Thursday, December 25, 2008

Quotable Christmas

A few quotes from our house the last couple days that make me smile and that I want to remember ...

Last night at church during the candle lighting portion of the service, Joel looked at the candle in Alyssa's hand and proclaimed "ohhhh! HOT!!!" in a very loud voice. I heard quite a few giggles from behind us.

Tonight I was letting Alyssa do my make up with her make up kit that Santa brought her. When she was finished, she proclaimed that it was my turn to "decorate" her.

I'm not exactly sure why, but I always remember an orange (or maybe in a pinch an apple) being stuffed into the toe of my stocking on Christmas morning, so Santa does that for Alyssa and Joel, too. This afternoon Alyssa told me that she had been worried because she forgot to tell Santa that she wanted an orange for Christmas and was quite relieved that he had put one in her stocking anyway. Whatever, weirdo! ;)

Even with the "low" this morning regarding the basketball hoop, overall we had a pretty great Christmas. Lots of wonderful gifts from friends and family, yummy steak and potatoes for Christmas dinner, the entire family got to take naps this afternoon, and a day where I didn't worry about cleaning or laundry (much). Just a day focused on really doing nothing but enjoying Adam and the kids and the blessings that we have in our life; and that's a great day in my book.

Merry Freakin Christmas

To the jackasses who bought the Little Tykes basketball hoop/set before us and then felt compelled to take the toy out of the box, fill the box with your cigarette-smoke-smelling trash, and then return it to the store so that I could unsuspectingly purchase it for my son for Christmas ... screw you!

I don't know if I should be more angry or sad, but either way I want to march into Toys R Us and rip the first employee I see a new one. Or just burst into tears and start wailing about how they ruined my and my family's Christmas.

Thinking of the "season", I'm trying to be a good person by thinking about how fortunate my children are that they have numerous new toys, books, movies, etc that they don't really notice that they can't play with this one specific gift. And I know that I as a parent would do almost anything to give my children anything they want and maybe the actual toy brought incredible joy to a child that would normally not get a Christmas/birthday/whatever present.

Or maybe they are just jerks. (I really, really want to curse, but since my mom reads my blog, I'm using more PG language).

But now as I look back at the pictures from my parents Christmas last night where I see Joel so proudly pushing his huge, wrapped present into the living room to unwrap, the pictures of Alyssa and Joel sitting in front of the unwrapped box in awe and excitement at getting to play with a "real" basketball hoop, its tainted for me. Instead of seeing the excitement and innocence and happiness of my kids when I look back on those pictures in years to come I'll remember the confusion, anger, and eventual sadness that came when I actually opened the box up. I guess some things are better left unopened.

I already have proclaimed that I hate shopping at Toys R Us. It seems like I have never had a good experience with them - rude employees, false advertising, the list goes on. I am already dreading the process of taking this gift back.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wishing I could clone myself

I can't remember the last time I felt this queasy/nauseous. Last night Eric and Hope came over for supper/Wii playing, which was oodles of fun, but about 20 minutes before they left I started feeling very "gurgly" in my stomach. By the time I went to be I was shaking violently, so I'm assuming that I was running some sort of fever. I don't think I really fell into a deep sleep and was up about every hour for a trip to the bathroom. Then about 4 this morning (I think) I found out that Adam had been up several times to throw up. I am sooo thankful that I haven't thrown up, I'll take the "other end issues", although part of me does wonder if I would feel better if I did throw up.

I don't think I'll experiment.

So here's my dilema ... I'm supposed to work from 12 - 4 today. 1. I'm not sure if Adam will be able to take care of the kids. 2. I cannot even think about food without wanting to throw up and/or my stomach starts cramping violently. Probably not going to be a good shift trying to sell Omaha Steaks products. Although it is getting late enough in the season that probably a majority of what I'll be doing will be track packages.

So - I go in and suffer through it - although I don't know if I can be away from the bathroom for the 20 minute drive in. Or I cross my fingers and hope that what I have is a 12 hour thing and I'm feeling immensely better. And then there's always the "can Adam handle the kids while he's sick" option. Or I don't go in ... but then I lose my attendance bonus (an extra $1 an hour for all the hours I've worked in the last 3 weeks) and I wouldn't be eligible for the rehire bonus next year, which would be mean that I would be out that $200 and would have to do a week long training again if I wanted to work there again. So just by not going in today for 4 hours, I would be out probably around $300. Talk about your rock and a hard place.

If only I had a cloning machine.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow day thoughts ...

I was very glad to get the e-mail last night that Alyssa didn't have preschool today so that I didn't have to venture out in the world this morning. I feel like all I've been doing this week is running in 15 different directions and I'm ready for some down time.

I've been feeling slightly guilty about my lack of blogging lately. I don't have a whole lot to say, but here's a few thoughts for today.

First an adorable story about Joel, though. His newest thing is that if you say "Who wants to _____" when he's within earshot, he'll immediately yell "ME!!!". Who wants to sleep with Lexi? Joel! Who wants to go potty with Alyssa? Joel! Who wants to take a bath? Joel! Who wants to do the dishes? Joel! Until last night when I asked "who wants some veggie pizza?" and heard a very loud and firm "NO!" coming from my sweet little boy. We tried every variation of the question trying to get him to say "Me!", but as soon as they boy heard the word "veggie" he was not having it.

