Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hidden messages

Ethan's toddler talk is still sometimes difficult for me to understand (though Joe does a great job translating for me) but that's to be expected when they're 2. What throws me for a loop is when Caroline speaks in riddles... you need a translation of a whole different sort.

Caroline: I have a seagull.

Translation: I want some gum.

Here's how I came to that (correct) conclusion: She had a quarter. Quarter have Eagles on them (a seagull). A quarter can buy gum at the store. She wanted to go to the store to buy gum because she wanted gum right then. I handed her a stick of gum from my purse and the whole interaction was finished.
Translation: What a weirdo.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Skiing 2015

Two years ago in January, Joe and I had a wonderful time visiting each set of grandparents, then taking a few days for ourselves in Steamboat Springs while his folks watched the kids. Last year in January, we had a wonderful time visiting each set of grandparents and taking Patrick along to Steamboat Springs to learn to ski (Joe learned to ski then, too).

This year in January, we had a wonderful visiting each set of grandparents, but this time switching it up and taking our personal days at Powderhorn ski resort near Grand Junction. It's where I learned to ski, and where I had a blast skiing with friends as I got older, so I just knew it would be fantastic to go with Joe and Patrick!

This year we decided to take Eli, too - I learned when I was 5, he can learn at age 5, too! We set the dates up with my parents (my mom was set to babysit Caroline and Ethan), and my dad surprised us by planning those days off work to come with us!

It really worked out wonderfully. We went up on Tuesday, renting skis on the mountain, and immediately took the boys up the EZ-Rider lift. We settled on my dad helping Patrick, Joe skiing along to hone his skills, and me taking Eli because he's the newest skier and I could handle holding him. Well, we should have taken Eli skiing starting at any other age because at 5 he was as terrible as you'd expect any beginner to be, but he was neither old enough to be patient while learning nor small enough for me to physically manhandle. He'd fall down and it would take all my mental strength to get him to calm down, and all my physical strength to heave him back up so that he could ski 10 feet and then do it again. It took forever to get down that one hill! And then we had to do it again! After two runs Eli was ready to call it quits for the day, possibly the rest of his life, but it was only lunchtime so instead we bolstered him up with some sandwiches, chips, and Oreos.

After lunch we headed to the new Magic Carpet lift, a rubbery moving sidewalk that only goes 50 feet up a gently sloping hill - I had passed it by at first, seeing it was full of ski school kids and instructors and thinking maybe it was limited to them. Well, limited or not, we were going to use it because there was no way we'd make it down the bunny hill all day! (Turns out it wasn't limited, I was just paranoid of breaking rules). Once Eli gained confidence on the Magic Carpet he was so excited about skiing! Kept telling me he didn't need my help and whatnot.

So for a final run of the day, brimming with new-skier confidence, we went back to the EZ-Rider lift... and it was a failure. Eli fell down again and again (to be expected), but when he refused to get back up after a pretty good biff we settled for taking off his skis and walking the rest of the way. No need to end on a sour note of tears and tantrums.

We skied again on Friday, but this time left Eli at home and headed for the main lifts on the mountain. Patrick just adores my dad so they were a team and stuck close together all day, skiing the EZ-Rider and Take-4 lift - all the way to the top! Patrick did very well, though he felt pretty mentally and physically exhausted by the time we got down so he only went to the top once. Since my dad stuck with Patrick, Joe and I were free to wander the slopes so we headed over to the West End lift - he had laughed at my description of it as "old, rickety, and very bouncy." When we got on the lift he laughed even harder because my description was so apt! We bounced at least 8 feet up and down and clung to the plyboard seats when the lift stopped for one reason or another. What an adventure! We took one run down and it was harder than anticipated - Joe had a heckofa time navigating his turns on the steep slopes! So our next run up, our last run of the day, we wanted to take the other blue run from the West end... only it doesn't return you to the main resort! It only goes back to the West End lift! So one way or another we were going to have to take that first run, the one Joe had such trouble making it down. We'd had good runs all day and that one had been by far the worst. He was super annoyed. But up the lift and down the run we went, and the second time was awesome! Knowing what was in store he steeled his resolve and cut into those turns and really killed it! We met back up with Patrick and dad to head home, and Joe said his best and worst runs of the day were both those runs down West End.

