Thursday, October 30, 2008

preschool dropouts

layla and i have officially dropped out of preschool.  i say that we have, one, because it was a co-op, and two, because it wasn't working for me as much as(if not more than) it wasn't working for her.  there's a whole slew of reasons, but mainly, it was too far away, i had too many other places to be, and layla was getting totally wiped out and was VERY unpleasant to live with.  so we're quitting and we'll try to find someplace closer to home next year. (i'll try my best to be less neurotic picky then.)  she's only 3 and we've been missing our MOMS club friends a lot, so hopefully we'll open up some more time for that stuff and a little extra money every month to blow at gymboree pay bills with.

fun in chicago

on monday, which was our last night in town, we decided to stay at a hotel in chicago instead of getting up in the middle of the night (and make someone else get up too) to drive there for our 8am flight out of o'hare.  joe and mary (and hannah) drove us up and we all had some chicago style 'stuffed' pizza at giordano's.  this pizza was like 2 inches thick and there was so much cheese i don't even know where to begin.  at one point, joe drew our attention to the fact that he'd been spinning cheese around his fork for like 5 minutes and it was still coming.  i think he could have sat there all night and he never would have run out of cheese.  micah did a good job with his.  yum.

 Picture 137Picture 138 

Picture 139

after we ate, they took us to our hotel, the aloft.  dave found a deal on priceline, so we knew nothing about this place.  when we pulled up, there was loud techno music playing and i was a little concerned that it was going to be just a big party inside, but it was actually a very nice place to stay.  i took pictures in our room and you can see pictures of the rest of it here.  the whole thing kind of reminded me of an ikea showroom.

Picture 140 Picture 146

micah got a big kick out of the safe in the room.  he kept going back and we'd hear beeping as he was pushing the buttons.  then he went and unrolled all the toilet paper.  he had a good time exploring everything.

Picture 150 Picture 151

but we slept well, even with planes flying overhead, and we were able to sleep in all the way to 5:30 and take the shuttle to the airport.  we had an uneventful flight home - the best kind.  and micah was pretty good, considering.

our trip east for hannah's baptism

last friday, we headed out (at 0darkthirty) to illinois for hannah's baptism and a big fat gathering of family.  micah came with (cause he's free), but shane and layla stayed here w/ my folks because they're not.  they were most definitely missed, but they took good care of their grandparents and layla got to paint every day so she was happy.

Picture 094

Micah was excited to help pack.  notice the super-cute train sweater-vest in the bag.  dave came home from work that day with a gymboree bag and said, 'i got you a present'. i had been eyeing that since i first saw it and i can't find any pictures of micah actually wearing it (he wore it sunday to church), so i'm pointing it out in the suitcase.  i know, i'm a dork.Picture 115

tons of fun bonding with uncle matt.Picture 127

the 'non-lame baptism gift' we got for hannah.  this little bracelet is so tiny. it's got blue crystals on it for her september birthday, pearls and a little silver cross pendant.  i was SO happy to find it.  totally not lame!  and totally beautiful.  it came from tinyblessings.com.

Picture 129

hannah with her godparents, us and auntie esther - mary's sister.

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parents and godparents.  apparently this was joe's first baptism.  how cool is that that it was his own kid?!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

testing... windows live writer

this is a test using windows live writer.  i'm just checking it out quick to see how it works.  this is only a test.  in the event of a real post, you will experience the usual sarcasm and wit that is native to my blog.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

but i wanted beans!

i have discovered something amazing.

until recently, layla would never eat green beans. well, she used to, and then a little more than a year or so ago, she started pulling them apart and eating the seeds out of them, leaving the rest. yeah, i know she's weird. then she quit eating them all together. she would just leave them on her plate.

well, a couple fridays ago, we were having our pizza and beans and something prompted shane to pull these 'trainer' chopsticks out of the drawer. i've had them for a couple of years - i think i found them at a thrift store and thought they were cute and the kids could use them when we had chinese food. but we'd all kind of forgotten about them since we rarely eat chinese food (which makes me sad). so everyone got really excited about these and layla used them to eat every last one of her beans that night. dave and i exchanged some raised eyebrows as lightbulbs were illuminating above our heads.

