Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December 2009

Well, Christmas has come and gone. Usually I am left with a feeling of disappointment that after all the hype and build up leading to Christmas, it is now over, and there isn't much to look forward to for a few months. This year, I must admit, I am looking forward to December being over. This has been one of the worst months, health-wise, that I've experienced.

I got bronchitis early in the month, and started on an antibiotic. After improving some, I started feeling horrible again, and went back to the doctor. He said I probably built up a resistance to the first antibiotic, since I've taken it so many times, (bronchitis and I are close friends), so it failed. He said since I am basically experiencing asthmatic symptoms at this point, that he would give me an inhaler to use and start me on a second antibiotic. But, that's not the worst part.

The worst part is that due to the incessant coughing, I've bruised a rib, or some such nonsense. I really cannot imagine the pain someone experiences when they break a rib, because this hurts like a... not nice word that if written in my blog would result in my parents getting a phone call from my relatives. Sneezing almost brings me to my knees. It hurts to cough, and even to breathe in deeply. I can only sleep in one position - on my back, half propped up on pillows, and I still spend part of the night coughing. Poor Jim has been sleeping on the couch for almost a month. BUT - last night he came back to our bed, and I am finally starting to feel better. It still hurts to sneeze or cough, but I'm coughing less, and breathing deeper. Breathing is always good. So, I was planning on writing a list of New Year's Resolutions, but really, I just resolve to be healthier in 2010. Health is something none of us should take for granted.

In spite of December being rough, many great memories were made. Dylan really wasn't all that excited about Santa, or even getting presents this year. Maybe because he just got tons of presents for his birthday? When we would ask him what he wanted, he would simply say, "Presents". He was mainly excited about the act of opening presents (he rips the paper off with sheer abandon and joy), and eating Christmas cookies! Here are a few of my favorite pictures from Christmas day...

Laying in the huge pile of discarded paper...

Eating cookies with his grandma(Jim's mom)...

Laughing with Daddy...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Comfort and Joy

I'm very particular about how I sleep. It needs to be quiet. Strange snoring/whining noises are not appreciated or tolerated, and result in a strong poke and disgusted huff. There cannot be any light in the room. Night lights are ridiculous. The obnoxious green glare from my husband's alarm clock continues to be an issue. I turn it around. He turns it back, and ...repeat. The blinds need to be shut in such a way that allows for the smallest possible amount of moonlight to filter through. The bathroom door must be shut, so that the light from those windows don't seep into the room. The room should be comfortable - not cold, not hot, certainly not the sauna-like conditions my husband likes to sleep in, which has me waking up a sweaty, soppy mess. Slightly cool would be optimum. I dress light. No sweatpants or sweatshirts. No layers or heavy socks. But every area must be covered. I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night and feel cold air up my shirt. I tuck my shirt into my pants. I also tuck my pants into my socks. That's right. It's quite sexy, as my husband will tell you.

Jim can sleep in almost any condition. He can sleep with the TV blaring (and does every.single.night). He can sleep with bright sunlight in the room. But, as I've mentioned before, he likes the room toasty. He is warm through the day, and I am freezing. Then, at night our metabolisms switch. Somehow, I manage to love him in spite of this bizarre nightly occurrence.

Recently, I bought Dylan new pajamas. I bought the ones with the feet for a very specific reason. If he wears ones without feet, he takes his socks off every.single.night. When we go in to get him in the morning, he is barefoot, and his feet are cold. I worried about him having cold feet, especially since he is still sick. When I showed him the new pajamas, he touched them, and remarked, "They're so soft!" I thought I had achieved success. This morning, Jim came in to tell me... "You have to see Dylan. He somehow took off just the bottom half of those pajamas". Sure enough, there he was with his arms and chest covered, but bare from the diaper down.

This afternoon, I put a new sheet on his bed before nap, and he rushed over to inspect my work. "That's not right!", he moaned. "WHAT?! What's the problem?", my not so patient self replied. "It's not blue! It's white!", I explained. (He won't sleep on blue sheets. He won't sleep on patterned sheets. He won't sleep on flannel sheets. White. They have to be plain white). "Those aren't COLD!", he whined. (Talking to myself..) "I'm going to need patience. A lot of patience. Breathe in. Breathe out).
"Dylan, these are the regular plain white sheets. Not the hot ones(flannel)". "No, they're not. They're not the cold ones or the hot ones. They're WARM". Apparently the new plain white sheets I bought are a different thread count or some such nonsense that just changes freakin' everything. (Breathe in. Breathe out).

I give up. We all have our night time quirks. The things that make perfect sense to us, but absolutely none to others. The things that make us happy and comfortable. The person who does this...

really can't say too much about anyone else's method.

Here's wishing you and your family whatever brings you Comfort and Joy this holiday season.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Way He Wasn't Getting His Hands On Some

What do you do when there is 4 inches of snow outside, your entire family is getting over being sick, and you have a kid who is VERY ANXIOUS AND EXCITED to play with some snow?

You improvise...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Proud Wife

No one knew what kind of father Jim would be. Growing up, Jim never talked about wanting children. When I met bachelor Jim, he said it "was something he would consider if he met the right person". In the two years that we dated, I didn't get many opportunities to see him around children.

I have always been impressed with how creative Jim is. I knew how creative he was at work (as a graphic designer), and how creative he was at home with his home-made cards for me and woodworking projects. What I didn't realize until Dylan was born, was what a great father Jim would be, and how he would use that same creativity in his most important role - as Dylan's dad.

Monday, December 14, 2009


*I need to catch up. What can I say about Dylan's first ever school performance? Um...thank God for video cameras comes to mind. Geniuses that we are, even though we got there early and had a nice choice of seats, we picked the EXACT row in which it was impossible to see him. I saw the music teacher's head and the music stand. Luckily, when Jim realized the situation he got up and took the video camera over to another area.

When Dylan put on his "shows" for us at home, there was a lot of jumping, running off the "stage", and the sudden and urgent need to grab a drum, guitar, etc. We knew he knew the songs, because he was singing them constantly, but to be honest I did NOT have high hopes. I might have remarked to Jim at some point beforehand, "I'm going to pray they don't have him next to X". "X" is a very tiny, fragile little girl who is always dressed like an ad out of a magazine. I had the image of Dylan jumping around and knocking poor X off the steps, her perfect little pigtails coming loose and her dress flying up over her head as her parents fainted.

Instead, he.stood.still. No really, this is big. If you've ever met my kid you understand. He was very serious. I don't think he smiled once, but he stood still and sang the songs. I'm pretty sure the teachers bribed him with the cookies the kids were getting after the show. Whatever works.

