Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oh Shoot!

We've been starting some beginning potty training with Evan. I've been trying to get him to sit down to go pee-pee--after all, his potty comes with the oh-so-effective splash guard built especially for boys. He has been resisting sitting down lately, preferring to stand up and pee in the bathtub instead. Today I realized that he just really likes to see the miracle that is what he considers to be himself making water. I mean, think about it, he absolutely loves water and I guess it probably does seem pretty amazing that he can make water shoot right out of himself on command.

So, I decided to let him practice his aim and try peeing in the potty standing up. He did great. He finished "making water," looked up with me with that look of amazement and quickly signed more. He looked back down at himself only to see a sad little trickle of "water" that landed squarely on the floor. He looked at the puddle and said, "Oh shoot!"

I had to stop myself from laughing and congratulate myself for not saying anything harsher than "oh shoot" around him. I had never really thought about how much I use the expression until today when I realized he'd picked it up just from hearing me say it. I think all in all it has been a pretty "oh shoot" week around our house, so it is no wonder he finally started saying it on his own.

On Sunday I was feeling terrible with the flu, so I think I moaned "oh shoot" each time I reached for some Sprite. On Monday the "oh shoots" continued when I'd get a wave of nausea and sit down. On Tuesday I dropped our VERY HEAVY fire place screen on my foot, resulting in the loudest "oh shoot" Evan has probably ever heard (it also resulted in a pretty good bruise). Yesterday we baked the cake for Evan's birthday dinner*. Evan likes to help with any and all baking and he thought we needed to add some egg shells to the mix. I remember saying, you guessed it, "oh shoot" as I was reaching to stop him. And, today when Evan spilled Cheerios all over the family room floor--yep--another "oh shoot" from me. And these are just the events I remember from this week!

I never knew how much I must say "oh shoot" until Evan muttered it today. Kids really can be a reflection of you. I'm going to have to start paying more attention to those little things I do that I don't even notice. It is frightening!

*Just a little note--Evan's birthday dinner isn't until Saturday, but I like to frost my cakes frozen, so I bake them ahead of time, wrap them in Saran Wrap and pop them in the freezer. I've decided not to do a fancy cake for the dinner. As you can has been a long week. So, I'm going with an eight-inch round white cake with raspberry filling and butter cream icing.

The Flu Revisited

So Bryan's little flu bug last week finally found its way to me this week. All of a sudden I found myself wishing I had been much, much nicer to him. Of course I felt badly for him when he was sick and brought him Sprite, but I now realize I should have taken Evan completely out of the house to let Bryan get a little more peace and quiet. I also realized you never appreciate how often you clean your toilets until your leaning over one. Gross. Bryan and I have both recovered and Evan shows no signs of getting sick, so I guess that must mean his flu shot did the trick!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


For Christmas this year my sister-in-law, Maria, gave Bryan this little "shower guy" that suctions onto the wall and holds a razor. Bryan loved it and as soon as he saw it gave me the razor lecture again...the one I've heard numerous times that goes a little something like this: "Don't use my razor...yada, yada, yada...gets dull...yada, yada, yada...get nicks...yada, yada, yada...don't use my razor, okay?"

Of course I agree. But every so often, I'll find myself in the shower and my razor is no where in sight. This was the case a few days ago. I'm looking around the shower for my razor and then, as if a ray of sunshine were beaming down on it, I see Bryan's razor hanging there in all its glory. I did think twice about using it, but as I was reaching for it I started telling myself I just needed to shave my underarms. How dull could that make the razor?

After I was done shaving, I reached to hang the razor up again. Then it hit me. Blade in or blade out? I couldn't remember. I hung it up both ways to see if it would spark a memory. I see this thing every day so you'd think I'd remember. I took my chances and put the blade out.

Later that morning, Bryan yells from the shower, "Did you use my razor?"

I replied, "It should have been blade in, huh?"

"Yes. Blade in."

At least I'll know for next time! And, he did spare me a repeat of the razor lecture.

The Man Cold

My Aunt Janice left a comment that reminded me of this've probably seen it, but it makes me laugh every time I watch it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reseting the Clock

My poor, sweet husband is as sick as can be right now. As upset as he is that he isn't feeling well, I think he is even more upset that he he can no longer say he hasn't vomited since 2002. While Bryan's vomit-free streak isn't quite as impressive as Jerry Seinfeld's (if you are a Seinfeld fan you'll know exactly what I'm talking about), it is something he is proud of.

