Saturday, December 20, 2008

Birthday Booty!

Our birthday tradition is that the birthday person gets to choose what/where we eat for dinner. Due to our impending move and the chaos of our lives, the party will probably be in February, and both kids will have their party together this year. For this reason, we're adding to our traditional festivities by allowing the kids to pick a friend to have a playdate with and join us for dinner. Toph invited his friend, Adam, to join him. They played video games (what else?) all afternoon. We all went to Red Robin for dinner--on a Friday night! Dinner was good, and we finally got home a little bit after 9:00. Time for presents! Adam brought a present with him in the afternoon, and Toph was excited about a frog-shaped punching balloon and big book on insects. The balloon was a very popular object in the car going home and at the house later on. Our gifts to Toph were received in a similar fashion. He's been asking for "how to draw" books for some time. Toph's teacher has many Ed Emberly books that he LOVES to use. So I ordered some from Amazon a long time ago. I also found a "How to Draw Pokemon" book somewhere. In addition to his drawing booty, we also found something to appeal to the environmentalist in my boy--a paper making kit from Bill Nye the Science Guy. If the word science is in the title, we know it will be a winner! We had a lot of fun shredding the paper we were recycling to make new paper. I don't think it's going to be dry in the time period on the directions, however. Maybe when it's cold it takes longer. At any rate, we had a fun time making a little bit of paper, and we're probably going to find materials to allow us to make more at a time.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Topher!

My oldest baby is eight! I can't believe it! Seems like just yesterday I got to meet him for the first time. I marveled at the tiny, perfect bundle of joy. I looked for hours on end at him and contemplated the miracle of life. I coveted his eyelashes--still do sometimes. We'd waited so long for our miracle, and one look at Toph and it was worth all of the waiting.

Toph was a great baby right from the start. He started sleeping through the night at 2 weeks--no lie! He was a happy guy and very mellow. That really hasn't changed. Toph loved to be cuddled and held, and we rocked him to sleep every night for at least 2 years. Robert would race Toph to sleep whenever he'd hold Toph--that warm cuddle lump just makes you relax.

Toph has an amazing smile that just lights up the world. He loves other people and is very concerned for everyone. He's got great tenacity and works hard to be good at things. Toph is inquisitive. This has been the case from a young age. As a 2-year-old, he'd take apart the recliner handle at his Givens Grandparents' home. He loves to see how things work.

In school, Toph loves science and math. He also loves recess. He's a hard worker, and a joy to his teachers. He loves to help others too.

Toph has just started cub scouts and LOVES going! He's been observing the scouts for years, and he was elated that his cub leaders asked him to start a month before his birthday. He's anxious to do all of his requirements in his Wolf book--I hope this enthusiasm sticks around through the Eagle project.

Toph is an amazing son. His love for people is a great example to us. He still loves to cuddle, and I hope that never changes. His empathy and compassion for others is moving. He is so sensitive to others' feelings and needs. His heart must be 10 times larger than other kids of his size. He's a great example to us of doing what's right too. Toph is a great big brother. He (usually) loves his sister and encourages her in all that she does. He's thoughtful and caring in his dealings with everyone. He's got a spiritual side and strives to do what's right. Toph is very excited to be getting baptized soon.

Some of his favorite things:
Color: blue or red
Thing: technology
TV: My Life as a Teen-Age Robot
Video Games: Lego Batman, Little Big Planet, Warhawk
Dinner: Mom's parmesan chicken
Dessert: butterscotch anything
On his Christmas list: Nintendo DS
Thing to do (besides video games): Hunt for "magnetite" with a magnet in the sand and building things.

Quotable: Earlier this week, Toph was talking to me after school, "Mom, you know I LOVE Technology. I love to see how things work and how they're made and I love to build things. I like science, and science is pretty much all technology."

Toph, you've enriched our lives in countless ways. I can't fathom life without you. I'm so blessed to be able to call you my son. I love you, Buddy! Happy Birthday!

Been Thinking About A New Vehicle

Does this count as a vehicle?