last night i made chicken sandwiches and green beans for dinner. as soon as layla saw the green beans, she got very excited about choosing her chopsticks and even asked for seconds and then thirds of the beans.

so tonight, we didn't have green beans.

oops.

she was very disappointed and even though i offered to let her try to eat her dinner with chopsticks, she pretty much ate nothing.

note to self: if not serving green beans, make sure to serve something (other than goopy rice casserole) that can be eaten with chopsticks!

here they are:

i got mine second hand, but i've seen them at one of those independent toy stores, and i found this pic on amazon, so you can obviously get them there and they're pretty cheap. they're plastic, dishwasherable (you know what i mean), and super easy to use. we have a giraffe, elephant, and camel, but there are lots of different animals you can get.

Monday, October 20, 2008

and i thought layla was my climber...

this is how i found micah just now.
note to self: close all drawers. although they have handles on them so it probably won't deter him any.
this is what was so interesting:










and now for something completely different... this is what our nightstand looked like this morning after having layla spend most of the night in our bed. can we say SNOTTY???

pictures, pictures, and more pictures...

ah, yes. how were pictures? pretty good actually.

yesterday was our appointment to have EVERYONE'S pictures taken. we're about 7 months or more overdue for a new family picture. i wanted to do them every 2 years. well, layla is 8 months old in the one on our wall. so we did that. shane is 7 and layla is 18 months in the last picture we have of the kids together, so we did that too. a sibling shot including micah... novel concept considering he's a year old now. new individuals for layla and micah - way overdue on that one, he was 3 months in his last one. oops. we had shane's taken too, but didn't like any of them, so i'll make another appointment and take just him this week or next. he had this really weird fake smile going on.

it's actually amazing that we did that well. shane, micah and myself all had colds, so i was afraid that we'd be red, blotchy or miserable, but everyone looked fine. layla fell apart after the shoot was over and it turned out that she was coming down with the cold as well, but was kind enough to wait until we were done with picture day for that. she's the one that usually takes it the worst, and turns all red and goopy really fast. if the appointment were today, we'd have to cancel it. but yesterday she looked fine.

so it was almost entirely a success! we're getting them back on november 1st, and hopefully shane's soon after so everyone will be updated soon!

the book layla brought home from the library

dave and layla went to the library yesterday and layla chose a couple books and a thomas dvd. last night dave read the books to layla before she went to bed. when he came out of her room, he handed me the books and said they could go back to the library. i asked if they were lame or something, and he handed me one of them called SAM'S TEDDY BEAR. curious, i read it and couldn't decide if it was appalling or funny. i finally decided it was appalling as a book for children, but absolutely hilarious for the same reason... and therefore definite blog material. at the risk of being sued for plagiarism, i intend to present this wonderful piece of literature for your enjoyment.

page 1: there is a bed with a blue and white blanket jumbled up on it, a brown dog, with it's front paws up on the bed, and an old school ceramic 'potty' on the floor.

"Look, there's Doggie!"

page 2: a blonde haired boy emerges from under the blanket and the dog looks excited.

"Look, there's Sam!"

page 3: the boy pulls a brown teddy bear from under the blanket. the dog looks on.

"Look, there's Sam's teddy bear!"

page 4: the boy, still sitting on the bed, pulls the bear close to him. the dog is looking under the bed.

"Sam's teddy bear is nice."

page 5: the boy is kissing the bear on the nose. the dog has apparently found a pair of brown shoes under the bed and is laying on the floor sniffing them.

"Sam kisses Teddy Bear."

page 6: the boy is is licking the bear's stomach. the bear seems to be wearing some sort of pinkish bloomers or a diaper or something like that. the dog is licking the shoes.

"Sam licks Teddy Bear."

page 7: the boy takes a chomp of the bear's nose. the dog is chewing up one of the shoes.

"Sam bites Teddy Bear."

page 8: the boy has tossed the bear into the air. the dog is sitting on the shoe it just chewed, looking surprised.