And now for snow day thoughts:
1. I picked the wrong day to volunteer to scoop the driveway. I figured it would be an easy way to get my cardio in for the day, but damn ... two inches of ice followed by 2-3 inches of snow does not make for easy drive way cleaning! Thank goodness for next door neighbor Robb and his arsenal of ice chipping tools or I would have been out there for hours!
2. Today marks the first time I have had the opportunity to bundle up two kids in their new snow pants and boots and an odd assortment of coats, mittens, hats, etc ... I wish I could way a magic wand and cut down on the actual "prep" time.
3. I want new boots. Should have added that to my Christmas list.
4. The neighbor kids have an inflatable sled. That's so much cooler than the circa 1985 red plastic sled that my kids inherited from my youth.
5. I hope that playing outside this morning wipes my kids out so that they'll take a looonng nap this afternoon. Now I've probably jinxed myself and it will give them some strange super-energy.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Basement Project 2.0

This section took more than just an afternoon; more like one afternoon and one morning. I would say that I've now tackled probably about 1/2 the basement. Feels really, really, really good to be able to look at before/after pictures and see my progress. And I wanted to post these so that my mom knew that I was still working on it even though she isn't here to crack the whip. ;)

Only "bad" part is that now I really have the "finish the basement" itch because I'm starting to be able to imagine what it would be like to have real walls, flooring, rooms, etc. Just need about 10K to drop out of the sky ... that's not too much to ask, is it?
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Friday, December 05, 2008

Warm tummy, warm heart, and a new tradition

Tonight we loaded up the kids in their jammies in the car (with new fleece snowflake blankets toasty warm from the dryer), picked up some hot chocolate from Starbucks, and drove around looking at Christmas lights. Joel was highly impressed - he "ohhhhhhhhh"ed all around town. Alyssa had fun, too. She loved pointing out the different Santas; we'll see how she feels about the "real deal" next week at the mall. I had a great time, too - my tummy is warm from peppermint hot chocolate and my heart is warm from creating a special memory with the people I love most in the world. My hope is that it will become a yearly tradition.

PS ~ Dee, you GOTTA take your kids to see the house in the picture ... they have every Christmas character you could imagine, plus several non-Christmas ones like all the Sesame Street gang (aka big yellow duck or whatever it was - ha!), every inflatable you could think of, and lights that are coordinated to Christmas music on a radio station. Its awesome!
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I missed the memo

That says that you should always have one arm posed above your head when having your picture taken ...

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Sunday, November 30, 2008


I am so tired of sneezing. My stomach hurts.

I am so tired of peeing a little every time I sneeze. The joys of having a bladder that has been beaten by two growing babies.

I'm going to go blow my nose now.


Since Alyssa started preschool she's been saying things that seem completely out of the blue that I'm sure she's learning at preschool. And each time it makes me stop dead in my tracks and think "Seriously? Did MY little baby girl just say that?". And then it makes me a little sad that she's turning into my big baby girl ... because even if she protests that she's not a baby, she's a big girl, she will always be my baby.

A couple examples from the last couple weeks -

When my mom was over helping me sort through the toxic waste that is/was our basement Alyssa was playing with Joel on the other side of the basement happy as a clam. All of the sudden we hear her start reciting the pledge of allegiance. Just out of the blue. Word for word. (pretty much). How did this happen!?

This morning she got her first glimpse of our fully lighted Christmas tree (the tree was only about 1/2 lit when she went to bed last night). She swooned over it and then turned to me and said, "Oh mommy, I wish we had a piano right here! *gestures to the area next to the tree* Then we could sing 'oh Christmas tree, o Christmas tree'".

Isn't she adorable?!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Our whole family is a sniffling, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, snotty mess. Who wants to come visit?!

Adam has been battling this cold/sinus infection/whatnot the longest, I think. Well over a week. Yesterday he said that he was feeling better, so I hope he's on the mend.

Alyssa has been sniffling, coughing, etc for several days now, but its just been the last 24 hours or so that she's really started complaining about not feeling well. Of course that could be in part to several days of not napping and not sleeping through the night which makes her a little more "emotional" that usual.

Today is the first day that I've felt really crummy. The kids have been getting up multiple times at night, which I think is catching up to me. Last night they were up about 20 minute apart - just enough time for me to finally settle down and fall asleep from getting up with Joel and *tap, tap, tap* comes Alyssa. I'm hoping that some Airborne and chilling at home will make me feel better quickly.

And now we get to my "problem" child. Although he's not really the problem. Wednesday morning I noticed some "crud" in Joel's ear, but I couldn't tell if it was crud that had come out or crud that had drained out of his nose/mouth during the night and dried in his ear. After his afternoon nap, it was pretty evident that it was coming out of his ear, which is a surefire symptom of an ear infection. Of course ... at 4PM the day before Thanksgiving. I called Dr. K's office to see if they would call in an Rx for him or if we should just take him to the after hours clinic that evening. The nurse called back with instructions to start ear drops and then bring him in on Friday if he seemed worse/didn't get better and they would get him on some oral meds. He was obviously not getting any better, so yesterday I called Dr K's office and got the answering service - they informed me that the office was closed. Great. But they have a children's urgent care within the same office during "off" hours that was supposed to be open from 12pm - 10pm yesterday. No problem. So off Joel and I went to urgent care #1. Their lighted sign said open, the sign on the door listing hours said that they should be open, but their locked door made me think otherwise. So back in the car to head to urgent care #2, which was actually a "quick care" clinic inside the grocery store. There I was informed that even though we arrived an hour and a half BEFORE they were supposed to close, they had too much paperwork to catch up on from patients earlier in the day, so they were refusing to see any more patients. Beautiful. So finally on to urgent care #3. Third time was a charm. We had to wait forever (it seemed) in the waiting room, but within 5 minutes of the doctor coming in she declared that Joel had a sinus infection, bronchitis, and a possible ruptured ear drum from an ear infection - the tube is no longer in place in that ear, so either the hole from the tube hadn't healed over yet or the ear drum ruptured. My poor baby. This whole process took about 3 hours.

