Monday, March 29, 2010

Ahoy Me Sees a Dead Animal

The able bodied sailors and buccaneers in our family donned the Jolly Roger and set about to spending me Doubloons on a pirate's map leading to the profits of sweet trade.

Arrrrr! The young gentlemen o' fortune go'd on the account to points high and far. Avast even to places bilge rats will not venture. And ye may lay to that!

Aye the beauty of the house buried clues and booty along the way until these cabin lads found the motherload. The fearless Cap'n through skill and daring showed his hearties a hearty fine time before demanding they walk the plank.

Shiver me timbers! We smartly found the ultimate prize. Yo-ho-ho!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Not To Mention The Heartache

My husband and I agree there are some introductory investments well worth the sacrifice because in the end they pay for themselves. For instance, we pretty much agree that a $40 a month dry cleaning bill is cheaper than a marriage counselor. Likewise, no one can argue that a small fire extinguisher for your kitchen is much cheaper than a post-grease-fire remodel.

Today we learned that the $50 quiet-close / no-slam toilet lid found at the local hardware store is significantly cheaper than a panicked trip to Urgent Care after 5 p.m. on a Friday evening with one of your little boys screaming and yelling. Penile contusion, that's all I'm saying.

Invest in the little things.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are

My kids had been at grandmas house only a day before they needed a puzzle. After a quick trip to procure both a 300- and 100-piece puzzle the family set in to helping Cooper with his project. (Please note Cooper is on top of the table, in the middle of all the action.)

After a few minutes people began rolling off puzzle duty and soon only one of my brothers and my son were the only ones at the table working the puzzle.

Cooper looked up and asked him, "So, are you Uncle Trent or Uncle Andrew; because I can't really tell."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Utah Via the Zoo

I don't know about you, but when I'm planning on spending a good 8-9 hours in a car, I first go to the zoo. And so commences another travelogue.

8:59 a.m.
Start the morning at Target for bribes, Costco for fuel, and Starbucks for other fuel. Mason talks non-stop for the next half hour. At one point I look in the rearview mirror and catch Cooper rolling his eyes.

Arrive at the Denver Zoo and embark on one of our least successful zoo trips, ever. Also, if I can say one thing about field trips on St. Patrick's Day: dressing in green is a sure fire way to loose your children. St. Patrick's Day also marked the first time Cooper showed his true male trait to collect everything he owns that is green and wear it all at once. He picked this ensemble, people, not me.

After much pleading from the boys to leave the zoo, we skip out on the field trip lunch and promptly get lost on or around Martin Luther King Blvd (warning: this link leads to a hilarious skit from Chris Rock, but contains language you might not appreciate).

Kids beg for Carl's Jr. By all means, if we're going to get fat on this vacation, we should get crackin'.

12:14 p.m.
Our first pullover; to find Buzz's head.

The children are not speaking to each other, or to me. They are assembling the LEGOs we purchased at Target. I stop for gas and cannot convince them to use the restroom. I even try to scare them into going by saying they will probably have to pee on the side of the road. (I'll come to discover this isn't considered a threat by any self-respecting boy.)

See the first of many scary billboards in Wyoming. This particular one says:

After you die, you will met God.

Well, isn't that nice. Is this the billboard media equivalent to a man wandering the street with underwear on the outside of his pants shouting, "The end is near!"? I'm just saying.

Mason asks when we are gong to get there. Sadly, in 6 hours and a few minutes.

Mason yells, "Mama! You forgot to let us pee on the side of the road!"

Pull of in Rawlins to ensure there is no peeing on side of road. Fall in line behind a truck pulling a trailer that appears to have a folded up dog on the back. That's right, a carcass of something larger than a dog but smaller than a horse, deflated and folded. The head was intact. Only in Wyoming.

Mason asks, again, "How long until grandma's house?"
Should I try to explain how far 286 miles is?

With much vexation Cooper puts the screws to me with, "When are we going to be out of the middle of nowhere?"

We enter the Green River Tunnel just as Cooper bellows, "I hate this!"

"I know," I try to soothe, "Would you feel better if you screamed or something?"

"No!" he demands, "I will only feel better if I get out of the car.

We stop at Little America and despite earlier gripes I have a hard time convincing the boys to get out of the car to use the restroom. They decline ice cream. So I begin to fret -- for the next 2.5 hours -- that something is wrong with them.

I notice the boys are being really sweet to each other. Cooper is actually reviewing Mason's LEGO instruction manual with him and showing him how to put together his project. I reach back to squeeze Coop's calf and tell him I love him because he is a good brother. This spurs Mason to ask, "Why do you love me?"

"Because you are sweet and give lots of kisses," I reply.

His eyes grow wide and he adds, "AND good hugs?"

"Yes," I assure, "And good hugs."

He smiles and coos, "That's why I love you."

Good to know.

8 p.m.
Arrive at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

All right... stay tuned this week to read some of my favorite quotes from the trip and our extended return travelogue. Here's a teaser... see photos... it really is THAT boring.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Letting Go

Does anyone else have a hard time throwing out the coloring books? Filled to the brim with scribbles on every page, I still struggle to throw away the artwork of my boys. I think of the hours I've enjoyed watching them color and compare pictures. Not to mention the hours they've asked me to sit beside them and pick up a crayon of my own.

