Sunday, November 23, 2008

One of my less than intelligent purchases

A few nights ago it dawned on me that Leif had grown out of 75% of his pajamas. I went and dug into some Christmas presents and magically produced two pairs of Star Wars Clone Wars pajamas. One pair was just a normal pair that we started with, but I realized later that it was either going to be a trip out to buy pajamas or pull out the "extra special" pair.

The pair with the blinking red "laser" sewn into the front that blinks whenever the pajamas move.

Leif was beyond thrilled.

Then last night he insisted on wearing them again.

And then there was the statement that he was never going to wear any other pajamas ever again.

What WAS I thinking?

Saturday, November 22, 2008


My kids are changing everyday, and while it can be fun to watch, it is also scary to see time flying so quickly.

Leif asked me to measure him the other day. So we went over to the wall with tick marks and names and dates, he backed up against it and my jaw dropped open. I have trouble carrying him now. He normally wears one size an entire year - he shouldn't be growing out of his size 4's yet. I shouldn't be buying size 5/6 pajamas yet? Then I looked at where his new tick mark was - a good five inches above the one from July 6th. He is a few inches shy of four feet tall.

Leif has an extensive vocabulary (tonight he used the word "interactive"), he is learning new games (we played both Charades and I Spy last night - now really... shouldn't an "eagle" fall into the same category as a "bird" when playing Charades?) and he has started learning to read at school now that he has mastered his letter sounds.

Since moving to his new room Leif has settled down, become friendlier with kids, is keeper and enforcer of "the rules", and has hit a stride academically. The teachers have identified what he likes for rewards - afternoon visits to Rainbow Room to see his good friend, N. He was particularly proud of himself the other day when he told me that he had his third straight day of visiting Rainbow Room for good behavior. And I know his room well enough to know that this has to be STELLAR behavior from him to warrant the reward.

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Leif still has "issues" with listening - though his very observant head teacher is pretty sure that it isn't willful defiance or him simply ignoring or deciding it isn't what he wants to do. Instead she has pointed out a few cues that are indicative that he is a visual learner and that to help him to learn we just need to modify the way we teach him a little. She explained to me that Leif is more than willing to do what she shows him and will master things very quickly, however has a lot of trouble processing being told what to do. She went on to classify him as "extremely intelligent" and expects him to be fully reading in a few months.

I keep thinking back to when Leif was Skadi's age (20 months) and AB and I found out we were expecting another baby. Yeah, so not going down that road right now. Our life is busy enough as is!

And I am enjoying my sleep.

Did you read that? Sleep!!

*Knocking on wood.*

The last two nights Skadi has slept through the night (well until 5am) in her crib. And total that is 3 of the 4 last nights she has slept through the night. We are on a good track here... just in time to totally mess her up by flying and staying in a new house on an air mattress. Wouldn't it figure?

I will be optimistic though. Here's hoping that she decides she LIKES sleeping through the night and does at my mom's house and then gets up and hangs out with grandma and Bompa giving mommy and daddy some extra snooze time!!

Skadi is such a different creature than Leif. I say that and then think of all the things that are very similar with the two of them.

One thing that warms my heart is seeing my kids interact. Skadi loves copying Leif and doing what he does. Last night while he was watching a movie, she crawled up on the couch and layed on him, wrapped her arms around his neck and planted a big wet kiss on his lips. Seeing Leif wrap his arms around her without saying a word and kiss her back on her cheek warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I hope that they will always have a close friendship.

Skadi is mastering more words and has this week learned a very important words, "cupcake". And she prefers chocolate.

Skadi asks for pancakes, she calls Winny, she requests particular "jammies" and will ask for Mahna Mahna whenever she sees me on the computer. She plays lightsabers and swords with Leif or will sit by herself playing Little People. She loves to go outside and really enjoys our evening walks. She has a distinct opinion on what should be on TV (Elmo) though she can't seem to make the time to actually sit and watch on Elmo DVD all the way through, which thrills Leif to pieces.