*If you are wondering if I'm still sick, the answer is yes. Yesterday was the worst day. You know the "I want my mommy" kind of bad? Like that. I tried to take a nap, since I hadn't slept at all that night, but could not stop coughing for even five minutes. The more I coughed, the angrier I got. I was like a snarly old bear, who couldn't hibernate, and Jim and Dylan tried to stay out of my grizzly path for the most part. By the evening, I was so miserable, I got out the computer and googled, "HOW DO YOU STOP COUGHING?!?!" I love the internet. It had all kinds of natural methods for me to try, and I would have tried them all, but I didn't have most of the ingredients I needed. Heck, if it said sucking on a rattlesnakes tail would stop coughing I would have tried that. The funny thing is that what I ended up doing, (hot water, with honey and lemon), was what my mom used to give me when I was sick. Told you I wanted my mommy.

Today I feel like I've turned a corner, and I'm starting to feel better. I slept last night finally, so that helped. I had to sleep partially sitting up, so I wouldn't cough, but still, I slept!!

*I asked my employer if I could switch days with her mom, who watches the kids on Thursdays and Fridays, but she said to just stay home this week. I don't exactly get paid sick days, so that pretty much sucks, but I'm determined to make the best of it. So, since I got to stay home today, here is today's cuteness...

-When he woke up from his nap, he immediately told me, "Mommy! I need a new room! I need a new bed, and I need a new closet, and I need a new door, and I need new toys, and I need new books, and I need a new rug!" Did you ever have one of those days when you look around your house, and you're just not happy with your old stuff? My 3 year old boy understands.

-We were sitting at the table, having a snack. I remarked, "Dylan, I love your eyes. They are such a pretty green color". Then, I took off my glasses and moved my face close to his, saying, "What color are my eyes?" After a few seconds of staring sweetly into each other's eyes, he remarked with a serious expression, "Your eyes look like... English muffins". Then, he cracked up.

-When Jim got home and wanted to play with Dylan, Dylan said, "You're not Daddy! You're not Daddy until you have on your jammy shirt and your jammy pants!" (He was still in his work clothes).

Friday, December 11, 2009


This has been some week. Monday I had the chills all day at work, and realized I was getting sick. Tuesday I had a horrible sore throat and only got about 5 hours of sleep the night before.

Wednesday morning I got up to get a shower, felt like my head was on fire, went downstairs to get some Tylenol, and had to slump down into a chair because I thought I might pass out. I made a doctor appointment for 7:15 that evening. Somehow I got Dylan to school, and went to Borders to buy his teachers Christmas gifts.

That afternoon, even though all I wanted to do was crawl into bed myself while Dylan napped, I knew I had to do laundry. I also needed to call the pediatrician and find out the results of Dylan's allergy test. They were never sent. Surprise, surprise! (Is incompetency rampant lately or is it just me?) When the nurse finally called me back after searching them down, I was told Dylan is allergic to cats (our "outdoor" cat is now in our basement for the winter), and that he has a moderate allergy to peanuts. I was told to make an appointment with an allergist as soon as possible.

After the phone call, I went down to the basement to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer. (Oh, I probably should have mentioned that a wind storm was passing through). The power went out, leaving me in a pitch black laundry room. I felt my way to the door, and into Jim's work space, praying I wouldn't step on a nail, a saw, or the cat. That was about 3pm. Around 3:30 or so, Dylan woke up. I tried to explain to him that a storm made the lights go out. "There's no light?!", he exclaimed. "But there is", he remarked, looking around the room. "Well, there's light in the room now, because the sun is still out, but we can't turn any lights on, Dylan". That prompted him to run wildly to each and every room, flicking switches, shouting updates, "THERE'S NO LIGHT IN THE KITCHEN!...THERE'S NO LIGHT IN THE LIVING ROOM!!...THERE'S NO LIGHT IN..."

After he got over the initial shock of the "no light" thing, he decided to just not worry about it and started playing. I started thinking, "Okay it is almost 4:00. The sun goes down around 5:00. That means it is going to get very cold and dark very quickly. I need to act fast!". I called my dad to tell him we were going to come there. Then, I quickly packed up some stuff, in case we ended up needing to stay over. I told Dylan I was going to pack stuff in the car, went down to the garage, and stopped. Then, I came back up and called my dad again. "Uh, I can't leave because I can't use the garage opener". He said he would come get us. Then, he called back to say, "Uh, I don't have a car seat in my car". Then, I called Jim to say, "Help?!" He told me there's a manual override on the garage door, but didn't know where or how to do it. While Dylan continued playing in near darkness (love that kid!), I stumbled my way around the garage with a flashlight until I finally figured out how to open the door. We went to my parents for the evening. Luckily the power was back on by 8pm (Jim stopped at home after work to check), so we could sleep in our own beds. Right. Except that I haven't slept since Sunday, because I am up coughing.

Thursday, after Dylan's first ever school performance, (which I'll post about later), I went to the doctor's. I have a sinus infection and bronchitis - AGAIN!! I just got over that in October. WTH?!?! I hate being sick. I become very, very cranky. Today, I had no patience or energy to deal with Dylan, and I think he might be getting sick also. We weren't getting along. He has been doing so well on the potty, but today, fought me each time. At one point he was doing the dance and I asked, "Do you need to go potty?" "No! NO! NO!" He made such a fuss, I gave up. No lie, five minutes later, he pooped and peed in his pants, and I went nuts.

A while later, we were in his bedroom, and he asked to listen to some music. I said, "which one do you want?". He pointed to his potty cd, saying "I think I need that one". Then, he sat there seriously poring over the book while those lunatics sang the potty songs, as if he were studying. It's hard to be mad, when there's that much cute in a room.

* (If you're wondering what potty music sounds like, go HERE).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Random, Simply Random

*First off, I have to explain why I deleted my Tiger Woods post. I found out last night that SNL did a skit about Elin beating up Tiger that got many people upset. Why? Because Rhianna was the musical guest that night. People didn't feel it was appropriate to be poking fun at domestic violence when she was on the show. The more I thought about it, the more guilty I felt.

See, I might be a bit of a feminist. I believe that women and men should be treated equally, and I hate double standards. Double standards like when men cheat, it is the women's fault and he can't help it, but when women cheat, they are sluts. My view on adultery is the same. I make no apologies for that. Cheating when anyone does it is wrong in my book. But, I feel I perpetuated a double standard of my own. Why is it horrible for a man to beat his wife, but funny when a woman does it? Maybe because we feel that women are defenseless, and that if a man gets beat up by his wife, he is a "sissy". That bothers me, and the fact that I must somewhat feel that way bothers me. A chilhood friend of mine had a mother who verbally abused her dad. There was no physical abuse, but the verbal abuse was consistent, and damaging to her dad's self esteem and self respect. Even though I didn't offend anyone, (that I know of), I would like to say I don't approve of domestic violence of any sort.

