Friday, August 28, 2015

"Go away mom!"

So Leif had his best friend over for a camping night in the backyard. They were pretty inept in setting up the tent. Mom finally helped. 

Silas is at that age where he wants to do everything the big boys do. He was so excited to have E over. He made sure everyone properly greeted E. Many times.  E is the youngest of three, so he is not at all used to toddlers and found it all fascinating. 

The boys were inside and Silas was loving romping in the tent with Skadi. I went out to check on them. 


"Are you guys out here?"


"Skadi and Silas?"

I knew he couldn't stay quiet for long. 

"Get out of here mama!"

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The newest goal

This goal blindsided me out of nowhere. Bam! Tonight it hit me though.

I will start by saying that I am not a people person. A friend recently told me that he built a cabin and (since he is single) spent 4 days there by himself. This friend is a social person, so it kind of made sense that he said he started to lose it four days disconnected. I admitted to him that I crave that. And AB and I fully plan to have a cabin in the woods to disappear to in the future. I look forward to experiencing that alone-ness. Of course, I have AB, so it would probably be easier than complete solo. Anyways, the fact that I find myself sitting there rolling my eyes half the time about people, doesn't surprise me. It's more the frequency with which I am feeling it lately. My lack of patience with people. And I am tired of feeling this.

I want to think it isn't just me. I had some level of validation last week that it wasn't just me. A high school friend posted about her frustration with social media. The feeling of never measuring up. And I nodded and thought about my life. The toddler who hits and pinches all.the.freaking.time. The dog who drives me insane. My kids ate Top Ramen for dinner. Not getting my daughter to her tutor on time (and yes, my daughter sees a tutor for her reading). The tween boy who is, well, behaving like a tween boy. The house that is never picked up. Feeling dead tired after a day of work. Not getting the exercise I want to get.

And everyone else is perfect. My friend challenged us to keep it real and post what it is really like under her hashtag. And I did. And it was fun and nice to see that someone else burnt the bacon. I like to think that I keep it real and that not all my posts are of perfection. But I am probably as annoying to others as many people on my Friends list are annoying me right now. But it isn't just people who are "friends". It is articles I see that challenge whether I am a good mom. It is the people shaming for dumb ass stuff like parking poorly, or disciplining a child in a store, or not disciplining a child in a store. The list goes on. I believe I am a good mom. But being inundated by it all is just taking a toll.

I thought about deactivating my Facebook account, but I am not quite there yet. I get a lot of information through there like what fruit French's has for picking, my kid's schools PTO, my school district. And even coworkers. I use Facebook messenger at work because I can't have my cell phone at my desk. So I can't cut the cord.

But I can cut my fingers off.

Ok. Seriously. I can't cut my fingers off. I can't even do that thing where you take a needle and put it through your first layer of skin and make it look like you have needles in your fingers. Eww. Can't do it.

But I can quit posting. Instagram I like. I follow a few organizations there (Smithsonian... you must do it) and I enjoy it. My close family members who care if I post the obligatory first day of school pictures are on there and they will get to see those pictures. I will post to Instagram. But I tend to be way more selective with what I post there and everything has to be associated with a picture. I like that.

I also have this page. My blog. The nice thing about a blog is that a person has to actively decide they want to see what you write and go there. Instead of passively showing up on everyone's feeds and annoying people.

I am not going to be absent on Facebook. You may see a Like from me or a stray response. But I need to silence myself before I go in to full on back up behavior on Facebook. I am an Amiable, I can feel my back up Driver emerging. And who all really likes a Driver on Facebook? Yeah, no.

I have Blogger on my phone and I will post here when I feel the need to share. I have been meaning to post more here because I have so much history recorded here. This new goal should serve to get me back here and maybe break that Facebook addiction.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Goals Update

I have been thinking a lot about my goals lately. First, that I need to wrap the ones up that are hanging out there flapping in the wind, but then also what I want to do going forward – i.e., the fall. There will be no real goals started in the summer. AB has dreams of taking the trailer out camping every possible weekend – and I usually push that back to every other or every third weekend. (Laundry has to get done sometime… yes, I know, big stick in the mud.)