The not so observant preschooler

When we lost our first fish years ago we scooped him out while Leif was sleeping and when he later inquired we told him he went to visit his fishy friends. This has never been questioned. The other day:

Leif: "Mommy, did you know that another fish packed his bag and left? Why do they keep doing this?"

NM: "What?" (Paranoid that another fish may have bit the dust and thinking I am going to need to fish it out since we have a carnivorous goldfish that really tears things up.)

Leif: "The big googly eyed one, he left!"

NM: (Somewhat relieved - that fish died MONTHS ago and yes, we have two fish still in the tank.) "Did he leave?"

Leif: "Yep, he did. I don't know why they don't stay."


When I started here 6.5 years ago I used to get notifications for "Retirement Parties" and would wonder if I was supposed to attend them for people that I didn't really know, people I had only passing interactions with. To this point I have not attended a retirement party at work.

I suppose it is ironic then that the first retirement party I will attend fills me with great sorrow. I know it is a happy time for my sector manager, but I am being selfish and wondering who in the world I am going to go to with random questions and whose office I can go land in and say, "help me". I am going to miss that "hey lady" greeting.

My sector manager is the first upper upper management that I have gotten to know well. Well enough that I can walk in and land in his office. Well enough that my mailbox was filled Friday with Outlook folders from his computer because he wanted someone to have the files.

Wednesday at noon is his last day. Actually his real last day is sometime in February or March, when his vacation runs out. But his office will be cleaned out as of Wednesday.

I felt privileged that the last meeting he wanted on his calendar (at 11am Wednesday) was to be with me and his replacement. Of course neither of us could make that due to travel plans, but it was the thought that counts. Instead I will see him last thing on Tuesday.

He keeps reminding me he isn't going far -- which I suppose if you count the east coast as not far he is right. But really, my client has hired him on as a contractor and he will be one of my POC's for "the other side". So I am quite privileged in this regard. He really ISN'T walking out of my work life, he is just switching teams.

I have dreaded the arrival of this week knowing he would be departing. I expressed to AB on Friday that if this was a normal Thanksgiving week where we weren't traveling Friday would have been my last day off for 9 whole days since I always take Thanksgiving week off. AB knows me too well... "you wouldn't have done that this year though".

Yeah, I wouldn't have.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Top Chef is back!

One of my favorite shows is back for round 5!

I was met the other morning with e-mails from the girls inviting me to dish with my Top Chef girls. We dished.

Here are some of our thoughts (with lots of embellishing by me - so they are probably my thoughts mostly...):

Is Carla a woman or man and why does she so severely freak me out?

Bleeding in apples is a gross biohazard and should have incured a penalty.

Peeling 15 apples? Can you imagine anything more miserable? There is a reason I have a nifty little apple peeler/corer/slicer thing in my kitchen. I would have massacred them. AB (otoh) could have probably competed, he loves to peel apples and is freakishly good at it.

Lauren... seriously now have you not WATCHED the show? How many people get cut making a salad that frankly is the type of thing I would whip up in my kitchen and then wave my hand saying, "oh it was nothing". You didn't bring it, which is too bad because I wanted to like you. However, I think cutting someone is way unfair in the Quick Fire. Not nice.

(I would have made hmm... what would I have made... not salad... I don't cook with apples... what would I have made... oh my time is way up - nearly a week later.)

Please Radhika live up to your potential we know you are capable of. Actually we don't know this, we just want you to go far because we think you seem like a way cool chick to hang out with. And the fact that Stephanie (in her blog) knows you and is backing you up just adds to your level of credibility. Go Radhika!

Richard - err I mean Stephan, kind of annoying, but probably will make it far. He's the one to beat right now.

Love Eugene. Love him. Quiet, unassuming, keep it up.

The weak links were cut after the first night. No surprises there at all.

Ariane... I thought you were going to be cut when you said you needed to have a book for a recipe. Duh Duh Duh. She's next to go.

Hosea... Did we know each other? Maybe you knew AB? BS in Engineering Physics from CU in '97... so you are just younger than us. Hmmm... Oh but sorry, I have eaten at Jax and have never been impressed. Hope this launches you somewhere great to cook in Boulder though since I can understand the desire to never leave.

