Sunday, September 28

rock n ride

This might surprise some of you about me, but I love a good rock concert. And by good I mean loud. I'm talking about music so loud you can literally feel it in your heart. That's loud, and that's awesome. And the best way to view these concerts? Right up front, smashed in with all the other people who love good loud concerts.

Kind of a weird picture of both of us...

This past Thursday night Jeremy and I went down to Las Vegas to attend the Foo Fighters concert at the Hard Rock Hotel. The Foo Fighters have been Jeremy's favorite band probably since they first started and we've now seen them three times, but this was by far the best of the three. It was in a small venue (only about 2000 people) and one of the last shows they'll be playing since they recently announced they are taking a hiatus.

Dave Grohl

They sounded great, they played all the songs we'd hoped they'd play, and Jeremy and I got up to about 10 feet from the front. We also witnessed some crazies unlike any others we've seen at concerts in the past. And we realized that we are no longer teenagers--everyone at the show was our age or older. There are advantages and disadvantages to that, the main disadvantage being that most everyone was drinking, so we came home smelling pretty gross.

The next two days we spent around Bryce Canyon National Park. We had the Rhino, and ATV's aren't allowed in the park, so we just did some 4-wheeling around the outside of the park. It was really pretty, though kind of chilly and it rained on us both days--I think we were closer to lightning than I've ever been before.
Jeremy standing atop some red rocks
me standing atop some not-so-red rocks
these are not aspens

We were also lucky enough to see tons of wildlife. Elk, mule deer, antelope, wild turkey, coyote, jack rabbit, and two bear cubs. Yes, bears!! I was soooooooo excited...and slightly nervous that the mom was behind us somewhere. We came around a corner on the trail, and our engine must have scared them because they were running before we even saw them. They weren't little babies, but they weren't fully grown yet either. We'll call them preschooler bears. They ran off the road down into the woods and we couldn't see them anymore, but I've got a pretty good visual in my head of the back of them running away.

I did miss the kids. When we first started out on the Rhino I told Jeremy that it would be weird to not look behind me and see their little smiling faces bouncing all over, but given the rain it's better they weren't there. And Jeremy pointed out to me part of an Oreo cookie that had melted and stuck to the floor of the Rhino from the kids on our last trip every time I'd miss them I'd look at that Oreo and smile. I owe a thanks to the army of people who watched them for the three days we were gone: my parents, my sister, Jeremy's sister and aunt. The kids had tons of fun thanks to all those guys. And thanks to my brother and his wife for letting us stay at their house when they weren't even there! Now back to the good old life, stopping fights, making dinner, washing dishes, and lots of hugs and kisses and "hold you's?" from little ones.

Tuesday, September 23

kid talk

One of the common complaints of a stay-at-home mom is that they miss the adult interaction and adult conversation that a job out of the home provides. I've got to say that I haven't found that to be true for me--I probably get enough from friends and family.

But while it may not be "adult" conversation, there's plenty of chatter at our house. Alexis never seems to run out of things to say, and Tyler is quickly following in her footsteps. Just in the past few days he's been speaking in full sentences. For example, this morning he told me, "For my birthday I want a horse." Of course that's after Alexis told him it was his birthday (which it's not), and that he wanted a horse (which he probably doesn't).

So I've been thinking lately about the many joys of conversing with children, and I thought I'd share them with you.

One, your conversation doesn't have to be at all based in reality. In fact, the more made up it is, the better.

Two, there's never an unspoken competition to see who knows more. When dealing with a preschooler it's already fact that they know more than you. But instead of leaving you feeling stupid like a smart adult might, a child just leaves you confused. And on the rare occasion they don't already know something, like what is Ariel's favorite color, for instance, you can make up the answer and they don't suspect a thing.

Three, rhyming and made-up words make you sound cool and fun, instead of weird and lame. If you tell your preschooler she looks "babe-a-lish" (a made up word for pretty) she takes it as the highest compliment. If you tell one of your friends that...well that might be awkward. And kids think it's fun if you finish your sentence by rhyming the last word several times, like "time for bed fred red ted ked med led", whereas adults would assume there's something wrong with you.

Four, kids love nicknames. When putting Tyler to bed I can call him like 5 different names and he knows they all refer to him. "Ty-guy, time for bed. Let's get in your jammies bubba chubba. I love you Mr. Brown"--not at all weird to him.