Black Friday shopping was a cake walk compared to trying to get medical attention the day after Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Afternoon project

At 2 PM yesterday afternoon, our basement looked like this ...

3 bags of donations to the humane society, 4 garbage bags and a box of donations to Goodwill and 3 hours later ...

Pretty impressive, huh? Probably only about 15% of the basement, but its a start! My wonderful, fabulous, spectacular mom came down to lend an extra pair of hands, bought us two new shelving units, and helped supervise the kids, which helped SOOOOO much. She's the awesome-est.

I'll post more before/after pics as we continue our quest to organizing!
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

this sums it up ...

My mom e-mailed me a quote that she read yesterday in the newspaper ...

"Face it, 4-year-olds are lovable but self-centered, impulsive and prone to meltdows."


Good to know my 4 year old is up to par.

My kids are cute - weekend edition

Last night Adam's parents and his older brother, Ben, came over for supper. I "made" Omaha Steaks burgers for everyone (taking advantage of my employee discount already ... employee discounts make me happy; I've never had one before. I wish I could get a mommy discount). We also had Omaha Steaks chocolate molten lava cake for dessert. And yes, it was as good as it sounds. After supper we decided to play a rousing game of YAHTZEE!. Joel had such a blast shaking the dice up and rolling them. Almost every time he would dump them out he would yell "hey-yah!" and then look around expectantly waiting for us all to start cheering for him. Made it really hard to be disappointed when he rolled exactly what we DIDN'T need. And he could really use a lesson on either shaking less violently when the dice are in the cup or putting his hand over the top so that little dice-missiles don't come shooting out from his direction. But the boy had fun and we had fun watching him.

Just a little bit ago Alyssa asked me to come look at a picture she was drawing - here's how that conversation went:

A: Mommy, guess who this is!
M: You tell me ... (thinking it looked a lot like a tree trunk with a circle on top, but I could identify eyebrows on the circle. But that doesn't narrow things down very much.)
A: *as she's adding smaller circles on top of the big circle* I'll give you a hint ... who wears curly hair? (I love how she says "who wears curly hair" like you can take it or leave it)
M: Ummmm ... Alyssa?
A: Yes! Its me!!!

I *knew* those eyebrows looked familiar.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Working for the man

Finally have a few minutes to get some thoughts out about my new gig. For anyone who doesn't know, I'm working part time at Omaha Steaks throughout the holiday season.

Monday night was my first night of training. My basic reaction to it:
1. A bit intimidated and a bit overwhelmed by all the information that was being tossed my way.
2. I feel like I now know more about the "behind the scenes" side of steak than anyone ever really needs to know.
3. Angie - I thought of you when they flashed a sample of the employee ID badge up on the power point screen and the employee was Chris Klein. Evidently he worked there before he hit it "big". I don't know it was his actual ID badge; looked very "head shot"-esque.
4. I really didn't feel like I belonged/could related with anyone in my training group becase:
a. I'm not looking to collect social security in the next 5 years or so
b. I'm not a chain smoker
c. I'm not on parole.
d. I can legally purchase/drink alcohol.
I kind of expected to see more of the SAHM crowd there.

Tuesday night was better. I kind of made a "friend". Or at least found someone nice to chat with during down times and do role playing exercises with. I'm still feeling a little overwhelmed and intimidated, but I hope they are leaning more towards "over-training" us (probably not going to get a lot of people calling in to make 4 changes to their orders/accounts).

I'm having a hard time going to sleep at night because I feel so wired. I really think part of it is that my brain isn't used to working very hard. Once I *do* finally fall asleep within 15 - 30 minutes the last 2 nights Alyssa has showed up next to my bed. She doesn't need anything/nothing is wrong, which puts me in a crabby mood. I don't know if part of her just wants to make sure that I'm home or if she's just trying to drive me crazy, but "mean Mommy" is usually the one marching her back to her room. And then last night Joel woke up crying a few minutes after I finally fell asleep after getting up with Alyssa. Thankfully Adam took my crying into my pillow as a sign that he should get up with Joel. Or at least I think he did ... either way he got up. I've tossed around a few ideas to help with my "sleep issues".
a. semi-wake Alyssa up when I get home ... lay down with her for a few minutes and start her "pooh songs" over so that she knows that I'm home if that's what is waking her up/bothering her. Because she usually just wails that she wants me to lay down with her.
b. hit the gym to burn off nervous energy and try to calm down my mind ... but even if its open late enough I probably wouldn't see Adam at all.
c. take a sleeping pill ... or maybe just drink heavily when I get home. I like that thought. ;)

Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Halloween from our house (and from Paula's house)

Joel was not real impressed with the whole Halloween business ~ even with the candy!
Ready to hit the streets
Speaking of hitting the streets ... Paula and I dressed up as beauty queens for her family's annual Halloween party that I flew to Raleigh for. A few comments:
a. You can't tell it from the pictures, but Paula's is sporting a baby bump and some "enhanced" knockers for her role as "Miss Leading"
b. There's a purple lollipop in my hair, 5 year old Jessie (seem bottom right corner) did my make up, and the black "thing" above my eye is a false eyelash that was put on crooked. I think the other one that fallen off by then. I also had bandaids all over my body and Paula's kids kept asking me what happened to me, which was pretty cute. I think they think I'm crazy. ;)

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Things that make you go, "Awwwwwww!"

