Monday, December 31, 2007

Longest Post Ever...

It's been too long since I've blogged. Part of the reason is that we've been on vacation and I didn't spend much time on the computer and part of the reason is that I can't access any of my pictures from work anymore. The meanies that give us access to the internet have blocked Picasa. I'll have to go another route...

We had a fantastic trip to Massachusetts last week. We made what turned out to be a brilliant decision to drive through the night. We left our house at 1am on Friday and pulled into my parent's driveway at 11am on Saturday. 10 hours is definitely a record. We only stopped twice and were able to split the driving, letting the other person sleep part way. The kids were angels. Zack woke up randomly at 3:30 and talked my ear off until I stopped for gas and a potty break. We were all up then so I played some Christmas carols and we all sang, around 4:30 they zonked out again.

We were SO excited when we crossed the border into Massachusetts and there was tons of snow on the ground. The kids spent most of that afternoon going in and out, in and out. Since we don't live near snow, I had forgotten how fun it was getting kids all bundled up from head to toe only to have them come back inside 15 minutes later. Matt stayed out almost all afternoon. He cleared snow from the back deck, built a snow tube run off the back steps, made snow angels with Skyler, basically relived childhood since he didn't have much snow growing up in California either. I grew up with snow, so I took some pictures and then took a long nap.



It was great being with my family. My brother and niece spent the weekend with us at my parents. The kids raised hell running all around inside and out. They were so excited to see each other and were so excited for Christmas especially when we told them that Santa was coming a day early. They wrote letters to Santa on Sunday telling him how thankful they were - it was really sweet.

Christmas morning (Monday) was exciting. The kids woke up early, 6:30 am and were raring to go. They were excited to see that Santa had written back to each of them. We had a lot of fun. Each of them was thrilled with the gifts they received. There was no fussing and lots of bright smiles. We spent most of the day undoing twist ties, and locating batteries. Oh one really cool thing that Zack and Nadia got from Grammy and Papu was a kids' digital camera. They can now take their own pictures without damaging our cameras. Later today I'll upload Zack's pictures and let you see what he thinks is important enough to take a picture of...



Even though we had our Christmas, it was really just Christmas Eve. So we had the annual get together at Mike & Rochelle's. We haven't made it in years and there aren't usually kids there so it was fun for everyone. We got to enjoy some pirogi and the kids entertained everyone with their silliness. Not great pictures - but they were dressed cute...



Actual Christmas morning was quiet for us. We had no where to go, nothing to do, and it was a bright and sunny day finally. We brought Matt to the airport (he had to go home to work the next day) and then spent the rest of the day sniffling and sneezing (we were all sick) and playing with our new toys.

Wednesday we ran some errands and then went to visit with my girlfriend Mindi and her family. The boys were elusive so I didn't get any pictures of them together. Zack and Riley see each other maybe once per year but always pick up where they left off. Skyler and Mia are finally at an age where they can play together. They had loads of fun changing from one princess outfit to another. Mia is a fiery little fairy. She's definitely going to take the world by storm.



Thursday we continued sniffling and sneezing and went to see the movie Alvin & the Chipmunks. The kids had been anxious to see it after a barrage of tv commercials. It was an adorable movie - we all had a great time, even Grammy. That night it snowed lightly again so we were outside catching snowflakes in our mouths and making a snowman which turned out to be more of a snow amoeba.



I was going to leave for home on Friday but procrastinated a day and waited out the weekday traffic. I'm glad I did because Nadia got another day with her cousins. They made the most of it and played hard. Leaving on Saturday was harder for it, but I'm glad they got the time together.

Saturday and Sunday we made our way home. The trip was longer with one driver but we did well. The kids were good and were happy to stop in Delaware to see Cha Cha Lisa and Ransom and Montana.

Now we're home and unpacking the car. It was a disaster site but we'll get it worked out soon. Zack and Skyler were really happy to be with their Daddy. They missed him terribly.

We hope you all had a Happy Holiday and enjoy this New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Celebrating with friends...

