scary.  Shyness that I had previously never seen has suddenly erupted all over the place.  In all directions.  When I suggested SHE has to approach people and ask to play with THEM, she was horrified. I think all her life other people have sought out her company.  She's never had to initiate social contacts.  When I told her that it's flattering for other kids to be told their game looks interesting and that you'd like to join, she insisted if someone told her that she'd be embarrassed. 
"You'd be embarrassed if someone wanted to join YOUR game?"   Yes.  Sob.

I don't know how to handle this. 
I keep reviewing our decision to move here... We knew from the first minute we were househunting that the girls wanted to stay in the same neighborhood, but we also knew that what we wanted didn't exist in that neighborhood, and if it did we couldn't afford it.  There were other reasons we had for moving up here, many of them most important to Hubby but valid for the rest of us.  I find myself doing quick real estate searches to find if anything was/is available in our old zip code.  But would we move back?  Not hardly...

Though there are things that keep surfacing about this area that we like, and about the house that we like, I am caught up in fretting over Thing 1.  When my baby's sad, it makes me sad too.  

She did have a lovely birthday, which I need to write about.  But the pictures of that are trapped in the camera because I can't find the cord that connects it to the computer (it's in a box somewhere), and today this is on my mind.  I need her to find a friend... a good friend... and fast.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

We're walking.... we're walking....

I am not an ironer.  My husband could pass for retired military, with the stiff creased lines down the front of his immaculately pressed pants and the arms of his starched shirts.  I sport a more casual, wrinkled, perhaps I might have slept in my clothes sort of style.

In our old house laundry would often be left in the dryer for a few days, or be stacked clean and waiting to be folded into huge piles.  There was nowhere to fold it except when I'd resolve to break down and cover the couch and all other elevated area in front of the TV with the clean laundry.  The floor is out, because unless I vacuum very carefully before I iron, all clothes would be covered with Kelso hair.   At any given time, even after I vacuum, there is a certain amount of Kelso hair around my house.  This, by the way, is Kelso on the path that runs behind our new house. The path is fabulous for walking the dog, though I'm surprised at how many burrs his coat picks up even if he doesn't leave the path. But I digress.

I have made extra effort in our new house to get the laundry out of the new dryer before the permanent wrinkle folds embed themselves in the clothes.  Oh, stop for a picture!  The new washer and dryer are so be-you-tee-ful!!

Soooo pretty!

The guy at Home Depot was teasing me when I asked which models came in the more expensive red.  He told me just the one, but who really cares about that?  "What are you going to do, take people on a tour of your Laundry Room?"  He did an abrupt tour demonstration between the appliances, backing up and motioning me to follow saying "We're walking.... we're walking..."

Actually we do take everyone on a tour of the new appliances because the appliances live in a bump out closet off the main hall from the back door.  They would be hiding behind some bifold door except that one of the first things I did when we moved in was remove the bifold door to that closet.  The spring on the bottom of the door was broken and it has been dragging across the wood floor and scratched it all up.  Also when the laundry closet bifold door is open, you couldn't open the door to the garage.  Easiest solution: remove the bifold door.  So yes, every time someone is taking the tour out to Hubby's Fabulous New Office above the garage, they're going to see the Beautiful New Cherry Red Washer and Dryer right off the hallway in their own little nook.  And yes, I really am enjoying the washer and dryer, I think, in part, due to their fabulous color.  And the fact that they are right there, flat and convenient for folding clothes.  No TV to watch, but no Kelso hair floating around either.

When my brother and his wife were up for the first time last week my folks also came up for the afternoon.  My mother is of course the devil's advocate in all things, ready to argue every side of every situation.  She saw the house before we bought it, and it worried Hubby sick at the time that she was going to try and talk me out of it because no, it is not perfect.  But she gave her stamp of approval and now we've relocated.  What was amusing was that on this particular day she was the one giving the tour.  I think she has been vicariously enjoying having a new house through ours.  It's always fun to get new stuff, and of course a new house sort of tops the list for most people.  I sort of ended up hanging back and watching while she showed my brother and his wife around, and gushed about the good features of the house, how it fit our needs so well, and explained our visions for the improvements.  It was pretty neat to watch her get excited about it.  

I think we're going to like it here just fine.

Monday, August 29, 2011


We've been in the new house about 9 days.  Today the last of our possessions from the 2nd and final POD(S) was unloaded and are now stacked to my chin in various places around the house.  Just when we had kind of broken through the previous wave of stuff to make the house look almost liveable, all the rest of our stuff got dumped in on top of it.

My conclusion is still that we have way too much stuff, though the two guys whom I paid to unload the POD today were very gracious and assured me several times that no, we don't have that much stuff.  They've certainly moved a lot more.  I didn't have any cash to tip them, but I gave them cold SOBEs from the fridge as they left.

I don't know how to write about the last couple of weeks.  There has been so much going on.
I have been completely overwhelmed by the fabulous family, friends, and neighbors who have let me cash in favors all over the place.  My family did more to help me purge and pack and entertain the kids over the past month than I could ever hope for. My friends have watched my kids, watched our plants, and watched our pets when asked on zero notice.  People have come through with us on favors and advice and tips that made my world much easier.  It kind of contrasted from the rather painful exit of our old house - which I left in kind of a hurry and didn't get to clean properly, then was lambasted by the new owners about my filthiness.  Our real estate agent on that end happily passed on the vitriolic comments from the buyers of our old house, how they were demanding pest bombs and $1,000.00 for professional cleaning.  She was calmly assuring me it was all my fault and advising me that now I get to pay to clean the house we left before she washed her hands of us completely.  The whole thing ended up as a very painful and unhappy situation on the selling end.  

