Archive Blog

Welcome to the old blog!

Posts from the original blog I started when I started blogging.
Some post were written by my husband, some by myself.


It’s always something…

In August, I thought things were crazy. I had no clue what crazy was. I have no idea where the time has gone. Is it really February 2015? Is my baby really 5 already? I give you my current state of mind, a bit like verbal vomit, a bit chaotic and all me!

September: School started the first week of September, but since Ethan was home-schooled, it was a stressful start for me. I really felt like I had no clue what I was doing. “Okay,” thought life, “I’ll throw a curve ball at you!” My husband was having pain from kidney stones again. We have been thru this before; we know what to expect. He was scheduled for a CT on the mainland, to help locate the problem area for surgery. The night before our trip off island, he is in so much pain, we end up with a house-call from our local GP. He provides pain medication to help get us thru the night an onto that first ferry off island. Morning comes and hubs is having a severe reaction to the pain and/or the medication (I am still not sure which) and we end up having to call 911. He gets flown off island to the hospital and I’m left at home with the two kids and rushing for the ferry. It took me 4 hours to reach the hospital. 4 hours of not knowing how Brian was doing or what was wrong. Later in the day I had arranged care for the kids and took them back to the ferry where they met up with their aunt who they would be staying with at least over night. Most of the day was spent waiting. Waiting to be told what to do, waiting to find out when Brian would have surgery. Finally he is scheduled for surgery. He gets taken to the OR and I head out for a quick bite to eat with my brother. We have a nice time, and I get no calls to worry me about the man so I assume all is well. Well, you know what they say when you “assume.” My brother drops me off and heads home, while I’m trying to track down Brian. Turns out he was in his room, surgery never happened. Just before starting, the doctor notice atrial fibrillation and canceled the surgery. Brian is now under observation. Every time he gets out of bed his heart rate spikes dangerously high. No one seems to know why this is happening. He finally was allowed to have his surgery on Sunday morning, but we still had to stay for observation. I arrange extended care for the boys and get comfortable. I was staying too. By Tuesday, Sept. 9th, he was allowed to return home after a very long 5 day stay. This was a big day. Yay we get to go home. Oh yeah, happy anniversary. “Hey what’d you do for your anniversary this year?” Me: “Well we decided to change it up and spent a luxurious week at the hospital! WaHoo!” Brian recovers, and does a post-op follow up with many doctors and over time his heart learned is lesson and started to behave itself again. No more A-Fib. Most likely was a medication balance related problem.

October: Now this was a rough month. As if Brian hadn’t had enough going on, his dad has been very ill. Cancer is a nasty thing. After many, many trips to and from the island for hospital visits and doctor appointments, a day came when he had to go back off and (after I put my two cents in) Brian goes with his parents. His mom was worn out. I didn’t think she should go alone. I was worried. Poor Bill just progressed so rapid in his illness. After a week in the hospital he passed quietly away with family by his side. Brian was fortunate to have a wonderful company he works for. He was able to spend that whole last week by his mom and dad’s side. He was such an amazing support for them. It broke my heart to be away from them, but it was decided that the children shouldn’t be there. We made a trip off to say our goodbyes, but we didn’t not stay. It was heartbreaking. I learned something though. Death is a very busy business. There is so much to do when someone passes. I had never been this close to a death before. I was so surprised. We planned a memorial service for 5 weeks out. It seemed like a long time, but we wanted family and friends to have a chance to arrange things to come.

November: November 16th we held a memorial for Brian’s dad. It was lovely and the turnout was amazing. He was so well loved. We spent time with our family afterwards, before they headed home. Brian was not feeling well. He was in pain again. Around midnight he was flown off island again for kidney stone related pain. The kids and I head off island on the first ferry and find him in his room, waiting for a surgery time. Everything goes well and we are sent home after surgery as normal.We had previously arranged to adopt a dog and surprise the kiddos, so one of our dear friends went in my stead and picked the pooch up. Not the best time to adopt a dog, but he was a perfect fit for us. As a 3 year old Malti-Poo (Maltese mixed with Poodle) he is medium small in size, young enough but out of the puppy stage and most importantly, he is allergy friendly. Our boys named him Jack and he is wonderful. Just a bit of extra work with two kids and a husband recovering from surgery.

December: So far health wise we are doing well. I’m finally starting to get into a semi-organized home school routine. Maybe things are improving. On December 16th we had an appointment at the Children’s Hospital for an assessment for Ethan. This would determine if he was on the autism spectrum or not. He is. He is high-functioning, but he still has autism. It explained much of his behavior and theoretically has opened doors for us in his care. (I am still trying to figure it all out.) At least it is a start. We also had to have major dental work done on the boys in December. Caleb had to have his upper two front teeth surgically removed due to an abscess problem caused from a fall he took about a year prior. It was traumatic for me watching him come out of anesthesia but he did well. Caleb, my baby, also turned 5. This was monumental for me as a mom. He’s moved from a little boy into a big kid. He will be starting school in the fall. I couldn’t help but think back to the drama of his arrival and marvel at his health now. He is a strong and healthy boy. However, the older he gets, the more I question his behavior and wonder if he will have similar issues to his brother. I see a few flags, but wonder how many are learned things from his big brother. Time will tell. For now I will just enjoy his gaped smiles.

January: This month seemed to fly by. We have had a few bouts of sniffles and things in the house, but it seemed calm. Too calm. When is the storm coming? It is here now. The end of January brought on a new round of discomfort and pain from the all too familiar kidney stones Brian suffers from. It has come and gone thru the month, but by the last week, he was off island back at the doctor looking for answers. We have no idea why his body makes them so frequently. We have changed his (our) diet and increased water intake and still he has issues. It looks like another round of surgery is headed our way. “Surgery number 7 come on down!”

