Monday, June 30, 2008

Good Bye Bedtime

It's 11 p.m. And I'm sandwiched in bed with my 22-month old and husband (our 3-year old has the good sense to stay in his sleeping bag on the floor) and no one is sleeping.
The boys had a big day. They hiked around a quaint little cabin (John Sack's), roughhoused with grandparents, helped mow the lawn... But still they are wide awake. Vacation bedtimes are a true amusement. From the outset I tell myself that I'll stick to schedule. Each morning of the vacation I awake with the very thought that all day long I'll do everything in my power to put the boys down on time. And then I magically forget and discover time has flown convienently past 10 while the boys are running laps around The Grandma Hotel.
I don't actually feel as guilty as I thought I would. Are bedtimes overrated?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Did You Know

Smores are made from crackers, chocolate, and smashmallows. According to Cooper.
Ps-- Marshmallows made Mason cry, will post pictures later.

Points of Interest

6:35 a.m.
Like ma and pa Clampet we pull away from the house with 2 sleepy but excited boys. I'm surprised how much stuff we can fit in our little SUV and am thrilled to see another load of our baby stuff finding a new home (we're giving it to my little brother and his sweet wife).

8:01 a.m.
Place our breakfast order at Denny's. Why is it I never eat at places like this, except on vacation? Also, aren't vacations about indulging in the very best food? We'll need to work on our food choices as we drive through the next 3 states.

Bad-for-you food is so fast! Pulling out of Fort Collins and trying to spot CSU (we've never seen, but we've driven through this town at least 20 times). Still can't find it. But we note the local psychic lives next to the cemetary. Fitting.

9:12 a.m.
I am defeated by Donkey Kong and scolded by Cooper with a, "give it (the game) to Daddy!"

9:35 a.m.
Cooper asks, "daddy, when are we going to get there?"

"8 hours" (grossly under estimates dad).

"No! 1 hour!" Ahhhhh, poor Coop. If only the road to grandma's was as negotiable as time out.

9:39 a.m.
Stop for gas in Laramie, WY. It is 4.21/gallon. They can charge this much because if you don't gas up here you can literally run out of gas before the next town. This is price gouging, right?
Steve and I switch spots. Somehow I always end up in the driver's seat for the most boring part of the drive.

10:50 a.m.
Mason dozes off and coop and steve are gaming.

11:40 a.m.
Coop says, "I'm tired mommy." I look back to see he's so exhausted his eyes are rolling around and he can't lift his head. I give him permission to fall asleep and he sacks so completely it's sweet.

12:59 - 1:14 p.m.
Stop for gas and McD's in Rock Springs. This is certainly some kind of gathering place or point of no return because it is packed with a gazillion people, some are ver scary to look at. The mini van next to us has vinyl lettering across its back window (the whole back window) that says, "save a ship; ride a sailor." O.M.G.

2:45 p.m.
Cross the state line (WY/UT).

3:22 p.m.
Stop in Morgan for CANDY. Also, I secretly love this little town and tried all manner of convincing Steve we should name one of our kids Morgan. But, we didn't.

4:15 p.m.
Seriouly? Steve looks back and catches Mason picking toe jam with a key.

4:40 p.m.
Cross another state line (UT/ID).

5:01 p.m.
Get the "where are you" call from grandma. It's nice to be loved, isn't it?

Cooper says, "I'm getting sweaty." Poor little man.

Who Knows What Time p.m.
Steve notices (I'm driving) that we're about to run out of gas! Luckily we're 3 miles outside of Blackfoot.

6:35 p.m
Our little SUV pulls into grandma's drive. We pour out and the babies wobble on sea legs up to the door. Guess what? Grandma's not home!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Shoes

Something stinks about my boys. Today I decided it was their feet. Namely, when I took off Mason's sandals I nearly fainted by the foot odor. The very idea of colonies of tiny stinky foot critters inhabiting the dark, damp insides of their sweaty shoes makes me sick. But what can you do?

You could say the conditions were just right for bacteria to feast on the sweet precious feet of my little boys. I will have none of that. So I marched them to the shoe store today -- one that does NOT carry anything featuring Spiderman, Batman, or Elmo -- and permitted them to pick out some shoes.

I learned that Mason's feet had grown 1 and 1/2 sizes. This is funny to me because just before going shopping for the shoes I had read online that when shoes are too tight feet get stinkier (yes, I researched why his feet might smell so bad). He was thrilled to get new shoes. The lady at the shoe store told me that children's feet sweat profusely -- something like four times as much as adults. I don't know if I believe her. But I do believe that my boys have stinky feet. In fact, in Cooper's case I would say he got a new pair of shoes today not because he had grown out of them but because he had stunk us out.