So I still have the shelves and such to finish my little sewing/cross stitch nook thing in the playroom. They are painted and awaiting being hung. Once those are done I can do the fun part of sorting my sewing stuff and having a nice organized space for everything. 


And I did sort some stuff on the computer. Got rid of all those folders from old computers and consolidated folders. I have worked a little ways through the whole picture sorting thing, but haven’t gotten as far as I would like. The main driver right now is in space on the computer. We aren’t completely out of space anymore, so this has been idle. And I keep thinking we may need a new computer on the horizon and when we do then I will have space galore and won’t need to worry about trashing the crappy photos. I would love, love, love to do photo books for each year. But I just don’t have the time. Maybe when my kids (toddler) doesn’t suck up all my free time.


Then there was the back yard. AB did raised beds last year and I loved them so much I asked for three more for Mother’s Day. Then I decided I wanted the grass out from around them and pea gravel between and around them. So last weekend (instead of installing my sewing shelves), AB layed weed fabric and started dumping grass clippings on the weed fabric to kill back the grass. Eventually, maybe later this summer, we will pull back the grass clippings and fill the weed fabric area with pea gravel and have a raised bed area worthy of a Sunset cover. 


A girl can dream, can’t she?


So along with this I have an area that I want to put raspberries, blackberries, blueberry bushes and other things like that. For that area we are working on covering the grass with cardboard and then compost a few inches deep. It won’t be ready until next year, but then we can till it all in and plant the next phase of our edible yard.


This is the biggest thing I miss from our previous house. AB and I put in our yard and nearly every aspect of it provided food – a huge garden, fruit trees (which are a pain in the rear, I don’t want any fruit trees except maybe a nectarine tree), raspberries, blueberries, rhubarb. We want that in our current house and are moving towards having it. Now I need to just figure out how to get rid of all the ornamental bushes crap…


I am eyeing the fall for work on the Master Bedroom. I keep putting it off mostly because I am just not sure what I want or what the solutions are for the room’s issues. I want new paint. I would love new carpet (now that I have the taste for new carpet in the other areas of my house, but this probably won’t happen!), I need storage solutions and d├ęcor is completely lacking. It is the room in the house with the MOST potential for change. I want a refuge, a comfortable place without the toys, laundry baskets (full and not), clutter, crappy dressers, etc. This could be an easy, clean out the room and paint it thing… or it could be so so so much more. I mentioned our bedroom as the next target for my monthly goals and AB may have muttered something and rolled his eyes. Telling him it was for the fall didn’t change anything. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"What's dis mama?"

Silas: "What's dis mama?"

(Pokes me in the boob.)

Me: "It's a boobie Silas."

Silas: (Giggle) "I yike boobies mama."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Skadi age 8

So as promised – Skadi “Bean’s” 8th birthday. Skadi has assumed a nickname courtesy of Silas and we think it will stick, maybe even surmount “Bean”. It’s “K.K.” Silas has called her K.K. now for months – since he started talking K.K. was one of his first “words”. 


Back story – for those of you who don’t know the origin of “Bean” or had forgotten… Skadi was born Skadi Jeanne. Same middle name as me, my mom, my grandmother, great grandmother… When she was born my mom called my grandmother and told her that she was born and we named her Skadi Jeanne. My grandmother was quiet and very nonchalant acting. Almost annoyed, I recall my mom telling me. It wasn’t until a few weeks later when she apparently worked up the nerve to ask my mom if “Bean” was a family name in the Carman family? Huh? We all got a lot of laughs out of it, particularly since there was a similar incident when I was born that involved my grandmother writing a letter to her family in California informing them of the birth of her granddaughter. My grandmother had notoriously bad handwriting and in a few weeks I started receiving gifts for Axel. My great grandmother and great great uncles called me Axel for years.


So anyways, Skadi seems anxious to lose the Bean and embrace K.K. and occasionally I even falter and call her K.K. myself.


Skadi had a hard time deciding what she wanted to do for her birthday. She had wanted a big party, but since her main birthday gift was actually a plane ticket to come to Colorado with me for work, I said no. Only a house party with a few invites. She labored over her invite list and I crossed a lot of kids off. SMALL party, I emphasized. A sleepover, she countered? Ok, 6 girls from your class, I told her. Then I gave on one thing.