I wonder what will fall on our plate next? You just never know, but it’s always something!

Life Happens

I really don’t know where to begin. I have been trying to wrap my head around my crazy life and find a way to put in words the thoughts in my head, but it tends to sound like I’m complaining. I really don’t want to complain, but today, take it as you will, I need to vent.
Last spring, we pulled Ethan out of classic public school and enrolled him in an alternative learning program or public school offers. Basically, he is now home schooled, but he has a teacher he meets with once a week to talk about what he’s learned and keep him on track. I love this program, but adjusting to homeschooling really took a while. In fact, it felt like we had only just figured it out and the school year was over. It was summer time. In the blink of an eye summer ending and school, for us, starts in about 2 weeks. I have been feeling anxiety and stress realizing we have had no contact from the school and I really have no idea what I’m in for this year with his homeschooling.

Ethan is a special kid. He is entering 2nd grade but he is highly advanced in many subjects. Last year we found a specialist that helped us treat Ethan’s ADHD issues so that he could simply finish one thought before he lost track of it. He has come a long way, despite the roller-coaster we’ve been on finding the right treatment. He has also been diagnosed as Hyperlexic, which basically is the advanced ability to read at a very early age, but comprehension is a bit behind. Ethan was 3 years old when he started reading, but he can struggle grasping the point of what he is reading. Hyperlexia is generally associated with people who have autism. We have not received a diagnosis of autism but strongly suspect Ethan is on the spectrum, although high functioning.
We have also been informed that Ethan is considered at Twice Exceptional or 2e child. A 2e child is intellectually gifted but has some form of disability. The disability could be anything from dyslexia, a type of processing disorder, Asperger’s or even depression and/or anxiety. Ethan prefers clam and quiet, while his brother, Caleb, prefers noise and action. He also presents indications that he is a 2e child. These two conflicting personalities can be challenging. So back to Ethan being home schooled; we pulled him out of school due to his anxiety and sensory overload issues. As I said, he has made much progress this summer, but we still have a long road to walk together and figure things out.

Our busy summer has not made it easy for him. We had a friend move in with us temporarily, and although we love her dearly, it still changes the feel of home with another body there. Having another person added to the noise level and activity of the house, which sometimes was hard for Ethan to deal with. In July we attended an International Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Seattle, WA. This was an amazing experience, however, completely overwhelming for Ethan. Coming back from a weekend with over 30,000 people, I was babysitting another 4 year old for the next week.
During that same weekend, my step-dad had a major psychotic break. He suffers from Schizo-Affective disorder which is a combination of schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder; the bi-polar highs and lows being angry to manic depression, no happy highs. He was hospitalized for treatment for one week and is now back home. I have no idea how my mother can get thru such things. She now a caretaker and has a whole new road to walk and life to learn. Things will not go back to the way they were, but they are finding their way and are able to laugh together and that is amazing. While the initial crisis is over, I still try to talk to them every few days to keep tabs. I love them dearly, but it does add to my plate.

In the later portion of July, my father-in-law decided he was tired of feeling ill so often and made the journey to the Hoxsey Clinic in Mexico to see if they could find answers to what was plaguing him when no doctors, local to him, could. Turns out they could. He has been diagnosed with Differentiated Kerotianized Squamous Cell Carcinoma. A very rare and aggressive form of skin cancer between the prostate and bladder. We are all still trying to get our heads around this. How do you prepare your children for potential loss for the first time in their lives? The whole thing doesn’t even seem real. I keep expecting to find it was a mistake and he will be okay. We have been having lots of small moments in coming to terms with the probable outcome, while trying to maintain hope.
In August our lovely dear moved out into her new home and the same day we had a family cousin come to stay for two weeks. He currently lives in Korea, although he is from the States originally. We adore him, the children adore him and he was an amazing house guest. Cleaned up after himself, helped with the kids and even took on a back burner yard project of building a chicken coop for us. It was a great visit.
During this visit, slightly before and off and on since, my hubs has been dealing with Kidney Stones and a bad back issue. This is almost a minor thing in our house because it has become an constant on again off again issue, but again, it is one more thing on our plate.

After he left, we had our house back to ourselves and our activities have slowed down. I find myself almost feeling “empty nest” syndrome because of the change. It is so strange, but we are adapting. And now we come full circle to school starting back up and trying to figure out just what to do with Ethan as he starts Second Grade and what to do with Caleb who will be in Pre-K.

Things boys say…

The boys are playing in a plastic pool on the deck and say some pretty silly things. Today’s fun is were overheard..
1. Look a floater! (I of course run over and they have submerged a t-shirt which is floating.)
2. I’m going to do a big fart so I can watch the bubble.
Yes, boys will be boys and they will always amuse me!

Back in the Saddle

It has been ages since I’ve sat down and put my thoughts to written form. Like three years! I’m trying to get back to it; “back in the saddle again”. Life has been crazy, but then who ever feels like their life isn’t?

My sweet Caleb is half-way to 5 and full of attitude, tempers and growing pains…I still can’t figure out what the “terrible twos” are…We’ve had terrible 3’s and 4’s. That being said, he is happy and healthy; not much more to ask for there.

Our older son Ethan has had his share of issues for the past year or two. He has been diagnosed as ADHD and Hyperlexic. He also has undiagnosed sensory processing issues (it may or may not be sensory processing disorder also known as SPD) and he may or may not be high functioning autistic or “on the spectrum”.

 Learning about all his needs has been a learning experience to say the least. He was bullied in school and seemed so sad. We finally decided it was time to homeschool when he spent every morning for a week curled up in the fetal position refusing to acknowledge us when it was time to get ready for school. Sure sign something was wrong. So we joined an alternative learning program offered by his public school. We really have a wonderful public school. The teachers, principal, counselors and additional staff were wall extremely willing to help in any way, but he just needed to be home. So the past few months of school flew by. I ran around feeling like a chicken with my head cut off, but portraying as much clam and confidence as I could.