*I took Dylan to be tested for allergies on Friday. His pediatrician wrote me a script to have him tested a YEAR ago. (Hanging my head in shame) I had built it up in my head to be such a horrific experience that I put it off and put it off. After the scary experience on Wednesday I couldn't put it off any longer. Here's the thing... it was nothing. He didn't even cry. He did better than I do with needles. He did WAY better than Jim does with needles. He watched the nurse put the needle into his arm and draw the blood. But, tell the kid we are out of milk. Go ahead. Tell him. I dare you.

*He is obsessed with Christmas music this year. He can hear only the first few notes of a song, and he will shout out, "IT'S JINGLE BELLS!!" It's a bit freaky, and we have to get it on video. Is there a game show we can take him on?

*Lately when I tell him to do something he doesn't want to do, like "It's time to go upstairs for nap", or "It's time for bed", he replies ever so sweetly, "No thanks". At least he is polite in his insubordination.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Can He Inherit Some Good Stuff From Me?

When I was little (maybe 5?), I stayed in the hospital, and each morning a nurse I despised would come in and give me several allergy tests. My parents were called when my little roommate and I stole a gurney, and blocked the door, so the nurse couldn't come in. I believe we were ever so sweetly singing "Nyah, Nyah!" at her, while we jumped on the beds.

My parents were told I was allergic to milk, cats, down feathers, dust, mildew, certain types of perfume, and pine trees (no real Christmas trees from then on). There might have been more. I also can't be around hay, daffodils, hyacinths, and snobby people. Then, my mom started dragging me to the doctor's to get weekly allergy shots. I also hated that nurse. Her and my mom would start talking and I swear she would forget she had the needle in my arm. At least, that's how I remember it. I have no idea how long my mom had to do that, but it seemed like a long time.

When we had Dylan, I knew there was a 50/50 shot he would have allergies of some kind. Jim doesn't have any. He might need "selective memory" shots, though. Do they have those?

We knew that Dylan had allergies, because his nose runs pretty much constantly, and he often has sneezing fits. His allergies seemed largely environmental or seasonal. He did have a reaction when my mother in law gave him a bite of a peanut butter cookie, so we've avoided peanut butter since then, to be safe. I wasn't expecting what happened today, though.

This morning when I went in to get Dylan, he was fine. "You get to go to school today!", I said. We went downstairs, and I gave him his usual breakfast of an organic blueberry waffle and some milk. I can't remember the order after that, but at some point, he went to the potty, got some chips for doing so, gave Jim a hug goodbye, and played while I dried my hair in the bathroom. As I was drying my hair I heard him sneeze. Then again, and again, and again, and maybe 10 more times. I came out, and went over to blow his nose, and saw that his one eye was completely red and swollen. I thought maybe he hit it on something, so I asked him. "No!', he cried, then started rubbing his nose with such force I thought he would break it. Within about 1/2 hour, both his eyes were red, watering, and practically swollen shut. His nose was red and swollen, as were his ears. I gave him some Children's Zyrtec, and put in a video hoping to distract him from the itchiness. Suddenly he started screaming and crying, grabbing at his tongue, saying "My tongue hurts!" I grabbed the phone to call the doctor and he nearly broke my heart when he asked me "What's wrong with me, Mommy?"

By the time we made it to the doctor's he was 90% better, so I guess the Zyrtec had finally kicked in. The doctor thinks maybe he is allergic to wool. (When he hugged Jim goodbye he rubbed his face against his wool coat). He is 100% fine, but I've been having visions of him blocking a door with a gurney all day. That, and me dragging him kicking and screaming to get weekly allergy shots. By the way, mom? Did I ever tell you how much I appreciate that?

Friday, November 27, 2009

I'm Thankful For Days Like These

To tell this story sufficiently, I have to discuss something that I really don't want to discuss yet. I'm scared. What if, by talking about it, I jinx it? Oh please, don't let that happen. Oh, I'll just have to say kid is wearing underwear. Underwear, people! UNDERWEAR!!! (Singing) "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the..." Oh, ahem. Too much?

He was showing absolutely no interest in the whole potty training thing, and to be honest I was pretty sick of it myself. So, I decided to forget the whole thing until he turned 3. I told him, "When you turn 3, there's no more diapers. When you're 3, you're a big boy, and big boys don't wear diapers". Very matter of fact. Every time we talked about his birthday, or turning 3, I repeated the same thing. I'm pretty sure he wasn't all that excited about his birthday coming, by the 40th time I repeated my potty mantra.

Well, his party was last Saturday. Sunday morning when he woke up I immediately put on one of the super spiffy pairs of Sesame Street underwear, despite a great deal of protest. Sunday, he peed on the carpet 3 times, BUT he also peed on the potty 3 times. Monday he pooped in his underwear, and peed on the floor 3 times, BUT he also peed on the potty 5 times. Tuesday, I had to work, so my parents had potty duty. Dylan peed on the floor 1 time, BUT he peed on the potty 5 times AND he pooped on the potty for the first time ever. (If you read this post, you knew he would do it for my parents first. Hmph).

Wednesday, I was supposed to take him to school, but I was torn. If he had an accident at school, would he be embarrassed? Would the teachers be willing to take him about every half hour? I decided to keep him home, and that is how the day before Thanksgiving became a day I am very thankful for. Nothing major happened. But, it was a day of perfect, funny, sweet, little boy moments that I need to remember.

*At one point, I saw him bend down to get something, then put it in his mouth. I said, in my exasperated mommy voice, "DYLAN! You don't eat stuff off the floor!", and he answered in his exasperated Dylan voice, "MOMMY! It wasn't on the floor. It was on the bottom of my foot!" You gotta love that logic.

*He got his first computer as a birthday present, and we opened it Wednesday. We were playing in the family room. Then, he got up and went in the living room. After a while, I found him, sitting in the exact place on the couch that I sit to work on the computer. The irony was not lost on me, when I exclaimed, "Dylan, get off the computer, and come play with me!"

*Playing one of his new favorite games... Dylan sandwich...

*He had been in the house since Sunday, so I ever so bravely asked if he wanted to go to Target to buy a birthday present for the party we're going to tomorrow. I told him since he was doing so well on the potty, we could share a pretzel at Target. As we sat next to each other, sharing a pretzel, I asked him, "What do you want to talk about?" "Me!", he answered. (What else?!) "Well, what do you want to say about yourself?", I asked. He smiled, and replied, "Well... I'm 3 now, and I'm a Big Boy!"

*After we went to Target, we went to Borders, where he peed on the potty in public for the first time. The look of pride on his face as he did it? Priceless.

*Sitting with my two guys, having dinner at Eat N Park, and thinking how lucky I am.

*I gave Dylan a hug goodnight, and walked out of his room, so Jim could put him to bed. He ran after me, saying, "Mommy, don't forget!" I stopped and turned to ask, "What?" "I peed on the potty at Borders!" And now, thanks to this post, my sweet boy, I won't. By the way, did I mention my kid is in UNDERWEAR? Can I get a WOOT! WOOT! Cartwheels? A parade? Too much?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Pictures sometimes do speak louder than words...

