Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You Give Love a Bad Name

"Shot through the heart
And you're to blame
You give love a bad name
Bad Name"

This is the song that my 4 year old son was singing while I was giving him a bath tonight. I asked him where he heard it and he replied, "on the radio." It was very cute.

Tonight is my husband's last night here for a while. He leaves tomorrow for India. He is going there for work. I'll be home alone with the kids for the next 9 days. I told my husband that I couldn't guarantee that the kids would still be alive when he returns. He told me that he understands. It's going to be a very long 9 days...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Busy Day

Thank you to whomever returned my normal 4 year old son overnight. It was nice to have my usual boy back today without a single tantrum. We went to the free movie this morning. We saw "Everyone's Hero." It was cute.

Then we came home for lunch. Then 2 of the kids' friends and their mom came over for a little more than an hour. The kids played and I helped my friend get started couponing. She emailed me tonight how much fun it was to go to the store and walk out with so much stuff for free. I must admit, couponing can be very addictive!

After our friends left, i had to make one more trip to the store so I could use up some coupons before the sale ended (Got 6 packs of gum, 12 kool aid, 8 Kleenex, 1 pack of cheese, 6 packs of hot dogs, 4 Windex, 2 bananas, 1 cucumber and paid $1.36 and got back $20 and $1.50 off my next order coupons). Then we went to swimming lessons (both kids did great). Afterwards we had a picnic in the car because it was raining outside. We went to the library and got some new books. And we attended the magic show at the library at 7pm. It was a very busy, tantrum-free day!

Last night I went out with some friends. One of those friends was at the swimming lesson with her son earlier and witnessed the worst tantrum my 4 year old has ever thrown. I felt much better after talking with the other moms about it and of course a few drinks helped me to forget about most of it. My 6 year old also has swimming lessons. The friend who was at the swimming lesson has a 6 year old in the same class as mine. She told me how upset she was the our kids got put in time out during the class. I was so focused on my 4 year old, that I had no idea my 6 year old was also misbehaving! I laughed and told her that I told my 6 year old what a great job he did in the swim class that day! Luckily that day is in the past!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Did you ever have one of those days?

Actually I mean, did your kids ever have of those days? Ya know, one of those days where they act so different than normal? One of those days when you start wonder if this is still the same kid? One of those days when you are ready to find a good military boarding school?

Today has been one of those days for me or actually for my 4 year old. I checked, and there is no full moon tonight, but something has definitely gotten into my 4 year old. It started with his dentist appointment this morning. Usually he loves going to the dentist. He loves showing off his teeth. He loves the big chair. He loves the sunglasses. He loves the prizes. Today he wouldn't sit in the chair. He refused to wear the paper bib (and then later complained because his shirt got wet). He didn't want to open his mouth. He started crying and carrying on. After about 30 minutes and lots of persuasion, he finally got his teeth cleaned. I didn't even attempt the fluoride treatment.

After the dentist, I had to stop by Rite aid right next door. Again my 4 year old acted up. I grabbed him by both arms and got face to him and told him, in my sternest voice, to behave. (Apparently I wasn't very intimidating because his attitude didn't change much.) I looked up and noticed that a woman walking on the sidewalk had turned around to look at us. I was already fed up from the dentist office so I had no patience left for her. I looked at her and said, "what?" Luckily she took the hint and decided to mind her own business and walked away. I'm not really what I would have done if she had responded. I'm not much for confrontation. But really, give us moms a break! It's hard enough taking care of the kids besides having to worry about everyone else on the sidewalk!

When we got home, the 4 year old had a time out and then a discussion about how to behave at the dentist. He apologized and agreed not to do it again. In this case maybe I should have been more general. I'm afraid when I said that is not how to behave at the dentist he may not have understood my point because today at swimming lessons was 100 times worse.

We arrived about 5 minutes before class started. Both kids were hanging around the pool. Then it was time to get in the pool. I told my 4 year old to take off his sandals. He took them off and then said he was "itchy" and couldn't go in the pool. I looked and there was nothing wrong. He still refused to go in the pool. I was mad! I took him to the locker room for a time out and a lecture. He still refused and started crying and a full blown temper tantrum took place. I told him if he didn't want to go int he pool he would have to stand in the corner until his brother was done with his swimming class. So he stood there and cried and kicked and screamed and came over to where i was sitting every 5 minutes. I had to carry him back to the corner and he even scratched my neck and face. It was the worst 30 minutes of my entire life. I cried all the way home.

This is not my son. My son is a good swimmer. He loves the pool. He loves swimming lessons. He was the best swimmer in his class for the last session and one of the top for this session. He loves the dentist office. He doesn't throw tantrums. Whoever has taken my real son and put this impostor in his place, please, PLEASE return him immediately. I'm begging you!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Getting Back to "Normal"

We've been home since Tuesday afternoon and things are finally starting to go back to "normal." I also realized that Seattle is now the place that I call "home" and I'm happy to be living here.