We will call it creativity...

NM: "Ok Leif, your Scooby Doo is on!"

Leif: "I am coming mommy!" (As he comes racing into the living room carrying a squirt gun.)

NM: "What's the squirt gun for?"

Leif: "It's my Wii, I am going to play Scooby Doo Wii!" (As he sits down in front of the TV and points the squirt gun at the TV.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just when we *think* we are going to have a relaxing weekend...

Because apparently we can't just have a weekend with little planned.

Yesterday the kids had swimming lessons and for the first time in months I didn't put my swimsuit on. AB got in with Skadi instead and I got to sit on the side and chat with the mom of one of Leif's and Skadi's friends while her husband got in the pool with their son and our older kids enjoyed their lesson. It was a luxury really. I do love getting in the pool with Skadi, but it is really nice to have an occasion to just sit and chat.

Afterwards Leif and I headed out to a special outing. Contrary to his belief, the "special outting" was NOT to Chuckee Cheese's. Instead we headed out to take care of some Christmas presents. Leif never ceases to amaze me really. We headed in and I had a plan in my head. He waylayed it pretty quickly since Leif isn't one to not be "in control". He picked out ALL of the three gifts on Saturday. AB's made sense and IS really awesome though not what I would have picked. Next he picked my mom. I kept chuckling to myself when he insisted on this particular item for her. I tried making other suggestions and then finally just reminded myself that my mom will love it because Leif was SO passionate over the item. Last was a gift for Bompa. Leif beelined to it, picked it up and said, "this is perfect for Bompa's money!" And it is.

On Saturday afternoon we had intentions of climbing a local "mountain" with the kids. Then we got waylayed by "open house" signs. By the time we made our way to the "mountain" it was late and so we did a short hike (vowing to get back Sunday morning) and then played on the playground equipment.

After dinner the kids crashed quickly while AB and I moved back to the realm of "what if" regarding a new house. AB became quite passionate over the thought of getting a new house - again. Don't think that I wasn't right there with him. The houses that have now moved into the "tied for first" list were in a subdivision we had once ruled out as "not interested".

AB and I are walkers/hikers and always have been. We walk with the kids most nights after work and make a point to get out for a longer walk with the dog every weekend. After checking out the park and the short part of the trail up the "mountain" - not to mention the views of the city, we returned to considering that neighborhood and vowed to hike the hill and check out any open houses on Sunday. Having the great park and the trailhead near our future house would be wonderful.

Saturday night the kids both crashed early and we downloaded "Sex and the City" (so cannot believe it has taken me THIS long to see it!). And I am SO not a Miranda like the Facebook test told me...

This morning the kids woke bright and early (both were up before 6am - sometime I would like for them to understand and implement a return to standard time from daylight savings time). I made a big apple pufff pancake and we finally got out to climb our hill.

AB and I thought it was a great idea, wear the kids out and check out the most beautiful views of the entire area. Kids weren't quite so sure of our idea. They are normally good sports when it comes to hiking - but I fear we got a late start and just ended up with crankies instead. A little over halfway up the hill we happened upon Leif's good friend C as well as a set of twins from his preschool and their older brother and father. This completely rejuvenated our kids. Skadi (who had been about to sleep) was revitalized when she saw C and Leif was just thrilled to see all the kids.

I didn't hear another word about "let's turn around now".

It took us (four adults, two dogs and six children) about 2 hours to reach the summit, then turn around and head down. For one of the first times I got a sense of really looking forward to Leif as a "kid". When he was born I cried and cried about him growing up so quickly. And though nearly every stage has been better than the previous one (I keep reminding myself of this now with Skadi in her Tasmanian Devil stage) I always fear a little what is around the next corner.

