Thursday, August 25, 2011


Just noticed that the time stamps are wonky on my posts... apparently if I start a blog some long past day and the finish it today, the time stamp is from that long past day!

All I did last Tuesday was type in the title and first line to remind myself to blog on that topic. But it is coming up as being done last Tuesday during the day.

Ok, just had to comment on that.

Catching Up

It wouldn't be a catching up blog without me wondering where the month has gone. Yes, wasn't it just yesterday I was posting about July? And now here I am with one more day of summer camp for Leif.

My baby boy is going to the first grade! I remember the first grade... (there's a blog topic for a another day).

So us. Let's see...

AB - he's doing great. I am constantly amazed by him waking up at 4:30am every single morning - well at least Monday thru Thursday and some Fridays and going into work and working a 10 hour day. I know many people who would have walked out on that gig a long time ago.

Skadi - things are looking up for her. She was moved out of the corner and all summer long has only lost one or two privileges. She truly has been such a pleasure to be around lately. She even has started showing an interest in wearing jeans! Gasp! I still embrace the dresses for her because I don't think this will last for long and I want to enjoy the dress phase.

I ordered a pair of cute jeans for her the other day, super flare with embroidered flowers. She was so excited when they arrived. Put them on and they were too tight. Gurr. There were tears. She couldn't believe that happened and wanted them so badly to wear a pink belt with. Me? I can't believe I just ordered size 5's to replace the ill fitting ones. 5? Really?

Me - work is going well. I had posted previously about concerns with being light on work. I really should know better than to send a note to my manager and team lead before actually putting my own feelers out. Within 3 days I was back to being fully committed for the remainder of this year and the coming year. And AB cursed me - he told me this would happen - and he was right. Now I am looking at my plate and wondering if I have too much on it? Because if I am not scrambling crazy busy, I don't have enough. I sent a note to my managers the other day - please do NOT send me any work (unless you know, it is just exactly perfect for me... like this other stuff I just accepted...). Sigh.

All of this has resulted in for me a whole lot less stress. I know the source of my stress... concerns over work. I can enjoy my weekends again!

Goals? Well let's see here...

If on Friday I buy paint samples and this weekend I put them on the wall and see how they look, I think I will hit my August goal!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Probably an unpopular vent

For years AB and I have supported strongly national parks. We donate money to the parks system and believe strongly that it is an important asset.

I just have one beef.

The pet policy.

That would be the pet policy that basically says your dog should never leave your vehicle and even better - leave said dog at home.

Last weekend we went to Mt. Rainier National Park to the Sunrise Visitor's Center - a side we had never been to and man it was packed. We went to the visitor's center, found a place to take some pictures, grabbed some lunch and headed out.

You know, here, yes, I can understand a no pets please request. It was busy, the trails were packed and there was hardly room to get cars parked. We were just happy it wasn't hot in the car and were able to leave the dogs in the car.

But umm, the park is big. And we wanted to hike somewhere. And the dogs need to pee.

But nowhere that we stopped were those dogs allowed to leave our car. At each stop there was a park ranger wagging his finger and threatening hefty fines.

At one stop we thought we were over the border of the National Park and into the National Forest which does not have such pet laws.

We quickly found out we were 500 feet short of the National Forest boundary and those dogs could go right back into the vehicle.

And I know this will be an unpopular post because a woman standing near me went up and congratulated the ranger on his score of booting the dogs out by saying, "I just want to thank you, the GALL of some people to think they can bring their dogs ANYWHERE!" I couldn't help a quick retort to her citing the fact that it is a bit hard to know exactly where the park and forest boundary is when you are visiting a place for the first time. She, of course, glared at me fierce - but I think she was more embarrassed at being busted with a reasonable argument that she had no quick response for (not realizing *I* was with that crazy dog guy).

I get that not all pet owners are top notch. And for this, fine them. But not everyone is a bad apple! There certainly are enough rangers around to write those tickets out (and generate revenue in the meantime for the parks that we hear are starved for cash).

