Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A No Kid Party

We rarely leave our kids. We have a date day every other month and that's about it. I think we've spent 1 night away from them when we went to a Diamondbacks game last year. Other than that, we are with them. But, we are good with that.

I know a lot of couples would argue that you need that time alone with your spouse. But, I argue that we need that time with our kids. Really, you just need to do what is right for you. No judgement. I see Emily and Ben about 5 hours a day because they are in school. We think our place right now is to be with them. Vacations alone, cruises, we'll have plenty of time for that in 15 years. If we go on a trip, I want them with us.

We only get 18 years with them, I want to soak it all up. When it's time for them to go off on their own, I'll be ready to start my next chapter of life. One that will involve a drink with an umbrella in it and a chaise lounge on the lido deck.

I digress...Every January, our friends from Phoenix host an adult only party. Good food, good friends, good conversation, it's lovely.
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Here's Pam and I being goofy. I have red eyes and I kind of like it in a Team Gina kind of way.
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Okay, here's a serious one.
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They set up a beautiful table for 18.
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I dream about these potatoes and salad for an entire year.
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We fondue chicken, meat, shrimp and mushrooms.
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Then, we drink too much wine and when Pam tries to take a candid, I do something uncandid.
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It was such a nice night. We made the 80 minute trek back up the mountain and were home before midnight. Emily was still up with my Mom. Not a surprise. Ben and Noah were fast asleep. We tucked in Emily and checked on the boys. Laying next to my bed on the nightstand was this note.
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At first I thought it was from Emily because everything was spelled correctly and in pretty decent handwriting. Then, I flipped it over and knew our friendly neighborhood Spiderman was sending his love.
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And I knew I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Narcosleepy

My kids were never easy sleepers as babies or toddlers. They slept in their crib or the car seat on rare occasion. That's it. They usually never fell asleep in strollers or on the floor in front of the TV.

Noah's had to be a little different because he has to go with the flow more. He'll fall asleep in his stroller sometimes, but it's still mainly just his crib that he sleeps in. But, he's starting to transition out of his nap. He never wants to take it and will usually yell, "Mom, get out" because he wants me to take him out of his crib. Some days, I don't put him down at all.

Last week, I didn't put him down for a nap and he fell asleep on the sofa in front of the TV at dinnertime.
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Poor little guy couldn't make it. He looks cute though.
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Today, he took a 45 minute nap and woke up screaming. I put him on the sofa and turned on Barney and I found him out 5 minutes later.
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He has a hard life. Geez, look at these lashes. Lucky boy!
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

God's Paintbrush

In Arizona, we see spectacular sunsets a lot. I just read an explanation of what causes pretty sunrises/sunsets in the desert here, but I still don't get it. So, I'll just enjoy.

Our backyard faces south and we have two huge windows with just a small drape on them. No blinds. I wanted it that way. We have a little view of the mountains and I like to be able to see them. When the sun rises or sets and it's particularly vibrant, our walls in our living room turn pinkish orange. It's our cue to go outside and take a look at what God created.

This was our sunset a week ago.
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And a Sunrise last week.
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Another sunrise yesterday morning.
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Now I usually don't see the sunrise as I'm asleep, but since the sun wakes up when I do this time of year (7:30), I get to see it every morning. In the summer, the sun comes up at 5:30. Nine months out of the year, I never see a sunrise. And I'm okay with that.

Because I have God's other masterpieces to look at.
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Surpassed Us Already

As a parent, you always feel such pride when your kids do something great or accomplish something you never did. I'm envious of the way Emily can forgive easily and marches to the beat of her own drum. I wish I was more like Ben in his caring nature and how he puts others before himself. Noah, well he's just brand new.

But, it's a little humbling when one of your children have already surpassed you in an area of life. Neither David or I are good at drawing. We make stick figures and stick dogs and it's really pretty sad.

Here's a drawing I did when I was in Kindergarten like Ben. Apparently, the top corner was used for scratch paper. This was probably a "masterpiece" for me.
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Here's a drawing David did when he was about 7.
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That's about as good as it gets for us.

Not for Ben though. Ben is an artist. He loves to draw. Not color, he rarely uses a coloring book. He prefers to pull out my paper tray on the printer, grab a piece of paper and start creating. Of course, everything is a superhero theme.