We started weekly therapy sessions with a wonderful woman who has helped me come to terms with what we are facing, that it IS ok and that we WILL get a pretty typical life despite all this; and that is just from watching her work with Ethan! Now he likes to go in alone like a ‘big boy’ but I don’t mind. It makes him less self-conscious about his thoughts, feelings and that is what he needs.

One thing that really helped me adjust my mental standpoint was to tell myself that Ethan has a learning disability despite all his brilliance in so many areas. In my mind, he is disabled and that is ok. I don’t treat him different, but it helps me remain calm when things go wrong and I want to scream. I do catch myself wishing things were different, comparing him to other kids, but I love my special, deeply sensitive and loving little guy. I wouldn’t change a thing. All in all, I feel like I’m constantly learning and things are constantly getting easier, at least until the next setback.

Ugh

Today is one of those days where one task leads to another task which leads to an infinite supply of even more tasks and explains why I feel busy all day and yet have NO idea what I’ve done with my time. For example: My son wanted toaster waffles for breakfast, we’re out upstairs so I go to the garage to get some more out of our freezer. While I’m there, I remember I need to get the next size up of clothes for my younger son since he’s growing out of all of his. Grab those, then the waffles and Oh yeah…I’m out of this other thing and need to take that inside too. Back upstairs, toast the waffles, realize I need more butter, go to the fridge and take some out, realize I need more in the fridge which means another trip the freezer. And so on it goes. I think its the little things that not only make the day go fast but also what keeps everything in order. For all you who find yourself having days like this…good job and keep it up.

Enervate

My word of the day, the new definition of tired. The feeling most moms (and some dads) feel after night after night of being up and down with the kids, never fully falling into a restful sleep. Here is the definition courtesy of Thesaurus.com: (http://thesaurus.com/browse/enervated)

Definition:tire, wear out
Synonyms:debilitate, devitalize, disable, enfeeble, exhaust, fatigue, incapacitate, jade, paralyze, sap, unnerve, vitiate, weaken, weary
Notes:energize means to cause to be alert or to invigorate while enervate means to weaken mentally or morally
enervate means ‘drain energy or vigor from’ (from Latin enervare ‘weaken by extraction of the sinews’) and innervate means ‘supply with energy’ (Latin in- ‘in’ and nervus ‘strength, vigor, energy’)
innervate means ‘to stimulate or give nervous energy,’ the opposite of enervate

Growing Pains

Last week Ethan smashed his left ring finger playing with 5 lb hand weights while visiting his Grammie. He will probably loose his nail but thank goodness it isn’t broken! He was doing really well with it, being careful not to bang it up any more when yesterday morning Caleb stepped on his finger! Blood was spurting out from under the nail and there was mild chaos! A few kisses and band-aids later and all is well.

This brings to mind all of the recent accidents Ethan seems to have. This boy is a walking accident waiting to happen lately. I remember being a klutz growing up and I still find myself frequently walking into things or wondering where that bruise came from. Sorry kiddo, looks like you’re taking after mommy!

Another personal PSA

We’ve heard from many neighbors that the fleas are really bad this year. Of course, as we don’t have any pets we didn’t take much notice. Until…

You guessed it. We had a flea infestation in our pet free house!  
Obliviously, if you have a pet that spends time outside, you will most likely experience fleas in one way or another. You may even treat them monthly to avoid infestations.
If like us, you experience an infestation you may want to  try a fogger, but know that you’ll need one for every room in your house. We went this route and took care of the bulk issue.  However, even after fogging the house, we found a few stragglers. To get them, we’ve spread diatomaceous earth around various places in the house. It seems to have worked, but the month isn’t over yet!

Moving on to the bees…After dealing with Caleb’s swarm attack last month (He foolishly decided to pull a nest off the underside of the deck and see what it was), we put a trap out and check for wasp nests frequently.  They are vicious this year! I went out to dead head some flowers on my deck and within moments had at least three buzzing around and even land on me. Caleb came out for a moment but he did not like the bees on him. We quickly retreated to the safety of the house. Then, yesterday, when picking Ethan up from school, in a fluke accident, I got one trapped under my watch and stung on the wrist. Thankfully no allergic reactions, but I feel like I have nerve damage in my wrist now and I had a horrible migraine after.

I’m also nervous of spiders after Caleb’s horrid bite last month as well. Thankfully we’ve had non inside yet this year. I do have a nice supply of baking soda on hand, however, should another try to bite one of us again.

Two-ish

I distinctly remember giving birth to a sweet pudgy faced little boy. With just three months to go before Caleb turns two, his attitude is in full swing, and that sweet little boy is a defiant know-it-all little man! Still attached to his binky, he favors mumbling and pointing when he wants something. Heaven help you if you can’t figure out what it is. This attitude filled brute has taken to hitting and throwing things when he’s frustrated as well as when you tell him no. I do however find his throw down tantrums funny because he will look for a soft landing spot first!
On the plus side of his age, he’s now big enough to play better with his big brother and lately as been all over Ethan every chance he gets and when he’s  getting his way, had his naps and getting attention he is still that sweet faced baby just working the crowd!

Preschool!

