Friday, April 30, 2010

Setting The Stage

Tomorrow, our housing sub division is having a community yard sale. I shopped at last years trying to get baby clothes. This year, I'm selling baby clothes and a bunch of other stuff. Hoping lots of it sells because we already have plans for the money.

Since North Phoenix is only 70 minutes away, we want to get season passes for Wet and Wild. I think the kids would have a blast. Plus, it's the perfect day trip to help me scratch my itch. We might be crazy to take a baby, but I plan to sit under an umbrella and take a nap with him whenever he wants. Season passes with parking and taxes for the four of us (Noah is free) is $280. I'm hoping we can raise half of that at the yard sale. We don't have a ton of big ticket items for sale, so I'm hoping we can sell lots of 50 cent items.

Maybe if I show the kids the waterpark online, they will be more motivated to go in their rooms and gather toys that they don't play with anymore.

That may be the best idea I've had all day.
Wish us luck!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

At Our House

Ben is trying his best to turn his baby brother into a Superhero fan by reading to him. It seems to be working.

In the book Ben was reading, The Joker was holding up a Joker card. So, Ben asked what it was. I tried to explain in a deck of cards there are 2 Joker cards. He still didn't get it. He had never seen a real deck of cards, just Old Maid or Go Fish cards. So, I went through one of the junk drawers (more on that in a second) to find a deck of cards. I couldn't find one. Then, I remembered the deck in our top dresser drawer that I remembered seeing when I got out the treadmill key.

I had to laugh when I saw the deck. My Dad used to own a Texaco and I ran it for him for 5 years. It was a mile from Luke Air Force Base. Shortly after 9/11, they came out with this set of cards of the 52 most wanted in the middle east. And even though you might think Saddam would be on the Joker card, he got the Ace of Spades. The Joker card, however, had a listing of military ranks and how to pronounce them in Arabic. Ben thought the cards were cool though and I told him they were real villains.

I did finally manage to find his deck of Spiderman cards that had a proper joker picture in junk drawer #3. Yes, 3.

When we bought our house, I picked one of the 11 drawers in the kitchen to be a junk drawer. Then, somehow the junk seeped over into the drawer next to it. Then, a poor drawer that used to hold kitchen utensils got run over with grocery ads and receipts. It was pathetic and disgusting. I felt like a hoarder.

I spent 3 hours yesterday cleaning them all out. I'm opening the drawers now just because it feels good. We'll see how long it takes for them to end up in hoarder status.


The kids love watermelon. And since the little seedless ones were on sale I bought one yesterday. They were so excited for me to cut into it. I gave them each three slices and waited for them to eagerly gobble them up.

But they didn't. They took a bite or two off of each one and that was it. David does not like watermelon. I think it's a texture thing because he doesn't mind it in a smoothie and I think both of my kids take after him. They like the idea of watermelon. Cutting open a big green ball with a huge knife to find the bright red center. Then, they taste it and decide the fun is over. So, I was left eating 6 pieces of watermelon all with a bite already out of them.


Emily brings home 5-10 "art" projects every day. Usually, it's little scribbles, not finished drawings or someone will draw her a picture. I can always tell which one isn't hers. I go through them and I might keep one or two of the stellar ones every week for her Kindergarten box.

One masterpiece yesterday is definitely a keeper.

Emily is quicker than a Ferrari. She can make me go from 0 to Momzilla in about 2.3 seconds. She can also do just the opposite when she wants to. This picture melted my heart in about 2.1 seconds. She was thinking about me today and she loves me.

And sometimes, that's all I need to know to get me through the day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Itch

David and I will be married 7 years in November, so I guess it's appropriate that I'm getting the 7 year itch. But, it's not that 7 year itch. I'm happily married. I'm just feeling the need to get out and do more with our family.

I know it's going to be harder with a baby. I have visions of Disneyland. David and the kids riding Peter Pan and laughing, and there I am sitting on a bench with a baby. Not my idea of a great time. But, I know that if the kids are having fun then I will be having fun. It goes back to my Momzilla post. If they are happy, then I will be happy and vice versa. And besides for every ride they go on without me, I get one chocolate covered banana with nuts. Not too shabby for Gina. But, we don't have a trip planned for California as of yet.