Here was The Joker because he had to draw something with the letter J for school.
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Most every drawing is of Spiderman. The kid loves all superheros, but he's partial to Spiderman. He came home from school last week and spent an hour drawing this.
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One day, we will go to New York and I'll take him to see Spiderman Turn Off The Dark on Broadway. I can just imagine his amazement watching that play. And I know he'll be in awe of the buildings in New York. He drew this picture last night. That's him as Spiderman, complete with glasses and all.
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He's making a book called "A World Without Superheroes". Where all superheroes die, and I'm sure will come back to life because you know, they are super and all. I wish I could live in his head for a day. I think it's a magical place.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dancing Fool

We've taken the kids to Disneyland twice. Both times it was in October, which means the Haunted Mansion had been taken over by Jack the Pumpkin King from The Nightmare before Christmas for Halloween. The kids have never seen that movie, and they weren't freaked out by Jack. In fact, it was probably the most requested ride. Even Noah could go on and he'd say "mo jack". We rode it probably 10 times.

When we got home from California a few months ago, I found the movie on TV and recorded it. Noah requests it all the time "kissmiss" which means "christmas". And he'll sit for 90 minutes and watch Jack the Pumpkin King. It really is a weird movie, but the kids love it.

When we got Just Dance 3 for Christmas, guess what was on there? A song from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Noah loves it and request "punkin king!" and we have to put it on and dance.

I was unloading the dishwasher the other day and he wanted punkin king, so I put it on. He tries to get Granny to dance in the middle of it. When she doesn't join in, he finally grabs his robot at the end and dances around him. Whatever works, right?

Now, he enjoys other dances and played Just Dance 3 for about an hour this morning. I just have to set it up and he dances away. If you are not my Mother-in-law, you do not need to watch this entire video.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Whole Lot of Nothing

Wow has it been a laid back day around here. David and the kids are off for MLK day. David made us waffles for lunch, and we've caught up on some chores. Emily has been playing with her Barbie Townhouse from Santa for the past 3 hours by herself. Ben is flying around the house dressed up as a super hero of some sort.

And Noah...well, Noah is pretending to be a chef. We took my yellow bag ice skating yesterday and filled it with water and gloves. Noah found it hanging on a chair and decided it makes a perfect chef apron.
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Who would've thought the same bag that went with me to take care of my preemie baby every day would one day be in his dress up bin.
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When I downloaded those pictures I found ones of Emily and Ben from yesterday before ice skating.
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It became a big love fest.
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I love these kids.
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And that's about it. A whole lot of nothing. It's a good thing.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ice Skating

My friend has been trying to get us to go ice skating with their family. Her kids took lessons. Mine have never been on any form of skates, not roller or inline or ice. A group of our friends were going today, so I finally decided we should go.

At first, David did not want to go. He really didn't want the kids to go. He was certain someone would break a bone. But, I said I'd take the kids alone and if we broke something, he could meet us at the ER. I was a little worried about trying to teach 2 kids to skate by myself. I learned to skate when I was a kid. I spent weekends at the ice skating rink at Metrocenter mall with my friend Angela. But, I haven't been on skates in over 10 years.

David hasn't ice skated in over 30 years. He learned in Canada where I imagine babies learn to ice skate right after they learn to walk. He used to go to indoor rinks with his cousins and Uncle. Here David skating at about 9 years old skating at Beaver Lake in Montreal.
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Out of no where this morning, David said he would go. And he would skate! Not just watch like most the other parents. I was thrilled.

Emily was so excited. She asked 100 times today when we were going. It was finally time and we had our skates on waiting for the ice to open.
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Ben was excited too and a little nervous I think.
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Here are David and Ben taking their first steps on the ice.
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Emily taking her first steps. Sorry it's blurry, I didn't bring my good camera, so I just made do with what I had. And I was moving...
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We quickly found out that the walkers were more of a hindrance. So, we ditched them and gave it a whirl without them.
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I took this video in the first 15 minutes of being on the ice. I probably should've waited until they got it down more, but it was so cute to watch them learn.


It took about an hour for them to really start to get the hang of it. Then, they could go laps around with us slowly.
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Ben did 3 laps without falling.
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He said he felt like the Silver Surfer.
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Once the kids were stable enough, David and I would take turns. He'd do a few laps alone and I'd stay with the kids. Then, I'd get a turn. Our legs were cramping from taking baby steps for an hour. You need to stretch your legs and get some speed.

Then, Emily ditched us and skated with her boy friend (not boyfriend), Tristan.
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Apparently, this is where a lot of teenagers hang out, so it's good they learn to skate now.
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Over 90 minutes later, the kids were completely exhausted. They each fell about 25 times. Oh there were tears of frustration on Emily's part and Ben thought "we had made a mistake" when we decided to go ice skating. They were total troopers though and just kept getting back up. I was very proud of them.

As for my husband, he whizzed by me at one point and said he thinks he should get his own skates. He was having a great time and getting a great workout.

