Monday, March 21, 2011

This is why it’s fun to have a boy

I know I write a lot about Paul giving me a difficult time.  And he does.  But he sure is fun when he decides to be good.  And he’s been very good lately.  I’m really hoping it was just a phase we were going through.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

The other night Aaron called me into Paul’s room and said, “See.  This is why it’s great to have a boy.”

Check it out:


Blue Batman riding a dragon and wielding a scepter.  Black Batman and Robin have obviously lost the fight.  Dragons are apparently superior to Batcars.  There’s a lesson in that.


Closer shot of the dragon-rider.  I might have to frame this one and put it in his room. 

I love my boy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Soccer Season

When we asked Paul what activities he wanted to do, he told us t-ball or soccer.  After looking around, I found a Saturday-only soccer league and signed him up.  We’ve really enjoyed it so far.  They have four practices and then games for the rest of the season.  They also offer skills classes and conditioning during the week, but we figured that at this age once a week was plenty.

We finished our last practice yesterday, and I actually remembered to bring the camera.  Paul cracks me up when he’s playing.  His team is 4-5 years old, and since he’s shorter for four anyway, he’s the midget on the team.  This would make him slower as it is, but he gets so caught up in watching his feet as he runs that he frequently heads off in a completely different direction from where he should be going.  The hair cracks me up as well.  It’s so ridiculously long.  I really am going to cut it.  And the tongue.  Oh the tongue!!  I’m afraid he gets that from both sides of the family.  Aaron makes the funniest faces and does the oddest things with his tongue when he’s concentrating, and my dad is known for sticking out his tongue when he’s playing sports or thinking hard.  I guess it’s a sign of good brains, since those two are the two smartest people I know.

What he lacks in speed and skill (up until this point, he was only vaguely familiar with the concept of a soccer ball), he makes up for in aggression.  He definitely doesn’t shy away from getting in there and going after the ball, even if the other kid is a head taller than he is.  That is, he’s aggressive when he’s not following the coach around begging to be the goalie.  That’s his absolute favorite.  I think it’s because he doesn’t have to run nearly as much.  He wouldn’t be my son if he didn’t try to figure out the easy way of doing (or avoiding) anything remotely difficult.



Hasn’t quite figured out how to make the foot connect with the ball consistently.  Don’t worry, we bought him a ball to practice with.  Good thing we put in a big yard!




Obviously thinking hard, since the tongue is out big time.


Stop watching your feet, Paul!


Much better.  And that hair just kept getting crazier and crazier.


Yay!  Finally goalie!


Friday, March 18, 2011

10 Things

1.  Paul and Katie managed to collaborate and sew Paul’s finger on my sewing machine.  Don’t ask my why; I’ve had my sewing machine out for years and they never touched it.  It appears that Katie worked the pedal while Paul obligingly held his finger under the needle.  Fortunately it didn’t go through the nail bed, which I’ve seen happen before.  But it did bleed a lot and it looks quite painful.  Kids…

2.  It’s a good thing we’re having another baby (can you believe I’m saying that after #1?) because Averi would be spoiled ROTTEN.  She’s adorable.  Seriously, this girl has me wrapped around her finger.  Even her temper tantrums are adorable.

3.  Again with me being a wonderful, observant mother: while we were on a field trip to the Natural History Museum for Paul’s preschool, Averi got lost.  I didn’t even know she was missing until the security guard approached our group wondering if there was a little girl with a pink jacket that should be with us.  Um, yes.  That would be my daughter.  Fortunately, she wasn’t even upset.  She was too busy charming all the security guards, who were taking turns holding her.  They even gave her a largish, pink stuffed unicorn to take home with her.  She’s definitely going to get lost again the next time we go if she has her way!  The nicest part was that they were so nice to me about it.  Sometimes people can get so self-righteous and condescending about things like losing your child and not even realizing it for who knows how long… (Maybe we do have too many kids.)

4.  Averi calls her new unicorn “hoonitorn.”  See, adorable.

5.  I sewed Katie a new summer dress this week and she looks so cute in it.  It’s so hard to find little girl clothes that actually look like they were made for little girls and not skanky teenagers.  I’ll get a picture up of it soon, but I’m planning on making a coordinating one for Averi if I can figure out how to adjust the measurements correctly.

