Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Coben...sweet sweet Coben

Coben is approaching two. I don't need a calendar to tell me that. It's evident when our sweet sweet boy is in time-out 5 times per hour for most of the day. No kidding. He's a hitter. He loves it. You can see the pure joy on his face as he winds up his arm and WHAP! hits his sister two, three, four, "COBEN!! Stop hitting your sister!!! Please go sit in your naughty chair." And a smile spreads across his face as he trucks down the hall and plants himself in his "naughty chair" beanbag in the corner of his room. His posture is SO good when he sits there. He doesn't fidget or play. He just sits erectly and waits until he gets a dismissal. And within minutes he walks up to the dog and "WHAP WHAP WHAP!" and he's back in the naughty chair.

He wants to test it all out. The grocery store. "What happens if I hit my mom in the face. I'm sitting here in the cart and she is right in front of me and WHAP! Hmmm. She didn't respond. I think she is trying to ignore me. I'll mock her the next time. WHAP! Now I'm going to open my mouth and make a gasping sound like she does when she is shocked at what I've done. Oh, oh, oh, I think I'm getting to her. One more time, this should do it. WHAP! YES YES YES!! A time-out! That's what I was aiming for. And next to the tortilla display this time. Yippeeeee!"

And he's very obvious. He waits until I'm in the room and then he starts whacking Cady and watches me at the same time. I try not to give him the reaction that he is looking for but it's back to the naughty chair.

I guess Cady went through this. I don't really remember because I think I was more horrified just at the thought of her hitting. I was afflicted by first time mom-itis! "Why is she hitting? OMG, we don't hit. Where would she learn that? She doesn't go to daycare. But kids don't just hit do they?" HA! Anyhow, Rob the Historian assured me that Cady did this. And she also had several days of 20+ time-outs and that this too is just another phase that will pass. In the meantime, if you plan on visiting, wear protective gear.

Religion

It started with this.

Cady: "Mom, is Santa going to die one day?"
Me: "Nope, he lives forever"
Cady: "What about God Obama?"

And last night as we passed the courthouse on the way to the zoo it was this.
Cady: "Is that the jail or God?"

and from that it evolved into this.
Cady: "Is Jesus still a baby?
Me: "No, he was a baby a long long time ago and then he grew up"
Cady: "Does he have his kids?"
Me: "Rob, did he? No, wait, never mind, of course he didn't"

Religion. I have my own beliefs and they do involve God. But I just don't buy into any one religion being the "right" religion. I believe, like I do with most things in life, that there is a grain of truth in everything and that is why I am drawn to the same church that some of my friends attend. I want the kids to understand religion and to make up their own minds. Here is the basic premise:

...that there is a Golden Thread of Spiritual Truth that weaves through the world’s Faith traditions. That among these threads of truth we understand the Oneness of God is found in Its creation, that the power of Love heals, and that we live, move and have our very being in pure Spirit. Because of this we blend the rich and diverse experiences of spiritual tradition to honor the many paths to God.

Rob and I agree that the kids need some information and if they are armed then the hope is that they will make better decisions. If I know that we hae done our part then I think we will feel more equipped to handle it if Cady is drawn toward Catholocism and wants to become a Catholic one day (I don't know, can you become Catholic?) Some day in the future Coben might meet a nice Jewish girl and convert to Judaism. It happens. But the bottom line is that it's time. The questions are being asked and we want to provide answers.

Monday, November 29, 2010

24th Blog!!!

I just saw that in 2007, the year that I started blogging, I posted over 90 times. And then in 2008 I posted about 90 times. 2009, the year of the brother my posts declined to the 60s. And then I saw that this current year, wich is over in one short month, only has a pathetic 23 entries!! So, this is a fluff entry to beef up my numbers a bit. I hope you enjoyed it. ;)

When did it happen?

Just when did I get so dumb? I used to know things. I could recite movie quotes, tell jokes, talk about articles that I'd recently read. I don't know things anymore and I think this started when Cady became verbal. Let me share an example from just this evening.

Cady: "Confidity and beyond!"
Me: (amused and wanting her to repeat it because I'm getting a kick out of it) "Say it again! I'm trying to guess who it is."
Cady: "Confidity and beyond!"
Me: "I know this, I know this! One more time!"
Cady: "Confidity and beyond!"
Me: "I know, I know. It's Buzz Light Year from Toy Story!!"
Cady: "No, it's Woody"
Me: "I think Buzz is the one who says 'Infinity and beyond!"
Cady: (and you all know the tone of voice)"No mom. It's Woody and it's Con-fid-i-ty!"

Why even argue...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving then Christmas

Less than a week until Thanksgiving. Cady made an astute observation while we were watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving tonight. The episode was chock full of Christmas commercials and Cady announced, "Everyone is thinking about Christmas but nobody is thinking about Thanksgiving." She doesn't even know just how correct she is since her own mom has not even started planning a grocery list yet. Originally we were going to try to get home to Vegas to visit my family. It sounded great in theory but all kinds of details got in the way. We knew that we would not be able to afford to fly because not only does it involve an expensive holiday price tag on the tickets themselves but then we have to rent a car and car seats. Cha-ching. So, we thought we'd drive and that is where the details just kind of screwed everything up. It started with having my oil changed and learning that the tread on my tires is just about non-existent. That's $600 that not only do we not have but makes spending that mere $40 at Motel 6 on the way up and the way back feel like the price of staying at the Ritz. And then more details. I have to work Tuesday. That would mean leaving Wednesday and getting there mid-day on Thanksgiving. It means staying one full day and then two more days in the car. Two days in the car with one kid to get to Wisconsin was nearly torturous. Two kids for two days with only one day in between doing it again...yeah, admit it, you wouldn't like it either. And let's throw in the final detail. We would be driving through the Rockies. Throw in some snow and it's possible that we'd end up driving five days and only stay 1/2 day. So, we are resuming our annual Thanksgiving with the Shaw's tradition (that would be Emma's family). This is our fourth or fifth Thanksgiving together so it's a pretty awesome consolation prize! I'm sad to miss yet another opportunity to see my family though. Perhaps this summer.
Cady has been very concerned about Santa. She is starting to question his powers. Does he live forever? How does he get into our house? And the most anxiety-provoking question of all. "Can he see me when I am going to the bathroom?" I am so glad that she was able to say that out loud. I remember how completely freaked out I was at that age believing that Santa, God and my deceased Grandmother could all see me when I was going to the bathroom. I never questioned it, I just spent a few years being weirded out by it.
Rob and I are making an effort to do what we can to split up the present buying in order to not get hit all at once in December. And what that means is that aside from Christmas jammies we are DONE buying for the kids! Santa scored a great train table on Craig's List for Coben. Thank God Wall-E ate one of our couches so we have somewhere to put it. He's not a naughty dog, he's a visonary. Santa is getting Cady a Baby All Gone and a doll crib. And Rob and I are going light on presents from us. Done done done!! The big prize is the tent that Santa is getting them. I can't wait until Christmas night when they will be allowed to put their blankets and pillows in there and sleep together. I also realize that I'm probably romanticizing how that is going to go but I just love the image so much that I'm blocking out the image of possible screaming, hair-pulling, tears, and an eventual separation.
Coben is getting Cady a pillow pet which will earn Coben HUGE points. Cady started talking about wanting a pillow pet when she first saw the commercial almost a year ago. And since then pretty much every child she knows has a pillow pet. She is quick to tell us who has them, who just got one, and how many they have. Emma has one. Maddie up the street has two. Pretty much every kid in her class has one. Every Wednesday is show-and-tell and every week I look in the show and tell box to retrieve Cady's show and tell choice and there are always pillow pets in there. Well, we figured a year is long enough to suffer. Us, not her. We are the ones that have been hearing about it for months!
And Cady is getting Coben a truck. He's a little obsessed. As Mimi can attest, give him a truck and he's occupied for a loooong time.
I'm in the midst of finding child care for Coben. It's never an easy task. I posted to my mom's group and I think we may possibly have someone. She has an 18 month and a 3 month old daughter so I think she is crazy but she seems nice. And Coben is so darned easy-going that I think he'll be fine pretty much anywhere with a good vibe.
Cady is thriving at preschool. She comes home singing songs and is learning to read. I checked out a flip-a-word book out of the library and she started reading that very night. She sounds out words all of the time and tries to spell everything. Her ears will no longer be pierced soon. She has no lobes. This isn't something I had realized until they were marking her ears to pierce them. Somehow her earring nearly tore through the lobes so I had to take them out. She decided that it's okay to let them close up once I told her that putting them back in was going to hurt.
Her imagination is out of control and she's been in our bed via middle of the night awakenings for over two months now. It started when her teacher read, "There's a Nightmare in my Closet" and I'm tempted to call her at 3 a.m.just to spread the joy. This too shall pass, right? Coben on the other hand sleeps in his own bed all night. He comes in around 6 and dozes for another 1/2 hour to an hour. Then he wakes up and lays on top of me. He puts his nose right up against mine and whispers, "Hi mama." Every morning he does this and every morning I wake up with a melty heart. It's the best.
Wall-E continues going to obedience class and he's a constant reminder of why we are cat people. Jenny continues to eat herself silly and still manages to get herself locked in random small places for hours on end on a consistent basis. Fibi just keeps on smiling. And the rest of us? We are just so thankful for everything that we have and for the people in our lives and that life is good.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Holidays are a-comin