Well, I'm certainly grateful for the storm drains here. Where I live and travel there has been very little flooding. It rained and poured for just about 24 solid hours yesterday. Although we really need the rain, picking up the kids from school in a downpour wasn't really my favorite thing to do. I wish we could program the downpours to be NOT at traveling times--like in the middle of the night.

My kids have enjoyed watching the "steam" on the BBQ as the morning sun warms the rain-soaked cover and the water evaporates. Toph was mesmerized the first time for several minutes and could barely tear himself away. Hannah has loved being able to puddle stomp. Unfortunately Toph is wearing a shoe size that is apparently either popular or doesn't really exist. I have been unable to find any size 4 rain boots or cowboy boots. He has not enjoyed NOT puddle stomping!

Things are progressing nicely, and we got to see the nice blue sky today--that's a spirit lifter, even when it's cold outside. Paradise has indeed turned cold. It's forecast that our low will be 37-ish. That's COLD for us! Daytime high of only 60 too. I'm loving it! I also love that I know this is temporary and that soon I'll be wearing my short sleeves again.

I wonder if my purse will go with my new vehicle?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Can't Believe it's . . . . . . WINTER?!

NO, it's not a mirage. The weather man/woman has confirmed it more than twice. We are going to have winter weather for like a week! It turned chilly and windy yesterday afternoon, and the weather forecast calls for a week in the 60's with rain possible every day!

I refer to San Diego as paradise, because there are many aspects of life here that are paradise for me--weather being one of them. I do; however, like to FEEL wintery weather once in awhile.

I'm going to love the chillier days and nights and the sound of rain. It's soothing. It makes it seem more like Christmas time. With the absence of any decorations, it's hard to get "in the mood" for the holidays. I don't have my visual reminders. Colder weather seems appropriate. I still haven't gotten used to the idea of Christmas in capris yet.


So far, nobody has died!

We began our trek into being grounded to each other yesterday. We got off to a rocky start, but things rapidly improved. WHAT to play is the topic that kills them. Once they decide, they're golden. Kids played Littlest Pet Shoppe in the upstairs hall for more than an hour. AND they cleaned it up in LESS THAN 10 MINUTES later in the evening. As a reward for being so good, we had our Family Christmas movie time and watched "Home Alone 2." I took some AWESOME pictures of Toph, which I'll post after Robert does his camera magic.

Christmas Movie Night occurs many nights during the Christmas season. We have a movie collection, and we have many Christmas movies. We love to snuggle up together and watch them, and the Home Alone movies are among my most favorite to watch WITH the kids. Not because the movies are so great, but to hear the belly laughs! That is a Christmas present in itself.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I've HAD it!

The fighting, the bickering, the tattling, the hitting, the kicking, the crying, the whining, you name it, I've HAD it!!! I'm SO DONE!!!

Yesterday we reached a new low. The kids are still fighting over Hannah's love interest and our neighbor, John. It's as if he's a piece of property without his own free will. Beyond fighting over John, they're fighting with each other about EVERYTHING. And when they're not fighting, they're trying to make each other mad. It' a real party around our house.

So I snapped yesterday. Hannah was in time out for kicking her brother, and WHILE SHE WAS IN TIME OUT, she kicked him in the stomach. That landed her grounded to her room until Robert came home (so that there would be no blood shed). We talked about how inappropriate her behavior was and how that's not the way we treat the people we love, etc. When Robert got home, she got lecture part 2. But whilst Hannah was grounded to her room, the kids continued to fight and bug each other. That's when I snapped.

Now my kids are grounded to each other. With the exception of school hours, bathroom trips, and bathing, they are to be together at all times until at least Tuesday morning. That means when one does a chore, the other does it too. They must play together, clean together, eat together, and help each other. They will only get un-grounded when they can figure it out and learn how to live together. Apparently the threat of coal for Christmas isn't enough for them.

Furthermore, they've been given an assignment that they must complete together before they're ungrounded: They must write and illustrate a book together that's at least 8 pages long. This way they have to cooperate in some way.

