Thursday, December 31, 2009

The amazing fun...

That the "Johnson's Buddies" soap can bring to the boys. Looks gross to me, but it provides almost a half hour of entertainment every night!!!

They love it!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

For those of you that say Connor looks like me...

you are so wrong! I came across this picture today in our files. OMG is all I have to say.

Connor must be reading my blog

Okay, for those of you that are disgusted when people post about their children's bathroom habits, please ignore this post.

CONNOR POOPED ON THE POTTY LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was the happiest moment of my day! Tyler wanted nothing to do with pooping on the potty for such a long time. Now that Connor gets to watch Tyler, I think it was a little incentive. (That, and the toy train I bribed him with!)

Connor, if you're reading this, I am SO proud of you! I will be so thrilled if I have thrown away my last pair of poopy underwear! =)

Okay, this will be my last post about my children's bathroom habits for a while...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My coffee and my blog

Aaaahhhhh...... finally. I get to blog and just....sit. I almost couldn't believe it, but I did actually read some blogs last night, catching up on blogs I haven't looked at in a month. It was nice to read something other than "Good Night Gorilla" and the daily sheets from daycare. Kyle and the kids left for daycare, and the house is all mine!

It's been crazy lately. This week is what I refer to as "decompression week". It's a week off of work (with the whole plant shut down) which means no e-mails are coming in, very few phone calls, and I can pretty much stop thinking about that crazy place that I call work. We are on a break from school, so I don't have to read finance books that read like radio instructions or write 12 page papers for things I could say in 4. This is nice...

Christmas was great with the kids. They scored big with gifts! So much so that I put about half of them in a secret hiding place, and I will pull them out randomly throughout the year when we're in a desperate situation. Last year, I pulled the last one out on a rainy day in August. That was nice.

Some interesting things that have happened over the last month:

Tyler started drawing anatomically correct people at daycare. Yeeeeaaaa. His teacher sent two of the pictures home so we could talk to him. My favorite is "Mr. Anatomically Correct Snowman". The funny thing is that Tyler doesn't see the issue. I couldn't help but laugh (silently to myself, of course), and we talked about why that isn't good to do.

Connor will not poop on the toilet to save his life. He's got the peeing down, and will go by himself now. I always just pray that he poops when he wakes up with a pull-up on, or you never know what you will have throughout the day. Put it this way, we borrowed the carpet shampooer from the neighbors twice now. The finally told us to just keep it here and they will borrow it from us.

I have so much I want to do this week - I'm wondering how much I will actually get done. I always have high aspirations, but usually only accomplish half. I need to clean out our sunroom, or better know as the "just throw it in the sunroom" room. It is our "junk collecting" room in the house. I am going to sort that out if it kills me.

Okay, off to get some work done, but my goal is to blog more. I wanted to start documenting our life to keep for my kids later, and for myself. I find myself going back to read blogs that I just wrote 6 months ago, and it's amazing that I don't remember any of that happening.
See you soon!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sorry to have been MIA...

...but we were on vacation! A night in Miami, followed by a four day cruise to the Bahamas!

I won't bore you with the details, but will bore you with some pictures! =)

a picture of the Bahamas from the top of our Partyboat Shore Excursion

Kyle and I enjoying our vacation

Our cruise ship - the Carnival Imagination

I will post more later about our adventures!!!! Back to my 84 loads of laundry!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Knuffle Bunny

Since I someday want to turn this blog into a book for my kids, I wanted to capture their favorite book for them. This was Tyler's favorite book a few years ago, and now Connor wants to read it every night. We've actually got to the point when I'm rocking him to sleep, that I can recite it word for word, without the book. Here's from memory...

Not so long ago, before she could even speak words, Trixie went on an errand with her daddy.

Trixie and her daddy went down the block, through the park

past the school, and into the laundromat.

Trixie helped her daddy put the laundry into the machine,

She even got to the money into the machine.

Then they left.

About a block or so later, Trixie realized something.

"Aggle Flaggle Klabble" said Trixie.

"That's right," replied her daddy, "We're going home"

"Aggle Flaggle Klabble" said Trixie again. "Blabble Plabble. Wumby Flappy. Snurp."

"Now, please don't get fussy," said her daddy.

Trixie had no choice. She bawled. She went boneless. She did everything she could to show how unhappy she was. By the time they got home, her daddy was unhappy too.

When Trixie's mommy opened the door she said, "Where's Knufflebunny?"

The whole family ran down the black, through the park,

they zoomed past the school, and into the laundromat.

Trixie's daddy looked for Knufflebunny and looked and looked and looked.

Knufflebunny was no where to be found.

Trixie's daddy decided to look harder, until, "KNUFFLEBUNNY!!!!"

And those were the first words Trixie ever said.

I love you Tyler and Connor. Every minute that I spent ready that book to you was pure joy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Well, here's the result. I couldn't keep Tyler to keep his sweater zipped, but I think we did okay. Now, we finally have some pictures to put up in our house!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Mommy, Mommy, Wipe my Butt"....

Kyle and I had decided about a week ago that we were going to have a "Thanksgiving" dinner at our house tonight. We invited the Ney's (our virtual family!) and cooked turkey, stuffing, corn casserole, rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, and all the fixin's! It was awesome! ( would've been proud! I used your gravy recipe!!!)

Kyle went to cut wood today with Tyler, Mike and Mike's kids. While he was gone, Connor and I had to go to the store to make sure we had everything we needed for this feast we were having tonight.

Connor and I went to Hy-Vee, and not only did we get what we needed, we got just about everything else.... or so I thought, until we got to the car. I forgot Turkey bags.

Connor had been SO good in the store. I bought him a cookie in the store (as I usually do at Hy-Vee - but usually they have the jar of free cookies there. Today the jar was empty, so we had to buy a "Herky" cookie - which was totally worth the $2.50 it cost!). And we even got one of those car carts to ride around in - which is even better - he can pretend he is a race car driver as we drive around!

When we went back in the store, I decided to just keep him in a regular cart. I just forgot turkey bags, so the trip would take about 2 minutes. He stood up in the cart, and laughed as I moved faster and faster.

As we entered the store, he started the familiar chorus that is sung in my house...

"Mommy, Mommy, wipe my butt"......

Strangely enough, this song is sung with a definite rhythm, and smile. He sung it at the top of his lungs. For whatever sick reason, Tyler started this song about 6 months ago - as his "signal" when he's done pooping and needs his but wiped in the bathroom. Nice, right?

I kept trying to cover his mouth, and everytime I did that, he laughed hysterically. We even had the people in the aisles laughing. It was really cute, in a strange sort of way.

We got what we needed, and I eventually bought Connor a chocolate milk (something I am very opposed to) to get him to STOP signing. It worked, although I'm not sure Hy-Vee will ever be the same.

Thanks Connor. Ironically enough, I still wipe your butt, frequently. =)

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Family Picture

(In order to get the full effect of this story, you must read it like you are moving in fast motion - which is what I was doing during this whole episode...)

We decided to finally take our first family picture. Our first family picture with the four of us, and actually, the first "professional" picture I've had taken since 2006, and that one was by accident. (I took Tyler to get his pictures taken, and they got me in a few.)

I was so proud of myself. I had actually planned ahead. We were all wearing sweaters of some kind, mine and Ty's was green, Connor had Navy Blue, and Kyle had brown. Since we were taking these pictures outside, I was going for solid colors, that look more natural. I had purchased the boys sweaters for their school pictures, Kyle already had his, and mine I bought Thursday night - nearly 48 hours before pictures were to be taken! I was on top of it, or so I thought....

Saturday morning Kyle asked what we were all wearing (I thought we had this conversation already!). As I told him, he looked at me and said "No, no, no.... we have to all wear the same color - if you walk into anyone's house with a family picture, if they have on different colored clothes is just looks funny!". And I believe him. He spends all day, every day, in other people's houses helping them get prepared to move - so he knows what he's talking about there.