(Peasants in New Delhi bathe and wash their clothes in a stream polluted with raw sewage and methane gas).I am thankful for clean water to drink, bathe in, and wash my clothes in.

I am thankful that when I am hungry, I can just go to my refrigerator, or to the grocery store.

I am thankful for my home.

Green Forest Orphanage (Home to over 130 children Infants- Age 7)
I am thankful for my family.

I am thankful for my good health, and that of my family.

We all have so much to be thankful for. I'm thankful that all of you continue to take the time out of your busy days to come and visit my blog. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Party In Da House

Dylan's birthday party was at our house on Saturday. Having a party at our house was never really an option at the old house, since it was so small, and the parking options were nonexistent. A few months ago, I was at a friend's house, and she said, "You're going to have Dylan's party at your house this year, aren't you?" "Ummm...I don't know...", I answered. Later, I asked Jim, "Should we have the party at our house this time?". His answer was yes, and that was that. (Note to self: Do not ask the person who will only do 5% of the work. Ask the person who will do 95% of the work what she wants).

Last Monday, on my way to work, I had a panic attack, thinking about 33 people in my house. The noise, the chaos, the 12 kids screaming, the mess - I was envisioning the worst. Tuesday on my way to work I was thinking about calling everyone on the party list and telling them we were moving the party to Chuck E Cheese. But, something happened on my way home from work on Tuesday. I had this thought... "No matter how bad it is, it will only be a few hours of my life, so I should probably just enjoy it".

And, you know what? I did enjoy it, and more importantly Dylan enjoyed it.

It ended up only being 24 people, due to all the illness going around. Dylan loves Sesame Street, so it was an Elmo theme. The kids played "Pin the Nose on Elmo", and we discovered that Dylan does NOT like to be blind folded. "NO! NO! I CAN'T SEE!!" His favorite part of the party was the Musical Chairs inspired game we played where instead of chairs I used pictures of Elmo on the floor. When the music stopped I would call out a color, and they would turn the pictures over to see if they had that color, and if they did, they would win a prize.

One of the funniest parts for me was Dylan and his buddy Caleb sitting at the table for about 15 minutes, patiently waiting for the ice cream cake, which was rock hard and needed to thaw. (If I ever need him to be still, I'll just need to pull out some cake).
** (If you ever get an ice cream cake, allow 15-20 minutes for it to thaw. Also, avoid blue icing if at all possible. It does NOT wash out easily). **

About 1/2 hour after the cake, the kids were running circles(literally) through the house, and the silliness factor increased exponentially, but even then, things were way better than I expected. As with all of our parties, we have WAY too much food left over, and the party went on WAY longer than I thought it would, but it's over and what do you know? I survived.

(I would show more party pictures, but I don't want to have to get permission from everyone involved. I would love to show you the video of the kids running circles through the rooms, or of my kid ripping through the presents like a maniac, but you remember my Halloween video I posted? In November? Um, yea.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Boy is Three

Dear Dylan,

Here I am writing your birthday letter. Where does the time go? This has been such a fun year. I really wouldn't say that TWO was "terrible" at all. I thought it was pretty terrific. You have learned so much this year. Your mind never ceases to amaze me, and to be honest it does frighten me a bit. I feel that I have to make the right choices for you, so you can reach your full potential. You are so smart, and creative, and independent, and I don't want anyone to hinder those traits in any way.

You are still very interested in numbers and letters. You can do some addition and subtraction, and you can make the sound for each letter, and tell us several things that start with each letter. I don't think that means you are sounding out words yet, I think you have just memorized things that start with each letter. Your memory is what astounds me the most. You often repeat things I said days or even weeks ago. You can memorize books and often if I pause at the end of a line, you'll surprise me by saying the last few words.

You are probably bored at school, while they discuss one color and number for a whole month! The reason I wanted you to go to preschool, though, is to learn to be a good friend. You are used to playing things your way, and you need to let others take the lead sometimes. You are starting to talk about the other kids now, especially "Will", who I hear also talks about you at home.

Today, you and Will both brought in a birthday snack since your birthdays are so close. Tonight we went to Chick Fil A for dinner, then came home and played with a few of your birthday presents. Your favorite was the guitar Mi-Mi and Bubba got for you.

You love music, and you are always singing. You come home singing all the songs you've learned at school, and lately you stand up on your stool and "put on a show" for your daddy and I.

Dylan, you have so much energy and your body (and your mouth) never stop moving. It is definitely exhausting, but I love it at the same time. At a birthday party we went to recently, all the adults were sitting in one room watching a Steeler game. You walked over and stood right in front of each person, until they finally looked at you, and then you smiled at them and said "Hi!". You waited until they said "Hi!", then went on to the next person, and you made each person do it. I think that pretty much sums up your personality. You are engaging and friendly, and you make an impression on people wherever you go.

I'm proud of you, and the little person that you are, and I can't wait to see what you'll start doing next.

I Love You,

Monday, November 16, 2009

He's All Hands, But I Don't Care

We were very busy this weekend. Saturday we went to an indoor play area for a birthday party. Besides the kids in our party, there had to be about 5 other parties going on in the place. It was CRAZY. It was LOUD. It was FUN.

Believe it or not, after that we went to the farm. It was in the 70's, and we decided we just couldn't waste a day like that.

Yesterday was a day to run errands. We went to two different Target's, looking for a particular birthday present for Dylan, only to find both stores were out of them. We also went to Dairy Queen to order Dylan's cake for his party, to Lenscrafters for them to fix my bent glasses (guess who did that?), and out for dinner. Dinner was definitely my favorite part of the weekend, despite the fact that we waited over 1/2 hour for our food with a squirmy toddler!

Usually, I make Jim sit next to Dylan at restaurants. I figured it was only fair. I have to supervise all the other meals, so I deserve to "relax" when we go out. Jim usually spends the time complaining about Dylan's grimy hands continously finding their way to Jim's shirt, and I secretly(or possibly not) enjoy watching.

For some reason, yesterday I sat next to Dylan. I had no idea what I was missing! My normally unaffectionate child held my hand, snuggled up to me numerous times, and at one point wrapped his arms around my neck and exclaimed, "Oh Mommy! You're so cute!"

I'm so cute?! From now on, my clothes will all be stained, but I sure will be happy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Halloween in November

I have this problem. Well, at times it is a problem. If I am going to decorate for a holiday I like to do it early so I can enjoy the decorations. Once the holiday is over, however, it is over. The decorations need to be taken down the next day. It is now on to the next thing. (This could explain why I am a year behind on my digital scrapbooks).

The problem is this...