It's October? Really? What happened to August and September? I'll tell you. Gone. Time spent driving the kids to and from school. Ballet, Tap, Music Class, and Gymnastics. Physical Therapy for me twice a week. Trying to squeeze in exercise. And then school events. Blogging time? Forget about it. When we are not running I just want to turn off.

School has been going well. We are really happy with Cady's school. She is so excited about learning again and she is growing by leaps and bounds. She is starting to sound out words and attempting to link those sounds together to make her own written words. Coben is in love with his new BFF Leo. There was a time when I would come to pick him up and he would run to me, hug me and head for the door. And now it's a fight to get his shoes on and I have to practically beg him to leave with me.
The picking Cady up from school ritual is beautiful. Every single day, whether we are pressed for time or not, we MUST engage in the rituals.
The rituals:
We park the car and enter the building. Coben must open the door all by himself. He waves to the security guard. We have to stop and look in all of the display cases. We must then run up the ramp and get a drink from the water fountain. Then it's running down the hallway and looking in the display cases up there. Then we walk into the room and Coben shrieks, "Cady!" and runs in to find her to give her a hug. As I'm checking out he must wash his hands and dry them. And then we leave and we repeat the rituals on the way out with the addition of climing up onto the wall and running on the ledge. And he must sit on the end before he gets down. If any of this is out of order or not done there is a price to pay and it's not pretty. I made the mistake one day of using the restroom and for days afterword Coben ran to the restroom and yelled, "mama!" because he was sure that using the restroom was a new addition. Anyhow, it's very trying but watching him burst into the room to find his sis is priceless. Watching him mimic everything that she does when they walk out of the school together is better than priceless.

Cady is going to be a fairy for Halloween. I am going to be a tooth fairy. Rob and I haven't really dressed up since we've had kids so I thought I'd surprise her this year and join her in the fairy theme. She and I went to the thrift store and wedged ourself into this tiny dressing room placed right at the head of the check-out lines which were hellaciously busy since it was 50% off day. If you were one of the customers waiting in line you probably heard me raise my voice more than a couple of times, "Cady, quit opening the door when I'm undressed!" What can I say, the kid fidgets. And fidgeting with the door lock is not exception. I decided that trying on large pouffy dresses with a four year old in a 2'x2' cube is no fun and I have no doubt that Cady would agree with me. But we ARE outfitted. Rob, not so much. I tried to find him something but let me tell you. One sure way to offend Cady is to suggest that her dad dress up as ANYTHING with a feminine flair. Whew!

And here comes Christmas. Cady doesn't watch tv anymore except for one show at night if she has earned it. Saturday and Sunday we are more liberal and she has been known to watch a few Sponge Bob's in a row before we shut it off. And with tv comes tv commercials. Nearly every commercial elicits this response:
"Mom, Dad, I want this!"
"What does it do?"
"I don't know but I want it!"
OR
"Mom, Dad, I want this! It bends and twists and you can tie it up and it's only 19.99 but you have to be 18 to order and you get a free extra bendy-twisty thing if your order now!"
I made her a little book tonight. The plan is for her to use it to cut and paste pictures of what she wants into it so that we can later discuss. Really, it's a way to channel all of those wants and hopefully she'll see how accumulative those wants are and realize the challenge in narrowing down her top wants.

Cady vocab. I've been writing these down.
Yo-grit=yogurt
Thingers=Fingers
Hump-is=Compass (mine and Rob's personal favorite. Arrested adolescent humor I guess)
carfume=perfume
Endevelope=Envelope

And Coben. Yes folks, he can talk. Things are finally clicking for him and he realizes that words=power. "No" is a favorite. "Cady" ranks right up there too. He's just a talking machine. And he is still sleeping. I keep waiting for the other shoe to fall but it hasn't yet. We tuck him in and he's out. He does like to wake up at 5 and for lack of better words...it SUCKS. But, it sure beats the all night wake ups that another little person used to put us through. And naps are a breeze. We so deserve this. We paid our dues into this club.

Wall-E. Still an asshole. Rob is sitting here with me and that was his contribution to the blog. :) He's our asshole though and the kids love him. He'll never be a cat and one day we'll come to terms with that.

Jenny and Fibi. Our fair-weathered friends are back to sleeping with us again now that Fall is in the air. Jenny has been hacking. In fact, she pretty much did it next to my ear all night long last night. Please please please don't let her have another obstruction.

Why does this feel like a Christmas letter? I remember that Rob and I started to feel normal after Cady was about 2. So, seeing as how Coben has about 5 more months I'm confident that the blog will be more bloggy and less Christmas-lettery sometime after March. Eek, I will be 40!!

I think I'll go process that!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Updating the blog

I think about it. A lot. It's alwasy somewhere in the back of my mind, "Paula, it's been a while since you've blogged. Don't you think you should write SOMETHING?" I think about how I really should write a synopsis of our time in Maine. About how we rarely saw Cady and the fun that she had getting around the clock adult attention. She had a fairy-finding, sea-treasure-seeking, rock-climbing, berry-picking, pie-making, book-reading, row-boat riding good time!

But the thought of breaking it down overwhelms me.

The very night that we got back from our 2 week hiatus there was an email that I opened at 11:00 that night that said that work was starting a day early and that I was supposed to be back that next morning? Now how do you cancel a dog obedience appointment, a hair appointment, get some basic food items back into the house (milk anyone?) and find child care on 7 hours notice? That pretty much defines how it started when we returned and it just hasn't stopped. So when Mimi sent me an email today asking how things are going and I found myself with a 20 minute lunch break at work, I answered. And I realized that I had just about written a blog. So, to alleviate the pressure that I feel (from myself) I am cutting and pasting a quick update and calling it....DONE!!

