Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dean

Dear Dean,

Tonight was your first solo bath night. Usually, we give you and Jack baths together but lately you've been fighting too much so I told you and your brother that we would be bathing you separately from now on.

What a difference! I sat in the room with you (you're still afraid to be by yourself) and you washed your body and your hair without being told! You poured water on your head (which is a miracle in and of itself), washed your hair and then rinsed it. After washing your body, you soaped up your hands and washed the entire bathtub.

Afterwards, I wrapped you up in two towels and used the hair dryer to warm you up. You deserved it after such a low-key bath.

Now you are sitting with Daddy listening as he reads your Pokemon book. I'm sitting here typing and my eyes are closing, closing, closing. I am tired. Your friend Bennett came over today and you were a very good host. But after games of Twister, Star Wars, Operation, Go Fish, War, handball, baseball, kickball, and tag I am about to fall asleep.

I love you Dean and I'm so proud of you today.

Love,
Momma

Jackie First

Dear Jack,

First born, first home, first to walk, first to run.
First to sleep and first to wake.
Always first.
If competitiveness was a sport you'd surely come in first.

Tonight when I asked "Who wants to take the first bath?" and you pouted "I don't want to take a bath" and Dean yelled "ME!" - I should have known. Because even though you didn't want to take a bath, you still wanted to be first.

So when you parked yourself in the bathroom while Dean took his bath, your jaw set with anger, and pushed around the towels and bath toys and punched the floor, I tried talking to you but it was too late. Finally, I took you out of the room, kicking and grabbing at anything as we went into the living room. Boy you're a strong kid. Daddy was having none of it though and commanded you to stop fighting me and sit down. I went back to Dean and let Daddy talk you down.

After Dean's bath, I came into the living room and saw that you had fallen asleep - your hand clasped in Daddy's. I scooped you up and carried you off to bed. I'm sorry I didn't have the chance to cuddle with you before you fell asleep. Sorry you fell asleep thinking I was angry with you.

Oh you have such a strong will, such determination. It will serve you well as you grow up. I just hope I can keep up.

Love,
Momma

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Free Time

The boys are out with Daddy playing soccer at the park. There's turkey soup bubbling on the stove and I'm debating. Should I go for a run? Should I vacuum the house? Should I crack open my book? Wash the dishes?
Lots of things I should do but all I really want to do is sit here with my laptop heating up my legs.
We're having a great weekend.
In our ongoing quest to make better use of our square footage, we decided we will build a loft for the boys' bed. They are so excited that they're going to have a "cave" under their bed. So, yesterday we went to Ikea (where else?) to look at furniture and ideas. Surprisingly, there was no wait for the kids play area so we dropped off the boys and went browsing. An hour later we had lots of good ideas but nothing to buy so we picked up the boys and decided to go for ice cream. We strolled through the mall and into downtown Burbank. Lots of people in the mall and on the streets but not nearly as many as I expected on Black Friday. After our ice cream, we went into the ancient dollar bookstore to get the boys a book. Jack had his heart set on a science book and combed through all the books intent on finding just the right thing. Dean found a pokemon book right away and his search was complete. Unfortunately, Jack never found a science book but we found one on explorers and decided to get it even though he said he didn't want it. We strolled back through downtown and to the mall. Dean held his book open and looked at it while he walked, oblivious to the bright Christmas lights and music, focused only on pokemon. They both fell asleep on the way home but Dean woke up and insisted we read his new book to him. I did and a new obsession was born. Since then he's been begging for a trip to Toys R Us to buy him a pokeball.
I have to mention a couple of things. First, Dean has been really sweet and good the last few days. Sure he's threatened to run away a few times and he's still quicker with his fists than he is with his words but he seems to be getting over things faster and getting along with Jack better. There has been more one on one cuddle time with Dean lately and I believe it has contributed to his better behavior. Second, Jack's math ability is blowing me away. The other night I was telling him about something that was going to happen in 8 weeks (I have no idea what). He asked me how many days that was and so I told him well, there are 7 days in a week and 8 weeks so you have to add 7 eight times. I asked him what was 7+7? He told me (without using his fingers) 14. Ok, what is 14+7? He thinks for a few seconds and says 21. Very good, I say, what about 21+7? Right away he says 28. And so on and so on until he got to 56. He did it in his head. I know some adults who can't do that (Betty* - I'm looking at you).
Tonight we are going to the Uncles' house for dinner and tree trimming.
The weekend is flying by too quickly. I'm not ready to go back to work. Only 3 more work weeks though and then I'll have 2 weeks off.
Hallelujah!!!
I can no longer sit here with the toys and dust mocking me. I'm off to pick up and vacuum.