Bryan has been working like crazy lately, not coming to bed most nights until 2 a.m., working full days on Saturdays and for several hours on Sundays. I think all of it has caught up to him and he has come down with a bug...he is blaming bad Indian food.

Evan doesn't know quite what to think about it all. This morning when Bryan came out of the bedroom, Evan started laughing and ran to him. Bryan hurried on by and closed the bathroom door behind him. Evan has mastered doorknobs, but he was pretty mortified when he walked in on Bryan throwing up. It took me a good thirty minutes to explain daddy was okay, he was just sick.

Bryan has unrelenting deadlines at work, so he forged ahead and went to the office. He did come home early (Bryan...home at 5:00? I KNOW he must be sick) and is taking a power nap right now. I wish there was something I could do for him. I know absolutely nothing about the work that he does, so I can't be of any help there. (It does remind me, however, of the MBA program when I did a book report for him...I got an A on it and learned a lot about labor unions in the process). I keep trying to force feed him Sprite or chicken noodle soup, but he isn't cooperating.

So, cross your fingers for a speedy recovery and a new vomit-free streak that will last well beyond his seven-year record.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Our Old Soul

From the day Evan was born, Bryan and I could tell he was an old soul. He often reminds me of a sixty-year-old man just sitting back and analyzing the environment around him instead of reacting to it. He is torn by wanting to play with finger paints and keeping his hands clean. If he spots a string dangling from his shirt, he can't stop saying "uh-oh" and pointing it out to us until we cut it off. Bryan learned the hard way that Evan won't be fooled just by tucking the thread inside the sleeve.

Evan's neatness has made it very difficult lately for him to finish the open-faced peanut butter sandwiches he favors. He used to take one bite, sit it down, wipe his hands, take one bite, sit it down, wipe his hands, take one bite, sit it down, wipe his hands. It was painful. Even worse, now he wants me to pick it up and feed it to him so he can keep his hands clean.

All of these little things just reinforce my earlier impression of the old soul that lives in that little guy. But, the latest when I asked Evan if he wanted to watch Elmo, he asked for Clapton instead. As in Eric Clapton.

Bryan formally introduced Evan to Eric Clapton this weekend and my little guy is hooked. I even had to take a Thomas the Train DVD out today so I could put in Crossroads: Eric Clapton Guitar Festival 2007. So far Evan's favorites are Motherless Child and San Francisco Bay Blues. In case your not a fan like my boys, you can check those songs out here.

Do I need any more proof than that?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday. Again???

It seems like I just woke up on Monday morning, but all of a sudden it is Friday again. I am not quite sure how the week passes so quickly. Taking trips to the grocery store, sitting in traffic, running to preschool, doing the dishes, researching stories--it all takes up its fair share. Luckily, so does giving kisses, getting hugs and telling stories. When I think about how this week passed in the blink of an eye, it is no wonder that the past two years have gone by equally as fast.

This week I've started giving serious thought to Evan's second birthday party. I've been feeling a little melancholy that we don't have any grandparents or family close enough just to pop in for the party and celebrate with us. We're going to make up for it by having a little party with Evan's "local grandma" (our neighbor Miss Louise), Miss Louise's daughter and grandson (our extended "local family"), and our good friends from Illinois who live here now and have a daughter close to Evan's age. I think Evan is going to love playing with his two little friends, and I'm having fun thinking about the cake I'm going to make. I know there are only going to be ten people, but I don't get the chance to make fun cakes very often, so I think I'll go ahead and do it. Everyone can take home a doggy bag!

Thinking about how the routine, day-to-day tasks take up the bulk of our time makes it even more important for me to stop and celebrate life's little occasions. A birthday here, a Valentine's Day there--they are the little things that keep me going and give me something fun to look forward to while I'm stuck on the beltway in rush-hour traffic! Oh yeah--that and thinking about how on earth I could make gum paste figures to resemble Evan, Nate and Ava--the guests at the party. I'll keep you posted on that one.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Creative Recycling

I am all for recycling. Not just cans and cardboard, but things in the house, too. Those pajamas I no longer wear--they are tucked away and I can't wait to use the fabric to make lingerie bags for when I travel. And the table that no longer worked in the office? Now it is a toy storage area in the family room.

So, with that in mind, let me bring you the most creative attempt at recycling I've ever seen.

Ladies and gentlemen: The Grace Baptist Church in Price, Utah, which once was none other than a 7-11.

You can still see it, can't you? I haven't ever been inside, but I would love to see what they've done to it. I still can't get over a c-store becoming a church. I marvel at it each time I am visiting my parents and finally had to snap a picture of it. It seems wrong to take a picture of a church just so I could show it to people and say, "Hey, look at this church, it used to be a 7-11." But I did it anyway. I'm not quite sure what that says about my personality.