Contrast that to our new house, where people have been friendly, gracious, and helpful!  The real estate agent for the new house has been like a sister, calling to make sure I haven't blown a fuse, and dropping by REALLY  NICE housewelcoming gifts.  New neighbors have assured me that THIS IS the best side of the freeway to live on, to raise a family on.  People here are much friendlier, and there are a lot more kids.  Yippeeee!  That's just what I was hoping to hear!!

Thing 2 is already fast friends with a little girl in her class who lives about 8 houses away.  She has had to totally make new friends each year of school as it seems each year only her and one or two other kids from the previous year end up together, so I wasn't quite as worried about her.  Thing 1 has never had to make new friends each year, as most of her group of friends has moved together each year, so she is unfamiliar with the starting over thing.  She confessed very unhappily last night that she's really struggling and is not happy.  She wants to move back to our old town.  She's generally shyer is less interested in the typical girl-princess-pink sort of stuff.  She's not quite athletic enough to just go hang out with the boys, and has been caught in limbo in between.  Today, however, she reported she had had a very good day, met a new friend, and seemed happy.

It seems one of the casualties of our move was most of the contents of our liquor cabinet. This happened in two phases.
First, in an act of complete desperation, as the packers were loading up our stuff in the old house (or should I say as I saw they were NOT putting our stuff on the truck) I started giving them stuff just to try and get it out of our house, particularly the alcohol in the fridge.  Also this stray bottle in the fancy green and gold cardboard cylinder that was sitting on the counter, whatever that was.  I do not drink, and don't know the first thing about alcohol. I just know that we have a bunch of bottles cluttering up my basement and fridge, that no one ever seems to drink.  If there's a party, someone brings over the appropriate bottle to go with what's for dinner, and an extra, that just gets added to the contents of our basement.  So I was giving away whatever I could.
Second, right after we moved in, I was downstairs in the unfinished basement putting something on a shelf, and nudged the wine rack on the same shelf.  It's a fancy wine rack that holds the bottles nose down at what is apparently the right angle to keep the cork wet.  However it is also the optimum angle for sliding right out of the wine rack if it is jostled the right way, to go crashing nose down onto the cement basement floor.  We lost four bottles of something or other that way.

Later as I was regaling some friends who had come up to see the new house with the story of how hard I am on the alcohol in the house, my husband got kind of an alarmed look and asked "Where's the Scotch?"
The what?
"The Scotch, you know, the bottle of Scotch we bought in Scotland?"
Ummmm...  Might it have been green, in a cardboard cylinder?
Welllll... I gave that to one of the annoying movers.
"...!!!!!!!  Are you kidding?"
"Honey, that bottle was at least 30 years old... maybe 40!"
What?  We only bought it, 12 years ago? and besides if you haven't drunk it in that long, who knows if you ever will! If you haven't used it, get rid of it, right?!
"Sweetheart...  (shakes head). I bought two bottles to give away, that was the one left.  It was 10-20 years old when we bought it. You pay more the older it is.  Scotch gets better as it gets older.  That was probably a $200.00 bottle of Scotch."


So in a matter of 1 week I singlehandedly decimated our stock of alcohol.  For a non-drinker, that's quite an accomplishment.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


We moved out of our house today.  It was, in a word, Brutal.

The mover's estimate over the phone was 5 hours for 3 guys at $140 an hour.  It took closer to 10 hours.  And then, they told me I couldn't pay $80 a day to keep my stuff on the truck... I had to pay those same 3 guys $140 an hour to unload my stuff into their warehouse - they estimated another four hours.  With driving time that they also charge me for, the whole move cost me close to $2200.00.  And that's just to get my stuff on the truck and some of it in the POD.  To get it back from their warehouse they're going to have to load it onto the truck again, then bring it to me and unload it into my house.  It makes me sick just thinking about paying for it.

They also did NOT bring boxes.  WHAT?  No.  No boxes.  I TOLD them I hadn't boxed everything up.  They brought tape, and furniture blankets, and paper.  But no boxes.  When we ran through the boxes I had leftover from my boxing, they started just wrapping everything in shrink wrap. My husband and I watched in amusement as one of the movers wrap up a foam mattress topper in shrinkwrap.  We wondered why they weren't putting it in a box.  That was before the cold harsh realization hit, that I am paying these guys to hand carry out little individually shrink wrapped items that should be placed in big boxes. It wasn't until I approached one of them and asked if they had a box I could use to start boxing up my kitchen they told me they could order boxes from the warehouse, but they're very expensive.  Finally I figured it out.  I said "You mean I need to go buy more boxes from U-Haul?"  Yes. How many?  25 medium and 2 wardrobes.
I bought what they said plus 5 large boxes.  Then a couple hours later I had to run to U-Haul again for more boxes.  
Turns out I have 8 left over I can sell back...  But the whole thing was extremely frustrating and painful.  I was packing up as quick as I could, and felt like I was basically upending bathroom drawers into boxes.  Sorting it out once we get to the new house is going to be nothing short of a nightmare.  I'm seriously considering stirring each box with the handle of the toilet plunger to see if anything important rises to the surface, then just throwing the rest into the trash.  There is a convenient place on the side of each box for you to write what's in it for each of 4 moves. A painting of a happy lady tells me to "Recycle this box!!"  How in the world am I going to recycle it?  I am NEVER MOVING AGAIN!

