Monday, January 31, 2011

Turns out, I was the only one who was nervous.

Breckin doesn't like new things.  He gets nervous and doesn't want to try and doesn't like it when he's not good at something.  I've learned over the years how to approach Breckin to get him to do new stuff.  We used to tell him about it weeks in advnace in hopes of preparing him for a new activity like soccer or Tball.  He'd build up anxiety the whole time and freak out in the car on the way.  Not good.  Then, we'd try just going to something and he'd figure out that it's a new thing and freak out in front of everyone.  Also not good.  We'd do a combination of those and warn him a few days in advance then not really bring it up again til it was time and he'd panic in the car all the way and freak out while trying to participate.  Not good.

Needless to say, I was a little nervous about how swim lessons would go.  He's been in pools but always with an inner tube or one of us holding him or in such shallow water that he could touch and walk easily.  He likes that kind of swimming.  We've mentioned swim lessons before and he was adamant that he did not need them and he was not interested in doing them.  Ever.

So, I signed him up about a month ago for our local high school pool's swim classes cause Mommy and Daddy really want to go to Great Wolf Lodge and ride the water slides and dang it, he's going to like it, too.  I didn't tell him about it.  In fact, I didn't mention anything about it until Saturday when I casually said "Hey, Breck.  I think there's a pool close by.  Should we go swimming on Monday after school?"  "You bet!" he says.  And that was it.

Until the car ride.  On the way I said "Oh, buddy.  Sometimes at these pools they have a special swim time where the mommies don't get in and you get in with a teacher or something and play some games."  He didn't buy it.  "I do not want to go during those times."  I said "well, let's just see what the scoop is and we'll do whatever the rules at the pool are."  I lightened the mood by suggesting weird things like some of the characters from his tv shows might be there or wouldn't it be weird if his pool teacher was his school teacher or what if he saw kids from his class there.  He liked those ideas and dropped it for a few minutes.  His tone was getting a little frantic each time he spoke, though, and said he did not want to swim like that- he just wanted to play in a floatie.  I said he sounded nervous and it was ok to be nervous because maybe there are other kids there who are nervous, too, and needed a boy to be brave and show them how to have fun in a pool. 

Then, blink.  He was a different kid.  The showers in the locker room were hilarious.  The pool water was the best thing he'd smelled.  He couldn't wait to get in the water and when his teacher called his name, he marched right down the kids' stairs and followed along like a pro.  I have no idea what happened but he played simon says, dipped his face in the water, practiced holding on to the edge and pushing off with his feet, tried to float on his back, and made great alligator arms.  I was blown away.  For the last thirty days, I've been sweating swim lessons and thinking of things to say when he's breaking down on the side of the pool and fighting me to get outta there.  He was laughing and didn't mind getting splashed and jumped off the side into the water when it was his turn.  He said it was the most fun thing he'd done in forever and can not wait til Wednesday.  We still can't call it swim lessons cause he does not want to take swim lessons.  But, "swim time" is just fine with him.  And, Mommy can't wait til it's Great Wolf Lodge time.

Ella's First Piggy Tails.

Her hair is finally long enough in the back and yet not long enough to capture the front.  Yep.  That's a mullet.

So it's not so straight in the back but they got installed while she was flipping her head around as fast as she could to prevent me from doing whatever I was doing.  And, they fell out in the car about an hour later.  But, she didn't really bother them too much which gives me hope that she won't have hair in her eyes forever.

Friday, January 28, 2011

You LIED Mr. Pool.

I was so excited about our day out at the park that I paid close attention to Steve Pool the weather man on the 11 o'clock news to see when I could ruin us again soon.  What's that?  Thursday will be sunny and close to 60?  Lovely!  It's a perfect time to grab a quick lunch at mickey d's and drive North to Bellevue and hit a place we haven't been in ages.  I don't think Ella's ever been and Breckin couldn't remember it at all.  And that kid remembers everything.  I wasn't sure if the animals would be out cause, after all, it was January but we brought our heavy jackets (lesson learned from yesterday) and arrived at Kelsey Creek Farm shortly after 1 pm.  It was overcast and 45.  Degrees.  Not sunny OR 60.  In fact it was downright cold.  I had two jackets on and thank goodness I have random snow hats in my car cause I drive around prepared like that. 

Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment or my memory is so bad that I forget how wrecked we were the day before.  Cause we really just did the same thing to ourselves all over again.  But, man, it was fun.  Breckin chased the ducks.  We swang and climbed through mazes and played in a little house and see sawed at the park.  Ella mooed at the cows.  Breckin pointed out the rabbit poop.  The pig oinked at all of us.  We walked up and down and up and down the hills between animal fields and Breckin asked if he could run down and back up the hill one more time before we left the cow pasture.  Sure, why not?  No, buddy, you can't get good exercise and run up a hill..... I don't think so.  Run away, kiddo, run away.  Ella said moo to the cows, neigh to the horses, baa to the sheep, and sniffed at the rabbits.  She was a farm expert.  The highlight of the day according to Breckin?  A small amphitheater with a basic stage and some metal benches in the side of a hill.  He put on a show for us then we put on a show together for the horses then Ella got frustrated with the woodchips on the stage and tried to take them all off carefully.  She may or may not have tried to eat some.

It was 3:00.  Hmm.  Do we see if we can pick up Daddy from work early?  Fat chance since he was hoping to work late and have us come get him so he could skip the vanpool.  I needed to go to PinkBella cupcakes anyway and scope them out for an upcoming baby shower...  Do the kids have it in them to eat a cupcake and hang out at the boats?  Could we make it last until it was time for Daddy to really leave work and he could just ride with us?  Oh why the hell not.  I love exhausted demon children at dinner time.  I mean, I must.  Why else would I run them ragged and feed them straight sugar. 

Cupcakes.  Check.  (and AWEsome, by the way!  Mmmmm coconut.)  Play at the boats.  Check.  Peek at the See Kai Run shoes at Bump cause I still have a $35 gift card that I can never seem to spend.  Check.  Quick $8 detour through Lego store to give Daddy ten more minutes at work.  Check.  Drive home with maniac screaming Ella who doesn't want her binkie but wants her binkie and jabberjaws Breckin who wants to talk about his amazing day.  Check.  Have all intentions in the world to make a quick dinner- even if it's cereal but give in to the idea of Taco Bell/KFC when it starts to take an hour to get home.  Check. 

Crazy ass day #2 done and Friday will consist of tucking ourselves in at home, playing board games, finishing the laundry I started on Tuesday, and chilling out.  And not complaining about the rainy day. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oh, fresh air. We missed you.

Seriously?  We went to the park for a little over two hours today and it WRECKED us.  It was sunny after 1 pm for the first time since last fall.  And it was over 45 degrees.  And Ella woke up early which means she napped early which means she was awake by 1:30 pm which means we'd have enough time to spend at the park before it gets dark at 4 pm.  See, there are a lot of factors that have to happen just so in order for us to hit the park on a weekday.  If Ella sleeps in past 8:00, she doesn't go down for a nap until after lunch.  And that lands us at home base until she wakes up.  If she gets the early nap and goes down for the count at 11 am or earlier, we have all afternoon.  But, it's Seattle.  And if the sun comes out in the AM, you can be sure it'll be gone and overcast with scattered showers in the PM.  We can never get all factors to line up- PM sun, Ella's early nap, no other prior engagements, temps above frozen fingers- in the winter.  Until today.  And HoLy CoW did it wreck us. 

We drove to the Pirate Park (not it's actual name but the name given by Breckin therefore it shall always be called that) around 1:45.  Lightweight coats cause we almost got sunburnt walking home from the bus.  Yeah, we're pasty like that.  Breckin pushed his cheetah button on his jacket and ran full speed to the swings.  You'd have to know him to know that 1) I'm not kidding about that and b) The buttons change daily. 

We did some of this

And a little of this

And Breckin taught Ella how to slide like this

And Ella wore her sassy pants like this

And said very grown up things like No No and Rawr and Bye Bye.  And the most important thing?  She left her shoes and socks on!!!  For the first time in her life, she didn't rip her shoes and/or socks off the minute she could reach her feet.  Yay Ella! 