We found the invisible line separating park from forest and got out and set about a hike, where the trail was packed with dogs at every turn. Dogs not allowed just 500 feet away (with the same terrain and same views).

We love to travel. We love the parks. We love our long weekend adventures. We love hiking. We love our dogs. It makes me sad that this all can't be combined.

I am planning for a Yellowstone trip next spring break and already trying to figure out what the path forward will be with our dogs... who normally travel with us.

Summer of Fun

I hope that some day Leif looks back and relishes his first real summer outside of full time school/care. To this point Leif's summers have beeen about the same as his winters, work and playtime at his Montessori school. This year, things have been different...

There was robot racing...

And even some robot Sumo wrestling in August.

I wish *I* would have had a summer of camps!

He has learned a lot of lessons though throughout the summer...

  • like the necessity of keeping track of ones things... (one wallet lost, goggles lost...)

  • and that while it is good to be generous, that buying other people food results in first not having money for lunch, and second offense resulted in it coming out of his money and then tears.

  • that nothing comes for free. That when the concession stand at the club asks for his name after ordering a Super Nachos, a drink, a snocone, a smoothie and a push up, that it goes to mom and dad's account.

  • that mom and dad DO find out everything.

  • that it is possible to get tired of all the fun things after awhile.

Ah well. A new world awaits him (and us) a week from today when I put my baby boy on the school bus.

And I will resist in following the bus to the school to make sure everything goes ok.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Love my Beaner

Me: "Hmm, the instructions are in Chinese."

Skadi: "Let me have it, I read Chinese."

(I hand her the instructions.)

Skadi: "It says this is a remote control car and it needs batteries."


Time for bed.

Skadi: "Mommy, I am going to put you to bed tonight. Lay down your head here."

She rubs my head and sings me a lullaby that she made up very softly and sweetly.

Skadi: "If your hands are dirty, wash them. If your clothes are dirty, wash them." (Repeat 23 times.)

Skadi: "Mommy, you are the best mommy ever." Rolls over and falls asleep.

Me? Luckiest mom ever.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shoe Girl Status in Question

Skadi loves her Keens. She has since she was a baby and she was just learning to walk in the summer after she turned one.

We each have our preferences, and while I want really badly to love Keens, they just don’t fit my feet well. Though I am thinking I might need to try their boots… maybe those would be better? Or maybe I am just sucked into thinking that by their adorable-ness…

Anyways, every year Skadi has had pink or purple Keens. Sandals or shoes. I asked Skadi earlier this summer what kind of shoes she wanted for the fall (in case I happened upon some clearance options) and she told me, “shoes like these” (pointing to her pink Keen sandals on her feet) “that don’t have have holes in them”.

Gee… there is a surprise… shoes like she has had for the last three years.

But then a few weeks ago she found an old pair of Leif’s Keens. His only pair. And Leif, like me, didn’t care for them on. They are brown size 10’s, the size she will need for the fall.

And Skadi has latched onto them. Her dad has latched onto Skadi loving them and 9 times out of 10 when dad is getting her ready in the morning those brown Keens grace her feet.

Can I be honest? I cringe a little. I know I shouldn’t. I shouldn’t cringe at my daughter wearing brown “boy shoes”. She is pink and frilly in everything else she does in life, a little bit of ordinary brown shoes won’t change that special something about her. Right?

I keep reminding myself that it is $50 saved. And that if one day this fall she adamantly decides that she doesn’t want the brown shoes anymore, we CAN go get her a pair of pink cute Keens.

Still though… this drastic out of character move of my daughter’s to latch onto something so… so… brown… and ordinary… just perplexes me.

And makes me a bit concerned about her status as a "shoe girl".

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Well shack.

Leif is picking up "new" words this summer at summer camps. Skadi's new favorite movie is "Ramona and Beezus" and "guts" has been about the speed of Leif's naughty words to this point.

A few weeks ago this happened:

Leif: "Skadi get in the water and don't be a chicken shack."

Me: "What did you call her?"

Leif: "A chicken shack, you know."

Me: "We do not call each other chicken shacks!!"


Then there was this week.