Since Hubby was gone for the better part of the day today, he didn't get that desperate overwhelming feeling of wholesale dumping into boxes.  He assured me over the phone tonight it was worth having these guys move us, and it will be worth it on the other end having them unload the truck.  Which brings me to the other horrible thing about this move - How much freaking stuff we have!  We filled a POD with stuff last month when we were purging.  Then today we filled a 2nd POD, and the overflow filled THEIR ENTIRE TRUCK!!!  This wasn't just a little trailer truck, this was a whole MOVING VAN truck!  I don't get it!  Where did all that stuff come from, how did we cram it all into our little house, and how am I going to explain to my darling family that I'm not letting half of it into the new house!?!? 

It's going to continue to be a brutal week.  We are scheduled to take possession of the new house on Friday morning, when I get to supervise three men spending a whole day filling my clean empty new house with crap I'm not sure I want at $140 an hour.  I've got to purge, if it kills me.

In the mean time, the girls, the dog and I are homeless, bouncing from my parent's house 2 hours north, and the old neighborhood where I plan on taking the girls for a playdate while I sign on the new house.  Hubby suggested I get a hotel in town, instead of driving all the way up to my parent's house.  But I think I figured on the way up here I seemed to need some comfort and stability.  Even though my folks are out of town for the time I'm going to be in their house, I wanted to come somewhere familiar.  Just for a day or two.

Friday, August 12, 2011

It was a great party but I have no evidence...

Just one washed out photo from my phone.  My real camera battery died, and the charger is packed up in a box somewhere.  I've been using my phone for everything, and the memory is full.  It seems like I go in and erase 20 pictures, take two, and it's full again.

So all the evidence I have that Thing 2's birthday party was a roaring success is one photo.
And it's not of the 10 kids who came, or all the fun times they had... it's of the cake.  And I need to say the cake was even cuter than it shows in the picture.  It was just like a little stuffed animal on a tray.  Vanilla cake with strawberry filling. 

We went to Color Me Mine and the two girls there took care of us beautifully.  The other mom whom I'd asked to help out was pretty much my chatting companion while the kids all painted their little figurines.  Then had watermelon, carrots, and cheetos, then cut the cake and had presents.  It was glorious because it wasn't in my house.  All I had to do was show up and pay.

Which is good because I've come down with a nasty head cold.  I sound like a talking disposal and have a headache and am exhausted.

My mom and dad are coming tomorrow to help us box some stuff up to put in the 2nd POD that is now sitting in front of my house, POD VERSION 2.  The movers are coming on Tuesday, and Tuesday night we are out of this house and will drive north to stay at Grandma's while we wait for the closing of the Park City house.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Talapia Night

7:30 at night is not the ideal time to open the fridge and start trying to figure out what's for dinner.  
But hey, I Yam what I Yam.  And what I yam is not a cook.

 Yes, that's right, I'm not a COOK.

We eat differently when Hubby is in town.  What is for me and the girls a slap together catch whatever you can kind of meal gains more focus when he's around.  There are actually side dishes.  There is more of an attempt to have everything on the table when the meal starts, instead of a main dish surrounded by whatever I can think of as the meal goes on, prepared on the table as the meal is in progress... for example, a sliced apple.  Does anyone want some apple?  Apple, cutting board, and knife are invited to the table.  How about olives?  Yeah?  Okay, can opener, bowl, can, all come to the table.

The exception is Talapia.  Talapia is something the girls will eat but Hubby finds too boring and too fishy.  So we eat Talapia when he's not around, I have my fishy fix for the week and prepare a sauce that involves a little wasabi paste, mayonnaise, lemon juice and bread crumbs for myself and the girls get theirs baked with butter and salt, as naked plain white as the day it was born.  I usually microwave steam some broccoli - the only vegetable both girls willingly eat.  It's as close as we usually come to a real sit-down planned-out dinner when Hubby's not here.

Tonight caught me off guard.  Hubby is in town but is involved in a conference that is also in town.  I thought maybe we'd have pizza with our out of town guests, but surprise!  They're still at the conference. Hubby has to take the colleague he's been preparing with all afternoon that he'll be presenting with tomorrow back to the conference and pick someone else up from the airport and drop them off at the conference.  It's like he's not here, but he is...

So at 7:30 I'm opening the fridge... nothing.   Freezer.... Talapia.  At 7:34 I'm writing this as the Talapia does a quick thaw in the sink and the oven heats up.  We should be eating by 8:00.  Or maybe 8:15.  However there is no broccoli in the fridge...

Olives are a side dish, aren't they?


Surprise!  Hubby just called, he dropped off the airport buddy and is headed home for dinner.  Talapia is certainly better for his cholesterol than whatever he'd get from a drive up window, and I'm happy I didn't skimp on the overly large fillets that I'm heating up for the girls.  I'll just add some extra Wasabi to the side sauce.  Hopefully it will burn off the taste of the fish.

What's a water main?

Things were going along smoothly with all the house sales...

Toooo smoothly...

The buyer of our house had their inspection on Friday.  They spent a lot of time in our basement cellar space.  I wasn't too worried.  We'd had our own inspection just the week before.  No real problems, a couple of minor things but nothing serious.

I guess it is bad form to have the sellers there during an inspection, but we couldn't leave because Thing 2 was recovering from stomach flu.  I got to meet the buyer (a cute 30 something girl) and her (nice but businessy) agent and her (quite charming) mother.  The buyer had to leave shortly after they got here, but her mother stayed, and we got to chat.  Turns out the mother lives about three blocks away.  And the girl's brother lives about five blocks away.  And her aunt and uncle live in the neighborhood.  And her mother went to school with my neighbor three houses up.  Apparently the buyer grew up in a house not far from here.  She knows about old houses.  She likes old houses.  This house just seems golden for this girl.  All goes well.  They leave with smiles.