Tuesday, September 6th was Ethan’s first day of Preschool. He goes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9-12. Two of his buddies from the hall are attending his class as well. He does amazingly well. So far he’s shown off his amazing intellect to the teachers by reading and figuring things out and also helping his classmates with their issues. One thing that will make this so memorable is that on the first two days, Ethan and his buddy Gabe from the hall wore the exact same shirts! Talk about two peas in a pod!
We’ve really enjoyed watching him grow in social skills and artistic ability. One thing that makes this school so great is the 5 kids to one teacher ratio! Lots of personal attention.
Ethan’s also been really into music lately. You’ll often hear him humming to himself  or making up new words to fun songs he’s learned or even making his own song up. He’s also very into classical music right now, even insisting its what we listen to during the day. He loves to try to figure out what instruments he can pick out from the songs. Very fun to watch his knowledge grow!

Stones, Stones and Even More Stones

No I’m not writing a gardening article , although stones do lovely things in the garden. Stone do not do lovely things to your body however.

The hubby has been dealing with kidney stones in both kidneys for the past few months and its been quite the ride.

After finally being diagnosed with the stones, he still had to wait a month before the doctor could get him in for treatment. He was scheduled for Sept. 1 for a procedure called lithotripsy, where they  break up the stones to make them easier to pass. His body however, did not want to wait and Saturday Aug. 27th, we spend a long 8 hrs in the ER for pain. He was discharged without treatment. We were told it was because although his pain was enough to warrant the ER visit, the cause of pain was not so they  couldn’t call in the necessary doctors and techs to treat him.  We spent the remainder of the week with Brian medicated to cope with the pain and headed off on the first for the surgery as planned.

When the doctor met with us, he was uninformed of our ER visit and the results of the CT the preformed while we were there. The CT showed a 5 mm stone blocking the ureter, basically cutting off kidney function. This explained the sudden onset of debilitating pain for the hubs.  Due to the right kidney no longer functioning, the surgery was a bit more invasive than planned. The doctor had to physically go in and pull the stone out and put a stent in to prevent other stones from blocking him up again.

A long 6 days later thanks to the holiday weekend, we went back off island to have the stent removed. “Take a deep breath and look up…” OUCH!

Two weeks later we were back to the hospital  for the previously planned on lithotripsy to the left kidney to break up the stones so they could pass easier.  Both surgeries went really well, but this time he’s in much more pain. This time its only a 4 day long wait to get the stent removed. Now, we deal with the aftermath of so much work to the body and pain medication, but at least the healing can begin.

Motherhood and the Flu…I mean School Season

I cannot believe it has taken me so long to get back to writing, but I hope to keep it up this time.

Today feels like fall is in full swing. Its overcast with the threat of rain. Personally, I’m in love with fall. There is so much beauty to find, especially in the Pacific Northwest. For example, taking my son to school this morning I passed many trees in various shades of color ranging from deep purple red to bright yellow. Even with the sun staying in bed, I find the colors refreshing.

The thing I’m learning to dislike about fall is the start of cold and flu season. My 4 year old is only just starting out in preschool, and yet he’s already had one friend out for a few days sick and his little brother caught a cold.  I’m not saying we’re never sick in this house. Far from it! But I realize that this will become the new fall norm. Child in school = an increase in stuffy noses and worse in the home. Normally, I don’t find colds a big deal. I usually can work thru them, but as a mother of two, I find myself more and more jealous of those who actually get sick days! There are no sick days ahead of me. There are no morings to sleep in because even on weekends the children wake with the sun and always come to me rather than daddy. I guess there isn’t really a point to my ramblings today but take it as a PSA for hand washing and vitamins.

Potty Training

A while back I wrote a blog post about potty training adventures…
“I ‘hate’ potty training. Its the devil’s work. Seriously! Start with a toddler who “always” asks why. Follow it up by trying to get that one onto the toilet before he does anything. Nice thought. What happens is as follows: Diaper off, child takes at least 5 minutes to prep the toilet himself and redo it for good measure. Child scratches butt which is poopy, now on hands. Hands touch toilet and other parts of body. Poo is now everywhere. Clean-up ensues. While throwing away disinfectant wipes, child pees 2 gallons on the floor. Shower, screaming, find missed poo on child, now under fingernails. “Why” is the music you clean and cry to. = Devil’s Work!”

Now I still feel this way. It is the devils work. We’ve tried bribes of candy, our son is a choco-holic!, we have a story book he wants but can’t have yet, we’ve offered a party. All things work for about 5 minutes. Basically it boils down to a battle of wills.

Today we attempted the training again. I’ve got a head cold and a shorter fuse. Ethan, knows this, seems to be full of “it” also known as everything under the sun. He informs me tha the needs to change his ‘underwear’ (pullups) and proceeds to pull down his pants. Then runs around the house naked from waist down. Finally get him to sit on his potty chair for at least 5 minutes with no action.

“Ok good job kiddo, how about you try wearing your “big boy underwear” for a while. Remember don’t potty in them, let’s keep them dry so you can wear them all day!”
“Oh man…look mommy!”
“Sigh…I’ll get some cleaning supplies.”

Getting out the door

We recently added to our little family with the birth of our second son. We often remarked with our first child that we were naive in our thoughts and opinions of parenting. We learned a lot over the past three years.

So I guess it was naivety that allowed us to think having another wouldn’t be that much more work. Our older son had some challenges, but he’s a generous and polite three year old. So that means we we’re pros now! Right? Oh so very, very wrong!

Just trying to get out of the house is like a three ring circus. First, our three year old gets up. He’s always up first. Something about his biological clock says the moment there is even a hint of dawn, its time to wake the house. He is a morning person like no other; its like we pumped an IV solution of sugar water into him through the night or something. Just ready to go the moment those blue eyes pop open. Next is mom, who while never really a morning person, could handle mornings decently until now. Now its mandatory for a large cup of coffee and about an hour before I can converse coherently. Next is most likely the baby ready for his next feeding and diaper change. Lastly, is dad, who likes to sleep as long as possible. At this point time is limited and mom and dad both are rushing around trying to get things ready. Three year old is running around, doing anything he can to delay getting dressed, baby is fussy and we’re still trying to finish the morning coffee. By the time we actually get out of the house we’re late and ready for a nap!