And, to prove it really is a church, I took a picture of the sign:

Because really...who would believe a 7-11 could be transformed into a church?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Mother Nature gave me a little pat on the back today, giving us temperatures in the 60s. It was the perfect little shot in the arm to reassure me I can make it through five more weeks of winter, assuming Mr. Groundhog was on track with his predictions.

We took the opportunity to do some much needed yard work, which means Evan got to put on his work gloves his Mimi got him a year ago. We spent hours working and Evan's tool of choice was a stick he'd picked up.

We ended up with four garbage cans full of leaves, weeds and sticks that had fallen off our trees all winter. The amazing thing is that under all those weeds, there were tiny little spouts from my bulbs that are as eager for spring to get here as I am. I can't thank those little plants enough for their mercy--I kill most things in our yard, but I seem to do bulbs well. In a fit of pregnancy-induced craziness, I planted over 200 bulbs in the fall of 2006 so Evan would come home to a yard in full bloom. He didn't really seem to care all that much...I probably should have spent more time reading child rearing books than planting, but now it means spring is the yard's time to shine...the one season when it actually looks fairly nice. So, if you're planning to come and visit us, March through May are your best bet!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Candy Coal: In Case You Need a Jumpstart on Christmas 2009

It seems like there were so many Christmas projects I never got a chance to blog about what with all the Christmas projects and all. So, in case anyone wants to plan ahead, here are some little bags of candy coal I made for our family's Christmas Eve dinner this year. My friend Sandy, a master of all things stamped, made the tags and I made the bags out of muslin. My mom and I made the candy coal.

We made two batches, one cinnamon and one licorice. Here are the two pans--as you can tell one is already broken up into the chunks of coal.

We put the candy inside of cellophane bags so it didn't get the muslin bags dirty.

Here is the recipe if anyone wants to try it!
Candy Coal
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup white corn syrup
1 cup water
1 tsp. flavoring
Black food coloring (we used the Wilton food coloring for icing)
Combine sugar, water and corn syrup in small saucepan. Cook on medium high to 300 degrees F. This is called the hard crack stage. It will seem like it takes forever! Try to stir as little as possible or it will crystallize (believe me--I ruined one batch doing this).

Remove from heat and let cool to 280 degrees F. Add the flavoring and food coloring. Stir until blended. Pour into greased pan and let sit for several hours. Drop the pan on the ground to break it into chunks.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Life’s Simple Joys

Every day Evan reminds me that the simplest part of our day can be an adventure. One morning while we were in Nashville, Evan went crazy for the pillows on the bed. We had a king-size bed and the hotel had tons of pillows piled on it. Evan thought the pillows were the most wonderful thing ever. He rolled around in them, hid under them and just enjoyed every square inch of that bed and the pillows that covered it. He especially liked the fact that I was letting him be naked (don’t worry, he did have a diaper on) and that his Mimi (my mom) was there watching him. And to think I hadn’t given that bed a second thought.

Last night as Evan was taking his bath, I looked up at the clock and thought, “Whew--only one more hour until bedtime.” Evan was having so much fun in the bathtub. Watching him just pouring water from one container to another melted my heart. I started thinking that there will probably come a time when I would give anything to go back and have an hour with him at this age. Instead of rushing through the bath, I decided I should enjoy it, too. We sang silly songs, made plenty of animal noises and splashed until I had to get an extra towel out of the closet to wipe up the floor. I think I loved it as much as Evan did.

Last year I was talking with another mom about kids--her kids are much older than Evan is. She told me, “The minutes and the hours can drag on, but the years will fly by.” I’m trying to do a better job of remembering that when I find myself wishing away a certain part of the day. I need to take a lesson from Evan and find the newness and wonder in each situation.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Safety Deposit Box from He_ _

Bryan and I decided that since we are now officially grown ups, we should get a safety deposit box. We packed up Evan on Saturday and headed over to the bank. I wasn’t necessarily dreading it, but the bank we go to (and I think almost any bank around here) always has a long wait and it seems like things just take longer than they should.

We walked into the bank, took our number and sat down on some couches. They finally called our number—whoo hoo! I almost feel like I’ve won the lottery when that happens. We filled out quite a bit of paperwork, handed over our IDs, signed our life away and about 20 minutes later we had a safety deposit box. The woman who had been helping us offered to show us our new box.