Then that evening I come down with the stomach flu.  From eight o'clock on, I'm hunkered over the toilet every hour for a few minutes, almost like clockwork.  Suddenly Thing 2's whining about stomach pain doesn't seem like pointless whining anymore.  I'm in agony.  My stomach is totally constricted.  It hurts too bad to sleep.  Hubby goes to the airport to get our houseguests from New Zealand.  He comes back and lets the kids stay up til nearly 11:00.  I'm in no position to argue.  All I can do is groan, and vomit.

My last vommiting session is around 2:00 am.  I spend all of Saturday whimpering and talking on the phone (things are erupting with my church calling since I'm leaving...  Crazy how they left us shorthanded for nearly two months when the other Primary counselor got another calling, but I haven't moved yet and they've already replaced me).  My stomach finally stops hurting enough that I can sleep.  While I'm lying in bed Hubby took the kids and our guests to Snowbird to ride the trams, and jump on the bungee trampolines, and listen to music.

I rolled out of bed Saturday evening around 7:00 pm.  My family was not back yet.  I could actually walk, but my stomach still hurts. I probably COULD go to church but I've already made arrangements not to... we'll let the new councilor dive right in.
I checked my email.  There was a note from my realtor saying the inspection showed a corroded main waterline that may or may not need to be fully replaced.  This could make the house unsellable.
What? WHAT?!?  Frantic emails fly off my keyboard.
A quick internet search shows me this may cost between $1500 and $5000 mostly depending upon how much digging it takes.  They suggest if I can operate a back hoe maybe I could save money by digging it up myself.  I am distraught. 
My good friend who happens to be the primary president calls to see how things have gone with the church stuff.  In talking to her, I tell her the water main news and she says they replaced their main waterline a couple years ago when a couple of their neighbors started getting swampy front yards.  She said it cost $3000 and took one day.   Later an reply from our realtor indicates this is probably what I can expect.  Okay, maybe we can get through this. 

The buyer is coming back with a plumber Monday morning to assess.  At best, this is something that we will just knock off the price of the house and the buyer can deal with it.  At worst the sale of the house will be held up while we deal with the water main ourselves, and she can just move in when it's all over with.  Either way I'm hoping that everything moves forward quickly.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Life In The Fast Lane

So.  Things were going along nicely.  We were looking for homes in Park City, and actually found one that kept rising to the top of our searches and we made a "Favorites" tag for it on the Real Estate lists.  However I was enjoying taking my time, looking things over, and considering all my options.  As is my tendency.
Then all hell broke loose when someone else put an offer on that house.  Suddenly we were in choose it or loose it situation.  It wasn't a tough decision, for about not terribly much more than we expected to get from our current house we'd double our square footage, go from .11th of an acre to 1/2 an acre, and Hubby would get a REAL office in the MIL apartment above the garage.  We put in a bid, the sellers threw out the other bid and accepted our bid.
This was all three or four weeks ago.  We got the mortgage paperwork ready to go to close August 20th to get the kids in school in the new neighborhood, then recently decided why wait and proposed closing August 12th.  

In the mean time we were in crisis mode to GET OUR STUFF OUT OF OUR HOUSE.  My darling sweet sister and my parents put themselves at our disposal and dropped their lives for several days at a time and came down to help me purge and pack.  We rented a POD (which required a permit, and a trip to the city engineers to rent the space in front of our house, and a trip to a barricade company to rent four flashing barricades for the four corners of the pod) and started to fill said POD with all of our immediately unnecessary yet precious possessions.  I figured we would have an open house while our family joined my larger family for our annual vacation to Jackson Hole.  All efforts were focused on getting our house ready for the market.  Thing 2 got her cast off during this time and I promised her that once the house was on the market I'd take them swimming and we'd have the rest of our summer to do all those things she was wanting to do.  Thing 2's birthday fell in this time period as well, and we negotiated with her to have her friend party in August, and her family party while we were on vacation in Jackson. She was excited about this, luckily.  
We had the POD for two weeks, in which time we filled it completely full.  Hubby arranged to be home the week that we left for Jackson and as a group we busted our collective butts and had the house ready to show by Friday July 29th, the day we left for Jackson.  The house was open on July 30th and 31st.  We had an offer for $10,000.00 less than our asking price waiting in my email on the morning of the 31st.  While I would love to get more, at this point I am so thrilled to have the house sell IMMEDIATELY I am disinclined to argue too much.  And they want to close August 17th.  Today, August 1st, we will accept the offer by the 5:00 deadline, but I'm waiting to see if there's a way to juggle the closing of the Park City house back a few days so we can do the closings on the same day, thus avoiding carrying two mortgages even for a few minutes.  
Though it wouldn't be tragic if we got the Park City house first, then were able to do a little painting up there and move some stuff up before our current house closed.  
In any event the usually lovely and relaxing Jackson Hole family vacation has developed something of a real estate haze over it for me.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Laugh to Mute

Thing 2's arm is healing nicely.  She can go a couple hours longer than required for pain medication dosage, and has gotten outside quite a bit this week.
Today she and Thing 1 were working up ways to play on the swing which did not put her arm at risk.  They were  having a grand time, Thing 2 told me they "laughed until they went silent."  When they laugh and laugh but no sound comes out, just big gasps now and again.  Then she said, "That's something kids do when they think something is sooo funny!"  I told her I know what that is and she said, "It's great when you're having so much fun you laugh to mute!"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Break from Summer

I haven't been blogging much.  Kinda quiet.  Until this week.