This morning when I picked Alyssa up from preschool we were looking through her papers in her bucket per usual. The past couple weeks they've been working on a "tell me about your picture" art series where they paint something and then her teacher will write the title or description on the paper. Alyssa brought her picture home a couple weeks ago that was titled "a rainbow", so I was surprised to see another picture in her bucket titled "A princess for Alyssa". Are you ready for this? Her little "friend" Gary painted it for her! Is that not the CUTEST thing ever?! She's decided that she wants to hang Gary's picture up in her room. Gary trivia for anyone who has heard: He was her first friend that she started talking about at preschool and now she talks about Gary all the time. After helping out at the Fall Festival last week I can see how the kind of light up when they're around each other - kind of makes me want to lock her in a tower for the next 20 years, frankly.

All together now: "Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww".

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Raleigh 2.0

Its after midnight here in North Carolina and I'm wiped out, but can't sleep because I'm feeling guilty and wish I could beam myself home because maybe then I would be able to avoid this horrible panic attack that seems to be bubbling under my surface.  

I'm trying to figure out how to answer the question "How was your trip". As a whole, from the surface, it was great ... I had a fun time dressing up for Paula and Kirk's Halloween party and getting to meet more family and friends. I had a wonderful time chatting with Paula in the hot tub afterwards - especially after she shared her theory that she thought a single guy friend of hers was trying to figure out if I was single. Nice to know that I might still have a little fraction of "it". This morning we did a beautiful hike through the woods surrounded by fall foliage, fed ducks/geese at the lake, and played with the kids at the park. After an afternoon nap Paula and I went out with some more of her friends to see a movie and to a nice restaurant for supper. More hot tubbing tonight and shopping on the docket for tomorrow. Pretty great, right?

Except I feel awful. I feel guilty for leaving in general and leaving Adam alone with Alyssa and Joel. I feel like I don't deserve to have taken this trip or to take time for myself. I feel sad/guilty that I had the opportunity to read bedtime books, tease, watch TV, chase around, swing with, play with someone else's children and I feel like I can't remember the last time I did that with my own kids. Its not *really* that bad, but this weekend has made me realize how much I am struggling with my life. How much I can't handle holding it all together - the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, being a good wife, being a good mother, keep some small bit of my own identity. I'm the homemaker... that my job. But Adam is there to co-parent; to be the one to read books, play games, cuddle with the kids, so while I'm desperately trying to keep my head above water, the "fun chores" get passed on to him.

But I digress ... the voice in the back of my head is reminding me that "everyone" says that I'll be a better mommy/wife for getting away. That its good for Adam, Alyssa, and Joel to be on their own without me because they'll appreciate me more and realize that they can survive without me (at least for a couple days). The voice is encouraged by the memories of everyone I shared my weekend plans with saying some version of "good for you!" Well, maybe not everyone. Just when I started feeling okay ~ feeling like Christi - not mommy, not hon, not Miss Christi, just Christi again, I heard another voice. The voice of one of the people I love most in the world. A voice across a phone line that was struggling and it makes my heart hurt. And then comes the guilt. The "what the hell are you doing - you don't deserve this, You are a selfish, selfish person and you are just running away from your responsibilities. Grow up. Be a better person. Think about other people."

Leave it to me to screw up a weekend away by making it make me feel worse than I did before I left.

*I wrote this late Sunday night/early Monday morning, but couldn't get in to blogger from Paula's computer, so hence the wacked out time line if you notice that kind of stuff. *

Friday, October 31, 2008

I think I'm in denial

I don't think its really hit me that in less than 12 hours I will be heading to the airport to fly to Raleigh. Its almost 10PM and I haven't packed a thing yet. But I have a list! And I printed out my boarding pass. And I plugged in my cell phone to charge it. I'm starting to feel a bit of sadness at the idea of leaving Adam and the kids even if its only for a couple days. I know it'll be good for me and for them, but its still hard to leave. Remind me of how I feel tomorrow at this time when I'm living it up in Paula's hot tub. ;)

A little Halloween sadness today - I was searching for the kids' plastic pumpkins for trick or treating and came across Joey's Halloween costume. I clearly remember putting her in it for her first Halloween and I clearly remember putting her in it last year for her last Halloween, but the ones in between are fuzzy. Kind of ironic, isn't it?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wishing I could be a cold, heartless, bitch when it comes to daycare ...

When it comes down to it, I do love my daycare. Its something I've always wanted to do and when I'm not stressing about being taken advantage of and how to please everyone else I do enjoy it. Things are a little shaky with a family of mine that only comes Thursday afternoons, so just on a whim I put an ad out on craigslist offering daycare openings. I put in there that I was hoping to fill positions after the new year, but would possibly be able to do a more immediate opening. I honestly wasn't expecting to hear from anyone - or if anything get a random call a few weeks from now, but lo and behold I got a call this morning. From someone who wants to start next week. Yikes.

Its a chaotic schedule and my gut says that it won't work because there are a lot of weeks that they need care on two of the days that Alyssa is in preschool. One day I could probably swing by having Adam drop her off and go in to work late and his mom pick her up and bring her home or ask one of our neighbors to help out, but I know I can't do two days a week. Plus I like being a familiar figure at her preschool and being involved in the pick up and drop off process.

