Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Third Party In My Bed

Todd I were super-excited to have our bed returned to normal after Lucas arrived. No more cumbersome preggo Buddha belly between us. No more sleeping with multiple pillows to support the aforementioned belly. Ahhh…bedtime harmony restored! Tilly would occasionally bunk with us at night. But she is tiny and gets down the moment she begins to feel warm.
At night we would hunker down in bed to watch TV, Todd, Tilly, and I. We tried to encourage Roman to join us but he would have none of it. We felt guilty about the snuggle-time he was missing out on. Yes, I know he is a dog and could probably give a damn. But the stabs of guilt coupled with his sad brown doggy eyes was more than we could bear. We tried lugging his unwilling, heavy body up onto our bed (which for the record is about four feet high) only to have him fight us every step of the way, fall to the floor, and scramble under the bed to curse his stupid pet humans.
Finally one night we got him into bed. We. Created. A. Monster. Now that he has experienced the joy that is a pillow-top mattress there is no removing him. A typhoon could hit our bed and he would not move. And personal space? No such thing for our velcro canine! His favorite spot is wedged between Todd and me.
Yes, I know, we did this to ourselves. And to be honest I really don’t mind. On nights when Todd is working late it is nice to have to “someone” to keep me warm. Yes he smells like dog and licks his butt, but the doggy snuggles more than make up for it.
Let’s face it this dog has a whipped!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Making the Cut

Lukey got his first haircut a couple of weeks ago. The kid was blessed with a great head of hair when he was born. Everyone tsk, tsked it would fall out, but that never happened. All he had was a bald patch from rubbing his head on the carseat. No infant balding for this kid. And then it grew. And. Grew. I knew it was getting long. As I poured water over his head in the bath it would cascade to his shoulders. Hmmm… maybe it’s time I thought. I certainly never wanted him to look Celine Dion’s kid! But then I would procrastinate. After all, he is just a baby. Until one day when Todd and I were shopping at Michael's. Lucas was in his stroller, looking all dapper wearing his “Little Brother” shirt. Todd waited (and silently cursed himself for coming along) while I meandered. Women approached him because who can resist a dad and his smiling baby? He beamed with pride until they told him “what a cute little girl” he had. The I got the look. The look that says, “Dude!!! Give the kid a haircut and call it a day! No one calls my SON a girl!”
Auntie Courtney did the honors. She is a hairdresser and a mom. Therefore she knows how to be fast and patient, yet able to cut in a straight line. To have Auntie Court do the first haircut made it a lot more meaningful as well. It is always fun to share these moments with someone special.
Lucas was a great “client”. He sat patiently in his booster seat and noshed on his puffs. No tears, no hysterics. It was so fun to watch. My little man getting his first big boy haircut. The little ham even posed for the “after” photo!

Can those bangs be any longer?!

The finished product:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I am a Gleek

It's what people are now calling avid fans of the Fox TV show, "Glee". I heart Glee! These days I find myself counting down to Wednesday just so I can watch it. This is a far cry from my college days. Several years ago I eagerly anticipated the drinking bargains at Riley's on Wednesday nights. Now I just get giddy over television. Sad but true.

Anyhoo, I just bought the Volume I soundtrack. Love, love, love it!!! I highly recommend to anyone who is a fan of the show. Even the kids enjoy it. I caught Luke bouncing and clapping along to track 1, "Don't Stop Believin'". So if you have $13 to burn and enjoy catchey music, pop into Target and grab a copy!