I quickly throw on a sweatshirt and hat (not having showered) and head to the store. As I'm leaving, Kyle asks "Which one are you taking with you?", which means, which kid... This frustrates me because I can move 5 times faster by myself, but I ask Tyler and he declines me. Connor wants to go. Fantastic.

We head to the mall. If I'm going to find matching clothes for the boys, of course Old Navy would have that. We arrive at the mall at 9:15 to find it.... closed. The only store open was JC Penny, which had nothing. We wasted time around the mall until 10am (even wasting time in Barnes & Noble playing with their Thomas the Train set), because I knew Old Navy would have what we need. Nope. Nada. Zilch. Nothing that I would even have my boys photographed in. Dang it.

We then head to Kohl's. Time check - it's 10:30, pictures are at 1:30 in Cedar Rapids. I have to move quick, but things should be okay..... until.... I find nothing. I find a sweater in Tyler's size, but they don't have it in Connor's size. All sorts of red and green sweaters (we're wearing brown), but I couldn't find a darn thing. Nothing for me, or the boys. By this time, Connor is done shopping. By done, I mean literally, done. Crying and whining and just exhausted/hungry/bored. I leave a cart with things that might work towards the front of the store. "I'll be back...." I said to myself.

I drive home, like a maniac. I literally skid into the driveway, hop out of the car, and literally throw Connor at Kyle.

"I'VE GOT TO GO - BE HOME SOON!", and I jetted off to the store. By this time, I would've paid $100 for a good sweater, and heck - even $500 for a set.

I did end up finding a sweater for Connor and myself at one store, then headed back to Kohl's again to find the pants that would match a sweater for Tyler, and guess what?!?! They were gone. The cart that I had left at the front of the store was gone, along with the clothes. They must've put them in the stack of "to be put away" clothes, because I never did see them. I ended up finding something similar, and sprinting to the front of the store.

We got home, got dressed and headed to the park in the car. The whole picture taking event took about 20 minutes. Neither boy had napped, and was only in the mood to climb in the trees/leaves, and was not interested at all in stopping to smile at a camera.

I hope to God those pictures turn out okay. With my luck, I'll have a leaf stuck in my hair, or a big booger hanging from the boy's nose. I'll post them when I can - and you'd better like brown!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Craziness

4:15 am. Yes, that is when Connor woke up this morning. 4:15 A. M. Holy. Lord. Kyle and I took turns trying to rock him back to sleep, but we didn't get much other than a doze from him, and if you tried to lay him back down, he sat straight up. We were in the living room at 6am.

I remembered it was picture day tomorrow at daycare for the boys this morning. That wouldn't have been much of a problem since I so, proactively, did some shopping yesterday. I got Tyler a cool Polo sweater that is red and navy blue striped. Apparently, that is also the same sweater that Freddy Krueger wore (or Jason, I can't remember), that my neighbor so nicely reminded me, as she was drunk. I'm sure she didn't mean anything by it - but the sweater will be returned. I don't think I could look at Tyler's school pictures thinking Freddy or Jason forever.

So, I went to Kohl's at 9am today to "reshop" for pictures. Came out with some nice stuff, and hopefully no evil villains wear those same clothes.

I took the boys to my parents, and since the boys will usually sleep on the way there if they have a full stomach - I went to the Steak & Shake drive through. At 10:30 in the morning. I probably looked like I had a problem, by ordering a child's grilled cheese meal, and extra order of fries, a strawberry shake, a coffee and a Red Bull. Yes - by 10:30 I was running out of steam.

All of that great nutrition came to $10.56. I think the boys ate 3 french fries, total, and Connor would not eat his grilled cheese ("I don't WANT it..."), and when Tyler was "done" with his, it looked like a mouse had nibbled on it. So - a strawberry shake, coffee and Red Bull cost me $10.56.

At my parents, the boys had a blast! They threw rocks in the river with grandpa, Tyler told all sorts of crazy stories, and both had lots of suckers. We all had a great time, and my parents got to experience the boys on ice cream. Yes, ice cream is the new "crack" in our house.

I couldn't decide what time to put the boys to bed tonight. This whole time change thing screws me up for weeks. I will walk around saying "It's 7pm but it's really 8", for weeks. Constantly comparing the new time to the old time. So, I'm unsure of what to do with the boys. We need to start transitioning to the new bedtime - but after the early start this morning, they need their sleep.

Say a prayer that tomorrow is a bit later than it was today. People assure me that the boys will grow out of this eventually. It's been 5 years and 2 months........ it's not looking like anytime soon!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Transplant Day Jason!

Today, Jason had his Bone Marrow Transplant. The next step, in a hopeful recovery to this agressive leukemia that invaded his body just under a year ago. Jason's parents had hoped that the 6 months of chemo they did earlier in the year did the trick - but he only remained in remission for about 2 months.

After a couple weeks of chemo this month, it's FINALLY transplant day! From the pictures I've seen, it looks like the hospital went all out for the event. The Child Life group brought lots of presents, he had a huge cookie, a sign, and they even sang for him!

Say a prayer for Jason. The worst of his fight is yet to come, as his body tries to figure out what to do with this new cells. And if anyone knows anyone that donated bone marrow yesterday, thank them for possibly saving this little boys life.

It's hard to believe that that little bag, could save his life...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Where the garbage goes

It's 6:18am by the time on my computer, and the house is quiet. Everyone is still asleep, and that is pissing me off.

Connor has had a sleep aversion lately. I'm not sure if the potty training is confusing him (if he needs to go in the middle of the night) or if he's just decided to become a 2 year old insomniac. Whatever the case, our nights have been pretty short around here lately. Connor has been up at least 2 times in the middle of the night lately, as many as 4 last week once. I'm not ready to have an infant again.

Saturday and Sunday morning were much of the same. I think he was up at 5am Saturday, and it was a glorious 4:50am Sunday. Saturday I got him back to sleep, but had to hop in the shower myself so I could get to school. Sunday morning, he was NOT interested at all in going back to sleep. He finally sat straight up in the rocking chair, where I was trying to lull him back to sleep, and said "Watch Garbage 'gain?"

Connor's new favorite DVD is one we have called "Where the Garbage goes". I must admit, it is pretty educational, and if that doesn't want to make you become a hard-core recycler, I don't know what will. The video covers garbage men picking up your garbage, to sorting stuff at the recyling center, to making compost, to scrap-metal recycling - smashing cars and all. The video is wrapped up by "George" (the host) telling us how the garbage is eventually deposited into pods in the landfill. I know WAY to much about this show now. I've only watched it 842 times.

Regardless, Sunday morning started at 4:50 for me, and this morning is work. I finally reluctantly crawled out of bed at 5:15 just so I could possibly be halfway done getting ready by the time children started popping their heads out of their bedroom doors.

Here I sit. In silence. It's now 6:24 am. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I love this picture

Just looking through some random pictures, I came across this one. It's one of my favorites. (Please pay no attention to the crappy front door that I've been complaining for years that needs to be replaced....)

This picture is the kind of stuff that makes me get the biggest smile on my face, that no one could take off....

If I remember right, the boys were sitting outside on the front porch eating a snack. I think Tyler was telling Connor a story. It was so cute....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tucking in Tyler

Tonight the boys were wound up. Wow. It was a circus from the minute we pulled into the garage (when Tyler tried to exit my car, NASCAR style, through his window), until the time we went to bed. So entirely crazy, it was exhausting.

Being as wound up as they were, I knew bedtime would be almost impossible. I tried letting them get some of their energy out early by running laps around a local pond (which is sometimes scary because instead of running around it, they want to run up to it - sometimes six inches from it!), and we tried dancing in the living room. With our satellite dish, we get the Sirius/XM channels. I put on one of the dance channels, and let the boys go to town.

(By the way, Tyler totally inherited my dance moves. For those of you that know me, instead of dancing, he could possibly be an extra on the moving "Breakin'", if you know what I mean...).

Bedtime was the circus I expected. Two boys that were not eager for sleep, and so wound up from an awesome day. Tyler especially.

