Friday, October 30, 2009

We're Ready

Hey you trick-or-treaters... I am happy to announce, we are ready for you.



Resistant to Change

After two days of being trapped indoors and playing LEGOs non-stop, I thought my boys would welcome a chance to play outdoors. It is sunny, not too cold, and there are mountains of snow for sculpting and fun. I thought they would like to make a snow man. Noooooo. They played "snow LEGO". Because, you know, that's exactly what I would want to do after logging upwards of 12 hours of LEGO time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Raw weather is all about the layers. More specifically it takes three times as long to assemble and put on the stratum of clothing required to endure the snowy cold than you – or your children – will spend playing in it.

But it’s a must.

So are playful pictures of said children in said layers.

PS – Speaking of layers, we need gloves. Our kids grew out of the ones from last year. Go figure!

PHOTO NOTE: Picture of tricycle shows how much snow fell in just a few hours. Look at tires to see the difference.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Do Me a Favor?

If you smoke... would you consider quitting? We all know that it’s one of the biggest killers in the world and causes disease and cancer. From what I understand, that's a bummer.

But here's my beef.

It grosses me out to find my 3-year-old anywhere close to an ashtray. In fact, I found him nearly kissing-distance close to a cigarette butt huffing and puffing at it. When I asked him what he was doing, he said, "Trying to blow out this stinky candle."

Just quit.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wide Open Spaces

I am generally inspired by my children. The things I write about, talk about and do are usually centered around my children -- for better or worse. That's why I haven't been writing as much. If I were to recap what I've heard them say over the past few days it would look something like this.

Screaming. Followed by screaming. And then Mason screamed to Cooper. And Cooper then screamed. There was some kicking, interrupted by screaming. Screaming ceased for a couple hours during sleep, but was abruptly taken up again at day break. Screaming.

I decided it was because they were cooped up in the house. So, I took them for a walk around the neighborhood. I was counting on the wide open spaces, fresh air, and lack of crowds to help me endure it. What I didn't account for was the volume. About midway through the walk Cooper decided he would not walk any farther. So, he laid down in the middle of the golf course (golf courses are generally pretty big) and started screaming.

It was screams like, "No mommy no. Stop mommy!" Said in rapid succession and an awful lot like a child who is being burned by a cigarette. Horrible. So loud, in fact, that people started coming out on their porches and looking at us. I was mortified and just walked away.

Then I realized people were just going to call the police. So, I made the walk of shame back to his howling self. Mason was also so sick of the screaming that he permitted Cooper to sit on his lap, in the stroller, for the rest of the ride home. Let it be said, tantrums work.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Dear Teachers,
Just a quick note to remind you of the power you wield -- unknowingly or otherwise. My son is only 4. He's only been in school a total of 3 months. Already I see that you have great sway over him. Don't forget that.

He's my precious, darling student. He's so excited to enter your classroom, your world, and learn what you know. Understand that often what he experiences in your classroom, stays in your classroom. No matter how much I entice and lure, he just doesn't want to break the bond you have together. He rarely tells me what he does during the hours he is in your care. When he does, it's only whiffs and vapors that I can't interpret.

I do know this: he has confided, "I trust everything they say." I entreat you to conceive the instant panic this gives a parent. He trusts you, and so I cannot. I must always be on his guard.

With the credence he gives you, take the opportunity to guide him. Enjoy his unabashedly bright brown eyes that beg you to fill him up with facts and figures. Show him the maps of the planet and inspire him to go to the ends of the universe in the pursuit of wisdom. Open his mind. Open his heart. Never, never give him cause to close them through the abuse of this guardianship.

I'll be watching you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


As a parent I find myself teetering between laughing at my children and wanting to yell at them. I know, you're not supposed to yell. But if you claim you have never yelled at your kids then you have never found them up to their arm pits in feces. I'm just saying. I most often falter at bedtime. This is in part to the manipulative little sneaks who live here.

With Cooper the tactic is pretty straightforward. He goes to his room. After a few minutes he comes out, wanders to the room I'm in and then says things like: I forgot to give you a hug and kiss; I found this quarter in my room, I thought you might like it; Is daddy keeping you up?

Well, how am I supposed to yell at him for this?

Mason is a bit more surreptitious. Just the other night he came out of his room an hour after I had put him down and asked me if I would come inspect his room. (Yes, he actually used the word inspect.) When I asked why he said, "Because I cleaned it for you."

When I got upstairs to inspect I discovered he had used about 127 baby wipes to literally wipe down his entire room. Frankly, it smelled fantastic. But the tightly wadded up, and wasted baby wipes got me a little irate.

