Saturday, June 28, 2008

Feeling Crafty

The countdown has begun to one of my favorite holidays ~ the 4th of July! I have tons of great memories of the fourth from when I was growing up: watching fireworks in my hometown with my parents on the hill at the local baseball diamond, vacation weekends spent at Lake Okoboji with fireworks explode over the water and, of course, the occasional illegal fireworks excitement hanging out with my high school friends. The 4th of July also is pretty significant in the beginning of Adam and my relationship, which makes it special, too.

Ever since Alyssa's first 4th of July, we have been lucky enough to spend the holiday surrounded by my amazing adopted/honorary family and I look forward to that time with them every year. The past few years my dad has also driven his tractor in a parade in a small town near my hometown, which has become a fun tradition to share with Alyssa; I think she gets a kick out of watching her Poppa "in action". Last year both kids slept through all the sparklers and firework action, so I'm excited to see Alyssa's reaction this year ~ I fully expect Joel to sleep through it again this year. :)

In anticipation for next Friday's festivities, I was feeling a little crafty tonight and wanted to share my masterpiece that I created for Alyssa. I think I may make a pair for me, too.


Spent about $4 on those cuties ... can't beat that!
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Born too late ...

She SOOOO could have been a child of the 80's, don't you think? ;)

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cute Alyssa-ism

Tonight Alyssa was talking about watching The Backyardigans (one of her current faves and I love the way she pronounces it, so I guess its one of my current faves, too). I asked her if she wanted to have a Backyardigans birthday party this year and after thinking for a moment she told me that she wanted her birthday party to be "Beauty and the Beast". I had been thinking lately since she had been really into watching B&B that it would be cute for Alyssa and Joel to go trick or treating as Belle and Beast this year, so I mentioned this to Alyssa. And then went on to say that Daddy could be Cogsworth and Mommy could be Mrs Potts. Alyssa thought this was a grand idea, then started going through all the characters in the movie and decided who would dress up as them.

The best one by far was Joel, who in Alyssa's words should be the "Ki-o-e ... oooooooooooh". Honestly, had she not added the Coyote howl at the end of saying "Ki-o-e" I would have had no idea what she was talking about. Isn't that the cutest?! And its so funny to me that she sees the coyotes as being a "main" character in the movie. Even more than some of the supporting household "objects".

Those damn ears!

I thought that once the turmoil of whether we were going to have to have tubes put in Joel's ears or not, and then the trauma of actually *having* them put in, were past us we would be in the clear. No more thinking about ears, worrying about ears, stressing about ear.

I was wrong.

Everyone had been telling me that if Joel got an ear infection with his tubs in "gunk" would start pouring out of his ear. Hard to miss that, right? Well, yesterday I was handing him off to one of the babysitters in the childcare room at the gym and noticed a big piece of "gunk" and some crusty stuff around one of his ears. I immediately thought "Ah ha! Here is the pouring forth of gunk that I'd heard about". So immediately after getting home from the gym I called Dr. K's office and pronounced that Joel had gunk, so must have an ear infection and wanted to know what to do. The nurse called me back, asked a few questions, and then called me back a second time to let me know that they had called in some ear drops for him.

But then the uncertain feelings started creeping in. It wasn't like said "gunk" was *really* pouring out of his ear. Maybe it was drainage from his nose that dripped into his ear during the night. He hadn't been pulling on his ears, But he had been difficult to get to sleep, so ... But I figured we would do the drops and it couldn't hurt anything.

Until we got the estimate of $100 for the ear drops. Then I *really* started questioning myself.

3 phone calls to the nurses line at Dr. K's office and a personal phone call from Dr. K who wasn't working today, by the way and called me from his home, I finally feel some closure. But I have new worries that I hadn't even thought of, so now I share them for any other poor, clueless mom out there.

Dr. K told me that because there had been no more "gunk" there were two possibilities.
1) the meds that Joel had been on for his sinus infection had nipped the ear infection in the bud and there was just a little bit of infection to leak out of his ear.
Okay, I can handle that.
2) his tube is plugged and the infection is building up against the tube.
Whaaa? That happens?! Why have I never heard of this before?!??!?!! Vision of a tube flying out of my son's ear due to insane pressure of puss are flying through my brain.

Then I remind myself that the tube is about the size of a pin head and will not destroy anything in its path when it flies out of my precious Joel's ear. And that scenario is *probably* me being *slightly* dramatic.

But still ... just when I thought I didn't have to worry about the inner workings of my child's ears anymore.

