Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Installation Persuasion

The kids sure pick up on projects!  When the carpet installers came it set off a wave of mini-installations around the house - the kids would roll up any carpet scraps or rugs we had around, lug them to the kitchen, and start hammering away to "install" them.  This, of course, isn't how carpet is actually installed, but we were instructed to stay out of the installer's way, and while we lingered in other areas of the house we definitely heard hammering so the kids naturally assumed you just nail the carpet straight to the floor. Oh, well, works for me!

Now Joe has been installing our laminate wood floors on the main level and all the kids (Caroline included) are intensely interested in "helping."  I'd say they're much more on the money this time! And I'm super glad they don't just try to straight-up hammer on the new floor, as this type of flooring can't take quite the beating that carpet squares and bathroom rugs can.

Need any housework done?  They're up for hire.

Monday, May 14, 2012


First, I forgot the REASON I wrote about Harry Potter in the first place... it's because I'm an idiot!  When we finished reading book 3 Patrick was anxious to get started reading book 4, but I was sure I didn't have it.  I've bought the books sporadically, as I've found them, from 2nd-hand stores, so obviously I haven't bought them in any particular order. I knew I had the first few and the last few, so I considered going to the library to check it out and save some money.  Well, I don't like heading to the library with the three kids, so I just asked a friend if I could borrow it some time.  When Elsha came to visit I'd made up my mind that it's SILLY to own half the books (especially to not own them chronologically) so we set out to Barnes and Nobles and I bought my own copy and we started reading.  A day or two later my faithful friend drove over with her copy to lend us!  How sweet!  What unfortunate timing!  So we gave it right back. A day or two after THAT I was working on packing up our generally-unused items, like books, and I ALREADY HAD IT!  Seriously, how ridiculous am I?! It was on the top shelf of the bookshelf in my living room and I didn't even bother to look because I just ASSUMED that was one of the few I didn't have.  Well, I guess it just goes to show what happens when you ass-u-me...

Now back to real-time.  Today we had our 20-week ultrasound! Always very exciting, it's fun to watch the baby doing stuff (ours happened to be thumb-sucking and kicking) and also fun to have Joe there with me to watch the show.  I think husbands in general (mine in particular) don't handle pregnancy bellies nearly enough - I have to force-hold Joe's hand on my belly when the baby is being especially jumpy - but they seem to enjoy things on a TV screen, so ultrasounds are gratuitous for me AND him!  We confirmed we didn't want to know the gender, so the tech scrolled around and measured things and didn't try to find a "money shot"... but while she was scrolling around measuring the femurs Joe and I, independently, noted that there was not much to be seen between those two leg bones.  So while we're not sure by any means, I think the swing has gone from 50/50 chances to 60/40 in favor of a girl.  Fun!  Of course, fun either way and I am waiting until the baby is out of my belly to officially declare any gender status, but I was hoping for a girl for Caroline's sake :)  That's it for today!  

Saturday, May 12, 2012


You thought this was going to be a post about Mother's Day, didn't you? Well, here's to going against the grain!  It's about HARRY POTTER.

Patrick calls him "Harry Pod" or "Pod" for short - he shortens everything.  It's cute and annoying at the same time, ya know?  Like he wants "chot" instead of chocolate milk or "sohd" instead of soda, and now when he wants to read he wants to "read some more pod."  Whatever he calls it, I'm down for reading!  They're some of my favorite books AND there are movies (bonus!) so we started up a month or two ago and he's been enjoying them ever since.  We've already read books 1, 2, and 3 and he loved them - would ask me multiple times during the day if we could read, which I am a TOTAL sucker for.  Make dinner or read Harry Potter? Read - we can have fishsticks.  Clean house or read Harry Potter? Read - there's always more cleaning, there won't always be more reading moments. Read Harry Potter or go to bed? Oooooh, tough one... we'll read one chapter, then bedtime!  So with all that reading we've gone through them surprisingly quickly, and now we're reading book 4, "The Goblet of Fire."