Five, breaking out into song, or singing what you want to say is strongly encouraged by children, and it doesn't even have to be in tune or on pitch (or whatever the phrase is) which is lucky for me because I never am.

Yesterday Alexis was telling me about a dream she had and it had me busting at the seams with laughter. It seemed to be a very real dream to her and she just went on and on and on about it. Basically she was in a place called "LiaLauraLiaLauraLiaLaura" (which are the names of two sisters that she's friends with) with her friend Jake and his dad and mom and brother. All sorts of crazy stuff was happening, but there was this machine that shoots out "lollers" and they make the sound like "swish, swash!" (she waves her arms as she says this), and if you eat a purple one you get fat. Because there was this one guy who used to be flat (skinny) like she and I, and then he ate a purple "loller" and he got fat. But it's okay to eat the pink ones. There was also something else about a mountain breaking, but I'm fuzzy on the details. It was just funny because it was so very real to her. Plus she used the word "flat" because she didn't know the words "skinny" or "thin" and I thought that was HILARIOUS!

Now I have to go because Tyler, who was supposed to be napping, just took his diaper off and pooped all over his bed-diarrhea style. I would say that not dealing with poop would be one advantage to going to work out of the home, but it wouldn't be true if I went back to where I used to work.

Sunday, September 21

rockin' the shuffle

I've stumbled across something sort of ingenious. Alexis was digging through a drawer and found my iPod shuffle. It's the older model that Jeremy bought me awhile ago so I could use it when I work out--which is why it's at the bottom of a drawer. She knew what it was and asked if she could listen to music. I quickly uploaded a bunch of her "kid" songs and took it with us in the car. She put those earphones in and listened to it the whole car ride to the store. And the whole way home. And the whole way up the canyon the next day, and the whole way home. She loves it, and even once has sung along. I only let her use it in the car because she has a hard enough time listening without plugs in her ear, so it would be a disaster at home. But you know what? It makes our car rides soooooo much quieter. And I love quiet. Pretty much the only thing I hear from her now is the name of the song she's listening to. I know what she's talking about, but poor Tyler is pretty confused. When she said, "Mom, it's the old gray mare she ain't what she used to be!", Tyler was like, "where? Where, Alexis, where?" He has no idea what a mare is, but if Alexis says anything he's got to jump all over it. Poor kid, maybe he needs and iPod too.

Thursday, September 18

picky picky

Imagine if Jeremy and I didn't go in and check on our kids every night before we go to bed; we'd be missing out on so much good stuff. I've noticed lately Tyler uses his favorite blanket more for comfort than warmth. He's always got it wadded up next to his head like a pillow, or under the small of his back, so that his already protruding tummy sticks up in the air even further. The other night Jeremy found him like in the picture above. He looks like Little Red Riding Hood, or like you'd picture on old Russian babushka to look like. But maybe he's really just embarrassed by his hair that is in desperate need of a haircut, but since he has us for parents he won't be getting one any time soon.

You know how your kids get to the point when they all of a sudden have opinions? Tyler's there. Right now he's running around in nothing but his diaper because he hated the clothes I put on him after he got his first set dirty by playing in the mud. And last night I left before the kids were in bed because I had a meeting, and Tyler was very upset. I thought, "oh, that's sweet, he loves his mama". After much screaming Jeremy finally figured out it wasn't because I left, but because he wanted to wear his dinosaur pajama pants, not his dinosaur pajama shorts that I had dressed him in. He suddenly cares about what color his fork is, and if I tell him he actually has a spoon he insists that it's a fork or he won't use it. He also no longer likes any food except goldfish and cookies. Welcome 2's!
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I know it's not right, but I'd be perfectly happy if kids didn't develop a mind of their own until they go to school.

Monday, September 15

zombies and cows

So I haven't slept well (and by that I mean I've HARDLY slept) in about a week and I feel like a zombie. I think it's caught up to me too because I woke up in the middle of the night last night and my stomach just hurt. I must have a little bug and it's put me out of commission. So if you come to my house and it's a mess, that's why. Or it's just because I'm messy. But we'll stick with the first excuse. Um, speaking of zombies and messy, I'm reading a book called Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach and it's making me uncomfortable...yet I can't stop reading it. It's about cadavers, obviously, and their uses today and throughout the history of the world. I have no idea what compelled me to read this book, and I can't figure out my opinion of it either. I think I like it, and I think it's gross. But the author has a dry sense of humor that appeals to me. I will say that it's definitely not for the faint of heart, or the weak of stomach.

