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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