Friday, November 28, 2008

Otters, and monkys, and zoo onlookers ...OH MY!

Our second full day of vacation in sunny San Diego we spent the day at the San Diego Zoo. The day at the zoo was very eventful. In one exhibit a little itty bitty monkey fell into the water below the ledge he was on. It was a long fall. An otter in the water grabbed the little dude and tried drowning it. The mama monkey at the top was going "ape" so to speak. The crowd was in shock seeing the Darwinist act in progress, so a zoo onlooker jumped over the glass edging (the one that keeps people out of the exhibit) and down into the water to save the baby monkey from the death grip of the otter. The otter and mama monkey then turned their attention at the zoo onlooker who was now part of the zoo exhibit. He was able to rescue the monkey and get it back up to it's ledge, out of the water, and away from otter. Another zoo onlooker who was watching everything happen from a safe standpoint started tossing water onto the mama monkey to distract her from the guy in the exhibit as he was now stuck in the exhibit and couldn't find a way out. Finally a bunch of zoo keepers showed up and by then all the crazy action had come to an end. I didn't see all of this unfold as there were too many people in my way, as the frenzy unfolded.

Kevin LOVED the snake exhibit. He knew which ones were deadly and how long its venom would take to kill you. One of them he told could take down an elephant with one dose of it's venom, but I honestly don't remember which one that was and I'm glad they were ALL in glass cages.

Sam enjoyed the Panda exhibit best. They had two grown pandas and one baby panda. The baby panda was content hanging out in the tree.

After we were done enjoying ourselves at the zoo, we headed to the beach. We got to see the last little bit of the sunset against the Pacific Ocean. It was so beautiful. We all got our toes wet and had fun chasing waves on the shore. Or I think the waves were chasing us.

Tomorrow we are going to the USS Midway which Kevin can't wait to get to. Then we head to the airport to fly home.

We sure will hate to leave this sunny place, but the head caveman is missing us. We have been having a great time. Too bad vacations don't last as long as they should.

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

I am writing this from sunny southern California! I called my sister on Tuesday afternoon and asked what she and her family were doing for the weekend. She said "Nothing". So I asked her if she was up for company and of course she couldn't refuse a visit from her sister and nephews, so she said yes. I clicked "purchase tickets" on and whoala, here we are. We left the main caveman at home as he could not get the time off of work at the last moment. We got a great deal on airline tickets, so it was pretty hard to pass up the opportunity to spend the holidays with my family.

We are having so much fun. We stuffed ourselves silly today and then all fell into turkey comas. Yummy food.

While we are here we are planning to visit the zoo, the beach, and the USS Midway. The boys are excited to see all of that. They can hardly wait.

It was both of the boy's first time on an airplane. Sam wasn't sure what to think. At take off his head felt funny and his tummy was being tickled. He had the puke bag on stand by, but he didn't have to use it. Good thing.

Kevin was so elated, his eyes were huge, and he just kept talking about the way he was feeling with a big smile on his face. He thought that turbulence and hitting air pockets was kind of fun, because then it was bumpy. Myself, I don't care at all for the turbulence. But we made a safe landing, so all was good.

After we departed the plane (we were the last ones off), Kevin got to talk to the pilot and co-pilot. He asked them how fast we were going and what our elevation was. He also asked what the highest speed and elevation that particular plane could go. We were traveling at 550 miles per hour at 36k feet. The plane can go 620 mph and reach 39k feet.

Kevin told the one pilot he really likes airplanes and that he is excited about going on the midway. The pilot told Kevin that he and the co-pilot each flew military planes early in their career. I forget the planes, but Kevin has them etched in his memory as he was very impressed that both his pilots flew bomber air craft. He can't wait to get back on the plane.