Now this brings to me to a point of concern and contention... when do we stop reading Harry Potter?  As the books progress they get darker and more violent and aren't appropriate, really, for a 4 year old... but then again, neither is Jurassic Park (1, 2, or 3), and those are his top 3 favorite movies! (Thanks, grandpa). Besides, what 4-year-old reads Harry Potter to BEGIN with?  Obviously an unusual kid.  We have big chats about how Voldermort killed Harry's parents but Harry was saved by the magic of love, and people followed the bad guy because they were either afraid or wanted power (or both), and sometimes things aren't what they seem... so my justification to keep going is that it's bonding time we both enjoy, and which leads to interesting questions and discussions.  And if he's unusual and likes them, even if he's only 4, should we keep going? The other side is, of course, is that I'm being totally irresponsible and there are PLENTY of good "safe" books out there, chapter books, even, that we could be reading instead.  Which I agree with!  Lots of good books out there, and we've already read quite a few chapter books - mostly Roal Dahl, another favorite author of mine, but most of his books have terrible villains and twisted plots, so is this too much crazier?  I'm interested to know what you think.

Innocent li'l Ron, Harry, and Hermione - perfect for Patrick!
The darker years to come... maybe not so much?

That said, I'll do whatever I want in the end :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Summer's almost here, and Joy school is almost over!  I've really enjoyed Joy school, I think the curriculum is fun and engaging without being all work or all play.  The underlying theme of joy school is to help the children learn to love learning, and to create rules and themes that coincide with parenting like "creativity" and "security and love" and "individuality," not just the ABC's and numbers and those type things. If you'd like to know more check out www.valuesparenting.com for the rundown.  Anyway, we've done SO many projects and sung SO many songs and read SO many stories I obviously can't (and wouldn't want to) include them all.  Here are some fun highlights, though...

We read "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" and then acted it out using a chair as the bridge.  Michael and Patrick took turns playing the troll.

We also made "About Me" books which included all kinds of pictures and collages they had made about themselves their families. Here's where you can throw up because I'm posting this picture Patrick drew that I think is SO AMAZING (that's your gag reflex cue).  As I read through blog archives last night I came across his first recognizable picture, a frog, and I'd said I was excited to see his stick-figure families in the future... well, I think we skipped straight over stick figures! I about fell over when he brought the picture to me, complete with hearts in everyone's chests. He wrote all the names himself, but needed help spelling Caroline.

Finally, we did some interviews today to begin wrapping up our time together and sing our "Joy school pep song," which I totally screwed up the first time around. Anyway, fun times!  We'll have to start looking for families in Pueblo who would like to do it, too.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Denver Do

I think I should start listing the things I'd like to do in Denver as an incentive to get me to do them, though I have a feeling it will turn into a kick-myself list when we finally leave. We have no official dates on anything, so I don't even know how quickly I should be trying to get all of this done, but I'm assuming late June is a safe bet.

- Cinebarre.  From what I understand it involves two of my favorite things: eating and lazily watching a movie.  Why haven't I done this before?

- Cinzetti's Italian buffet.  I went there long ago with a boyfriend far, far away and LOVED it, and he was a jerk. How much MORE would I enjoy it if I were with someone attractive, fun, who has a bigger appetite than me (always embarrassing to eat more than your manorexic date [you read me, manorexic]), and who can hold up his end of a conversation?  Loads more, I'm sure.

- The Zoo.  Loved it then, love it now, just don't have a membership at the moment so I'll bite the bullet one more time and pay full admission price. Maybe Joe can come, too!

- Rockies game.  We haven't been to tons, but we love going to games together and, again, eating.  Funny how a Coke and a bag of peanuts can make your day.  Always helpful if they win, too.