* - Not her real name

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pre-Thanksgiving Festivities

I feel compelled to warn you to brace yourself for the following images because the cuteness is crushing!
Let's start with Dean. Today was crazy hat day but he doesn't really have any crazy hats so he wore his Dad's Meet the Robinson's hat. Would you look at that impish grin? Isn't he just pure elfen goodness? Oh yes he is.



But wait! There's more. Since turning six Jack has discovered that he likes jeans and he cuts quite a dashing figure in the new dark denim from Old Navy. Now, here's the funny thing about his hat. When my mom was visiting over the summer she took them to the Gap to pick out two new outfits for school. Jack saw this hat right away and loved it but when I told him I'd buy it for him, he said he didn't want it. But Dean saw it and decided he wanted it so I bought it. I brought it out this morning for Dean to wear for crazy hat day but he didn't want to wear it today. Jack snatched it out of my hands and put it on his head. He wore that hat all day long and looked so gosh darn adorable I almost couldn't stand it. Right? You can't stand it either, I know. Also? What's with the growing? I mean, he's like a kid now. And the two of them looking cool.

Oh I'm not done. Check out my pilgrim.




Oh and here's a really cute Wampanoag. He's doing the turkey tango in this picture. Did you know turkeys can tango? They can.

After the play and Thanksgiving feast, Jack went out to shoot some hoops. He was tossing 'em up one after another. Five baskets in a row.

It was a great day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gobble Gobble

video

We're gearing up for a fun Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Soccer and Party

The last soccer game of the season was today.


Jack is a very intense player. I snapped this just after he threw in the ball.


Dean is pretty happy just to play.

Later in the day we went to the ice rink for their birthday party.

The walkers were great. The kids could get the feel for the ice without constantly falling.

Jack eventually abandoned his walker.
The party was a huge success!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Juggling

I always wanted to learn how to juggle. My brother got a book when he was a kid and he taught himself how to juggle. He's like that though. He decides he wants to learn something and he teaches himself. Jack is that way, too. He taught himself to whistle, to snap his fingers and, most recently, to tie his shoes. I never learned how to juggle - I didn't have the patience or discipline to keep trying, trying, and trying.
I'm juggling now though. The balls are different - various sizes and weights and sometimes there's three, sometimes ten. Every now and then life throws in a bowling pin instead of a ball, just to see if I'm paying attention. I haven't gotten anything as rough as a chainsaw yet, thank goodness. Sometimes all the balls fall and I get hit on the head. Usually it's a little ball like oops, the jogathon is today and I didn't get any pledges for Jack. In fact, so far it's only been little balls but since I don't expect it to get any less busy, I'm going to have to learn to juggle smarter.
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I have a little project that I can't seem to get off the ground. I have the idea, have communicated the idea and my partners (and I) are very excited about it. Still, I can't seem to get it going. So, my goal for this week is to do an outline for this project with a schedule attached. Hopefully, with that kind of structure, a little discipline and a lot of support, I can get this thing going.

A friend of mine left me a message this morning about a project he's working on that I offered to help him with. He's excited and really making progress which he wants to share. I'm excited, too and really want to be involved. Where, oh where, do I find the time?

Talking to my dad yesterday I was suddenly struck with an idea. I can't stop thinking about it and yet, how on earth could I add one more thing to my already brimming plate?

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I was going to write this week about one of the unexpected gifts of motherhood. In celebration of the boys' 6th birthday, of course. My mind was in the right place on Monday but I ran out of time. On Tuesday night I had the time but my mind was in the wrong place. I was cranky and out of sorts, overwhelmed by all the balls and one lone bowling pin circling overhead. Wednesday morning found me downright pissy and the lovely sentiments about motherhood's gifts were long gone. This morning was peaceful and sweet. The boys cuddled in bed together, their arms and legs intermingled, and they talked and giggled. Two little heads peeked out of a sea of navy blue and I almost got my camera but I didn't want to break the spell.

And that's what it is. An endless cycle of pure love followed by unfathomable exhaustion followed by pure love.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rock Star

I have an idea of what it feels like to be a rock star.

I carefully balanced 3 boxes of mini ice cream cones between my arms and my chin, with my purse slung onto my shoulder, car keys in hand and a paper bag full of individually bagged homemade brownies hanging off one finger. Luck was with me when a teacher opened the door for me and screams and squeals erupted as I walked inside. Nineteen five year olds and one six year old jumped up, hopping up and down all the while screaming about ice cream. Who says kinders can't read?

