Thursday, May 28, 2009

One Small Step For Ben

One giant leap for Mommy!

Our Fry's grocery store has a kids club babysitting service while you shop. They look after your little ones for free and you spend more money. It's a win win.

I've taken the kids and every time, they called me over the intercom after 5 minutes to get Ben. Emily does just fine and loves it. She even gets mad if I won't let her go in there to play because I only need 2 things. I usually drop her off at the kids club and Ben goes shopping with me. The trip is still easier with only one kid who sits in the shopping cart.

Today Ben said he wanted to go in the kids club with Emily. I'm encouraging this and telling him he'll have a great time. Under my breath, I tell the nice lady that she'll be calling me in 2.5 minutes.

I started my shopping expecting to hear, "Gina to the Kids Club" over the intercom at any given second. Nothing. I checked the monitors that they have displayed throughout the store and I could see him playing. He was just fine. My little boy was not crying for me.

After 30 minutes, I was checking out in complete shock.

I decide to get a special treat for each of them. A box of orange Tic Tacs.

Ben was excited to see me and I praised him for being such a big boy. This could be the beginning of a little freedom for myself. And dare I say it, David and I actually hiring a babysitter for a date night. Hopefully, I didn't just jinx myself.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Technology Free

On Oprah last week, they had two families that went technology free for 7 days. No phone, no TV, no DVD player, no computer, no video games, no cell phones. I thought there is no way I could do that. Absolutely, no way.

Then, we get to my Dad's for our mini vacation. My Stepmom and Dad go to their cabin on the river in Idaho usually for 3-4 months during the summer to escape the Phoenix heat. This summer they were going for 6 months due to some construction they are doing. Their house is shut down. We flip on the breakers and head inside. The TV automatically comes on and their Direct TV is booting up.

We are getting settled and I notice a blue screen with an error message radiating from their 50" high definition plasma. What's this? I call Direct TV. My Dad disconnected the service. What? What?? What????

I call my Dad. Who nonchalantly says, "Didn't I tell you that? I shut everything down since we are going to be gone for so long."

NO TV. NO INTERNET.
I can feel the blood draining from my body.

David and I are not big on cell phones. Mine usually only makes noise when the battery is almost dead and it's laying at the bottom of my purse with a half eaten sucker, used kleenex and a penny that's covered in fuzzy lint. Seriously, last month I used it for 6 minutes. We don't have a fancy blackberry or anything else that channels the web. I'm regretting this right about now.

The DVD player did work, so we weren't completely technology free. We watched a few kids movies, but they lost interest in about 10 seconds. And we did have our cell phones to make a few calls, but we aren't really phone people. Nor did we go on vacation to talk on the phone.

The kids amused themselves with what they had, but my Dad's house is not exactly kid friendly. I learned that the kids could play with a box of blocks for an hour because they had nothing else. Am I going to donate their 6,000 toys? Nah, but I am thinking of boxing some up and doing a one month rotation. It will be like all new toys every month and less clutter around the house.

This is what they did to pass some time.

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David and I raided Suzy's books and we read. I check out books from the library often enough, but David only seems to read the Bible. It was a change to see him devouring a book, mind you it was about religion, but it was something different for him.

David slept with Emily each night and I slept with Ben. There is no fence around their pool and we just felt more comfortable with each kid next to us. It would be great if we could've put the kids to bed and then David and I could've stayed up and watched an adult movie (well not "adult", but something more adult than Curious George). The kids wouldn't go to sleep though in strange beds all by themselves. So, we all went to bed at the same time.

It was almost 9:00 and David and I were reading. The kids climbed up together in one of the recliners and they were looking at some of their library books together. Emily was "reading" to Ben and they were laughing and enjoying their quiet time together. I thought this will last 5 minutes and then we can all go to bed. Almost an hour later, I broke up our little book club so everyone could get some sleep. It was nice. Complete silence and in the background the kids laughing and reading Charlie Brown.

We were there for 48 hours and I have to say it was hard. But, I think I could've survived a week. I would've wanted a daily newspaper though.

Would I have been a happier person?
I don't know. I'm generally pretty happy as it is. Desperate Housewives and Lost make me happy. I need a little time to check-out from my daily responsibilities.

Would we be a happier family?
I doubt it. I think we are happy. Yes, my kids know the theme songs to about 10 different kid shows, but I don't think they would ever say that they wished their parents spent more time with them.

What I learned is that technology, in moderation, is a wonderful thing. When you let it dominate your life and you text your daughter in the next room to tell her dinner is ready, then it's time to reevaluate and reconnect with your family and your life.

When we met up with our friends Sunday for the barbecue, David was dying to know if the Diamondbacks won. Of course not sweetie, I could've told you that with no TV and no Internet.