I can't help but think this is a diary of sort. They can't yet express themselves with words and sentences... but pictures deliver. With a few snapshots to capture some of the cutest pages, I'm sending this stack to the recycling bin. But, it's still a little hard to let go.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Night Walker

Remember how noises of the night freak me out? After I'd put the boys to bed and even fallen asleep myself, I was startled awake by a weird thunk. Something was prowling around in my house!

I grabbed a knitting needle and tip-toed out to the kitchen (the general direction of the noise). I was fully poised to take down the intruder (or at the very least cable knit him) when I found my 3-year-old sacked out on the tile floor. Either he snuck out of bed and played until he dropped to the floor with exhaustion, OR he was sleep walking.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Know That Word

For a time -- and still to this day -- I dabble in the idea that I may like to teach. Education issues fascinate me. Once upon my education I remember hearing about The Perry Preschool study. You may have heard about it, too. It was considered a landmark study which examined the effects of high-quality early care and education on low-income three- and four-year-olds. Most riveting to me at the time I first heard about it was a story associated with the study's approach to testing. This group was one of the first to show evidence that educational testing was cultural. Do you know how?

The toothbrush in the refrigerator. When testers showed preschoolers in the study pictures of household objects and asked them to pair the pictures with related pictures they stumbled upon something I considered insane. While high-performing students outside the study would pair milk with the refrigerator, many children in the study paired the toothbrush with the refrigerator. After much questioning and classroom and in-home observation they learned that these children's mothers kept their toothbrushes in the refrigerator to guard them from cockroaches. Blech.

It unnerved me.

Considered a mistake in the classroom, the wrong answers were actually right. Culturally the children were making a reasonable and sensible pairing. So I had to chuckle when my child's teacher pulled me aside to let me know Cooper was doing really well in word recognition and had learned to identify many words by sight. But there was one word he consistently missed.

He aced worksheets that listed Apple, Nordstrom, Costco, McDonald's, Target, 24-Hour Fitness, and King Soopers. But show him Safeway and he would answer, "Starbucks." The teacher just couldn't figure it out.

Ashamed as I am, I have to confess it's the Bobo factor. You've seen them (and by them I mean me) sipping vente, skinny mistos, texting from smart phones, and listening to NPR while driving (no texting while driving) a fairly clean SUV to Williams and Sonoma to shop for $24 cherry pitters. The bourgeois bohemians -- or Bobos.

Every time I've ever pulled into Safeway's parking lot -- with kids in tow -- it's been to, "grab Starbucks" from the instore barista not grocery shop. Amusing stereotypes aside, my children are experiencing the cultural consequences of the information age.

PS -- Right now my husband is probably reading this and gagging. Sorry babe.

Monday, March 15, 2010

By Any Other Name

In a conversation with the boys I tried to explain to Mason that I picked his name. He was trying to tell me that when he was a baby he had another name -- No Sam (more on that later). And I was sticking my ground that I was responsible for his suitable moniker.

Finally I told him, "When you were a baby you had no name at all. You were just a blob of pink flesh, so I named you. And that's that."

When his big brother heard this he abruptly interrupted and in serious consternation gasped and said, "Why didn't you name me General Grievous?!?!?"

Why indeed.

If your child named him or herself, what would the birth certificate say?

Monday, March 8, 2010

On The Strange Side

Our neighborhood is infested with girls. We've made some very good friends and our boys even like playing with girls -- although they will not admit it. Even if a lollipop is at stake.

I catch them sometimes, however, enjoying the estrogen. And like other pictures I've taken, this one of Mason will be used at a later date to collect on some serious blackmail.

PS -- Those are press-on fingernails with the Disney princesses on them. O.M.G.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Team Costume

When I tell you I took my kids to a Mother/Son Pirate party at our local rec center, I know you will not be surprised. So let's skip over that melodramatic part about how our family is prone to theatrics and costumes and what not.

The event was mildly fun. By mildly fun I mean that it was a little like going to a birthday party with 100 people. More aptly put, it had the potential to be riotous if I had been in charge. Frankly, next year I just might be. But the most noticeable emotion on my children's faces was they were among peers. Their team, if you will.

And for my part. It was insanely relaxing to be in public and not have the only child in costume. That being said, I was the only mom with a Jack Sparrow and an Indiana Jones. We just wouldn't be us if we weren't standing out, rebelling, or being a stick in the mud. You know.

Who's on your team?

Personally, I'm in favor of the coffee-loving, sewing addicted, learning-to-knit, car-pooling, loves-a-good-massage, incessantly photographing, needlessly blogging bookworms.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

When The Tables Turned

So we've been absent on the blog lately. I know I mentioned sickness has descended on everyone. We're pulling out of it. But one last picture I want to keep is of my little one.

He is a cockroach. I'm telling you, despite being 5 weeks early and spending time in NICU has had no serious health problems. Once he left that hospital he really never looked back.

His brother, on the other hand, has had one thing after another and is on a pretty regular regiment of medications delivered through the nebulizer.

It was a surprise for me, then, when Mason needed to have nebulizer treatments of his own this past week. But, having seen it done by his older brother, Mason found absolutely nothing about it remarkable. He just snapped that mask on and got on with it.

Got me thinking about influences. Our children can do what they see and watch. I figure my kids will be excellent toilet bowl cleaners. It also explains why Cooper tonight asked me to teach him how to sew.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

From Mason, With Love

I suppose there were 36 of these heart stickers, pilfered and repurposed from his valentines. Ahem.