“But mom, Aidan is one of my best friends ever. He is so nice to me and we play together as much as I play with the girls!” she cried. (Yes, actually cried.)


So I sent an invitation in for Aidan with a note explaining that Skadi is having a sleepover party for a few girls and we wondered if Aidan might like to join us for the evening between 6-9pm for dinner, cake and fun? Then I got the text, “Actually he would like to come for the sleepover, thanks for inviting him!”




I gave the phone to Hans to read and his response was “I should have read what you wrote in the invite!” I was clear, I swear, that the girls were spending the night and that Skadi wanted Aidan to attend and I had recalled debating on the times to put in his invite!


I counseled with a few friends on what to do. They are 8 years old. Littles. If the mom is ok with it… Skadi has brothers. Her older brother has friends sleep over and they all play together. What’s the difference if one of the boys happened to be 8? We decided to roll with it and let the boy stay over and sleep in Leif’s room.


Leif’s response was key – “the difference is that *I* don’t know him and *I* don’t want some unknown boy sleeping in my room!” And he had a point. But we DID know an 8 year old boy that he is friends with. And one even that HAD been on the invite list and then pulled off when I started repeating my mantra “SMALL party”.


So I contacted his mom, a good friend of mine, and explained the situation. After laughing she said that yes, her son would come over and spend the night and the plan was done.


When I was in first grade my parents let me have a slumber birthday party and invite ALL the girls in my class. I could never figure out why they said, “never again” after that party and not even my sister got a comparable party. But it was all about No after that wonderful party. 


I get it now. And now I will say NO! Never again! 1-2 kids sleeping over? No problem. Party? Nope.


A little bit of it was the strange boy attendee, but more was just all the different personalities and children I didn’t know and trying to figure out what was best for them. Most of the kids didn’t eat dinner. Or breakfast. They whined. They tattled. They didn’t sleep. They whined even more. 


I am under no delusions that my daughter doesn’t behave the same way at someone else’s house and that she doesn’t annoy the crap out of other parents who don’t know her. But goodness gracious! We were all tired the next day.



The following weekend after the slumber party Skadi and I got on a plane and flew by ourselves to Denver! No boys allowed. Girls only trip.


I had to go for work. One of my students wanted to give a presentation at a conference. Then my client decided to host a session at a conference in Denver and it was a natural fit. We were shoe ins for talks, it was convenient, and my colleagues would be there creating a safe environment for my student's first talk at a big conference.  The only problem was that it was over Skadi’s birthday. AB agreed to my fabulous idea to take her with me and rely on family to field her as needed over those few days.


It was excellent bonding time for us and my family. Not living in Colorado, my kids just really don't know my family well. We went to the museum, she hung out with my sister, my brother in law and niece and nephew. Grandpa came down and took her to the zoo. She went to a work dinner with me. We went to Casa Bonita with my best friend and her cousin. We went shopping. We went to the American Doll store.




I would do it all over in an instant. We had such a good time together.





Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Catching up

I keep having thoughts of “I should blog about this” and then the time just slips away. It is slipping away badly. Can you believe it is already mid-May?


I thought I would just do a recap/catch up post as a jumping off point.


The kids:


Silas – I did an update for his birthday a few weeks ago while I was in Hawaii. So his update will be shorter, lowest hanging fruit – he goes first.


·         Well child visit: 

o   Height – 36” and 80thpercentile

o   Weight – 27 lbs 11 oz and 30th percentile

-Concern about the weight loss. He was up to just about 30 lbs, but has suddenly dropped off. Some of this is probably due to his increased activity level – he runs everywhere. But we would have expected him to hold instead of lose weight. He was terribly sick while we were in Hawaii and I suspect it was being sick and the lack of nutrition going in that caused weight loss. I also think that his refusal to sit down and eat dinner is part of it too. Apparently he eats well and a variety of food at daycare. But he is playing mom and dad for something and refuses most dinner, will sit for about 5 minutes. Eat a little, then scream bloody murder to get out of his seat and “go play”. In the interest of a semi-peaceful dinner, we eventually give in to the little terrorist and release him from his confines. 