Cady absolutely LOVES school. The director came to our house before school started to meet our family and let Cady take her on a tour of the house. What a brilliant idea b/c on Cady's first day she was pretty apprehensive going in but when she saw Ms. Mona's familiar face her whole body relaxed. And Ms. Mona was able to say, "Cady you have a Hello Kitty shirt just like the Hello Kitty pillow that you have on your bed that you showed me!" A brilliant engagement strategy! It's a very child-centered happy classroom. The food is catered in from a nearby senior living community and it is fabulous. The kid is eating a morning buffet (served family style) of eggs, BACON, blueberry panckakes and fresh fruit and although I haven't seen the lunches or snacks Cady's describes them as holding up to the same standards as breakfast. She loves that she finally encountered some monkey bars that are HER height and she never stops talking about Ms. Mona. She had her very first show and tell yesterday and brought a couple of pictures from Ripley (ripped out of a 2003 calendar since we didn't get it together in time) and her collection of sea treasures. She claimed that she wasn't shy and felt very brave sharing.

Coben seems to be adjusting well. It's a hoot to pick him up in the afternoon and watch him play with his little same-aged friend Leo. They seem to get along well and Coben doesn't seem in a rush to leave when I pick him up. Anytime they are asked to give a hug good-bye they run to each other but then give each other a shoulder bump. It's the funniest thing. She had him in gymnastics with Leo once a week but we decided after the teacher refused to take our check that it's just not Coben's thing. They refused to take the check for this month apparently because he refuses to engage at all. So, Cady will stay in gymnastics and Coben will stick with his music. Cady also started a ballet/tap combo class at the rec center. So far so good. Although she was confronted on her first day by major four year old attitude when the girls at the front door asked why she didn't have a ballet outfit. I guess we'll be going to get one of those after work today. :) Coben still exhibits his metrosexual tendencies. He's obsessed with a tube of pink lipstick that I have and always find a way to get a hold of it and apply it. He cries when I get ready in the morning until I pretend to put mascara on him. He's still very much into wearing my shoes around the house and his OCD around tidiness and order still lingers.

I'm not sure what Rob has filled you in on but the house is broken again so we had to have the structural engineer back out...again. We're looking into epoxy now and then getting the heck OUT. We'll definitely be selling because we are DONE DONE DONE and if we had enough money to get it all done now we'd probably sell NOW. It's probably just as well that we wait so it looks like Spring is the time that we'll put it back up. And hopefully there is someone out there that doesn't mind a broken house (it's still deemed sound but will likely re-open anytime and everytime the ground shifts which is frequent).

That's our news. We are trying to enjoy the last of the summer weather!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The window is shut

Our first realization that the window to eating out has been temporarily shut was on Father's Day. But did we pay any attention? Of course not. I think as parents the need to get out and do "normal" things sometimes outweighs rational decision-making.
Every year we try to make it up to the Baldpate Inn for their fantastic soup, salad and baked goods lunch/dinner that they open up to the public. The scenery is amazing and Cady has been dying to go to the mountains now for some time. So, nearly a month ago I made us a reservation (I made it at the same time as the disastrous Father's Day Brunch). We thought that some fresh air, a walk through Estes Park, hummingbirds, fresh flowers and chipmunks would somehow seduce the kids into a complacency that would get us through lunch. Not so much.
The first mistake I realize is even considering eating at a place with nice tablecloths and five utensils in the place setting. Kids and tablecloths and extra utensils do not mix. Let me do a quick summary. I took Cady up to get food on her plate and she wanted well, pretty much nothing that was on the salad bar. She was unimpressed by it all and spent the better part of dinner drinking her water with her spoon, trying to fit her fork into the milk cup (the milk that was upsold to us by the waitress who after we told we were all having water asked Cady if she'd like a glass of milk), eating crackers like a chipmunk, jumping out of her chair and having a melt-down when realizing that she could not have pie for dessert (thanks again to the waitress) because we had a cookie in town AND she didn't eat dinner. I brought back some finger food for Coben which he greeted by back-arching and screetching which carried VERY well through the intimate dining room. Every food that we would offer was screetched and screamed at and yet offering nothing at all was also fuel for a back-arching and screetching fit. Cady felt like she had to go to the bathroom, oh...FOUR TIMES, during the course of the dinner. Coben upstaged that with a stink poop grand finale that I had to change in the tiny, cute, very nice smelling bathroom. (Sorry Baldpate for my child single-handedly destroying your lovely fragrance). The ride home? I think Rob and I rolled our eyes and wished we were anywhere else the entire hour and a half. Cady was bouncing off the car windows making noises and talking a mile a minute while Coben cried THE ENTIRE HOUR AND A HALF that it took us to get home. Wait, I exaggerate. About five minutes before we pulled in, I put on some very loud rap music which seemed to calm him. Who knew.
One day we will stop romanticizing these things and prepare ourselves for the reality of life with two little ones. Through it all we had a few chuckles and those are the moments that we'll hold onto. Cady and Coben playing I spy on the way to the Inn. Cady pretending to speak for Coben in this funny high squeaky voice, "I spy something white" and Cady always guessing right on the very first try. The conversation on the way home between Cady and Wall-E (For those wondering, Wall-E was NOT with us). But again, the high squeaky Wall-E voice and Cady bantering back and forth was a HOOT. Coben lighting up at all of the flowers in Estes Park and calling "Bood bood" at all of the hummingbirds fluttering around the Inn. Driving by Wild Basin and pointing out to Cady the place that her mom and dad got married. And one of my favorite moments on the way home:
Cady: I have to go to the bathroom
Me: Cady, we'll be home soon, you'll have to hold it (she had just gone before we left)
Cady: But I really really really have to go and I can't hold it. I know. You can stop at a cookie store and we'll use the bathroom there.

So obvious kid.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Things to remember

Sunday was Father's Day. Rob was up early to go to his Boot Camp class that he hadn't yet learned was cancelled. So much for sleeping in on Father's Day. We had a reservation at the Green Briar in Boulder for Father's Day brunch. It's a nice place but we were in and out quickly since Coben didn't want to be seated and it was not the kind of place that he could run around. Cady presented Rob with his gift which was a bird feeder that she had painted. She was absolutely convinced that Rob needed a bird feeder and she only gave the surprise away about 5 or 6 times before he opened it.

After brunch we decided to go for a bike ride around the lake. This was Cady's first "solo" trip (she was accompanied but unassisted. Coben was riding in the back of the bike trailer with is head completely weighted down by the helmet obstructing his view of everything. As we were pedaling around the lake I had a chance to reflect on this particular time in our lives and things that I never want to forget.

For Cady, it's the image of her pedaling confidently behind me on her Princess bike with her handlebar streamers blowing in the wind. The look of confidence and joy on her face as she pedaled her little legs as fast as they could go. Everytime we passed someone she'd squeeze her little horn no less than ten times to signal to every passerby her accomplishment more than her presence. Four is a fun age and it's a challenging age. Cady questions everything and she misses very little. She has such pride at the new things that she learns such as snapping and whistling and she performs for anyone who listens. She wants to do everything herself yet is quick to want to be carried, cuddled, and protected from every spider, monster or scary creature that enters her mind. At this point in her life she wants to spend time with us and is hungry for our approval. She loves to put on dance and fashion shows in the evening. She has a quick temper, a sassy little attitude, and at times the attitude of a fourteen year old. Fortunately this is tempered by a very strong compassion, huge heart and an understanding of right and wrong. She loves her brother and more fights are caused by her over-protectiveness of him and his resistance to being big-sistered all the time. She's afraid of spiders, loud noises, and trying new foods but craves the adrenaline rush of the sky bungee and big roller coasters. She loves date nights with her mom, dressing up and putting on lip gloss and jewelry. She questions when she will be old enough to pierce her ears, stay home alone, and ride the upside-down roller coasters. She wants to grow up so badly and it's happening right in front of our eyes.