We had the most delightfully warm and enjoyable dinner with our friends Mike & Amy last night. We cooked, we ate, we did dishes. We exchanged gifts. The Wilkinsons are so thoughtful and found the perfect gift for each member of our family. I can't thank them enough.

Most enjoyable to all of us was a joint gift to Matt and Zack. They gave The Dangerous Book for Boys:

At first Zack gave the "Oh it's a book, but my Mom will kill me if I don't act grateful face". Then when he and Matt started looking at it and discovered that it was a book of all the things any boy should know and then determined that it was a "secret" book for boys, well it was the best gift EVER! We all enjoyed looking through it until Zack decided that it was for boys' eyes only and hid it from anyone with ovaries. He and Matt sat up late in Zack's room reading the first chapter. We highly recommend this book to anyone with a son. It's fantastic!

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Matt also enjoyed the card that Mike & Amy made him:
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Overall, I had such a nice evening, and SO love Amy's creativity with picking the perfect gifts.
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I'm surely lacking in that regard. That tingly Christmasy feeling has begun. I'm planning on thoroughly enjoying the next week!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Zackisms

Zack and his buddy Cameron were together a good part of the weekend. From the second they meet up, they fight, argue, bicker, and compete with each other.

Zack: I wish Cameron were my brother. I wish we could adopt him.
Me: Cameron has a family honey, they would miss him. Is he your best friend?
Zack: YEAH (said with his "DUH MOM" voice)
Me: Do you guys even like each other?
Zack: {repeat above answer}
Me: All you ever do is fight and yell at each other.
{long pause}
Zack: Mom, that's just what boys DO!

Too Crazy to Blog...

Sorry I haven't blogged much this week. I've been running around crazy. I've taken to making lists of things I need to do this week and I know I'll be up crazy late on Thursday night getting ready for our trip. Anyway, here are a few snippets:

Zack started basketball and has practice two nights a week (part of the reason I'm running around crazy). I finally got a few pictures although there isn't great lighting in the gym at night so they're kind of funky looking:




On Sunday my cousins came over with their kids. I haven't seen my cousin Jill in so long that I've never met her youngest child. They've been living in Hawaii and just moved and are making the rounds visiting. Her twin sister Jackie lives here near us. The kids came right in and all the cousins made themselves right at home playing with each other and wrestling our friend Mike. Somehow kids just gravitate to him!


Towards the end of their visit Skyler was kind enough to hootchie all the girls up with her stash of makeup. I didn't happen to catch a picture of it. All I could do is apologize to Jill :-) Sky loves her makeup!

This week I'm running around getting packages shipped out (the ones I have had for months and swore I'd get shipped by Dec 1 at the latest) and packing for our trip. Thus presents the problem of finding all the gifts I've stashed over the past few months. Hopefully I find them all before we start driving.

Thankfully, we're all sleeping great because it's been cold and we're all snuggled down under piles of blankets. Well, we WERE sleeping great until I made the mistake of showing the kids two movies that I thought were harmless. Skyler is having nightmares from watching 5 minutes of Jim Carey's The Grinch and Zack is having nightmares from watching Meet the Robinsons. There's some part with hats that are bad that's still freaking him out. So sometime early this morning, he snuggled in on one side of me, pushing me to the middle. Later, Sky came in and seeing that there was no more room at the head of the bed, got in at the foot. She just slept upside down. Of course, as soon as my alarm went off, so did they. "MOOOOMMM, Skyler's touching my feet". Uh, go back to your own bed that is completely Skyler free. I guess maybe we aren't sleeping so great. It's all quiet between 9pm and 2am anyway.

So I'm off now to pick up the rental car while my car is getting the steering pump replaced, pick up a package at the post office, make two pies, wrap a present, tape two boxes for shipping, pack a suitcase, and thaw some chicken. That's just tonight's list. Add to that some whining, fighting, homework, Skyler helping (which is so sweet but makes everything take twice as long) and constant nagging from me to do the things I told them to do 10 minutes ago. Wanna come over for dinner?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Can’t we all just get along?