- Out of hopes that he will gain weight we have loosened our dietary reigns on him. Normally there would be no dessert when no dinner was eaten. But for the time being… “ice cream? Of course you can have ice cream.”

·         Vocabulary: He still is powering ahead. Counting, speaking, expressing himself. This past weekend we bought a few containers of ladybugs and released them into our yard. The ladybugs would crawl on him and his response? “What the heck?” It was seriously the funniest thing. 


Skadi – My girl is 8 years old! Poor middle child. I didn’t blog about her birthday… and I really, really should. It was wonderful with a few weird things (not associated with her!). Ok, Skadi birthday blog post will come next. So this will be short about her. 

·         Well Child Visit: 

o   Height – 49.25" and 28thpercentile. Probably still not tall enough to ride the water slide. She has gone up a bit and I am truly wondering if it is the stomach aches that have eased. About a year ago we started trying to pinpoint the cause of her constant tummy aches. Meeting with specialists in Seattle did little, we were given real pills, placebo pills, nothing worked. We finally (on our own) pulled her off gluten and dairy and eggs (mild egg allergy noted on her allergy panel) and then slowly let things back into her diet. We were trying to pinpoint something that was causing her distress – we became certain that it was lactose intolerance for a while. Nothing has really jumped out for us, but she is better. She is back to eating things with gluten, small amounts of dairy (cheese mostly, she used to drink a ton of milk and doesn’t anymore, she is a water kid now) and eggs don’t seem to bother her. It remains a mystery, but she isn’t writhing in pain anymore.


Leif – Finishing fourth grade. I remember 4th grade well. Leif is definitely the brainy kid in class and chums around with the other brainy kids. He has a good friend who is overboard with technology. I always felt as though we were quite permissible with Leif given that he has his own Kindle and uses the computer regularly. Then I met his new best friend who carries an iPhone 6 that acts as his mobile hot spot. He informed me last weekend on his visit that he didn’t need my wifi code like other kids probably do. Yeah… most other 10 year old request my wifi password… NOT!


Leif’s big concern wherever we go (and it drives AB and I INSANE) has become “is there wifi there?” I suspect this will soon become a requirement for when we book something, “what, you have no wifi? GREAT!” We are constantly pulling a device (his, ours) out of his hands and working to get him to interact with the real world. He prides himself on his abilities too – he told us he “hacked” the typing test at school recently. Though the teacher became suspicious when he had a perfect result and made him redo it. It’s hard to admonish his actions when you are giggling (and the teacher caught on and took control…). Go ahead - call us bad parents. 


Leif was totally thrilled to be accepted as a part of the Safety Patrol Team at his new school next year. He will demand respect from the rest of the student body as he dons his safety vest and wields his flag.


AB – For the first time EVER, we left kids at home with AB’s sister and mom and he took off with me on travel. I had to go to Kona, Hawaii for 8 days. Yes, it was rough. We were running a short course on Sunday and then my presentation wasn’t until Friday, requiring me to spend a solid week hanging out in paradise. AB headed that way Tuesday and we stayed through Sunday, arriving home late Sunday night. It was nice to get away, but I was seriously missing the kids by Sunday. It was just a very long time to be away. I was talking with a colleague the other day who said she was so happy her family came and met her – she completely understood my feelings of missing the kids. In three years when we go back? We will take the kids then.


We had a super time though. I worked my tail end off the first few days that AB wasn’t there so that I could take a bit of time off with him. I let him sleep in Wednesday morning and I attended some conference. Then mid-morning we packed up and drove towards Kilauea. It was a must do for me. Nearly 25 years ago to the date I had stood and watched lava flow over the road in front of me, and into the ocean. Something I will never, ever forget. We took a leisurely trip towards Volcanoes National Park. Stopped at a black sand beach (it was a windy, stormy day, no snorkeling or swimming) and saw some nesting sea turtles! Once at Volcanoes we saw the crater rim before the weather moved in, hiked some lava tubes, drove to the coast to see the vast lava fields (and trip down memory lane for me). Then back up to the rim for nighttime crater viewing. Loved it all. Then the long trek back to the hotel that night.