We rounded out the night with a discussion about what the boys can do to help keep their feet clean. They were so disappointed not to be able to show daddy their new shoes.

Up All Night

My little guy is a night owl. I've tried everything to break his bad habits. He is content to sit in his crib and read books until as late as midnight [last night]. I snuck the camera in through a crack in the door for this photo because I knew if he saw me it would be another 2 hours before he would conk out.

While his in bed one of favorite activities is to take old sticker books and take all the stickers out, stick the stickers to himself, and then restick in the stickers into the book. He's picture here with one of his favorites -- a book that features stickers of Disney characters like Woody and Buzz.

I always wait for him to fall asleep before falling asleep myself. As I wait usually blog (except lately) or sew.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Parenting Styles

In reviewing pictures from a recent outing I have learned a little about my parenting style. I love to scare my children. In contrast, the friends who were with us are so sweet and gentle with their adorable kids. Check these pictures out...

So the idea is you set your children up in front of an Avalanche and want them tremble with anticipation. (Note: Mason is about to pee his pants and is actually hanging on to involved parts.)

When stuffed bear -- which is hiding in cave -- suddenly growls and scares the pants off your little one you laugh hysterically.

Mason doing a little terrorizing of his own.

The peaceful, loving family shown here encouraging each other to play a civilized game of put-put. (Note: Our terrible, kid-scaring selves are actually off scaring our kids.)

Oh wait! We're not mean ALL the time. Phew, I was beginning to worry.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Good Bye Spring

This weekend I said a few silent good byes and closed the door on yet another fabulous Spring. I had my first (and probably my LAST) garage sale. I sold all the baby stuff. As I unfolded each little baby outfit I was actually quite focused on the task of sorting, pricing, and setting up the sale. Only a couple of times did the faint scent of the clothes remind me of my little babies. The pace of the garage sale on Friday morning was frightening and didn't allow me to wallow in what could have been a melancholy moment.

At 7:30 a.m. I drove out into the neighborhood to find good corners for my signs pointing the way to my house. People followed me home and waited in front of my house for me to open the doors. By 8:10 I had sold all the big items! One particular family touched me. It was a young man and woman. The woman was so pregnant and round she wobbled and hobbled up my steep driveway and I literally thought, "Please don't let her water break."

They quickly put themselves to work digging through the baby toys and making a small stack of things they'd like to purchase. They spoke not a word to each other, but would hold things up then make eye contact. The look was different than the other scavengers. Rather than the hungry, foraging look of some of the other garage-salers they had a sweet sparkle. Each time I could have sworn they were communicating to each other something like, "Oh our baby would love this."

Unlike all the others I had dealt with they didn't haggle over the prices. As if to say, nothing is too good for our baby. (I know what you're thinking, but consider the circumstances.) But then the man noticed the bike my husband had decided to let go. If you know my husband you know the bike was WAY expensive and loaded with all types of fancy gear. While it was older, it was in fantastic shape and Steve resigned himself to pricing it at $50.

Call me a sucker, but when the man asked if he could pay $10 I folded and practically rushed to send him home with the screaming yellow bicycle AND more baby toys. Why did this little couple evoke such an unusually strong emotional response from me? I put it out of my mind and sped through the day wheelin' and dealin' my way to about $300.

Then on Saturday evening Steve and I went to a concert at a beautiful and legendary mountain amphitheater. Believe it or not, the performers were Allison Krause and Robert Plant. The music was incredible and the night was perfect. At one point I looked up to see the dark blue canopy of clouds sprinkled with stars and felt myself kiss goodbye the longest day of the year and more. The surprisingly soulful renditions of old favorites serenaded my mood out of me. I was kissing goodbye -- as if tucking them in for a long, long sleep -- the babies I had. Little boys now, babies never more.

I don't know the circumstances of the young couple who bought all of our old toys and clothes. But this summer she will kiss the dark and downy top of her baby's head and pray to remember the smell forever. Oh sweet mommy. Let our things help you love and entertain and protect your little one and in so doing, keep a little bit of our babies in our hearts forever.

PHOTO NOTE: Mason trying to fit in every last minute he can with toys slated for the sale.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dirty Laundry

Recently Coop traveled with his dad to Utah for a vacation. He left on a Monday and returned late the following Sunday. He had a fan-tas-tic time. Seriously, he is still talking about his various adventures.