This could either be a VERY long, tedious weekend, or it could be REALLY great. They used to play very nicely together. We've always told Toph/Hannah that Hannah/Toph is the best friend he/she'll ever have. Some would say that it's brainwashing, but I prefer to look at it as a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm looking forward to the restoration of friendship. Even as I write this they are talking mean toward each other as they fight about what to play.

Wish me luck, send me Xanax, I don't know what to expect. I DO have to give credit where credit is due though. My sister, Aimee, has employed the grounded to each other tactic before, and I got the book idea from watching Supernanny. Calgon, take me away!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

SICK at Heart......

When I kiss my husband good-bye in the mornings, I fully expect to see him again after work. I'm sure the same could be said for the man who lost his entire family just 2 days ago when a fighter jet crashed into his home, killing his wife, 2 young daughters, and his mother-in-law.

The plane experienced catastrophic engine failures, and witnesses said it was in a spin. The pilot ejected safely, and the plane missed a high school just a couple of blocks away. THAT is truly remarkable.

We who live in San Diego hear the jets all the time. They fly overhead several times each day as they practice. This is the price that we, the civilians who benefit from the hard work of our military forces, must pay occasionally. Thankfully, it doesn't happen very often. I'm sure that those words won't bring Mr. Yoon much comfort though. He is a remarkable man--and I've never met him. This is what he had to say at a news conference: "Please pray for him [the pilot] not to suffer from this accident," Yoon said. "I know he's one of our treasures, for the country, and I ... don't blame him. I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could."

My heart breaks for this man I've never met. It makes me sick to think that, especially at this time of year, he has to suffer such a tragedy. My heart and prayers go out to him. This makes my own problems seem so small.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Soap Opera Life

So my own health and well-being has been the main plot in the soap opera of my life for awhile now. Had my physical and the doc tested about a gallon of my blood. Fell and hit my head. Got sick with the "cough thing" and hacked out my lungs for a week--then it moved to my sinuses. Had my follow-up appointment to my physical and learned that there's MEDICAL reasons for some of my issues--AND they can be fixed! And that's just the recent past.

Today we started a new plot line in the soap opera of my life. Besides the impending move and my own illness, now that I'm re-joining the human race, my sweet husband is feeling like freeze-dried garbage. He had a rough night. Tossing and turning and breathing issues. So it was no surprise to me when he announced this morning, "I feel awful." Dude, I was totally in your same shoes last weekend!

Gone out the window were our plans to make yummy goodies on our last weekend before complete insanity hits. Gone out the windows were our plans to go on a family bike ride. (I actually think that activity jinxes us. In the future, I'm not going to even allude to the desire to take a family ride--we'll just be spontaneous.) And we had yet another quiet, most-everyone-didn't-even-bother-to-get-dressed kind of day. Hannah played on the computer. Robert and Toph vegged and played video games. I washed dishes (finally!), worked on some cards, and read.

Since I'm not back to 100%, Robert is now sick, and tonight Hannah complained about having a sore throat and Toph complained about a stomach ache (and flu IS going around), I think we'll be having another quiet day tomorrow. I can't take much more of this!

I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating: I think we need to paint over the doorway with some lamb's blood, so the destroying angel of health will passover our house. Passover is in the spring; I know this. But I'll take anything I can get at this point! How bad would it be to bathe in Lysol? Could I get an IV of Purell? I now live in fear of having to walk into the doctor's office--I don't want to come into contact with the new germs we haven't caught yet.

And so go these the Days of our Lives in the (Mostly) Young and (Mostly) Potty-Trained.

Friday, December 5, 2008

To Tree or NOT to Tree, That is the Question.....

So, we're moving in January. Boxes are getting packed. Chaos is going to reign here. And that brings us to the question: To tree, or not to tree? We have young kids. They like it when Santa comes to visit. Santa needs a tree, right?

Not this year! Next door neighbors kindly shared a LOT of boxes with us tonight, and now I see just how full my living room is going to be. It's the ONLY place to put our tree, and it's going to be a box maze. So what to do?