Before David and I got married, life was well, different. We usually went to dinner on a Friday night, followed by a movie or we'd go to our local bookstore. We'd spend hours just walking around looking at books and magazines. We'd go our separate ways and meet up at some point. I'd always find David reading a Rolling Stone magazine, in the CD section with headphones on or reading a cook book for new ideas. Me? I usually ended up in the travel section.

I haven't spent time like that in a bookstore since before we had kids. Now, the book store is the public library and we go for story time and I can't browse for more than a few seconds before I lose a kid and decide it's best to leave. I've learned that if I want a book, I need to go online to our public library, find what I want, put a hold on it and it is waiting for me when I get there.

I was on the treadmill watching the Today show. A feature story came up about Budget Travel. Ah, this used to be one of my favorite magazines. I'd look at it and dream about all the places we would go one day. But the truth is in the last 6 years, we've made 2 trips to visit my Dad and Suzy in Idaho and we went to California for my Aunts wedding. We also took Emily to Canada when she was about a year old. And David took Emily to Florida when his Dad had surgery. Not a whole lot.

I went to the magazines web page this morning. It's full of useful information that might help us plan inexpensive weekends away with the family. I really wanted to subscribe to it, but things being what they are, I'll settle for browsing their site. As great as the computer is, I still love reading an actual book or magazine with real pages. I'd much rather dog ear a page then bookmark it on the computer. I used to pull out pages of places that I want to visit and stick them in a file folder. I'll need to dust it off and see if any places fit our needs right now.

On our recent date night, David and I were talking. Real conversation with nobody but the waitress interrupting. It was lovely. I told him that I don't remember the day in and day out of going to school. But, I do remember the few trips we took as a family. It was usually to California because it's close and seriously, California is pretty incredible.

I told him about the time when we drove (it's only 6 hours) to California when I was about 7. We started down Interstate 10 in our yellow station wagon complete with paneling on the sides. A little into our trip, the wagon started having problems. We turned around and headed home. Today, we would go and rent an SUV complete with a DVD system and continue with our travels. Back in 1980, you just loaded the kids into the back of your other vehicle, a pick up truck, and drove to California, even if it was 110 degrees out. Today that would be called child abuse.

***From left to right, my Dad, Aunt Billie, me, brother Joey, sister Tammy, Aunt Rosie and cousin Mark

That's right. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Until the dust storm and rain hit. At least they gave us blankets to try to cover up with. I remember we all had to sit on a corner, so the blankets wouldn't blow away and we could stay protected. And if you've never opened a can of soda in the back of a pick up truck going 65mph, don't. The soda just sprays everywhere. My hair was in knots by the time we arrived to my Aunts house in Pomona. But, I don't even remember that I cared. We went to Disneyland, Sea World and the beach. It was one of our best vacations as a family.

And that's my point. Kids will always remember great times spent with their family. And I want my kids to have more experiences and adventures than I did.

Trips are few and far between. I'm realizing that they don't need to be extravagant. We do have young kids. It just needs to be something. We have a trip schedule to visit my Dad in Idaho in June and we might go to San Diego in October.

I'm still hoping for more though...

After all, my heart will always be in the travel section.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Night At Robbins

We rarely go out for dinner or dessert. My kids had never been to a McDonald's until we went on vacation in October of 2008 and we've never been back since. They were more excited about the toy in the happy meal than the actual meal. Don't get me wrong, I love a Whopper (Burger King is way better than McD's) as much as the next person and if it was healthy for me and cheap, I'd be there every day. But, it's not, so if we want ice cream sundaes. We buy ice cream and all the fixings at the store for $10 and all of us will have sundaes for a week. I do cave and get Arby's about once a year. Ah, roast beef sandwiches are amazing.

