Saturday, May 24, 2008

I'm So Glad When Mommy Comes Home!

Heather and I have a little debate going. One of the things that I appreciate most about Heather is that she does a magnificent job of getting the kids excited for the time when Daddy comes home. She knows that the most fulfilling part of my day is when I walk in the door and my kids run to me, with open arms, yelling, "Daddy's home!"

According to Heather, one area where I don't perform as well as I could is getting the kids hyped up for the rare moments where I am taking care of the kids and she comes home. Her fear is that they will learn to love/get excited for daddy and not feel the same excitement to be reunited with mommy, since she is routinely with them. Consider it a classical example of habituation. I try to calm her concerns by telling her that the kids are just as excited when she gets home and miss her just as much, if not more, than me. It seems our debate around this issue never is resolved, until NOW!

Several days ago I was watching Baker while Heather went to do a letterboxing class at a local event. After checking my email I went to find Baker to see what he was doing to keep himself busy. Much to my surprise, this was what I found when I came upstairs:

For those of you who haven't visited our house (shame on you), this little pink basket holds all of Katie's stuffed animals. The need for Katie to get rid of some of her stuffed pets is another story, but you're talking to the King of Stuffed Pet Collections, a king who didn't relinquish his crown until leaving on his mission. Any how, Baker had pulled out every single stuffed pet so that he could sit inside the basket looking out the window that overlooks the street in front of our house (the window that we affectionately call the "goodbye window" because that is where we all congregate to wave goodbye to one of our family members as they leave our home--another one of Heather's amazing creations). Here the poor boy sat, wailing for his mother to come home. Now, I realize that many of you may be saying, "a wailing toddler is not the same thing as hearing the excited screams of your toddlers as they coming running into your arms" but I submit to you that if we are measuring love this sign of affection speaks volumes. If you are not convinced, I decided to add a little video to support my claim. Granted some of his behavior is effected by the fact that his daddy is videotaping his public display of grief but the gesture still remains. For those of you watching at home, enjoy. And for Heather, please know that you are loved by one and all, but especially by us.

How far would you go?

So apparently my mother and sister have a little bet going. The other day my sister posted a new blog about Kitty CPR *(see Much to her chagrin, apparently, many lavish too much love and affection on their animals. Although she knows of our love (or perhaps for her sake I will replace love with fondness) for our animals she doesn't believe we would cross the line of administering CPR to a dying cat. Well, for all those that have been following the debate here is the official answer:

Should I?

Wouldn't you look? With a sign like that? And the question remains...what's in there....?

She is the dancing queen!

Katie signed up for Ballet and Jazz with her best friend Madeline this year. She was very excited and loved to go to dance. Then we found out that there was a recital. Now, normally I am all for performances, having a Theatre background, but the costs of such a production blew me away. It was November, we were saving for the costs of travel and Christmas in California and they said they wanted the money for a recital. Money to cover a dress (60) and then 8 tickets (like we really have 8 people to come) (another 55) and pretty soon, a little minute and a half production was costing us alot of money. So I made the executive decision that we just didn't have it at the time. So no recital. It wasn't such a big deal until the day came when they handed every little girl her dream costume. A lime green polka dot number. And Katie stood there thinking, where's my costume??? So I explained why she wasn't going to dance on stage. She got a little teary but understood. Bless her little heart. Life is just like that. And I will probably be the kind of parent that has to teach disappointment. Because I will give my kids everything. Everything I can get at a goodwill or garage sale. And it isn't going to change. When we ever get to the point that we could afford new things, I would probably still go to Goodwill. I love a good bargain. I love stretching my money, but I digress.

so anyway, Katie's teacher at class allowed us to graciously borrow a costume. In Katie's mind she now was beautiful. It didn't matter that it didn't match, just that she got to be special for her moment. I love my daughter for that. I hope she will always remember that she is simply beautiful because she can accept things, love things and smile.

This is Katie's best friend who just moved to Colorado. How we miss this other part of our family!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fat Dog!

In my family, after a particularly good meal, there is an almost overwhelming desire to be lazy. To just sit and veg or even take a nap (think Sunday dinner, Thanksgiving etc...). We have traditionally called this being a "fat dog".

In Andy's family, they don't even get up. Just sort of ooze (from their current state of sitting at the table) from their chairs onto the kitchen carpet where they then lay willy nilly until someone steps on them.

Griffith seems to follow the best of both. After a great feeding, he eases back into his rocker, hikes his little shirt up to maximize the extension of his stomach, and zonks out. Wouldn't life seem a little better if we could only just sleep and rock and be satisfied with who we are and what is hanging out?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

how do you manage creativity?