When we returned home at 10:00 at night, David jumped on the computer for a few minutes. He said he'd be off soon so that I could get on. All I wanted to do was tuck my kids in and get ready for bed. The Internet could wait...

but only until the next morning.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Staycation

We couldn't afford a vacation this year. But with David's furlough days, he ended up with 5 days off over this Memorial Day weekend. We decided to do a staycation, but only at my Dad's house in Phoenix. He's up in Idaho, so we'd have the place to ourselves.

On the way into Phoenix, we decided to stop at a new park that was over by our first home. A storm had just come through the valley, so the temperature was in the 80's in comparison to the 105 they had the week before. We took advantage of the gorgeous day.

The kids played on the huge playground.



They also had a splash park, so we put on their suits and they played in the water for awhile. We were the only ones at the splash park, so that was nice.



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We ate dinner at some of our favorite restaurants and swam in my Dad's pool.



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Some of our good friends were having a barbecue, so we headed over there Sunday evening. It was so great to visit with all of our friends.

They had a Wii Guitar Hero. Emily was hooked. I have a feeling Santa might be bringing a Wii this year.


The kids enjoyed swimming some more in their awesome pool.
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We headed home after the party. We were only there for 2 days, but David and I both felt like it was longer. It was just what we needed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Still Needed

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Did I fix the outfit for him?

Heck no!

I did take off the Spiderman pajama top as I didn't want him to be hot, but other than that, he stayed backwards for the rest of the day. Well, until we got home from picking up Emily. Then, he goes to the bathroom and stays naked from the waist down the rest of the day. He's my little nudist.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Letting Go, Growing Up

Last week, Emily and I got into a huge fight.

Over a shirt.

She picked out an orange shirt from Old Navy a few months ago. She's worn it several times since then. I was getting her ready for school and she had an absolute fit about wearing this shirt. The more stubborn she became, the more stubborn I became. We are alike in that aspect. I couldn't understand why wearing this shirt was such a big deal. She expressed later that it was because it had a V-neck and she didn't want to wear that to school.

I vowed to never pick out her clothes again. I don't care if she goes to school in a plaid skirt and flower top with various colors of the rainbow. I will only help her if she asks.

The next morning she got herself dressed and proudly came walking out wearing her V-neck orange shirt! What!? I don't know if it was to spite me or apologize. I think the latter. In any case, I'm letting go and realizing that my little girl is growing up and can make up her own mind.

She graduated from preschool the other night. Today is her last day of school. A little over two months from now, I'll be walking her into her Kindergarten class, sobbing. Just another reminder that time is going by too quickly.

She looked adorable in her cap and gown.
Where did she get those amazing cheekbones?


The lighting was really poor in the church, so the pictures didn't turn out.
Here she is waiting to be called up for her diploma.


Here she is getting her diploma. Well, you can barely see her in the background. It's really just a shot of some lady who decided to walk around and ruin everyones photos.


They sang some songs and did a slide show of photos of the year. It was a nice presentation.

I got a little weepy when they came walking in to pomp and circumstance. I know it will feel like a blink of an eye and she will be 18, graduating from high school and ready to leave our family and our home for college.
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And I'll look back and fondly remember the huge fight about the orange shirt and my little girl growing up right before my eyes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I've Learned...

I've learned that sometimes I just don't feel like blogging. Sure, the kids give me material almost daily, but it seems about once a month I just don't write for a week. Writer's block? Nah, I'm not a writer. I would say it boils down to simply being tired. 1:30 to 3:00 has turned into my resting time. The kids get hypnotized by the TV and I get to relax on the sofa. It's a win win, or maybe a lose win, but I win, so that's all that matters.

There are a lot of changes with my pregnancy lately:

The first being that I need my relax time everyday just to make it to 9:00 at night.

I've learned I can no longer sleep on my stomach due to my 5 month prego belly. I go from side to side and wake up with sore shoulders and back. The kids drive their Hot Wheels on my back in an attempt to make me feel better. It actually does a little.

I've learned that if I eat watermelon as a snack before bedtime, I will get up to pee 9 times instead of the normal 5 or 6.

I've learned that between the dogs, kids and bathroom breaks, it takes me 10 hours at night to actually get 8 hours of sleep.

David got to feel the baby move the other night. He asked what it felt like. You know when the kids kick you in the stomach, like that but on the inside. I love feeling the baby move and it's one of the high moments that will get me through the next 4 + months as we all know my babies don't come even a day early.

I also learned a few things about my kids and going to the zoo which we did a few weeks ago. This was a zoo about 45 minutes from us that we've never been too.