Coben on the other hand is still our little squishy. I love his chubby, yummy little knees and the bow-legs that peek out of his knee-length shorts. I love the way he runs with his left arm pumping front to back when he sees somewhere that he has to get to, giggles like a gremlin, and grins from ear-to-ear. I adore the way we have to stop at every flower on a walk through the neighborhood so that he can sniff it. The world is his playground and he lives the saying, "take time to smell the flowers." Coben is generally serious, very studious and a man of few words which makes those smiles and giggles even more endearing. He lights up the most when his dad gets home from work. We watch for him through the window and when he sees the Trooper his arms start flapping and he grins from ear-to-ear. He squeals, "Da-da!" when Rob walks through the door. He is mostly laid-back but has a ferocious screech that he is not afraid to let loose when he must have his way. The things that matter to him are food, Wall-E staying away from his food, being picked up ("up, up, up") and being able to climb whatever he thinks he should climb. If given those simple things in life he is quite content to toddle around all day unloading drawers, climbing tables and playing with his toys though his favorite activity is running around in the backyard. He'd live in the backyward if we'd let him and all day long he brings me his shoes which is his sign that he wants to go out. He loves to play chase with his sister and echoes her screams as they tear through the yard. He loves his bedtime books and can't wait to snuggle into his bed for a story. He's also a sucker for early morning cuddles with his mom and rising at the crack of dawn.

Sometimes I wish I could freeze certain moments such as the bike ride around the lake. Too often it feels like we are running to appointments and activities, trying to stay on top of life, or just plain worn-out by the more challenging side of having a one and four year old. It's hard to stop and take a good look at what is in front of you. One day Cady will be doing her own make-up and going on dates without me and Coben will be sleeping in and no longer up at the crack of dawn for morning snuggles. As much as I love to see them growing up, every obvious moment of growth makes me catch my breath and question whether I am truly savoring each and every moment of their little-ness.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Feeling Better

I think we just came off of the longest period ever of Coben not feeling well. For a while I was starting to think that the screetching, whining, crying, refusal to eat, and constant need to be held for the past three weeks was his emerging personality. I'm happy to say that the old Coben is back and it seems as though the Hand, Foot and Mouth disease that he has is just really bad and long-living.He has been such a joy to be around the past three days. He is giggly, mischievious, silly and absorbing everything around him. I've missed that Coben.

Coben is talking and signing up a storm. Please, thank you, more, eat, dog, balloon, bird, Cady, mama, dada, kitty, eat, up, and help are just a few that come to mind. He also seems to be a budding Metrosexual as he LOVES to have lotion applied to him...constantly. He brings the bottle and signs more. The lotion is applied and he signs more. Rinse and repeat. He also loves to brush his hair and his teeth. His climbing has been out of control. There is nothing that he won't try to climb and he usually succeeds. It's tough to protect him from himself. But I think his all time favorite activity is to push his sister's buttons. And he is VERY good at it.

Cady still wants to marry Coben. I mentioned the other day that one day Coben will one day grow up and maybe marry someone. Cady huffed at me and said, "Mom, I am going to marry Coben. He will give me a ring and I will give him a spider man key for our house." It sounds like she's got it all planned out.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mushrooms on your pizza?

This one will probably get lost in translation but I have to blog it for Cady. I've already found that when I read back on my blogs that there are so many stories and anecdotes that I would have forgotten about had I not written them down. So Cady, one day I would like to remember this conversation because it is just so you!

A couple of days ago all of us were on the porch. I shared with Cady that I thought Wall-E looked like a pepperoni pizza. "Look Cady, he has pepperonis everywhere and an extra big one right there on his back". Cady responded by pulling up his tail and saying, "and here's his mushroom" while pointing at his butt. And then, "Hey dad, do you like Wall-E's mushroom? He has a very hairy mushroom." So, I could leave it at that. But in the interest of preserving the story in all of it's glory I must share the rest. I'm blushing as I type this because I realize I am sharing this with more than a handful of family members and friends but it is pure Cady gold. Out of the blue this morning she walks in the kitchen and says, "Mom, your mushrooms name is Nosy and Dad's is Fluffy!"

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Roaster Poster

I miss the days that Cady called Roller Coasters "Roaster Posters" but at least she still calls American Flags, "Flags of the Guh-nited states of Gamerica" and she thinks that when I sing "London Bridges" that I'm singing Lemon Bridges. She's growing up so quickly. My first sad moment of my girl is growing up is when we went shopping last week for summer clothes. Gone are the days of me putting things in the cart and knowing that she'll wear them. These are the days of Cady choosing her clothes off the rack, pairing things up herself, and having very definitive ideas about what are keepers and what are not. We now have a groovy pair of black and white leopard print 3/4 length shorts to prove it.

Why the talk about Roaster Posters? We went to Lakeside, our neighborhood amusement park on Memorial Day to ride the kiddie rides. I bought a big stack of tickets to last both kids the afternoon and we set out to ride them all. Coben wanted nothing to do with anything and broke into tears anytime we even got close to any of the rides. Cady rode one kiddie ride and was completely unimpressed. We don't even think she cracked a smile as she was bouncing downward on the miniature freefall. So we ventured our way into big person land and Cady's eyes lit up. We started small and put Cady on an adult ride that was a bit rickety but had a speed and whip factor. I don't remember what it was called but I do remember wondering if Cady was up to this big ride. Within moments my question was answered when she and her dad came whizzing around the first corner and I saw Cady's eyes shining brightly and a huge grin plastered across her face. We then walked further into the park and found the carousel so that we could all take a spin. We thought that the carousel would be the grand finale until Cady looked up and saw the Cyclone. I immediately sensed her desire as I watched multiple emotions pass across her face in mere seconds. This is the roller coaster that we pass almost on a daily basis and that Cady has wondered about for years. It represents everything good about the "Ferrist" (the fair). The Cyclone is the BIG roller coaster. It's a large rickety old-style roller-coaster with big drops and fast turns. Those of you that have visited have probably noticed it as we've driven up Sheridan. Immediately Cady started to plead, "Could I go on the big roller coaster?" and there was an urgency and desire in her voice that I only hear when she has absolutely made a decision about something that she MUST do. We walked up to the Cyclone and checked out the stats and confirmed that she was in fact tall enough to ride. I double and triple checked before buying more tickets. "Cady, are you sure you want to go?" She never hesitated. I thought for sure that once she was in line she would change her mind. She did not. She didn't even look nervous. Even I, a seasoned roller coaster rider, might have been a little nervous. Instead, what I saw was a wild-eyed excitement that she was finally going to ride the Cyclone. Coben and I watched as Rob and Cady lined up to get into the cars. We watched them enter the cars. We watched them take off. Then we quickly scurried to a spot where we could see them zooming down the track on the first drop. I worried that she was going to completely freak-out and Rob would have to spend the entire ride consoling her. Instead, what I saw when they came barrelling down the first giant drop was two elated beings having the time of their lives. I met them at the exit and Cady was grinning from ear-to-ear and talking a mile a minute as someone who just got an adrenaline jolt. Rob said that she laughed and screamed (in a good way)coming out of the drops. Cady thought it was hysterical that Rob screamed too. So now, there is even more purpose to every coin that Cady puts into her Disneyland Piggy Bank. She is amused by the story of her mom being scared on the big loop-de-loop roller coaster at California Adventures in Disneyland. And the wonderment of a rollercoaster that actually goes upside down and you don't fall out has her chasing the Disneyland dream all the more! Disneyland is no longer Princesses and Fairy Tales...it is a place with more roller coasters to conquer.