You'll just have to check the photos tab to see the rest otherwise this blog could go on forever.  We played pooh sticks.  Google it.  We danced on a tree stump.  We made a very small tree fort and all fit inside.  We chased birds.  We swang and swung and swinged.  For an hour and fifteen minutes we swinged.  We went down slides and up slides and fell in the wet woodchips and ate them.  We froze our fingers and necks cause it turns out the park which is in the woody area is shaded and therefore not sunburn status like our front porch and our lightweight jackets and no gloves was a bad idea but we didn't care for two hours cause we were breathing fresh air DAMMIT.

And now?  Now we are wrecked.  Ella was out like a trout by 7:30 and I fell asleep with her in the rocker while she was chowing on her milk.  Breckin is a disaster.  He was SOOO good at the park and left nicely and used great words and was nice to all the kids and now his daddy is getting the brunt of that.  He fell apart when his sister took his green plastic sunglasses out of his drawer.  He crumpled on the floor when he found out it was hair wash night.  He had a slight meltdown when his bandaid fell off and he discovered wrinkly bandaid skin on his finger and it felt different and he doesn't like different.  He is wrecked with a capital WRECK.  But DAMMIT we got fresh air.  And it felt SO NICE.

Friday, January 21, 2011

13 Months, 25 days, 2 Hours, and 13 Minutes.

That's how long it took Big Brother Breckin to teach Baby Girl Ella how to say No No and take her toy back from the clutches of evil.  I mean, her brother.  He's done it since the day after she was born.  He let her have one day in the hospital to learn to breathe real air but I'm pretty sure- although most of the first few days are a blur- that he reclaimed at least one thing from her bassinet that he deemed as his.  Oh yes, the pink pony given to her by some Emerald Downs coworkers became his as soon as he saw that she had two pink ponies and she surely didn't need both.  It was a smooth "Thank you Ella.  I'll have that since you don't even know how to play with toys yet."  Which transitioned to "Thank you, Ella.  I'll take that since you're a baby and can't have little toys yet."  And, finally to "No No, Ella.  That's mine and you can't play with it." 

Did we sit idly by and let him assert his dominance?  Heck no.  We've been calmly walking him through sharing with his sister or if he really feels the need to take something from her, he needs to already have an age appropriate toy in hand to exchange with her.  It's hard to differentiate the difference, however, that we encourage him to take away some small legos or the dog toys but it's okay for her to play with stuffed animals.  Even if those stuffed animals are found in his room.  Are they going to hurt her or could she choke?  No?  Then it's ok for her to play with.  Even if they aren't technically hers.  It's an ongoing and tough lesson to learn.  He does the best he can.

Well, today turnabout was fair play.  Both kids were playing well in the living room.  She had only smacked him in the head with a weeble once and he only snatched a geo train away without a ready trade once.  They were laughing about something and she had already recovered from the hiccups after the hilarity that is Breckin shaking his head super fast.  He was lounging on the dump island (the coffee table sized ottoman that got it's name from when Breckin was 2 and would get dumped like a sack of potatoes from his Daddy's shoulder) and happened to be on top of Ella's pillow pet.  She caught site of it, waltzed over to him, reached her hand out sideways and said "No No." 

I said "Buddy, I think Ella would like to have her pillow pet back.  I don't think she wants you to lay on it."

Finally, Ella spoke his language cause he got up, handed it to her, said "Oh, I'm sorry Ella.  I know that's a special toy to you."

She grabbed it like a woman in Kleinfeld's and motored across the living room where she put it on the floor and rolled around on top of it lovingly.  She loves her pillow pet, sure, but I think she is asserting her right to her toys just as she's been taught by her smarty pants big brother.  Thanks, Breck.  Good first lesson.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy MLK Day!

Leave it to a day off of school to bring me out of my blogging funk.  Good ol' Breckin and Ella have me in stitches from the time they wake up til they are fighting going to sleep.  It's one of those holidays that polarzies employees.  Not everyone gets the day off- though they should cause Dr King was a pretty important guy- so those that do have an extra weekend night and those that don't are a little extra scowly on Monday.  School is definitely out cause the Murphy's Law of public school is If There Is Any Reason To Stay Home, We Will Take It.  But, Dustin had to get to work.  What's a better way to break up a cold, rainy day stuck in the house than going to visit Daddy for lunch?!?!?! 