We moved here a little more than 2 years ago from north Jersey. My husband used to work for a translation company in NYC. His company got sold and the new company offered him a job in the Seattle suburbs. He wanted to continue being employed so we moved. We have no family here (our nearest relative is my sister in Detroit). For so long I still felt like the East coast was "home" and Seattle is just where we were living, kinda like when you go to college and your parents' house is still "home" even though you live in a dorm many miles away.

So for the first year, I was constantly getting lost out here. I couldn't find any stores I needed to go to, I had no idea where the DMV was (and yes, I did find out that it's no longer called the DMV). I had to find all new doctors, dentists, bars restaurants, preschools, parks etc... I also had to get used to the idea that soda is now "pop" (although you'll still never hear me say that!). I had to learn the difference between Huskies and Cougs. I had to remember that you drive west to get to the ocean (how bizarre!). And the 3 hour time difference makes it hard to keep in touch with friends "back east." I also had to overcome the East Coast "snob" stereotype that Seattlites have. I had to accept that there was a Starbucks, QFC, WaMu, Teriyaki restaurant, and Rite Aid in every shopping center but not a single dunkin donuts to be found. Oh, and I had to learn a whole new way to recycle!

There really should be some kind of tutorial for people moving to Seattle. I mean how would else would I know that Fred Meyer sells groceries and Fishing Licenses. Or that you can buy beer at the gas station?! And the first time I ordered a "plain" slice of pizza at the mall food court, it took about 10 minutes for the person to understand that I didn't really want it plain, I still wanted cheese and sauce.

So now 2.5 years later, I can finally call Seattle "home." And after being on the East coast for 8 days, it feels good to be back home where people don't jaywalk, everything gets recycled, it rarely gets about 80 degrees in the summer, there is almost no humidity or mosquitoes (although plenty of slugs!) and the sun stays up till 10pm in July :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Day at the Park

Today I took my kids to the park. While we were there, I heard a mother calling for her child. "Allegra, come here!" Since I wasn't really paying attention I thought that I must not have heard correctly. Then the mother called for "Allegra" again. I thought it was a strange unique name and then walked around to find my own kids.

A few minutes later I heard another mother calling for her child, "Tyson!" Ok, now I was wondering if this was some kind of joke. Was this park just for kids named after things you can find at the grocery store? Suddenly I had the urge to yell out, "Claritin! Perdue! It's time to go!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Where are you Going?

Today was a day to try to catch up on things. My 4 year old had preschool and my 6 year old watched a lot of TV while I made phone calls, read emails, did laundry, washed dishes, did more laundry etc. I was also able to get the kids in swimming lessons again. The current session started on Monday so they missed the first 2 classes. I called last night and there were openings for both kids. The school prorated the fees and the kids started class today.
Let me rewind for a minute and give some more details about my trip. I don't remember much about the flight from Seattle to Detroit except that my kids didn't sleep at all. I think I blocked out the rest. I do remember leaving my sister's place in Detroit and getting the flight to Dulles airport in northern Virginia to visit my parents. The kids slept almost the entire time. We were stopped at the security checkpoint in Detroit. I handed over my Washington state driver's license and the 3 boarding passes. The security checker looked at everything and then asked my son how old he was. My son told the man that he is 4. The man asked my son where he was going. My son replied, "To Japan." The security checker was not amused. I had to explain that his other grandparents live in Japan. So I asked my son where the other grandparents live and he said, "Virginia." Our tickets said that we were going to Washington D.C. but I guess Virginia is a lot closer to D.C. than Japan is, so he let us through security.

I'm still a little jet lagged and I still have a lot of things to catch up on around the house. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some pictures to share!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm back

I'm back from the "vacation." It's late and I'm tired.
We've been up since a little before 6am Virginia time (that's 3am Seattle time). We caught our flight to Minneapolis. Then we sat on the runway for over an hour and missed our flight to Seattle. We rushed off the plane and ran to the next terminal. The skywalk was still connecting the gate to the plane and we could see the door was open from the gate, but the man at the counter said the door to the plane was already closed. We got there just in time to watch the plane leave without us :(
That meant we had time for lunch! The kids ate Burger King chicken nuggets (again) and I got some soup from California Pizza Kitchen. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I charged my cell phone last night. There were no outlets in my sister's room where I was sleeping, so I plugged it in by the end table in the living room. So it was easy to forget this morning. Yup, I'm in Seattle and my cell phone is in Virginia and I missed the flight to Seattle where my husband planned to pick up me and the kids. Luckily there was a very nice man in the airport who overheard me at the counter and offered his cell phone. He was visiting some grandchildren in the Seattle area. (Thank you again!)
So that's enough excitement for one day.
Time to go to bed!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Quick Update