We're going to copy my friend, Carmen. Her parents live in a small apartment, and asked her to make a paper Christmas tree to put on the wall. She had her kids make the CUTEST tree with painted hand prints, and then they decorated it with paper ornaments. Not only would this satisfy our kids as a "tree" for Santa, but it will keep them busy to create ornaments. (Ok, that picture is NOT Carmen's tree, but you get the idea.)

All I want for Christmas is 10 of me, 10 of me, 10 of me.
All I want for Christmas is 10 of me
So I can get so very much done!

Stay out of the Dog House!

One of my bestest friends, Alicia (in Fresno), sent this to me. It was SO good that I HAD to post it!

I am actually quite lucky. Robert's idea of gift-giving is nice. A GIFT is not something that you need. It should be something frivolous that you wouldn't buy for yourself. He always manages to surprise me too--good surprises!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

SICK of sick!

Ok, being sick is NOT my favorite thing! Can we just get that out there? I think that there are 2 different versions of "the cough virus" out there. We had "it" in Sept/Oct and the kids coughed and hacked for what seemed forever, but that was all. They complained that their throats hurt after coughing a lot--who doesn't? But they didn't have a fever, weren't real lethargic, and seemed "normal" except for the hacking up a lung all night.

What I have is NOT that one! I think there's another version of "it" that has fatigue with it. When Hannah got "it" the second time, she was lethargic/wiped out. I just attributed that to the whole coughing all night and I'm afraid that I wasn't very compassionate. Now that I've got "it," I know what it's like. There has been this "1st trimester of your first pregnancy" kind of tired. The "let me take a nap so I can go to bed" kind of tired. I'm sure it's partially because I cough ALL night long, so I don't sleep, but it's tired down to the bone marrow. No wonder I haven't done a load of laundry or washed dishes. I was too tired to read sometimes--now THAT'S tired!

Incidentally, last night was the first in 6 that I didn't spend coughing all night! I actually feel somewhat better! But now I have a fever......

I'm going to the doctor tomorrow.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I regret to inform the taggers...

Yes, it's true. I'm going to flake on the tags I received last month. My life is too hectic to look them up and respond to them right now. Get me again in February. Or March.

November Blur...

I cannot believe that it's December already! It seems like just last week that Robert's Mom was here and we were celebrating his birthday, but we've had Halloween, cub scouts, a computer death, a field trip, growth spurts, my birthday, a bad fall, Thanksgiving parties, notice of impending move, a mini-vacation, Thanksgiving, house-looking, and illness since then! SO much has happened that it's kind of a blur.

Computer Death:
Our server computer has died. It was sounding kind of weird before it happened, and then it was gone. The hard drive has given its all, but alas, it is dead. The new one is on its way. The only way this really impacts me is that I can't access our pictures until the server computer is up and running. Don't ask me why. I don't speak geek.

Field Trip:
Toph's class got to go see The Sound of Music. I was able to join them at the last minute, and we totally enjoyed ourselves. We got to dress for the theater and enjoy a wonderful performance. It was doubly fun for us, because we knew 4 cast members. AWESOME! We got back to school at lunchtime, and I got to take my favorite boy out to lunch too.

My Birthday:
Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE birthdays. Not just mine. It's your personal holiday, and I like to celebrate these special days. This is also the year that I stop aging. This year it was on a Sunday, and I was whining that I hated having a birthday on a Sunday. I think I was wrong. WAY wrong! Since my special day was on a Sunday, I got to celebrate for 3 days in a row. Robert and I went on a DATE and went out to dinner on Saturday. My friend, Carmen, cooked a marvelous dinner for our family on Sunday. And I went to lunch with my girlfriends on Monday. I highly recommend the Sunday birthday now. The only part of my birthday weekend that I didn't like was that Hannah woke us up at 3:30 AM and DID NOT go back to sleep!