BUT ... its an awful situation and I feel so bad for the woman that called me. Her sister just passed away of brain cancer and she and her husband are getting custody of her 2 1/2 year old nephew ... I immediately want to bend over backwards and help this family that I've never met even though it probably means a lot more stress and anxiety for me. But on the flip side, it means more money for me, too. But can you put a price on my mental well-being? Probably not ...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Craft time with Christi

I'd been wanting to try my hand at making hair bows for a long time now ~ I think I bookmarked a web "how to" page a couple years ago ~ but finally took the plunge this afternoon. I think they turned out super cute and they were a lot easier to make than I expected. I didn't have enough ribbon to make a "knot" in the middle on the white ones, which I'm a little bummed about because I think it looks better with the knot, but live and learn!

Like what you see? I'm now taking orders for the holidays! ;)
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Home sweet home

This was originally going to be a funny blog entry about how I took my kids trick or treating in a bar in my hometown this afternoon ... there's just something really wrong about leading my kids up to a bar, right next to a group of rowdy adults who are tossing back drinks while watching a football game. Ahh, small town Iowa in the fall. ;) Today was the anual Harvest Fest in my hometown and one of the activies was trick or treating around the square. Almost all the other businesses had someone stationed at their front door handing out candy (or pencils with the company logo on it, but I won't get into that), but one of the bars downtown you actually had to walk all the way in to the bowels to get the good stuff. I kept joking that at least they could have had a tray of shots or something for the adults!

Anyway, the humor of the afternoon was pushed to the back burner by some special time with Joel tonight. He had just had a couple quick naps here and there, so by bedtime he was in full on screaming nothing-is-ever-going-to-be-right-again meltdown mode. I decided that I would toss him in the car and drive around for a little while since he's one that easily falls asleep in the car. So off he and I went into the night. I ended up driving by several places I hadn't thought about in years. Homes of old friends, homes of kids I babysat for, places where I played ... I can't really explain it, but it was really soothing to me to have that drive tonight, too. It was almost like I stepped back in time 10+ years to where I didn't have any cares ... didn't have anywhere to go on a Saturday night ... just drove where the wind blew me. It was peaceful and calming and most importantly, it put Joel out like a light.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Feeling sick ...

but not ill sick, more like a "I just made a mistake" sick. My mom came to town today because she needed to do some shopping. I had a 20% off coupon for Children's Place burning a hole in my pocket, so we both got some "business" done. Although I'm not thrilled with the holiday outfits that I got for the kids, but that's another entry. We got home around 1 and I had been thinking about wanting to get my hair cut (trimmed, not drastically cut) before I headed out to Raleigh. So she offered to watch the kids while I ran out to get my hair cut.

I'd been thinking about doing the "angle" cut for a long time (where its shorter in the back and longer towards the front). It always seems like the back of my hair grows much more quickly than the sides, so I figured if nothing else it would even it all out eventually ... I don't think its going to be a good look for me. I feel like I just draws all attention to my neck/chin pudge that I've been feeling really self conscious of lately. I feel like it makes me look very "triangular" - narrow on top, wide on the bottom. Hopefully it'll be better once I wash it and style it myself, but for now I see a lot of ponytails and hats in my future. Very short ponytails because I don't have much length anymore ...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

All mixed up ...

Today has been one of those days where all I've heard from Alyssa is "why" and "I don't want to!". Joel has pretty much done nothing but cry for about 80% of the day ... including a lovely 2 1/2 hour stint from about midnight to 2:30 AM where he was just noisy and whiny. Not crying so that I felt I needed to go in and comfort him, but just enough that I couldn't fall asleep because of all the noise that would sporadically come through the baby monitor.

At about 7:45 tonight I found myself thinking "I can't wait for these kids to just shut the heck up and go to sleep". Probably not an uncommon thought among the parenting set. But then a little voice in the back of my mind reminds me how lucky that I am to have them ... arguing and crabbiness included. So then I started feeling guilty and decided to go in and rock/cuddle with Joel since he was having a hard time falling asleep. Of course as soon as I went in there he started screaming louder and gesturing wildly towards the door. I understand, Joel, that you do not want to be in your room and going to sleep right now, but your choices are mommy holding you or being put down in your crib. He continued flailing and yelling, so I put him down.

Now there is evil mommy who wants to go in there and scream "shut up and go to sleep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" - its hard to ignore him because you can easily hear him from any room in the house. Then there is nice mommy that wants to give in and let him come out and watch TV and cuddle in our bed for a few minutes. And truth be told, it would probably only take about 10 minutes of "downtime" with him and I in a room other than his and he would probably happily settle down to go to sleep. But then evil mommy interrupts my logical thoughts to remind me that its been one of those days and encourage me to just run away - far, far away. Talk about your power struggle.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

Eric and Hope invited us over for a "pumpkin carving party" with some friends of theirs from church. We all had a fun time - at least the kids and I did, and I think Adam did, too. Everyone else seemed like quite the seasoned professional carvers; one guy even had his own little mini-chain saw carving knife thing. Pretty impressive! Hope's pumpkin is on the left - presidential candidate John McCain. We had to leave before she did Barack Obama, but I'm anxious to see how he turns out because I think McCain looks awesome. Alyssa's pumpkin is the kitty cat on the right; I think he turned out pretty cute, too. But I may be biased since 98.7% of the carving was done by me. ;)

Tip to you early carvers out there ~ supposedly rubbing vaseline on the cuts will help preserve the pumpkins until Halloween so they don't shrivel up as much ... time will tell if its true or not!