- All our favorite parks.  That's quite a few, too!  So, like, at least 1 different park each week oughtta do it.  I just need to map them out and find errands that coincide since some of them are a bit of a drive. Fortunately, Jeanette's visit got Big Dry Creek already checked off the list!
- Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  Joe went with my dad, BIL (right, Brian? Am I making this up?), and some of the kiddos and said it was so great, but I've never been.  And unless I make a quick stop before June, I probably never will!

- Joe's job site.  Better make that one happen in the next 2 weeks, otherwise it might be a li'l awkward, if ya know what I mean. But it's always great to go see how my husbands never-ending hours are being spent :)  Makes it seem almost worth it!  Almost. Almost.
-Joe's grandma (and extended family - cousins, aunts, uncles in the nearby area who gather at Joe's grandma's home).  Make a few more meaningful trips, get the recipe for her homemade chicken-n-noodle soup, and then breath a little easier knowing I don't have to hear how she is sure she had gestational diabetes (65 years ago), that her husband didn't help change diapers (65 years ago), and now she can't have anything with gluten in it because she's on a gluten-free diet EXCEPT for this donut that she's going to "sneak." I know she's old and it's just me, I need to not be annoyed, but it's tough since I can't go over there without me.  Everywhere I go I drag me along, and me gets annoyed at those old stories.

What else would you guys put on your Denver list? Am I missing anything major (or minor)?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What to do with our time left

It's a common dilemma of people who are moving, I suppose - what do we want to make sure we do before we go?  People we want to see?  Places we've never been?  Places we love and want to go one more time?

With a membership pass to the Children's Museum, it's an obvious choice for Places to Go Again Before we Go, and for good measure we brought along some friends!

Eli stirs up trouble

Fishing for - what else? - fish.

Sleeping?  Or not so much

Painting - one of my LEAST favorite rooms to go in, but I love the results!

Also up on our list of Denver things - a Rockies game with Patrick. I'm hoping! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

What's new?

You know when you have a secret, but it's tough to not talk about it because it consumes your every thought, so you just don't share your thoughts?  Welcome to my 3-week blog hiatus!

It all started with a particularly nasty week of work for Joe in April - when he got fed up with work he'd go on a whirlwind of applying for jobs.  When things were good, the job hunt was pared down, if not non-existant, but this was one of those whirlwinds.  We'd heard from Kari's friend that there were some managerial positions at the Target distribution center, completely not in Joe's line of work on a regular day but this was after a BAD day so anything was game and he applied.  I mentioned to Kari he'd applied, Kari told her friend, he fast-forwarded the interview process and what turned out to be a bad Thursday at Whiting-Turner turned into an interview on Monday with Target.  That interview on the phone turned into an in-person interview on Wednesday (this is all last week) which turned into a corporate interview on Friday, which turned into a JOB OFFER on Monday (this week).  And he's accepted!  So after telling some family and friends, Joe is turning in his resignation today for W-T and our life as we know it will officially be upside-down by the end of summer because we are MOVING TO PUEBLO!

See why I couldn't write about mundane things?

So here we were, living the high life in Pueblo (for the day of Joe's interview) with my sister and her kids.  THANK YOU for putting us in touch with this job!

And here is what we've been working on at the house - I finally got SUPER busy and textured AND painted on Wednesday, and now it's looking pretty fabulous (if I do say so myself, and myself even knows how much there is left to do on it).

So even though the job sounds very different, it's still managing groups of people (like he does now) and it's in the distribution center, not the store, so it's not sales or customer service or anything... I guess we'll find out more of what it IS like when he starts! But among the many great things about the job... better salary, better health benefits, better retirement, better vacation and holiday comp time, and a smaller town with no commute...  is BETTER HOURS.  With 5 years of rough weeks, late nights, early morning, working weekends on end, and never eating a single meal as a family during the week under our belt, I am THRILLED that Target will be three 12-hour shifts per week (Joe usually pulls 5, if not 6 of those for W-T) or four 10-hour shifts.  We can HANDLE THAT!  So although we have loved Denver and all the fun friends we have met and places we have been, it's time so start packing up and moving on for the sake of our family (and my sanity).