Leif is now to the age where he can tell us a lot, though carrying on an intelligent conversation isn't on our plate right now. We will have two lines of conversation typically followed by randomness. On the way down I lead the pack and found myself running at times to keep up with Leif and the 8 year old - who I didn't know before, but have discovered is a really awesome kid. We talked quite a bit about Leif at school - what he does at recess, who he plays with and how he plays. We talked about dogs, how to train them and funny things our dogs do. I had a great conversation and hike with him (and Leif) and it really made me look forward to this age with my kids without the sense of dread that time is flying way too fast.

Ok, so that feeling did return quickly, because time IS flying way too fast. But it reminded me I have something neat to look forward to... intelligent conversation with my kids.

It is now Sunday evening and since we couldn't get Skadi down for a nap (the hike took longer than we had anticipated), she has crashed out and is snoring on the couch. Leif is watching the Polar Express and AB has cooked dinner - a new concoction of chili that so far is showing signs of fantastic-ness.

I didn't get to my "goal" of cleaning out the Utility Room. Next weekend will be focused on packing up for our trip to Colorado and hopefully pulling out Christmas decorations so I can get a little done before we leave. Oh and one birthday party in there too. We plan to switch over to some new outdoor lights from our "way too 90's" icicle lights. 10 days and counting till we get on the airplane.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dear Skadi,

Skadi, Skadi, Skadi. What are you turning into? Do you really want your nickname to be “Skadi the Pill”?

You may have thought that this weekend of incessant whining was warranted. Your father and I did not. See we could tell that you weren’t really in pain, suffering or otherwise incapacitated by the way you squealed and giggled in the leaves. However, we cannot spend the.entire.weekend “soutside”. Things still needed to be done INSIDE, dinners still need to be made, laundry to be done...

Oh and throwing your plate full of dinner the day after the housecleaner comes. Not cool. Next time wait until the night before the housecleaner comes, you might get cut a little slack then.

The shrieking in the middle of the night? So not a good idea. No one likes to be woken up by blood curdling screams. I suppose I should apologize because if they are nightmares I am certainly to blame. However, I am inclined to wonder otherwise since when I walk into your room you stop the shrieking, hold out your arms and giggle, “mama!”

And no, we may not watch Elmo at 2:30am no matter how many times you ask or how enthusiastic you sound. It is best just to fall back asleep and look forward to your bright and early 6am wake time to ask for Elmo. I would ask for an extra half hour of sleep, but I fear that I maybe asking for too much as it is.

The whole screaming bloody murder at the sight of your carseat? That also needs to stop. Carseats are non-negotiable. I will win. It may take time and lots of sweat and maybe tears on my part. But you WILL find yourself in your carseat eventually. Somehow. Give in. Resistance is futile.

Everyone needs downtime. Your teachers included. Receiving a call in the afternoon from your teachers saying that you did not nap, while preferable to “she is vomiting come get her” is not what I want to hear. Because it sets up this whole “what if” paranoia scenario. What is she going to be like when I pick her up? What is our night going to be like? Not a fun way to spend my quiet afternoon in my office watching the clock tick down and wondering if it is a time bomb waiting to detonate when I walk in the daycare doors.

One last thing – stop picking at my moles! Yes, I know they are funny, I know they are just the right size for your tiny little pincher fingers. But it HURTS when you grab one and yank. Just stop!

Anyways, we would prefer you not be permanently attached to the moniker “Skadi the Pill”. We would like to see these changes by tomorrow ideally, but understand that it may take longer. In which case I need these addressed before we hop on an airplane the day before Thanksgiving – you know, that day listed as “highest air traffic volume”.



It has been a long and hard week, but we persevered!

Our modem took a dive last Sunday morning and since then we were without internet in our home. When scheduling a technician to switch us over I noted that it would be most convenient to do this on a Friday - when my husband was off. I didn't think so much about how difficult not having internet access at home could potentially be!

Of course there was the whole no World of Warcraft for AB.

And I didn't get to upload my now finished Blurb books to order.

But beyond that other little things came to the surface - like our Tivo now gets programming information from the net - no updated Tivo listings (not that we really needed beyond a week and a half, but I was starting to blame the net for why Top Chef didn't record on Wednesday). But no downloading shows from the internet (not that we really have time during the week to watch anything like that).