Jack's class was no less enthusiastic.

Boy was it worth it. Worth the money, the drive, and the time away from work to see milky mustaches and brownie crumbed smiles.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Being Six

So far, being six means that Dean is no longer afraid to go to the bathroom by himself and Jack likes jeans that go all the way down to the tops of his feet.

It also means, for today at least (and the past weekend), that they want to dress alike. They were very handsome and sort of tough looking today dressed alike in their dark wash denim, black batman shirts and black spiderman converse.

They were surprised this morning when we told them that they are now six. I think they thought that they would be six maybe by the end of the day, not so early in the morning before they've even had breakfast. A slow grin crept across Jack's face and Dean suddenly stood up straighter, instantly more confident now that he's SIX.

Their birthday treats today are homemade double chocolate brownies dusted with powdered sugar and I'm going to surprise them with mini ice cream cups from 31 Flavors.

Yes, I'm campaigning fiercely for Best. Mom. Ever.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fires again

The santa ana winds have swept in bringing 90 degree temps and fire danger. Sylmar is affected once again and though we are not far away we're not in any danger - except for the very bad air quality.
We're heading to Simi Valley to see Uncle Bill and Aunt Pauline who drove down today from Sacramento. They were stuck in awful traffic due to freeway closures (from the fires) so rather than make them navigate the detours in unfamiliar territory, we're meeting them there.
In other news, I picked up the boys early yesterday and took them to work to see BOLT in our theater. Tom came too and you know it must be good if he was willing to sit thru the movie two weeks in a row.
So, go see it next weekend!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

On my mind

It has been busy, busy, busy at work and I haven't had a second to think about what to get the boys for their birthday. Nor have I had a minute to think about food for their party, or order a cake, or decorations. Maybe tomorrow. . .

We had a delicious dinner tonight: crisp green beans tossed with chicken apple sausage and carmelized onions accompanied by mashed sweet potatoes. Mmmm, sweet and savory. I discovered a new web-based meal planner today called relish! and I already signed up for a 3 month subscription. I'm looking forward to seeing how well I follow it next week.

Monday is the birthday so I've gotta make cupcakes this weekend. I also signed up to do snack every day next week for Jack's class so I expect this weekend will be a busy one. Thankfully, I'm feeling better and coughing less. Even discontinued the cough syrup with codeine. That's for the best - I was having a hard time waking up in the morning.

I'm going to keep writing what I'm grateful for. It reminds me to think positively and helps me to remember what is truly important.

Today I'm grateful:
  • that Tom put an audio book on the power of positive thinking on my ipod so I could listen on my way to work
  • at how well the boys shared their candy tonight after dinner
  • that Tom gave them their baths
  • that I live in a nice neighborhood with friendly neighbors
  • for my health
  • that Jack is healing well following the biopsy of his two moles (it's ok, just being extra cautious and having them biopsied - results next week)
  • for the after care program at school with teachers who are caring and energetic
  • that Tom put the boys to bed which gives me a little quiet time to write
  • for my coworkers who support me, respect me, challenge me and, best of all, make me laugh
  • for the courage to try new things and venture beyond my comfort zone

Monday, November 10, 2008

BOLT!

Me and the hubs had a date Saturday night. We went to the Bolt screening and wrap party. Tom loved the movie and we had a good time at the party. The screening was held at the Kodak theater (ooh la la) and the party was at the Grand Ballroom in the Renaissance hotel. 'Twas fancy.

The movie comes out November 21st - go see it!!!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

History and a Trip

I was too overwhelmed and thrilled to write anything Tuesday night. Wednesday morning I was still in awe, still consumed with reading everyone else's accounting of where they were and how they felt when it was announced that Barack Obama had won the election. I sat down to write something during lunch on Wednesday but I still didn't have the words. And the truth is, I still don't have the words. For nearly two years I have hoped that he would be our next president. But until Tuesday night I didn't really believe it could happen. It has though, it really has and I couldn't be more thrilled.

Other things I'm grateful for this week:

  • health insurance which allows me to go to the doctor when I'm sick
  • cough syrup with codeine
  • antibiotics
  • a sweet home made card from Jack
  • sleeping in until 10am on a Sunday
  • some nice one on one time with Dean
  • Tom's delicious home made beef stew
  • leftover halloween candy

There's more but I am numb and I can't remember anything. I think now I will go pour myself a teaspoonful of cough syrup and slip into my cozy bed and fall into a deep codeine-induced slumber - per the doctor's orders.