That boy is in overdrive right now. He is learning so much, and his mind is a total sponge. He is spelling everything he can see, and asks questions about everything. Tonight I explained everything from why goose poop exists, to why butter melts in the microwave. Seriously - at 7pm, I don't have that much brainpower left. At one point, I remember telling him to ask his chemistry teacher in high school.

After reading our books, and doing our bedtime routine, Tyler was out of his bed about five times, with every excuse in the book. "I need a drink.", "I need to potty", "You forgot to say goodnight", "I hear a noise in my room", etc. The last time he got up, I followed him back to his room and got an idea.

I remember being a young kid, and having my dad put me to bed. He always came into our room, and tucked us in really good. The blankets were tucked under every bit of you, so it felt like a cocoon. Then we started our routine:

"Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite!" he would say...

"See you later, Alligator!", I would yell, as he walked out of the room.

"After awhile, Crocodile!", he would yell back from the hallway.

It was so routine, yet so.....necessary. It was the closing of my day. It put my mind at ease, and made me go to sleep, smiling.

I took Tyler back to his bed, and tucked him in, especially tight. Of course, I had to explain to him that there are no bugs in his bed, and why we were talking about alligators and crocodiles, but he liked it. When I left his room, he was smiling.

And he didn't get back out of his bed again. I think we have a new bedtime tradition to start.......

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is the end in sight?

The end of diapers, that is...

Connor had his first "accident free" day at daycare today. We started sending him to daycare in underwear last week. The first day he had 3 accidents, the next day 2, and up to yesterday, had only 1. Today....NONE!!!!!

I forgot how much fun and rewarding potty training could be, but also how gross. We haven't had our first "poopy underwear" yet, but I vividly remember that with Tyler. Holy Gross Out.

Cross your fingers that Connor will have that figured out faster than Tyler did. I'm not ready to scoop poop out of undwear for the next 6 months!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I love this kid

I was sure the minute that he was born, that he was different. I have been right ever since.

I'm certain that Connor was put on this earth, specifically, to make me laugh. He started smiling when he was 2 weeks old (really, I'm not making that up!), and hasn't stopped. He smiles at everything, and always smiles at me.

Okay, so being two, he does have his moments, but he is such a neat kid.

Our nighttime routine is just that - quite routine. We usually all read books in Tyler's room, then go to Connor's room where I sit with him in the rocking chair just long enough for him to start rubbing his eyes (succumbing to his drowsiness), and I then put him in bed.

Tonight, as we were sitting in the rocking chair, saying our last good nights ("Mommy nite-nite too?", he always asks. It always makes me giggle.), he all of a sudden, took his finger and started tracing all around my face. He first traced the outline of my face, then my nose, and tried to do my eyes, but his fingers kept tripping over my glasses. I took my glasses off my face and closed my eyes. He kept tracing all around my eyes, my mouth, my nose, ever so gently. It was almost as if he was saying, "Mom, I know you're totally stressed out, how can I help?", without saying any words.

I closed my eyes, and enjoyed every second of that. He was so calm and completely and totally relaxed, and I sat there and just let all of the stress of everything melt off of my body. It was absolutely incredible.

He finally closed his eyes a bit, so I put him down in bed. I walked out of his room, still thinking about what he did. Although it seems so small, I'm wondering what made him do that?

Sometimes I think he knows my soul so well, he knows exactly what it needs.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It's going to be a long winter...

Although it has only been about 15 hours since our house has been "awake" today, I'm surprised everyone is still alive.

Holy Lord.

If today was any indication of to what we have to look forward to this winter, kill me now.

Tyler and Connor fought so much, and then Tyler and Kyle would fight. Then Connor would go outside, without shoes on, then Tyler and Connor would fight some more. Then I would yell at Kyle, and then Kyle would yell at the kids. Then the kids would run around in the mud, and then track that into the house, and then get yelled at some more.

Oh my gosh, it was ridiculous.

I'm not sure what we're going to do this winter, but it's not going to be whatever we did today, because that didn't work. At all.

Spring.... I cannot wait for your arrival!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I found a plaque today that simply said:

"If you think my hands are should see my heart"

I thought it was the most absolutely, perfect saying I had ever heard.

Sometimes I get so caught up in how busy I am, how crazy the kids are, how messy the house is, etc., and forget to take time to be thankful for what I am blessed with.

I am the luckiest person alive...

Monday, September 28, 2009

You want a what???

Tonight I picked up a VERY excited Tyler from Daycare. He was so proud to show me the "prize" he won today at the School Store. They have special "store" at the daycare that they stash with goodies and prizes, and when kids are really, really good, they get to go to the store and pick out whatever they want.

Tyler was so excited to show me his magic wand.

First, I thought this was hilarious! I, myself, had bought myself a magic wand last year, just to keep at work to make sure everything was done, and done perfectly. (HA! I haven't got it to work, quiet yet!)

Then, I thought this was very cute. A little boy picked out a sparkly magic princess wand that has a star on the top. He likes to take it and put it on your head and say "ding!", just like they do in cartoons or movies.

While we were on our way home, I asked him what he was going to do with his magic wand. He didn't understand what I meant, so I tried to explain it to him...

"Well, a magic wand grants wishes..." I told him. "Like if someone wants a lot of money, they wish for that, then you say 'ding' and they get the money they want."

"Or, what else?", he asked.

"Or, if someone wants to be very happy for the rest of their lives, they make that wish, and then you say 'ding' and it comes true for them! That would be a very special wish!" I thought he would catch on to this one, and think that was a very special wish.

"Oh, I get it!", he said.

"So, what are you going to wish for, for yourself?", I asked him.

"I want a monkey." He said.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Parent out of Love

I have a friend that is going through a very difficult time with his two year old right now. She is challenging them with every ounce of her being, and from the way it sounds, she is quite a determined child.

I've seen him on days where he hasn't slept, because she's not slept. I've seen him so frustrated and down on himself, that I've actually worried about him. And I've also listened to him as he's vented and tried to figure out what to do to fix the situation, and actually even questioned himself as a parent. He's wrong. He's a wonderful parent that is going through what we all go through...

As my friend has gone through his trials, it brought me back to when Tyler was two. It almost felt like I was sucked through a tunnel back in time to that year, 2006.

I remember the frustration. I remember the despair. I remember actually crying on the way home from work on Friday night because I knew I had the whole weekend ahead of me where I had to figure out "what to do" with this crazy two-year-old that wouldn't listen to anything I said, and would push every button I have. It was not a good time for me. Kyle and I fought constantly, and I actually thought that if this is what parenting is all about, then there is something wrong me me, because I hated it. Then I hated myself, because I hated being a parent.

It hit me one night as I was watching a SuperNanny show that I had DVR'd. Yes, of all people, the SuperNanny. She was in a house with three or four kids, if I remember right, that were driving their parents literally insane. The whole house was filled with screaming, mostly from the parents, and punishment after punishment after punishment. She sat back and watched as chaos ensued in this house, which had no love what-so-ever. By the time the parents put the kids to bed, they could've literally tied them down, because they were so spent, and frustrated, and beyond words. That was me.

Now - I knew this was a total extreme. My brain had just made a connection with something that I couldn't even relate to - but in his two year old brain, could he? I spent more time yelling and getting frustrated, putting him in time out and taking him to his room, than I spent actually trying to love him. When I finally figured out that he needed almost constant direction and attention (with help from the SuperNanny), it made sense. When I tried to ignore him, and go about my business, he would get in trouble - or I found that he just wanted to be with me. Get my attention in any way he could - either positive or negative. At that age, usually negative.

I got frustrated when he woke up at night, instead of trying to figure out why. I let him cry, and scream at times (when he was still in his crib), until I figured out that he was having nightmares. Then my heart almost broke. His vivid imagination had followed him into his bedroom, and when I picked him up one night and he literally clung to me in terror, we both cried. I rocked him back to sleep, and sometimes still have to do that to this day. Not really for a 5 year old (sometimes with Connor), but sometimes at night, he just needs a little bit more attention than I want to give him. I stop myself now, and realize what is really going on.