So this weekend we took some friends out on the Rhino and had a lot of fun. We may have indirectly injured a cow in the process, but we aren't sure. I certainly hope not, but there's no accounting for a cows behavior when you pass them on a road in a really noisy machine. We didn't take a lot of pictures, but here's one my friend Dorothy took of her kids while I was driving. They are probably some of the cutest kids ever, after mine of course.
I think they liked it.

Then yesterday my parents came over for dessert and we took turns practicing all sorts of acrobatics. My dad can do a headstand, so I figured it wouldn't be that hard to do. But as sad as it is, my dad is in way better shape than me, despite the fact that he's twice my age. He kept telling me to use my stomach muscles more. The problem was that they vanished, along with my brain, after having kids, which is why my headstands were more like fancy somersaults.
Here's Alexis being the helper she is, helping Tyler do a headstand. And he's kicking her in the eye.

Then my dad would put the kids on his feet and throw them up in the air and catch them. I really like this picture because of Alexis' hair. I would brush her hair all day if she'd let me because I think it is so beautiful.

Then Alexis got hold of the camera and took pictures. Here's one she took of me, a little blurry but otherwise good. It shows my more excited side.
And here's her self-portrait. I love it when she takes these because it gives her a double chin.
Also on Saturday Alexis and I put up strips of paper all over the house labeling things in an effort to move her in the direction of reading. She'll tell me the letters and then what she thinks it spells. It's good practice for her to learn to go left to right when reading, and to make sure she gets her lowercase b's and d's right, and her n's and h's. She seems to like it, and she'll even take pieces of paper and write down the words she sees. I patted myself on the back for that idea. I've got to do something right every few months and it had been awhile, so I figured I was due.

And finally the saddest news of the weekend. They drained the pool late Saturday night! After putting the kids to bed I sat on our bed looking out the window at the pool being drained. I must have had a very sad look on my face because Jeremy came in and pointed out what a dork I am. He just doesn't understand because he's not spoiled like me and has to spend all his days at work. Hopefully I'll make it through these next 8 1/2 months until they open the pool again. Man, that's a long time.

Did anyone do anything fun this weekend??

Thursday, September 11

move over Shawn Johnson

Alexis is ready to take the title of "cutest gymnast ever". Look how cute she is in that little leotard!! Don't you want to just eat her up? Alright, now I'm sounding stupid. Sorry, I'm done. She's been to gymnastics twice and she seems to love it. Now she's swinging and climbing all over everything she sees (more so than she was before), in fact she's even broken our stair railing. It's been interesting to watch her because she acts the same with her teachers as she does with me. Most kids are at least a little reserved with people other than their parents...not Alexis. She pushes her limits there, just like she does here. Also she's so fiercely independent that I've noticed her telling the teachers not to help her a few times--I guess we need to have a review with her of what a teacher is supposed to do. But she is a good girl and she talks to the other kids, which I think helps them be a little more comfortable. This will be a learning experience for both of us because I'm so used to having my nose in everything she's doing, that it will take some adjustment for me to just watch from the sidelines and not jump in and help her or correct her. Maybe I'll learn to chill out a little bit, because I definitely need to.

Also, tonight Tyler was having a drink from Alexis' princess cup and he pointed at all the princesses on it and said, "Aurora. Aurora. Aurora." None of them were actually Aurora, but the fact that he knows her name is probably not a good sign. I mean, he doesn't even know his name is Tyler (he thinks it's Ty-Guy), so he probably shouldn't know the names of any of the princesses. Thank goodness it's his birthday in a month because he is in desperate need of some more boy toys. About all he has are these cars:Look how nicely he lined them up! He was EXTREMELY proud of himself. Then he took his hand and swiped them and sent them all flying...he was pretty proud of himself for that too.

Tuesday, September 9

here comes the bride...

Today my mom gave Alexis a "wedding dress" that she made for her. To say Alexis LOVES it would be an understatement. It has all the things a girl could want in her bridal fashion: lace, fur, silk, bead work, a veil and a bouquet. Plus it's machine washable! And I know Alexis would like me to add that the dress touches the ground and covers her shoes which are pink with flowers on them. Alexis also added her own touch with some lace gloves and a ring worn on her pointer finger.Now she's looking for someone to marry. If you have a son that is friends with her, you might want to wait a few months before we let them play again, or we might wind up as in-laws. Right now, though, she prefers to marry Tyler because he's her "best brother", and well, because he's here. I've been trying to talk her out of it, I told her she didn't want to marry a man that wears tights.Especially not one that wears two pairs of tights at once. That just screams HIGH MAINTENANCE.