6.  I’ve been sewing up a storm all of a sudden.  But it’s all been stuff for little girls.  There just aren’t as many cute things out there for boys Paul’s age.  Link me up if you have any fabulous ideas of things to make for him.  What he really wants is for me to make him a storm trooper costume.  Um, not going to happen.  Could he pick anything more difficult and…plastic?

7.  I’ve been desperate for chocolate cake lately.  Seriously.  Ask my husband.  I whine about it every night.  I should just make one, but then I feel compelled to eat the entire cake because it will go bad if I don’t.  And it needs to be a nice, gooey, frostingy cake (yes, frostingy is a word).

8.  Another bad mom moment: we didn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  At all.  I didn’t even tell them it was St. Patrick’s Day.  No leprechaun traps, no green eggs, no dye in the toilet, no rainbow crafts, nothing.  We worked and played in the yard and cleaned house all day on March 17.  At the very least I could have bought them Lucky Charms to eat for breakfast.

9.  There was a reason we cleaned house most of the day on Thursday.  If you ever need to be convinced that my life is anything but “together,” you should have seen the state of my kitchen on Thursday.  Oh my word.  It was disgusting.  And the rest of the house wasn’t that much better.  We may not have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, but the house smelled like a pub.  We had deep-fried chicken strips for dinner the night before (Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Tenders recipe: soooo delicious!) and that smell lingers for a LONG time.  Of course I had offered to host a craft night that evening, and desperate times call for desperate measures…like cleaning.  That’s the reason I host get-togethers.  It forces me to clean.  There are times when I’m glad we live away from family and my mother can’t just drop by.  I think she’d be devastated 90% of the time by the state of my house.  She’s the most amazing housekeeper ever.  And I’m just not.  I want to be.  I really do.  The mess drives me crazy.  But I don’t want it enough to actually do something about it most of the time.  I’d rather do something fun.  But I really do love it when it’s clean.  It just doesn’t happen very often.

10.  We find out if we’re having a girl or boy in less than three weeks!  So start your guessing now!  Aaron and I are both thinking girl.  Of course, that might be wishful thinking on both of our parts, since having a boy has come close to driving me insane.  I adore Paul, but I think he’s about 3 boys rolled into one.  So three girls should just about balance him out.  But if we had a boy, it would even up the teams nicely for the entire family, since Heather is having a girl in April.  Yay for cousins!!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Oh dear…

Found Averi this morning with a jar of chocolate chips, systematically putting them in her mouth and then spitting them back in the jar.  Needless to say, the entire jar had to go and I’m having to re-evaluate whether or not things are actually out of her reach.  She’s figured out the magic of stools…

We told Paul that we’d pay him 10 cents for each dry Pull-up.  We figured that this would be a pretty good ROI, since Pull-ups certainly cost more than that.  Today he brought me a Pull-up and declared, “Mom!  My Pull-up is dry!  I need a dime!”  I went to reach for the dimes, and then I thought I’d better check to make sure that the Pull-up was actually dry.  It was—because it was a brand new Pull-up.  Stinker.  He gave me some story about how he had folded it, and that’s why it looked like that.  Uh huh.  Sure.  He left without the dime.  Apparently he hasn’t learned the lesson about his integrity being worth more than 10 cents.  Fortunately it’s Family Home Evening tonight…

And for additional glimpses into our lives:

Valentines Day

Cheeky Little Monkeys

Field Trip

First Rollercoaster Ride

Kissy Face

Sledding Fun

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My girl Katie is wicked smaht

The three kids were taking a bath this evening, and Katie called us in to see the braid she had made.  Of course we’re thinking, “Let’s see the hair she’s twisted together…”  But then we looked.  And it was really a braid.  So we asked her to take it apart and show us how she did it.  And she executed a perfect braid.  Multiple times.  Here’s the scary thing: I’VE NEVER TAUGHT HER HOW TO BRAID.  Ever.  She learned how just by watching, and once she asked me how I did it, and I described it.  Guys, she’s FIVE YEARS OLD!!!  I have no idea how old I was when I learned how to braid, but I know for sure that it took A LOT of practice time with my mom.  And here she is, performing it with the perfect hand motions and everything with merely a single verbal description of how it’s done and some observation.  Aaron wonders if his braids are even that good. 