We live in the Bible Belt or just north of it depending on where you view the belt as being cinched. There’s a church on every corner and when they ran out of corners they started putting them in strip malls. You can now pick up a pizza, rotate your tires, and praise your God, all without re-parking your car. Since this is the Holiday Season, the current favorite argument to put the “Christ back in Christmas” is being batted around all over the place. {sigh} Why can’t everyone just share?

Here’s the thing. Jesus wasn’t even born on December 25th; the best guestimates put his birthday sometime in September. Thousands of years ago, Christians took over the Winter Solstice celebrations in order to convert pagans to Christianity. So really, it was never a Christian Holiday to begin with and was started with dubious intentions to say the least, so why all the bickering over it now?

Many major religions have a celebration of some kind or another in December, there’s Hanukah, the birth of Christ, Kwanzaa, and Solstice off the top of my head, not to mention the secular celebration of Santa Claus. Most of us have friends of all backgrounds and enjoy being with them and celebrating the good feelings of this “Season of Holidays”. Why must one of them claim rights to it over another? Each celebration is special, to learn more about something you haven't experienced is a good thing. To know that others are celebrating something that is important to them and makes them feel good, while you are doing the same is a good thing.

Let’s take time this season to remember to be accepting of every one and their beliefs; you’ll be a better person for it!

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oprah, sign language, and the weather...

Skyler is finally interested in playing games on the computer. Specifically webkinz. She's usually quite happy to wait her turn for all the other computer nuts in the house get their surfing and gaming done. Last night after dinner, I was checking email and she was watching cartoons. She comes up to me and says "Hey Mommy, do you want to watch Oprah? I'll let you change the channel." I asked "Do you want to use the computer?" Yes she wanted to play webkinz. I was cracking up because I don't usually watch Oprah so I'm not sure why she thought that would be so enticing to me and how funny that she came up with a little bribe rather than just whining that she wanted a turn.

I've had laryngitis again this week. It hit its peak last night when I just couldn't even squeak out any words. I had to resort to sign language and clapping to get attention. Zack thought this was so much fun that we sat on the couch for 30 minutes or so signing goofy things to each other. He's pretty good - he'd make a good charades partner.

The weather here is just stupid. It's supposed to be almost 80 degrees today. It's DECEMBER. White Christmas my ass! The only thing white here IS my ass! Okay that was crass, but really what's with the summer temps? Hopefully Grammy's house will provide the snow that my kids are wishing for! In the meantime it's a Green Christmas for us.

Sorry about the lack of pictures lately. I just haven't uploaded any - actually I haven't even taken any. I'm slacking - tis the season...

Monday, December 10, 2007

My Everything...

I am listening to Michael Buble's new CD Call Me Irresponsible this morning while working and really listened to song #9 Everything and it just made me feel sappy about my dearest, Matt!

The chorus goes:

[Chorus:]
And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times
It's you, it's you, You make me sing.
You're every line, you're every word, you're everything.

[Chorus:]
And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times
It's you, it's you, You make me sing.
You're every line, you're every word, you're everything.
You're every song, and I sing along.
'Cause you're my everything.

I love you Baby - You're my Everything!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Santa's watching you...

Yes, I admit that I have been using the "Santa is watching you" threat lately. For the most part it works nicely to change a nasty attitude when it pops up.

I was giving Skyler a bath the other night and she was giving me a hard time about washing her hair. I pulled the "you'd better behave, Santa is watching you" and she comes back with "No he's not, there aren't any windows in the bathroom". Nice, she's even a smart ass about Santa.

Friday, December 07, 2007

All I want for Christmas is my four front teeth...

That is Zack's theme song for the Holiday Season. His 4th/last center front tooth was dangling from his gums yesterday, but he just wouldn't pull it out. We were all begging him to let us touch it. A light touch would have let this puppy loose. He was having none of it. Even his basketball couch tried to get in the action by telling him that if Zack missed a basket he got to pull the tooth. He played VERY well this practice and even won the last man out shooting challenge, so the tooth stayed in.