More often he quietly spies on me. I've mentioned his perch. But he also has a secret shelter. In the office where I sit when I write posts on my blog (how's that for burying a lead?) I am just across the hall from my children's rooms. I usually don't make it to the computer, and thus the blog, until well past their bedtimes -- when they are supposed to be fast asleep.

Most of the time I'm practically asleep as I peck out the events of the day. Every once in a while -- as a rule, when my strong, handsome hubby is out of town -- I get spooked by noises. I imagine I'm hearing people open my garage door, walk on my porch, or rummage in my yard. Yes, I'm that crazy. But every once in a while, it's not my imagination. It's just Mason. Hiding. Under my desk.

And here is how he lets me know he is there. I take pictures before I bellow and usher him directly back to bed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stay 6 Days

When our family contemplates taking a road trip we weigh a few things as we decide what the perfect balance for our family is.

How long does it take to get there?
How much do you need to get done while you're there?
What will you miss at home?
How quickly will we wear out our welcome?

We have found that staying no longer than six days (with family) is perfect. As we pull away we're wishing we had one more day. But in truth we're starting to see our children throw a few more temper tantrums, our gracious hosts take a few more minutes to themselves, and our bodies start to feel the pull toward home.

The unfortunate part is that pull. It's really only strong enough to get your back in the driver's seat. Doesn't do much to soothe your aching arse when you are 6 hours in and still have a long way to go.

10 a.m.
We find ourselves waiting in line for what we hope will be our last drive-through for the next month (seriously we're cleansing). Somewhere between placing our order and pulling up to the first window we start debating the best route. It occurs to me that we should have looked up a few things online before embarking on our return. Does anyone know if snow is in the forecast?!?!?

From 11:49 until 11:51
Mason starts singing, "I'm a parachuting!" This is a song of his own invention. It's not particularly fun to listen to and it goes non-stop for at least 3 minutes. This doesn't sound like a long time. But just imagine watching the weather segment of your favorite local news. Now instead of hearing, "Partly cloudy with a chance of rain and snow showers..." you hear, "I'm a parachutingI'm a parachutingI'm a parachutingI'm a parachutingI'm a parachutingI'm a parachutingI'm a parachuting." It grates. I assure you.

1:31 p.m.
We cross into Colorado and at this point no one in the car is happy, amiable, nice, or pleasant. Myself included. In fact, I would say I was the most irritable. It might have had something to do with how bad I needed to pee. But as we all know, I don't do that in the out of doors.

Cooper moans, "I just want to sleep in my own bed." Amen to that.

A remarkably disturbing billboard comes into view. I won't go into all the details -- because it was much more interesting to see than to read about. But it ended with Genesis 1:1 and basically negated any reasonable educational measures that would advance any discussion of evolution. Where are we anyway?

We take a lunch break and then try to get back on the road. I get royaly lost. Oh I'm so mad that by the time I see a sign that says F Road, I almost blurt out the swears it's making me think of. And did you know Grand Junction has an F Road and an F 1/2 Road? You know, in case you didn't get pissed enough the first time around.

Cooper requires a pee break. We pull off in Frisco -- a delightfully quaint town -- and we find ourselves at the Loaf n Jug. Mason is asleep.

We're still barreling down the road when Mason wakes up and shouts, "And it's whacky!" from the backseat.

We're home. Now we'll begin weighing the deciding factors of when to go back.

PHOTO NOTE: Mason flexing his muscles. Now that's whacky.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Still Sew

I don't mention many of my sewing adventures in this blog anymore. And don't you worry, I'm not going to start. But in case you were wondering, I update the sewing blog on Thursdays. And sometimes a few other days in between. There. Go see how absolutely cat-ladyish I can be. Go ahead. Make fun.

PHOTO NOTE: Every kids loves a cape.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Plowing Ahead

Let's see. I'm tired. So, I'll just begin at the beginning.

9:42 a.m.
We find ourselves kicking off our family vacation with a health conscious stop at McDonald's. This would just lead to a trip filled with comments like, "So this is what fat people feel like. " and "I'm going on a diet the minute we get back."

So I'm noticing a significant mood in the car. We're already short tempered and irritated. Something tells me that traveling with four sick people is a bad, bad, bad idea. By all means, we should keep going.

Steve notices an annoying clicking in the back of the car -- far out of everyone's reach. Which of course means I have to obsess on it. It's his golf clubs rattling against my golf clubs and that is remarkably unromantic despite all literal appearances. This will continue for at least 8 hours. Thrilled.

Ahhhhhhh, the mountains west of Denver are a flocked wonderland. I'm thinking about breaking into song. Instead, there's some farting from the back. A real mood swindler.

We drive into Eisenhower tunnel. At which time Cooper announces, "I'm not even sweaty!"