See you on the other side.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

An Accounting and Gratitude

Well the month of October passed by with very little action on my little blog with the exception of a few polarizing, political posts. I will be so glad when this election is over. These last few weeks I've struggled with writing. I've started new posts many times and then I just don't finish them. I was bored with my own writing so I could only imagine how my readers were feeling. Yawn. Plus, I really missed reading. A book, not a blog. I resisted it for a while. I told myself I didn't have time and tried to satisfy the yearning with blogs. It worked for a week or so and then I finally, desperately, looked at my stack of books on the night stand (most of which are heavy, difficult reading - not what I was looking for) and picked up "Peyton Place". I fell into it immediately and for a week I couldn't put it down. Funny enough, just a couple days after I finally gave into my craving for a good read my friend Caroline gave me "Eat, Pray, Love", my friend Kathleen gave me 2 great magazines and a book on Buddhism, my friend Paul gave me the script his sister wrote, and my friend Tanja gave me a glossy food magazine she brought back from London. Thus, a stack of unexplored reading material just waiting for me to have a moment to spare. Funny how the universe gives you what you need, just when you need it.

Anyway, looking back over what I've written here lately I feel like I've been whiny, tired, uninspired, ungrateful, even a little angry. Yesterday, I kept thinking of things that I was thankful for - it wasn't something I planned to do, it was completely spontaneous and when I wrote them all down here, I felt so good afterwards. It reminded me that it is so important to give thanks, to appreciate everything - all the small things, the sweet things, to be grateful for what refreshes us, invigorates us, emboldens us, inspires us. I hope I can keep it up.

Today I am grateful for:

  • daylight savings time which allowed me to stay up late last night to watch "All About Eve"
  • to Jack and Dean for managing to stay in bed until 6:30am (adjusted for dst)
  • a playdate with Sophia and Bianca and a delicious brunch prepared by their parents
  • my voice, raspy but still there despite all the coughing, coughing, coughing
  • a rousing soccer practice with Dean and Jack in which Dean scored many goals and went straight for the ball!
  • a clean living room and semi-clean kitchen
  • daylight savings time again which means the boys will fall asleep early (Jack's gone already)
  • more rain that fell during the night that cleaned the streets and freshened the air
  • my patience which nearly ran its course tonight after dinner but didn't
  • my temper which stayed in check all weekend, despite being tested repeatedly
  • Jack who wanted to help me sweep, cook and clean and who never hesitates to ask for more candy
  • Dean who got along so well with his friends today and who showed me more sweet than fiery this weekend
  • that this is the last night of solo parenting - Tom will be home tomorrow (YAY)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Grateful Part 2

More things I'm grateful for today:

  • my patience which came in really handy when the boys' good behavior finally came to an end (come on, you knew it would happen - I jinxed myself with my earlier post)
  • my voice which I really expected to lose after the coughing and the cheering and the yelling to be heard over the fighting
  • my writing which came in handy when I wrote a rebuttal to a posting on our neighborhood message board which was written by our neighborhood busybody (I just don't know why some people spend so much energy being hateful)
  • my neighbors who chimed in after my posting with unexpected support
  • thunder and lighting which made a very rare appearance in so cal today - Jack and Dean were big eyed at the rumbling
  • rain, rain and more rain which we desperately need and which made for an especially cozy and relaxing Saturday
  • The Nightmare before Christmas which is playing now and has both boys snuggled securely on either side of me
  • a stack of unread books and magazines waiting patiently for me to have time to open them
  • two sweet smelling, if a bit phlegmy, boys

Grateful

Today I'm grateful for:

  • waking up with two little blond heads nestled snugly under each arm
  • the smell of rain
  • a cough that is finally getting productive
  • a hot, uninterrupted shower
  • toweling off with a freshly laundered towel
  • a hard rain which miraculously ceased just long enough for the soccer game
  • two no-shows for the soccer game which meant that Dean had to play the entire game - it did wonders for his confidence
  • a goal scored by Jack
  • the other mom who showed up who brought with her a gigantic umbrella and bought donuts for the boys
  • thinking ahead when I bought my car to the days in which I'd have two wet, muddy soccer players climbing into the backseat
  • not really caring that I have mud all over the backseat
  • that the sky cleared up long enough to have a backyard game of kickball
  • that Jack can now do word seek games by himself
  • that Dean can entertain himself with blank paper and markers
  • the chicken tortilla soup that Tom bought last week when I was sick that will serve as our lunch today
  • Jack and Dean who are being really good kids today