I need to remind myself every day, sometimes every hour, and sometimes on the weekends, every minute, that this child (and now Connor) is not trying to totally piss me off like he is, but just wants my attention, my direction, and most of all, my love.

Have patience. These times shall also pass. Keep in mind the big picture, the light at the end of the tunnel, and what you are really trying to accomplish. That slows me down almost every time...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday Tyler!!!

You are such a big guy now. You're dad and I were just talking, and we don't even describe you as a boy anymore... You're such a little man. Instead of playing with kid toys and watching kid shows, you would rather do anything that the adults are doing.

You are so awesome, Tyler, and you've come such a long way. You're an awesome older brother, and such a fun kid to be around. If you're not making someone laugh, you're asking such inquisitive questions. Happy 5th birthday, Buster!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Since I'm posting a lot of videos now, this one HAD to be posted.

After being in the Marching Band in 1992-1995, this video brings me back to those moments. The memories that I will have for a lifetime as one of the happiest, most carefree times of my life. Although the video is from just a couple weeks ago, it brought me back to 1995 in an instant. Goosebumps and all....

Go Hawks - and I love you Chuck Ford!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

For Tyler...

Your dad wanted me to post this because he does this to you when you're out golfing with him.... =)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My biggest mistake as a parent, so far...

"Mommycanwegotonightandgetmyblackspidermansuitpleasepleasepleasepleaseplease!", is what I was met with when I picked Tyler up from daycare on Friday night.

For whatever reason, he had in his mind that he was going to get a Black Spiderman Costume that he wanted to wear for Halloween. He then proceeded to melt onto the floor into a pile of tears and basically a big blubbering mess. I literally had to pick him up off the floor and agree to whatever he asked for at that time, in order to prevent the most massive tantrum I had ever seen, which I knew was right around the corner.

The whole way home Tyler asked for his "Black Spiderman Suit", and insisted we go get it right then. I dodged that as long as I could, and we arrived at home, where the whiny tantrum continued. Tyler obviously hadn't taken a nap that day, and has been not taking naps more often than he does taken them now. Tyler without a nap is okay, until about 5pm. You have a 1.5 hour window between 4:30 and 6pm that you pay for every minute that he didn't nap.

I looked at Kyle and said "What do we do?"

This is when we had the decision of our lives to make. Do we cave and go get the costume? Make a special trip into town on a Friday night, or do we tell him no, and make him deal with it. Does he get a reward for being an awesome kid at daycare all week - a reward that he chose himself. Although, this really isn't a reward - it's he just wants something... (You get the picture of the conflict in my head...)

After about 5 more minutes of whining, I caved. We got in the car and drove to Target to get him his Halloween costume. Right at that moment, because he wanted to.

I'm certain that this was only the first of many times we have to make that decision. Do we cave in and get our kids what they ask for, on a whim, or do we hold our ground and tell them no, they have to be reasonable to wait.

We set a precedent that night that I'm sure Tyler will remember - and that is that if he whines enough, he will get what he wants. A precedent that I said I would NEVER set with my kids. They were NOT going to be spoiled, and I would NOT give them everything they asked for. There's nothing wrong with "wanting" something - it's when you get "everything" that it becomes a problem. (or so I believe)

Oh - and did I mention this stupid costume scares the living HELL out of Connor. Seriously, Connor was basically attached to me all weekend, scared to death because he was afraid. "Tyler is going to get me!", he would say. And then he would ask to "Put the mask away!" I do have to admit. When Tyler has the full costume on, it is scary!!!

So, I've completely failed as a parent by getting Tyler what he had a tantrum for, and in the meantime, scared my younger son so much that he will probably be in therapy for the rest of his life. The poor guy even woke up crying - not a cry, cry, but a scared, cry...

Currently, my savior of a neighbor Vicki has the costume hidden at her house. Tyler thinks it's at the "Fixers" because it had a hole in it. I think the "Fixer" will have it until Halloween.

I can't wait to see how I'll screw them up next.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday Trivia - you never knew...

In the days before cameras, one's image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted, since limbs are more difficult to paint. Hence the expression, 'Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg'.

As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October) Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn't wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term 'big wig.' Today we often use the term 'here comes the Big Wig' because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.

In the late 1700's, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The 'head of the household' always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the 'chair man.' Today in business, we use the expression or title 'Chairman' or 'Chairman of the Board.'

Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in 'straight laced'. . Wore a tightly tied lace.

Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the 'Ace of Spades.' To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren't 'playing with a full deck.'

At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid's job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in 'pints' and who was drinking in 'quarts,' hence the term 'minding your'P's and Q's'

One more and betting you didn't know this!

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others.

The solution was a metal plate called a 'Monkey' with 16 round indentations.However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make 'Brass Monkeys.' Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled.Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, 'Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.' (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn't you.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tyler & the Gum Factory

I haven't had much to say lately... Probably because I'm busy enough that I just don't have time for a whole lot of much, and because I've been busy helping Tyler find a job.

Yes, Tyler informed me on Sunday night that he wasn't interested in going back to daycare anymore, and would like to get a job.

"Do they have any jobs where you work, Mommy?", he asked me.

I almost jumped on this idea, thinking that I'm sure I could find some farm or carnival somewhere that would love a strong 4, almost 5 year old boy to help them... but then (what's left of) my better judgement kicked in, and unless I wanted him to be the "winner" that was running the run-down motorcycle ride at the Johnson County Fair, it would be best for him to stay in school.

And maybe it's also a good idea because he thinks we just make gum at the place where I work.

Sometimes I'll stop at the vending machine on the way out and spend 40 cents on a pack of gum for the boys. This brings them ultimate joy when I pick them up, and always makes for a wonderful ride home. Because Tyler knows I get this gum at work, he thinks we also make it there.

As we continued our conversation, I encouraged Tyler to stay in Preschool, because we a) don't get recess at work, b) they don't give us enough time to color (unless you're in a really boring meeting), and c) we don't get field trips, unless they are to visit extremely difficult suppliers.

He was okay with that response, and actually went to daycare without tears this week - especially when he found that some of his favorite teachers from Lit'l Russellers were going to be at his new daycare. I almost cried when I saw Amber and Roly myself. They have been awesome with our kids - and now get to continue!

So, unfortunately I will not be breaking any child labor laws anytime soon. Although, if the craziness in the evenings (since it is getting darker earlier) is any indication of what we will be getting this winter with the boys, I will GIVE them both to the carnival!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

That totally pissed me off - my very long vent

While driving the boys to their new daycare on Monday morning, I received a text message from a friend. It simply said, "Good thing you are starting your new Daycare, your old one closed."

"What?", I thought to myself as I read it, and then typed back, "ha ha, thanks!". I thought she was just trying to make me feel better. From my previous post, you know about the enormous amount of guilt I carried around with me all weekend for switching daycare centers.

But, the unbelievable had happened on Saturday. Our Daycare, that we purposely left on Friday as our last day, just shut their doors, and called all 95 remaining families and let them know that they wouldn't have a daycare center on Monday.

Holy Hell.

I was dumbfounded. I knew they were having financial issues - that was obvious, and why we left. But how this was handled, just infuriates me to NO END, and I'm having a VERY hard time getting over it.

I've cried more this week than I have in months. I've cried at home, in the car, and best of all, at work. It makes me SO MAD that this woman that ran this daycare for 9 years could be so entirely IRRESPONSIBLE with all of our money, and literally drove the place into the ground - and without telling ANYONE (including ANY of the staff!), just up and closed the doors.

What breaks my heart the most is knowing that the staff didn't get to say goodbye. Like I said in my previous post - they said goodbye to Tyler and Connor. Tyler got a card, and Connor got some cars. Those ladies had no idea that after that day, would they not only not see Tyler and Connor anymore -but they wouldn't see any of "their" kids.