12:40 p.m.
Cooper starts to dance like his car seat is a friggin' hot plate. I wonder when he's going to tell us he needs to go to the bathroom.

We stop for gas and liberal bickering. We get lost. Well actually, Steve tells me to take an exit that is the wrong exit and I get illogically infuriated. People, I came undone.

Just as my less than peaceful mood subsides we pass a white flatbed parked in the middle of nowhere. No. Where. Atop the flatbed is a large, homemade (and poorly at that) particle board sign that yells, "JESUS SAVES!" Really? Where does he shop?

We pass a minivan with the bumper sticker, "If you don't love Jesus; Go to Hell!" I'd really like to get out of this part of the country, quickly.

We pass a few makeshift churches. You know the type... something that's a cross between a horse barn and a cable warehouse. Metal siding with a tin roof. Not inspiring and I realize I'm the type of person that cannot find spirituality in an ugly place. Cooper interupts my ponderings:

"Mommy can we sit on the clouds?


"Wouldn't that be so cool? We could look at the Earth."

Oh that's sweet, and rejuvenating, and innocently spiritual. I love him.

Cooper requires a side of the road pit stop. If you're wondering about Mason's bladder. Don't you worry. He has declared that potty training is not for him.

The grown ups make a pit stop. In an actual rest stop. Which I add as an afterthought, in the event that you think I am one of those types of people who can pee on the side of the road. Or on the side of anything. I am not. Clearly.

I back into the driveway of our vacation home. That was just fun to say. Call it a lie, if you must.

Just for the record, no one slept.

PHOTO NOTE: Cooper drew this picture in the car. It's a self portrait. He was very proud -- especially to point out the "private parts" he rendered for himself. Those would be the gigantic spheres drawn directly below his bellybutton on top of stick-thin legs. I think I'll hang onto that. He'll enjoy it so much when he's 23.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Good Forgery

Please excuse Hooli for not finishing her homework over the past week. She has been loving on her kids, driving 558.44 miles (twice), visiting with her family and friends, missing her sewing machine, fretting her frozen plants, and seeing one of her four brothers for the first time in more than two years.

She will return with a full report and with all T's crossed and I's dotted -- or whatever. Come again, but not until tomorrow or you will be disappointed.

PS -- I've had a lot of practice in writing the fake sick note or two. Just ask my high school principal.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wood: A Vote

As many of you know, we're remodeling. Yummy.

I love shopping for the raw materials. It's the work that scares me. And the part where I fear the project will go on and on and on and on...

We're doing some things in two of our bathrooms. I'm worried about the cabinets. We have oak cabinets with a decided farm-style in the kitchen. The powder room has no cabinets but the wood in there is a teak stained espresso. And now we come to the other bathrooms and I'm wondering what to put in there.

Does anyone out there have an opinion about mixing woods in a house? Does it bug you to see oak in one room, then alder in another? What about paint-grade white cabinets?

Wonderfully Worried

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It Snowed

Despite my efforts -- sheets covering the most delicate specimens -- the fight to keep my flowers blooming is over with the first official snow. But the pictures of daggars of snow plunging down in front of the fall display on my porch delight me. Look at those pumpkins nestled under the blossoms of summer. They are ready to puff out their chests and announce, "Your day is done. Shrink back and we'll see you next spring. Today is mine!"

If you're fortunate enough to have a bit of earth to call your own, make the most of it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hard Headed, II

At any rate, he’s figured out the bell. Never mind the idea that forward momentum is a direct result of putting your feet to the pedals and pushing. You know, effort?!?!?!?

In absolute contrast, Cooper is racing all over the place on his bike. I believe we know what Christmas will look like at our house. Bigger bike?

PS – This great bike (that Cooper is on) was a hand-me-down. (Do you remember when Cooper first started riding it?) We love it and have been so grateful for it. If Mason ever catches on to the concept, he’ll ride it too. What a blessing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Until it Froze

When a farmer lady says stuff, you should listen. Well, this is what I’ve decided. The woman had already driven my kids and me on a tractor cum runaway train over the better portion of her pumpkin farm. I had overheard her snickering with her husband about the phallic shapes and sizes of the pumpkins in her patch. And then she approached me and leaked a little wisdom. She didn’t mean to do it, I’m sure.

“You know, we never know how great the pumpkins are until it freezes.”

“Come on now,” I replied.

“No really, we plant the seeds and then the leaves take over and from the house we can’t tell what’s going on. (Then she pointed at her house at the top of the hill.)
We walk around occasionally to make sure there are no problems, even have the field trip kids over. But we never know what’s taking shape until it freezes.”