I had no plans to spend another day listening to his whining agony so as soon as he was asleep enough that his mouth was hanging open, I reached one finger in and flicked it right into my palm. I didn't even need to pull. He didn't even flinch. I left it with a note from the tooth fairy that she would be back the next night so he could see it. He woke at about 11pm to report that his tooth was missing. We did a search and found the note and the tooth. He was obviously relieved and planned to bring the tooth to school to show his friends and teacher.

Why won't this child pull out a tooth?
1st tooth - Dad
2nd tooth - apple
3rd & 4th teeth - Mom

When I was a kid I would work on it and work on it until that tooth came out. I distinctly remember Mrs. Paul, my second grade teacher, telling me to get my fingers out of my mouth. I'm not going to be able to reach his molars. He's going to have to get tough! I'll try to post a picture of the gaping hole in his mouth later.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

4 going on 14 going on 2...

Remember the post about me putting make-up on Skyler for her school pictures? Well, apparently I created a monster. Last week I picked up Skyler's pictures from school and in addition to the tiny bit of foundation I used to cover the giant scab on her face, there's a hint of lipstick, just a hint. She must have snuck that in somehow. I wish the photographer or her preschool teacher had wiped it off, but they didn't and probably only I (and Amy) would notice. Then Tuesday I picked her up and her teacher handed me a tube of lipstick and said that she took it away from Sky whose lips were very very pink that morning. She snuck it in her pocket on the way to school. Daddy is going to have to start frisking her in the morning. That is the going on 14 part. I can only imagine what she's going to be doing when she actually IS a teenager, probably sneaking padded bras in her book bag. I took the lipstick, gave her a look, and stuck it in my pocket. She looked at me, thinking she was going to get it back, and pitched the mother of all tantrums when she didn't. That is the going on 2 part. She hasn't done this in quite a while and her teachers were absolutely shocked. They had never seen her behave this way before. There was screaming, crying, flailing (is that a word?) on the floor. I can't really pick her up so I had to do the "Mommy's leaving" thing. She would race after me, get in front of me and grab at the pocket with the lipstick in it. It took forever to get her in the car and another teacher even came out thinking that she was hurt because she'd never heard Skyler screaming like that. Can you just imagine what type of tantrum she's going to throw when we don't buy her that cute little Volkswagen convertible that she wants for her 16th birthday?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Skylerisms

Very good friends of ours are expecting a baby in March. I asked Skyler if we should have a big baby party and get lots of baby gifts for them. She got so excited.

Me: What do you think we should get for the baby?
Sky: Lots of soft soft blankets so he'll be snuggly and warm.
Me: What else?
Sky: Some bottles, and Mommy what's that thing you put in the baby's mouth when you don't want to hear them cry anymore?
Me: You mean a binky or a pacy?
Sky: Yeah a binky, we should get a binky.

I was cracking up. Apparently in Skyler's world, if you don't want to listen to a baby cry, you stick a binky in its mouth and the problem is solved.

In other family news, Zack started playing basketball yesterday. It's a local rec program. He seemed to enjoy it and fit right in with the coach and other kids. He has one friend from soccer on his team and I think he recognized a few other kids from school. They already asked me if I wanted to be a Team Mom. I told them that if they got desperate I'd do it, I'm all Team Mom-ed out. I actually hear the words "No, just say No" bouncing around my head but they never come out sounding like that...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Family Pictures

I've been desperate to get some family pictures for Christmas cards but haven't wanted to go through the terrible effort it takes to get my family dressed appropriately and behaving appropriately. BUT - we did it and had fun too!

Here are a couple that didn't make the card but are so precious to me anyway!






You can see that Zeke has a dangling tooth, some gaping holes, and a tooth growing in, this is such a funny time for pictures for him. Skyler still has a gorgeous smile and sparkling eyes!




Serious....


So much fun!
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