It pissed me off that the owner would not call anyone and explain, and simply put an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper on the door apologizing for what happened. Then had all of the STAFF (that had no idea hours previous) call the parents, and from what I heard from most, the staff were in tears as they tried to explain the unexplainable to the parents. Some of those parents had entrusted the center to take care of their kids for years, some of them having been there for 11 years- before it was even owned by this owner, with all of their children.

It then got better when it was announced that parents could pick up their kids belongings from 7-10am on Monday, and then weren't let in the center - but were just met by volunteers (that no one knew - we assume they were her friends), and the volunteers sifted through the stuff inside that we also assume the caring staff had to pack up over the weekend.

It infuriated me to find the DHS report that was posted on the internet, that no one knew about. Numerous complaints were filed with DHS in July, and they made a surprise visit to the center in mid-August. My kids were napping there that day, as the DHS agent walked around and noted more than 10 violations. Nice. Everything from broken toilets, to carpets that hadn't been cleaned in 7-9 months. Yes, I said months. Imagine over 100 kids tromping around on a carpet for months without cleaning it. Because of the color - it didn't look dirty on the surface to us, but if you wiped a white cloth along the top, black stuff came off. Oh - and a toilet overflowed in May and soaked the carpet. It never got cleaned. That is disgusting. I have since viewed DHS's website and their 208 page document that outlines all of the daycare rules. I recommend anyone that uses a sitter/daycare to read it. Very interesting. I didn't even know some of those rules, WERE rules...

It infuriates me that we supported this center for over four and a half years, participating in their fundraisers, and attending their socials. Buying books from their bookfair, and giving them toys that were didn't use anymore. What made me totally burst into tears was during one of the newscasts on TV they showed a little red "Cozy Coupe" car sitting on the deserted playground. We gave them that car last summer because the boys never played with it at our house.

It infuriates me that we cared for that center so much. We loved those women more than family, and our kids knew them better than they knew us - and then this had to happen because of the stupid owner. Because of her inability to be honest with anyone, both of my kids lives were turned upside down by being put into a new center where they know no one. Because of her inability to be honest with anyone, 95 ADDITIONAL FAMILIES had their lives totally turned upside down. Because of her inability to be honest with anyone, approximately 25 staff members lives were turned upside down.

I know, this too, shall pass. People have referred to me as the "lucky one" by getting out when we did - just in time. We didn't have to be one of the parents that were crying in the lobby of our new daycare center because they had no place to go, and still couldn't even comprehend what happened.

The boys are settling into their new daycare now, but it hasn't been as easy as I thought. LOTS of tears during "drop-off" in the morning, and Connor's teachers have said his mornings have been "kind-of rough". Connor NEVER had rough mornings - ever. I thought Connor would be the resilient one - but I guess when you're 2, having a change like that and being left with strangers, must be scary. Tyler gets it - but Connor has no idea. Their teachers are awesome though, and Tyler has even started learning Spanish. (Hola Mommy!)

Someday this will be behind us, but it will never be the same. Any memory that I have from Lit'l Russellers going forward, will be jaded. Any good memory that I have, will have this haze of sorrow around it, because of how it all had to end.

(Here is the link to one of the newscasts...)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yep, it was as hard as I thought it would be

I jetted out of class early today so I could meet Kyle and we could go pick up the boys. Today was going to be their last day of daycare, so we wanted to pick them up and take them immediately to Frog Hollow - so they could meet their new daycare classrooms.

All day long I thought about it - actually about how I could get out of it. I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to do it - because as I sat in class all day, every time I thought about it, my eyes welled up with tears.

Once we reached daycare, I moved fast. I hadn't seen the boys since Monday morning because of school, so I kept my mind focused on getting them. I moved directly to Tyler's room, and Kyle went to Connor's room.

Tyler met me quickly, actually with disappointment. He was hoping to go to Frog Hollow with Daddy, and didn't understand that I was there to go there with as well. Because that conversation involved me assuring him 500 times that we were going, and that kept me even more distracted.

I then moved to their cubbys - which is when I really had to hold back the tears. There were their tiny lockers that they had throughout their time at daycare - where they kept their spare clothes, their blankets, their toys for sharing day, had time out, and hung their coats. They are simple, wooden, open lockers that are just big enough to hold their whole lives.

As I grabbed all of the items out of their cubbys, I just shoved them in bags as fast as I could. I caught glimpses of the notes that teachers had left in there, telling them, and us, goodbye. Connor's teacher even got him a present of Matchbox cars. There were more clothes than I ever remember bringing, just because I never brought them all at once - it was a collection of the years. Water bottles, sunscreen, and even diaper cream that I brought years ago. All there for us to take home.

All of their artwork had been taken down off the walls for us to take home, and Tyler's class all signed a card for him. A going away card from 4 year olds. They had a party for them today too.

Luckily Tyler ran out of the daycare, as he usually does, which meant I had to chase him out into the parking lot so I didn't have to say goodbye to anyone. I'm horrible at goodbyes, and usually end up avoiding them at all costs. I know I shouldn't - but I turn into a big blubbery mess when I have to tell someone goodbye, which actually even surprises me sometimes since I try to be this iron constitution of a personality.

We finally left, and I didn't look back, because I couldn't. I didn't even unpack their bags until just a few minutes ago and found this card...

Staci took care of Tyler for a little while, but spent most of her time with Connor. She had Connor the day he started, and they immediately bonded. "Staci" was one of the first names he learned to say after Mommy and Daddy, and for what I know, he could've said her name first. He sat on her lap during the day, and would also go to her when he wasn't feeling well. She was his mom at daycare.
Although I know Frog Hollow will be beautiful, and a much better Preschool opportunity for them, saying goodbye just breaks my heart.
Lit'l Russellers, you will forever be remembered by us. Your kind hearts, and taking care of our children when they were having good days, or driving you crazy, will never be forgotten.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to School

When I graduated from the University of Iowa in 1997 I said I would never, ever go back to school. Now, 21 months from today, I will have my MBA and I can officially say, I will never go back to school!!!

Starting the Executive MBA program today at the University of Iowa is kind of exciting for me...I have my "backpack" (computer bag) and "lunch box", (purse), and I'll be ready to go!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

They are definitely brothers...

I took this picture a week or so ago while everyone was getting ready in the morning. The boys were laying on the floor watching Playhouse Disney. It wasn't until I looked closely at the picture later, that I noticed just how much my boys look like brothers.

I guess since I have always known them to be so different personality wise, that it is difficult to see just how similar they are too.

Holy Cow. Frozen waffles and all....

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I'm getting a divorce......from my daycare

I knew this wouldn't be easy, but I didn't realize it would be this difficult..... we're leaving our daycare after being there for over 4.5 years.

I remember the day...we started on January 2, 2005. Kyle brought Tyler to his first day of daycare because I knew I wouldn't be able to do it. Tyler had a difficult time at first, because he wasn't the easiest baby. Holy Lord - that kid wanted one on one attention, and wanted it constantly. The ladies at daycare figured out how to work with Tyler, hold him, feed him, play with him, etc., and helped mold him into the person he is today...

That brings us to now. I think our daycare is having financial issues. There have been so many red flags, and things that make you go "hmmmm?", if you know what I mean. This includes, but is not limited to:

1) The computer at the front door being "temporarily out of service" for the last 2 months. This computer controls the security door which has been overridden (which means the front door is open to anyone) for the last two months also.

2) Me asking for our flex spending statement a few weeks ago and getting told, "Um, okay, I'll see what I can do.", then getting a note the next day saying she was 'trying' to recreate it, and would have to call the owner. A week later it appeared in Tyler's cubby with a note saying "I tried to recreate this with what I had, I hope it's correct because I couldn't get ahold of the owner. Let me know if anything is wrong." It was wrong. The lady that is currently the Director of the Center, doesn't know what she's charging me for daycare, and couldn't get ahold of the owner.

