Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Distinguished Gentleman

Charlie has taken to walking with his hands held behind his back. It looks like he is pacing and thinking about very important things; like how he can score more blueberries. 

 Maybe he is trying to figure out how to talk. That would actually be sort of helpful.

Just a typical Tuesday

Yesterday was a bit crazy. 

Charlie had a doctor's appointment to get an ultrasound on his boy parts. They are worried that he is developing a hernia. Shawn took him to the appointment because I had class. Charlie was not thrilled by the procedure and Shawn finally had to lay down on the table, with Charlie laying on top of him, to get the exam done. Then, in an act of defiance, he promptly peed on everyone. 

In other news. . . AJ had a science fair last night as well. He did his project on the difference in heart rates between adults and children while doing certain types of exercise. 

Shawn spent a lot of time with AJ over this past weekend explaining the scientific method. I spent a lot of time somewhere *else* so I wouldn't obsess about square corners, straight edges and presentation techniques. He did agree to border his information with construction paper. So we are making progress. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

So, I Guess My Camera Wasn't Broken

I made the mistake of showing my "broken" camera to Shawn. He takes it, looks at me like I have two heads, pushes the battery back in, (that had been not pushed in all the way), and hands it back to me. 

I was **so close** to getting a new camera!! UGH

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Camera is Broken

And my life has changed so much since the last time I posted. Here is a sampling:

1) I have lost 50 lbs
2) Our back yard is done, complete with, garden and water feature
3) I have single handedly completed all home improvement projects in the house
4) My house is immaculate- every surface is virtually sparkling
5) I have been slaving all day on a 5 course meal for my family- made from scratch
6) Both of my kids baby books are started and finished
7) Both of my kid's baby quilts are started and finished
8) My children are both bathed, with their teeth brushed and sitting quietly with their hands folded. 

As far as you know.

Friday, February 20, 2009

At the Park

I took Charlie to the little park behind our house this afternoon. He liked the slide and walking on the grass. He also tried to clean up the landscaping by picking up each and every single leaf and handing them to me. He's not efficient, but he's thorough! 

This is me trying to get a self portrait taken while holding an uncooperative squirmy toddler. Obviously, a professional is needed. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Gramps!

We celebrated Shawn's Grandpa's birthday on Sunday. He turned 80 on the 13Th.  We had a cookout with the family and then a homemade cake. 

Shawn's grampa is one of my most favorite people on the planet. He is smart, funny and a more devoted family man, you will never meet. And I am sincerely grateful for the influence he has had on Shawn in making him the man he is today. 

But because it is a family full of smart alecks, there were numerous jokes about how many packages of candles had to be used on the cake, the necessity of having a fire extinguisher on hand, and will we be able to light all the candles before the first candles melt into the cake?

The answer to that was a big fat "no".

Here is a picture of Shawn putting his engineering degree to work and using a fork to light the candles we can't reach. 

It was a big milestone and a fun day, albeit a smokey one. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Couldn't Make This Up. . .

This week, in my bio class, I have to create models of atoms and molecules using colored plastic Easter eggs, string, nuts and raisins. 

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Charlie's Busy Day

He had a showdown with the cat.


Struck a pose.

Did a safety check on AJ's bike.

And took a ride in his truck.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Confidence in Consumers

I have a strange little habit. I love to read the warning labels on things. I find it hilarious that whenever we buy anything, the warnings on the package are written for someone who has never lived on the planet Earth. It would never occur to me to use my toaster outside, in the rain, during a lightning storm. But someone, somewhere must have right? The toaster company could not have possibly thought that up on their own, right?

That's why I was shocked when I brought home a take and bake pizza from Target today. The directions told me to bake the pizza at 375 degrees for 16-20 minutes. That's it. 

It didn't tell me to remove the pizza from the box. It didn't tell me to take the pizza off the cardboard circle. It didn't tell me to take the plastic wrap off the pizza before I put it in the oven. And, it didn't tell me that the pizza would be hot when I took it out. I panicked. I needed more guidance. There was a customer service number on the box. Should I call it? Would that be too embarrassing?

 So, I did what any reasonable person would do. I threw out the obviously defective pizza and made chicken. 

Valentine's Day

I got flowers for Valentines Day. Not from Shawn, but from AJ and Charlie. (Yeah, I got a little teary. ) And that, in a nutshell, illustrates how Valentines has changed for me in the last 15 years. 

Shawn and I have never been Valentines Day people. We sort of forced it on each other when we were dating. But then as we have gotten older (and wiser) we couldn't care less. I don't really like traditional romantic stuff. The red roses, the champagne, the teddy bears, the chocolates in a heart shaped box, are all things I could do without. I always felt like the guy was reading from some "man manuel" and was following a list of instructions. All girls like that stuff, right? Nope. And that, right there, is the key to romance. 