We walked into the vault for the big unveiling. She handed us our keys and informed us we were the new proud owners of safety deposit box #666. Yes, 666. I don’t know exactly what 666 means, but I do know it is something to do with the devil. My ALWAYS rational husband stopped in his tracks right there in the vault.

Bryan: “Are you serious? The box is 666?”
Bank Lady: “Yes, sir. Right here, 666.” She points to our new box, which does have the numbers 666 right across the front of it.
Bryan: “I don’t think I like that.”
Me: “Are you serious? Are you uncomfortable with it?”
Bryan: “Yeah—I don’t think I like it.”
Bank Lady: “Why?” [Editor’s note: Bank Lady isn’t originally from the United States and in her country 666 doesn’t mean anything.]
Bryan: “That is the devil number.”
Bank Lady: “What is that?”

Of course neither Bryan nor I could give a detailed explanation of the devil number, so round and round we go. We finally make our way back to her desk to close our account for box number 666 and open a new account for a box somewhere in the 700s. This of course requires the involvement of another man at the bank, also not from the U.S., who tries to convince us that 666 means good luck. Bryan convinces Bank Lady she should Google 666 later. (This prompts Evan to say Google for the first time and makes me wonder what kind of government list this poor lady might end up on).

Bryan is always so rational that the whole thing surprised me a bit. Whenever I fly and I am in row 13, I always figure if the plane goes down, rows 12 and 14 aren’t going to do much better. I think it is probably the same with box number 666. I do have to admit that though that I don’t like to walk under a ladder, open an umbrella inside or cross a black cat’s path. So, I too feel a little more comfortable with a different box. I just never thought Bryan would be the one to request it.

I’m sure our passports will rest much easier.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I've been thinking a lot about choices lately. It all started last week in the Washington Reagan airport as we were making our way to Nashville. Evan decided he wanted to sit down on the floor in the middle of the airport. This wasn't a good choice for several reasons. First, there were crazy travelers with big pieces of luggage rushing around. Second, we hadn't even made our way to security and we were getting a little close on time. And third, well, who knows what kind of germs were lurking on that floor.

I gave Evan two choices--he could walk next to the stroller or he could sit in the stroller and have a snack and play with his cars (Come on--is this really a choice? I would have given my left arm at that point for someone to push me around the airport while allowing me to eat Goldfish Crackers and play with Lightening McQueen). Soon I had to introduce the third choice to Evan--should he not choose the previous two options he would get to be strapped into the stroller. He hates those stupid straps. I'm not sure why the choice was so difficult, but after some casual sitting on the floor, I had to scoop Evan up, arms flailing and strap him in the stroller. The tears started flowing (his, not mine) and tried to retain my calm demeanor the best I could. Evan can put up quite a struggle when he wants to.

After he was strapped in, we hurried to security. He was crying pretty hard and I talked with him about the choices he had made and how he had made a bad choice that led to him being strapped in the stroller. It broke my heart, but it was a necessary evil. I promised him that once we got through security I would give him a chance to make a better choice. He told me he would like that and about 15 minutes later we both lived up to our ends of the bargain. (And, let me tell you, for the rest of the trip when he had an option of walking next to the stroller or riding of his own free will, he was pretty quick to take advantage of one of those choices. At one point he was walking so close to the stroller I was running over his little feet!)

But, all of those lectures on choices have made me re-evaluate some of the choices I make each day. It almost doesn't seem fair that I get to make the not-so-perfect choice and get away with it just because no one is watching. Like today, I had leftover buffalo chicken strips, potato chips and dip for lunch (thank you Superbowl). That was a pretty bad choice. Sometimes I choose to try to work while watching t.v. If only my mom were here to make me turn it off.

There are other choices I make that send the wrong message. Sometimes I go to bed without walking downstairs to say goodnight to Bryan when he is working late simply because those extra 20 steps just seem too tiring. A better choice would at least be yelling goodnight from the top of the stairs.

Every so often I do make some good choices. This weekend I had an e-mail from a mom who got my name off the parent resource list provided by the Vascular Birthmark Foundation. Her little girl has a hemangioma similar to Evan's. Talking with her reminded me of what a confusing and scary time that was in our lives and made me happy I had decided to list my name on the VBF's Web site. It also reminded me that having Evan's hemangioma removed was the absolute best choice for our family.

Choosing to go freelance was also one of the best choices I've ever made. I've been lucky enough to have steady work and spend more time with Evan. I'm also glad I chose to marry a CPA since it seems like I get a new 1099 each day. Oh--and speaking of choosing to marry a CPA, I do have to say that marrying Bryan was a very good choice!