I've learned no matter how much you promise to take your kids to the zoo, don't do it if it's one of the windiest days of the year. The kids had fun, but it only lasted a few hours.

I've learned that Emily has an adventurous spirit...


Until she encounters a giraffe. She immediately ran to my side.

Ben, however, is not afraid of the giraffe that his Dad is feeding. Surprising, as Ben is usually afraid of just about anything, his shadow, a fly...


I've learned he was not afraid of the Ibex either.


Maybe it's the fence for added protection, but Emily was into the camel.


Then came the snake show...my favorite (pick up on my sarcasm here).


I've learned that Emily is not afraid of snakes and had to touch both of them.



Meanwhile, Ben was trying to escape and wanted nothing to do with the snakes. Although, he did want to see them, just from outside their enclosure.


They also had some other cool animals like:
Tigers...


and Zebras...


and Bears...

Oh my!

I've learned that even though it cost us $54 to get into this zoo, they liked the playground the best. Seriously? We could've done this for free.



Perhaps the most disturbing thing that I've learned lately is that Survivor (the TV show) has been on for 9 years and 18 seasons. I think I've watched all but 2 seasons. Assuming most seasons have about 15 hour long episodes, that makes 240 hours of Survivor that I have watched. The sad thing is, I usually can't even remember who these people are 3 months after the show.

I've learned that I DO have time to exercise. I just found 240 hours.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Tender Moment

Oh, how I love this boy.

Ben and I were laying on the hammock together this afternoon. The wind was blowing the sun was at our backs. He lay resting in my arm as we stared at the blue sky. Then, he slowly turned my head with his little hand, and lifted my sunglasses up. We were looking into each other eyes. He pulled me closer, so our noses touched in the perfect Eskimo kiss. Very gently he kissed my lips. I was smiling as he was so sweet and almost romantic. Then, he stuck his hand down my tank top. Whoa! This just got inappropriate. I starting laughing of course and the moment was over.

He's got some pretty nice moves for a three year old. (If you are my mother in law, stop reading here and go to the next paragraph.) He gets this from his father as that's pretty much how our first date went, minus the laughing.

I would be worried about the girls on the playground, but I think at this point, he only has eyes for me.

And I couldn't be happier. Shouldn't every boys first love be with his mother?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

For Mother's Day, I told they kids they had to be nice to Mommy and nice to each other all day. It actually worked. There was very little fighting and they gave me so much love. When I asked Emily to do something, I could see the wheels turning in her head thinking it was Mother's Day and she should do it and not complain. It was a wonderful day.

We went to the YMCA, which we recently joined, and spent a few hours in the pool and going down their enormous slide. It's all indoors which is great and the little pool is 94 degrees. The slide made me a bit queasy, so David went down about 30 times taking turns with each kid. I hung out in the kiddie section. I was a happy Momma!

David made me barbecue ribs for dinner and I didn't do the dishes (although he usually does them regardless of the day). I have a good husband. He also made me homemade cheesecake with strawberries. He cut the recipe in half. As much as I love this stuff, I couldn't see where 5 containers of cream cheese was justified. But it was Mother's Day so 2 1/2 containers of cream cheese was totally acceptable. It was delish. I even let the kids have a sliver and David too.

Then, this beautiful hammock got delivered today. We usually don't do gifts, but David ordered this for me as a surprise. I'm always fondly gazing at hammocks when I see them at Costco or Home Depot. Tonight, I got a chance to relax in one with the kids. David and I even tried it out. I can't wait for some alone time to lay with my handsome husband under the stars.

Today was a new day. I woke a very groggy Emily up and told her it was time for school. Mind you, she gets up 20 minutes before carpool arrives. I have everything waiting for her and she gets cereal or a granola bar in the car. She was up until 10:30 last night (we put her to bed at 8:30), so when it comes to more sleep or a waffle in the morning, I let her sleep. She's laying on the sofa trying to wake up and I told her she needed to go to the bathroom, so I could get her dressed. After a few seconds of thought, she said very cheerily, "Yes, Mommy." I'm thinking, where's the tantrum, the dramatics? Then, she looked at me and said, "Is it still Mother's Day and I need to be nice?" I laughed and said, "It's no longer Mother's Day, but she still needs to be nice." To which she stomped down the hallway pouting in her usually dramatic fashion.

Can I lie and say it's mother's day once a week? They are 3 and 4, they would never know?

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Reaction

People have asked what Emily and Ben's reaction was to finding out that we were having a boy. We took the kids with us to the ultrasound. Ben was tired and spent most the time laying on the floor, better than ripping out the cords to the ultrasound machine. Emily was very interested and asked a lot of questions.