"Sam throws Teddy Bear."

page 9: the bear is standing on it's head in the potty on the floor. the boy is still in the bed looking alarmed. the dog looks at the bear, surprised, and seems to be attempting to climb into the bed.

"Teddy Bear falls into the pottie."

page 10: the bear is still head-down in the potty. the boy is reaching for the bear and crying, the dog is laying in the bed, under the blanket, looking at the boy. one chewed shoe and one intact shoe are on the floor.

"Teddy Bear doesn't want to stay in the pottie."

page 11: bear still in potty, boy looking like he's pleading, and crying, still in the bed. dog jumping off the bed.

"Here comes Doggie."

page 12: the dog is holding the bear in it's mouth, over the potty. the boy is peering over the side of the bed, his nose running.

"Doggie pulls Teddy Bear out."

page 13: boy still in the bed, hugging the bear. the dog has his front paws on the bed.

"Sam gets Teddy Bear again."


the end. yup. that's it. seriously. apparently there are two other books about sam too. they are advertised at the back of this book so if you're just dying to read more about sam, let me know and i'll shoot that info your way.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Party time!

yesterday my baby boy turned 1. we had a fun little 'party' with some friends and my parents.

noah showed up wearing his new spiderman costume, which caused shane and layla to feel the need to dress up as well. i guess noah was so excited about it that he didn't want to take it off! it made for some funny pictures.

we ate pizza, opened some presents and then played in the big box.
after determining that there was nothing in the world that micah actually needed, we decided to get something practical. a new car seat. the bonus was that it came in a BIG BOX and that was the big hit of the party. of course.
then it was time for cake. micah really didn't know what to do with his cake. it took a long time for him to even touch it. but once he did, he thought it felt pretty cool. he ate a little too, but mostly he just squished it. but at least he was able to get himself approprately covered in frosting for the requisite 1st birthday photo opp.
you can see the rest of the festivities over at our WAdaps website.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

warning! vent in progress!

i am feeling the need to vent a bit. today was THE MOST ridiculous excuse for a day of preschool i've ever experienced. thursdays are my work day at layla's school, so i had to participate, even help facilitate, this mess.

today was picture day.

now i understand picture day. don't get me wrong. i made a little bit of an effort to make sure that layla's clothes at least matched and that her hair looked decent. but it's 'school pictures'. a head shot against a blueish-grayish background, right? boy was i wrong.

so, because everyone was in their 'fancy clothes' for picture day, the kids couldn't do anything messy or go outside. okay, we've completed barely a month of school with 18 barely 3 year olds and this is a good idea? not only that, this photographer lady (whose gimmick to get the kids to smile was to sing elmo's world to them) had each kid in like 3 different poses and took about 10 minutes. but wait it gets better. the kids were not brought into the room when it was their turn to get their picture taken, they went in in groups of 3 or 4! and there were no toys or anything in this room, just camera equipment, tables and chairs and a bunch of stuff the weren't supposed to mess with. for like half an hour! so after 2 hours of being cooped up inside, finally being 'entertained' by the teacher trying to maintain some sort of control by doing songs and fingerplays in the circle room (where they were hopping around like rabid fleas on crack), they finally finish everyone's individual shots and decide that they need to take a class picture at this point. A CLASS PICTURE! so they discuss where to do this and decide they're going to do it in a classroom, with kids posing around the teacher who is sitting in front of this climbing apparatus that's made out of the cushy vinyl stuff like tumbling equipment. a thing they are regularly encouraged to climb, jump, slide, roll around on, etc. and they start posing these kids on it 5 minutes before the photographer is even in the room. kids were pushing, jumping, crawling through the tunnel, fighting over the top space, throwing pillows, hitting other kids with pillows, running away, switching positions, etc, etc. i don't even think they had any idea why they were there! not that they would have cared. they're 3 and they've been cooped up for almost 2 and a half hours at this point. and for some reason, i seemed to be the only one who thought this situation was at all ludicrous or even slightly inappropriate. well, it was going to happen, and i'm surprised it didn't happen to anyone else, but layla got whacked in the face right as the photographer finally showed up and sang her stupid elmo's world song. so she's crying hysterically. i asked once if she could smile for the lady to take her picture and she wasn't interested so i picked her up, sobbing, and took her out of the insanity. she won't be in the picture and honestly i could care less. even if she had been in it and was smiling, i would know how stupid the whole thing was that led up to that moment.