3) The true owner stepped down about three months ago to spend more time with her girls (she has 5 girls under 12), but would still remain around in an "advisory mode". Don't know what this means, but we haven't seen her all summer.

4) A bake sale a few weeks ago to buy new toys for the kids to play with outside. Talk about break my heart. I have to buy baked goods in order for my kids to have decent toys to play with outside?

5) I heard, second hand, that one of the vans broke down when bringing the kids home from a baseball game field trip. Since no one told the parents or bothered to notify anyone, one of the parents called DHS. They have been all over our daycare checking to see if there is reliable transportation for the kids.

There have been other things, but they are minor if you look at each thing individually. Look at them all together, and a story starts to come together.

Although I know we need to do this, it's REALLY hard. I've known these women since Tyler started, and they practically raised our children. Spending 50 hours a week with them, when I see them for a couple hours at night, and the weekends. They taught Tyler how to write his name and the alphabet, and pretty much potty trained him.

I feel like this is a divorce. We know we have to part ways because we just don't work together, but we still have many good memories together. And it hurts.

We've found a great new daycare. Beautiful facility that is clean, certified teachers, doesn't close on snow days (TOTAL BONUS!), and has a large gym for the kids to play in when the weather isn't nice outside. This daycare is definitely run like a successful business.

I have a feeling there is going to be a lot more tears about this decision, and those would be mine. I have boxes and boxes of crafts and artwork that the boys have done while in this daycare. I have pictures that the ladies sent home that they took of the boys playing with friends, or the time Tyler fell asleep in his highchair. I think I will cry every time I look in that box from now on.

Those women that have taken care of our kids are amazing. I would like to bring every one of them with we, but I just can't stay there because I like the staff - there has to be some safety and security, and knowing that when I drive up tomorrow there won't be a "closed" sign on the door.

I know this is the right decision that needs to be made now, but it still is breaking my heart.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I was meant to have boys

This weekend was one of the weekends that could easily become a test of my sanity, or my insanity. Kyle golfed in the local City Amateur tournament, which meant he was gone more than he was home. It actually turned out to be a wonderful weekend, because what I've found after "needing" to spend time with my boys, that I get a much better glimpse into their life, and into their souls.

While at my parents yesterday, I was scolding them because they were getting to close to the river. (The Mississippi will just sweep you away!) Instead of continuing to yell, I took them down to the river to appeal to their curiosity. We watched the water, looked at dead fish (yuck!) and picked up shells. It was beautiful.

Today we spent almost every waking moment outside. I have always loved the outside, so as they laughed and played in their pool, I sat in the sun in a lounge chair, and soaked it all in - both their happiness and the sun.

I hate bugs, but today we found some cicada that were barely alive. We caught them in a bucket, and watched their huge bodies climb around. Tyler is almost as scared of them as I am, but he has such a curiosity for everything, it's fun to watch his face. I wish I always carried a camera with me.

Tyler asked me to swim with him in his pool. Keep in mind, I haven't worn a swimsuit since last summer, but I did. I got on my new swimsuit that I bought this summer, ripped the tags off, and jumped in the freezing cold pool. We played, splashed, and I finally got out when I was turning blue. Tyler had such a blast with both of us in the pool.

We played in the dirt today. I pulled weeds, and Tyler helped water my flowers. Connor followed us around and mostly observed. He is as fascinated with Tyler, as I am sometimes.

I love to spend the day watching them work. And by work, I mean think. Their reaction to the world, and their happiness with every minute of me.

And at night - the rougher we play the better. They love the "tickle monster" the best. Their giggles just pierce through your heart, and will sit in my memory of these happy times, forever.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm officially getting old...

All weekend long, my 4 year old, Tyler, walked around singing the chorus of a song. He couldn't get it out of his head, and neither could I after about the 100th time I heard it...

"dum dum de da dum dum de dum dum...." over and over he would sing.

I kept asking where he heard the song, and he didn't remember. It about drove me crazy, because I knew I had heard the song before too, but couldn't quite place it. I was going nuts!!!

Tonight I went through Billboard's Top 100 song looking for something that looked familiar, and couldn't find it. I finally went to YouTube and typed in the name of the song that I thought it was. No go. Two "also suggested" clicks later, I found it.

Disturbia - by Rihanna.

Seriously. They are playing this song in the clubs now. I'm pretty sure Tyler hasn't visited any of the bars downtown lately, and around our house, mostly what he hears is my sorry 80s music.

For whatever reason, he heard this song and it stuck with him. All I can say is, Thank God for the internet. Tyler - the internet is going to be what helps me keep up with you for the rest of your life!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My mornings

If you ask my parents, they would probably tell you've I've always been a morning person - from the minute I was born. Even in high school and college, I rarely slept in too late. I was always afraid I was going to miss something.

I was shockingly introduced to the schedule of babies back in 2004 at the birth of Tyler. That boy never slept past 7am until he was over 2 1/2, unless he was sick. He was just beginning to sleep past 7 occasionally, and then Connor was born.

Holy Good Morning.

Connor went through a phase when he wanted to be up and at 'em at 4:30am. We finally made it through that and moved into the radomness of getting up anywhere between 5am and 6am - this includes weekends. (Another rude awakening - you cannot train a baby to "sleep in" on the weekends like you want to.)

Connor is just over 2 now, and Tyler is nearing 5. They are getting a little bit more predictable now, if there is such a thing. Their bedroom routines are nailed, and you can generally expect to sleep in until at least 6am, and we've been lucky the past couple of weekends and got until 7am.

All of that being said - I started getting up during the week at 5am back in 2004 when I went back to work after having Tyler, in order to ensure that I was fully ready for work, before anyone woke up. I tried a couple of times to get ready with someone either a) playing on the floor, b) sitting on the sink or c) "watching a show". Those didn't work so well. I said 5am it is, and that has been my schedule. (Okay, you got me, sometimes I push snooze once or twice, depending on hard of a night it was...)

Now, out of habit, my alarm still goes off at 5am, during the week. I'm out of bed within the next 15 minutes, and ready to go at about 5:50. Then the morning is MINE.

This is what this all came around to. I love having the quiet mornings all to myself in the house. Since people are sleeping in, I usually get a half hour (or sometimes more if I'm lucky) of pure quiet. Silence. And being able to do whatever I want.

Being the simple person that I am, that usually includes getting on the computer, checking Facebook, blogs, sometimes logging into work, and anything else that needs to be done including folding laundry sometimes, picking up the kitchen, etc.

These times are very therapeutic for me. Nights are quiet too, but sorry Kyle, sometimes you talk too much. Or the Golf Channel in on the background. That is just not quiet the same. It's not quiet as relaxing when someone is following you around saying, "We have to pay the bills tonight." and "You should probably bring your lunch the rest of the week so I don't have to donate a kidney."

These mornings are awesome. I can mentally prepare for my day, for the week, for anything that needs to be done, and just enjoy the time, just being with me. I love it!

Monday, July 20, 2009

We had no idea what we were going to be starting...

Everyone getting ready for the "Main Event"!
It started out as a way for me to keep my boys entertained for an hour, possibly more if I was lucky. It quickly then turned into neighborhood event! Herein after this day will be referred to as "Slip N Slide 2009 Day"!
I've so thankful to have these neighborhood boys around. We have only a couple girls in our whole neighborhood, but we never see them. They must stay inside and play quiet games or something, because the boys that are outside are anything but quiet.
Tonight, Chase and Joe taped themselves on Joe's videophone, doing jumps off of a bike ramp into our yard. I never mind this type of stuff because it keeps my boys totally entertained! Tyler tried a couple times to take the ramp with his own bike, which ended up in him biffing in the grass, but he got right up, and tried again.
Sometimes I worry that my boys are growing up too fast. Learning how to be "big boys" before taking a chance to be "little boys". But I think it's the other way around. Having the big kids play with my boys, makes them be little kids for a while too. Based on these pictures, what do you think???

Connor getting some help from the big kids - yes, he is airborne in this picture. He LOVED IT! Tanner is the one pushing Connor, and he is just awesome with the little kids!