All this illustrates just how wrong we were. Easy? No, there is no easy.

Meat Chickens

My favorite homemade sign is back! MEAT CHICKENS for Sale! I just have to ask…As opposed to what?

Potty Training

I *hate* potty training. Its the devil’s work. Seriously! Start with a toddler who *always* asks why. Follow it up by trying to get that one onto the toilet before he does anything. Nice thought. What happens is as follows: Diaper off, child takes at least 5 mins to prep the toilet himself and redo it for good measure. Child scratches butt which is poopy, now on hands. Hands touch toilet and other parts of body. Poo is now everywhere. Clean-up ensues. While throwing away disinfectant wipes, child pees 2 gallons on the floor. Shower, screaming, find missed poo on child, now under fingernails. “Why?” is the music you clean and cry to. = Devil’s Work!

I’m Cute!

Yesterday our son was being so cute. He’s talking all the time and mimicking just about everything we say. So I thought it was especially funny when he added his own twist to what I was asking him to say:
Me: Ethan can you say Cute?
Ethan: Ethan (sounds like E-an) Cute.
Me: Yes you are. Can you say Handsome Boy?
Ethan: Ethan Handsome.
Guess we’ll have to start working with him on pride issues soon.

Wow

Ok, so I know I talk too much about my son, but hey, that’s my prerogative.
He was sitting with us on the couch and wanted to have mommy help him draw. Lately he seems to be extremely interested in the alphabet, his wooden puzzle being one of his favorite activities. So he wanted mommy to help him write his letters. We’ve done this before: He holds the pencil and I hold his hand and help him write or draw as the case may be. Then I usually ask him if he can do it on his own. Having just turned 2 this month (February), I don’t expect much more than scribbles.Tonight he proved to me just how special and smart he really is. After having me help him write his name, which by the way he can recognize in print, I asked him if he could do it. He actually wrote a lower case E! He also was able to write the letter V, even though he knows that’s not in his name. The kid is 2!!! Holy Stinking Cow!
Brains AND Beauty.

More Kid Stories

I’ve been informed that I can never say too much about our son. If you do not agree, stop reading here. However, if you just can’t get enough, here are a few cute stories about recent events involving our two year old son.
– We caught our son babbling in a sing-song voice, quite common in young children. What’s funny in this case is that he was talking to his food. He had little teddy bear cookies. He’d have a conversation, tell the cookie “Bye-Bye,” followed promptly by him biting the poor bear’s head off!”
– We are a family that likes video games. I have discovered I’m not half bad, and that I can get caught up in them easily. The other night, our son was watching me play and every time I died or did something bad, he’d mock me. He’s make that noise often heard say on an old game show when things were answered wrong. Not the buzzer sound, but the Wha-wha-wha sound. Then he’d say “Oh no!” What a goober.
– And lastly for now, we were out taking a walk. The sun was out and there were lots of little planes flying overhead. Every time a plane went over, our son had to stop, look up, wave and yell bye-bye. It was so cute!

Random Ad Signs

One thing about road trips that I especially enjoy is finding off beat or funny signs. Sometimes you have to wonder what people were thinking when they came up with some of these. I mean come on…Here are a few that we saw on our recent car trip and my personal thoughts…
1) Meat Chickens: The sign actually read: “Meat Chickens 4 Sale.” Now, I know people sell chickens that are purposed for egg laying and others that are meant for food. I just for some reason found this funny. I mean the point of this sign was that these chickens were meant to be food. There are thousands of ways that could have been better phrased. Something about this screams the fact this person’s driveway does not come all the way to the road, if you know what I mean.
2) Yakama, The Palm Springs of Washington: Has the person who made this billboard actually been to Palm Springs? If any of you have driven past or actually stopped in Yakama, you know. ‘Nuff said.
3) Woodpecker Truck: I’m sorry but that just sounds so wrong for those of us with less than clean minds. No details provided, I’m sure you can figure it out.
4) The Hungry Red Neck Café: This was a sign for a restaurant somewhere along the Oregon/Idaho boarder. The sign actually pictured a “red neck” or “hillbilly” on the sign. Now, I’m not one to judge much…ok, yes I am, but regardless, this just seems a bit too much of the “pot calling the kettle black.”
5) Do Not Pass Snow Plow on the Right: This was in a mountain pass in Eastern Oregon. Obviously, someone tried this. There is no other logical reason this sign should have been made. It seems like a no-brainer to me, but someone must have not thought it through. Another ‘driveway is too short’ person. Darwin Awards contestant anyone?

What is that Smell?

Here is a funny story that will guarantee my son goes to therapy due to parental embarrassment. We’re watching some TV before going to bed while on vacation. My husband, sensitive man that he is, after coming out of the bathroom asks me if I farted because the room stank. In case you’re wondering, I’ll tell you now: It wasn’t me! I tell him as much and that I thought it was something that preceded him out of the bathroom. We do know how to say such sweet words to each other, don’t we? But I digress. We look at each other a moment, almost perplexed as to the smell, then the light bulb comes on. We both turn and look at our son, who is sleeping peacefully across the room on his bed. My husband crosses the room and does something most parents do: The nose test. Poor man – our son had pooped his pants in his sleep, and hubby put his nose right there! This is funny to me because it wasn’t me. It’s also funny, in a not so much ha ha way but more hmmm interesting, is that our son, who just turned 2, hates to poo while he’s awake. He holds it in until he cannot help it any longer. I wonder if he even knows he did it?

Almost There…

The last hour of a car trip is the worst! You’re close to your destination and you just want to BE there. Toddlers are the least tolerant of this time frame too, making you even more desirous to get there. Gonna make it, gonna make it…gonna make it.

