Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Around Our House

There's so much going on around our house. I feel like the days all run together. Here are some highlights.

Emily lost her fifth tooth. And that chipped one on top continues to hang in there. She's getting $10 from the tooth fairy when that thing finally comes out.

My Mom was down in Phoenix for all of September and just came back home on Friday. This time she brought her cat, Miss Gracie, with her. We are loving having a cat again. She's super sweet and doesn't try to bite us, like Max used to. Miss Gracie was an outdoor cat and unfortunately she doesn't want to stay inside here either. I'm praying she doesn't become coyote food.

I've really missed having a cat. And when Miss Gracie came to the door, like Max used to, well, it melted my heart.

She may not leave when my Mom moves out.
With my Mom here, I finally got to help at the school. Today, I went to Emily's class. I've never been able to help before because I always had a baby to take care of at home. It was so much fun.

I made copies and cut out 19 coyotes and stars for a scrapbook. On my last 3 coyotes, the teacher tells me they have a die cast machine that cuts out from your stencil. What? I just cut out 19 coyotes and there is a machine to do that? I'm old school. If you want 19 coyotes out of construction paper, you cut 19 coyotes out of construction paper...with scissors!

In any case, I got them all done, old school style and had fun taking pictures of myself while the kids were at recess.

My hand was cramping after those 19 coyotes, but the smell of rubber cement made everything better.
Did I mention that I kind of got struck by lightening?

It was raining, not bad with a little thunder. Ben had just been in the backyard with an umbrella. I was making dinner. All of a sudden, we see a lightning bolt out of our window behind our fence. I don't know what it hit, but it made the most awful noise.

At that exact moment, I was hitting the start button on the microwave and got a shock, like 10 times worse than when you touch something and get that spark. Now, every once in awhile my right hand goes numb.

The moral of the story is to not start the microwave if it's raining. Just in case.

And if you need to cut out 19 coyotes, use the die cast machine, so your hand doesn't go numb.
Yesterday after Ben's doctor appointment, we went to McDonald's. I forgot my camera, but it was Ben's first trip to McDonald's. He'll be 6 in February. And you know what, he really liked it. Me, not so much.

Well there was the one trip a year ago. You can read about it here, but we just bought all the Batman toys and left. That doesn't really count as going to McDonald's.
I follow several money saving blogs and there are always offers to get a sample of this or that. A few months ago, I filled out some form for a free mouse pad. Hey, if someone wants to send me a free mouse pad, I'm all for it.

It came today and it is the cutest darn thing I've ever seen.

Pretty cute and maybe even cuter because it was free! If you want to make your workspace pretty pretty, you can order one here. They aren't free anymore, but they sure are cute!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ben Needs Another Surgery

Poor Ben. He is the easiest kid around and yet he somehow gets the short end of things. He truly is the greatest and maybe that's why he gets thrown a curve ball here and there. Because he can handle it.

In February of 2009, Ben got a hernia surgery. You can read about it here. He was such a trooper and recovered quickly. But it's still scary to have your 3 year old get put under and cut open. Even if it's only 1 1/2 inches.

In February of 2011, we had Ben's well visit at his Doctor where we found out that he couldn't see out of one eye. You can read about it here. He has a lazy eye that started us on a path of seeing a pediatric eye specialist, several trips to Phoenix and patching his good eye to get his bad eye to work.

It's been a long 6 months for Ben. Would any kid like wearing a patch over their good eye for 5 hours a day? No. But, Ben was always a trooper. He'd even remind me that he needed to wear it if I forgot to put it on. Truth be told, David was the patch Nazi. Ben wore his patch 5 hours a day no matter what. If he missed an hour one day, he made it up on the weekend. The proof is in the pudding when you look at all our pictures and he's always wearing a patch.

Ben had another eye appointment today. His fourth in six months. The Doctor is amazed at Ben's progress. Basically the first time he saw Ben, Ben couldn't see a huge picture on the wall with his bad eye when his good eye was covered. Three months ago with his glasses on and looking out of only his bad eye, he was seeing 20/80. Now, he's at 20/40. The Doctor is thrilled and says he no longer has a bad eye, just two good eyes.

I agree.

But, Ben had 2 issues. The first was that his right eye had turned off. Basically, he would've been blind in that eye eventually. Through patching, we've corrected that. The "light" is back on his eye and he is seeing great.

The second issue was that his right eye turns slightly in. From day 1 the Doctor told us that surgery may be possible. Actually, every visit he mentioned it. So, David and I had known that Ben would need the surgery. It was on the back burner until we got his vision working well. That happened so quickly, which is a great thing, but now we are looking at surgery.

Ben will go under general anesthesia and the Doctor will cut the muscle by the center of the eye. He said it's so mild that you've probably cut your eyeball worse with your fingernail at some point in your life. It takes about 15 minutes total. It will be down in Phoenix again. And this time, I know my son is a puker after anesthesia. I'm not getting in our car for at least an hour.

The scheduler will call me to make the appointment somewhere in the next 4-6 weeks. It'll be on a Tuesday, and he'll miss 2 days of school most likely. He'll only need Tylenol or Motrin for any discomfort he may feel. And his eye will be red like if you've ever scratched your eye.