that was NOT something i want to have to remember.

i can't believe i paid tuition for her to be there today. what a ridiculous and inappropriate situation. when i want fancy pictures taken of my kid, i make an appointment to do so. i don't pay my preschool tuition so that my kid can wait around for 17 other kids to get their fancy pictures taken. that should be done on their own time.

grrr...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

HOLDME!HOLDME!HOLDME!!!

when i was a kid - a little kid - i was scared of helicopters. if i heard one going over, i'd run to my mom yelling, "HOLDME!HOLDME!HOLDME!" i believe that, for a while, helicopters came to be known as "hold me's" in our house.

layla has developed her first irrational fear. (well, other than the imaginary lions she liked to pretend to be afraid of.) she's afraid of helicopters.

i can't say it's completely unwarranted. yesterday evening, we were sitting here in the house when a helicopter went over our house. it was very low, and very loud. i thought it was pretty exciting. well, it apparently scared the crap out of her because she spent the rest of the evening very close to either dave or myself and kept repeating, "i didn't like that." she mentioned it again this morning, but i figured she'd forget about it since she's never been afraid of anything. she was fine all day, but we were out all day. as soon as we got home, hello neurotic! i have never been followed so closely in my life! she would not go anywhere in the house by herself.

oh well, at least it's only at home that she's afraid... and hopefully she'll forget about it soon or we'll have to start finding a lot more interesting places to go!

in other news, our day was not entirely fruitless. i managed to find a pair of shoes for micah. i have found myself in an odd prediciment with him lately. because he's not walking, i hadn't thought too much about shoes. he wears the robeez all the time and i totally love them, but they're not exactly outdoor-safe shoes. he spends a good share of his time on his feet, and wants to get down when we're out at a park or shane's soccer game or whatever and the robeez aren't quite cutting it. but what do you buy for a kid in this position. i didn't want anything too stiff, nor did i want something designed specifically for walkers because then when he crawls on them it will ding up the tops of them and they look bad. so i finally found this:

they're from stride rite and they're so soft and flexible - barely shoes! but they have the rubber sole so they're perfect for our lovely northwest weather around here. and they'll still work when he actually is walking. they're the 'early walker' line - i believe it's new. i love them. i went to nordstrom first (because there were a lot of customers and only one employee at the stride rite store) and this very nice young man helped me out and sized him and even watched over our stroller while i appeased layla by taking a trip down the escalator and then back up again - things you can't do with a double stroller. but they only had 2 styles of these shoes and both were brown. i really wanted blue because most of micah's clothes are blue right now and because he's having his pictures taken on sunday and he'll be wearing navy pants (so picky, i know). so i felt bad after this guy had been so helpful, but i went back to the stride rite store and bought them there. i did apologize to him. seriously, i felt bad.

layla also has a cute new 'laylaism'. i discovered today that she calls elevators "alligators". it's pretty cute and this nice lady we met on our way out to the parking garage said that she was going to ride the alligator too instead of taking the stairs. funny funny.

party planning - from a 3 year old.

with micah's birthday coming up on friday, there has been a lot of discussion of party themes. for some reason, layla has become completely convinced that micah should have a princess party. this totally cracks me up because she's been talking since july about how when she turns 4, she's going to have a pirate birthday.

so she brought this up again this morning while she, micah and i were all flopping around in the bed waiting for the house to warm up (coffee to finish brewing). i said that micah didn't really want a princess birthday, at which point he crawled over me and farted.

so layla, in true layla fashion, said, "maybe he should have a fart party."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Football!!!