School is over, Hubby was in town for the end of year festival.  The girls had a ball.
The girls had their first swimming lesson last Wednesday, I think they're really going to enjoy it.

Hubby left on June 13th for a European trip - to return tonight.  Since he was going to be out of town for Father's Day, I decided to take the girls to my folks' house, better a grandfather than no father at all.  We took Hubby to breakfast the morning before he left and did a little Father's Day with him.  After we dropped him off at the airport, we went on a quick house hunting trip to Park City and found a house that is kind of likely.  The girls both love it, anyway.

On Friday we drove to my folk's house.  
One of the big draws up there is my sister, who lives nearby, and her horses.  From the minute we got to my folk's, the girls were asking when they could go riding.  Turned out Monday would work best, right after lunch, but she only had the two horses, Annie who's kinda skittish and she could ride, and Chaz, who the kids have ridden before.  They decided they'd ride double and they'd go to a trail that runs along the foothills of the valley.  Thing 2 was in front on the way up, and on the way back Thing 1 would ride in front.
I have to apologize for my pictures being blurry, my real camera is broken and all my pictures are coming from my phone.
I took the dog for a walk along the trail behind them, but they were soon out of sight.  I walked for about half an hour, then turned around and headed back to the car.  The trail wasn't far above the housing developments along the foothills.  And there was a guy just off the trail digging up Dyer's Woad.  All I know about Dyer's Woad is what I've heard my sister saying it's the bane of her life, she has to dig it up out of the hay fields.  It's awful stuff.
The dog and I got back to the car and waited for about 10 minutes.  Then my sister came riding pell mell down the trail, leading the 2nd horse.  She hollered that Thing 2 had fallen off and probably broken her arm, and was down the trail about a mile.  Thing 1 was with her.  My sister was nearly crying herself, leaving the two of them up there on the trail, but she didn't have her cell phone with her and needed to get me and the car up there.  Luckily there was a housing development road dead ended close by.
I drove like a madwoman up the road paralleling the trail, and saw the Woad digging guy running up the trail.  I pulled off and hopped out of the car and ran after him.  He made it to the girls first.  I barely looked at them, I saw a road coming up the hill, closer to where they were than where I'd parked.  I asked if the Woad guy could stay with them for a minute, he seemed much calmer than I was, and I ran back to my car, and careened around to the closer road.
The Woad guy was carrying Thing 2 down the side of the mountain toward my car when I parked.  Thing 1 was behind him, very upset.  Thing 2 was crying a lot less than I would have expected.  The Woad guy had a little nylon bag that he had put Thing 2's arm in, and slung the cords behind her neck, in kind of a loose makeshift sling.  He carried her to my car and put her in the front seat.  My sister had loaded the horses and was behind me in her truck, and told me how to the get to the hospital.  I know how to get to the hospital, but turned stupid for a moment, and had to be told the cross streets.  In retrospect I should have sent the dog with her.  But it just meant he had to sit in the car in the Emergency room parking lot until she could come get him, after she unloaded the horses.

I called my parents on the way to the hospital, Thing 1 needed some different clothes (she'd kinda got hers dirty) and they got to the hospital before the doctors were ready for Thing 2.  After x-rays confirmed it was broken, the doctor told us not only was it broken, but it was broken badly, and we'd need to take  her to Primary Children's to have them operate.   It was what they call a Supracondylar fracture of the elbow.  The little knob right above your elbow on the big bone there just snapped right off, and the two ends of the bone were overlapped lying next to each other.  Not something they deal with at that hospital.  They'd called ahead and so we shouldn't have to wait long for the orthopedic doctor to get to the hospital we were going to.
They gave me the option of driving her, or having her taken in an ambulance.  When I asked if there would be any real problem with me taking her the doctor said no, if it was his kid he'd probably take her himself.  Okay, we'll do that.
We live about a mile away from Primary Children's, but didn't have time to run back to my folk's house and pack up.  The doctor put a splint on her arm, and my dad decided to go with me to the next hospital.  My mom took Thing 1 back to her house with her.
We had gotten her to the first hospital around 2:30 in the afternoon, and at 4:30 they gave Thing 2 a big dose of morphine to get us to Primary Children's.  What she REALLY wanted was a drink of water, but of course they won't give her that because she has to go under general anesthesia for the operation.  

I know a lot of people who drive between where my folks live and Primary Children's hospital fast all the time, but I usually don't.  I did on Monday, though.  I don't know how much time I saved, it's pretty much an hour and 45 minute drive, I probably only took off 15-20 minutes by speeding as much as I dared whenever I could.  I wanted to get her there as fast as an ambulance would.  She slept fitfully most of the way. My dad kept assuring me the 10 minutes wouldn't make any difference.  And sure enough, when we got there we spent 10 minutes in the emergency room waiting room, then another half hour or so waiting for the doctor.