When our first son was born, instead of a more traditional piece of jewelry (which I am *sure* is listed in the Man Manual), Shawn bought me a set of pots and pans. In some households that would be grounds for divorce. I LOVED them and use them every day. They are amazing quality and I will be cooking on them for years to come. 

The big joke this Christmas was that when Shawn asked me what I wanted, I told him I wanted a vacuum (a Dyson Ball to be exact). Then I explained that the beauty of this plan is that I would get exactly what I wanted and he would look like a complete jerk for getting me a vacuum for Christmas. (Insert evil laugh here). The man is not stupid, I never did get my vacuum. 

But he is romantic in small ways every day. And I would take that hands down over a bunch of gifts that don't mean anything to me personally. I have had girlfriends argue, "But it's a day to celebrate your love!" No, that's what our anniversary is for.

AJ's class had their Valentine's Day party yesterday. It was fun to be there because it was all so simple.  There were no hurt feelings or pining for unrequited loves. Just treats. Lots of treats.  They had cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and candy. And then they had more cupcakes and cookies. The kids were in heaven. The sugar alone was enough to make anyone feel heady and loopy. Just like falling in love.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Road Trip!

I went with AJ's class to Taliesin West today on a field trip.  Finally a field trip I could appreciate!

The day started off with a good omen- a rainbow. There were actually several on the way there.

Here are some pictures of the trip. It was interesting not only to see the architecture, but to hear the philosophy behind it all. 

 The best part of the whole trip was that we had a man in our group who was actually an apprentice there in the 80's. It was great to hear his personal stories and memories. He actually had met FLW's third wife. She had interviewed him to become a part of the program. He told us that he had known he had wanted to come to Taliesin West to study by the time he was 11. He began the program right after high school, at age 17 and stayed there 7 years.  As is the custom there, he lived in a tent for 2 years and then moved up to a shelter that he built. (See an example of that in picture #1)

We had lunch at a park and the kids were able to play for awhile. They were all really well behaved on the trip and deserved some wild time.  

All in all, a great day. And it was fun to spend some time with AJ and his class. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Scientific Ponderings

Here is my latest biology lab. I am charting the hatching of brine shrimp larvae in waters with different salt concentrations.  

I have a few questions:

1) Are brine shrimp like tea leaves? Can I tell the future by the patterns in the water? 
2) Will the cats eat my homework?


AJ had a playdate the other day with his friend Lauren. She is a soft spoken, polite child who is always a pleasure to have around. They spent about an hour throwing the ball back and forth trying to get it stuck over the driveway. They would then spend about 10 minutes trying to get the ball unstuck by throwing their shoes up at it. 

Charlie was in sort of a mood, so I had taken him outside to play too. The kids were really good with him and shared their balls, etc. But after awhile of Charlie getting in the way, Lauren came up with a creative idea to keep him contained. She merely drew a circle on the driveway with chalk and placed him inside. 

It actually seemed to work for a few minutes. But the funniest part of the whole exchange was when Lauren bent down to Charlie and said: "Just so we understand each other" and started drawing spirals around the edge of the circle. I asked her, "What is that?" She said, "Barbwire"

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Birthday Boy

We had Charlie's birthday party today with a bunch of our friends from the neighborhood. The plan was to have some pizza, cake and games at the local park. Keep it simple. I had  been telling my friends I was having a low-key party.  No fuss. I wasn't baking, cooking, cleaning or crafting a darn thing. We would have the party at the park, bring some outdoor games and the party would practically run itself.  It would be the most stress-free kid's party in the history of humankind. 

Well, last night on the news, the weatherman said it was going to rain all day. So after much deliberation, (read: a complete freak-out on my part and Shawn talking me off the ledge) Shawn and I decided to move the party to our house.  

We ended up having a lot of fun. The kids ran wild, played outside, upstairs and around our feet. The funniest part of the whole thing was when two friends whose husbands are both pilots each gave Charlie a toy plane. The exact  same one. We all immediately looked at my third friend who's husband was also a pilot. She laughed and said she got him a drum. I thought she was kidding. She wasn't. I would write more about what a great person she is/was but she is dead to me. 

We had a great time and are now just sitting around relaxing. Well, Shawn and I are sitting around relaxing. AJ is at the park. It never did rain. 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Best Intentions. . .

This past week my parents stopped by for a short visit on their way to LA. In my mind I had visions of family dinners, card games, trips to the parks, meals out, memorable birthday celebrations, the family relaxing and enjoying each other's company.  And all of that happened- sort of.