so last night at 10, we got a pleasant surprise. a coworker texted dave and asked if he wanted 4 tickets to the seahawks game. after some quick thinking about who and where and how and all that, we got it sorted out and definitely accepted. so today after church, shane,my dad, myself and micah all experienced our first professional football game. (it was dave's second). if you're doing the math there, micah doesn't require a ticket which is why he got to go. layla was happily deposited with my mother for a nap and some 'school'. the first half of the game was great, but the second half got boring because the packers were the only ones doing anything exciting. micah napped through the whole second half - dave did too. well, not the whole second half, but parts for sure. shane decided that seahawks games weren't quite as exciting as he thought they were going to be (he's been lobbying to go to one for a while now), but it was a pretty good deal because he got a hot dog, some popcorn and a blue jones soda lemonade. he rates all sporting events on the amount, diversity and quality of the junk food he consumes while in attendance. dave was happy the seahawks didn't win (same division as the 49ers), my dad seemed happy just to be there, and i thoroughly enjoyed myself, although a little more action on the seahawks side of the field would have been welcome. apparently i really like football games. who knew?! of course we forgot the camera, so there are no pictures. oh well, how typical!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

does home ec even exist anymore?

my last post got me thinking about how i somehow missed 'learning' all of those things which are essential in running a successful home. i'm wondering who dropped the ball on this (because, i can't possibly take responsibility for my own shortcomings here). i guess traditionally, one learns these things from their parents. i suppose i did learn a lot of my domestic skills at home. for example, the husband is supposed to eat the leftovers in the fridge. when making a bed, the 'top' of the top sheet goes down so that when you fold the edge over the blanket, the 'top' side is then up. why this matters when you are just going to cover the whole thing with a pillow and comforter is totally beyond me. but that's how you do it. so yes, my mother taught me how to iron, do laundry, clean a toilet, etc. my dad taught me how to plant a garden, mow a lawn, appreciate baseball, etc.

and then there's home ec. do people still take home ec? i took it in junior high. i can't say i really learned a lot of essentials in that class... although it couldn't be considered a complete loss. i made a strawberry pie, learned how to write a check, and sew a pair of mc hammer pants. all very important in modern, day to day homemaking.

so here's what i want to know. where is the class that teaches you how to fend off clutter? to cook a thanksgiving dinner? to carve a turkey? to organize your garage? to hem pants yourself? to get dinner on the table for everyone when your husband has class and your son has soccer practice and your daughter is falling asleep because she wouldn't take a nap? to keep your closet organized? to pick up the same bucket of toys off the floor for the 5th time in one day? all without losing your mind, your patience, or your cool?! i'd so sign up for that class.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

homemaking 101... ponderings, ramblings... the usual.

so i've been analyzing lately (because that's what i do) why i get so frustrated with myself, my shortcomings in the areas of housekeeping and organization, creativity, cooking, etc. it would seem that i'm trying to live up to the expectations of june cleaver, or my grandmother, or something equally unrealistic. no, i don't expect to push the vacuum and baste a turkey in heels and pearls, (besides, i have the roomba, remember?), but i do expect more of myself than i have been giving currently. why?

i've been doing what i usually do when i have an issue i want to know more about; i check out every book the library has on the subject (organization problems anyone?). there are a LOT of books out there written by homemakers, for homemakers with a lot of different slants on the whole subject. interestingly enough, the view that disturbs me the most is not the one that suggests that God has decreed it so that women have no other calling than to be wives and mothers (although i do find that bothersome as well). it is the one that seeks to comfort women who are staying home with their kids because they feel 'stir-crazy' or like they are somehow wasting their lives (or brains) by staying home to raise their kids. i have NEVER understood this position. it's like people don't consider spending time with children to be a worthwhile thing to do. now granted, i'm coming at this whole issue as someone who earned a college degree which qualifies me to spend time with children professionally.