Halloween is over. It has been over for weeks. The decorations have been down since the day after. But, I didn't finish my Halloween video until today. Why? Because I do the pictures in this family. My husband does the video. That is our role (as far as I'm concerned, at least). Coordinating my time to upload pictures and his time to upload video proved to be... problematic.
So, here I am posting about Halloween on Veterans Day. This fact makes me twitchy, but if I don't do it now, it will never happen.

As you will see in the video, we are into Halloween in this family. Dylan is following right along in our footsteps, and wanted to hit every single house in our neighborhood. "Dylan, we are going to skip this house". "BUT, NO! THEIR LIGHT IS ON!!!" One highlight was Dylan (who was completely obsessed with gathering as much candy as possible) seeing a pumpkin that another kid was carrying, and going to grab candy out of his bag! He was a little too focused on the task, I would say. The other highlight was me getting a cramp in my foot from my darn boots, and hobbling along, trying not to swear in front of costumed children. Dylan would NOT wait for me, so Jim had to rush after him, while I tried not to look too strange, hobbling along almost in tears, with no children near me. (Nope, didn't get that in the video. Sorry). I would just like to say that we only spent $12 total on all 3 costumes! We needed to buy bandanas, and we got Dylan's costume used. Believe it or not, I've had that puffy shirt taking up space in the back of my closet since the 80's! Who knows what Jim's excuse is? Happy Halloween Everyone!! (groan)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Maze of Tubes

Dear Dylan,

Yesterday was a beautiful fall day, with temperatures in the 60's! You were so excited when I said we were going to the zoo.
We had a great time, but something that happened at the zoo stayed with me all evening.

You were having fun, playing in the playground area, while your daddy and I sat on a bench watching you. You went through the maze of tubes several times, smiling each time you came out, and exclaiming "I did it!".

You went in again, and we suddenly saw your head poking out in the middle of the tubes. I snapped a picture, and then noticed your slightly panicked expression. You started to cry, and I went over to see what was going on. "I can't come out!", you wailed. I tried to talk you through it from the ground, but you were distraught. You just stood there sobbing, and looking pitiful, saying "I can't!"

Oh, Dylan, I have been in that situation many times, and I had a similar reaction. I have a horrible sense of direction, and I hate being lost. My heart hurt watching you. I kept yelling up to you, "You CAN do it, Dylan!" Your daddy and I were both thinking we were going to have to somehow cram ourselves into those tunnels, and make our way up to you, to bring you out, risking throwing our backs out in the process.

Suddenly, an older boy came over, and told you he could help you find your way out. You just kept sobbing, but he stuck with you, and saw to it that you made it out. I wanted to hug that kid, but I just thanked him when he came out with you.

I've been thinking about that all day, Dylan. There are going to be so many times in your life that you are lost, or upset, and I won't be there. I won't be able to help you. I won't even know that you need help. I just hope that as you grow up, you will let me know when you do need my help. I pray that those times when I'm not there and can't help, that you will hear my voice in your head saying "You CAN do it, Dylan. You CAN".


Thursday, November 5, 2009

If I Wrote Romance Novels

...Rays of afternoon sun streamed through the window above the sink, where she stood rinsing dishes. On the outside, she looked cool, calm, and beautiful. On the inside, her mind was racing, thinking of the millions of things she wished she could get done before her son awoke from his nap.

She heard her husband's footsteps as he entered the room, but didn't turn around. She had too much to do. Suddenly, though, he was standing behind her, and he reached out to push a stray hair behind her ear. His hand brushed ever so gently across her cheek as he did it, sending a warmth through her face.

He wrapped his strong arms around her lithe waist. She felt his warm breath on her neck as he asked, "How was your day?" "Stressful!", she exclaimed, continuing to rinse the dishes. "I have so much..." Her voice trailed off as her husband started leaving a trail of soft kisses down the side of her neck. Oh, for crying out loud, she thought. Can't he see that I'm busy? Why did he ask about my day if he wasn't going to listen?" Mmm, the kisses are nice, though.

"What was I saying?", she remarked, turning to face him. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer, his hands under her shirt, resting on the small of her back. He leaned in to whisper huskily into her ear, "You said you were stressed, and have a lot to do. I noticed earlier that you seemed to have a lot to do today, so... I went grocery shopping and cleaned the bathroom". "OH", she moaned, a fire suddenly ablaze between her legs. She tore the fabric of her pants, in her impassioned haste to remove them...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween School Party and Heart Palpitations

I love Halloween. I really do. Not the scare yourself silly, haunted house, horror film type of Halloween, but all the other stuff involved in Halloween I enjoy greatly. This morning, though, wasn't so much enjoyment, as it was yelling, pleading, and heart palpitations. This morning was Dylan's first school Halloween party.

For an incredibly active kid, Dylan moves VEEERRRRYYYY SLLOOOWWWLLLYYY. When you want him to get somewhere by a certain time, he suddenly morphs into Slow Motion Boy. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Slow Motion Boy. He can leap over tall buildings, but first he needs to line these toys up, turn lights out all over the house, and count all the pumpkin decorations on the way out the door. It is hard enough getting him to school on time on regular days. I knew today, (which involved a costume) was going to be rough.

So, when my husband (whom I love dearly), jumped out of bed ONE MINUTE before my alarm went off, and jumped in the shower, I might have gone completely ballistic. "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? YOU COULDN'T HAVE PICKED A BETTER DAY TO DO THIS!!" There might have been more yelling involved. He was about to leave the house when I screamed, "OH, AND NOW YOU ARE JUST GOING TO LEAVE WITHOUT SAYING GOODBYE?!?" Yes, it was a beautiful moment between a man and his loving wife.

When Dylan woke up and didn't want to get out of bed, even though he was soaking wet, I knew what kind of morning it would be. Then, he insisted that I change the sheets before I put dry clothes on him. Then, came the "I NEED to"s. There are always things he NEEDS to do first, before doing what I want him to do.

Somehow we made it through breakfast. Somehow we made it through me drying my hair and getting myself dressed, although I had to stop about every ten minutes because I heard a crash, or he was screaming "MOMMY?", or he was too quiet and I had to investigate. By the time I needed to put on his costume I was already tired. Then I tried to put the super flimsy pants on, while he was only half standing still. Then I put the top on, and he started whining and pulling at the collar. "It's itchy. Itchy! ITCHY!!" I could just feel that any minute the fabric was going to tear and I started to panic and talk in slightly crazy mommy speak. "O-Kay-we-will-put-on-a-tshirt-under-it-and-then-it-won't-itch-O-Kay?-O-Kay. O-kay-This-will-be-fine-I-need-to-remember-to-keep-breathing-O-Kay"

By the time I met my parents at the school later for the parade I was breathing normally, and could even see the humor in the situation. When Dylan came out with his hat crooked and blood on his face from a bloody nose, well, it just fit.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Never What You Expect

Yesterday the temperature reached 70! (Insert choir of angels singing here). Ever since I saw this idea, I've been waiting for a nice day, so Dylan and I could go to a certain park with a stream. He loves to throw rocks in the stream, and it is a beautiful park. When he woke up from his nap, I told him to get a bucket - that we were going to the park to collect rocks. Man, you would have thought I said, "From now on we are going to eat only cookies, all the time"! He was excited. I was excited. I had a picture of the perfect fall day in my head.