In preparation for his trip I packed 8 pairs of underwear for him. I finally got around to unpacking the suitcase from the trip. I found 5 little pairs of CLEAN underwear. That means he didn't change his shorts too often.

Does this bother me?

PHOTO NOTE: Picture of Cooper in his newest costume acquisition.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pollen Jocks

*Scream**Scream**Scream**Scream**Scream* There's a bee on the patio!

This series of pictures show Mason's delight in finding a bee on the patio. (I especially love the one with his hand up to his mouth.)

PS -- I would like to tell you that I comb his hair. But I don't. Obviously.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Warning: I Might Curse

I'm just saying, if you don't like potty talk, you either need to get over it or go someplace else. I might curse, not positive, but given my day... you would, too.

Ahhhh, let's see, where should I begin. Oh I know, three months ago when I first noticed a strange smell in the basement. I spend a lot of time down there sewing, and I have a dog nose. So, I should have known better. But instead, Steve and I debated what the source could be and finally just let it go. (He claimed the smell was like "stale coffee".) Bad. I. Dea.

Fast forward to my staycation. I was cleaning (much easier when you only have one kid around) and the toilet in the master bathroom seeped water all over the bathroom. In fact, I noticed that with just a soft nudge I was able to move the toilet off the floor. No problem, I know from experience how to stop the water and just wait until hubby gets home. Well, turns out it was a BIG problem.

So, on Father's Day Steve came home to this delightful news. At 10 p.m. he trudged down to the basement to check out if the water had leaked anywhere and sure enough he found about 4 gallons of poop water puddled in the crawl space. I guess there had been a leak for quite some time. Oh it smelled goo-hoood!

Clad in this fabulous ensemble I marched myself down to the basement today to deal with the funk [picture does not show the protective gloves I wore because they were dripping with poop]. I basically had to scoop all the poop water into buckets, carry the buckets up the stairs and pour them into another toilet. Then when a majority of the moisture was abated I proceeded to spray clorox and wipe down the affected area. Again, this was in the crawl space.


You know when they say if they weren't your own kids you would never wipe their butts? Well, if this wasn't OUR house, I would NEVER have done this. But I gotta say I took a little pride in having done a job well. A dirty job at that.

I followed up the poop water job with running to The Home Depot for bowl wax, a no-slam toilet seat/lid, and a caulk stripper tool. Then I helped Steve reseat the toilet, install the seat, and I single-handedly stripped all the mildewy-moldy caulk out of our shower. Tomorrow I'll re-caulk the shower. I'm feeling really handy.

Now look at that, no curse words.

PS -- Tonight Cooper looked in the mirror and said, "I look like Jonny [his oldest boy cousin]".

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cousin Camp Essay Contest

Calling all cousins. Now's your chance to win fame and prizes in the Cousin Camp Essay Contest. Take a few days to think about your favorite memory with Cooper and the cousins (from the past week) then put your thoughts to paper [e-mail] and send them to me. Good Luck.

Official Rules and Regulations:
All grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles of Cooper who also reside in Utah are eligible for the essay contest. You must submit all essays on or before, June 28, 2008.

All literary forms including essays will be accepted (i.e., poems, haikus, video montages, photo essays).
Each essay must reflect the contestant's own research, writing and original thinking.
More than one essay (or alternate literary form) may be submitted by each contestant, but only one will be selected as a winner.
Essays may be typed or handwritten, or even sang.
Essays will not be returned to the author; they become property of crazy Aunt Hooli. She may reprint the essays in blogs or scrapbooks and use them at family reunions. Appropriate citations will be given to the writers.


Crazy Aunt Hooli will judge the essays using five criteria.
1. Meaningful, relevant memory including Cooper.
2. Number of details.
3. How hard I laugh, or cry.
4. Originality of work.
5. Cooper's recollection of the same experience.


One first-place winner will be selected as the overall winner of a prize (yet to be determined, but likely a small gift certificate to an ice cream shop). The winning essay will also be published here, 3 Men and a Lady blog.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Isn't she a beauty. As we all are, at 21. In a few days she'll be nostalgic for that tight, unblemished bud, and her long, firm stem. But for now, she basks in the sun ignorant to the spots and wilting it will create. And while she's probably wincing every time she catches a glimpse of those thorns in the mirror, they're really not that bad.

