Monday, May 23, 2011

Reasons to Regret Your Mother Keeping a Blog...

Rhode loves to ask questions. Our very repeated conversation goes like this:

Mom, what is -insert random item- ?

I then answer

Mom, I lub -insert random item-! - stated very very enthusiastically.

Turns out he loves many things he is not actually able to identify by himself. But, well, this one is my absolute favorite. Sorry future Rhode, had to be written.

Rhode: Mom, what is this? (pointing to his chest while changing into clothes in the morning)

Mom: Well, that is your nipple.

Rhode: Mom, I lub mipples!

Mom: You do?

Rhode: Yes! Look I have two mipples!

Mom: Yes, you do have two.

Rhode: Mom, what I do with mipples? I pinch them? (he then demonstrates how this, in theory, would go)

Mom: No you don't need to pinch them. They are just... there.

Rhode: Oh... but I lub mipples mom.

Might have been an interesting word to teach him, but I would still rather him going around talking about his mipples than his lower extremity, which he claims is getting too big for his underwear.

Two year olds are fun.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Taking Over

I have had a very easy pregnancy so far with little room for complaint. But today was one of those rare days when I just felt pretty crappy. It hit right around dinner time. I had awful indigestion plus I felt really nauseated. Making dinner just really wasn't in the cards, which usually wouldn't be a problem, except Jon had to walk out the door right at the same moment I had finally laid my large self on the couch.

At the time, I thought my only chance for help had just walked out the door. But thankfully, a fantastic helper was ready to step up and take her place as woman of the house.

"What would you like for dinner, mom? I'm gonna make it," Scarlet informed me.

"Umm, what do you know how to make?"

"Well, I like to make soup. Do you like egg soup or bean soup with carrots or red soup?" she listed off.

I think I can identify bean soup with carrots and red soup is tomato soup... but egg soup? I got nothing.

I thanked her for her willingness to help, but since we lacked the ingredients for all of her carefully planned meals, I had to veto. I suggested maybe they just have cereal tonight for dinner.

"Cereal? Okay.... (she paused to consider). I know! Mom would you like me to make you cereal or pancakes?" she asked.

"You know how to make pancakes?"

She then explained to me how you get the gredients out of the cupboard, get them in a bowl and stir them up, and then you just turn them into pancakes! Her firm look of capability never even wavered from her face.

Though it would have been quite amusing to watch the attempt, I saved myself the kitchen cleanup and went with cereal.

She took over from there. By the time I made it over to the dining room table, all of our cereal choices were set out on the table along with bowls, spoons, and milk. She had helped Rhode find a seat and pushed him close to the table and was in the process of pouring him a bowl of Fruit Loops.

Rhode was not nearly as appreciative of the service. "No sissy, I want the cimmamim cwunch!"

"Sorry Rhode, you have already chosen. You have to stick with your choice. You can pick the other cereal tomorrow," she informed him.

Yes, this is exactly what I tell my children if they decide post-milk pour that they would rather have a different flavor.

I sat down and poured myself a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats and tried to get comfortable in my chair, when Scarlet appeared beside me and poured my milk for me. Her milk and Rhode's were already poured without a drop lost.

She then directed Rhode to offer our prayer and we enjoyed our meal. I decided to help myself to a second bowl and Scarlet was there moments later to refresh my milk. After dinner, she wiped down the table and helped me clear the dishes so that I could 'sit down and rest my tummy' as quickly as possible.

"Mom, did you like the dinner I made for you?" she asked.

Did I like it? Did I enjoy a moment of being taken care of while feeling down? Have I loved every time she has chosen to pick something up for me or grab something upstairs for me so 'I can rest your tummy'? Am I more proud every day as I realize chores around my house have actually become easier with her help?

Yes, most definitely yes.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Office - Nielsen Version

As some know, Jon left his position at a good construction company after feeling like he had reached his growing potential and ventured out on his own. We saved for a little over a year and then made the big plunge into self employment. There have been some high moments and some low moments but it has definitely been a year to remember.

One of the best high moments has been having him home. After several years of having a 'travel for work husband' and then a 'lengthy commute husband', or there was 'work for three days without sleeping zombie husband' followed by my least favorite, 'works a whole lot of overtime hours without any financial benefit just to get the work done husband', having access to him was an entirely new experience.

It meant we have had a lot of freedom. No vacation days to worry about, no schedule to work around but our own, we liked to call it our early retirement.