Car Seatbelt

After the biting wind at this rest stop, the car was calling so we clipped the boy in his car seat and were off. The only thing is, in my haste for warmth, I didn’t fully clip the chest latch. My little over achiever is so smart that he knew that was bad. He started fussing in his seat for attention until I noticed what was wrong. Then he thanked me for fixing it. “sniff sniff” I’m so proud.

Ha ha ha

Who knew other peoples misfortune can make one so happy. We’re driving along, keeping up with the flow of traffic and this person has been riding our butt for miles. Finally we’re able to change lanes and they pass…Five miles or so down the road, they’re pulled over getting a ticket. HA HA (finger pointing)

I’m a Smart Cookie

Toddlers live in ‘the age of discovery’ and let no one ever claim them as smart. Our delightful son, whom we formally claimed as brilliant, is eating his goldfish crackers out of a zip-lock baggie. For some reason, he decides to bite a whole in the bottom of the bag to access the crackers, despite the top being open. Now he’s crying because they won’t stay in the bag. Wow.

Just call me Private Grape

So we decided to go see my folks who are about an 8-9 hour trip with our toddler. We’ve been on the road maybe 30 minutes and already I’m thinking we were crazy. Our son won’t eat the breakfast we bought for him, mommy already spilled his grape juice in her lap while trying to pour it into the spill proof cup, and he insists on watching his ‘show,’ which is yet another repeat version of his DVD Backyardagains. I’m sure whoever invented the DVD player in the car is a genius, but when you have a two year old who thinks “YAY, I love repetition” and you have a 9 hour trip ahead of you…I’m beginning to think that person is a sadist. 34 minuets and counting.

G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S, yeah G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S

A warning to all new or future moms: It Is Not G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S!
Aside from the newborn peeing or pooing on you…you stick your finger in it…you can step in it if its on the floor…babies eat it…
In the movie Baby Mama you think a mom might be tasting it, though it turns out to be chocolate.
Ok, so today I hit a new low. I sniffed it. It smelled so strong, that I thought the pants might be dirty, but they’re brown so I gave it the ol’ sniff test you imagine single guys doing to dirty shirts found on the floor. Wow my life is sad. What’s my next low point to be? Tune in soon!

What did you eat boy?!?

There are days I feel like my only task as a mom is to feed the boy so that he can empty and make room for more. What’s worse than changing dirty diapers every 45 minutes? …Probably sticking your finger in it every time. Does anyone know of a place I can get a new hand?

“Zip” Happens!

No one ever told me trying to change a toddler’s clothes or diaper was like riding in a rodeo! My poor traumatized boy learned first hand today what it means to get ‘caught’ in his zipper. Oh does the guilt flow over me!
Our son “is in this fiercely independent phase. It’s driving us absolutely batty. He won’t let us do anything for him. So, even mundane tasks take forever.”
Having to almost resort to hog tying him, I’ve got him pinned down and ready to unzip his footie pajamas, only to discover…GASP ~ His diaper was around his ankle and he’d done number 2! Ok ewe, gross aside, he’s squirming around fighting me changing his clothes or anything. Mommy, trying to rush the agony for us both, unzips his pj’s only to catch the poor boy on the way down. Screaming ensues. Mommy wants to cry now too! What a day. Today he must get his every wish granted.

I wanna do it!

Right now our kid is in this fiercely independent phase. It’s driving us absolutely batty.

He won’t let us do anything for him. So, even mundane tasks take forever. For instance: he’s potty-training now but he has turn on the light, turn on the fan, position his little stool in front of the toilet, take his clothes off, climb on the toilet, etc. He even wants to wipe himself (that always turns out badly). All these thing would take me less than a minute if he would let me help him. Instead, even though he only sat on the pot for a minute, we spent 10 minutes in the bathroom.

I can even tolerate (reluctantly) the tantrums and shrieking but this “Let me do it!” phase has got to stop.

Hush little baby

There’s few things as sad as a little kid with a cold who just croaks when he tries to speak.

Granted, it’s really a blessing in disguise but, still, it’s a little sad when he just squeaks instead of shrieks.

Temper-tantrums aren’t so bad now…

Lil’ Overachiever

I just have to take a moment and brag about my son.

For a while now he’s been able to identify and say about half the letters in the alphabet and, today, we found out that he recognizes his written name as well as the word “mama”.

I’m so proud 🙂

JINX…not just a childhood game anymore!

Jinx:
N.
1. A condition or period of bad luck that appears to have been caused by a specific person or thing.

Yesterday after a rather uneventful day, Brian turns to me and says: “Do you realize that Ethan was good ALL day? He had no tantrums, he didn’t fight sleep for his nap or bedtime and he was well behaved at meeting. To top it off he was actually asleep at a decent hour!”

Enter the Jinx. Guess who woke up at 11:45pm and again around 3am? Guess who had temper tantrums all day.
FUN!

Diapers and Wipes and Potty Training – Oh My!

About two weeks ago potty training started. Ethan really really wanted to sit on the big potty like mommy and daddy does. So we strip off the pants and undo the diaper and sit him up there.

Now for quite some time we’ve had a little potty in the bathroom that he loved to play with. He’d sit on it when I used the “big potty” and he’d put toys in it, he’d take the bucket part out and put it on his head…all kinds of fun stuff to do! Thank goodness he never actually used it for a potty.
But it’s one of those nifty kinds that converts to a step stool when they start moving on. So we broke it down so he could use the step stool part of it to get on and off the “big boy potty.”