I purveyed her spread. All I could see for a couple of acres were rows and rows of gleaming pumpkins, squash, and gourds. The orange, cheery promise of great jack-o-lanterns was nesting atop matted, rotten, blackened leaves and stalks. In plain sight. But not until just a few days ago, when it froze just enough for the pumpkin plants to retreat, shrivel, and take a new place under their fruits.

Hmmmmm… do you think I’ll feel like that when my kids are 16? I’m going to wake up one morning after a chilly night and realize what’s up under there. Or am I going to realize that I’m the big leafy bush of a pumpkin plant. Right now I’m hovering over them, protecting them, sheltering them, not letting anyone get their grimy mitts on them. And one day, I’ll realize it’s time to shrivel up and die. Then someone will parade by, point to them and take them home.

Or will this adventure in parenting turn out to be more like the maize maze? We wander and wander seeing only our feet hitting the trail in front of us. And then finally we see it, the platform that raises us up and lets us see our entire journey at a glance? Not only where we’ve been, but also where we still need to go.

I have no time to fret on the future as I enjoy today. For now I can rest assured knowing we giggled and laughed and drank in the sun.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Holy Cow

Just gotta share how Mason says Holy Cow.

Homey Towel

Yes, people, he's that funny.

I Just Transcribe

Cooper: Do doctors get to do anything they want?

Mom: No.

Cooper: Oh, so they can't poop in a pizza box?

People, I do not make this stuff up. Also, thank you to ... well, you know who you are.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I Might Have Freaked

Have you ever lost your kid? Just admit it.

I have lost one or the other kid for a moment or two many times. I lost Cooper once when he was about 18 months old. We were in a huge sporting good store looking for snow boots for him and then he was gone. The store was a zoo -- people everywhere. Crazed fans, no less. Some kind of event with the Broncos cheerleaders. And that my friends is where I found him, checking out the hotties in the ass-less pants.

But anyway, some of my very worst mother moments have been in fabric stores. And I have another one to add to the list (maybe I should just stop going to them). Remember Cooper's first field trip? On that very day I made my kids go to a fabric store. Not just any fabric store, but my favorite, gigantic, warehouse style, wannabe Mood, fabric store. Both kids were pleasant and honestly they know the drill at fabric stores. They absolutely will NOT get my undivided attention, so they don't even ask for it.

The two of them were trailing me. I could hear them playing at my feet as I flipped through samples and remnants. Then all of the sudden Cooper poked his head out from under the table and said, "Where Mason?" Where's Mason indeed! I wandered around the store calling his name. I was calm. Then I figured I'd made a full circle of the store and hadn't seen or heard him. So, Cooper started yelling his name and I posted myself at the exits. Nothing.

Then I started to sweat. We had just had some other weird stuff happen in our family and so I think I might have been a little extra sensitive. But I genuinely went into overdrive. Every little blue hair in there knew I was looking for my kid. They announced it over the intercom, I started crawling on the floor. And then...

One of the little worker bees came out of the back and sweetly said, "I found him." I followed her to the back of the store, and there he was, sound asleep. He slept so hard that I was able to pick him up, sit him in the cart, place a fat chunk of fabric under his head and he continued to sleep for another hour! (Do I shop too much?)

It's OK to freak. I freaked. I found him. But I freaked, first.

Friday, October 2, 2009


If history is any indication I'm fairly certain that at some point in the future my children won't like me. They will have their reasons. And whatever. But for now, I think they do. Proof?

Mason was hugging me, then began to stroke my hair, then half-closed his eyes and said, "You so toot (cute)."

PHOTO NOTE: More pics of their Indy outfits.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Showers are Safer

I have some mildly interesting news. And since Mason has taken it upon himself to tell everyone -- including our pediatrician -- I'll let him take it away.

"He (cooper) was grabbing the soap and he felled and then he bonked his chin, and then it bleeded. It was so gross."

You heard him right. Cooper fell in the bathtub and had his first run to the E.R. for stitches (we've had a few other events but none so messy). And here's where I start bragging a little bit. In a moment of horrendous timing, I put the kids in the bathtub at the very moment Steve left to go grocery shopping. So, I was alone when the mayhem got under way.

Like a million other kids his little chin smacked on the edge of the tub so hard he got an impact laceration. Which is a boring way of saying, with a sickening crack Coop's chin split open and instantly looked like an exploded hot dog. Makes you wanna bun, huh?

From what I understand, this is really a right of passage for something like 99 percent of males. So, here we are. He's ready to be a stud. I have been somewhat confused on how many stitches were in there. I originally thought 10, when I finally got a look at it I thought it was 8. The pediatrician took out 7. And then I noticed another little bit of blue thread wriggle out when I was cleaning it today. So, not entirely sure.

Look closely and you can see the scruffs of his stitches in this photo. And that my friends will probably be the last time you see any sign of injury there because the sewing was quite good.