The kids and I cleared the ice. They were so tired. They just couldn't go anymore. We took off our skates and found our land legs again. Then we sat in the stands and watched David having a great time.

This is something we will definitely do again. Thanks to my Mom who watched Noah. Actually, Emily wanted to go again tomorrow. Not that soon sweetie. These old bodies need some time to recover.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sleepover

A few of Emily's friends have been having sleepovers. We are always afraid to let Emily spend the night at someones house. She's a night owl and I'm afraid our friends won't be our friends when she's misbehaving at 2 AM. Although, she'd probably be an angel when she's not in our house.

Yesterday, Emily said she wished her friend, Alanah, could spend the night. I thought why not? So, we called Alanah and made arrangements. This would be Emily's first sleepover. It was good her first one was at our house.

They played Wii games.
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And chased each other through the house.
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I let them stay up late and then they went to bed.
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There was no craziness or problems in the middle of the night. Alanah was the perfect friend to have our first sleepover.

I see a lot more of these in our future.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sealed With A Kiss

If you have a kid in Kindergarten, they have to be signed out every day. Which means, waiting in a line outside the entrance to Kindergarten with 25 other parents. Over the course of a year, you become friendly with these people. You know when one is having a bad day and listen when another tells you about their knee surgery. You hear about great restaurants in town or some fun hiking trails for kids.

When Emily was in Kindergarten, these parents saw me stand in line with a 4 pound premature baby and Ben dressed in a costume. They all thought Ben was a riot and loved watching Noah grow up throughout the year. It's just 10 minutes a day, but over a year, a bond is formed with these kinder parents.

The other day we were talking about the school lunches. One Mom just finished her student teaching at the school and said how gross most of it is. The salad bar is good, but most kids don't go for the salad bar when they can get pizza every day. I'd be totally excited if my kids would eat school lunch, but they won't touch it. And why would they when I pack their lunch every day.

It takes a good 20 minutes. Of course, I'm telling them to get dressed and making them breakfast while making their lunches. They are very different, so they get different things.

Ben - peanut butter and jelly with the crust cut off, crackers or chips, fruit and some little treat, a Hershey's Kiss or this week it's a Reese's peanut butter cup. Ben's favorite. The only other thing Ben will have is Salami, Boars Head Genoa Salami sliced thin fresh from the deli. Ben gets a juice box instead of Capri Sun as he can't stick the straw in the pouch yet on his own. The box is easier to put the straw in. Ben is predictable and easy.

Emily - she's all over the place. These week, she is loving ham sandwiches with extra mustard. She eats her crust. She also loves soup, which I heat and put in a thermos. She also gets crackers or chips, fruit and a little treat. Emily is actually easier because she doesn't care what I pack. But, I can guarantee she's the only second grader who gets excited when I pack her pea soup.
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Then, I write a note on their napkin. Something simple, but just so they know I love them.
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My earliest memories of eating lunch at school was in high school. I have a bad memory though. But chances are my kids will never remember that I cut off their crust and wrote them a love note every day. But, I don't do it so that they will remember the gesture 20 years from now.

I do it because I imagine they look around the table and see their friends eating "chicken" with "potatoes" and "gravy" from the school cafeteria. No special treats. No love notes. And I hope they enjoy their extra dose of love in their lunch box.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Emily.

David woke up at 5:30 this morning. He found a very lively Emily sitting at the foot of Ben's bed having a conversation with a very tired Ben. This is Emily. Every night is an adventure for her, and ultimately for us sometimes. I woke up last night and swore that someone was watching me in bed. Turns out, it was her. Totally freaked me out. After I tuck her in at night, I tell her, "don't come out of this room unless the house is on fire". She still comes out every night.

She said she couldn't sleep last night. I told her to turn on her light and read a book instead of waking up her brother who never has a problem sleeping all night in his own bed. She was all surprised. I can do that? Um, why not? You do whatever you want anyways. Oh there will be some form of punishment, and then she'll behave for a week. And then we are back to the same thing.

She is actually always really good waking up and getting ready for school. Truly I could care less what she does at night, watch TV, eat cereal, read a book, just don't wake anybody else up.

While she gets about half the sleep that I do, she still manages to be a great student. Today was the school assembly and she received Student of the Month.
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Here she is walking in to the gym. She didn't notice me, but I had a camera covering most my face.
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I went over and took a picture with her class. I'm sure in a few years this will embarrass her.
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She got called on stage to receive her award.
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"Emily, look at Mommy so I can get a good picture"....
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She finally sees me.
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And smiles.
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Here's the video.

She's an awesome kid. I'm glad she's mine. But, if I catch her watching me again in my sleep, I'm going to have to buy her a TV for her room.