This has been a huge learning experience for all of us. Probably me most of all, at least more than Ethan. He’s got this thing down:
Step 1: Grab and point to crotch until mommy notices, then point to the bathroom and say bath.
Step 2: Run yelling and laughing into the bathroom and move step stool in place. Wait for mommy to catch up and strip me down.
Step 3: Have mommy help me onto the potty.
Step 4: *Sigh* Remind mommy to turn on the fan, hand me my tp and a magazine all with points and grunts…remember to be exasperated if she doesn’t understand or forgets.
Step 5: Throw magazine down and demand another until all magazines have been read.
Step 6: Jump off toilet, grab stool, position in front of sink. Wait for mommy to wash my hands.
Step 7: Hands wet, no pants…QUICK run out of bathroom as fast as I can before mommy catches me. Enter “toddler temper” mode when she does.
Step 8: Pee on mommy while she tries to diaper me.

Need I say more?

Old McDonald Had a Farm…

…and so does our neighbor.

We had a late start to the day yesterday so, in the interest of making the meeting rather than scumming to the desire to stay home, we rushed around and actually got all three of ourselves out the door and on time…but no breakfast. Needless to say after enduring a very long morning meeting with a cranky, active and hungry toddler we headed straight home.

Now we know our neighbors, we like them. We also know that they have a rooster, something like 20 hens and a baby cow. Normally, these animals are penned up and even quiet. So often, out of sight, out of mind.

That said, let me set the scene: Mom is sitting on the couch, finally enjoying her coffee (Yes I can’t believe I made it thru the morning without my daily dose either!), Kid is running around like a chicken with his head cut off, and wonderful Dad is making lunch for the family. He looks up ever so casually out the kitchen window and…

“HEY, there’s a cow in our yard!”

What the…? I jump up, run to the window and sure enough there’s a cow. So I think, hey lets go see what Ethan thinks of a big cow. We scramble into our shoes and out the door and meet the Moo-Thing. Now I know nothing about cows, except that they taste good and wear even better, oh yeah and they poop big! So picture us: we’re outside with no knowledge of what to expect but we’re having a swell time talking to this cow that decided to come for a visit.

Brian’s inside on the phone calling all the numbers we have for the neighbors to let them know they had an escapee, then comes out to join in the fun.

So we start talking to the cow and wandering down the driveway. The cow follows. “This is great! We can take her home,” I think. “You’re sweet, but please don’t poop in our driveway,” Brian thinks. “Yeah, I’m outside,” Ethan thinks. What profound thoughts.

Anyway to make this story short, she follows us all the way home, but not into her pen. The wife neighbor comes out and confesses she knows nothing about how to handle the cow, but hubby is on his way. Now again, I know nothing about cows. But this cow is big. Not fully grown mind you, only six months old and probably about 400 lbs big though! Yikes, thank goodness there were no potty issues. So we stand around and visit and help keep “Sweet Baby” aka “Sweetie” home. Hubby arrives and Sweetie starts braying. She loves her daddy.

Ethan meanwhile, has done it again. Made another woman fall in love with him. This kid…what a flirt. He’s playing the “look at me I’m cute card” and we’re sharing some neighborly time. It was nice to visit and I suppose I learned something: Cows are chickens! No its true! Ethan scared the poor cow. Quite amusing actually.

Guess it goes to show you just never know what might happen or who might show up.

Disneyland: the Gay-est Place on Earth

Most people who know me know that I’m moderately anti-Disney. Without getting into a lengthy explanation, it’s due mostly to a shift in focus in the 90’s from making entertainment to making money.

However, this post is not a diatribe against Disney but rather about my cousin and I taking our children to Disneyland for the first time. Yesterday, we went to Disneyland.

Every parent and child needs to experience the rite of passage known as “Disneyland” at least once. For the child because it really is a children-oriented place, designed for entertaining them and, the parents, for the experience of trying to keep a child happy while you are progressively becoming less so and of paying $3.75 for a bottle of water.

We’d made plans to go over a month ago but none of us thought to check the park schedule of events because yesterday was their 10th annual gay day celebration. On that day, gay & lesbian persons are invited to attend and show their pride by wearing red shirts. This is, apparently, a very popular occasion because it seemed like, at least, a third of the people there were wearing red shirts.

I’m not going to criticize anyone – what people do with their lives is their own business. However, for a strait person, attending with their family, arriving in the middle of this event was very surprising.

The funny thing was that this particular weekend was also the middle of baseball playoffs and football games. The USC Trojans (football) and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (baseball) had games yesterday and their colors are predominately red. Those being Southern California teams, it was inevitable that some people would be showing their team spirit by wearing team shirts.

Red team shirts + gay day = some embarrassed people. I’m glad no one in our party had worn red.

Normally, I wouldn’t have gone to Disneyland but I wanted to take the kids. And I had a surprisingly good time. The lines were ridiculously long and the kids were fidgety but it turned out alright. Score half a point for Disney.

Photos at Huntington Library

On Friday we met up with a friend whom I hadn’t seen in a long time and who has become a professional photographer.

We’ve never had family photos taken so, before we left on our trip, I contacted my friend to see if she’d be interested in photographing us. She was so, we met up at Huntington Library.

Such a beautiful place. Next time we’re down, we’d like to spend a day there without an agenda so that we can see the exhibits and the rest of the grounds.

My cousin and her daughter came with us so we got some great photos of the kids playing.

It was a nice day and I was very, very happy that everything turned out so well.

If you’re ever in the Los Angeles area and in need of a photographer, you should contact Images by Desirée. She’s very good.

Number One in Customer Satisfaction? Really?

Let me tell you a little story about the last flight we took and the adventures we had.

First, a little background: We live in Washington State and were going to a cousin’s wedding in Tahoe. (I could blog about the wedding but this is a public forum and I think I’ll keep my comments private.) From Tahoe we were going to travel to Southern California to visit family and friends.