The obvious is no e-mail for either of us. AB can still check his personal e-mail from work, so he wasn't as affected here. I am not in that camp anymore.

I have no confirmations for stuff I have ordered online the past week (at work) for Christmas presents. I don't know what is in stock or backordered or when anything is going to arrive.

I didn't receive my book club e-mails. Book club kept slipping my mind already since I didn't even buy the book. But if it weren't for my friends inquiring if I was going I would have completely missed the opportunity to labor over the decision to attend or not (did I say I didn't even buy the book?) and would have done the "duh" headslap upon checking my e-mail later.

Wonder if my kids made it to the finalists in the Gap contest? (It has happened before.)

Wonder if I won any prizes (a GelPro mat maybe) from all those entries into the Food and Wine 30th Anniversary contests? (Probably not, but I can dream.)

Who knows what else I have missed... I suppose I will soon find out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Where I will be for the next 4 days...

Around. Really, I will be.

However, my computer will be making me look absent.

Our modem made one final attempt to free itself from its perch and died an untimely death rendering our entire household without internet access.

We are taking this opportunity to switch services rather than buy a new modem. The new service will be installed on Friday leaving us high and dry until then.

So in the meantime since I can't access my personal e-mail at work, I won't be seeing that account until Friday evening. No blogging for the same reason. If you need to reach me use my work e-mail, find me on Facebook or go retro and call me!

The leaves

Our trees are finally mature enough to warrant actually raking the leaves instead of feigning ignorance and just letting them drift away in the "breezes".

Here is some fun from the weekend:

And one of Winny-dog. Poor abused dog, I so rarely get pictures of her anymore. I really like this one.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Out of character

Yesterday AB and I went to Costco to pick up Skadi's Christmas present:

Of course we picked up some more stuff too. But we had a plan. I checked out the kitchen, agreed with AB that it was perfect - amazingly he was the one who had found it, after I had spent an hour or so one day on the internet finding out there.

So after seeing the kitchen and letting Skadi play a little with the sample kitchen, thus assuring us it was the right gift, I headed out to the car with the kids while my MIL and AB purchased it and got it loaded into his car, then we met up at our next destination.

AB informed me then that I should probably look at transferring money from savings into checking. I told him we had plenty of money in the checking account right now, the kitchen wouldn't be a big deal.

He said he spent a little more than the dollhouse.

"Well of course you did, we got diapers, a pizza, laundry detergent and a few other things," I said.

"No, I spent more than that," he said. I should have picked up on the vaguery, but when he cited the amount my jaw dropped.

Then he added, "so no snooping around the house either".

A little while later he mentioned that he had also picked up gifts for both my dad and stepdad there too.

I think my jaw may have dropped open further there. AB not only bought a gift for me more than the week before Christmas, but also for members of my own family? People I am normally stressing over buying for?

Who swooped in and stole my husband?

He did tell me not to snoop around our daughter's closet too much. My reply to him was of all the closets in the house, that is probably the worst one to pick to hide the gift.

"How about using the utility room closet with the vacuum cleaner in it," I said knowing he wouldn't miss my reference to the fact that I just don't vacuum, like ever.

"I already put something in there," he tells me, "so no snooping in there either."

So not just ONE gift but TWO!? Hmmm.... I am very curious.

Monday, November 03, 2008


One nasty case of food poisoning. Oh, for me. Ugh.

(Mommies aren't supposed to get sick.)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

This was Halloween

Check out how thick this pumpkin is... AB wondered if he was EVER going to get the top off.
Leif in the pumpkin. This has become some sort of tradition since he was a baby and I put him in the pumpkin and he SCREAMED. Now he doesn't scream anymore.
The four Star Wars boys in Leif's class. Note that *my* son is the only one not from the Dark Side of the Force.
"May the force be with you!"

Outside by the scary spider.

My two Jedis. Skadi refused to wear the Yoda hat. Oh well.

Joining up for tricks and treats with Leif's best friends.