After that, we'll we just have to wait and see. We are still patching until the surgery, but only 3 hours a day. Hallelujah! 5 hours was really hard, especially with school. His vision in his left eye is perfect and his lens on his glasses has no prescription in that eye. You'd think they'd give us his glasses for half price, but no. HA! The Doctor said today, it's possible that at the end of all this, he may not need glasses or just a very weak prescription for only his right eye.

Again, we know this is a very minor procedure and Ben will be just fine. His progress in 6 months is amazing. Almost as amazing as our sweet Ben.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Picture Day

The kids had picture day this week.

Emily looked stunning as always and had a perfect smile.

Ben can never get the smile on command thing down.

This was his first "professional" picture in glasses and it was only after this picture was taken and he was long gone at school that I realized he had a smudge on his right lens. Lovely.

Can I just say that I wish Emily's outfit and boots came in adult sizes.

I think I took 64 pictures that morning and only 4 were good enough to post.

I love seeing their pictures and class photos. But, I think Ben might need a retake.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The year I turned 30 was a year of huge change for me. I became a wife and mother before my 31st birthday. When Emily was 4 months old, my Dad sold the family business and I became unemployed for the first time since I was 13.

I remember not knowing how I would feel everyday being a stay at home Mom. Would I feel lonely? Bored? Useless?

There may have been a day or two here or there that I did feel some of those things. For the most part though, I feel anything but bored and useless. But those early days when our kids were babies were rough.

We had cranky babies. All three of them. Noah is still cranky and I fear it's not just a stage with him. I can remember the day that David went back to work after his paternity leave with each of them and left me home alone with 1, then 2, then 3 kids. I remembering hoping that I didn't fail.

There was a time when Ben was about 3 months old and I called David at work and asked him, okay I didn't ask, I begged him to come home. I was at the end of my rope. Emily was asleep, I put Ben in his crib and I went in my dark closet, hugged my knees and rocked back and forth crying until my husband came home.

My husband saved me. He always saves me.

But I've been doing this now for 7 years and although having a preemie 2 years ago, threw a wrench in my daily routine, I've been in a groove for awhile. There are still days that I want to hide in my closet. And there are days that I'm at the park on a beautiful sunny day watching my kids play and I almost feel guilty. Almost. I've paid my dues. I deserve the perfect park day on occasion.

The guilt comes from the fact that I'm having such a great time and my husband is stuck in an office. He's always said that he couldn't do what I do day in and day out. It is hard. Some days are harder than others.

But, my husband is always there for me. He walks in the door from work, greets the kids and me and if dinner is almost ready, he'll jump in and help. He doesn't ask what I need done, he knows. He bathes the kids every night. I've still only given them about 20 baths their entire lives. Total. My husband is a good man.

David's job has been giving him a lot of headaches lately. He can't sleep most nights thinking about work stuff. I wish there were something I could do to make things better for him. And although I can't get him a new job or a new boss, I'll just support him and listen. Oh and the other night, I threw in a massage just because. I should do that more often.

He deserves it.

Meanwhile, I go about my days. Earlier this week, Noah was napping and I was watching a Friends marathon on TBS and surfing the web on the laptop and thought that life is pretty sweet. My biggest worry for the day was catching Noah before he did this:

I was on the computer and my Spidey senses were tingling that he was up to no good. Yep, definitely up to no good.

Today, my biggest issue was over who was going to lick the spoon after making rice krispy treats. He won.

And since I know how stressed my husband is, there may just be 1 rice krispy treat left for him by the end of the day. Those things are dangerous!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Arizona's Centennial

The state of Arizona turns 100 in February. And in true Arizona fashion, we are starting the party early and celebrating for 6 months. Hee haw!

Our state is really just a baby. Truly, I have grandparents almost as old as the state of Arizona. The birthday party kicked off here in Prescott as this town used to be the capital of Arizona way back in the day, like Wyatt Earp days.

The Best Fest took up most of downtown Prescott. With parking limited, they offered a free shuttle from a shopping center parking lot. Even better, the shuttle was a school bus. Ben was thrilled as it was his first school bus ride.

He would've been happy to just go home after the bus ride. But, there was lots of fun to be had. There were people all over dressed in old western costumes.

They had a great family zone with lots of bounce houses and slides for the kids.

Noah wanted to get right in on the action. He held up the whole line and climbed the inflatable ladder to the top of the slide and he went down. And did it freak him out? Heck no. He did it again and again and again. Okay, well he looks a little freaked out in this picture.

The kids loved all the bounce houses.

Uncle Terry and Aunt Paula live in Canada and are on a roadtrip through the States. They visited us for the weekend, so we all went to the block party. Here's Uncle Terry with some Cowboys. I think he fits right in.

Noah, on the other hand, was not so sure of the cowboys.

There were cows to be milked.

Free samples of ice cream.

Facepainting...spiderman of course.

Emily even got a lasso lesson from the Rodeo Princess.

Emily had the "steer" roped on the third try. Impressive.

Naturally, there was a roaming, singing cowboy on horseback.

The kids panned for gold. Emily immediately asked if she could keep her nugget. Gold Digger!