Here is a picture of the roller coaster. They didn't have a good one on their website but you can see it here in the distance: http://www.lakesideamusementpark.com/History.php

Monday, May 24, 2010

Magical Day

Today is a magical day. Things are blooming, the sun is shining, and I think we may have had a Thimbe the Fairy sighting. I was sitting in the living room alone and suddenly the wind kicked up and our street was FILLED with blowing fairy dust(it had to be fairy dust, right?) and I called to Cady, "Come quick!" Cady came running out and we looked out the window. I told her that I saw someone flying by very quickly and sprinkling the fairy dust. With each question that Cady asked she got more and more excited. "Did she have brown hair? Did she have wings? Did she have green things wrapped on her legs? Did she have a crown made of flowers?" Cady realized that it must have been Thimble the Fairy who came by and sent her a special message by sprinking her fairy dust down our street. This inspired Cady to want to draw Thimble a picture and send her her most favorite sparkly rock. Since putting it in the envelope I have heard her say several times in her sad little voice, "I'm really going to miss my rock" I told her that if she isn't ready to give her rock away that it's okay to keep it. Cady said, "It's okay mom, I know that Thimble doesn't have a special rock like this so I want her to have it." Awwww. What a big heart. I'm certain that next year's party is going to be a garden fairy tea party with a guest visitor. Hopefully Thimble will find us again.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

And it's a wrap...almost!

Summer vacation is just around the corner for both Cady and me. YAYAYAY!!! Next week Cady will have her little "graduation" ceremony which means that I will have to leave early on my last day of work. I can think of worse things!

What do I have to look forward to this summer? For starters, I cannot wait to ditch the weird afternoon-school schedule and am hoping that I can get Coben off the morning nap and encourage him to start taking an afternoon nap instead. Right about the time that he'd get tired in the afternoon and I could potentially have gotten him down for a nap, was right about the same time that I'd have to leave to pick Cady up for school. It has made for a lot of long, grouchy afternoons. Because of Maine, we can't schedule too much. I learned that most of the activities run the full course of the summer. It wouldn't be a big deal to just miss the last couple of weeks of any activity but it seems like they all had an end result...a play, a dance recital, an art show. So, I think we'll take advantage of library hours, the community center pool, backyard play, fountains, etc... Whatever we do, I'm just looking forward to having unshared time with the kids.

Last week Cady had Field Day. Field Day is the day when the kids spend the day outdoors doing all kinds of physical activities such as the 3-legged race, potato sack races, relays, etc... I was able to take a couple hours off or work to cheer her on. The highlight of my day was to watch her with the boy that she says she is going to marry, David. This is the same David who loves to plant kisses on Cady when they say goodbye. What a joy to watch their uninhibited affection toward each other and also really neat to see that it wasn't shut down which I'm sure in another year or two will be. While David and Cady waited for their turns they constantly had their arms around each other while sitting together. David would also lay his head in Cady's lap and Cady would stroke his hair. I also observed David standing behind a sitting Cady hugging her from behind with his chin on the top of her head. It was all so sweet because it's probably the only time in her life (for a long time at least) that I'm going to be okay with that level of affection. I think what really impressed me the most is how far this vehement boy-hater has come in the last year and how demonstrative and loving she is with someone that she really likes.

Coben is talking. Talking and signing all at once. And we are learning that he is ALWAYS hungry. I have never seen anything like it. He puts away more food than I do and still doesn't seem to fill up for very long. He toddles around the house constantly signing the sign for eat. And then he eats. A lot. Then he signs non-stop "more". Almost overnight he went from 3 words to about 20! He's on his way! In no time at all he'll be asserting himself with Cady...that will be a fun blog!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hair products

One of my most favorite things about Cady is her knack for making up new words. If she doesn't know what something's called she just calls it the word that she thinks it should be called. Her newest one is for curlers. She had a bunch of my old electric curlers outside and when we asked what they were she said they were "hairmines" (Hair-Mine). Yet a few minutes ago when I asked her to pick up the "regular" curlers (non-eletric) that she had been putting on Wall-E's tail she said, "those are curlers!" I told her I thought they were hairmines and she explained the difference to me (very matter of factly of course). Apparently there is a difference and each requires its own name. Who knew?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Clipping along

Life has finally resumed some normalcy after the renovations, trip to Wisconsin, family visit and a birthday party. Normal still involves a lot of running around and juggling but we have a new perspective on how tame that seems now.

Cady is involved in a little love triangle at school. On one hand there is Javier. Javier is five and was one of her first steady school friends. In January things started to shift a bit and Cady came home talking about David instead of Javi. "Davie likes the Wiggles, David does a Wiggle Dance. David. David. David". David on more than one occassion has planted a big kiss on her at the end of the day. The most recent was when I had to pick her up early for a Dr. appointment. David yelled across the classroom, "Cady, wait! I have to kiss you" and comes running across the room and plants a big one on her. Well, the past two weeks she has started talking about Javi again and Mr. Polo told me that last week there was an actual fight between the two boys and she was smack in the middle of it. Both boys were competing for her attention by drawing her pictures and it got heated when Cady only gave one of the boys a picture in return. Ah, young love.

I'm still loving Cady's classroom. She comes home with so much new information. It's crazy how much she absorbs and it's refreshing to hear her learning about more than reading and writing. When I go into her classroom during the day it's always calm and the kids are always fully engaged. This is not the case in many classrooms that I've been in. Despite my love for the school we've had to make other choices for next year and Cady will go to another ECE program by my work because for now the hours are more acommodating of our schedules. Full-time ECE is going to cost and arm and a leg so we will no longer be able to afford to have Alicja return. I have been searching like crazy for an affordable option (something in the ballpark of 1/2 of what we pay now since 1/2 is going to ECE)and a great option just popped up. An acquaintance of mine who lives in the neighborhood and who has a son Coben's age is not returning to her Kindergarten job next year and is willing to take Coben on for the days that we need at a rate in the ballpark of what we are looking for. Hooray! I was hoping not to have to hand over my entire paycheck! It's a relief to know that he won't be in a childcare center and that he will also have another kiddo to play with.

Coben is growing by leaps and bounds. The kid can eat! Rob took him out to dinner tonight since I had a date with Cady. He ate a 1/4 pound hotdog, french fries and 1/2 a large jar of baby food. That rivals today's lunch of a very large bowl of ghoulash, three servings of beans, a tacquito and banana and yesterdays lunch of four scrambled eggs with spinach plus a healthy sized side of green beans. Growth spurt? He's still not a big talker but his speech is taking off. He's starting to sign more too. We've noticed that his mind operates like Rob's. He's more observant, technical, and hands-on than others of us. He watches and studies everything and then quietly performs. He's learning to climb up and stand on things. I'd like to put a helmet on him for the next couple of years but I don't suppose it's practical. The way that he lights up when he's standing on something that he's climbed onto keeps me in check. He has so much pride in his achievements that I just have to bite my tongue and let him go. He can play outside for hours and he's at his happiest when we let him. He toddles from one activity to the other and keeps himself entertained. Unfortunately as soon as we have a nice day and get a taste of summer we end up with snow or rain the next day. He is not tolerating those days very well.