Hope bought some Mr Potato Head type things that you could stick on pumpkins that Alyssa had fun play with while I was "scooping the goop" out of her pumpkin.

Helping me carve ... kind of.
Carvers hard at work
First round of pumpkins ... pretty cool, huh?
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Weekend fun

Lenka invited Alyssa for a playdate at "Boingz!" this morning. Alyssa had such a great time ~ I love the first picture; the look of pure joy/excitment on her face ... that's not a look I get to see very often. It took her a few minutes to warm up to the new environment, per usual, but before long she was running, climbing, bouncing, sliding, etc with the best of them. I had a great time watching her, chatting with Eric and Angie, and hanging out with my special little lady, Janika.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

As years go by ...

Inspired by one of my October '04 moms' blogs

1st birthday
2nd birthday
3rd birthday
4th birthday

Can you BELIEVE how much older she looks from 3 to 4?! Its like she aged at least 2 years ... did I miss something?
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Working Woman

Most of today I spent at the Omaha Steaks holiday/seasonal job fair. I got offered a position in their "specialty sales" department ~ basically inbound sales without the upselling part (thank goodness). I'm excited about it and feeling a lot better about our money situation with the holidays coming up. On the flip side, I'm nervous about Adam having to be a "single dad" a couple nights a week, but I hope I can have things organized and put together enough to make it a smooth ride for him. And I keep telling myself its only 6 weeks ... we can do anything for 6 weeks. And if I decide to go back next year I get a $200 rehire bonus ($300 for year 3, etc) and the day I start I get a really great employee discount and if I complete the "season" its mine for an entire year, which is pretty cool. I think its safe to say everyone on our Christmas list should expect meat for Christmas. ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday, Alyssa

Dear Alyssa,

Today you turn 4 years old. That statement takes my breath away.

You are everything I could have asked for in a little girl. You are sweet, thoughtful, loving, smart, beautiful, creative, and funny. I love you so, so much. I'm so proud of you and I adore watching you develop, grow, and discover every day.

This fall you started preschool and so far you seem to really enjoy it. I can't believe how much you have learned and blossomed in your first month in school. (It does scare me a little, though, because it reminds me that you are growing up so fast). You can spell your first and last name (and you love to spell out S-T-O-P when you see a stop sign), are singing tons of new songs, have started "reading" books more vividly (holding a book and telling us a story based on the pictures), and just overall seem a lot more outgoing. You're starting to tell us more about your day and what you think of the world around you. I would say that you're very brave when it comes to physical feats - you mastered climbing along the top of the swingset by yourself, out of the blue, a few weeks ago. I guess you were tired of waiting for someone to help you across the monkey bars, so you decided to go over the top on your own. And I constantly find you jumping off/on things. But on the flip side you seem a lot more timid when it comes to social settings. You've definitely come a long way since starting school, but you still like to have a familiar "backup" when you're putting yourself out there.

Sophie is still your best friend, but you've started playing a lot more with the kids on our street the past couple months. You think you are pretty big stuff now that Jessica, Mya, and Katelyn are including you in their little posse. Braden, who lives across the street, has quickly become a favorite playmate of yours and you talk about Gary from preschool quite a bit.

You are currently taking your second year of dance classes, which are a favorite part of your week. You told me this week that your favorite "trick" at dance class is "butterfly arms". We were all so proud of you when you performed in your Christmas and spring recitals this year without any stage fright at all.

Some of your favorites include:
Movies: High School Musical and High School Musical 2 - I'm really looking forward to taking you to see the third one in the theater when it comes out in a few weeks.
TV Shows: Phineas and Ferb, Dora the Explorer, and Diego. My Friends Tigger and Pooh were a huge part of your life for awhile, too.
Color: Blue
Playing "chase" in the backyard with Daddy where he narrates your "tricks" and moves while you twirl/run/hop around the backyard and then he has to repeat what you did.
Doing your "homework", which consists of writing/coloring in a notebook and then cutting it up with scissors.
Books: Fancy Nancy (your birthday party theme this year). You are definitely a girly-girl and love dressing up, make up, and painting your nails.

You talk about your "kids" a lot. You don't seem to have a special imaginary friend, but you talk about "my boys" and "my girls" and what they have at their houses or where they currently are staying. Most of the time they are at Grandma and Poppa's or next door at Robb and Crystal's house.

We had to say goodbye to our sweet Pomeranian Joey this spring. I'm not exactly sure how much you understood of that whole situation. You still talk about her a lot and want to make sure that we remember that she's still part of our family, which I love, but I hope we've been able to explain to you that sometimes people/pets have to go away, but that its okay to miss them and to keep them in our hearts and memories.

You are a spectacular big sister. When I first found out I was pregnant with Joel, I was so worried that I would be cheating you out of something or that you would resent me for making you "share" Daddy and I, but watching you and Joel together warms my heart so much. I hope you realize how much he loves you and looks up to you. Especially the looks up to you part ~ you have a hard time understanding that a lot of the things he does that frustrate you are things he learned by watching his big sister. You definitely have a very nurturing side to you; when I would drop you and Joel in the childcare room at the Y you would immediately fold him into your arms for a big hug when he started to get sad about me leaving. You do a great job thinking of him and trying to include him in whatever you're doing - most of the time.