Ben took a bath in it.

There were people dressed up everywhere.

And I love that our little hometown blended right in with the props.

This is The Palace saloon which has been around since 1877. Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp had a pint or two (or 100) in this saloon.

There was some crazy Mexican art.

They had a military and trailblazer museum and so much stuff to see and do. We could have easily spent an entire day there. But, a few hours had to do as the kids were pretty wiped out.

Emily just adored Aunt Paula and insisted on sitting with her on the bus.

We had a great time.

Aunt Paula and Uncle Terry left this morning and we were all sad to see them go. I don't think I've ever met two nicer, more genuine people in my life. They adored our children and our children adored them. I guess that means we'll have to travel to British Columbia soon to see them!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch

My best friends (Pam) little sister (Katie) got married in a small ceremony in Colorado in June. Us folks who have known and loved Katie for years didn't get to celebrate with her. Katie came into town this week and Pam arranged a lunch for all of us.

I drove down to Phoenix to spend a few hours with these ladies.
It was a great restaurant, but what I loved was the dessert. Little shot glasses and we got to pick which one we wanted. Is it wrong that I wanted one of each?
I chose red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Yum. I'll toast to that.
Then we gave Katie some gifts.
And one last photo of the ladies after lunch.
It was a great afternoon. I love spending time with the girls and we didn't even talk about kids the whole time!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Real Housewife of Prescott Valley

I've mentioned before that Noah copies everything I do. From combing his hair to folding the clothes, he mimics me. I wrote about it a few months ago here. I'm seriously turning this boy into a housewife.

But now he is even helping in the kitchen. He even wears an apron because David and I usually do. So, he'll go to the apron hook in the pantry and have a fit until we put it on him.

By the way, David is making Philly Cheese Steaks. You get any meat, pound it out, grill it up, melt some provolone on some bread, add some grilled peppers and onions. Yum. I like a little A-1 on it too.

But, Noah doesn't eat that. He just has pasta. I think he needs his own apron.

He also helps vacuum the floor. He even holds the cord because I do.

He's great at using the Swiffer.

If you are interested in hiring him, just let me know. Although, he usually makes more of a mess then he cleans up, but with this face, who cares?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How Could We Forget.

We all think about what if's in our life. What if I took a different route to work and was in an accident? What if running back in the house to make sure I unplugged the curling iron meant that I avoided an accident? What if I was never on and saw David's profile and sent him an e-mail. What if, what if, what if....

A year before 9/11/2001, my best friend Pam and I took a wonderful trip through the New England states. We did all the tourist stuff.

In Boston, we took part in a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party.
In Vermont, we went to the Von Trapp Family Lodge. Pam loves The Sound of Music. Thank God we got there on a Wednesday because every Tuesday, they have a sing along. Dang, just missed it.
We went to the Ben & Jerry factory in Vermont and paid our respects to the ice cream flavor graveyard.
We had lobster in Maine. We had no clue what we were doing with a whole lobster. But when in Maine...
We went to The Statue of Liberty and took an audio tour of Ellis Island and saw some of my relatives names on the wall.
Like the Travelocity garden gnome, we brought a little Jessie doll from Toy Story and took her everywhere with us. She posed on the back of a Harley in Boston. The troll with her belonged to the biker.
She soaked up some sun on a rocky beach in Acadia National Park in Maine.
And here she is on the top of the World Trade Center.
A year before they crumbled, Pam and I stood on the very top of one of those towers. After 9/11, I've thought about that day. How cold and windy it was at the very top. We were outside, no glass room, you take some stairs above the observation floor and you are literally outside. I believe it was just a railing, and you could feel the building gently sway a little with the breeze. Honestly, it was freaky. We got one quick photo of Jessie and got back inside.

I've obviously had some what if's since then. What if the terrorists were ready for attack 14 months earlier? What if I were on top of that building when a plane hit it? It was so early that I don't think any tourists were on the top of building, but what if it had been later... what if, what if, what if...

Ten years ago, I was in a very different place. I was 27, dating and thought I'd write a book one day about my adventures called "Single With No Dependents". That didn't happen. I went down a different path that led me here. Now, I blog about my kids. I don't question my life at all. I'm exactly where I'm meant to be.

And, I'm grateful.

David and I talked about 9/11 and decided not to tell the kids yet. One day we will tell them or they will see pictures and ask. When we get on a plane for a trip, Ben truly thinks he is a superhero and he's flying. He'd rather look out the window the entire trip and listen to the engine instead of watching a movie. I don't want him thinking about terrorists and if our plane is going to end up in a building. He's 5, let him pretend to be a superhero for a few more years.

David's family is in the early stages of planning a family reunion next summer in Canada. I did some checking on flights and pricing. I found out that I could actually get a free flight with my US Airways miles. Unfortunately, that would mean David and the kids would probably take another airline because they have cheaper flights. And I absolutely refused to even think about getting a ticket on a different flight. No how, no way. If something happened to them...

And that's how things are different 10 years later. Those thoughts are always in our minds. Is it fear? Or loss? Both? We don't need to be reminded to never forget. Seriously, there is no way we ever could.