Thursday and Friday we hung pretty close to the hotel, ate good food. Then Saturday we went out on a snorkel trip at the Captain Cook Memorial. I had a super time snorkeling and hanging out on the boat. AB had done a few snorkeling outings the days prior, so he wasn’t quite as impressed, but I was thrilled!


AB’s work is going fine. His contract will end eventually (maybe soon, maybe not) and he is trying to figure out what he wants to do. Work in a similar area to what he is doing now (he should be a shoe in), find a job in town with a private industry with more reasonable hours and actual vacation and sick time, or make a play (again) to try and get on at my lab. We may have some leverage, but not going to count those chickens before they hatch.


Me (aka Nuclear Mom) – Things have been going gang busters at work. I can’t even describe it. A few years ago I took on a technical project again and that work has blossomed. I could fund myself fully on that project, but I try to keep it to 30% time because I have so many other things I want to do. The project has led to solicitations for me to speak at conferences and next week, at a University. I am thrilled about the resurgence of technical work in my daily portfolio over management duties. I enjoy that little boost I get when I get those cold e-mails that say, “I read your article…”, or recently “I cited your team’s publication in my proposal and the funding agent has asked us to see if we can work with you, interested?”


So the remaining 70% of my time I am trying to figure out how to split it. Right now I have about 150% work I am fitting into that 70% of time. I am trying not to drop things. I had the privilege of running two proposal calls this past quarter. One from behind the scenes and the other very much in front. I have been approached about taking a new position at the lab and yet another new office in a different building and I have accepted. It has yet to come to fruition, but the scuttle I hear is that it will once things settle down with the client reorganization and another key high level role has been filled internally, then we will transition me. I had hesitations with it – mainly the personalities I will be working with and the fact that I love my job currently, I was not clamoring for change. So frankly if they find some other poor sap or decide it isn’t the right job for me, I am totally fine with that. I have been encouraged by some colleagues recently to take it and run with it and very nice things said about my work, so I am willing to give it a shot. 


The main PI I have worked with over the past 4 years was just notified of his promotion to fellow yesterday. I am so happy for him. We have worked really, really hard over the last several years and he very much deserves this honor.


My travel schedule has been ridiculous over the past few months. Enough so that I am looking at achieving status on TWO airlines by the end of the year. Of course that says that if I would have focused all my efforts on utilizing just one airline that I could have a higher status… but I am a sucker for convenience and going with whoever can get me home fastest to see my family.


I like travel. I don’t like flying pretty much at all, but it is the means to the end. I like my work. But what I don’t like is missing the kids and being away from my family. I am not to that point where I feel as though I am missing major aspects of my kids’ lives, but I can see how that could happen – I have no less than 5 trips that have been proposed to me for the next couple months. (None that I have accepted.) I have one more trip next week and then I have committed to avoiding travel at least through the end of the school year (end of school year is a bugger for kids having stuff to do) and if possible, through the summer. My next non-negotiable trip on the books is scheduled for September 1-3. And so when I saw that is the first day of school (Sept 1), I started trying to weasel. I may have gained a reprieve for one day. My new position is going to require travel, so I need to figure out how to balance this all. (And part of the reason that AB is thinking about seeking a position where he might have more flexibility.)


Home life… after the month of April concluded I was able to come back to reality, escape the crashing waves of other people’s proposals and being gone more than I was actually home. I insisted we spend Mother’s Day at home – we normally take the trailer out. That was a good decision not only for my mental health, but physical health since I fell to some horrible cold/cough sickness that I am wondering if I am ever going to lose.


Goals status – 

·         January was carpet  and I am happy to report that after 4 months, the living room carpet has been installed. And it is gorgeous and soft and the entire family is in love. I am doubly thrilled to have that process behind us.

·         February was the sewing room. Shelves were cut and painted, then life happened. They still sit there ready to be hung and filled. It’s fine. I have had other things I wanted done that were on a more pressing timeline (garden).

·         March I had wanted to organize my photos on the computer. I would put that at about 40%. They have been organized, but I have just started on purging duplicates, bad photos, etc. I need to do it when the kids aren’t around and hovering since they want to know why I am deleting THAT picture. Typical response is “because we have three others that are better”. But it goes so much faster if *I* just do it.