It is sunny and close to 70 degrees. We broke out the shorts and t-shirts, while everyone here is huddled up in sweaters. Silly people think it's cold. But we did leave 32 degree weather to be here, so this is a nice change in the weather for us northerners.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Locked Out

Last night after work I left the boys home (neither one of them wanted to come with) for a little bit while I went to run and get gas in my van. I was so low on gas I'm surprised I made it to the gas station just 3 long blocks away. So I get out of my van, put my keys in my pocket, lock my van, and gas up. It's just habit that I lock my van while I'm gassing up. So I reach in my pocket when I'm done gassing up & my keys are NOT in my pocket. Damnit, they fell out inside the van & I manually locked it. UGH! So I went inside to see if they had a coat hanger or a jimmy. Neither one. The lady at the register says "do you have anyone to call?" Crap, Ken's not home, the boys are home alone. Crappity, crap, crap, crap. So I tell her that I have an extra set of keys at home, but I have to walk home and get them.

IT'S 20 DEGREES OUTSIDE WITH A 10MPH WIND! And I'm totally not dressed to walk home.

So I start walking. The first block wasn't so bad. Then my nose started to hurt (from my surgery, I actually have a partial implant in my septum), and then my legs are cold, and my cheeks are cold. Two blocks later my face is numb and my thighs sting, my jeans feel like ice cubes. BRRRR!!

I made it home as quick as I could, got my spare keys. I called my neighbor and asked if they could give me a ride back to the gas station cuz it's too cold out. So they did. I got in my van. Got my purse out and paid for my gas & drove home.

Brrr....freaking....Brrrr...In warm weather I wouldn't have minded. My cheeks get wind/cold burn pretty easily. Then when I get into the warmth it stings and they puff up like hives. It sucks.

The boys behaved up until I got home, then they started fighting.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A week's worth of blog

And what a week it's been!

Last Thursday evening we headed to Wisconsin Dells for a long weekend family get-a-way. We arrived late in the evening, but this meant we had all day Friday to play. I excused the kids from school for the day, so they thought that was pretty cool.

On Friday we attended one of those time share sales pitch deals. Big yawn...yadda, yadda, yadda...We weren't interested at first and we were convinced we would say no, and go on with our day. Our hour and a half sales pitch turned into a 4 hour sales pitch. The more we listened and then we took a tour and crunched some numbers and Whoa la! We are now proud owners of a time share. We got a really good deal on it, and it is vacations for a life time. We can pass them onto our kids or we can sell it. Either way it turned out to be a win-win situation for us.

The time share works on a point based system. We are able to use it year round. We aren't locked into a certain week or place or amount of days to stay. If we don't use all our points in one year they roll over into the next year, so we don't lose anything if we don't use it one year. As owners of this time share, we are also eligible for discounts at other hotels around the world. We are also eligible for discounts on airfare, car rentals, and cruises.

Since we purchased the time share, they gave us free weekend passes to the indoor water park of the resort we purchased our time share from. Needless to say we spent the rest of Friday in the pool. We had an awesome time.

Saturday morning after breakfast we headed back for more water park fun. Then in the afternoon we headed to an indoor amusement extravaganza! Bumper cars, ball pit, go-carts, bowling, video games...a whole lotta fun in one place..or as Ken called it big money pit.

I did get to meet a gal I've been talking to online for a little over a year while we were in Wisconsin. It was fun meeting and her family finally. We hit it off great, and we were bummed we couldn't hang out longer.

Sunday we headed home.

Monday...gee I've already forgotten what I did on Monday. I did something though.

Tuesday I went grocery shopping at the new Cub Foods grocery store that opened up next to Wal-Greens about 3 very long blocks from my house. It is really nice. I ended up spending two hours in there just finding every thing and looking around. I was surprised at the many things they do carry, as they are a smaller sized store.

Wednesday evening...I caught up on TV shows I had missed.

Thursday evening I spent 5 hours watching TV and getting completely caught up on missed shows and current shows.

I took the week off from writing. I've just been busy and brain dead. I am back at it now. I am currently up to 26k words. Only 24k more to go in 10 days. I hope I can make it. But I'm on the second leg of the NaNo marathon and refreshed, so I think I'll make it to the finish line.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day

A big thank you to all the people serving in the military both past and present. Thank you for keeping our country safe and fighting for our right to be a free country. You make a sacrifice that we are grateful for. You voluntarily choose to serve our country and you have our respect.

I have family and friends that are currently enrolled in the military and just wanted to take this moment to say "Thanks". I also have family and friends that served in days past and wanted to take this moment to say "Thanks for your services that have paved the way."