And I bet that's more than you wanted to know about Joel's ears and/or tubes, huh? ;)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Going Green

I'm not sure if its Adam's supreme desire to be more "green" or the fact that I'm growing up and becoming more mature or the influence of some of the moms on my moms' boards, but I find myself thinking more and more about being green from day to day.

The running joke in our house is that I'll proudly proclaim that I'm taking my canvas bags to the grocery store with me (to avoid using plastic bags). And then I'll add that I'm going to the grocery store in my big 'ole SUV. Kind of defeats the purpose, huh? ;)

Our garage company recently teamed up with this great website/program called RecycleBank where we are give points based on the amount that we recycle and then we can cash in our points for coupons off groceries, free movie tickets, gift certificates, etc. But I think its also really neat that when I sign into the website to check our "balance" it tells you how many gallons of oil and trees that you've saved from the amount that you've recycled. Kind of cool to have it in print.

I finally got the clothes line that I've been bugging Adam about since we moved in together 7 years ago a few weeks ago. Granted, its a small, retractable one that goes from the side of the house to the swing set and not a 4 lined, free standing "professional" one like my parents, but its a start. Today I felt very proud of myself for saving energy by line drying our sheets instead of drying them in the dryer. PLUS we get that great "freshly dried outside smell/feel" to our clean sheets. And we need all the freshness we can get after all the germs that have been floating around this joint the past few days.

Baby steps.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Night at our house ... for Adam

I was sitting at my computer a few minutes ago and Adam was sitting across the room from me playing with the kids. The gate was obscuring my view of Joel, but all the sudden I heard the familiar "zerberting" noises coming from my second born. I looked up and asked Adam, "did Joel find a car?" ... sure enough Joel was racing a car across the carpet complete with "bbbbttttpppppbbbbtttttttttt" car sounds.

Update ... evidently Mickey Mouse and cars sound exactly the same.

* Adam asked me to blog about this so that he doesn't forget about it. So, HB, this blog's for you!

Night at our house ... for Adam

Monday, June 16, 2008

Stopping to look at the lilies

I've been anxiously waiting for my lilies to bloom ever since I planted the bulbs last fall. My first yellow bloom appeared last week and today as I was looking out the window I noticed more yellow ones and some beautiful orange ones! Its amazing what you see when you take the time to look around ... a good life lesson!

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More makeup than mommy ...

Did you expect a picture of Alyssa?! ;)
(in case you can't really tell, he has powder all over his face/shirt/hair)
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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Slipping and sliding

I know I've seen several movies, comedy sketches, etc where you'll have a person who slips on some ice. Just a little slip; enough to get the adrenaline pumping. This person catches him or herself before they actually fall, but will stand frozen in time for a few seconds as if by standing still the ice will disappear. Then, just when they feel its safe to make their way on, they slip again. And catch themselves again. And feel safe. And then slip. And the vicious cycle continues until the land flat on their back, their body aching in the middle of a big sheet of ice with the seam of their pants ripped and granny panties hanging out.

This is how I feel today. Like I just can't quite get onto safe ground. No matter how hard I try, I just can't quite get there. Maybe I should just throw myself down on the ground, take a nap, and wait for spring. ;)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Medical Woes

We've had a lot of health issues in the extended family over the past couple weeks. I've avoided blogging about it because one of the people effected was/is Adam's grandma and since he's not blogging about it, I don't feel like I should. The other person is my sister and I just am a complete jumble of feelings about her situation that I didn't want to ramble on and on and on about her on my blog. But tonight we got news about both of them, so I feel the need to comment on both.

My sister was diagnosed last week (wow, it feels like its been a lot longer than a week) with MS. Tonight I was talking to my dad, who had talked to my brother (nothing like a good old game of "telephone" to spread news) who relayed that after more testing they determined that her MS is "severe". I'm not really sure what that means. But it doesn't sound good and she's not even 40 years old yet, so she could be in for a long ride. My brother also said that because of their insurance coverage (or lack thereof) the hospital is refusing to do any further treatments. All of the sudden in my mind my sister seems very old and tired.