Catching Up

Wow! Two months have already passed since my last post. Damn, time really flies. Life has been a whirlwind since school began for both Maddie and me. First grade suits her well. We just had our first parent-teacher conference a week ago. She is meeting all of her benchmarks and has lots of friends. She is a bit of a dreamer though. Unfortunately this leads to several bits of unfinished work that can easily pile up. I get it though. It’s the artist in her. I have been known to be the same way. Only difference is she is soooo MUCH worse. But Mrs. Maher told us Maddie is very empathetic to the feelings of others, very kind, and is considerate. Honestly, I would rather she excel in empathy and be somewhat of a daydreaming lollygagger. You can’t teach empathy like you can the Three R’s. This is not to say we aren’t holding her accountable for her unfinished work. I requested the teacher add some of it added on to her homework. Maddie is not a fan of this solution, but then again that’s the point. Despite the lollygagging and daydreaming I am very proud of my sweet little girl. I love that she thinks of others. I can’t say you always find that quality in people these days….
A lot has happened since my last post. Luke has grown TONS! He is cruising everywhere. Nothing is sacred in our home these days. If it is within his reach it is fair game in his eyes. OY! Like his older sister, Luke is quite the social butterfly. He will readily flash those dimples to anyone who gives him an ounce of attention. He finally got his first haircut a week ago. It was getting ridiculously long (just ask Papa!) and everyone thought he was a girl (even when he wore his “Little Brother” shirt.) Now he looks like such a big boy. Luke is too smart for his own good. He seems to figure EVERYTHING out. He will watch you do something once and then he seems to pick it up. Keeps me on my toes that’s for sure!
Madeleine turned seven this month. SEVEN! Where does the time go?! She is such a good-natured little girl (most of the time…) often offering to share with her family. She is an amazing big sister. It still surprises how well she has adjusted to having a little brother. I think she loves having a real-live baby that she can pick up and tote around (no matter how much me protests.) Thursdays she looks forward to having dinner at Nana and Papa’s after Mom gets out of class. And the weekends bring overwhelming joy when she gets to spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
I am taking two classes this semester because I am a glutton for punishment. It’s not like I didn’t already have my hands full in SAHM-dom. And my sanity? Do I really need to keep it? Although stressful it keeps my mind fresh. I think without it I might get a little mentally mushy. So I am taking courses to finish my BA and photography/visual communications courses. Sort of nice to get some “me” time.
Todd is busy working and helping me not go crazy. He is such a good dad/bonus-dad. He really steps up to the plate and does what it takes to give our children a good family oriented foundation. He and I manage to get some dates in here and there. Although we enjoy the rugrats it is great to spend time as a couple. Plus we love getting out and visiting friends. As a result, his days off are a complete whirlwind for us. Cleaning the house, visiting with friends and family, taking the kids places.
As you can see, I am finally settling into my role as a SAHM. Waking up to my son’s poopy mess has now become the norm for me. I still have not made it glamorous or easy (if anything I less glam now. ACK!) But I still keep trying and the adventures still keep coming my way.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Crawling, First Grade, College, and More Crawling...

I cannot believe how quickly time has passed since my last post. Lately it feels as if we are simply passengers on the Bullet Train of life, watching everything zip by. Maddie started first grade at the end of last month. My baby is in first grade! When she started kindergarten it was heart-wrenching. She had become a full-fledged kid, running down the hallway at school into the open arms of her teacher (whom we LOOOOOOVED!!!!) It was both sad and exciting to see her grow up. Fast forward to first grade and the excitement is palpable: my child is going to be in school ALL DAY LONG! The world is my oyster, I now have six hours to get stuff done! Ya-hoo!!! That excitement is dampened somewhat by the fact that I have a very busy seven-month-old who seems to be magnetically attracted to anything that is off-limits (consequently, once it is in his possession the item inevitably makes its way into his mouth.)