May God protect you and keep you safe!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

One week into the NaNo

I have almost reached a count of 15,000 words. Whew...what a week it has been. And to answer your questions about why I am doing the NaNo and what I hope to gain from it.

For the last 4 years I have been taking correspondence writing courses on writing for children's magazines. I have learned many things and the thing I loved most about it is that I have been able to tap into my creative side of myself and have really enjoyed this hobby. Where this hobby takes me is entirely anybodies guess. I would certainly like to get published as an end result.

I have a few online friends who have encouraged me to get involved in the NaNo. Write a novel in one month. Sure why not? What have I got to lose? And what a great way to get inspired to get a novel done. I have to admit the challenge has been very addicting. I spent the month of October mapping the novel out, by doing character builds and story outlines.

Don't plans to quit the day job just yet. Do I expect to become the next best selling author and appear on Oprah. If I'm going to dream, I might as well dream big, but I won't be too disappointed if that doesn't happen. And if it just turns out to be a bit of extra income coming in, then that's not such a bad thing either.

Here is the latest excerpt.
It was a beautiful day, so we had the party outdoors in the back yard. The kids all had a great time, and most of them were too young to figure out that Calvin wanted absolutely nothing to do with them. He played in the corner of the playground area and had his back turned to everyone. He made no eye contact with any one, and he showed no facial expression. I couldn’t tell if he enjoyed it or was miserable. He wasn’t fussing and whining, so I really am not sure how to read it based on his reaction. This was the largest group of people he’s been around and apparently he is my little anti-social kid.

When we brought out the cake to sing happy birthday with a big candle in the shape of a number two on it, he cried. He wanted nothing to do with it. I think the flame might have scared him, but it could have been the crowd of people too. I’m really not certain.

We opened presents after cake. I sat Calvin on my lap when we sat down on the patio to open gifts as all the guests gathered around us to see the excitement on his face when he opened their present. Calvin just sat there though. So I took his little hands in mine and helped him rip the paper. He did not like that one little bit. He moved his hands away from mine, stood up, turned his back towards everyone, and hugged me for dear life. He had his arms wrapped around my neck very tightly, that it started to choke me. James came to my rescue and took him from me. James gave him his favorite blanket and calmed him down. I felt horrible. Jeremy then decided that he would open Calvin’s presents for him. One of the kids asked why Calvin didn’t want his presents. I had no answer for that question. I told the kids to go ahead and open Calvin’s gifts for him and we would give them to him later when he was in a better mood.

Calvin seemed to settle down after the craziness of present opening ended and his new toys were out and about they yard. The kids were all having fun with his new toys. Calvin decided he wanted to play with his new basketball someone had given him. James brought the Little Tykes indoor basket ball hoop outside so Calvin could play with his new basket ball. I was hoping that would at least engage him to play with at least one of the other children, but he refused. One of the kids did try, but Calvin held onto the ball and just stared him down until he gave up and left Calvin alone. Calvin made every single basket he shot for. It truly was amazing watching him. Calvin continued to make baskets for a half an hour. Over and over again, he made basket after basket.

I sat on the deck with rest of the adults while the kids played together in the yard, all the kids except of course Calvin. James reached into the cooler and handed me a beer. It was just what I needed. I think he sensed the tenseness and stress I was feeling. Although, now the worst part of the party was over, I could wind down and relax. I had no where to go that evening, so I decided it was time to drink my troubles away.

After all our guests had left, James brought all the toys, Jeremy, and Calvin inside and we settled in for the night. I hated the fact that I could not tell if Calvin enjoyed his birthday or not. He exhibited his infamous poker face the whole entire day. Jeremy, on the other hand, was excited. I’m glad at least one of my children had fun with all the planning we did for this. I thought for sure that Calvin would be at least be excited about the Thomas Cake but that back fired on me and not only did he cry when we presented it, but he didn’t eat any of it either. It just really saddens my heart the way the day turned out. Who knew my little boy would hate his birthday? What child hates birthday parties? None that I ever knew of.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

After 5 days of writing

I have hit a mark of 10,001 words. Wow, this is much more fun than I originally expected. To give you an idea of what 10,001 word is:

18 pages single spaced with 1 inch top and bottom margins in a word document
140 paragraphs
844 sentences

So it's been quite the writing week. I am looking forward to this weekend of writing and I will more than likely be taking a writing break tomorrow night.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The NaNoWriMo has begun

Well, my first try at National Novel Writing Month. I started at midnight on November 1 and by the end of the day I reached 5,395 words. Whoo Hooo! I am off to a great start. I sure hope I can keep the momentum going. I suspect I would have gotten further on it, if it weren't for the girl invasion, but that was a nice distraction. Kevin has decided he definitely does not want a little sister. Sam on the other hand doesn't mind the company. Someone who finally listens to him.

I am off to writing today. Hoping to get in a decent continuation on the word count today.

Here is an excerpt of the novel thus far.

Dec 18, 2000

I am so glad that James did not have to travel this week. It is the week before Christmas and there is so much we need to do yet. Hopefully, I’ll have time in the evenings to go shopping. James was saying something about wanting to be involved in the shopping, but we’d have to have Gwen come in to watch the kids if we did that. It is just much simpler to tag team.

We took the boys to see Santa over the weekend. That went over with Calvin about as well as oil and water. Calvin was a bit freaked out by the bearded man. I think things may have been fine, but Santa spoke. Santa has a very deep voice that I don’t think either one of the kids were expecting. The minute he spoke, both kids got scared. The elf helper brought over a small chair and they had Jeremy sit in the chair by Santa. Poor Jeremy. He did get to sit on Santa’s lap this year. I suppose I should have let them see Santa separately instead of together at the same time. But after standing in line for an hour, we just wanted to get it done and over with. Calvin started screaming the minute Santa spoke. His little pudgy face turned bright red and the tears just streamed down his face. Then the moment I’ll never forget. Calvin kicked Santa. Right in the knee. Oh, lovely I have the child who kicked Santa. I bet my boys made Santa’s day. We will be the story that Santa tells his family about when speaking of his Santa career.

What a lovely picture that turned out to be! Jeremy looks scared. Like a deer in the headlights. His eyes are so big and he has this shocked look on his face. I’m not sure what was going through his head. Calvin has his mouth wide open screaming, his face a very bright red, with tears streaming. And Santa….Santa is clutching Calvin for dear life. I hope they pay Santa a good salary for his job.

While we waited for our pictures to develop, Jeremy had gotten into the Peppermint Patties they had on the table for their customers. I am not sure how I missed Jeremy getting into those, but I did. Apparently James did not notice either. I guess we were just so wrapped up in comforting Calvin and calming him down. Plus deciding which pictures to order.

I’m sure the Gap Store will not allow us back into their store. But that is what they get for having pure glass walls in front of their store. They should really be mad at Santa and not us. Santa is the one who provided the chocolates. My lovely little innocent Jeremy got chocolate every where. All down his mouth and all over his hands. Chocolate was all over his clothes. He then decided it was a good idea to wipe his chocolate covered hands and mouth all over the glass windows of the Gap Store. What a lovely decision. I had Calvin snug in his stroller at this point, so upon noticing Jeremy and the store clerk was headed our way. James whisked Jeremy up and we ran out of there pretty quickly. I’m sure we aren’t the first ones to smear chocolate all over their glass walls. At least it was on the outside of the store and not the inside. I do wonder though, how many times through out the day the Gap store ladies have to clean the outside glass from the Santa exhibit.

James and I got the car. We put the kids in, looked at Jeremy smiling his chocolaty smile and we busted out laughing. Definitely a Christmas to remember. We certainly hope Santa won’t remember us next year.

Dec 24, 2000

Today we spent the day with James’s family. They live in the same state as us, unlike my family. My family lives in Wyoming. I left home when I was eighteen. I went to college in Minnesota and while in college, I met James. I knew it was love at first site. So I stayed here when our relationship took off. Going back home to Wyoming for the holidays just doesn’t happen. Airplane travel is harder in the winter months, and you just never know what the weather is going to be like. It is just better to visit during the summer months when the weather is nicer. Things aren’t as chaotic then, and we get a real nice vacation out of it. So our holidays are always spent with James’s family. They really are a great family, but I just knew that Calvin would be a bit much for them to deal with. James and I are the only ones who have children, so we are setting the path, although James’s sister and husband announced that they are expecting a baby in July. How wonderful! James and I will no longer be the only ones with kids in this family. Everyone was really beginning to wonder. We are so happy for them. My children will have a new cousin.