When the doctor came in she said they had called the orthopedic surgeon, and that there were two other broken elbows that had come in about the same time as us, one with the same break as Thing 2.  So it was going to be a busy night for them.  She asked about Thing 2's pain, she hadn't been crying but she said it hurt pretty bad, 6 on a scale of 1-10.  The doctor asked when she'd last had morphine...  4:30.  It was now nearly 7:30.  The doctor's eyes popped and she said let's get her some morphine!! I think I took this picture before they even gave her the shot.  She was a real trooper.
Thing 2 is my kid who screams over a paper cut.  We have learned that despite her inability to handle small amounts of pain, she did amazingly well with a broken arm. 
The people at Primary Children's are truly wonderful.  Thing 2 kept asking very politely for a drink until the doctor told her she couldn't have one until after the operation.  But then she could have a slushee.  The nurse said she would make sure there was one waiting for her when she woke up.  Then a "children specialist" or some other name for it came in with lots of pictures showing all the rooms where Thing 2 would be taken, and explained in gentle kid terms everything that would happen to her. She gave Thing 2 a little doll, a hospital buddy to decorate up.  Thing 2 couldn't use her hands, one was at the end of a broken arm, the other arm was stiff because the people at the other hospital had put a line into it opposite her elbow, so I put a face on the doll, and the child comfort lady put a name tag on her and a cast like Thing 2 was going to get.  There was someone in there either comforting her, or checking on her nearly all the time.  They told us that they hoped they could operate that night, but it depended on the doctor and the other surgeries.
My mom and sister and Thing 1 back at my mom's house were very anxious to know how things were going.  The doctor said I could call, so we put Thing 2 on speaker phone so she could talk to Thing 1.  However all our efforts to assure Thing 1 that everything was okay just ended up making her jealous.  "I am watching Madagascar 2!  They gave me a doll to paint up!  We put a cast on it!  Oh, they said I can have a slushee!"  Thing 1 was saying "LUCKY!!"  That backfired.  Thing 1 was very lonely and sad that Thing 2 was having all this fun and attention... She couldn't wait to get home.

Finally it started looking like the operation might really happen.  Around 8:30 the resident came in and explained to my dad and me what would happen, and answered all our questions.  They were going to put three pins in her elbow.  There would be a splint for a week, to allow for swelling, and then they would put the cast on her for three weeks.
They came and got her for surgery around 9:00 pm, we found out later that she was the first of the three.  The doctor was a truly lovely man, with red hair and a bedside manner that would win him bedside manner awards.  By then, any time anyone would ask Thing 2 how she'd hurt her arm the story was getting longer and more detailed, with descriptions of the horse's personality, and the Dyer's Woad guy, and how a stranger on the trail offered her a drink of water but she had politely refused.  (The woman had assured her it was a brand new bottle of water, but Thing 2 was embarrassed to contaminate the lady's bottle.)  She sure wished she had taken the lady up on her offer!  When was that slushee coming?  She had all the hospital staff gathered around laughing and beaming at her before we kissed her good-bye and they wheeled her off for her "nap."

The operation took about an hour...  Everything went beautifully.  Shortly after the doctor came in and told us it went very smoothly and that he wanted to keep Thing 2 because she is so cute and funny and wonderful, I texted Hubby that I needed to talk to him.  He's in Switzerland and was just waking up.  He called me right before the nurse came in to take us to recovery to see my baby, so I was the completely annoying person talking on the phone while this terribly important thing is going on, but her daddy was on skype to my cell phone, and he had to go to work soon, and he was pretty freaked out by the news, so I couldn't really just brush him off.  Thing 2 wasn't really waking up very fast, and since it was 11:30 at night they decided to let her sleep and take her up to her room.  So my father and I followed her up there, me filling Hubby in on the cell phone all the way.  We got to the room and a nurse followed us into the room carrying a bright red slushee.  Thing 2 would have hollered Hallenoonjah!  She did start opening her eyes more after she got settled in.  Hubby had to go to work, and Thing 2 woke up enough to realize there was a slushee waiting for her and started opening her mouth like a little bird for it. 

She drank three little cup things of cranberry juice, and ate the slushee down to the melty part at the bottom which she took with a straw.  She was VERY thirsty!

She stayed up watching The Incredibles - I had the DVDs in the car from our trip- and eating and drinking until finally I asked her around 12:30 if she wanted to go to bed.  She agreed.

They came in periodically of course to do hospitally stuff, but everything went smoothly.  Around 6:00 a.m. they checked her fingers, then told us after she had taken some Loritab with breakfast and we saw how she handled that, she could go.
We got home around 9:30 this morning.
Thing 1 and my mom and sister are going to drive down with the dog.  Thing 2 is busy watching TV, and keeping her arm elevated.

She is the one who needs to recover, but I'm the one who needs to sleep.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thing 2's first group email

I signed my kids up for emails.  I had heard there were some good systems for kids, so I did a quick google search and found zoobuh.  It had to be a quick search because Thing 2 was gyrating excitedly behind me the whole time firing off questions about was it done yet.  I signed them up and Thing 2 immediately started emailing everyone I know.  This is one of her first emails... I thought it was so cute I wanted to save it.  There is no preamble, this is the whole email minus her signature.

One day i saw a brain pop jr video, (Brainpop jr is an egecatinol thing for kids.) About E-MAILS. I got ubsessesd that Annie and Moby had their own acount thing. (Annie and Moby are the 2 main characters.) I wanted a thing like they had, I asked my mom "Can I have one of thoughs?" She said "I'll think about it." The next day I asked her again. She said, "Remind me lader!" I reminded her EVERYWHERE. Finally, We were taking a bath and I came down stairs and asked. AGAIN. Then she looked up on Google kids E-mailing. This girl online said "Try Zoobuh." So we did, and my hair was still wet and everything. Finally it took a long time but Mom got me started. Thats how I got my E-mailing acount

Watch out world wide web; here she comes!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011


Tonight Thing 1 said:

"  ...  And thank thee for our wuuuunderful mother...    And thank thee for our wuuuunderful father..... whom our wuuuunderful mother decided to mate with...."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Me 2

I was going to walk the kids over to hear the concert, but I found U2 wasn't coming on until 8:30.  Bedtime.
Turns out I didn't need to, they can hear it pretty well from their room.  This way Bono can sing them to sleep...