Chase hamming it up, as usual. Notice Jared holding Connor back in the background. He wanted in on ALL of the action!

The Beginning...

The Middle....

The End...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Our Big Win!!!!

Well, not really. I'm not really sure what place we came in, but I'm pretty sure it was close to last, or maybe dead last.
We were HORRIBLE! And we had a BLAST! Oh my gosh - I haven't laughed that hard in a LONG time. I almost peed my pants 100 times, and might've a couple, but you don't know that.
We had such an awesome time today in my first "official" golf tournament of the season. And, my husband was in the same tournament, on another team. That, I think, is what it made it the most fun - a little competition.
I'm actually pretty proud, because Kyle and his team won first place, out of ALL the teams the played. They really are awesome, and so much fun too.
My team of Kim, Sharee and Amy is something I would dare anyone to challenge!!! We actually finally gave up at one hole and stopped counting our shots when we got to 10. Did I mention this was a "best shot"? Seriously. We were that bad.
I really needed this. I totally disconnected from the world. From work, from home, from the kids, and everything. Hours of just being me. It was awesome.

My team: Kim, Sharee, Amy and Me...

Our team at the sign that our team sponsored. Sharee is the owner of Le Reve. OMG it was cold!!!!!

Kyle and his winning team. Jody, Kyle, Doug and Mike.

Me and Kyle before the tournament. Awwww......

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Tyler Did It"

You gotta hand it to him. My sweet, blond, innocent two year old boy, has quickly found how to place all blame on his 4 year old brother. About every 5 minutes I hear,

"Tyler did it."

He uses this phrase for everything.... The DVD player stopped working in the car, "Tyler did it". Then Connor spilled some milk on the table, "Tyler did it". I have found there are pretty much no limitations to the usage of this phrase!

Awesome Connor! You have quickly picked up on some of the most coveted qualities in life, if you are a politician, or possibly a convict. Maybe I should be worried now...

Connor with all the kids we went to Adventureland with. He pretty much commands the "center of attention" whenever in a picture!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I think I need another shower...

Today we had our "vacation" as Tyler refers to it. He has been asking for weeks when we were going to go on "vacation", since his friends in daycare are doing that. I didn't want to tell the poor kid that "WE" weren't going on vacation this summer because Mommy and Daddy are taking a cruise in December. (Muahahahahah!) So, today... going to Adventureland was our vacation.

The kids had an AWESOME time. As you can see from the picture above, Connor even was getting into the rides and quickly learned how to put his hands in the air!
Tyler was the most wonderful child. He went on almost every ride that Kyle went on, including the log ride, roller coasters, ferris wheels, and all the kids toys that he could. The only rides he didn't go on were the ones that had height limitations, or he would've been on those as well.
I'll be honest though. Although a good time was had by all, I was starting to get pretty cranky as the day went on, and I'm sure it showed. One thing strange about me, is that I don't like to be dirty. It drives me NUTS! I also don't like my kids dirty. I will let them GET dirty, but cannot let them stay that way for too long.
I wore white shorts today, that were pretty much gray by the end of the day. I changed my shirt once because the one had on got so yucky from sweating, that I couldn't stand myself. Connor and Tyler both had a clothes change too.
So - I'm dirty, I'm hot, and I've spent most of my day chasing around a two year old that has the energy of the Engergizer Bunny. Seriously, this kid did NOT STOP. The only time I sat down was when he finally fell asleep for about an hour in the stroller.
Kyle LOVES that stuff. Rides, roller coasters, thrill stuff - and when it comes to that, I'm a little bit more of a "I'll keep my feet on the ground" type of person. Kyle was getting frustrated with me, because every time he wanted to go on a ride with Tyler, that meant that I was watching Connor for that time - and at times, those lines can be pretty long. Kyle - having fun. Me - cranky.
By the end of the day, we'd had a great time, but also were fried. Tired, dirty, hungry, worn out and every nerve was on its last leg.
Talking about it tonight, Tyler said he had an awesome day today. His vacation was a success. I'm worried though that I might have to take him to therapy for the rest of his life after his experience on The Outlaw roller coaster. Kyle said, for whatever reason, he thought he had to keep his hands in the air the whole time, but was terrified. When the ride was over, Kyle said he looked him and at him and Ty said, "Daddy, that scared me a wot".
You know what scared me? Some of the outfits that people actually wore walking though the park. Seriously. "Dress code" does not come into play for some of those people. Yikes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Transformers Birthday!

We had the most awesome 4th of July weekend, despite the weather. Saturday brought rain - and lots of it. We had to skip the parade, and so we ended up skipping the pancake breakfast, but it didn't stop us from celebrating!

We took the opportunity to celebrate the birthday's that have occurred over the last month and a half. Happy Birthday Carley, Beth and Emily!

I knew it would be a Transformers weekend, and because I took Tyler with me to Wal-Mart to get the cake, a Transformers cake it was! Which turned out perfect, because we ended up seeing the movie on Saturday afternoon.

My sister, Beth, and I went with her husband and her two girls, and Tyler.

We bought the following to eat:

  • A hot dog
  • Pretzel bites
  • Licorice
  • 2 Icees
  • A large pop
  • A bottled water
  • Skittles - which Tyler late spilled all over the floor.
  • And we smuggled in some Karmelcorn from the mall

Some fun facts about the movie experience:

  • Tyler went to the bathroom 5 times. 4 times to pee, and one to actually poop. Seriously.
  • Tyler asked if it was time to go 15 times.
  • Tyler asked why the big lights were out 3 times
  • Tyler told me not to sit next to him twice
  • I am going to have to go see the movie again if I want to see the whole thing.

Tyler actually did awesome for a 2.5 hour movie! We're on our way to success!

Tyler and his best friend, and arch enemy, Emily.

The whole gang - full of trouble!

Who needs the cake on your plate???

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Why I hate Thomas today

Around the time that Tyler was 2 years old, he started getting interested in Thomas the Train. I think it was more because WE thought he should be interested in it because it was cute, neat and innocent. Don't get me wrong, many of the Thomas toys/clothes we have are cute. We have a neat Thomas chair that Connor loves to sit in, and a cute train that pulls itself across the floor.

I made the mistake of taping a couple Thomas shows from PBS a few years ago. Tyler wanted to watch them EVERY DAY. And if you've ever heard the song from Thomas - it burns itself into your brain! Seriously, it's a cute song, but PLEASE. It's almost like a hypnotic chant. I beg you, please listen to this song and see if you listened to it 15 times in what day, what would happen to your brain...

Then we started the train sets. For Christmas when Tyler was 2 1/2, he received a train table, and a cute train set. Unfortunately, the sets are so darn complicated, that he would just eventually end up getting frustrated with it and quit playing with it all together
Bringing us back to current day...
Kyle and I cleaned out our mini storage this past weekend, and there was a Giant Thomas Set in there that Tyler received for Christmas probably 2 years ago. I didn't even attempt to open it at that time, because it was so huge. I decided to save it until he was a bit older.
That was yesterday. And all I have to say is, Oh My God.
The set itself had a mere 146 pieces. Seriously. That isn't an exaggeration. The box says "146 pieces in all!". What it also forgets to tell you is that you need to be a mechanical engineer to get it all together, and the directions are one page. I'm not an idiot, but I couldn't even figure out where to start.
I eventually gave up, and made the boys two tracks - one for the bus and one for the train. Notice all of the leftover pieces scattered everywhere!
Then the fighting started. They couldn't leave each other alone, and kept kicking each other's stuff all over, and the tracks kept breaking. I ended up screaming at the top of my lungs for EVERYONE TO STOP YELLING and "TYLER QUIT WHINING!".
After about an hour, I bribed them with candy in order to get the set picked up, and I put it away in the sun room.
I hope they don't remember it tonight, because I don't think there is enough alcohol in the world right now...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bye Bye Hair!!!