Adam's grandma fell last Sunday in the shower and ended up having surgery to relieve blood buildup/pressure in her brain. We were warned immediately that she probably would never be the same. Today is the first day that she's really responded to anyone by opening her eyes or wiggling her toes, but it sounds like she still won't/can't do it on demand. My mother-in-law and her siblings signed paperwork today to have Adam's grandma put into a nursing home. Which absolutely breaks my heart. Because she is not a nursing home grandma. She's a little ball of fire that always seems to be off and running in 15 different directions whether its spending time with her friends or volunteering at this or that or getting her hair done. I feel like her being put into a nursing home means that her life, her spirit, her energy is broken. I keep thinking about walking into my inlaws house when she comes to visit and seeing her pitter patter her way out of the kitchen to say hello and hand out hugs and the thought that I'm never going to see that again makes me so sad.

Alyssa and I were looking through her baby scrapbook a few weeks ago and she very happily pointed out great-grandma to me. I loved that. I was so glad that even though she only sees her great-grandma a couple times a year, we've been able to instill a relationship and a memory of her in Alyssa's mind. I'm so grateful that she has "good" memories of her and I hope that we will be able to help her hold onto those forever no matter what the future may bring.

Saint Sandy

My friend Staci and I are having a garage sale this weekend and my saint of a mother agreed to come down yesterday morning and spend the day to help watch the kids. The kids being my two children, Staci's three children, and my three daycare kids. 8 kids equaling 3 1 year-olds, a 2 year old, a 3 1/2 year old, a 4 1/2 year old, and a 6 1/2 year old. And then she spent the night so that she could take Alyssa to "ladybug camp" this morning for me. Did I mention that she's a saint?

Tonight I was telling Staci that I wish there was a way to express to my mom how much I appreciate everything she did for us the last two days and Staci made the comment about how it seemed like every time she went into the house my mom was folding laundry or washing dishes or doing something "helpful" and she would think to herself "damn, I wish that was my mom".

So here's my attempt to show my appreciation ... a blog shout out to my mom ... thanks for everything! From donut holes to diaper changes (complete with poop on your arm) ... you're the BEST!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wood Floors

When Adam and I were looking for our first house, we immediately ignored any house advertising wood floors. He was currently living in a house that had all wood floors and the wood floors and Lexi were not a good mix. After we moved in I got a "wood floor itch" and felt like I was constantly trying to talk him into letting me put wood floor in the kitchen and dining room areas to spice things up a little. No go.

So when we started shopping for our second house, partial wood floors were high on my list of wants. And wood floors we got.

But now that I listen to children (whoa, I just typed chicken, what kind of Freudian slip is that?!) pushing strollers, shopping carts, cars, etc over the wood floors the thought crosses my mind that I would kill for all carpeting ... its so much more quiet. Or maybe I should carpet the wheels of the various "driving" items to cut down on the noise pollution.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Recital Pictures

As previously mentioned, Alyssa's dance recital was last Saturday night. She did such a wonderful job. She was adorable and confident and I'm so, so proud of her. The silver outfit was her ballet costume and they danced to a kind of disco-y version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the the orange outfit was tap, which they performed to "Rugrat Rap" (evidently from the Rugrats movie.) I got misty eyed Friday night at rehearsal and Saturday night at the performance when they did their ballet routine ... probably didn't cry during that tap one because they were having such a great time jumping around and showing off their attitude.

Enjoy the pictures ~ and we have video of her dances if anyone wants to come over and see them!

notice the missing gloves in the second picture? She told me she didn't want to wear them; I guess she just humored me while I was getting her dressed and then ditched them as soon as I left the room. ;)

Alyssa's BFF Sophie, Alyssa, and Taye (one of my daycare kids)
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Hello, My name is Joel!

I can be found spending my days ...

cruising in my cozy coupe ...
(rest easy now, Dee, your Joely has his very own)

trying new foods and/or fashion statements
sporting the Mickey Mouse "mohawk"
chatting it up with the ladies ... via pink shopping cart "stool"
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Saturday, June 07, 2008

The circle of life ...

Tonight was Alyssa's BIG dance recital. After wresting Joel to sit through the 45 minute Christmas recital and hearing rumors of a 3+ hour spring recital I decided that Joel needed to stay at home.

Problem: Both sets of babysitters aka grandparents were going to the recital.
Solution: Ask honorary cousin Sarah to come with my parents and stay at our house to watch Joel.
Weirdness: I taught Sarah's 3 year old Sunday School class AND used to babysit her and her younger brother.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Our lunch date: Pros and Cons

Today for lunch the kids and I met up with my wonderful friend, Christy, and her 3 boys at McDonalds. McDonalds WITH one of the huge play places. I found myself making a pro/con list of the experience on the way home and decided I would share. For anyone who might be considering doing that same thing. I figure its my mommy duty.