It used to be kind of easy.  Sometimes we'd pack a pail and eat in his common area.  Sometimes we'd pick him up and have a nice lunch out at Red Robin at the mall.  Sometimes we'd be his lunch meeting between two other meetings and make it a quick fill up at Jimmy Johns.  This time, it was a nice combo.  Breckin, Ella, and I grabbed said Jimmy Johns and took it up to the common area.  After all, a trip to Daddy's office is not complete without stalking Drew.  That sandwich shop is ALWAYS busy and they move fast.  You have to be on your game to order there.  There's no browsing over the veggies like at Subway.  Those guys are moving and you just might get kicked out if you aren't ready when it's your turn.  Breckin won't eat lunch meat and Ella can't chew raw veggies yet so their orders are easy- The Veggie and a Ham and Cheese Slim.  I'm preset with D's order- Lulu, extra tomatoes.  I didn't really think about mine so I ordered the only sandwich I've ever ordered there cause I was too afraid to look around the menu and panicked when it was my turn and blurted out Beach Club for fear of not getting a sandwich at all.  It turns out it doesn't matter if my son is dancing and swinging around like a hooligan at a place like that cause he really just blends right in.  So, I let him get some wiggles out while we waited the 5.2 nanoseconds it takes them to get the food ready and we hightailed it over to the big, black skyscraper of Breckin's dreams.  He LOVES that place.  He loves the lobby with the orange chairs and the revolving door and the giant yellow airplane that greets you and watching Daddy use his top secret agent badge to make the elevator work and the nerf gun proudly on display in the elevator lobby on floor 12. 

We are greeted instantly by a table of D's coworkers who know everything about us and us nothing about them.  I know my familiar faces and everyone in the building knows the moment that Drew is spotted.  He's the big celebrity there.  After all, he does have a velcro dart board and nerf guns at his desk.  And, he and Breckin go way back.  Breckin tries to act all cool and slap him high five and say big kid things like "what's up, Drew?" but internally he's acting like he's in front of Robert Pattinson.  He just wants to hang out with Drew so bad and go to his desk to play darts and see all of his toys and shoot the nerf gun.  He talks about Drew for days before we go to the office and days after we've come home.  In fact, on the ride home he wondered if Drew would come over for a playdate and make his own kinectimal.  Kids can sense other kids disguised as grown ups.

Breckin knows his way around so he got us some drinks from the fridge, checked up on the things he can see from the window, and patted the glass buddha statue's belly as part of his I'm Here ritual.  Ella is being ok until she sees the sandwich bags and lets us know she is ready to eat.  She has a bad habit of shrieking like Ellen Degeneres does to her audience and points sideways at her food until someone has torn Ella-approved pieces up for her to frantically stuff in her mouth like she hasn't eaten in days.  And, Breckin eats half standing up for fear that he might be able to sit down for longer than 12 seconds and it would ruin his entire crazy man game.  He talks loudly in general and chats with anyone in earshot so between Mr. Wigglypants, loud kid voice, shrieking baby, and fully distracting more people than we should have, I don't think we'll be back for lunch with Daddy anytime soon.  We made D late to a meeting and Breckin got stuck in the revolving door on the way to the car.  It was a good way to get the kids out of the house on a dreary day but we'll probably just stick with a mall playland or the McDonald's slide from now on.  Sorry, hon.  Tell your coworkers we apologize for disrupting their work space and making you late for your meeting.  And, of course, tell Drew that Breckin says HI.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Holy Photos Batman!

My compact flash card just vomited all over my picasa web albums over there on the right.  I think there's 60 something new pics in the winter 2010 album.  Here are the topics, in no apparent order and probably is an incomplete list.

  • Gingerbread house making and slumber party in Gig Harbor
  • Kinect playing
  • The 276th Street Gang's gift exchange
  • Christmas Eve at Grandma and Bapa's
  • Ella's first solo mission.  Walking, I mean.
  • My kids entertaining each other through a glass window.
  • Cookie decorating
Don't have time to scroll through all of them?  Here's my favs.