Overall, peanut, I am just madly in love with you. I'm totally in awe of you. And I wish you all the happiness and love in the world because you are an amazing little girl.

Love always,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Misc birthday eve thoughts . . .

In about 2 hours it'll be 4 years since I woke up to my broken water ... wow. Its funny that I can still remember making meatloaf for Adam 4 years ago tonight (I've only made it about twice in our marriage, so maybe that makes it more memorable, too), I remember him talking to his Aunt Nancy on the phone while I was on the elliptical machine (I did 30 minutes) and she predicted that I would go into labor that night.

This year marks the first October 12th since 2004 that my good friend Angie or I hasn't been pregnant (that we know of ...). She was pregnant on Alyssa's 1st and 3rd b-days and I was pregnant on her 2nd. You can tell that its "my year", but I'm hoping that we've passed the torch on to my friend/neighbor Sherry. Of course we have another neighbor that just told me that she's pregnant, so maybe we'll bring her into our "circle". Or maybe the tradition will just have to die. ;)

Happy Alyssa's birthday eve!

Oh, she's good.

Alyssa's bedtime routine usually consists of Adam helping her brush her teeth, go potty, get jammies on, then reading her books. Then I finish out the evening by laying down with her for a few minutes before she's off to dreamland. Well, the past couple weeks she's been arguing with me when I tell her that I'm leaving then she'll kick and hit and squirm as I try to give her kisses and hugs. I usually start walking out and then when she starts wailing for me to come back, I'll go back and give her the kisses, hugs, etc. I'm such a pushover when it comes to bedtime; I would rather be all lovey dovey than a hard ass. But last night I put my foot down. When she argued and fought, I told her goodnight, blew her a kiss, and shut the door and didn't look back. She came out begging and pleading for me to come back in, but I told her that I was tired of her arguing and fighting with me and that she would get another chance tomorrow night.

Fast forward about 2 hours and Adam and I hear her crying hysterically in her room. We both rush in and I lay down to cuddle with her. She went right back to sleep, so I didn't get a chance to find out what was wrong, but this morning I asked her if she had a bad dream. She said she had, so I probed to get her to talk to me about it. At first she said she didn't remember. But then the "lightbulb" came on and she told me that it was that I wouldn't give her hugs and kisses. Ouch. I didn't completely understand if she was dreaming that I wouldn't give her hugs and kisses or if she thought she had bad dreams because I wouldn't give her hugs and kisses, but either way, ouch.

There goes me feeling proud of myself for sticking to my guns.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I believe in magic!

Magic Erasers, that is.

Take one 20 month old boy named Joel, one black sharpie marker, plus a wood floor ... need I say more? 4 lovely, large black scribbles ... and the magic eraser erased them all.

And an extra shout out to our good friend "Little Green" for getting black sharpie out of the playroom carpet that was an innocent bystander as Joel attacked the entry floor with his artistic ways.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

14.5 hours ...

is how long Joel has been sleeping. Since about 7 last night and still going strong. I keep checking on him and he looks so peaceful ... I'm a little jealous.

I guess being so stinking cute is tiring. ;)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Weekend Project

I don't know why, but I decided to paint the long wall in our kitchen this weekend and add a glaze/faux finish to it. Probably because I had nothing better to do and its so much fun to do those kinds of things with a 4 year old and 20 month old under foot.

Anyway, last night I spent 4 hours painting the wall a soft buttery-yellowish color that I "customized" from a bright yellow that I used in the bathroom and some brown/gold craft paint that I had laying around. About 1/2 way through painting I started crossing my fingers that I would have enough ... which I did.
* Lesson 1 - Get over fondness for 4 inch rollers on big walls. They turn the project into a much bigger project. Learn to love full sized ones. In this case, size does matter.

This morning, figuring that the glaze process would be pretty quick, I decided I would finish up the wall, clean everything up, and be on my merry way. Not so much. About 6 hours later I finished.
Lessons learned from working with glaze
* I should have tinted the whole gallon of glaze or at least a lot more than I originally did. I kept remembering Adam's mom saying that a little glaze goes a long way, so I started out by mixing it in a pie plate-type container. I think I did this at least 6 times during the wall and I think I kept getting a tad bit darker every time I mixed up a new batch, so I feel like the right side of my wall and the left side are drastically different. Thankfully most of the middle is open, so I don't think its too noticeable. And there's a lot of wall decor to be hung up and Joel's high chair hides most of one section of the wall.
* I don't know why I didn't think I could use a roller to apply the glaze. Putting it on with a brush made it a much longer process and I don't think it would have mattered that much.

Adam's mom (I blame most of the stress of the project on her because she's the one that gave me the glaze and tools yesterday morning) mentioned that she wanted to try a technique where you put your glaze on, then press a plastic sheet to the wall and then immediately pull it off for a unique finish. I thought that sounded like a cool idea, but didn't have plastic or want to attempt something that big on my own, so thought I would try plastic wrap.

I ended up using Glad "press n seal" and it turned out kind of cool. I bet the good people at Glad never thought of using it that way! I joked to Adam that it would be my luck that "Glad" or "press n seal" would be etched into the wrap somehow and I wouldn't notice until I stepped back to look at my wall and saw my own personal billboard.

Pictures to come once I get everything hung back up. I have an Uppercase Living piece that I'm going to hang near the entry way and want to paint the frame of one of my pictures before I hang it up.

Definitely a learning experience, but I've gotten the seal of approval from 3 female neighbors ~ one even wants me to come help her do it in her bedroom and I think the next time I do it I'll have a better idea of how to do it more efficiently.