Pro: Getting to have lunch (and gossip time) with one of my favorite mommies and some of my favorite little guys.
Pro: Being proud of myself for ordering a salad when what I really wanted was some beefy something or other.
Pro: Proud of myself for NOT going through the drive through after loading up the kids and getting an ice cream cone. There is just something abouts soft serve ice cream cones and me lately. Yum.

So overall the lunch portion was pretty pro.

Now for the play play.

Con: Sign on door saying that socks are required; available at ordering counter for $1. *mind you its summer and my kids have been in sandals/crocs and I didn't even *think* about bringing socks.
Pro: My daughter immediately takes her socks off as soon as we get in the car, so I, by some miracle, actually have two pairs of socks floating around the backseat, saving myself $2.

Pro: Alyssa fell asleep instantly when we got home and hopefully will take a good nap.
Con: When told "time to go", Alyssa talked me into 2 more slides. 2 more slides and about 20 minutes of running around in the tunnels/tubes that lead up to the slides.
Pro: My Evan was around to chase her out of the tunnels/tubes.

Con: Play place was only for ages 3 - 12. So no playing for Joel. Which worked out okay, because he was tired and didn't mind sitting with me. And now that I think about it, I don't know that I would have wanted him climbing on that monster thing because with my luck he would get stuck/throw a fit somewhere in the middle and then I would have to have a breakdown.
Con: Play place was very LOUD.

I'm not sure if we'll make this a very regular outing. But it was good to see the Kleffmans!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pet peeve

This may be my greatest pet peeve, and I don't think I've ever divulged it to anyone. Its such a "parenting" pet peeve. Or maybe just a mommy one.

It drives me NUTS when people sit down at the table before I have the entire meal ready to go. It bothers me when people/kids are just sitting at the table waiting for a meal to be served to them. I want to scream when people start eating and I'm still running around trying to get everything set out, drinks, the kids food ready, napkins, etc. I hate how it ends up feeling so chaotic and I feel like I'm constantly behind.

In my dream world, no one else would be in the kitchen while I was getting a meal ready. I would be able to get the plates filled, drinks poured, napkins, silverware, etc on the table and then everyone would could sit down. Everyone. At the same time. Without me stumbling over people while I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

I tried implementing my "wishes" today at lunch with daycare kids. There was a LOT of crying and some yelling and a lot of pulling kids away from the table/kitchen, but once everyone sat down, then it went much smoother. There was no "I need a napkin! I don't want a spoon; I want a fork! I want a drink! Where's MY pears?!"; there was just eating. (Did you notice that we seem to lack a lot of manners during the "demanding" phase of meals?)

Dear Joel ~ a few days past 16 months old

My sweet, sweet, buddy bear,

After watching you determinedly many, many times to climb the ladder on the swingset so that you could be on the top platform with the "big kids", my heart tightened. Where did my little baby boy go? Its not going to be very long before you are constantly trying to do everything that your big sister is doing. And I'm sure it won't be very long before you get VERY frustrated that you can't do everything Alyssa is doing. But I'm sure it also won't be long before there isn't much you *can't* do.

Today you tried each ladder, but when you couldn't pull yourself up, you seemed to take it all in stride and toddled off to find something else to play with. Kind of like you told yourself "Not yet" and accepted that.

Don't grow up so fast; Mommy isn't ready yet.

Tons and tons and tons of love,

Monday, June 02, 2008

Worm Camp

This morning Alyssa attended the first of four mini-day camps that she is going to go to this summer at the preschool that she will attend in the fall. (Yes, I finally decided/broke down and our baby girl is starting preschool in the fall). Today's camp was called "Wormology". From what I've gathered from talking to the preschool director last week and the items Alyssa brought home this morning they dug for worms, then once they found a worm, they made a worm house and brought their worms home. Supposedly "Dr Worm" (a poor schmuck college student dressed up like a worm) was supposed to visit to teach the kids about worms. Alyssa told Adam tonight that worms don't have bodies. Interesting, eh? Anyway, the worm house is a plastic container with sand, dirt, lettuce, and wet newspaper scraps as best as I can tell. A handout came home titled "The Proper Care and Feeding of Your Worm". Thankfully the first instruction is to find a safe place in your yard for your worm within 3 days of bring it home. But the thing that *really* gets me is the last instruction "you may leave the cover off for your worm to get more air. It won't crawl out because he likes the dark." I don't think so. That worm's cover is staying on tight. I don't even want to THINK about worms crawling around my house. Blech. That worm needs to move to the back yard ASAP.