I just read Annie's blog and on second thought maybe I shouldn't post this.  It's pretty pathetic that my claim to fame is that I can hear the concert as I'm typing. It's kinda cool, though. My kids got to bed pretty late because I was upstairs dancing around their room, where the concert comes in just a little clearer. "Oh, oh! This is a great song!!" 

OH WAIT!  I just got this from my brother.
Turns out hearing the concert in my kitchen isn't my only claim to fame... And now I'm getting it in stereo because it's coming in over the monitor too...  Apparently my wicked awesome brother and sister-in-law are at the concert!  That's only one degree of separation from fame!  Wooo hooo!  And looks like they have pretty darn good seats, too!  Look at those speaker towers... no wonder I can hear it at my house!  Well yippeee for them!!!  See, they're still totally hip.  Even though he's older than me, he was always hipper than me.  It helps that they have a daughter old enough to babysit their younger daughters, which I believe lends itself to actually having a life. And they aren't trolls living in the dark completely unaware of current events unless they're blasting into their kitchens at 80 decibels. 

Rock on, big brother. Rock on.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Current Events

We were listening to a radio program yesterday and they were talking about infidelity.  Arnold and Maria came up as did a swarm of other politicians and celebrities and people famous for stepping out on their spouses.  They also indicated there is a surprising number of people in happy marriages who are unfaithful.

Hubby assured me he has no plans to stray.

But would he tell me if he was planning on anything?

I do take some comfort in the fact that so many computer programmers are basement trolls; overweight men, and total nerds.

Though of course not all.

I take comfort where I can.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a tough holiday.  I love my mother dearly, and I remember as a kid it seemed hard to make her Mother's Day special enough.  Yet on the other hand I felt jilted that she got her birthday AND this Mother's Day thing.  Luckily she seemed very happy with a card or simple gift I'd made her, and she even choked down our attempts at breakfast in bed. Of course those were better when Dad was involved.

When I grew older, into the range of where a lot of people my age were mothers, in addition to being a celebration for my mother, it became a somewhat uncomfortable reminder of what was not happening in my life.  A reminder of what could be but wasn't happening to me.  As those years stretched out, I resolved myself that it was becoming more and more unlikely that I would ever be a mom.

Then I got married and suddenly there was a choice to make.  Because of my age, it was not completely just a natural sequence of events for us to have children.  It was a choice.  Neither one of us felt our lives would be devastated if we didn't have children.  It was pretty much assumed by everyone, including us, that we would, but we could have decided that the risks created by my being near 40 were too high, the disappointment of age-related infertility was too much for us to take.  After all most people my age had already had kids and had decided not to have any more several years before.
I looked around at people in my family and my job who were my are or older  and saw quite a number of examples of older children who were very close to their parents. My mother and father are two of my best friends.  At our family reunions, watching my cousins just younger than me interacting with their parents... and I decided this is a very valuable thing.  I decided I wanted to have children more for the potential relationships I can have with them when they're older.  I wasn't in it for the babies, I was in it for a "Make your own friends" situation down the road.

We still faced all the age related complications.  What if I couldn't get pregnant?  What if there were serious complications?  We decided to move forward and address each hurdle as it came.
However there were no real hurdles, and nine months and 27 minutes after we decided to have a baby, there she was!  The second one took a few months longer from the decision point to the birth, but not long enough for us to even start discussing any alternatives.  

So I became a mother.  It took years for that mantle to really settle on my shoulders.  I've heard of people saying (because I looked for it) that it wasn't until their kids were old enough to talk, and call them "mom" that they really felt like a mother.  For me it took several years after that.

Maybe because when I got married I was reaching the age where people stop having children, and because in order to avoid the disappointment of not having children I had resigned myself that I wouldn't, the adjustment to motherhood was a little more difficult and drawn out for me.  For the longest time I'd hear people gush, "I just can't imagine what I'd do without my kids!!"  And I'd think geez, I can sure imagine what I'd do without them...  Don't get me started!  My life without them would be like... my life before them!  Uncomplicated, straightforward, simple.  Dates with my husband, eating where and when I wanted without a thought as to "Will there be a playland, let alone something my picky eater will actually eat?"  No strollers, porta-cribs, diaper bags.  No coming home exhausted only to have the real work of getting the baby bathed, fed, and into bed before you can think about yourself.

My kids are 7 and 9, and it really struck me this last mother's day that I do feel like a mom.  I think it's been creeping up for a couple years now, but it took the celebration to make me stop and think about it.  Maybe it's because we can have movie nights again though they're often with the kids.  And I even take the kids to the movies sometimes when Hubby's out of town.  They are growing into those companions that I had looked for when we decided to have kids.

My role has moved away from having to answer their every tiny need, that constant care that a baby requires.  While they still require a lot of care, and yes, mothering, they are moving toward independence and have become their own people with their own senses of humor, and their own abilities and strengths.

It was interesting how much I missed Thing 2 when she went from half day kindergarten to full day 1st grade. Suddenly she was no longer my shopping and Costco lunch companion.  Thing 1 has always hated shopping since she was old enough to express an opinion, and has made it clear she didn't like me dragging her from store to store... but Thing 2 kind of got a kick out of it.  She was a great shopper and a wonderful little buddy.  When she went into full day school, I stopped having lunch at Costco.  It is no longer fun there by myself.  