*Disclaimer: Despite my track record I did not want to put those tights on him. It was all his idea and he screamed and cried until we put both pairs on him. I'm swear, I have witnesses. Even now he's pointing at the picture of himself saying "cute".

Friday, September 5

is my face red?

I'm not the type of person that gets embarrassed easily. It could be that I'm usually careful about what I say and I'm not too impulsive, so I leave little opportunity for embarrassment. Or it's because I come from a weird family (weird in a good way!), so I'm beyond embarrassment. And amazingly, since having kids, I've never been embarrassed by things they have said or done...until recently.

This morning we had to go to the scout office and to the grocery store. While at the scout office I put Tyler in the stroller so that he wouldn't run wild, and I let Alexis push him. As I'm looking at stuff I realize Tyler's got his hands in all the little bins because Alexis let him out of the stroller, because she's the boss, you know. You can imagine his reaction when I put him back in the stroller--he was screaming--and Alexis also started crying because I wouldn't let her push the stroller after that. Finally after a few minutes of crying she decides to pull snacks out of my purse and give them to Tyler. I had to take those away because I didn't want him to have snacks at the time, so you know what that made him do. SCREAM SOME MORE! At this point I was thoroughly embarrassed, partly because of their screaming but mostly because of my behavior. I've had kids scream in the store before and it usually doesn't phase me, I could keep my cool. But today I was TIRED. And I was IMPATIENT. And I was FRUSTRATED with the constant POWER STRUGGLE that is Alexis. As a result I'm sure I looked like the meanest mom in all the scouting world, and I felt like it. Even more, when we got in the car I chewed them out like I never have before. I almost feel bad about it, but my kids are generally better behaved that that--there's no reason why they should have been acting that way. I would expect that if all I did was make them sit in strollers and carts, but they get PLENTY of play time, and they needed to know that how they acted was inappropriate. After my "lecturing" I had complete silence in the car for 4 (four!) whole minutes. Then we passed a fountain and it was back to "water, mommy. truck, mommy. tree, mommy", which is better than tears.

So ridiculously enough, because of their now cheery moods I developed a little hope that the grocery store might not be as terrible, that maybe nothing embarrassing would be said or done. After all, this time they would have snacks and get to sit in the fun cart! But before we even had an item in our cart we passed a 40-something lady in a wheelchair and all Alexis says to her is "Are you old?". And then Tyler spent the rest of the time trying to climb out, or throwing his body all over Alexis so that she was squished. I'm not sure that it was worse than the previous place, but it was pretty close.

So if anyone is looking for me, I'll be under that rock over there. I probably won't come out until my kids are at least in their 20's--I don't think it's safe before then.

Wednesday, September 3

love and hate

You know what I love? Getting packages. Especially when it's my new Old Navy jeans.

You know what I hate? When the UPS guy knocks really loudly on the door and rings the doorbell. At 3:30. When both kids are napping.

I will probably forgive him because he brought me new clothes. Unless they don't fit, then I'll hate him.

You know what else I love? Swimming and sunshine. Lots and lots and lots of swimming in the sunshine.

You know what else I hate? That it's September now, and the swimming and sunshine will soon be gone.

But I will survive because I get to put my kids in all their cute new fall clothes. And I won't constantly smell like chlorine. And I get to start making pumpkin pies. And I can open the windows in my house, which for some reason invigorates me and encourages me to clean. Amazing, huh?

You know what I also love? Food.

You know what I also hate? The fact that I love food.

Which presents a problem because soon it will be the season of never ending food. Pies and rolls and turkey and assorted Christmas candies, and those oh so delicious buttery Christmas cookies. You know those? The ones that come in a tin and there's like 4 cookies to a little paper cup and some have sugar sprinkles and some don't. And you eat like 5 paper cups worth and you think that's not so bad until you do the math and realize that it's actually 20 cookies that you've just eaten.

And finally, do you know what I really love? That both kids slept through the annoying knocking and ringing, which means I can now go watch an episode of Gilmore Girls.

And I don't hate anything about that scenario.