I could cut her now. Toss her in a crystal vase and prop her up in the middle of the dining room -- a real showcase. But truthfully, she outshines her neighbors in the front yard, so might as well let her enjoy being the belle of the bed. Besides, there is a certain charm that comes with age. We'll reminisce her fresh, pink next week. But we'll adore her full ruffles and count her many petals, which are opening and revealing more and more loveliness as the days creep along.

PS -- I think the neighbors are concerned that I take more pictures of my flowers than my children.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Could be Mistaken for a Smile

No doubt you'll recall my ranting concerning my serious baby. The more pictures I take of him, the more I find he's got a perma-scowl. But to my delight, he's almost smiling in this one. Why is he blue? Looking at fish at the zoo, the aquarium does that to ya.

PS -- I cleaned so much today that I feel like I worked out twice (the gym and home). So, I'm going to bed without further ado.

And In Case You're Wondering... Last year we were in West Yellowstone. Did you miss reading about that trip? If so, go here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

King for a Day

I did not widely share this fear with many people before because I was freaked out that people would judge me -- or worse give me all kinds of "mother" advice. But now I'm ready.

When I was pregnant with my second child I worried that I would not be as good of a mother to two kids as I was to one kid. With one I really considered myself on top of my game. I took Cooper everywhere. He had me all to himself (when he had me -- I still worked back then).

Mason has never known that life. He has had to share everything, like it or not. Coop was first and Mason was last and that was that. Not much I could do but worry. And worry I did. Right up until this week. With Cooper out of the house I've watched and waited to see a difference in Mason. Let me just say that he has not missed Cooper. At least he hasn't expressed it in a way that has been obvious to me.

He has played quietly by himself for hours. I'm convinced he really likes it. There's been no fighting and only a couple time outs (for disrespectful shouting of, "Mommy!" and "NO!". Let's just say I was feeling like the A game was busting out again. So, I decided I'd take Mas to the zoo, solo. I wanted to let him see what it's like to have me all to himself.

It was the first zoo trip in 2 years in which I didn't have total heartburn that I was going to loose one or both children. Mason wandered and I followed, it was as easy as that. There was a little problem on the carousel, however. As soon as the ride started Mason screamed so loud that the ride operator stopped the whole ride and got on the loud speaker and invited us to get off. I'm glad she did because Mason was SO upset.

After the ride we found more peaceful pursuits. Chasing the peacocks. Watching the bees. After 2 hours of zoo I asked Mason if he wanted to go home and he said yes. Easy. The King did not become a royal pain until later tonight. We attended a birthday party and for the first 10 minutes he stood at the door begging to go home. Then he continued to shout, "Mommy!" at me like he was from Jersey. I was so embarrassed. Now my only fear is that my "baby" will act like an only child forever.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Can Cooper Play?

This little girl lives across the street. She's a bit older than Cooper (you know how he feels about older women) and also a Star Wars aficionado. Their most recent playdate included watching Star Wars together while eating popcorn and wearing Darth Vader masks.

She has come over every evening to ask if Cooper can play. Tonight she was so desperate for her playmate that she stayed and played with Mason. (He didn't take to being the consolation prize and kinda gave her strange looks all night.)

Dear Cooper, the ladies are missing you... especially your mamma.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Tonight Mason used the toilet! I'm not kidding.
I'm not a very dilligent potty trainer. I'm lazy. I'm a germophobe (I loathe the idea of my little kiddies using public toilets). And I like keeping them babies as long as is prudent.
But at 18 months I start asking if they want to go on the toilet. I only ask once a day, at bedtime, after I take off a diaper, but before I put another one on. Mason usually says, "mmmmhmmm." (Yes.) I always let him sit on it but nothing has ever happened. Tonight I even walked away to grab a clean set of pajamas and had to run back in when I heard a tinkle-tinkle.
Woot-Woot! His reward? A piece of candy left over in his Easter basket and princess pull-ups (don't even ask).
But before I get ahead of myself. He's not really ready to do this for real. He never wakes up dry.

PHOTO NOTE: Picture of Mason with his daddy from this past weekend.

PS -- I planted about 30 verbena plants tonight. My neighbor gave them to me and they were looking quite dry and shriveled. (Guess she knew I was a sucker and would try to nurse them back to health.) I plopped some in the hanging baskets that are lagging behind the others then I also planted them as a border along the north side of my front porch. I even planted a few on top of the spring bulbs that are finished for the year. I'll post pictures if they snap out of it.

First Taste of Summer

Here's my little gardening apprentice having his first taste of summer.