Since we rarely go out for food, you can imagine how excited Emily was about going to Baskin Robbins. She completed the 3 necessary sets of sight words to graduate Kinder back in November. The next 7 sets were bonus sets and at the end of those, she got a gift certificate for ice cream. My girl loves ice cream and I think it's what motivated her. That and two boys in her class were right up there with her and she wanted to compete with them. She's very competitive and likes to win. I don't know where she gets that from.

I remember as a kid that after any special accomplishment or dance recital, we'd all go to Swensen's. It was an ice cream parlor by the mall and we'd get all sorts of fancy ice cream served in a glass dish. It was heavenly and something we all looked forward to. We don't have a Swensen's here, but we do have a Baskin Robbins which used to be called 31 flavors, but now they only seem to have about 18 and the ice cream is served in a wax paper cup. Seriously, look at this sundae from Swensen's.
Oh, those wafers. I had forgotten about them. I could just eat those and be happy.
Then, there is Baskin Robbin's sundae.

There really isn't any comparison. But, in this small town Baskin Robbins will have to do.

Saturday night after dinner, we all loaded up and headed to Baskin Robbins. I didn't think we had ever taken the kids before, but David reminded me that we went once when we lived in Phoenix, over 3 years ago.

She was really excited.

She loved that she could sample the flavors. So, she tried about five of them and decided on Jamocha Almond Fudge on a cone.

David got a sundae with the flavor of the month, pecan praline cheesecake. She saw his, asked for a bite and immediately decided she wanted her Dad's instead. Since it was her night and David is the best, he willingly gave up his sundae and ate her cone.

Ben liked the Jamocha Almond Fundge too, but he didn't want the nuts. I thought he should've went for Chocolate Chip of Oreo, but I let him pick what he wanted. He got just Jamocha and after 5 bites, he was done. So, Emily gladly ate some of his since her (Dad's) sundae was gone.

We gave Noah a bite of the Jamocha.

His eyes started to water and it looked like he might gag.

He recovered quickly, but didn't want another bite.

It was a fun treat for everyone. And we learned next time, order Emily whatever David is getting complete with whipped cream and a cherry, and get Ben the most basic cone there is.

And I thought we were done with the sight words after this celebration ice cream cone but nope. The teacher sent home another set. So this is her eleventh set of words and they all have 18 or more words in each set. Luckily since she is getting the hang of reading, she knew all but 4 of them on her first try. She mastered the other 4 over the weekend and was ready to be tested this morning. They aren't as hard for her anymore, but I think when school is over, we will reward her with another trip to Baskin Robbins.

Or maybe we should drive to Phoenix and go to Swensen's.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Favorite Things

Spring is officially here. Yes, it was snowing two days ago, but we always get one crazy out-of-the-blue snow in April. Now, we are ready for some sun.

And boy am I ready.
I have a new list of my favorite Spring things.

Noah has slept 10 1/2 - 12 hours for the past 2 nights. Now, I just need to train myself to sleep through the night again. I feel like a new person knowing that we are done with nighttime feedings. Can I get a Hallelujah? Hallelujah!

Last summer, I found these great slipper flip flops at costco. They are perfect for walking around the house. My pair from last year were disgusting, but I hated to throw them out as I had never seen the slipper flip flop in Phoenix. It's too hot there for any sort of slipper in the summer. It's bathing suits and bare feet. Anyway, up here the tile floor is always cool and I don't like it. But, look what I found last night at Costco. Emily wanted me to get the pink, so I did. I love, love, love these slippers.

Sandwich Thins
I discovered these little gems in the store one day. Oroweat sandwich thins, 100% wheat. We've tried the bagel thins which I thought were okay, but the oroweat ones are perfect for a sandwich. Both pieces of bread are only 100 calories, no corn syrup and have 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein, and only 2 grams of sugar. I'm digging tuna on these rolls for lunch these days.

Do you see this view out my window today. That would be blue skies and almost 70 today. I'm going to sit right there with some tea and watch my husband mow the lawn.