I would say that one of the biggest lessons I've learned from having a child is this - you have to be flexible. Things rarely go as planned. As a matter of fact, do they ever? We got to the park and it was closed. Closed!?! Since when are parks closed? That is just ridiculous. They had fenced off the entrance and there was a sign saying "No admittance. Park closed for season". I was going to park nearby and climb over the fence (What?), but there was no where to park.

After explaining things to a very understanding Dylan, I turned the car around and headed to another park. I also realized that I hadn't brought my good camera (Canon), just the small one that I hate, that always takes horrible pictures. So much for my perfect fall day.

But, then I had an idea. "Dylan, why don't we stop and get subs and have a picnic at the park?" He shouted "YEA!! I LOVE PICNICS!!", and that was it. Perfect fall day back in business. We had a picnic in the sun, chased each other through the leaves, had races on the slides, and drew letters in the dirt. And, somehow, my crappy small camera took these pictures...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Fall Day at The Park

Yesterday the weather was gorgeous! Much too gorgeous to stay inside, so we went to the park. Today it is gorgeous again, which is why I am keeping this post short!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Three Straws

Dear Dylan,

Last night the three of us went out to eat. I couldn't help but grin, as I watched you playing with our three straws. First, you counted them. "We have three straws!!" Next, you practiced your newest skill - subtraction. "Now, there's three straws!! If you take one away, you have two!!"

Each time, your daddy and I admonished you, "Not so loud, Dylan"! We really need to work on your "inside voice", kid. I almost spit out my food when your daddy said, "Lower your voice", and you repeated what you just said at the same volume, only in a lower, more manly voice!

Then, you dropped one of the straws on the ground. You were about to crawl under the table and put your hands all over the dirty floor, but we told you not to. You were upset. You really wanted that straw back.

The next time the waitress came over, your daddy asked her for another drink. Then, you looked up at her and asked, "Can I have another straw?", drawing the word out for emphasis. She didn't hear you. The next time she came over, you asked a little louder, smiling sweetly at her, and adding a "Please?"

You grinned, proudly clutching your three straws, and I thought "This kid is going places". Knowing what you want, and not being afraid to go after it will get you far in life. I know it's not the first time, and I know it won't be the last time that I want to tell you this...

I'm proud of you.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Time

Well, the cold, rainy weather foiled our plans this weekend. That's okay. I just got the video done from last weekend! We made our annual trip to Reilly's Summer Seat Farm. We went on a hayride, picked out a couple pumpkins, ran through a corn field, and enjoyed the gorgeous fall leaves. Dylan also got to ride a pony, and get his hand painted (It was a football, but three seconds after getting it, he had already smudged it!). I know my parents are going to say, "How did you get such great pictures?" They took Dylan to a farm one day earlier that week, and he wasn't exactly camera friendly. Yes, there are about 30 good pictures in the video, BUT, I also took more than 60. All I can say is Thank God for digital photography. And, my Canon.
I obsess over what song to choose for each video. I picked "Old Joe Clark", by Dan Zanes, because it sounds like something you'd hear at a square dance. Plus, I just like watching Dylan's head bob up and down every time he listens to it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Fall Day?

My parents are not people who enjoy staying home much. Which, of course, means that I'm not a person who enjoys staying home much. Which, of course, means that Dylan is already not a person who enjoys staying home much. Which, of course, means HOLY HECK! WHEN IS IT GONNA STOP RAINING?!

Monday, as always, the day with the best weather of the week, I took the girls I'm a nanny for to Barnes & Nobles. Tuesday we were rained in. Wednesday and Thursday, after taking Dylan to school and back in the rain, we were stuck inside. Today it was still raining. This made me just a little bit AAHHBBBLLPPHHTTT!! I was supposed to have a mom and her son from Dylan's playgroup over. We've been trying to arrange it for a month now. First she was sick, then I was sick. This morning Dylan woke up with a red face and runny nose. Her son woke up with a bad cough. So, we were stuck in the house with no company. It wouldn't be so bad if it were just raining, but it is also COLD. Forty degree weather in October makes me start my "Why do we live here" mantra ridiculously early.

I might have been a tad bit irritated and bored, so I might have overcompensated. We played, we read Halloween books, we listened to a tape about fall, we painted a pumpkin, we made cookies. I also did two loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, washed dishes, organized a file cabinet, worked on a digital scrapbook, and wiped Dylan's nose eleventy billion times.

Since we were just going to be inside all day, I didn't bother to comb his hair. Be happy I didn't show you a picture of what I looked like today! If you are wondering why there aren't any pictures of the painted pumpkin, that is because I was too busy trying to prevent my WHITE kitchen from becoming multi-colored. If you are wondering why the cookies are red(ish), yellow, and orange, that is because we were SUPPOSED to make fall leaves. After mixing the food coloring in the icing, I realized I don't actually have a leaf cookie cutter. And, also, did you ever go to make cookies and notice that your flour says that it expired in 2006?! Yea, I never did that either.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Birthday Wishes

Last year, on October 14th, I wrote this post about my friend Julia. I got an email that day from her, after she saw the post, asking, "Did you know today was my birthday?" I honestly had no idea! What are the odds? Well, 365 to 1, actually. (Maybe I should play the lottery sometime).

I met Julia in November of 2000. I was going to be team teaching in the 4-5 year old class. The first day I walked into a room full of 24 wild preschoolers, who were already comfortable in their chaos by November, I felt a bit lost. Julia made it her job to fill me in on things, and to make me feel comfortable. I liked her from day one.

There were many teachers and helpers who came in and out of that classroom over the next three years. Three teachers trying to mesh their personalities and teaching styles was sometimes difficult, but Julia and I were very similar and never had any problems getting along. As a matter of fact, she would sometimes invite me and Jim (whom I had just started dating), to hang with her and her husband, and another couple. I usually turned her down, thinking that if we spent time together outside of work, it might be too much, and we would start getting on each others nerves. Ooof! (Kicking self. I was stupid then). Now, she lives far away and I never get to see her.

If you are wondering why I don't link to her blog, it's because she wants to keep her blog private. So many people (myself included) started blogging for selfish reasons. They wanted to find friends, they wanted to get a book deal, they wanted to make money, etc. Julia just wanted to chronicle her daughters' childhoods. Pure and simple. There is something so darn fantastic about that, and she does it beautifully.