Now that Luke is crawling and getting into who knows what and Maddie's school load has quadrupled, I figured this was the perfect time to spread myself even thinner and try to wrap up that bachelor's degree I began eons ago. In my defense I took a break after my grandpa passed away, got pregnant, and then changed my major (as a result I had to do almost all of my upperdivision over.) Plus squeezing in college between Maddie and work was its own unique challenge. So here we are... I am taking a geology class online, geology lab, and a photo class for fun. And by-the-way, can I tell you how OLD I feel going to school with a bunch of baby-faced kids fresh out of high school? We were discussing the effects of earthquakes/plate tectonics in my geology lab when I looked around and had what Oprah calls an "a-ha moment". These kids were not even a zygote when we had had the last "big one" (Loma Prieda, 1989). UGH!!! At thirty-two I don't feel old, but to these kids I am. Their biggest worry is whether that cute boy in biology will text or MySpace them, meanwhile I'm at home trying to dust off my algebra skills (circa 1997) for a geology equation while simultaneously prying an electrical cord from my son's mouth. But with age comes wisdom and a confidence that I did not have my first time in college. And with that age and wisdom comes a, I guess you would call it, smugness. Life has taught me all kinds of lessons that they have yet to learn. I now know that while getting your heart broken may seem like the end of the world, it really isn't. Having children will teach you a love you never knew existed and that miracles really do exist. Being married is soooo much better than dating. Life won't wait for you, so make the most of it while you're here. While I do miss the carefree days of my youth, I certainly wouldn't trade it for what I have now.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Little Fish in Swimming Lessons
First Wednesday Street Fair After a Rare June Rain

Photoshoot in Tahoe

Enjoying Soft Serve at the County Fair

Puppy Love

I can't begin to express how much I love you Maddie-kins. You were my first. All of my Mommy adventures began with you. Thanks for teaching me how precious the title, Mama is.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Unless you have worked in special education or the medical field developmental milestones in a baby/toddler may not be a tremendous concern. A thought it the back of your mind? Definitely. But something you think about everyday? Maybe not. With Maddie I didn't read too much into them. Her dad, who works in the medical field? Totally different story. Always looking for milestone achievement.
Several years later when I got a job in special education I began to realize how vital these milestones were. Consequently I have turned into one of those nutjobs who is aways on the lookout for milestone achievement. Omigod?! Did he coo at two months?! Did he sit up at four months?! Is he social and responding to my voice?! Suffice to say, they have become a mini-source of anxiety for me at Luke's well-baby check ups. The nurse and doctor ask me the usual barrage of questions and I answer with bated breath, eagerly waiting for his progress report. Is he development on track? Are we meeting, exceeding, or behind in development. Tell me! TELL ME!!!! HOW IS MY CHILD?!?! Clearly Todd is the calm, level-headed person in this relationship (ie. the normal one.)
At his six month check up we were told Luke is doing great and meeting all of his milestones. Apparently all the dog hair he had ingested during the first six months of life had not been to his detriment. PHEW!
Honestly though, I am so grateful his development is on track. It is a tremendous blessing to have a wee one that is thriving.
So this is where Luke is right now with his development: he is crawling, has begun to pull himself up, has started to throw little temper tantrums when he can't have what he wants (I swear between these three things alone my last shred of sanity is coming to a screeching halt), he says "da da", "ma ma", "ba", & "la", he is obsessed with the remote control (clearly he is his father's son!), is curious about EVERYTHING (the best way to explore anything is to put it in his mouth, his favorites items being being flip flops and electrical cords), and he love love loves to flirt (yup, totally his father's son.) Right now he is infatuated with his sister (who dotes on him constantly unless something better is on TV), the dogs (patient despite all the hair pulling and climbing, I guess this makes up for them being assholes the other 80% of the time), and the outdoors (can't get enough of the trees. Yay! Mama's got herself a little green tree hugger :)!!) He is finally beginning to nap. He was not too fond of them the first four to five months. I got the newborn that would stay awake for four to six hours, take a ten minute catnap, and then wake up (it was rough!) Now the dishes can actually be washed or I can waste a lot of time on the computer.
I cannot believe time has passed us by so quickly. It feels like yesterday he was my beefy 9 pound newborn wanting to be held constantly. Now I have a six month old who would rather crawl and put germ-laden shoes in his mouth rather than be confined in my arms.