And I can't enjoy this beautiful day on the computer, now can I?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Everyone's Happy

I think we have finally turned a corner. Last night was my off night with Noah, so David was on duty. David is a much more sound sleeper than I am. I wear ear plugs to bed, have a fan on for white noise, the door is shut and I can still hear a kid whimper on the other side of our 3,000 square foot home. David jokes that I'm like the bionic woman with my hearing. Sad, but he's right.

Noah likes to cry in his sleep. He gets stuck sometimes with his head in the corner and he'll cry. I'm up 6 times a night and by the time I walk in his room, he's asleep again. But, I can't turn off the monitor. I just can't. What if he REALLY needs me.

David sleeps on the sofa during his on night, so he can hear Noah and I can't in our room. Knowing that David is on duty helps me tune any noise out. I slept great last night. I even woke up at 6:30 and was ready to start the day. I didn't. I went back to sleep for an hour, but I was ready. And Noah...wait for it...wait for it...slept the entire night! From 8:20 to 6:50. David got up once because he was crying and just resituated him. He got up another time to make sure he was still breathing. But that's it. Our boy did it! 10 1/2 hours of sleep.

I'm turning the monitor down tonight to almost nothing. I refuse to get up anymore for every little cry when he is fine and obviously doesn't need a bottle.

I was feeling good. I was refreshed. I was ready to dust off the treadmill and exercise. Gulp. There I said it. It was only 30 minutes and I watched Project Runway, but it felt good. I felt good. Hoping this all continues.

Speaking of feeling good, look how happy the kids were to have some snowflakes falling. They both have little smiles on their faces.
***Yes, Ben went to pick up Emily at school dressed as Buzz Lightyear.

This was more like hail. The kids found it fascinating.

Ben had to catch a flake on his tongue.

Then, it was time for pajamas, Toy Story and hot chocolate. They are spoiled.

Ben told me to take a picture of him flying.

I love the little smirk on his face. Flying makes him happy.

Noah is sometimes all over the place when we try to feed him. The worst is when he puts his head down and won't open his mouth and he just plays with his bib or something. In an effort to keep his head up, David put Emily's flashing wand around his ear. It worked perfectly and I did the same trick this morning.

The other night I was craving something sweet after dinner. As Lilo says, "Stitch needs desserts." I often say that line when I'm feeling like I need a little something sweet. So, I hopped on over to The Pioneer Woman and pulled up this recipe for funnel cakes. It was a hit. But, seriously how much funnel cake can you eat before you feel ill? For me, about 1/4 of a cake. So, we made them again last night.

Noah didn't have funnel cake, but he did have some powdered sugar.

After 2 nights of funnel cakes, we still had batter left over. I knew we couldn't possibly have them again. So, I turned them into muffins. Pumpkin muffins. Seriously, I never thought I could just add some flour, sugar and a few other things and come up with something else. But, I did it! Top Chef here I come.

This was my first picture of the muffin. I don't know what happend, but it looks like a solar eclipse is happening in my kitchen.

That's better.

Ben has eaten three so far for lunch.

And do I care? Nope. Because we all know if Mama aint happy, nobody is happy.

And right now, Mama is very happy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Out My Window

This is what it looks like out my window today.

I wanted to sit on this chair and drink some iced tea, but that won't be happening today.

I took Ben to gymnastics today and we got caught in some major snow in Prescott.
It's almost May.
Our first snow was before Halloween.
If I wanted 6 months of winter, I would've moved to Canada.
At least there, I'd have free health care.

Ok, it is seriously coming down now. And it's expected to last all night...
This picture was taken about 10 minutes after the other one.

Anyone care to join me, Nova Scotia is beautiful.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Ugh. It's been one of those days.

Last night was my off night, which meant I got 9 glorious hours of straight sleep. It was pure bliss. But the second David tapped my shoulder to get up, the first thought in my head was that tonight was my on night with Noah. And that put me in a grumpy mood pretty much from the get go.

I was reading or watching (I can't even remember) something the other day (I can't even remember when) and somebody (I can't even remember who) said that their day is dependant on the day their kids are having.

I completely understood. Usually, I'm pretty positive. Within 5 minutes of getting up...