Happy Birthday Julia!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cirque Du WHOA!

I don't have an official Bucket List. Nothing written out, with things to check off. But, there are certain things that I have always wanted to do. One was to see a Cirque Du Soleil show. It seemed like every time they were in Pittsburgh, I was low on cash, and couldn't justify spending the money. But, something my buddy Julia said, made me realize I needed to just do it. I bought Jim and I tickets for his birthday, and on Friday night we went to see Alegria.

If you want the short version, I can sum it up in one word... AMAZING.
If you want the longer version here are my thoughts...

*For all you Pittsburgh people - Walking up that hill to The Peterson Event Center, in the pouring rain, after you just scarfed down fast food in about 15 minutes, (knowing you had to eat something before the show), with bronchitis is not a great idea. GAG, WHEEZE, COUGH, COUGH. Oh, and also, my husband is only 1 inch taller than me. Why does he walk so fast?! How does he walk so fast?!

* When we got to our seats at 7:25 (the show started at 7:30), the lady next to me had her coat on my seat. When I asked her to move it, she said, "Oh great. I always hope that the people next to me won't show up so I can stretch out, and have somewhere to put my coat. But, you just had to show up, didn't you?" I replied, "Too bad! We're here!" Then, she grumbled, "Well, maybe the people in front of us won't show, and I can put my coat on their seat". I couldn't resist saying, "I think you're out of luck because I'm pretty sure the show is sold out". Then, Miss Joy and Happiness tutted, "Well, you know, people are SUPPOSED to show up 20 minutes before these things start". I commented ever so nicely, "Well, you know, there's this thing called TRAFFIC". Sure enough, someone did sit right in front of her. The seat in front of me was vacant. For some reason, I didn't tell her she could put her coat there, though, even though I wasn't using it. Hey, I did refrain from coughing on her, just for fun, even though I thought of it. Which brings us to my thought... People who don't know how to have fun should stay home.

*I don't get clowns. Never did. Just don't find them funny.

*If you go to a Cirque Du Soleil show, you will feel like an overweight, out of shape slug. Those people do not have an ounce of fat on them, and their bodies are like Greek statues. At one point, these male acrobats came out. Jim and I both thought they had things painted on their chests. Nope, their chests were just that defined. Hubba Hubba.

*At one point, this guy brought out a huge ring, like a giant hula hoop, and I thought, "What could he possibly do with that?" Then... "OH!... WOW!.. OH MY GOSH!!... HOLY CRAP!!!... WHAT THE...WHOA!!" My mouth was hanging open in amazement for the majority of the show.

*Is it possible to watch contortionists without thinking about sex? And also, being able to bend your back over and touch your feet to your head? That's just not right. I was in pain just watching.

*During one part, the trapeze guys had to climb up a very long rope ladder. They scurried up the ladder like very energetic squirrels, making it look effortless. Later, Jim said, "If I did that, I would get half way up, then I would have to say, "That's it. Show's over!", because I couldn't go any further!"

*If you get the chance to go see a show, GO! It is well worth the money. Just don't spring for the most expensive seats, unless you want to take the chance of getting picked to go up on the stage.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We Are Here

The past two weeks haven't been easy for me. Two Sunday's ago, I woke up with a horrible sore throat. I ignored it, and spent the day at my in laws. The next morning, I woke up with a worse sore throat. I ignored it, and went to work that day and the next. That whole week, I kept pushing myself to do all the normal things my weeks consist of - laundry, paying bills, grocery shopping, preparing meals, cleaning up meals, doing things for Dylan, doing things for Jim. I hate to be sick. It seems like such a waste of valuable time, so if I can ignore it, I usually do, and I did. By this past Sunday, though, I realized I had to stop and take care of myself. I called off work Monday, and went to the doctor's. He said what probably started as a sinus infection was now bronchitis.

I did take a couple days to rest, but clothes keep getting dirty, people keep getting hungry, and messes keep being made. I was tired and frustrated and annoyed. But, then Jim brought in a paper that was placed by our door.

It said... "Many of you may be unaware, but our beloved neighbor, X, recently passed away on October 4th, 2009. Her death was very unexpected after a sudden hospitalization. She left behind a loving husband, and two sweet young girls..."

That put everything into perspective. Most of the stuff we are all grumbling about is so inconsequential, isn't it?
WE ARE HERE. Let's stop grumbling, and make today count.

(For a related post, please go read this over at Boondock Ramblings. Oh, and grab a tissue).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The One Who Somehow Got Away

When I was dating, my grandma would say to me, "Well, Jenny. There's plenty of fish in the sea!" I would usually reply, "Yea, but grandma, you have to deal with a lot of worms!" This is a story about one of the worms.

We met at a club. I was dancing with my friend Rebecca, when this huge, sweaty guy leaned over to scream something in my ear. "WHAT?!", I screamed back. "DID ANYONE EVER TELL YOU, YOU LOOK LIKE KATE JACKSON?", he inquired, grinning at me. I already don't like you. Why start out with a corny line? Just say hello. Kate Jackson?! Puh-lease. Wow, are you sweaty! And...Big. Nothing wrong with that, but, geez, I don't normally date guys who have bigger boobs than I do! Oh please, just go away!

Sometimes people should really go with their first impression, but I didn't. He kept talking to me all night, and I danced with him against my better judgement, and even gave him my phone number when he asked. Why didn't I give him a fake number? Stupid! Because I am lonely and desperate. It has been far too long since I had a date. Sigh. He seemed nice enough. How bad could it be to go on one stinkin' date?

After talking to him several times on the phone, I deemed him "normal", and we planned our first date. Since we lived about an hour away from each other, I told him I would meet him halfway. He said that there was a great place to go, with batting cages, mini golf, go carts, etc.

At the time of this date, I was going to graduate school, living on campus, in a house with 2 friends. Before I left for the date, I went across the hall to tell them where I was going. They were out. Guess I'll tell them about the date later.

The place with the batting cages, mini golf, go carts, etc was fun. The conversation was flowing nicely, and I was enjoying myself. When we did everything there was to do there, I asked "Now what are we doing?" He answered that it was "a surprise", and that we would have to go in his truck. A surprise! I love it when guys plan surprises! How romantic! We continued to talk, as he drove down the road, but at some point I started noticing that we were a bit off the beaten track.

Where is this guy taking me? There's nothing out here! All I see are fields, a few trees, and some cows. Where are we?
"Where did you say we are going?"
"I didn't. It's a surprise".

Right. A surprise. Where could we possibly be going out here in the middle of no where? There are no businesses out here. I haven't even seen a house for probably a mile now! (Looking at him) Why is he grinning like that? Oh my God! OHMYGOD! What if he is... oh, that is ridiculous... he's just a normal guy... THATS WHAT EVERYONE SAYS ABOUT THE MURDERERS, AFTER THEY KILL PEOPLE!!!...oh man, I need to calm down. It's fine. He's just taking me somewhere...