Anyway, we normally fly on Alaska Airlines – most of the family does and I have my mileage program with them. The problem was that, though we could fly from Seattle to Reno, Alaska doesn’t fly from Reno to Burbank so, we were forced to fly with someone else. I thought, “Hey, Southwest flies the route we need, they apparently have great customer satisfaction (they sure boast about it enough) and they have good prices so let’s go with them.”

Mistake! (as sung by the opera guy in Scrubs season 2, ep 5)

So, our flight leaves Reno at 2:30 so we get there in plenty of time. Upon check-in, our troubles start. For one thing, all the agents are surly. The woman “helping” us was rude and made us feel like criminals because we didn’t have our son’s birth certificate. In her eyes, we appeared to, either, be trying to cheat the airline by trying to pass off our son as younger than two years-old (which he is and, thus, doesn’t have to pay) or kidnappers trying to skip town with their prey. She actually called our pediatrician to verify his age.

Who flies with their children’s birth certificates? I mean, come on, really?

(At this point I must comment that, since the early years, the TSA has really gotten their act together and, if you follow the rules, it’s a piece of cake to get through security. Their staff always seems friendly and helpful too.)

Once we got past that ordeal, we arrived at the gate to find that the flight was delayed until 3:00. Then it was until 3:10. At that point, they seem to have given up updating the boards because we actually didn’t leave until around 3:30. We also found out that our flight to Burbank stopped in Oakland first (a fact that wasn’t evident when I booked the ticket).

So, we get to Oakland, everyone for Burbank starts getting comfortable (our son, who normally sleeps on planes is still asleep) and then the captain gets on the PA and announces that, since the flight was so late, the plane has been reallocated to Denver. Everyone needs to get off or they’ll end up in Denver. He doesn’t know what they’ll do with us but we need to go to gate 23 to find out.

So, we all grumble and curse under our breath (which, over the next few hours, becomes a regular thing), retrieve our belongings and deplane. The worst thing for us was interrupting our son’s nap because we knew that he wouldn’t go back to sleep. Any parent knows that you never, never, interrupt a child’s nap unless you have no other option.

Once we get to gate 23, we’re told that we need to go to gate 29. Now, we arrived at gate 20, we go to 23 then on to 29 – that’s clear on the other side of the airport – a very long distance with a grouchy toddler who insists on being carried.

At gate 29 we wait. There are already passengers there for another flight so it’s hard to find seats. Finally, we find out that our flight is scheduled to leave at 4:50 but, at 4:40 there’s not even a plane at the gate. Eventually, it shows up and we leave at about 5:15. I must say that we appreciated that they let all the Burbank passengers board first.

At Burbank, we had the horrible experience of seeing the baggage carousel eventually stop without ever seeing our luggage.

So, about 20 angry people crowd into the Southwest baggage claim office to find out what’s going on. Apparently, though the plane was redirected to Denver, no one told the baggage handlers what plane to put our stuff on so it was still sitting in Oakland and would be on the next flight to Burbank.

Unfortunately for us, we could not go to our destination and let them bring our bags to us because we had checked our son’s car seat. No car seat, no driving. We ended up waiting until about 7:20 for the bags from the other plane to arrive.

Now we had our bags but we needed to rent a car. The rental place is on the other side of the airport so we had to hoof all of our bags and a cranky, hungry, little boy all that way, through the car exhaust and smokers in the heat. By the time we rented the car, took the shuttle to where the car was and got to where we were staying, it was about 9:00 – over three hours later than it should have been.

How were we compensated for all of this? A lousy $50 travel voucher… on Southwest… to be used within a year.

Why would I travel on Southwest again after all this? We could have gotten a more valuable voucher but the moron who checked our bags in Reno registered them all on one ticket. So, since (technically) only one passenger’s bags were lost, only that passenger was compensated.

The moral of this story? Don’t travel with kids. Pack light. Carry on your bags. Oh, and don’t fly Southwest.

Travel Induced Insanity

You ever notice how, when you go on vacation, that there’s this mad rush of activity before you actually leave your home? You’re so frantic to get things packed, bills paid, pets taken care of, house cleaned, etc., that you almost want to just call the whole thing off. And if you have kids, it’s all compounded by an order of magnitude.

That’s how we are right now.

It doesn’t make sense – reasonable people should be able to prepare ahead. But, it just doesn’t work that way – not unless you have duplicates of everything you own. This is going to sound totally geeky but, we have a “travel list” that lists everything that we need to pack. It’s been refined for many, many years and, if we follow it, we don’t have to worry that we’ve forgotten anything. However, even with the list, you still need to wear clothes, you still need your toothbrush and shaving razor. Much cannot be packed until the night before and some, only just before you actually leave.

So, even with time-saving measures, you still end up running around like the proverbial headless chicken until you walk out the door.

Once you put your bags in the car, you stand there, at your door, silent for a while, mentally going over everything to make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything. And, once you lock your door, get in the car and back out of the driveway, it’s as if you’ve dropped a letter in the mailbox: there’s no turning back. Heaven help you if you’ve forgotten anything because you’re just going to have to deal with it – I’m not turning the car around. We’ll buy a new one when we get there.

Rainy Day

Yesterday was a very rainy and windy day; “Blustery” as Winnie the Pooh would say. Today looks to be no different.

Grey skies, wind, rain… Fall is definitely here.

I love it.

Yes, I’m one of those sick freaks who loves winter in the Northwest. One of the reasons that I moved back to Washington from Los Angeles was that I couldn’t stand the unvarying sunshine and heat. I know that some people thrive on weather like that (my dad), but not me – it drives me crazy.

Ironically, while I complain about Southern California weather here, in a few days we’ll be visiting family and friends there. We’re going to have our first family portraits taken so, I hope the weather is nice for that.

I wonder if the rain will follow us…

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