Date Night...that was it...Tina Fey's character in Date Night said it.

...Emily is whining about getting dressed for school. I close my eyes for 2 seconds and think I haven't had a sip of coffee yet, please don't do this to me. She doesn't care. The whining continues until she gets dressed. Then, she complains about not wanting to get her hair fixed and she doesn't want breakfast. And I'm sorry, but the marshmallows out of Lucky Charms does not count as breakfast. This happens every morning. We've been doing the same routine every school day for the last 8 months. It's not a surprise, yet I'm met with the same resistance every day. It can't possibly be like this every morning for the next 12 years. Can it? Don't even get me started on when she gets home from school and has to do homework.

Although, she's a lot like me with dinner. I know we have to eat it every night. I know we have meat frozen. I put it in the freezer. Yet, I still panic at 4:00 every day as to what in the world we can have for dinner especially when I haven't defrosted anything.

My daughter and I have more in common than I realized.

Back to the morning...Then, Noah starts crying. Why? God only knows. He's fine if I'm holding him. But, I can't hold him, make Ben a waffle, and fix Emily's hair before the carpool comes. Most mornings, I just want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.

But this morning was different, Emily willing got ready and asked for an egg and toast for breakfast. We had a discussion last night that she can't starve all day (she barely eats her lunch) and then come home and pack in a days worth of food in 4 hours. We went through the digestive process and her stomach turning food into nutrients and energy our body needs or fat, depending on what you choose to eat. Then, I kept going with the digestive process and she was shocked when I told her she poops out her food. I don't know what she thought poop was, but she didn't think it was the dinner she had the night before.

My point being that she didn't whine at all. Noah was still asleep and Ben, well we hardly notice Ben is there at all usually. It could have been a perfect morning, but I decided to go and ruin it with my bad mood.

Emily didn't get to see any of it, but Noah and Ben sure did. I yelled, I cried, I threw a major temper tantrum (or two). So, Noah cried more and Ben's feeling were hurt and then I ruined thier day or at least their morning.

The lesson being that they can ruin my day sometimes with a lousy attitude and I can ruin theirs by turning into Momzilla. Seriously, the thought had never occurred to me that my mood affects them as much as theirs effects mine. (Sorry I used affect and effect because I still don't know the difference.)

I'm off to sing kumbaya. And if that doesn't work I think a big cup of coffee on this rainy day and maybe 2 (okay 3) Chips Ahoy will do the trick. I almost always find my smile at the bottom of a mug of coffee.

Tonight, no matter how many times Noah wakes me up, I'm going to check my attitude at my bedroom door in the morning and make sure my kids have a better day tomorrow.

And I'll pray they do the same.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Out Of The Mouth Of Babes

I'm cleaning and updating stuff on my blog. In doing so, this section on my sidebar will be removed. It seems most quotes have a story and I blog about the entire thing. But, I didn't want to forget these great lines from my kids.

"Don't worry Santa! We're coming!" ~ Ben

"Tat not broccowi!" ~ Ben (I tried to pass pea soup off as broccoli, his favorite)

"Can we go to Chinese and get a baby brother?" ~ Emily

"I no wear princess!" (I put Emily's old princess pull ups on him) ~ Ben

"Look at that baby. How cute. Can we get one of those?" ~ Emily

"Look at the sun. Isn't it prettiful?" (that's pretty and beautiful) ~ Emily

"Mommy the flag is broken!" (It was the first non windy day in months) ~ Emily

"Oh yeah tough guy." ( to David while wrestling) ~ Ben

"Ben be quiet or Santa will come cut off your head." ~ Emily

"I scared of peacots (peacocks)." ~ Ben

"I need to exercise with you Mommy. I'm squishy right here too (pointing to her bottom)." ~ Emily

"Mom, you're trying my patience." ~ Emily

And I'll add a few that have come up lately that made me smile.