I'm here at my parents' house in Northern Virginia. It's been a busy week!
Today we went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. If you've never been before, I highly recommend it. The kids had a great time. My father seemed to be in a hurry. We all came home tired.
On Friday we went on a private fishing boat in the Chesapeake bay. On Saturday we went to the Shenandoah Caverns. That is another great place to visit.
My only gripe about northern Virginia is that is has been sooo hot this week! It has been 95-100 every day since we got here. I'm not used to this kind of weather anymore and I think my kids miss playing outside. We go home tomorrow and I can't wait!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Going on a Trip

Tomorrow I'm taking the two kids to visit my family. We live in the Seattle suburbs and my sister lives in the Detroit suburbs. Did I mention that I'm taking my two kids, alone, on a plane from Seattle to Detroit???? I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought these tickets. You know how the computer always asks, "are you sure?" whenever you want to delete something? Well, it should have asked, "are you sure?" when I went online to buy tickets for 2 kids and just me!

With so many new airline restrictions, I'm not sure what to bring to entertain the kids on the plane. And lately my 6 year old has been trying to use the men's room alone. I admit, he is getting too big to go in the ladies room with me, but he is too little to go in the men's room alone!

At the pool where the kids took swimming lessons, there was a sign saying that boys age 6 and over were not allowed in the ladies room. So he had to get changed in the men's locker room. At least at the pool, you know most of the people that are coming and going. But I'm not about to let my son use the men's room at the airport alone! How do all of you other moms handle this kind of thing? At what age do you let them go alone? I still don't know when, but I know it won't be on this trip! I just hope we can find one of those new family restrooms.

After our 2 nights at my sister's in Detroit, we're going to visit my parents who live in the DC suburbs. At least it's a short flight from Detroit to DC. We're staying at my parents' house for 6 nights and return home next Tuesday. (Don't worry, I'll probably have some blogging time while I'm at my parents' house.)

The nice thing about staying with family is that I don't have to rent a car or reserve a hotel room while we're on "vacation." I don't have to worry about packing things like shampoo or toothpaste, I can just use theirs. But I do have to pack presents.

Today I went shopping. I found a Seattle piggy bank for nephew, some cookies for my brother-in-law and a box of aplets and cotlets for my sister. My parents are also getting aplets and cotlets, but the sugar free variety for them. If you haven't tried applets and cotlets, you can get some next time your in Washington or check out their website.

So while we're gone, please keep me in your thoughts and I'm sure to have lots of good stories and pictures to share soon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Twin Falls

Today we went on a trail called Twin Falls. We hiked almost 2 miles each way. The view was spectacular. This picture really doesn't capture the beauty of the falls.

The kids loved it. We had a picnic on the rocks and they had a lot of fun. Afterwards I wanted to sleep in the car but the kids talked all the way home. When we got home, I tried to lay down on the couch but the kids wouldn't let me sleep. Now I'm exhausted and they just went to bed. I wish I had half of the energy they have!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Where Does the Time Go?

Today has been a busy day. I had to mow the lawn. I wanted to get it done before they came to collect the trash since I put the grass clippings into the garden recyclable trash. I couldn't mow the lawn right away, because I didn't have enough gas for the lawnmower. So I had to drag my son out to the gas station. He didn't want to go because he wanted to play video games (I don't like having video games in the house, but it's not really my choice).

At the gas station my son saw his friend and then us moms started talking and it ended up being about half an hour before I left the gas station!

I just mowed the lawn a week ago, but still it grew so much that the bag was full every 5 minutes. So I kept having to stop and empty the bag. Then I had to stop because my son scrapped his toe while riding his bike and he tore the skin off. Ouch!

When the lawn was finally done, I helped my son with his reading and then it was already lunch time! I still had to take care of the dishes, the laundry, the vacuuming and run to the grocery store before picking up my other son at preschool by 2:30! Somehow I managed.

Then when the kids were both home, I made the mistake of saying "no more TV and no more video games. Find a game to play." I think my kids heard something different, perhaps, "See if you can make more noise than the TV by running around screaming and tackling each other until I can't stand it anymore and I will eventually beg you to sit and watch TV again."

The only good thing was that I didn't have to make dinner! After I went outside and helped them ride bikes (the younger one has quite a few scrapes on his knees) we went to the concert in the park. Tonight was country blues night, not my kind of music, but you can't complain about a free concert with great weather and a picnic where you don't have to cook! We stopped by McDonald's on the way and I had the vegetarian dish at the concert. We met some friends there and the kids had fun rolling down the hill and playing on the playground.