So I mentioned to Katie that I wanted her to clean her room. She looked at me incredulously and asked "By Myself?" Which then became,
"But you have to help me, I can't do it by myself" while huge tears go rolling down. We have created a monster. One who doesn't clean alone. In Andy's grand therapy of working and helping each other, somehow that corresponds to...I can't clean by myself. Which if I am doing dishes, laundry, other rooms, bathrooms etc...makes it difficult for me to manage. After complaining of this to Andy he suggested giving Katie specific jobs instead of a broad overall, clean your room. So I did. I said, please put all the shoes "Noah's Ark" in the closet. Now growing up, "Noah's Ark" meant, two by two. But in my fantastically independent spirited child, this some how equated to "Look Mom, I made a pattern of shoes" What can you do except smile :)

a lazy day

So our big letterboxing party was a Harry Potter theme. It was a blast. We drove to Jefferson City and then set off to find as many boxes as we could before our children melted. Andy was a real trooper as you can see from his hike. We think we should recarve his signature stamp to be a mule carrying the B's. The boxes were fun, the food great, the people were exciting and so fun to be around. This is our third MO letterboxing event and we are getting to know people and feel more comfortable around them. Of course hiking in this beautiful part of the country is fabulous as well.

After the hiking and hunting and boxing part was over, we ate dinner and then went on the best hayride. It took us all over the back woods (full of wild turkeys, deer and few other things) where we eventually roasted marshmellows and made smores. We set up camp and started our freezing cold night. We nnight boxed for the death eaters and that was a fun first for us. Then off to bed. We lasted until about 11 PM. Yep, not even to the next day. we stealthily packed up in the back of the van and took off. Arriving home about 1:30 AM. Just in time to feed the baby, sleep and head off to church. What a great fun filled weekend for us.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, Who is the bravest of them all?

Here we were with a trip to Branson burning a hole in our pockets. We bought into this high pressured mini vacation well over two years ago and they continually call us to see if we want to use it. I finally got so tired of them calling I agreed to a date. And, with almost no money to spare, off we went. We figured we would fill the gas tanks, take our own food and use whatever incentives they gave us to entertain ourselves for two days. The day we drove down was a beautiful as could be. The kids did pretty well (until the end) and we were able to check in with no problems. The hotel bed quickly became a trampoline and after a mighty fine dinner that I prepared and brought down, we were off to the pool.

Now having just had a baby, I was a little hesitant to put on a swimsuit but with the encouragement of my children yelling at me to hurry up, we went off in search of the pool. Everyone quickly jumped in and I asked Katie how the temperature of the jacuzzi was and she answered "hmmmm...decent" I had to smile at her fine vocabulary. We swam, played, tried in vain to convince the kids to go to bed and finally Day 1 came to an end.

Day two began with breakfast. Now, most of you know how cheap I am. While we ate this fine Continental breakfast I noticed there were peanut butter and jelly packets and I got the brilliant idea to make us some sandwiches to eat for lunch. With a few yogurts, apples and donuts to boot, I thought it was a great savings. I quickly sent an embarrassed Andy up to the room to get me a bag to hide the food in. He came back down with the bag hidden behind Griffith and stuck it under the table. I then slyly began to place food into the bag when no one was watching. Andy kept giving me a nervous smile but I wasn't concerned. Then Andy went to get a donut. Katie, bless her dear little loud voice, then yelled across the dining area, "Dad, get me one because mom is saving food for lunch." Of course everyone looked over at us. So much for being sly.

Then it was off to a very long high pressured sales presentation. It was long, especially with three children, and despite trying to be polite, they would not let us leave. They made me feel evil since I wouldn't buy into it and what if Andy died and we had no vacation to remember him by?? I explained how we were getting out of debt and to no avail. I think Matt Smith would have totally caved by the end of it. I hate these and am not sure I would go again. But we dutifully collected our prizes (tickets to Silver Dollar City, dinner and Omni Max tickets) and off we went. The weather was freezing cold and with rainy looking skies, we decided to stop at Walmart and buy sweatshirts. We were blessed to find grey ones for 2 dollars, the only catch being they only had size small. I told Andy to suck it in and off we went.

And if anyone knows our biggest laugh when we got married was that I am a sucker for amusement parks. I love to ride the rides, feel the thrills and spin till I can't breathe. Andy on the other hand, is comfortable going on one ride. Which makes paying a lot of money for amusement parks redundant. But here we off I went. On what has to be the best invention I've been on. You sit on this thing like a motorcycle. Then you rock back and forth as fast as they can get you to go (like a pirates ship ride) but then the added twist is that they spin you as well. You spin front and then back until your stomach feels like it's in knots. You come so close to trees you could floss your teeth on the leaves. What a thrill.

And then, after the thrill of a lifetime, it was time for Andy and I to switch and he got to go on a ride as well. You can see that we each got exactly what we wanted out of Silver Dollar City!

And the best part is, it went up and down! You just can't beat a ride like this...
And after a long day, we rushed off to dinner and a movie about Dinosaurs that was guaranteed to give our kids nightmares and then off in search of a Branson Letterbox. All in all a great trip.