Golden Shower and a Caffeine Delay

Not the way I really wanted to begin my day. But it is what it is. For the record, despite having kids I am one of those people that needs to ease into my morning. Ease into it verrrrrrry slooooooooowllllllly. Thank the good lord above I married someone who has the same morning needs. This is key for a successful marriage. Trust me, I have tried it with a morning person. UGH! The happiness! The AM joy! It took all of my strength not tell him to go fuck himself. Anyway, I digress. Where was I? Right. This morning. First I wake up to very poopy diaper. Which I proceeded to migrate onto my hands when I tried to clean it up. Now, I may not have gagged like other people (TODD!), but really, the thought of fecal matter on my hands first thing in the morning does not appeal to me. Call me crazy, but it just doesn't. After I finished wiping the aforementioned poo from my son's butt the diaper came unfurled. Now, as you all know, when a "Number 2" diaper (filled with "Number 2" wipes!) becomes unrolled it is no easy feat to re-roll it into the neat little hockey puck you began with. Especially with shit on your hands. Combine this with me: have not had so much as a drop of coffee and mentally functioning at a pre-school level. Therefore I gave up and just dumped the entire mess into the garbage can (no, not an inside garbage can. All Number 2's go into the garage. We are old skool here people. No Diaper Genie. Such rebels we are!)
Since my hands were tainted I just laid the unfolded diaper over Luke's necessary parts while I disposed of the hazardous waste. I can hear the collective sigh from all of the "boy-moms" out there. They know where this is going and at this point are probably wondering if I have not learned the boys-and-their-parts-being-exposed-to-fresh-air lesson. Yes, I did learn that lesson. Many times in fact. That is why I tried to cover the parts. It was only for a moment! Really! I just needed to throw out the diaper and wash the poo off of my hands. Unfortunately I am not talented enough to hold my poo hand in the air as I pin my son down and deftly change his diaper with one hand. I missed that class on parenting.
Just as I returned Luke pulled the diaper off, felt the cool morning air upon his goods, and doused himself, the Boppy, and the porta-crib in a golden shower. Since he was on his back he sprayed directly at his face. Poor kid had to squeeze his eyes shut and turn his head to avoid hitting himself in the eye. Might as well start setting aside money for the therapy that looms in his future. I can see it now:

Over Priced Therapist: "Can you tell me where your anger towards women and relationships stems from?"

Traumatized Luke: "Why yes. My mother missed the class on one-handed-diaper-changing and consequently almost blinded me with my own urine. It has all been down hill since then, Doc."

At this point I assessed the damage and, to be honest, it didn't look too bad. I began to think, "maybe I can clean this off with a wipe and wait until after I finish my coffee to give him a bath." But as gave his backside a once over (and contemplated the over-priced therapist's reaction to that little nugget of a childhood memory) I realized a bath was imminent. Although the front looked good, the pee had apparently shot over his head and ran down his back. Both head and shirt were soaked.
Let's review the first three minutes of my morning:

* I put my hands in shit

*My son showered himself in piss

*In addition to college I now have to start saving for my son's overpriced therapist because he almost blinded himself and it WAS ALL MY FAULT!

*My mental capacity is somewhere at a three year old level since I STILL HAVE NOT HAD ANY CAFFEINE!

*I now have to give Luke a bath because he is covered in his own bodily fluids.

All I have to say is thank God pee is sterile!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


It's my own unique nickname for our adorable niece, Tana. She is now nine months old and is growing super-fast. While trying to hone my photog skills I have been looking for subjects other than my own two darling rugrats. After spending some time in the pool last weekend Tana gave me an impromptu photo session. We all had a blast, except for the other swimmers. They were subjected to a HORRIBLE view of my butt, clad only in a bathing suit while being thrown in the air as I crouched down on all fours while I shot some pix. I am not sure that is a view even my husband could love (and I can't say I blame him!)
Here are the shots I took. Some of them have been Photoshopped with the House of Three supplies I received while taking my Jessica Sprague class (she rocks and her classed are very user-friendly.)