Bad Fall:
I'm a klutz--I'll be the first to admit it. Toph has a loft bed, and I frequently climb onto a high stool (big wooden box type of stool, about 24 inches high) to kiss my boy goodnight. That night was just like tons of others, except that when I backed down off of the stool, my left foot hit something on the floor and I lost my footing. I ended up landing on my behind and the back of my head--OUCH! I also ended up hitting the front of my head--big dent and goose egg. I don't think I lost consciousness, I wasn't nauseated, I wasn't altered, and I was only mildly dizzy, so I elected to NOT go to the doctor. We did head trauma with Toph when he landed on his head in May (Mother-Son Dance post), so I knew the questions they'd ask. I sported a slightly dizzy head for 2 days, a NICE headache for 4 days, and I've still got the bruise. Probably had a slight concussion--NOT something I recommend!

Thanksgiving Feast Kindergarten Style:
I was in charge of Hannah's Thanksgiving party. One of the other Moms, Terri, came to my rescue. I asked if she knew anyone who could give us a discount on the grocery store meals (that's what the teacher suggested), and Terri got all of the other parents to sign up to bring food instead. By the time I got to the classroom, she'd pretty much assigned out all of the food. I had to get the paper goods, make the tongue depressor picture frames, and paint them. That's a good thing, considering I took my header the night before the party. The other Moms rallied and we had a lovely time. Quite a delicious spread for our adorable kiddos! My darling was a pilgrim, and she was SO Cute!!! I'll post pictures when the computer isn't dead.

In September my sister, Aimee, called and asked if I'd ever be willing to meet her in Anaheim on a Sunday--uh, YEAH! Her family was taking a Disney vacation, and I totally invited us along! We decided to keep it a secret from our kids though. They had NO idea until Sunday morning that we were even going anywhere. We made our first stop at the Discovery Science Museum near Disneyland. The kids didn't know where we were, and then my sister and oldest niece came around the corner, and they asked me, "Mom, are we in Fresno?" So funny! Along the way they discovered that we'd be going to Disneyland for 2 days, and they were so excited. It was WAY fun to see our cousins, our grandparents, and our cousins' cousins. We had a great time. Our family split from "the group" a lot and kind of did our own thing. We tend to take the park at a more sedate pace--since we live closer and go more often. Everyone had a fantastic time, and we all came home with sore feet. The parks were really quite crowded--more than they've been any other time we've gone. I highly recommend the week AFTER Thanksgiving. Despite the crowds, we had an excellent time. Thanks Aimee for letting us crash your vacation!

We had a very QUIET Thanksgiving--just the 4 of us. Just what I wanted for this year. We were invited to hang out with friends, but after having been at Disneyland, I was going to be craving some quiet time. It was perfect. The day after, Robert helped his office mate move in the morning and our family got together with some friends for playing and gaming and some crafting. We had a great time! No crazy Black Friday shopping in this house!

We got to go look at a cute house on the day before Thanksgiving. It's slightly smaller than the one we're in now. It's close to where we live now, on a cul-de-sac close to the school we already attend, we know some of the neighbors, there's plenty of kids our kids' ages, and the back yard is beautiful. The owner is hoping to do a long-term lease (yippee!), which would be very beneficial to us, as we won't be in a position to purchase a house any time in the real near future.

Of course, what holiday would be complete without illness?! The kids had the cough virus in September or October, and we got it AGAIN in November. Hannah had it before we left on our trip, Toph hacked a bit, and on Saturday I got it! Now, when the kids had "it," they were FINE except for the cough. They were tired, because instead of sleeping they were coughing, but they could still function and play in the day. This stuff knocked me on my rear. I stayed in bed ALL weekend. I wish you could burn calories just by coughing, because I'd only weigh 89 pounds if that was the case. My guts are sore from so much hacking, and I'm not finished yet! My lungs still feel like an elephant is living on my chest and I can feel the junk rattling around. I have a bit more energy today, but I still don't feel great. I'm impatient to be back to "normal." While Mommy was down sick, the kiddos watched tons of movies, played on the computer, and Daddy and Toph had a Lego Batman Marathon. Over the weekend, they played for about 8 hours each day--and I didn't care, because I felt too gross to suggest an alternate activity. They had a blast, and we all enjoyed having the whole week to spend together.

So that about sums up the month of November. It has been CRAZY busy, but I guess that's the theme of our lives right now. We're doing well. We're happy. Most of us are healthy, and we're enjoying living in paradise.