We had such a great time, all our January trips have been SO much fun, we will undoubtedly keep up the tradition as the years go by.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pink hearts and pink casts for Valentine's Day

Caroline broke her arm - on Valentine's Day! Our ward had a formal dinner for just the adults, so we had lined up a babysitter and fed the kids an early dinner so we could go get ready. After eating, all our kids headed outside for a quick jump on the trampoline before we took them home, and almost immediately we heard Caroline cry and Eli ran in with the news that she fell off the trampoline. The trampoline, bought from Christmas and set up only last month, has a large safety net all around it, but what is safety to kids? Make something foolproof and you will always find a bigger fool. Instead of jumping safely within the confines of the net our kids try running around the outside of the net, on top of the pad-covered springs, while someone inside the tramp tries to catch them. Needless to say, we adults have lectured the kids more than once on how this is a BAD IDEA. So with Caroline crying we head out warming up our palms to spank her - but the look of her arm was enough to turn a spank into a large dose of kids' Advil, as much comfort as we could give, and a trip to the ER (Caroline crying all the while). I am no doctor, I get queasy at any sign of blood and have never had or seen a broken bone in my life, but in spite of my inexperience it was very obvious just by looking that she had broken her right arm. Sure enough, x-rays confirmed she broke both her bones, snapped in half like pencils. They set it in a splint and Joe brought home a much-calmed-down little lady and a load of ice cream from DQ.

Monday she got her cast, and since it's difficult to get any shirt over it and nearly impossible to fit it in long-sleeved, she prefers tank-tops. In February. Should be interesting with the snow storm on the way!

Ethan was so enamored of his sister, her cast, or the whole situation that he wanted one, too. I supplied an ace bandage in a pinch, and he wore it all day.

With her lovely pink cast on she is doing very well, no pain at all, and has really adapted quickly to doing everything with her left hand - eating, drawing, opening doors, etc. We will get the cast removed in 3 weeks and they'll x-ray her arm again to see if it's healed or it they need to re-cast (her arm will be reduced in size from atrophy, so if she still needs the support of a cast they would have to re-cast it anyway).

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Art nook turned mud room

Updates! Updates, finally updates. Our kitchen remodel has come a long way in a lot of months, working slowly - one hour at a time, one day at a time, which has eventually brought about big and beautiful changes. I'm sure there is a life lesson in there!

Once upon a time there was a wall and a door by our stove. One day Joe got tired of the wall and took it down! You can see where it used to be by the orange stripe on the wall and the missing tile on the floor.

When the wall disappeared, Joe and Kirsta decided the door needed to disappear...

...and re-appear on the other side of the fridge! Like magic, floor space was opened up in the kitchen so that Joe and Kirsta could put in some cabinets and countertops.

So in the cabinets (upper and lower), in went the counters, in went new tile, and in went a fantastic floating shelf that Joe built himself.

Onto the floating shelf went the microwave and toasted oven. Onto the floor went replacement tile (the tile was left behind by the previous owners when they did the tile floor, so it is a perfect match, it just hasn't gotten perfectly dirtied and worn in yet. Give it a month).

For a new space, new colors has to be picked. Kirsta enlisted some midgets to do the work.

They decided on a lovely greenish blue and transformed the dismantled kids' art nook

into a remodeled kids' art nook...

...PLUS mud room! Although still in progress, we are very pleased with the slow-and-steady progress! I still think it's true that we have the most fun as a couple when we have a project to do as a couple, so we've been having fun for a while now!

PSSSST.... if you read my posts one at a time, you can go back a few posts because I've added some pictures to them. Makes them a bit more interesting.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Out, about, and around the house

Ethan was noticing things out the car window while we drove around town, but he has begun to refer to things not as "a" but as "my." For instance, a fire truck is "my fire truck." Most things seem pretty silly since they're not something one person owns (a bulldozer, a police car, etc), but we had ourselves a great laugh when, stopped at a light, he noticed a dog in the back of a car and immediately declared it "my dog!" Pretty sure the guy driving around his dog doesn't agree with that statement!

We were shopping around online for new seating for our remodeled nook and found stools from American Furniture that we really liked. With Joe's schedule free on Mondays we took an afternoon jaunt to the store to browse in person. While we were browsing Ethan got caught up looking at some of the stuffed tigers they have placed around the store; noticing Joe had gone on without him he began galloping (he doesn't run, he gallops - it would be even better if he carried around coconuts and clopped all the while) and called out, "Daddy! Daddy! Wait for me!" Joe and I agreed it was the cutest thing he's said in his whole life.