Finally the day is done and I go to bed... or maybe have some ice cream first!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Remember How Things Used to Be

Yesterday, I finished reading "Charlotte's Web" to my kids. They loved Templeton, the rat, and were sad when Charlotte died. Today I took them to see the movie, "Charlotte's Web" at the theater (part of free movie Tuesdays). The boy next door joined us. The kids loved it. They cheered when Templeton appeared and cried at the end.

There was one scene in the beginning when Wilbur is born and all the piglets are trying to suck the mother's milk. Wilbur is the runt and he can't get any milk. I didn't think much about this until later when I buckling my kids into the car. My 6 year old points at my chest and says, "Mom, remember when you used to have those thing on your chest and we could drink milk from there?" I had no idea where this question was leading to but I was afraid, very afraid. I simply nodded. My son, "we're much too big for that now, right?" I agreed. (And just so you know, I was not one of those moms who breastfed until the kids were 3 or 4 year old. I stopped before they were even a year old, so I have no idea why he remembers!)

I know my chest has shrunk some since I had kids, but I still have something left. What does he mean, "used to have"????? **sighs**

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Only Thing Open is the Snow!

This weekend has been busy and now I'm tired! Yesterday we wanted to take the kids swimming. Everyone got changed into their bathing suits. I packed bags with towels and a change of clothes. We drove to the pool and found that it was closed for "chlorine issues." I don't really know what that means, but it didn't sound good.
Today we wanted to take a trail that we took last year to the ice cave. The ice cave forms every year from June through October. It has something to do with the way the mountains form and the way the snow melts. It's really neat and the kids have been asking to go back. So we packed lunches and a change of clothes for the kids (just in case) and we drove over an hour to the ice cave trail. Guess what... It was closed! The bridge was washed out by a storm over the winter and the snow hadn't melted enough yet to form the ice cave. The park ranger we spoke with suggested that we try back in October.
So we drove a little more and found another trail that was closed because the road was out. And a little farther we found a trail that was open! I checked in our book of local trails for kids and this trail was supposed to be very good for kids. So we got out of the car and put on our jackets and the first thing we found at the entrance to the trail was a pile of snow.
We walked about 3/4 of a mile to this lake. Here is a picture of me with the kids.
Then we had to walk back down the trail. This was more like skiing without the skies. The kids loved it. They slid down on their bottoms most of the way. My younger son said the trail was a lot of fun and then he asked, "Can we come back here in the summer?" I assured him that it is summer, but there was no convincing him, because there is only snow in the winter. He also wanted hot chocolate when he got home.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Last Day of Swimming Lessons

There's my baby (only 4) getting ready to jump off the diving board into 12 feet of water. Yikes!

And there's my baby with his teacher and a big smile after he jumped off!

The above picture is my older son (age 6) kicking across the pool. His class didn't get to jump off the diving board. I think the teacher was afraid the older kids would be too big for him to catch! My son was disappointed. I was relieved!

Today was the last day of class for this session. I'd like to sign them up again for the next one. It starts on Monday and goes for 2 weeks. Since we are leaving for Detroit and DC on the 14th, we would miss half of the session. They said to check on Monday. If there are any openings once the lessons have started they'll prorate for one week. So Please! No one sign up!

Yes, We're going to visit my sister, her husband and my nephew in Detroit, well just outside of Detroit actually. I have never been to Detroit. I hear Detroit in the summer is lovely as long as you bring your own AC everywhere.

Then we're going to visit my parents. They live in Virginia, in the DC suburbs, another balmy summer destination. I'm looking forward to taking the kids to the National Aquarium in Baltimore and they'll get to go fishing with my dad, and shopping with my mom ;) But I'm not looking forward to spending so much time with them on an airplane... alone. My husband is staying home to watch the house and have a few parties work.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

81 cents

81 cents... That's how much I paid on one of my trips to the grocery store today. What can I buy for $0.81?!?!? Would you believe 5 containers of planters nuts, 2 boxes of ritz, 1 kraft cheese, 3 bags of marshmallows, 8 packs of kool aid and one package of oreos? Yup, all of that cost me 81 cents. But to make it better, I got two coupons from my transaction. One for $3 off my next order and another for $6.50 off my next order! That was fun.

I've said before that I'm a couponer and I get most of my "deal info" from I love that site! But you probably shouldn't go there. It is addicting.

On another note, how did it become July so quickly??? Luckily we are back to "normal" Seattle weather. It was a beautiful day with a high in the low 80's. I mowed the lawn, ate popsicles on the deck, took the kids for swimming lessons at the pool, went to the park for a picnic and enjoyed a story telling show outside of the library. It was a good day.