But what I forgot when I was having my delusions of grandeur was that it was the middle of the school week, the work week, the basketball season and other odd commitments that make up daily life. 

In a nutshell, here is the good and the bad and the ugly of their visit: 1 dinner with really bad service, 1 night class, 1 walk to town, 1 yummy lunch, 1 round of golf, 1 nap, 2 basketball practices, 1 bio quiz, 1 round of bio homework, 1 spaghetti dinner with meatballs made by AJ and Gran, 1 well baby check- with shots, 1 breakfast out, 1 trip to Hobby Lobby, 1 trip to the park to shoot hoops, 4 games of phase10, 1 really dry turkey dinner, 1 alligator cake, 0 candles, 1 really cranky birthday baby, several birthday presents, 2 blown up computers and a partridge in a pear tree. 

I am not the best hostess, even on my best days, and I am pretty sure that none of my best days occurred last week. I was cranky and stressed about school and Charlie's first birthday.  And even if I wasn't cranky, I am still missing that gene that makes me keep all my matching towels together and my refridgerator well stocked. Luckily, my parents are pretty forgiving and may even come back one day. 

After all, the grandkids live here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Year Ago Today. . .

Charlie finally arrived during half time. He will always be known as our Super Bowl baby. Unfortunately, his birth did not help the Pats win. 

It was decided after some discussion that I should have a c-section. The doctors thought that if I tried to deliver him, there was a possibility of doing permanent damage to both of us. Future sports scholarships aside, that was not a comforting thought. 

He was 9 lb and 10 oz. When the doctors were all standing around the operating table there was a general consensus that a c-section had been the right decision. I couldn't have agreed more. 

This is my favorite picture on the planet. I love the look of pure wonder on AJ's face. He fell in love with his little brother at first sight and hasn't stopped since. 

I was very worried about how AJ would react to having a baby around. After all, he had been the center of the universe for 8 years. But he has adapted and even thrived in his new role as big brother. I love seeing this whole new side to him. He plays with Charlie, comforts him, feeds him, protects him and has even changed his diaper. All without being asked. He is a very nurturing kid, and for that I am thankful.

Charlie cried for the first two hours of his life. Straight. And I remember having a "What the he** have I just done?" moment. But I think he was just getting all of his crankiness out. For the most part he is a pretty laid back and happy kid. And when he's not, we just remind him that we are still making payments on him, and we could still take him back to the hospital at any time. I kid. Mostly. He is healthy and strong and we count our blessings every day. 

Happy Birthday Charlie!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Spaghetti Night- Shirt Optional

A Year Ago Today. . .

I looked like this. We were on day #2 of waiting for a bed at the hospital so that I could be induced. Little did I know that we would be waiting yet another day.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Anyone remember sticker albums?

The big thing when I was a kid was to have a sticker album. I spent hours buying, sorting, trading and looking at my collection. There were puffy ones, sparkley ones, fuzzy ones and even smelly ones. If I remember correctly, the most prized stickers were ones that had anything to do with unicorns. Good times.

I think every kid likes to collect something. And AJ loves to collect cards. First they were Pokemon cards and now they are football cards. We bought him sleeves and a binder yesterday and he has spent hours organizing his collection. (Thanks to my friend Theresa who gave me the idea. )

Although I am glad he has something to collect, I didn't realize quite how much useless information would be gathered about teams I don't care about. He has "wowed" me with stats about running and passing and trades. I try to look interested, but my acting abilities are really not that good. But, I guess it will be good practice for later when he tells me about his golf game in excruciating detail. 

And before any collectors out there start telling me the value of the cards, let me tell you I KNOW the value of these cards. First, they are keeping an 8 year old busy- a herculean task if there ever was one.

But secondly, it is their future value that I am really excited about.  I am going to save every single one of them. And then when AJ is grown and moved away I will sell them on Ebay so that I can get the corner room at the rest home.

Let the weekend begin

It was an early release day here, so we went to Cracker Barrel for lunch with some friends. Because what better way to celebrate than to have pancakes for lunch?

Later that day we went to our friends' , Leigh and Mary's house for a BBQ. Leigh made his famous chicken and hilarity was had by all. One thing I like about going over there (besides the chicken) is that they have a finished back yard. Charlie had a great time crawling around in the grass and playing . One day we will have a back yard. (Insert wistful look here)

What we do have is a courtyard. And we love it. It is nice to have an outdoor space that we can eat or just sit and have a cup of coffee. Charlie likes it too.

But, we don't have a gate yet, so sometimes he escapes.

Don't worry, I grabbed him before he had time to join the circus or anything.