Leif: "He said the 'a' word."

Me: "What is the 'a' word? You can tell me, you won't get in trouble." (I am thinking ass, but wanted to see if he knew.)

Leif: "Shit."

Me: "Shit does not have an 'a' in it. And you are right, that is a bad word. Do you know what it means?"

Leif: "Dumb Donkey."

Me: "Uhhh..."

Ok, so maybe he did mean the "a" word?

Sunday, August 07, 2011


Ever have one of those memories that triggers so much more than "oh yeah, I remember that"?

Last night Skadi was picking YouTube songs before bed and she happened upon "Bert Sings Imagination". I couldn't have told you at all what this was about - and I am a vault of knowledge with regards to Ernie and Bert. Even as the video started I didn't know what it was.

Then the singing started.

Umm yeah. I watched it with Skadi one time and it triggered such an intense memory that I immediately recalled all the words. If someone had asked me to sing "Imagination" prior to that I would have wondered if Bert really had remade John Lennon's song.

And can I just say that "Wubba wubba" still makes me giggle? And I loved at the end when the balloons came down and my sweet baby girl squealed, "It's a miracle mommy!"

Last Sunday I sat in the church that I hadn't walked into in about 18 years.

I could not have told you what the lights looked like. But when I saw those horride funky lights from the 70's... well they immediately took me back.

I did remember the wooden strips paneling the ceiling and how I used to count them and recount them. And it must be habit because when the tears were feeling imminent, and the service was droning on, I started counting them again.

I couldn't have told you 8 days ago what color the pew fabric was.

But when I saw that horrible red and purple pattern I was a child again sitting on the pew taking Butter Rum Lifesavers from my grandmother's and mom's hands.

Hangin' with the cousins

The 4th of July wasn't nearly so much fun since the closest child to my kids' age was 12. But it was a weekend of cousins under 7 for Leif's birthday!

Seriousness can only be maintained for so long.

Skadi and Hazel are always fast and inseperable friends.

Much time was spent in Signe's cabin playing dollies, putting dollies to bed, putting each other to bed, feedling the dollies...

As well as outside in the pool... with the many pool toys...

And on the trampoline...

Happy 7th Birthday Leif!

Seven just seems so much bigger than six. At six, I could still get away with saying "little boy". But at seven? I am just not sure that seven is little anymore. He no longer asks for toys really... except ok a Nerf gun picked out by his sister WAS really cool...

he wants big kid stuff... like Donkey Kong Country Wii...

and Super Mario Brothers v. 63. Or it seems like they should be on v. 63 since I remember Super Mario Brothers from when I was a kid...

The nice fishing pole from grandpa Perry was MUCH appreciated...

This year Leif decided that he wanted two things - to go to the cabin for his birthday to see his cousins from Boston...

and then a sleepover with three of his friends also "gamers" to play Wii all night, with no parents and no girls allowed.

Leif had requested a three layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and a cherry on top. No problem, I thought. Then I took the three round layers out of the oven and Leif looked dismayed, "why are they the same size?" Turns out he wanted a three tier chocolate cake, like a wedding cake with a cherry on top.

Well a knife works wonders... and then *I* got to munch on cake before the actual party.

The other thing that is very important to have when you are seven years old is trick candles!

Because everyone wants their cake covered in spit from the effort taken for blowing out candles for 5 minutes...

Happy 7th birthday Leif!

Hello August

This summer is flying. I am sure I say this every single summer, but this summer I really, really mean it.

So many things change, yet so many stay the same. Leif still has "threaky" things that happen to him and Skadi still bonks her "twohead".

We are into the last few weeks before school starts. We went school supply shopping and if I can make things difficult, I do. So they specify a "pink pearl" eraser but a "tub of sanitizer wipes"? Umm help? And why the two boxes of 24 ct Crayolas? Why not one of the bigger boxes?

Leif has a week of Robot Camp and then two last weeks of Adventure Camp and then blammo. First grade in public school.

I am the one freaked out.