so why is it that i have found myself in the position of homemaker? well, for us, it makes sense. i'm not going to sit here and say that every mom should be a SAHM. for many that isn't an option financially, or for other personal reasons, they don't want to. seriously, if you don't really WANT to do this, by all means DON'T! your kids are certainly not better off in the care of a mother who would rather be elsewhere (and i don't mean hawaii). but here's the thing i've realized lately. i don't view this as 'staying home from work'. rather, i see it as 'staying home to work'. i currently have 3 young children (one not so young as i might wish he still were) and i can see no better use for my time and talents than to be with them. yes, sometimes i get a hankering to go out into the big working world and put on something other than jeans, and i certainly get a hankering to have a little more spending money. but just because i don't get paid for my work, doesn't mean it's not a job.

and that brings us back to my main point. i get frustrated with myself because i do see this as a job. a job that i am frequently failing at. if i look at what the job description of a homemaker would be, there are many places where i am not doing my job. items which, in any other profession, would be grounds for firing. but who's going to fire me? who is my boss? there are many who would say that my husband is my boss - a concept that i find laughable, mainly because of who my husband is (nothing against you, honey). the idea of dave getting all patriarchal and authoritarian with me is enough to make me fall off my chair. and i think i'm a little too much of a feminist to have wound up married to someone like that. so who then? my kids? God? i think perhaps the problem lies in the fact that i'm most likely my own boss. that situation just begs for trouble when combined with my personality. i seem to lack the motivation and organization required to be self-employed, and i can't very well threaten to fire myself.

there's part of me that likes to tell myself to 'not sweat the small stuff'. to enjoy my kids and not stress about how messy things are or if every meal is home-cooked. that those things don't really matter as long as my kids know they are loved and have a 'safe' place to come home to. but i know there's more to my job description than that, and if i don't fulfill my duties (yes, i consider them to be duties, and i consider them to be mine) then i'm not contributing my part to our family.

so how exactly does one with a tendency for distraction, a dislike of cleaning, and NO CLUE about cooking, decorating, money management, etc. successfully run a home? i guess i might not be qualified for this job. who knew?

Monday, October 6, 2008

did these people go to school? ever?

sometimes i am just totally flabbergasted by how horribly some people write. i'm not sure if it's just that spelling and grammatical issues come easily for me, or if other people are just really BAD! i find it to be the worst in product reviews online. this morning i was reading some reviews of a chest freezer i'm thinking of getting. one went on and on about the poor quality of the 'unite'. repeatedly using the word 'unite'. seriously, people!!! here's another thing i've noticed. it's always the negative reviews too. what's with that? are people just so pissed off about the bad product they just got screwed on that they feel the need to rant (without pausing for breath or editing) in a negative product review? or is it just that people with bad writing skills are more likely to be compelled to leave a negative review? or are people with bad writing skills more likely to get screwed with the bad product? i don't get it. but i do have to say that it's really hard to take it seriously when it's full of spelling errors and stupidity. and by stupidity, i'm referring to the reviewer who complained that after storing fish in the freezer, it smelled like fish...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

a blue period...

i'm feeling really lazy lately. well, some might think i'm lazy all the time, but it's worse right now. i always get really down on myself when i'm having trouble keeping things organized, when my house is a mess, when we eat mac and cheese for dinner, etc. usually that's appropriate motivation to get me off my butt and make me keep things in some sort of relative order. but night now it's really bad. i don't feel like doing anything. there are toys all over, and i purposely make myself not see them because i just don't want to pick them up. same with the dirt behind the door in the bathroom. the pile of clothes that need to be ironed, the mess in my bedroom, the crap falling out of the drawers in my bathroom, the garage. i don't want to go grocery shopping. i don't want to cook. the floor needs to be swept and mopped in the kitchen and dining room and the sink is dirty. the backyard is a total disaster and i just don't feel like caring. i feel tired. i feel lazy. i feel like holding my kids and snuggling instead of hollering at them to pick up their stuff. i'm sick of piling everyone into the car and driving EVERYWHERE. maybe it's the weather. it's getting to be build a fire and cuddle up with a cup of cocoa kind of weather. so those of you with clean houses, those of you with fridges and pantries stocked and dinners on the table. those of you who have not gone into hibernation... just don't show me pictures.

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