Here are a couple of before and after with some of the Photoshop effects:


And finally, here is my favorite. I love, love, love this shot!
She is such a sweetheart. I feel so blessed to have and her parents in my life. I heart them. The only thing I was not able to capture was her "cougar growl". She will crawl on all fours and give this growl deep in her throat. It is the most hysterical thing to watch! The perfect Chewbacca impression. That is soooooo going to come back to haunt her during her teen years!

All Hail Betsey Johnson

She is by far one of my favorite shoe designers. Her shoes actually make me swoon! I am one of those people who believe that the shoes make the outfit. Even Todd has commented on this when I have worn "boring" shoes. I even wore four inch fuscia stillettos under my wedding dress. I bought my first pair of "Betsey's" for my 3oth birthday. It was a gift to myself. The leopard! The rhinestones! They were fun and fabulous. Oooooh how I love those shoes!!! Seriously, they are one of the things I would grab in case of a fire. Yes, I know they are shoes. But there are shoes, and then there are shoes. These are shoes. Anyhoo, since leaving a good paying job to work in public school I took an extremely painful paycut. As a result, the shoe fetish had to be tamed a little. It's not the money it's the personal reward you get from working with children, right? That's what I kept repeating to myself at least (truth be told, it was very fulfilling, even without all of the extra shoe funds.) Fast forward to now, my shoe slush fund is non-existent since I no longer work outside of the home. I had to sacrifice "things" for quality time with my kids. I just have to repeat that "personal fulfillment" mantra when I find myself leaving a trail of drool through the Nordstrom shoe department (which is best just to avoid at all costs.)

Todd is a groomsman in a rather formal wedding this month. I was hoping to fit into a fabulous dress that has been patiently waiting in my closet for the perfect debut. But, SIGH!, my body is not quite ready for the dress(read: still has its fair share of post-baby lumps and bumps.) Therefore I am left with a simple black cocktail dress (that also camouflages all those flaws I am still working on.) I was bummed about the whole dress issue (not to mention the post-baby bod!) But Super-Hubby to the rescue! Todd was kind enough to buy me a fabulously sassy pair of Betsey's that I had been coveting as a consolation prize.Seriously ladies, how many of you can say your hubby bought you sexy designer shoes?!?! Sorry, still giddy and I had to gloat. For one night I will get to feel like Cinderella and not a frumpy SAHM.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How a Baby Can Bring a Man to His Knees With a Single Bowel Movement

Todd got his first, shall we say, "explosive diaper" the other day. No leakage, just insanely FULL. Please keep in mind that Luke is now six months old and Dad has only had to change a few number twos. For some reason I am the fortunate one who finds the poop.

But while I am upstairs all I can hear is, "OH MY GOD!!!! You have got to see this! HOLY SHIT!!!"

I pear downstairs, "Why yes, Todd, that is a poopy diaper." I have seen enough in my lifetime to not be impressed, no matter what the magnitude of poop is. I have had my "fill" so-to-speak.

Then I begin to hear gagging. Gagging people! "Are you gagging?!?!"

Disgruntled Husband: "Yes! This is disgusting!"

Bemused Wife: "O.K., for the record, when you are at work and discover a dead body you don't gag?"

DH: "Nope." Gag...

BW: "And when you are at work and see brain matter sprayed against a wall doesn't bother you?"

DH: "No." Gag...

BW: "But your own son's poop, which is 50% genetically your poop, bothers you?"

DH: "Yup." Gag...

BW: "O.K., just checking."

I can't believe poo is what brought my strong, brave husband to his knees. This is why women give birth.

We Took a Family Vacation...