Tonight Cady and I had a date. I bought tickets to see a neighborhood theater production of Wizard of Oz. I wasn't expecting much considering that last time we went when Grandma was here Cady said that her favorite part of the show was when it was over. We dressed up, put on a little make-up (glitter hair spray for Cady) and I could tell she felt so special. We parked at the show and walked up 32nd Avenue for dinner. Several people passed by and made comments to Cady about how pretty she looked and I could see her walking just a little taller after each compliment. She chose Chinese food so we had a nice dinner together and then walked back to the show. What a hoot! The way the play was set-up was a circular platform in the middle of the room surrounded by just six tables with eight chairs each. Very intimate and extremely close. I was a little worried about just how close because Cady was already having a lot of anxiety about the wicked witch. Well, the show started and the fun began. Because it was so intimate and because Cady made no attempt to use her "library voice" everyone from the actors to the audience got to share in Cady's innermost thoughts. During one scene when the trees were throwing apples at Dorothy and the Scarecrow, the Scarecrow missed the apple and it rolled under our table. I didn't even notice that Cady crawled under the table to get it until well into another scene when the apple goes flying onto the stage. And my all time favorite Cady comment of the evening was this:

Cady: Why is he walking like that? (referring to the tin man who was walking stiffly)
Me: It's because he is made of tin
Cady: (Pause) Am I going to look like that when I'm 10???

It was a great night. Cady laughed harder than I've ever heard her laugh (aside from being tickled) and she had so many comments during the show. The owner of the theater company approached us during intermission and said, "I don't know what's better. The play or the cute comments that your daughter is making" and this woman was seated at the table furthest from ours, yikes! Cady was terrified of the witch and spent all the witch scenes in my lap. She hugged Dorothy after the play. She sulked because she wants the show to be "open" every day and she didn't ever want it to be over. And because the show actually ended almost two hours past her bedtime she had the funniest meltdown during the ride home. It was pure tiredness and she was completely losing it in the back seat over nothing.

So that's about it for us. Naturally I'm still waiting to hear something (anything) about my position for next year. Meanwhile I'm just wrapping up the school year, getting my data reports completed, planning summer activties and enjoying the thought of spending more undivided kid time soon.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Cady!

Cady woke up to 25 balloons on her bedroom floor! Today is officially "yes" day. Rob and I are trying to say yes as much as possible on her special day even if we have to tweak things a bit. "Yes, you can have that candy..after lunch." Her excitement today is contagious. She is out of her mind thinking about the cupcakes that we made for her class last night. That her family is flying in this afternoon. That we are going to music class. That we are doing our third annual celebration at Gunther Toody's tonight. That she has a fun birthday party planned for Sunday (it was supposed to be Saturday at the park but a forecast for snow squashed those plans). It's good to have something exciting happening after coming off of the excitement of a trip to Grandpas house. Cady had a lot of fun feeding the horses, rough-housing with Grandpa, playing with her cousins Makenzie and Riley, seeing her mom dressed up like a Princess (bridesmaid gown), running around in the great outdoors and cheese shopping with mom and dad. It was a great visit and we miss Grandpa and Grandma already.
Here is the four year old video interview.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rapidly approaching 4

I'll keep this short. It's beautiful outside. The lawn is mowed. The sprinkler is doing it's job both watering the freshly mowed lawn and providing entertainment for the kids. I've come in only to finish some laundry and to blog a thought.

As you all know, Cady's fourth birthday is in less than two weeks. It's time to do her annual birthday interview video. Please add comments if you can think of some fun questions that should go onto this video. I have a couple in mind but could use some help.

Now, the great outdoors are calling!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What Next?

There are so many moments as a parent that just catch you completely off-guard. And sometimes they catch your spouse off guard. Rob though, never misses a beat.

Example:

We just moved back into the house. We are all sitting on the floor in the furnitureless living room leaning up against walls with pillows underneath us for cushion. I think American Idol might have been on. Cady is sitting on Rob's lap. Fibi is sitting on Cady's lap.

Cady (to Rob): Daddy, where is Fibi's vagina?

Rob: (grabs fibi, pulls up her tail) It's right there Cady.

Cady: No Dad. That's her butt. I want to know where her vagina is.

Rob: (pulling up Fibi's leg and inspecting closely) It's right here Cady, look.

Fibi: (wearing an expression on her face of WTF?)

Paula: (laughing so hard inside)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Home projects, A Play, and Sleep!

It's been action-packed around here. So much so that it's still hard to catch my breath and yet we are preparing for round 2. Round 2 of construction starts the last week in March. And hopefully that will be the end of it. And then in April we fly to Wisconsin for my sister Jenny's wedding (I'm IN the wedding) and then Penny comes to visit when we return and we'll celebrate Cady's birthday. And THEN it will finally slow down around here (knocking the hugest piece of wood that I can find!)

Some happy developments though. Coben is fully weaned. The little bugger didn't even protest tonight when I took away his final feeding (the coveted before bed feeding) and he passed out almost immediately when I laid him in his crib. It helps that he has been walking non-stop and is physically tired. But he's done. Knowing that I will not ever nurse a little one again makes it a little bittersweet. Mostly sweet though because one thing that I was extremely hopeful about was that once I started weaning that he would start sleeping through the night....AND HE IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh Happy Days!! Rob and I have had about 4 full nights of sleep (okay, so we won't count Cady's wakings) in the past couple of weeks. And let me tell you, it is nice. I nearly forgot what it feels like to have energy. And everyone just seems happier around our house!

Other kids news. Cady has bangs again. It was an impulsive decision after a year of growing out those bangs. But she looks cute and I don't have to put it up anymore. And she wanted them. It's all good. She participated in the Finding Nemo play that she practiced for 8 weeks. When her moment came she clammed up on her lines but she seemed to enjoy the spotlight as her teacher had to carry her off of stage at one point when she missed her cue for all fish to exit the stage. She still vacilates between liking school and resisting it. I think she really likes school but hates missing out on what happens when she is not at home. I tell her that I spend the time doing laundry and running errands but I think she is convinced that we are eating candy and playing games while she off at school learning.

Coben is physically all over the place. He is walking confidently and trying to climb anything that he can. He follows Cady around the house and is constantly in trouble with her for getting into her stuff. His new trick is flushing the toilet and that just flat out annoys Cady who doesn't like him wasting water. Other kids his age are doing laps around him when it comes to talking but he's more of a "less talk and more action" kind of guy.

Wall-E. Great dog overall. Annoying habit of making us chase him at the least opportune moments. It makes us crazy (and sweaty) but it's ONE bad habit out of a sea of habits that he COULD have.

The cats. Jenny still throws up after most meals. Fibi is in love with Cady and sleeps in her bed all of the time now.

And one more. My girl Cady misses nothing. My favorite and totally overused swear word is "Shit!" I use it mostly when I do something clutzy (which is quite often). Yesterday as we were walking up to Emma's house for her 4th Birthday Party I dropped my purse in a puddle of dirty melty snow. "Shit" was in my head and ready to come out of my mouth but it never made its way out because Cady said it for me. That's my girl!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

One year ago...