We ended up buying the stools, which shipped from Denver and came in yesterday. The stools were on clearance, from $120 to $55 apiece, which is a great clearance, but still quite expensive! When we picked them up I was happy to discover they are hefty, well-crafted, and gorgeous!
Turns out, $55 apiece was indeed an excellent clearance price, they are clearly worth every penny. I was so happy that I immediately set about unwrapping them all and enjoying the nook. The kids immediately set about turning the boxes into ships, hiding places, forts, and then kung-fu-fighting them to death. The seating is for the kids - kids' seats at a kid table - and was expensive, where the boxes were free; again proving that the packaging is better than the contents in the mind of a child.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Eli turned 5

Continuing to move backwards on the birthdays, Eli turned 5 waaaaaaay back in November! We had his first "friends" party, which he chose a Transformer's theme for. I had fun making decorations and sending out cute invitations; we invited 3 friends from school, 2 neighborhood friends, and his cousins (of course!). I don't usually get crazy with decorations, but I hit the dollar store and got lots of streamers and a banner and some poster board to draw a "pin the wheel on Optimus Prime" game. It took far too long to make, but the boys loved it! Unfortunately, none of the school friends came, so it was a decidedly quiet "friends" party and I really felt badly for him; luckily he's not old enough to take it personally, and judging by my nonexistent memories of birthday parties when I was 5, I have no doubt he won't even remember, much less be scarred, by a lack of birthday partiers. He and his guests who came had fun playing the afternoon away anyway! We ate pizza, had cake and ice cream, opened a few gifts, and called it a day! And that was Eli's birthday.

Eli has really been enjoying preschool, and I have really been enjoying the quieter mornings because of it. He is proficient at reading and writing the alphabet and letters up to 30, and his drawing skills have vastly improved since the summer. He was previously far too busy being busy to sit down and make a complete picture, so I'd save anything that was more than a scribble, but now he constantly comes up with great pictures that are large, colorful, pretty recognizable, and that have a funny detail or two (like he drew a nice picture of a dog in the park, but the dog was stuck in a mud puddle). He wrote me a sweet note, one of his first solo writing ventures, that said "I LAV YOO." So I laminated it and turned it into my new favorite bookmark :)

I'd maybe give more details, but to be honest I am terrible at taking pictures (so I have none to jog my memory), I've been terrible about writing in my journal (took a 3-month hiatus for laziness), and of course I have fallen flat on my face about blogging. But there you have it, of what my poor memory can recall! Happy birthday, dude, you are my sweet Ka-Dooly.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Turning 31

Last year was pretty great, I thought turning 30 really brought me closer to being comfortable in my identities (I have so many). A 20-year-old with kids is still new and untested (not necessarily true), but a 30-year-old with kids has seen it all, can tackle the trials with grace and aplomb (again, not necessarily true), but hasn't reached the hair-raising-and-graying stage of teenagers. So I was so glad to be in my 30's! Bring it on!

Oh, it's already been BROUGHTEN! (name that movie).  Joe's birthday was a Friday and Kari graciously shoved us out the door to go to dinner and a movie while she watched the kids. It was so awesome! We saw Mockingjay and loved it. Saturday, our birthday weekend, turned bleak as discontent moved in in the form of a storm cloud named Joe, and stand-offishness was unappealingly brought out in myself. We weathered the weekend badly. By Monday, my birthday, we had settled down enough to talk it out and make some great plans to move forward with hard work and appreciation, but let's face it: this birthday was a bust.

The good news is that birthdays are DAYS, not weeks or months, and although the days themselves were shot I think we've become better people, better parents, and a better couple due to the storm. The timing was just terrible. And that was our birthdays this year.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Caroline turned 4

In my procrastination of blogging I procrastinated right over four birthdays! I thought I'd go from most recent on back, so we'll start with Caroline.

Caroline is now 4!

Fortunately nobody had gotten sick yet when she celebrated such an auspicious day, so we had Kari and her family over, plus our friends the Stegelmeiers and the Champans. Altogether it was 13 kids and 7 adults and our house is "cozy" and it was CRAZY! Balloon-popping, excited-screaming, cake-eating, wrapping-ripping crazy time. I was really glad we hadn't gone all-out and tried to have a formal party, the kids had a great time and my preparation was limited to frosting a cake and buying balloons that the kids blew up (aka I also had a great time and didn't go broke doing it).

 My taste-testers for the birthday cake batter

 Quality control is a YUMMY thing!

 Ripping open presents with our regard for the safety of others!

These days Caroline is a lovely lady. Over the summer she and her cousin Amelia took scissors to their hair, so we got it cut to match the length and she has been growing it out ever since in an ever-hopeful attempt to get "an Elsa braid" in her hair. No luck so far, though it IS finally getting some length back.

She is always my helper, she loves to help me bake and cook most of all, but is even happy to help me clean and vacuum and pick up her room. She takes great pride when her room is spic-and-span! I love this, because her brothers' room constantly looks like a series of bombs went off - one in each bed, one in the closet, and one by their dresser.

Dangerous bears

The boys are fighting their toys downstairs and the dangers are escalating... "he threw himself into the air, but WAIT... a problem!... the dragon had HORNS." "But WAIT... a problem!... there was a fire." The latest: "but WAIT... a problem!.... the bear has a rocket launcher!"

I died trying to hold in my laughter.