·         I didn’t even attempt April, and I didn’t blog about May – but May was the garden. At minimum I wanted to get my three raised bed planted. But AB raised me one and built three more raised beds that I wanted and filled them with raised bed dirt. I have the first three planted, but planting the last three is on the docket for this weekend. Eventually I want the grass surrounding the raised beds to be gone and pea gravel to occupy that space. Maybe it will be my June goal…


Then comes Memorial Day. I travel Monday through Wednesday of next week. I am happily taking the Thursday off to hang with my kids since their teachers are walking out (I am very supportive of their positions, they need to be paid more, the administrator’s pay raises are ridiculous and I want my schools to comply with the new WA state law that says there shouldn’t be more than 26 kids per classroom… my district gets nearly every bond voted in that they ask for, come on!). I am going to get us ready to go camping on Thursday and then Friday we are out of here for some much needed forest/mountain time. I need that outdoors time, kick off the summer, snuggle with the kids in the trailer time in a bad, bad way.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Silas is TWO!

I say this all the time. But it's real. How is it possible?

How is it possible that my kids are growing up so quickly? TWO! Silas is TWO! My little blonde haired, blue eyed boy.

Silas' birthday landed on the Thursday after Easter - so it has been a big week for him. We practiced all week saying "I am two!" and singing "Happy birthday". But until the party Friday where everyone sang to him, focused on him and put a giant cake (WITH FROSTING!!!) in front of him, he didn't really grasp it. And well, he maybe didn't really grasp it then either.

Silas is my rough and tumble one. He has to be to keep up with his brother and sister. As has been par for the course with my kids, he is a talker and advanced there. He speaks in 3-4 word sentences and uses a huge variety of words and is really moving along with conveying his needs and frustrations. He calls Skadi "KK", Leif is "Lay" and Odin is Odin. Lucky is "Ki-Cat". He has transitioned from mama and dada to mommy and daddy.

Silas has coveted every balance bike he has seen in the past few months, so we got him one. We have heard, for the last 4 days since he opened it, "I got a bike!" Poor beep beep (the farm ride on toy) has been cast aside in favor of a BIKE!

Silas' favorite things to do (aside from ride a bike) is to feed the animals. Odin's food dish is always overflowing, the Goldfish has plenty of food to cloud up his tank and Lucky gets fed twice a day - which hasn't happened in ages. But Silas is diligent in doling out the food - though heaven forbid one of them (Odin) decides to swipe something from him. That will definitely ruin his day.

His other favorite thing to do is "go outside". This is actually a very particular request though. He doesn't really want to go out into the backyard to play. He wants to go into the driveway and ride whatever convenient riding toy he has up and down the slight slope.

We are pretty convinced he is the smartest toddler around too. He counts to 10. No joke. I have no delusions that it is anything more than reciting what he has heard just like he does "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" or "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes". And probably the fact that we squeal with joy when he does it means he has learned that "I do this and it makes them happy" thing.

Silas is an excellent sleeper, sleeping through the night 90% of the time -  8:15-7am. He naps like the dead - 3-3.5 hrs usually. Eating... the child has an amazing sweet tooth. And kind of like me - once hungry, the attitude (normally happy go lucky) changes. Hangry.

Silas is kind of a solitary kid. He is wary of other kids invading his space and they better not touch the item he is interested in. He reminds me a lot of Skadi in mannerisms. He will bowl you over and isn't one to be bowled over.

He still loves his thumb and we love it too. Love not having to keep track of a pacifier. I am sure the day will come when we like it a bit less. But already he is to the point that he only sucks it when he needs to calm himself down, or at nap/bed time.

KK is his bestest friend in the whole world and she is amazing with him. She plays with him and engages with him and appeals to his dangerous side as she flies him around on beep beep or his scooter. Leif is an incredible help with Silas, gets him out of his crib, fixes breakfast for him, brushes his teeth, helps get him dressed, but isn't the one who is going to entertain him like Skadi does. All in all, both kids make for the best team with Silas.


Silas truly made our family complete. We are so blessed to have him. He is an amazing boy. I love his little kisses, his hugs, his learning and seeing the world through his eyes! I love you Silas!