One year ago I was lying in a hospital bed. I had worked all day the day before, had been up all night (minus the hour that I slept before my water broke), and hadn't had anything to eat since 6 the previous night. I remember lying there with all the machines hooked up to me and watching the seconds tick away on the clock in front of me. I had been lying there since midnight (or was it 1 a.m.) willing Coben to hurry up and come out so I could eat. There is NOTHING like birthing hunger. I remember thinking, "there is no way I am going to be able to push this baby out if I don't get some sleep or get something to eat." I remember initially thinking that I could have him by breakfast time and be able to order some of the pancakes that I had after giving birth to Cady. After having labored for 21 hours with Cady and having eaten very little I remember thinking that the hospital pancakes were by far the BEST pancakes ever made and now getting to order those pancakes was becoming a full-blown obsession. But then it was going on 11 and my hope shifted to having Coben by lunch time. It's not as though I couldn't eat at all. I did have some Tums and some ice chips. I'm not sure why that didn't hold me over or give me the strength that I felt like I needed but the intensity of my hunger outweighed everything else that was going on. And then around lunch time I heard the most beautiful words I've ever heard. "It's time to push." This time Rob was awake and ready to assist as he'd been sending play-by-play updates on Facebook. (note to anyone who is planning to have a baby. Make sure you husband knows ahead of time that he must get permission first before putting FB photos of you up after you'd been awake all night, have been pumped full of fluids and have just pushed a baby out). So one year ago minus two hours I pushed a beautiful little 9 pound baby out. I remember Rob holding him up in front of me and my first words were, "He is so beautiful" because he was even more beautiful than I imagined. One year ago I learned that giving birth for the second time is just as intense, beautiful and amazing as the first time. I also learned that your heart is big enough to love another child as intensely as you love your first. Happy Birthday Coben!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Working moms and productivity

A friend sent me a two minute news blurb the other day on how women in the work force who have children are not promoted to the same extent as those without children. Initially upon watching the segment I felt like I was *supposed* to be outraged but instead I felt somewhat responsible. I automatically felt conspicuous as a cause. There are women like me that contribute to the preconception that being a mommy in the work force may lead to less productivity. Don't get me wrong. When I'm at work. I work hard. I'm passionate about what I do and often times that carries over to doing work at home or being on committees or other little extras. But when it comes to attending meetings outside of my work day I can't just stay on a whim. I have kids to pick up at 3:30 so I have pretty strict boundaries. And boundaries in the American work force are not a very welcome thing. I'm reluctant to give up the precious time that I've been given to be a mom to two litle ones. Anything "extra" that I might have dedicated to giving to work in the past I am now dedicated to giving the kids instead. But on the other hand, there are women who are absolutely dedicated to their jobs and will do anything to get ahead. They seemingly are able to do this while balancing their roles as a mom. Maybe their husbands stay home with the children so that they are able to dedicate 120%. Or maybe they have family in town that offer additional support and therefore they have less guilt at being away more. The women who are able to give 100% to their work deserve to be promoted for their extra efforts and not held back just because of their parenting status.




The article said that in order to get ahead you need to have solid and reliable child care for when your child gets sick. Is my childcare solid and reliable? Absolutely! But if I have to choose between work and mommying a sick child, I'm quick to put on my mommy hat. This happened recently with Coben and his myriad of illnesses. My kid was sick and it made for a distracted mom. Unfortunately the worst of it was on one of my short weeks where I only work two days. One day was so bad that I chose to stay home. Coben had diarrhea, vomiting, a fever, coughing, etc... Not only did I not feel it was fair to subject Alicja to Coben's virus but really, when it comes down to feeling like crap, I feel like a kid needs his mom. The next day I pushed myself to go back to work but only lasted a half a day since Coben's fever was not breaking, he was sleeping around the clock and his eyes were now glued shut most of the day. The following day I took him to the Doctor and was told that he had a double ear infection and pink eye on top of a cold virus. We started antibiotics which caused severe diarrhea. Coben already hadn't eaten for a week and now everything he was eating was exiting his body was quickly as it entered. And just when I thought he was on the upswing I woke up at 6 on the day I was to return to work to find a child who had a bone dry diaper after 8 hours. Dehydration can be a pretty serious thing for a little one. Since the Dr. wasn't open yet I went to work and found myself absolutely distracted by Coben's health the first two hours of my day until I could make a phone call to bring him in and was then told to bring him right in. What would a mother who is able to dedicate 100% to her job do? I honestly don't know how a working mom is "supposed" to juggle these things. Because the structure of our employment system (with the exception of some really progressive companies) requires me to make a choice. And I will always choose my family. But the truth is that while I was unable to be at work, I spent hours at home taking care of the work that needed to be done. This was not noticed. What is noticed is that I was not at work therefore I was not working. Nobody called me out on this and my dedication is not in question but I imagine if I actually worked in a traditional system that promoted a person that my sick days would not go unnoticed.


So I am not surprised that working mom's don't get promoted as often. And it's because I understand our jacked-up American work system that won't even take a chance by hiring a newly married woman who they perceive might, God forbid, get pregnant. And forget hiring someone who (no matter how well qualified) may already be pregnant. And if you happen to be employed through your pregnancy it astounds me how many women don't get paid time off for any amount of maternity leave. I appreciate the great strides that have been made that allow me to be a working mom and I understand that it is my choice to put my children over my work. But I'm not a single mom who doesn't have the luxury of that choice. Or a mom who is financially responsible for the family because her husband has been laid-off or has a disability preventing him from working. This is where my outrage comes in. We have more choice than ever but we are still dealing with antiquated companies that fail to recognize that they actually may have the ability to retain some pretty fantastic working moms. Mom's aren't quitting the workforce because they are flaky since having children. Many of them are being driven out. Is is possible that working-moms can be just as productive as their childless counterparts if given flexibility, the potential to job share, opportunities to telecommute, and/or on site childcare? And I'm not just talking about moms here. Rob has the opportunity to be a fully-invested dad because he is fortunate to be in a position that offers family-friendly policy. I know it sounds a lot idealistic and extremely kumbaya-ish but it's being done. Look at McGraw-Hill http://www.businessweek.com/careers/workingparents/blog/archives/2006/02/the_family-frie.html and Johnson & Johnson who is at the top of the Working Mother's Magazine top 100 Family Friendly Companies and has been for the past twenty years!

I know that some of my more conservative readers are going to insist that a woman must make a choice or that she belongs at home for those first few years. I don't disagree that within our current contstraints that a woman must make a choice. But maybe where the choice needs to lie is not with working versus caring for your kids but instead with where you choose to work so that we can strive for systemic change.

Ummm. That 2 minute news blurb really kicked off some emotion. I went into this blog thinking I would sound off with a couple of SENTENCES. Thanks for staying with me. :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

First Steps

Let me start by saying that today was a fantastic day. Nobody is sick. Cady didn't have school. And so we had the entire day ahead of us and had a really great time. We visited the Buttefly Pavillion which both kids loved. We had lunch at "MsDonalds" and spent time at the Playplace. We stopped by Emmas and they ran wild for a while. We haven't had an opportunity in quite some time to just have FUN and I think it was great for all of us.

Last night we celebrated Coben's first birthday two weeks early. Most of you know that two very good friends of mine had their babies right after Coben. Three babies, three days in a row. The funny thing is that all of us were due in March and we all delivered early. One of the good friends is moving out of town next week so we decided to bump up the celebration and have it on Valentine's Day. I'll try to post some pictures soon but the boys did great. They properly smooshed their Cars cake and wore the red icing like a badge of honor. So maybe because Coben thinks he is one he decided to start walking.