Even though the traditional workweek ended, the work didn't. Jon is officially in business for himself and enjoying it for the most part. He describes himself as a "contractor" but is deliberately vague on what that means sometimes. He owns a licensed building contracting company, but he takes advantage of his new freedom through projects doing what he likes best, "Doing Everything." He is somewhat a man of action, and whenever somebody needs something done...well apparently he will make it happen. He told me there were some limits to what he would do, those being 1) that he wouldn't do anything illegal or 2) anything in the sex trade. Not sure if I should be relieved or concerned that those options had to be clarified...

It has also meant we have been very involved with each other's companies. Jon is the best free contractor a girl could ask for and is the only reason I have had any success with my business venture as a dance competition event organizer (also the only reason I haven't already been carted away by the IRS). I pretend I am just as useful to his cause but so far I have occasionally answered the phone and picked up office supplies at Walmart. We balance each other so well.

Sharing an office space has been a challenge, mostly for him. Turns out he is not impressed in general with my computer filing system. He has revamped most of my stuff for me but was absolutely appalled the other day by my messy desktop. It won't be a shocker to most that my desk is messy, but this was my computer desktop. I am not one to care about which files end up there, and it was getting a tad bit full. In fact, there was only room for about three more icons before the screen was full. I knew it was driving Jon crazy, but I was very curious to see what my desktop would do with files after I filled those three spaces.

Well after today I may never know. I hopped onto my computer to find my desktop down to about four folders. They are aptly named:

Stuff that might be useful

Program links that you should have already deleted

Things that JW is sure are just trash and should be deleted now

Recycle Bin (I think he somehow found a way to bold and highlight this one, hoping I would find it more frequently)

While our new lifestyle has brought many great and wonderful changes (for the first time lifestyle is even a consideration), running his own business also comes with a new set of challenges. Jon does a large variety of work that normal employees never have to consider. Some of it doesn’t really sound fun to me. I guess he gets what he deserves when he tells people he can do anything.

Among all of the craziness, I am pretty sure the low of all low moments when running his own business blew up in his face....


Here is his "Don't worry, I got this handled" pose he took on right before scrubbing his face with a scouring pad for two hours. Face is ink free, the hands... not so much.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cruisin' With Children

For those of you who missed the "whole cruise story" with daily blow-by-blow account, and happen to care for whatever reason, you can check that out here.

But I had to take a moment for my more personal vacation experiences, namely what is was like to be the only family member bringing along next generationers. No matter how much help you are promised, every mom knows a vacation with kids is just not going to be all that relaxing. Sporting a quickly growing midsection did not add any fun to the matter, but heck it was still a cruise!

I had two main goals of the trip:

1) Leave Las Vegas with two and a half children, come back to Las Vegas with two and a half children.

Full success! No one lost overboard, no one eaten during our sea lion adventure, and no one intentionally left anywhere for being incredibly irritating (a few close ones there though...)

2) No sunburns.

Shockingly, another success! Minus Jon (who doesn't really count. His skin looks red for like an hour and then he is just tan, it's super unfair) the rest of us, especially the very pale me, made it through the entire week without a single sunburn. My brothers and sisters did not fare nearly as well and I was incredibly proud of my achievement. This seriously might be the first sunny vacation I have gone on that was not proceeded by several days of skin peeling. Yeah, don't miss that.

In a lot of ways, the trip went more smoothly than I had anticipated... but not in every way. In an attempt to end on a positive note, let's start with the glass half empty version.

This version is titled... my son, Rhode.

I shouldn't blame the kid. He is two. He still likes very long naps. Nobody his age should be forced to sit at a restaurant for dinner at 8:15 every evening (seriously, 8:15. Did someone have it out for me or what?) Plus, both of my kids just had life a little more rough because we had to share a small sleeping space with them, including sharing a bed with roller Rhode. Now, I love my kids but I definitely cherish those few quiet hours between them going to bed and me going to bed, everyone in their own spaces. A whole week of losing that break was rough. But even with those excuses...

Dinner was the hardest time of the day. We even fit in a good sized nap every day but it was just too late for him. He spent most evenings here...

right smack dab on my shrinking lap. After a few nights, I commandeered the table in the back corner. Whenever he had had enough, I just sent him to the corner to lay down and take a little rest. It actually worked most of the time!

Rhode is a pretty good eater and did a decent job of it at meals... but even after letting him order whatever he wanted he usually just decided he wanted to eat whatever I got. He also was incredibly disappointed with every meal that didn't end with ice cream. Breakfast usually had some rough exits.