This whole time Emily kept saying she wanted a baby brother. We kept encouraging her that it be great if she had a sister and she could play Barbies with her and dress up. We were so convinced it was a girl. Nope, she wanted a brother. Ben too. So, I guess they got what they were hoping for. But then, when Emily saw the penis on the screen, she changed her mind. She wants a sister and was requesting for us to have a sister after this brother. Um, nope, this is our last one.

On the way to pick Em up from preschool, I stopped at a yard sale. We sold all of our baby stuff when we moved. We have our crib as Ben was still in that and a few other things. So, we will be going to yard sales and shopping on Craiglist to get the few things that we need (swing, car seat and clothes). I picked up over 20 outfits/onesies, some hats and mittens for only $9. When we got home, Emily was all about dressing up her dolls in the clothes. (I'm hoping she doesn't color the babies eyes and ears in blue permanent marker. Note to self: hide the Sharpies). Then she told me, "Mommy, I'm glad I'm going to have another baby brother." When I asked her why, she said, "Because Benjamin is rude to me and this one won't be." So, there you have it. She is officially happy about it being a boy.

As for Ben, he says he wants to go back in my belly.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

We're Having A....

Today was our ultrasound. We are 19 weeks, almost half way. David and I were both pretty sure it was a girl. Actually, I don't know anybody who thought we'd have a boy. Everyone was thinking girl. Wrong.

It's a BOY!!!

He looks really healthy and he already looks like David. Kidding. This one better come out with red hair!

Here's his profile:


He was obsessed with playing with his hands. What else is there to do in there really? Then, he got bored and yawned for us.


Here's his perfect little spine.


Last but not least, his boy parts.


We hadn't really picked out any names as we just assumed we'd wait until the ultrasound. So, now we've already begun throwing ideas around. We still like Noah from when Emily was born and we are still trying too come up with more. David is VERY traditional, so anything gender neutral or to modern is out. Any ideas?

Honestly, we were shocked when she told said, "I see an umbilical cord and something else." We are just so very happy and blessed that he looks healthy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Entertainer


They can be cute, but I don't know if either one of my kids have what it takes to make it in the entertainment industry.

Here's Emily's following along to The Entertainer. Mind you, it plays the song for you and the correct keys light up, so you can follow along...in tune. For her sake, let's hope she sticks with cooking.
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Ben stole Emily's tap shoes and channeled Gregory Hines, or maybe just Barney the Dinosaur.
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So, what do you think? Should I put them on America's Got Talent? Ben can tap while Emily planes the piano. I'm afraid we'd get booed off the stage.

Monday, May 4, 2009

My Top Chef

If I had to guess what Emily will be when she grows up, it would be a chef. She has a great palette for a four year old. She will try anything. She prefers blue cheese dressing to ranch, likes calamari and would rather have pea soup than macaroni and cheese.

Can taste buds be inherited? I think so. On the few nights that I don't have anything but Captain Crunch planned for dinner, David will whip up sausage and cabbage for dinner and him and Emily will eat that. While Ben and I have chicken nuggets and cottage cheese.

I made her pea soup recently which is one of her favorites. She's watched me make it before, but it had been months since I had made it. While she was eating it, she was trying to encourage Ben to try it, which he wouldn't and neither will I (don't like peas). She said, "Ben it's really good. It has celery and carrots and peas." I asked her what other ingredients were in the soup as I often see this challenge among top chefs on the cooking shows we watch. She rattled off ham, onion, salt and pepper. The only thing she needed a little help with was water, but she got that with a few hints too. It's no wonder her favorite show is Top Chef.

She not only loves different foods, but she has always wanted to help in the kitchen. She's a master at pressing the buttons for the food processor and blender. She loves to help shred the vegetables for home made egg rolls and puree the tomatoes for sauce. I don't even need to tell her what to do, she just goes to work. What a good little sous chef. She even likes to do the dishes!

We've just started letting her help more with things around the stove. This makes me nervous as one slip and we are in the ER. But, I can't keep her in a bubble for the rest of her life. Or can I? We started with simple things like stirring rice crispy treats. On the weekends, David always makes us a wonderful pancake and bacon breakfast. There is usually a little batter left over, so I suggested we make a few pancakes for the dogs since they were anxiously watching us eat breakfast hoping for somebody (Ben) to accidentally drop a crumb. We even put a few kibbles of dog food in there like they were blueberries or chocolate chips.



Two very satisfied diners.


I hope her interest will continue, as she is already promising to make me dinner when she gets bigger! Hopefully, it'll be more elaborate than Captain Crunch.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Thanks But...

The kids keep picking these "flowers" for me.

I don't have the heart to tell them they are weeds.