We decided the boys needed their summer haircuts today. After about a week of 100 weather, it was past due. Poor Connor spent most of the day yesterday with his hair matted all over the place from sweating so much.

Here is what we started with... this picture was taken last weekend...

During the haircut, which Tyler thought was pretty cool...

Connor didn't know what was just around the corner. Bye bye pretty blond hair!!!

Connor right after the haircut. He looked like a little like a refugee at first, but after a day of playing in the sun, he looked like the cutest little boy that he is. He is absolutely darling! He looks quite ornery, but that is Connor!!!

I'll be honest - I'll look forward to fall when his hair can grown back a bit longer, but this is cute!!! His hair is so blond, he looks bald in this picture!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Oh look, a chicken!!!

Ever seen that t-shirt that is making fun of people with ADD/ADHD where it says something like, "They tell me I have ADD, but they just don't underst.... HEY, look a Chicken!"

That was us tonight.

Tyler is on a total candy kick. He asks for candy about every 45 seconds. And every 45 seconds I tell him "no". We give in to candy sometimes, but definitely not every time he asks, or else he would be diabetic tomorrow.

We were sitting outside tonight just enjoying the beautiful evening. It was getting pretty dark outside, and Tyler decided he wanted to go on a bike ride. He put on his helmet and everything, which is odd, because he NEVER wears a bike helmet. Since it was getting dark, and okay, we were happy just sitting on the deck and PROMISED him we would take him on a ride in the morning, we politely told Tyler we weren't going on a bike ride.

Introduce dancing tantrum here.

I call them dancing tantrums because his whole body is limp, but he is still upright, and he is jogging in place with his arms flapping at his sides sobbing, "but I wanna go on a bike ride, I wanna go on a bike ride, I wanna go on a bike ride..."

Poor kid, I felt sorry for him but it was a) way past his bedtime b) getting dark and c) we were feeling kind of lazy after a very long day of playing in the pool.

As he was having this tantrum, I almost couldn't believe my ears..."I wanna go on a bike ride, I wanna go on a bike ride, I wanna.... HEY LOOK, Lightening Bugs!!!" and then he was good as gold.

I'm really trying not to already label Tyler as ADD or ADHD, and doing my best to control it with a diet (with some cheating), but that demonstration tonight was just priceless.

Poor kid. He's following in his father's footsteps!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What has happened to me?

Ever since I became a mom, things changed. Well, I changed.

I looked at the world a bit differently. I watched people with their kids, and how they interact. A crying baby in the store was enough to make me lose my mind, not because it bothered me, but because I just wanted to help.

As I flew to California yesterday, I was sitting in the Bermuda Triangle of crying babies. There were three all around me, and the one behind me - holy cow. She cried and cried and cried. She was about 18 months old (likely) and was going through the "I'm going to do what I want to do when I want to do it I don't care what you say and if you don't let me do what I want I will scream this blood-curdling scream for hours at the top of my lungs" stage. It was beautiful.

I felt so horribly sorry for her parents though, I imagined myself in that situation, and how I would be feeling. I could imagine myself sweating, and at one point considering running up to the pilot and hijacking the plane and landing at the nearest airport.

Last night in my hotel room, I flipped through the channels on TV. I came across the show "Intervention" which has always interested me. (I swear I should've been a counselor to help people deal with addictions, it's a secret passion of mine). This show featured a young man, likely 22 years old or so, who was addicted to heroine and cocaine. His family was in shambles, and his mom was a total wreck.

That brought tears to my eyes.

I've spent so much time thinking of my kids as children, and watching people around me with children, I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about what they will be like as adults. How did he turn out to be a drug addict? What did his parents do wrong? Did they do anything wrong? How can I prevent this from happening to them?

It really did all come back to the boys father as the root of his addiction, but still. The pain that his mother felt for her son was so real, you could see she would've given her own life to see her son well again.

I thought about that a lot as I woke up last night. Can I be more focused on my kids? How can Kyle and I have a better marriage so our kids always feel secure and never have to look elsewhere for contentment?

My thoughts were never this heavy without kids. People say your heart grows ten times bigger when you have children, and that is definitely true. And you start worrying about things you never would've in the past...

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Although I have found that Tyler can teach Connor cuss words, I hope that they develop the same sort of friendship that many siblings do.

In this picture I captured, Tyler had been having a bad morning, and was crying for some reason. I asked Connor to go give him a hug to make him feel better, and he did.

As I grabbed the camera, once again, as usual, I got huge tears in my I do every day.
Thanks boys. You remind me of what is important every moment of every day...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Awwww.... shit

I have the best sister in the world that bought our kids a DVD Player for the car for Christmas. It is awesome. Worth every penny, plus millions more. I wonder how on earth families survived without these.

One of the kids' favorite movies to watch in the car is The Goonies. I remember going to see The Goonies when I was like, 12, so it's a pretty harmless movie. Very cute, but also, bordering on PG-13.

There is a part in the movie where one of the characters says, "Aw, shit!". Very typical for a movie, no biggie, but Tyler quickly picked up on this cuss word.

"Aw, shit. Aw, shit" he will say over and over, to try to get an reaction out of me. I know this is a stage he's going through, and ignore it.

The other night, we were driving home, and watching turned on the movie again.

As soon as the kids say the opening credits for the movie, I hear an "Aw, shit!", from the backseat of the car. This time from Connor.


Now I have a 2 year old that can discriminate the cuss words in a movie, and will repeat them over and over and over.

I can't wait to see what else Tyler can teach him over the next 20 years or so.....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Jason's Sale!

Well, we survived the sale! And it was a total success!

At about 9am on Friday, I didn't think we were going to be able to do it! We had stuff EVERYWHERE! We had received more donations than we knew what to do with, and needed about 40 more tables to lay it all out. It was insane! We spent all day sorting and organizing, and sorting, and then you would turn around, and there would be another pile of stuff that someone dropped off!
When the sale started on Saturday, it was awesome! The weather didn't cooperate too much at first with the drizzle, but it slowed down after a while, and at about 8:30 - Sponge Bob Square Pants stopped by! Seriously! Sponge Bob is Jason's favorite!!!
People came from everywhere! I couldn't keep up with everything that was going on, it just seems like a haze! I tried a couple times to count how many people were there - but kept losing count!
At the end of the sale, one lady lingered around looking for things. We found out that her trailer had burned down last Sunday (and then remembered hearing the story on the news), so we literally loaded up her van and a truck we had and brought TONS of stuff to her new place. It felt good to have the items that were going to be left, go to someone that really needed it! All that is left that she didn't need is going to the North Liberty Food/Clothing Pantry and the Auction. We are opening up an account in Jason's name.
Then we got down to business - CELEBRATING!!! Kyle and Tyler did some interesting dancing that was hilarious! We closed the night sitting by the fire, eating smores, and drinking more beer than should be legal! It was the perfect way to close up our event! We presented the $4000 that we raised to the family - which we were all surprised by! People were so generous, we had people pay us $100 for $5 worth of goods.
Jason and Tyler continued their partying into today by eating popcorn (Jason's favorite food) in our garage while watching cartoons. (Yes, we have a huge TV in our garage - but mostly all that is watched on it is golf!). I found a skull and crossbones handkerchief at the garage sale and saved it for Tyler. He wanted to put it on so he would look like Jason. It was so cute. As I was putting it on his head, he asked me, "Mom, if I wear this, will all of my hair fall out too?".
I had to gulp hard and try to not have my eyes swell up with tears. It's so cute to listen Tyler and Jason talk to each other, because they are so honest. There's not that "adult filter" that we all use. Tyler will ask him why he doesn't have any eyebrows, and Jason will tell him straight up, "All of my hair fell out, but I get to wear this cool hat that says something..."
His hat says, "Cancer fears me"
Yep - it sure does Jason!
Jason goes in on June 23rd for a bone marrow biopsy to see if the Leukemia is in remission. If so - he's clear! If not, it's another YEAR in the hospital! Pray that Jason does well on the 23rd!!!