I especially love this last picture in which one side of his face looks ecstatic and the other side looks pissed.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Waiting for the Blossom to Drop

I am one of those people who has a genuine problem with confidence. The problem is I either have WAY too much, or not enough. As a mother, I'm not very confident. As a seamstress, I'm a little too confident for my own good. As a gardener I'm enthusiastic, but I expect the very worst. So, while I've read and researched every vegetable growing book I can get my hands on I've watched and monitored the progress of my two tomato plants. Two. That's right. I've done more reading on these two little suckers than I did in all my research for my senior term paper.

I noticed two blossoms on specimen A (placed on the south side of the house) about a week ago. Then we had a a cold couple of nights and days and I thought the blossoms would drop. But, guess what!?!?!? They are still there. Specimen B is planted on the west side of the house and it has two little pods that look like they could become blossoms, but I'm trying to not get too excited.

The rest of the yard is creeping along. Well, except for the oregano. I would say that I need to find a really great spaghetti recipe that calls for lots of oregano because it's getting leggy. But the truth of the matter is I didn't really plant my herbs to eat them. I planted them so I could use these way cool tin label stakes. (Seriously, I'm that shallow.)
The true showboat of the yard these days are the nearly wild roses out front (the ones on the side are lagging behind).

Sunday, June 8, 2008

To Each His Own

Our boys are at the ages where they are starting to realize it's a bit more fun to play together. Up until now they were like ships passing in the night. They'd play in and around the same area and often fight over toys but would never really play together. But lately we're seeing the tide change. One game that has brought them together is BATTLESHIP. Here's a picture of the two of them breaking in the garage sale find ($2).
This spirit of togetherness only lasted long enough for me to take 3 pictures of it. Then they moved on to their separate ventures. I wouldn't say hubby and I want to change them, but we do want to encourage together play. So, we bought a baseball set (thinking catching, pitching, hitting to each other) and a lacrosse set (also a little tossing to each other). The toys were a hit. But together was not the word of the day, unless you count the part where they both hit each other with the sticks and bats. They figured that part out in a hurry. While Coop tried out the new stuff, Mason wandered off to find his tried and true favorite -- the big, blue soccer ball.

PS -- In case you haven't heard, Coop and daddy are taking a vacation this coming week. (Mason and I will be having our own little staycation.) I hope that Steve will blog on the road, but I can't guarantee it.

Friday, June 6, 2008


The chase is on for old LEGO blocks. We got a tip that the most economical way to purchase LEGOs is at garage sales. Generally I don't like garage sales because I'm insanely uncomfortable bargaining, or negotiating, or haggling over prices. Also, I have a strong sense of smell and being able to smell other people on other people's things kinda makes me sick. But this isn't about my neurosis, it's about Coop's.

I shared with Coop this great tip that I would be hunting LEGOs in garage sales. Our neighborhood, and the one next to it have special garage sale signs. I pointed them out to Coop a few weeks ago. Every once in a while I drive by one and call out my window to see if they have LEGOs. So far, no luck.

Today Coop got serious about it. From his perch in the backseat he pointed out every garage sale sign we encountered. We spent a good hour garage sale-ing. No LEGOs. But we scored an old-school Battleship game. It is in mint condition. We spent the remainder of the day trying to teach him about coordinates and hits.

I guess that leaves garage sale-ing for another day.

PS -- Coop is so excited for his upcoming adventure he can hardly stand it. Who's interested in seeing him while he's traveling?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Childhood is a series of abandoning moments. The flexibility of youth bends so easily in the very young -- like the 3 and under set -- that to us older folk it seems to flit and flutter around ideas and actions. Some may say that toddlers just can't pay attention long enough to finish what they start.
In closely watching some abandoned actions this week I'm now convinced little kids always finish what they start. But I'm too old to realize when the end has come.

Yesterday all manner of play was halted -- puzzle pieces and Candy Land game pieces be damned -- when a rowdy hail storm rolled in. The little ones ran to the front porch to examine the "ice balls" and even take a taste. By the time the storm subsided there was no interest in games and puzzles. They were simply abandoned and so was all talk of the weather system.

Tonight I flipped on the tube to check the weather. This is a morning and nightly ritual around here and my boys watch intently with me. I think they secretly hope I will jump up and pull my overcoat over my PJs and scurry about the yard with sheets to save the plants. The forecast called for more hail. Coop jumped up and ran to the porch, thinking that the forecast was now. Aha! Not abandoned, just steeping in his head for a bit.

Now I'm just wondering where the story ends for these shoes....