Update from Alyssa

According to Alyssa this morning: "Mommy, I'm going to call the pizza man. What do you want to drink? Hot tea?" *dials play cell phone* "Hello? Christi K____. Please some hot tea." *hangs up phone* "Mommy the man is coming, so don't worry. He'll be here in 5 minutes".

Okay then.

We've had pizza delivered once in the past 3 or 4 months and I rarely drink hot tea around her, so I'm not sure why/how this all comes up, but I love listening to her carry on "adult" conversations. Makes me realize some of the things I say consistently on the phone.

Now she's calling my friend Staci, aka Rowan's mommy, who's phone number is 5-4-3-2-1. She must have moved since I talked to her last.

Friday, October 03, 2008

New Gym

On Wednesday after working out at the Y, I canceled my membership after finally deciding to join a gym closer to home. I figured out with our family membership, which was almost $60 a month (and Adam used it 5 times, I think, since we joined in February) plus gas to drive the 20 minutes there and back it was just ridiculously expensive. If I were to drive there 3 times a week, it would probably be close to $100 a month for our membership, gas, and childcare.

So this morning after dropping Alyssa off at preschool, Joel and I joined Fitness Premier. $20 a month and about 5 minutes from our house ~ can't really beat that. And an additional $15 for unlimited childcare for both kids. A few thoughts on the first experience:

* I am not impressed that they charged me a $25 processing/membership sign up fee for the childcare. The woman doing my membership didn't seem to know what she was doing, so I'm hoping that that was a mistake.
* The woman in the childcare room this morning would not pick Joel up. Evidently after talking with my neighbor who also has a membership there this is a characteristic of the woman's culture as she is from another country. Quite the change from the Y where as soon as we walked in, the childcare workers would both welcome him warmly and make room on a lap/in arms for him until he was comfortable. Shaking a toy at Joel and saying "Look, Joel, look ~ you want to play with this?" just doesn't sit well with me as a way to help him adjust and feel comfortable.

So I think that the gym will be "mommy time" and I don't foresee taking the kids very often. I plan to cancel their unlimited "membership" and will just buy a punch card or pay cash when I do take them in. But I think that will work out okay since the gym is so much closer and I can easily run over there early in the morning or after Adam gets home without it taking 2 hours for my workout and travel time like with the Y.

In the 15 minutes I did get to work out before they paged me to come get my screaming, hysterical child, I was highly impressed with the treadmill with personal flat panel TV attached. Pretty nice way to walk!

I miss the "family" feel of the Y already, but you get what you pay for, right? And for now, that's the way its going to have to be. And maybe that's what I need to get my act together and get healthy.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Boo to you!

While unloading my tub of Halloween decorations this afternoon, I came across my very favorite fall decoration. My inherited "pregnant ghost". My mom made a ghost for herself and for my aunt and uncle back in "carefree single days" and my cousin Jay named it the "pregnant" ghost ~ notice its "belly bump"? As soon as I see my ghost every year, I immediately think of my mom and then my thoughts go to my Aunt Pauline and Uncle Ross who both passed away entirely too soon. I also think of my Grandma Carlson, my mom's mom, who passed away around Halloween the year Adam and I were married. The evening of her funeral, Adam and I were invited over to my cousin Jay's house for a football party. It was really special to be able to spend the final part of a very sad and difficult day with my cousins, their families, and my Uncle Ross. It was this night at Jay's house that I noticed that he had also inherited a pregnant ghost that was proudly displayed on his fireplace mantle.

Every October this figurine makes me smile and makes me a little sad; it has a very special place in my heart and in my home.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

I feel like a kid again ...


I got the closet organized/cleaned out. I got the bathroom picked up/wiped down/decluttered. But I just can't seem to quite bring myself to branch out into the actual bedroom. I know it'll feel so good to have it done and it REALLY needs it, but I can't help think that I might pick a root canal over cleaning my room. After all, with a root canal you just lay there in a semi-reclined position. Not such a bad deal, right? ;)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday Cuteness

Alyssa, Joel, and Sophie last weekend watching "The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl" on Disney. Evidently its pretty intense. ;)
Alyssa came downstairs with her mouth all "stickered" up like this. I encouraged her to leave it for the rest of the day, but she wasn't sold on the idea.
A shout out to my homies/family back home ... John Deere and ISU; it doesn't get any better.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Its the little things

After Alyssa woke up from her nap this afternoon, I decided to take advantage of the fact that Joel was still sleeping and do an activity that I'd read about on another blog ~ a paper chain countdown. The one I read about was for Halloween, but we did a combination birthday AND Halloween one. Pink and blue chains for the days until her birthday and then purple and orange for the days between her birthday and Halloween. Each morning she'll tear off a link to count down the days. I can't remember the last time she and I did something like that ~ it was really nice to sit on the floor working on something together while watching Phineas and Ferb and not thinking about what else I "needed" to be or "should" be doing. I was reminded of how the top thing on my list NEEDS to be and SHOULD be spending time with the kids because I'll never get these chances back ... there's always laundry to be folded or a kitchen to be cleaned up or toys to be put away. And I feel like I'm in such a better place after taking time to do little things with them, so why is it so hard to make it a priority sometimes?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Photography by Alyssa - Berry picking edition

Alyssa got tired of berry picking fairly quickly, so she entertained herself by taking pictures with my camera. Here's a few of my favorites that she got.

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