His lowest moment was our last day on ship when I dropped Scarlet and him off to Camp Carnival for an hour. He had been there at the same time for an hour the day before and had a fantastic time. This time... not so much. Supposedly he cried for almost an hour straight. Jon was just hanging in the room but we had changed rooms the first day so the people in charge kept calling Brads room. Brad went to help but they wouldn't let him check Rhode out... it was a mess. By the time I finally got to him, he was pretty miserable.

I asked Scarlet later what was making him so sad. She couldn't really put her finger on it but felt like it started somewhere around hat making time when his kept falling off his head and really hit its climax when "Freddy" the Carnival mascot paid a visit.

"I don't yike Fweddy," Rhode added in his most serious tone.


Thankfully, Rhode did a little bit better on our off shore outings. Of course, for a kid who can run around my house all day, he sure can't walk very far without whining about it. And with the myriad of gullible aunts and uncles, my not very light two year old spent a lot of time being carried.

Notice the frowns? Turns out he still is not a big fan of the ocean. Not even in the safety of mother's arms would he venture even close to the water's edge.

But, the boy from day one of his little life has always like his lounging time. Whether it was chilling on a beach chair...

or enjoying a towel time with grandma.

Heck, he could even get his digging done without leaving his comfy location.

Even while adventuring in Mexico, when the kid is tired, he is tired. But with some well placed beach towels, we made it work no matter the location.

At the taco place in Cabo
or on the boat to Lover's beach. His eyes finally closed all the way seconds after this picture.

He even fit in a rest on the grassy area at the water park in Puerto Vallarta. Sadly that meant both of us missed out on the dolphin adventure. Supposedly, dolphins can tell if a person is pregnant. Don't know if that meant Dori the dolphin was going to be more or less friendly with me... but it would have been interesting to find out!

And, he didn't miss Pepe!

Now onto the glass half full... aka Scarlet.

Scarlet was a dream child. She was happy, super chatty, had whatever dinner table she was seated with usually rolling with hysterics as she came up with all the crazy things that four year olds say. She loved being with her extended family and thought everything we did was so so so exciting.

I think my favorite part was watching her order dinner every evening.
She insisted on having every item on the menu read to her so she could make her decisions. She got the shrimp cocktail almost every evening and then varied between the pasta dishes, the mahi mahi, and the "steak with A sauce (A-1)". She frequently ordered by herself, especially at dessert. "I want the chocolate melting cake and orange ice cream," was her request every evening. It was hilarious.

It was impossible to escape the live music being blasted around the ship. Scarlet was alway up for busting a move, even entertaining the aunts with a chair dance or two.

My second favorite moments with her were watching her discover the ocean. She really hasn't been a big beach fan up until now. But suddenly, it was like she was born a beach baby. She would pull whatever aunt would follow her down to the shore and hop right in. When I finally saw how brave she was being, the life jacket was secured immediately. She would get straight knocked down by a huge wave and come up just laughing and giggling. I would have to force her to take a break for more sunscreen and a swig or two of water. Then she would trade aunts and head straight back down to the shore.

Though I was very impressed, no one was more thrilled by her newfound water love than her "beach bum at heart" dad.

She was incredibly helpful with her little brother. Helper, discipliner, body guard, sunscreen applier...

She even handled the street vendors with panache. After finding the pink necklace of her heart's desire, she negotiated a half price reduction from the first quoted price. After all, she was running low on birthday money. She has loved her purchase.

Probably one of Scarlet's more frustrating moments, other than a few excited nights when she wasn't entirely sure she was ready for bed, was because of these little creations.

She would race back to our room every evening to see which towel creation had magically appeared in our absence. It was adorable, until she started to get attached to them. Like really attached. She wanted them to sleep in her bed with her, or at the very least be set aside nicely as to keep them safe from her brother's rough handling.

By the way, you can't move a towel animal and have it stay a towel animal no matter how hard you try. This led to probably her only true fits of the trip. It really got to the point where I would race ahead of the group, destroy the towel animal, and claim we just didn't get one those last few nights.

There was one day where my cup was overflowing with happiness and that was our day at the water park in Puerto Vallarta. My kids had a fantastic time and it was so fun to watch.

They had the best kid section. It was huge, but the water never got more than 1-2 feet deep. They played there nonstop.

Grandma took over supervising duties for awhile and, since the water slides weren't really an option for me, I took full advantage of my free time.
And after grandma was fed up with the kiddie pool, she talked Scarlet into taking a little more risk...

And really, no matter how crazy a day goes, how can you not cherish a moment like this?

Even after it all, it was definitely a week I will always remember. And yes, they are young but I think this trip will stick with them too. Thank goodness for a well document blog entry to keep the memories alive!