Part of the reason we pulled Leif out a bit early from his Montessori school was to give him a bit more confidence before the big switch to public school. This summer has certainly done that more so than AB or I ever expected. Leif has done extremely well this summer in his variety of activities. But as the summer winds down, he is ready for a bit of calm. He has declared he is tired of field trips and just wants to sit down and watch a movie.

Up until this past week Leif has been overly thrilled with Adeventure Camp and no worries on our part. Until this week. This past week we have had a set of firsts for him. Both that resulted in calls to the Adventure Camp he is enrolled in. First blistering sunburn. By the time I was seven I had a handful of these and while it sucked to be in the pain, it was just kind of something that happened once or twice a year. Not so in 2011. The counselor DID apply sunscreen, I do believe her and Leif says she did. But for some reason it just didn’t work and his poor shoulders are blistered and peeling. The counselor felt horrible about it. The rest of this week we became proactive with the use of sunscreen AND a rash guard.

And the second issue was bullying. Severe in that the other child is being removed from Adventure Camp. I wouldn’t have known about it as Leif rarely talks about his day even with proding (except to tell us about his successes at poison ball or dodgeball), but the other night I went in to dig out a rash guard from his dresser well after he was supposed to be asleep. Instead of sleeping he was in bed sobbing.

Leif talked fairly easily with me about the situation, an older “mean” boy had told him that if he didn’t bring in some of his Star Wars legos guys for him that he was going to make up something to tell on him and he would have to go to Roberta’s office. Leif is a pretty by the rules kid, the thought of “going to Roberta’s” filled him with fear and tears and he didn’t know what to do. After I got him calmed down and reassured him that no, he was not taking in his Star Wars guys to the boy and that *I* would be talking to Roberta, he fell quickly asleep. It was an easy conversation with Roberta where she informed me that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back with this boy and that they do not tolerate bullying at all. Still it has taken a bit to convince Leif to go back to Adventure Club. He is afraid. And this makes me sad. A break for Robot camp next week is exactly what he needs. Then the week after he will go back to Adventure Camp, but with one of his best friends in the world with him.

And I do have to admit that as a mom of a daughter who tends to be on the edge of being a troublemaker and who has walked a line with getting booted from daycare and preschool, I do feel for the other parents of the child. I no longer believe, like I did when Leif was young, that “if the parents just did X, Y or Z, the problem would be solved”.

Skadi has been doing a bit better though. The summer started out rough with her being confined to the corner for work time. Apparently this has worked though and while I was fearing her being in the corner all year, she is being moved out and to a desk. She declared to me a few weeks ago, “I finally know what I am supposed to be doing every day!” We have only been telling her to do her works and quit bothering others for weeks, it finally sank in. Whew.

AB and I are doing fine. Our jobs are “ehh”. It is a tough time working where I work. I have my time covered through the end of the fiscal year, but after that it gets a bit sketchy. I have a list of four projects and normally four projects would have me thrilled – except that each one will only cover about 10-15% of my time. I have a bit of stretching to do to get to my newly declared 85% time. Monday through Thursday I will leave at 3pm. Then Fridays I will work a longer day since AB is off on Fridays. I am looking forward to testing this routine out as long as I can pick up a few other things to successfully cover my time fully.

AB is fine with his job, though not thrilled. I am wondering if both of us have a case of “the grass is always greener”. We are debating the merits of seeing what else is out there… in one instance there has to be something better, in the next we realize how good we have it here.

I am really looking forward to my August goals. Actually, let’s just make it August-September goals. August is looking so busy, but I do want to get started.

New flooring for the downstairs! We have nasty carpet in the dining room, office and living room. Hardwood here we come. Of course this is mostly AB’s job once I select the perfect shades of not only flooring, but paint!

Yes, back to paint color selections!

I actually think I have a good handle on what I want this time around based off my recent success with the small bathroom off the foyer.

My biggest issue is going to be scraping the time together for this. We have two busy weekends coming up, followed by a camping trip, then the weekend before school, followed by Labor Day camping trip and then soccer swings up again.

So there it is. A catch up post, goals and what’s to come for this late summer.