...and now I think it is safe to say we need a vacation from our kids. Love 'em like crazy, but it was a lot of togetherness. Todd and I took the kids to his parents' cabin in Tahoe for five days. Then we came home and less than 24 hours later took off for another five days of camping in Big Sur. To answer your question, yes, we are certifiably nuts. But in our defense it makes life so much more entertaining! And the amount of crap we had to drag along. My GOD! I felt like we were the Joads, loading all of our worldly possessions into our jalopy (only without the jalopy.) Camping required us to take both of our cars. Fortunately, our recently purchased tent trailer should alleviate this predicament in the future.
Tahoe had some amazing weather. Days in the 80s and nights in the 60s. Rare, but oh-so-nice when you can get it. We packed our days full of activities in hopes of burning out the kids. Our first night there we visited and dined with some of Mike and Gail's Tahoe-Donner compadres. After dinner the lighting was just perfect for some photo ops of Maddie. Unfortunately she was not a willing subject. Apparently the grass in the field was "itchy" and there were "too many bugs". I mean, c'mon! The lighting and scenery could not get any better and she turned me down flat! According to my mother the apple does not fall far from the tree and I have only myself to blame for her aversion to insects. Damn! I hate it when she's right.

The two good shots I got of the weed and bug hater:

Anyhoo, we also visited the pool, took Maddie on her annual pony ride at the Tahoe-Donner stables (Todd even humored me and agreed to a trail ride for the two of us), and we took Maddie for a bike ride along the Truckee River. I was even able to finish reading a book while we were there! Really how, often does that happen when you have two kids. And I'll be honest, it was nice to have the help of my gracious in-laws. Mike took Luke one morning to feed him and told me to sleep in. Sleep. In. People. I could have thrown myself at his feet and cried. For the sake of my dignity and his embarrassment, I said thank you instead and returned to the warm haven of my bed. Sleep! Glorious sleep!


Three Generations of Cat Nappers

After five days we returned home to prepare for our next adventure the following day. This would prove the more daring of the two. Most people thought we were nuts. Camping? With a BABY?!? But we figured why the hell not give it a try. We have to break the kid in sometime if we are going to hoof it up to Yellowstone next summer. We were confident that Luke would do fine. Although I will admit, a very small and faint voice said, "What if he becomes hysterical in the middle of the night, and you have to hide in the car to in hopes of muffling the merciless screaming? And everyone in the campground hates you and begins to protest. Then we are ejected from the park in the middle of the night, only to scurry home where we hide under the covers in shame and embarrassment because all of the people at the campground are saying, "I can't believe they brought a baby camping! Didn't anybody warn them? Seriously, what were they thinking?!" Fortunately for us and our fellow campers said situation did not happen. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Luke did GREAT! He loved the trees, the scenery, the fresh air, and being with so may people (especially the kids).
Our friends, the Smiths, joined us.
After camping with them last summer we decided it needed to be an annual thing. For the record, we eat good while camping. I even whipped up some of my Martha Stewart mashed potatoes (they really are to-die-for!) Later that night, we discovered our potato peels were a hit with the skunks. Yes, you read that right. Skunks. There are no bears in Big Sur, but there is quite the skunk population. Personally, I do not care to have a battle of wills with bears or skunks. Both can quite deadly in their own unique ways. So we made a quiet pact with the skunks: you stay on your side of the tent, we'll stay on our side, and no one goes home smelling worse than when they arrived. After that incident, we also remembered to dispose of the garbage every night. The kids had a blast running around, playing in the dirt (especially after taking a shower. They looked like Pigpen with a cloud of dust following in their wake!) We spent an afternoon at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (which is quite the hotspot in the summer, unfortunately. So much for going on a weekday), and another at Andrew Molera State Park. Love, love, loved the jellyfish exhibit at the aquarium. Great photo-ops! Despite all of the fun we had, it was nice to get home and wash the dirt off in my own shower that did require the wearing of flip flops while bathing.

Andrew Molera State Park