Tonight Coben took his first steps. He's been standing on his own for a while but has been very meek about even trying to take steps. Tonight he picked up a foot, realized he could do it and by the end of the night was taking multiple steps down the hallyway. The kids ended up taking turns putting on their shows. Coben would take a few steps and get lots of applause (he's not too modest to applaud himself) and then Cady would take a turn doing flips and spins. We even had Wall-E and Jenny crowded into the hallway to take in the show.


What's a blog without a chuckle? Even if it's at my expense I'll share. Cady today says to me, "I want a big butt likes yours so mine can dance in the shower too". Ha ha haaaaaa.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mommy Brain

I used to have the memory of an elephant. I could pretty much function without a calendar and recall people, conversations and events without even straining. Now I have three calendars (four if you count the one on my phone), I've had more than one embarassing situation where I find myself chatting with someone at the grocery store and have NO clue who they are, and can't remember where I'm supposed to be at any given time even WITH the use of four calendars. Call it what you will -- baby brain drain, maternal absentmindedness, or Mommy Brain. It's all the same. I can't remember shit!

Here are some recent examples:

Freezing cold snowy day. I have both kids with me that I'm taking to Children's Hospital for Coben's appointment. I roll down the window to take a ticket for the parking garage. Two and a half hours later I return to the garage (upper-level unsheltered area of course) thinking someone might have broken into my car because my driver's side window is missing and there is snow in my front seat. I just forgot to roll it back up after taking the ticket.

I have to pump breast milk when I'm at work. Usually there isn't a good opportunity to do this so I end up multi-tasking. Pumping and responding to emails or voice mail messages. So, the other day I'm pumping and I notice that my leg feels warm. I don't stop to look it was more of a "huh, that's weird my leg feels warm, back to work" moment. Well, when my leg really started to get warm I looked down and noticed that I forgot to put the bottle onto the pump. And then I look at the other side and notice that I didn't attach either bottle. So, off to a meeting with wet pants from hip to knee.

Most of my readers here are already familiar with the 7 people and a dog walking Cady to school on a non-school day so we probably don't need to revisit that one.

Rob always says, "You should use your planner!" I do! How about the countless times I've checked my calendar at say 2:00 and notice that I have a 3:00 appointment and then somehow manage to tune-out and not tune back in again until like 4:00...one hour after I've missed my appointment.

And it is becoming more and more common to run into people in the neighborhood who know my name and stop to stay hi and I have no clue (their face doesn't even look familiar) who they are. And it's not like I remember ten minutes after walking way. I just never remember.

Last weekend Gretchen emailed me to make sure that it was still okay for them to come to dinner Sunday night at 5. I'm not even home at 5 because of my Soul Fire class. What?? Really? I invited someone over for dinner and can't even remember that? Nice!

And fleeting thoughts are a dime a dozen. Thank you notes. I still haven't written thank you notes for Christmas. I really need to email Tammy and make plans before she leaves town. Hey, I left our green mixing bowl at Alex's house three months ago. I'd better call her. None of it gets done. They are just fleeting thoughts that occur when I'm driving which is when I have time to think (and no time to actually put those thoughts into action).

I stopped to analyze this the other day and it makes sense. I'm now the social planner for four people. I moderate Rob's Dad's group and plan their dates. I moderate a dinner group and the Sloan's Lake neighborhood mom's group. I schedule all of the kids activities and appointments. I research school and child care options. I'm on Cady's school leadership team and a committee to set up a health agenda for Denver Public Schools. I plan the grocery shopping and dinners. I have 42 students that I have to remember details about not to mention keep track of the myriad of meetings, maternity leaves, and community networks. I have the added responsibility of compiling data for all of the teen parent programs in the district. And part-time work is just a figure of speech. I wonder if anyone who works part-time really works part-time since the rest of the world is still functioning full-time and doesn't wait for a part-timer to come back to work to have their needs met. And there is just very little down-time. Having two kids is like running a marathon (not that I would really know). Just about the time that exhaustion takes over you look ahead and realize that you aren't even close to being able to stop.

And the real problem. I'm doing all of this on less than six (not continuous) hours a night. They say the first year is hardest and I don't disagree with that.

Friday, January 29, 2010

More Tidtbits

I've been wanting to update..but when? At this very moment I have a sleeping baby in my lap who wakes and cries the second I lay him down. I'm trapped! This seems like a great time to update.

Bobo is standing on his own. He's not walking yet. But soon. Watch. He isn't saying too much yet. He's still limited to "mama" and he said "dada" the other day. He tries to say Dog. He LOVES Wall-E. Those two have a great relationship. Wall-E lets him do anything to him. And that's because Coben his food dealer. Always be nice to your food dealer.

Wall-E. Oh man. We love him. He's our family. But there are days... He's smart. He has a mind of his own. And he usually asserts his intelligence at the worst possible times. I could write a book about is shenanigans...but I won't. Hopefully time will help us out.

Cady-isms. Today, for the umpteenth time I tried to put Coben in Cady's car seat. We've had a week of bad nights and no sleep. So Cady says, "Mom, you're putting Coben in my seat. Why are you doing that?" and I respond, "Cady, my brain is very tired." and she says, "You need to play my Memory game mom and I think you should start tonight." I think she is right.

Baths are a luxury. I can't and shouldn't complain because I haven't set the best limits with the kids. Most of the time I end up with either one or both in the bath with me as soon as they hear the water running. There was one night a couple of months ago when I was just done. I was exhausted and tense and I announced to Rob, "I am going to sneak into the bath and read a book." Within minutes Cady is in the bathroom with her clothes off and climbing in the tub and seconds later my book was drenched, I had a dinosaur wedged under my butt, and I was being informed by a three year old that I was taking up too much room. I hadn't really tried again since then until last night. I actually got into the bath, ran the water and got into a nice reclining position before Cady barged in. She looked at me wide-eyed and actually gasped, "Mom! What are you doing in that bathtub all by yourself?" I love it that she actually thought that I was lonely in there without company. I assured her that it was completely unneccessary for her to get in and that I would be bathing solo by choice. Score one for mom, kind of. Unfortunately a certain husband of mine had taken an evening shower and used up all the hot water so it was only a small victory as my tepid water was cold before I could turn the first page of my book. Next time.

Cady is enrolled at another school for next year. No worm school for her. We had to go with the cheaper option that fit best with our schedules. She's been on the waiting list for two years and I think it will be another great fit. The hours are extended so that the days that we work she can stay as long as we need her to, and the days that I don't work I can just take her for the preschool portion of the day rather than leave her all day. Coben? Who knows. I'm in the same predicament that I'm in every year about this time. I have to set up child care options when I'm in the dark about my own position. When the economy takes a dive like it has and when education is faced with huge cuts there are two places that you do not want to be 1) school support 2) discretionary position. I'm both so we'll see. I don't *think* that cuts will eliminate my position as a social worker in the district, it would just alter where I end up.

I appreciate the comments that you all leave. I just published two of them that had been sitting in my SPAM folder. Starin informed me of this at Boot Camp. I only see Starin at Boot Camp once a week so it's turned into our catching up time. It's when she informs me of things like having unpublished comments and I fill her in on what the damn dog has been doing. We have both had "conferences" with our boot camp trainer telling us that we are not very good together. I believe that she told Starin that I'm a "chatterbox" and she told me that I work out twice as hard when I'm alone. We've pleaded our case (mine being that it's my ONLY social activity)and I think that we're improving our ability to multi-task and do both well.

And because it's after midnight, that's all she wrote.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weeeeee! Here we go!!!!!

Cady was doing something not so nice to Coben and I asked her to be nice. She yells, "I don't even like him! I wanted you to have a girl!" Oh boy.