I am a little worried about the trouble ahead with their teenage years, but I hope it will be a bump in the road on their way to being delightful people.  My evil "Make your own friends" scheme is well on its way. 

Last Mother's Day my kids went all out and made a big party for me. I believe this is mostly due to Hubby's involvement, of course. This year he's been really busy and run down, and Mother's Day was much more subdued.  Also, Hubby had already spent all our spare money and more buying me a replacement diamond for our anniversary, which happened in March.  (Since we were robbed I've been wearing smaller rings, or even $20 cocktail rings I pick up at costume jewelry stores.) So now I have A wonking big rock, I've been fussing over what setting to choose every since he gave it to me.  It's currently being cast at the jewelers and will be everything I ever wanted in a ring, but between the rock and the setting there isn't room in the budget for him to take the girls on a wild shopping spree like they did last year.  This year was very nice, don't get me wrong.  But the difference between the girls' childish excitement about it last year and their rather aloof response this year was interesting.

Maybe they're growing up a little too fast.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Egg Hunt

I just read Cheeseboy's blog about Easter Egg Hunts and having spent the past hour with my kids at an egg hunt I am inclined to agree.
This was just a little local egg hunt, the kids from maybe ten families.  I'm guessing there were close to 20 kids, give or take a few.

We were invited to bring over a dozen filled eggs per child earlier in the day.  I dropped off 28, just to be fair.

As the egg gatherers gathered it was recognized that some distinction needed to be made between the toddlers and the sixth graders.  Where do you draw that line?  Finally the dad in charge announced; "All those seven and under start when I say go.  Eight and up, run to the corner and back when I say go, then you can start looking."  
Okay, at seven years old Thing 2 is one of the older of the little kids.  She might actually score some eggs this year. 


The older children sprint off to the corner, Thing 1 trailing half heartedly in back.  The little kids toddle off to look for the obvious eggs they can see right in front of them.  At this point Thing 2 comes over to me and asks, "When are you leaving?"  When am I leaving?
"Honey, go gather some eggs!"  I say urgently, waving stupidly toward the front yards where I can see eggs peeking out of the bushes.
"But how long are you staying?" She asks.  I'm watching the little kids pick up all the obvious eggs.
"We're all staying until it's over," I tell her.  "Go over there, no one's over there and get some eggs!"
She glares at me, she doesn't want to go over there.  But she does.  I watch her wander aimlessly.  I turned to talk to another parent.  Thing 2 wanders back.  I peek into her basket to find not a single egg.  Other kids wander past with several layers of eggs in their baskets.  Thing 2 wanders off toward the herd.

In the end, she had five eggs.  Thing 1 had about eight.  Neither seemed terribly upset.  Several older children dropped a few more eggs in Thing 2's basket as they walked by.  She hugged them happily, either not recognizing it as a pity gesture, or not caring.
The trading ensued, and both girls were happy with their eventual haul.  

In general I do not enjoy the neighborhood egg hunts.  It makes me too tense to see the other kids dashing from place to place gathering eggs while my kids float around, occasionally finding something... though in the end I'm happy there's that much less candy coming into the house.  I expect there will be plenty tomorrow to make up for whatever lack they had today.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blue Ribbon

For the past three years Thing 1 has entered a Lego creation in the local library Lego Creation Contest.  Each year including last year she got a blue ribbon that says "AWESOME" on it, and each year she thinks she's won some special blue ribbon prize.  I have told her that every kid who submits an entry gets the same ribbon, but she has assured me I'm wrong.  Blue ribbon means winner, and she's THE WINNER!  I've decided to smile and nod.
Always before there were maybe four or five entries, displayed under a plexiglass dome on the end of one of the bookcases.

This year there were entries all along a ten foot bookcase.  There were some pretty impressive entries, especially the Lego Taj Mahal, which Hubby told me was a kit.  I don't remember any others specifically, but some were interesting enough.

So finally after it was all over someone called me from the library to tell me that Thing 1 could come and pick up her creation.  I was told there was a 'little something' for her.  I thought cool, another blue ribbon.  Thing 1 will be pleased.
I suspected it was the same thing as always, but they've never said that to me before when they called for me to come get the Legos, so because they had said that, I suggested she go with me to pick up her creation.  Instead of just bringing out her Legos, the lady at the desk said we should follow her  into the staff room.  There was a box of the several Lego creations that hadn't been picked up yet.  Another staff member was back there too.  With some ceremony, the two library ladies explained to Thing 1 that each year the staff members vote on which Lego creation showed the most creativity, and best use of the Legos.  Their favorite gets a special "Best In Show" blue ribbon.  Thing 1 got it this year.
Thing 1 was terribly excited, to say the least.  She carefully huddled over her ribbon and her creation to keep the rain off of them on the way to the car.  She carried them both as she didn't want me to bend the ribbon, or knock the legos.

I apologize for the fuzzy phone pictures, but my camera stopped working.
I was extremely proud.  I am sure her talent with Legos is just evidence of her start at greatness.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

But Today was GREAT!

I was watching "Precious" on Netflix tonight while I was folding clothes.

Then I read my post from yesterday and I am humbled.

I am so freaking lucky, I (and my kids) don't know what despair is. 
Thing 2 got a big part in the class play.  She and three other kids are playing The Grass.  They're on the stage from the beginning to the end. She is thrilled. Yesterday is a distant blip.

Life is good.
My kids are amazing.

Life is good.