"Oh my gosh, Noah is going to be a kid!" ~ Emily, when she saw Noah sitting up for the first time all by himself

"Smell my stinky butt, I got a surprise for you." Then he pretends to fart. ~ Ben
hysterical...yes, except for when he says it in front of 20 Moms waiting to pick up their Kindergartener. I had to have the talk with him about what happens at home stays at home. Boys, I don't know where they get this stuff.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday, Lovely Sunday

My Dad and Suzy came up for the day. But, this time they brought my Aunt Lela, cousin Melissa and Aunt Rosie. Aunt Rosie was visiting from California and I hadn't seen her since her wedding 18 months ago. Aunt Lela and Melissa live in Phoenix, but they had never been up here to our home.

Wait, that's a lie...Rosie and Aunt Lela came to visit Noah in the hospital.

Wow...when I was looking for that picture, I came across these. Noah was 4 hours old. I can't believe how small he was. David's ring could easily fit around his wrist and his arms and legs were the width and length of David's fingers.

This is Noah getting his first formula through a feeding tube. Do you see the measurement? It's about 1 1/2 ml, which is a little more than 1/4 of a teaspoon. I remember when I saw that for the first time I, that eating for two stuff is nonsense.

Anyway, modern medicine is amazing.

I digress...
It was wonderful to see all of them. Suzy came in armed with pasta, sauce and fixings for salad and kicked me out of the kitchen. She didn't have to kick very hard. I was more than happy to have the afternoon off.

My Dad was loving on Noah every chance he got. I don't know if Noah woke up from his naps or if my Dad decided he had napped long enough. In any case, I laid Noah down for a nap and about 32 minutes later, my Dad was carrying him down the hall saying he woke up. Too cute.

This is my gorgeous cousin, Melissa. She wants nothing more than to get married and have babies. She even works at a preschool and is going to school to be a teacher.

Here's Ben in the middle of one of his many costume changes.

Emily and Rosie became best buds. I don't call Rosie Aunt Rosie very often. She is a year older than my sister, so 6 years older than me and we grew up as sisters. She went on family vacations with us and everything.

Ben "read" everyone his Batman book.

Then, we had to say goodbye, much too soon. My kitchen belonged to me again, and I was bummed.

And David said goodbye to us as well, but just for about 7 hours. He is at a concert in Phoenix right now. So, that left me all alone with the 3 musketeers.

Since we ate a late lunch/early dinner, we decided to have popcorn and smoothies for a snack and watch a movie. My spot was right in the middle.

Noah was even enjoying Monsters Inc.

I gave Noah his first bath. Well, it wasn't his first bath, but it was the first time I had given him one. Yep, in 8 months. David does all the bathing in the house. I think I did an okay job. And after watching him kick his chubby legs all over, I will no longer wonder how David gets so much water on the floor. It's not David, it's the little man doing it. He looks innocent enough though.

I got all the kids in bed and was enjoying the silence. Then, Miss Manipulator came out of her room and said she had a great idea. She could sleep in Daddy's spot and when he comes home, she'll just move in the middle. This way she can finally sleep with me because she always wants to sleep with me.

I know that she is lying. She just wants to sleep with me, so she can see her Dad when he comes home.

It's all good. I don't even mind being sloppy seconds.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Trio Of Superheros

David got off early from work yesterday. The state won't pay him overtime and he won't work for free, so he get's to flex out his time almost weekly. This meant a 4 1/2 hour work day on Friday. Which is fine by all of us.

David came home and relaxed with Ben on the sofa. Ben and I had just checked out a few Justice League DVD's at the library. I think David was more excited about watching them than Ben was. Then Noah woke up and wanted in on some guy time.

Here they are, my three favorite men.

Noah was seriously flashing me a smile every time I held up the camera. I'm training him well!

Ben was a little miffed that Noah had to join them, but he got over it when I told him that Noah will always be Robin and he will always be Batman.

Ben even shared one of his Batmans with Noah. He's a superhero in the making.

And I got to pick Emily up from school kid free.
It feels weird to be without my entourage.
Like I was constantly forgetting something.
It was a lovely 20 minutes.

I wish we could have a Friday that like that every week.