Does anyone else have kids that are scary smart? 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dream Homes

I’ve decided that I’m in love with this floor plan. Not that you’d ever find an affordable lot in ABQ to build this on, and of course you would never have a sweeping lawn with huge mature trees here, but there’s always wishful thinking, right?

It’s not ridiculously big (5 bedrooms, 4 baths and 3437 square feet), but definitely as big as we would ever need. And I love the layout.

Main level

Upper level

It’s got what we really want: 5 bedrooms, a play room, master bedroom separated from kid bedrooms, a laundry room, three-car garage not facing the street, a fabulous deck, brick and way more. And of course it would be built on a incredible, large, woodsy lot with beautiful landscaping. And a pool. If we’re dreaming, we’re definitely going to be having a pool. And maid service. And grandparents close by. And oodles of cousins to fill up the playroom.

What’s in your dream house?

And now for the girls…

I love having girls that play together.  And I firmly believe that dress-ups are probably the best “toy” investment that you will ever make. 


The Lioness


Bette Midler


What would happen if The Little Mermaid took place on the Malabar coast


She’s so stinkin’ adorable.  I just want to squeeze her!


Following posing advice from her sister.  Nice try, but no cigar.


No idea what’s going on here.  But it’s cute, whatever it is.


How can you resist smothering her with kisses?  I can’t.

A note on Paul for today…

The Bad News: The tantrums began early today.  At 1:30, to be precise.  And no one, not even Paul, knows what precipitated it. 

The Good News: It was diffused in 15 minutes instead of our standard 2-3 hours.  Of course, this was not without some bad behavior on my part, but once I counted to 20 (this is supposed to be Paul’s calming technique, but it worked much better for me than for him), we were able to get things settled by just cuddling together until he calmed down.

Please tell me I can make it through this stage.  And remind me why we decided to do this AGAIN…

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Jekyll and Hyde

Does anyone else have a Jekyll and Hyde child?  I have one.  Lately, Paul has decided that once 5:30 or 6:00 hits, he’s going to turn into a hellion.  Anything anyone says sets him off.  “Hey, Paul, can you go wash your hands for dinner?” is followed by screaming, kicking, hitting, and general unpleasantness.  It lasts until he goes to bed, and by that time I’m usually so frazzled that I break down into tears the moment the door is shut (frequently earlier). 

It’s so very odd, since he’s a gem in the mornings.  Seriously, that kid is insanely cheerful in the mornings.  And he’s generally quite cheerful throughout the day.  Sure, he has his moments, but no more frequently than my girls.  But then the witching hour hits, and he’s a monster.  He gets a bee in a bonnet and there’s no getting it out.  Once he starts, he really cannot stop.  He’s beyond all reason at that point.  We’ve tried every punishment available, and nothing gets through to him.  It just gives him something more to fight against.  We’ve tried ignoring him and leaving the room, but he follows us around and starts screaming and hitting you to get attention.  And when you’ve got dinner on the stove that needs to be watched, it’s impossible to remove yourself from the situation. 

We’ve realized that he needs a technique for controlling his temper before it gets to this stage, so we had a long talk with him last night about the importance of controlling your temper and taught (or tried to teach) the principle of consequences.  He really doesn’t want to be bad.  He certainly doesn’t like the consequences of acting this way.  But once he loses control, he forgets about any consequences or no longer cares. 

This evening was the first in a week where we haven’t had a massive meltdown.  And he was so proud of himself!  As soon as Aaron came home, he ran up to him and said, “Dad, I had a really great day today!”  I know that this isn’t the end, but it is so relieving to know that Hyde doesn’t have to appear.  It’s relaxing to have an evening where I haven’t ended the day with sobbing because I’m so frazzled and tired and frustrated.  And it’s amazing how much energy you have and how much you can accomplish when you’re not battling a four-year-old for three solid hours!

Every morning when Paul is pleasant to be around I have to remind myself how much I love him and how much fun he is to be around when he chooses to be nice.  It makes the bad times a teeny tiny bit easier to manage.  Here’s hoping this phase is a short one so we can get back to the business of liking each other again!








Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Today we went to Sweet Tomatoes.  It was a Tuesday.  Shouldn’t be too busy, right?  WRONG.  It was INSANE.  I don’t think I’ve ever been in a more noisy restaurant.  We’ve got 5 people eating meals now, so booths are a bit tight.  And there weren’t any available anyway.  So on the far side of the restaurant there was a table open.  It wasn’t too bad when we sat down.  There was one group of moms with a gaggle of kid (almost definitely Mormon; one lady had a total Utah haircut), but they were in the corner.  Then within minutes of our sitting down, the already crowded restaurant swelled.  Apparently a soccer team decided to have a team dinner at Sweet Tomatoes tonight.  And we were surrounded.

Now, I’ve been in noisy situations with lots of kids before.  Anyone who’s been in our ward understands this.  But this was unreal.  The kids were loud.  And ravenous.  But the adults were even louder.  These were obviously parents who were used to yelling at people across a soccer field.  And for some reason they thought this was appropriate behavior for a restaurant.  Granted, Sweet Tomatoes is not a fancy place.  It’s very kid-friendly, which is why we go there more than any other restaurant.  But we did pay for our meals, and they were creating a down-right unpleasant environment.  I could VERY clearly hear a conversation that was happening two tables away, yet my own kids sitting next to me had to shout to be heard.

“Mom, can I have some macaroni?”

I don’t even hear them this first time, so the request is made at a louder volume.

Mom, can I have some macaroni?”



After my brain filters this information past all the extraneous and unwanted input it’s receiving, I answer.  “Sure.”



And so it went all evening.  The food on the buffets was gobbled faster than the employees could put it out, and they were certainly working their tails off.  It got to the point that anytime I saw something decent on the table I would run and grab two of them, since it would be gone in 30 seconds and that’s when my kids would ask for that particular thing.  I think that this was one of the more stressful dinners I’ve ever had.  And my kids were good!  I don’t know about anyone else, but at about 5:30 noise starts to get to me.  I can tolerate it all day (which is a good thing, since Paul can be LOUD).  But then 5:30 hits and I’ve reached my limit.  I start to twitch (mostly internally) and then it makes me start to freak out.  And I was very close to having a nervous breakdown in public from all that noise.

So I have some general guidelines for those that might encounter or cause a similar situation.

1.  Think very, VERY hard about taking an entire soccer team of 9-year-old boys, their parents, and all their siblings to dinner at a restaurant.  An acceptable noise-level on the soccer field is absolutely unbearable in an enclosed building.

2.  If you do attend such an event (soccer or any other gathering), control your children.  The adults congregated at two tables and completely ignored all the kids.  They were left to run amok without any parental intervention.  And they NEEDED intervention.  I frequently heard, “I’ve had four desserts and seven slices of pizza and NO VEGETABLES!  YES!!”  So that’s why there was no pizza and the ice cream was out of the machine.  If you don’t care what your kids eat, whatever.  No big deal at all.  But teach moderation and CONTROL THE CHAOS!

3.  Teach your child how to wait in line and proper manners.  I wanted to smack some of the kids that just ran right in front of me to grab something with their bare hands, knocking over my four-year-old in the process.

4.  Remember that you’re not in your own home.  This is a public place that people have paid to be at.  Shouting at someone three tables away IS NOT OKAY!

5.  Apologize to anyone around you.  Isn’t this general courtesy?  I try to let the people around me know that I’m sorry if my kids have acted up in a restaurant.  It really goes a long way towards soothing bad feelings.  This group acted like they were in someone’s kitchen and were completely oblivious to all others.

6.  If you’re one of the other patrons, MOVE AWAY.  I saw some open tables and was tempted to move, but I didn’t want to be rude and cause a scene.  I now realize that was a big mistake.  Like anyone would notice us moving in that mayhem.

Sorry for the rant.  I know that my kids are not angel children.  We’ve certainly been in our share of loud and embarrassing situations that have been caused by one (or more) of my offspring.  And I’m sure I’ve been guilty of forgetting my manners when it was convenient.  But, as I’ve said before, this was ridiculous.  I needed to vent.