Ella says "I hate opening presents.  I hate it. I will scream and cry and try to get away.  Debbie, you are so mean for making me open  Oooooo Look!  Teddy Bears!"

It's not that the cookie decorating was so important or really any sort of momentous occasion.  I think it took less than fifteen minutes, really, cause dumping them and running away was the theme.  But, Breckin's faces back there kill me.  He must have been on a sugar high.

These are timeless.  My handsome father and my train obsessed little boy checkin out his new "real deal model train set" as Breckin says.  And, our Christmas present from Ella was stepping confidently.  She makes it across the kitchen or down the hall before stumbling.  I would say she's walking.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I am exhausted.  Last night was one of the best New Year's Eve nights I've had in a long time.  Dustin and I got to get away to fabulous Everett (hey, it's the journey- not the destination) for a long lost friend's wedding.  We loaned our kids out to my parents' for the night.  And by night, I mean noon on Friday.  What?  We had to beat the crowds at the casino and outlet mall in nearby Tulalip.  And it's a good thing we did cause I sat down at some random Panda Pagoda (who the hell's ever heard of that?!??!) penny slot machine, hit the button a few times, and bust out three pagodas worth 23,000 CREDITS!   I look away from my machine for a minute and glance back to see 23,185 credits on my screen.  I'm like "Hon, wait.  How much is 23000 credits?"  Twenty three bucks?  What?  230 bucks?  Sah- Weet!!!

Backup.  That didn't happen until after shopping.  Mo, Maggie, and I- after Bobby was rescued from the clutches of Claire's- milled around the outlet mall in no apparent direction.  We wandered in and out of shops mostly to escape the bitter cold of the outdoor hallways.  I got a super cute, bright ass pink, Kate Spade purse that will only be used on Mommy's night out events cause it's not big enough for one diaper.  On sale for 30% off then another 40% off.  Hells yeah.  Dustin and Bobby, not to be bothered by droves of women, went to more manly stores like Ralph Lauren and Nike.  You know what I say?  Uh huh.  They still shopped.  On their own accord.  And bought shirts.  Manly style.

Mags got some kick ass bling for later.  Mo got a Wilma Flintstone on crack necklace set.  We all ate HORRIBLE food that rounded out to $9 french fries cause the actual items that came with them were Army food rejects.  Who cares.  On to gambling and the 4 pm buffet.  We played the cheapest slots with the most freebie games we could find.  The boys played manlier table games.  Done.  Eat first, vip and HolyHellThatBartenderIsTryingToGetUsAllLaid later.  Buffet was meh.  Good enough to fill our bellies but not the NYE food of champions. 

On to the wedding.  The girls and I took every opportunity to doll it up cause what the hell?  It was New Year's Eve for crying out loud AND we were at a wedding.  We had hot shoes and shiny, pretty jewelry and sexy little dresses and make up with extra oomph.  Hot!  Do I have pictures to prove it?  Nope.  Dumb ass me forgot to charge the camera battery before we left.  You'll have to believe me until I can snag some from Mo and Mags.  And Bruce. 

Oh yeah, the wedding.  A little unconventional- the details aren't important.  What matters is that they were a super cute couple who could only look at each other.  She was BEAMING.  And, I got to reconnect with people I haven't seen in way too long.  Like 10 years or so.  I had a frickin blast.  Conversations were hilarious and clearly fueled by the Hosted Bar bartender.  That guy was happy with the pours and the customers were happy with him.  Met some new friends who had me in stitches and just when I was feeling guilty and lonely for my kiddos- Bromund's squishable baby boy let me hold him and dance with him and gave me drooly kisses on my face. 

Ok, so the night ended with some minor rum fueled drama in the parking lot- 4 FRICKING MILES!- you know who you are!  And, Maggie wasn't feeling so hot.... Hmm.  Can't imagine why.  But we went back to the casino, ate at Denny's, and hit the sack at 3:45.  It was a throwback to when we all started hanging out and reminded me that I can no longer hang like that on a regular basis.  I am more tired than I can really handle yet I can't stop smiling about it all.  Looks like 2011 is going to be a good year!