"Could you just give me a hint about where we are going, please?"
"Nope. All I'll say is that I think you're really going to enjoy it".

OHMYGOD! He's going to rape me, then kill me! No one even knows I am out with this guy! No one knows where I am! I didn't even tell anyone his last name! Wonder if Rebecca could pick him out of a lineup?! How many drinks did she have that night? CRAP! I'M GONNA DIE!!

"What? Oh, yes, it is a pretty sunset".
I hope it isn't the last one I ever see! Oh! I like my life. I don't want to die. He might be bigger than me, but I'm not going down without a fight! (Looking at him again) He's huge! What was I thinking? I am weak. There is no way I can fight him off. Didn't I take a self defense class once? Remember, DamnIt! Remember something! A weapon! I need a weapon of some kind.

(Digging through my purse) Why do I always carry such a small purse? What could possibly be in this tiny thing? Credit cards? What the hell damage am I gonna do with a credit card? What I need is a pen! I could gouge his eyes out with a pen! Wow, could I really do that? That would be so gross. HELLO! HE'S GOING TO KILL ME! Where is my pen?

"What? Oh, we're almost there? Really? So soon?"
WHERE'S MY DAMN PEN?! I'M GONNA DIE! I have to think of something fast. Keys!! I'll jam a key between my fingers and gouge out his eyes with my keys! I can do this! OHMYGOD am I really doing this? (Closing my eyes to say a prayer) Lord, please don't let me die today...

"Here we are! I didn't say you had to close your eyes! I'm sorry it took a while to get here, but I heard this little festival was having fireworks tonight, and you said you love fireworks, so I thought this would be cool. Jen, are you okay? You look a little pale".
(Trying to breathe normally) "I'm fine. Just a little car sick, I guess. It's a fair! Way out here, in the middle of no where! Who would have thought!"

Believe it or not, we actually dated for 3 months after that, before he dumped me. Yep, that's right. The Big Boobed guy dumped ME. Oh well, at least he didn't kill me.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

We Got To Go Places

Today we went to Dylan's friend CJ's 3rd birthday party. It was at a park. There were swings, a slide, see saws, pizza, cake, and favors. What could be more fun than that, for a 2 1/2 year old boy? Not much.

After that, we went grocery shopping, then out to eat.

While walking into the restaurant to eat dinner, Dylan said, "It was a beautiful day! It stopped raining, and the sun came out, and we got to go places!" Man, I love that kid! Positive thinking at the age of 2 1/2! I have to be doing something right. Watching Jim and Dylan laughing, and throwing leaves at each other today, my heart was full. I am so lucky.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Home Renovation Post 1

Since the end of July, we have lived in our new house for ONE YEAR. It is in all caps because I find this fact shocking, and well, just plain unacceptable. We have lived here for ONE YEAR, and we have not painted a single wall since moving in. Pitiful.

We only had a few weeks between the closing and the move in date, and during that time, we...

1. Removed the sliding glass doors on the closet in Dylan's room. (Jim)
2. Bought wood doors for the closet, and painted them white. (both of us)
3. Chose knobs, and installed doors. (Jim) (Jim will say "There were many steps you skipped. It was more involved than that! I had to.. blah, blah, blah". You get the picture - new doors).
4. Painted the walls of Dylan's room blue, then painted clouds. (both of us, but I admit, Jim's clouds were better)

Since then, though, not a drop of paint on my clothes or in my hair (I'm a messy painter). Oh sure, we have ideas. It is getting the idea part to the execution part that seems to be the problem.

So for my memory's sake, and hopefully your enjoyment, I'm going to recap what we did manage to complete this past year. I'll start with the biggest endeavor.

When we moved in, the yard came with a pool. Actually, it was more like the backyard WAS a pool. The above ground pool and deck took up almost the entire yard. I don't mind pools. I like to swim. But, I also like to play in the sandbox, slide down the slide, jump in a pile of leaves in the fall, run in the sprinkler in the summer, make a snow angel in the winter, etc. None of that was possible with that pool taking up all the space. Also, we didn't have the time or money to maintain it. I think we swam in it 3 times last summer.

Then, we decided it had to go. Here's what we started with... (Picture taken in March)

After sending out an email to the 50 members of the Mom's Club saying, "Free Pool & Deck to anyone who can come take it down and get it off my yard", the pool was gone by April 4th. Problem was, they didn't want the deck. Then, we had to find some other people to come take the deck. That started on April 9th.

From April 9th-19th, my backyard looked like this...

Nothing says, "Come on over for a playdate" like rusty nails sticking out of wooden beams!

After April 19th, our yard looked like this...

Believe it or not, we actually took Dylan out to play with it like that a few times! We climbed on the rocks, dug in the dirt, and avoided holes in the yard. Desperate times call for desperate measures. And, believe me, we were desperate. I say that because our yard looked like that until... (wait for it)... AUGUST 4th!!! Yes, that's right, it took an entire summer of dealing with idiot landscapers before we finally found someone willing to come out and, oh I don't know, TAKE OUR MONEY!!! Seriously, we would sign a contract with someone, and they would be abducted by aliens, never to be seen again. I kept looking for "Landscapers Abducted By Aliens" stories in the news, but never saw any. Huh.

By August 14th, our yard looked like this...

We got rid of the ugly pine trees, that I'm allergic to, and that were also taking up a lot of space, and plan to replace them with smaller, prettier trees next spring.

By August 19th, the grass started coming in. I never thought I would be so excited about grass, but watering it 3 times a day was a pain! I just knew in a month we would have a gorgeous, lush lawn for Dylan and I to play in. Sometimes I'm so optimistically naive, it's laughable.

As of today, we have patches of dirt, and patches of grass. Where the landscapers put the dirt and topsoil, the grass is a yellowish color.

We are not at all satisfied with the result, so Jim decided he needed to get more seeds to try and fill in the patchy spots. He needed to aerate the soil, so he made the "Aerator 2000".

I knew when he told me the idea that it wouldn't work. I knew when he showed me the finished "Aerator 2000" that it wouldn't work. But, we have been married 7 years and in that time I have learned a few things. I have learned when I hear an idea, to nod enthusiastically. I have learned to let him tinker away in the basement, making who knows what. I have learned it is better not to ask questions. I have learned to say, "Ooh", and "Wow" when I see the finished products, no matter how ridiculous they look. I have learned to just sit back, and watch the funny man tire himself out pushing the "Aerator 2000" into the dirt until his arm just about falls off, and he finally admits defeat, and decides to go buy more topsoil. After all, it's not like I have any ideas myself. He'll figure it out eventually and we'll have a beautiful, lush lawn. I hope.