I had no cousins growing up as a child. My mother was an only child, as well as my father. James had quite a few cousins growing up, so he got to have the cousin experiences that I did not. I am really hoping that our children will have good relationships with their cousins here.

The kids were so excited to open presents at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. They could hardly contain themselves. They couldn’t wait to rip into all that pretty paper under the pine tree. Curiosity was getting to the best of Jeremy. He understands what happens at Christmas as this is his third one. He knows what all those pretty wrapped packages are for him. Calvin was just feeding off of Jeremy’s excitement. I wasn’t sure how this would play out considering the way Calvin has been acting.

When it came time to open presents Jeremy went nuts. He giggled and he ooohed an awed at the paper. He enjoyed opening presents so much. He had more fun with the paper and boxes than he did with the actual presents. Christmas is just supposed to be so fun with the little ones. Jeremy’s excitement and joy was completely overshadowed by Calvin, however. Through, the chaos of presents and paper ripping Calvin just sat there and cried. He wanted nothing to do with any of it. At one point he got up and walked away. I went to go see where he was and he was sitting in a corner. He was still upset, but he seemed to more complacent there. So I left him there. Jeremy kept yelling “mommy, mommy, wook.” Jeremy had proceeded to open all of Calvin’s presents and mine. Bless his heart. I’m just glad at least one of my sons had a good time.

I could tell James family noticed Calvin’s behavior. They pretended not to notice, but I could tell they did. They started to ask questions that I simply did not have answers for. I’m sure they were wondering what kind of mother I am, to have such a child who just seems so different. I really wish I knew what has gotten into him. What ever it is, it certainly isn’t going to change any time soon. It is just who he is. I’ve heard of animals temperaments changing when they get older, so perhaps the same is true of Calvin.

To avoid unanswerable questions, I got up to check Calvin. He had gotten mysteriously quiet, although, I knew he hadn’t moved from the corner I found him in earlier. To my horror, Calvin was covered in blood. It was all over his mouth, his arms, and his legs. What on earth! I picked him up and looked for the source of blood. The first place I looked was his mouth. I saw nothing wrong. There was blood all over his teeth, but I didn’t see any teeth that were loose or indication that any had fallen out. I ran him into the bathroom. Of course, everyone wanted to know what was going on. I just couldn’t imagine what could have caused so much blood to be all over Calvin. It certainly couldn’t be something too horrible since Calvin seemed so calm. I took a wash cloth out of the cupboard and wet it down. I took off Calvin’s pants and shirt and still found nothing. I took the wash cloth and washed his hands. His hands at this point still had fresh blood on them. As I washed the blood off his mouth and hands, I noticed his knuckles were badly cut up. I then realized the cuts were from his teeth. Why would my baby injure himself like this? Why on earth would he chew on his own hand to the point of mutilation? None of this was making sense. I tried talking to Calvin, but I of course got the usual response from him that I’ve been getting for the past few months now. He wouldn’t answer me. He wouldn’t even smile or frown or show any facial expression. He just looked at me like he was playing the coolest poker game of his life. His face just showed nothing. This is definitely something new and I hope it doesn’t happen again. I’m just glad to be at home now and away from family. They have so many questions as to why Calvin would chew at his hands the way he did. I of course, had absolutely no answers for them. Calvin is proving to not be the typical child. I haven’t read anything yet to describe this type of behavior. I just really don’t understand.

all rights reserved
bbley 2008

Girl invasion

Tonight I babysat a friend of mine's daughter. She is three and has lots of energy! She is such a cute and sweet little girl. It really is nice to have another girl in the house. Sam played with her quite well. They had a good time together. Kevin on the other hand acted like there was an alien invasion. I think I let the poor little dear eat too many M&M's. She was all wound up. She finally crashed around 11:30 pm. Yikes! I sure hope she sleeps in tomorrow. She was so tired, yet so afraid she was going to miss something that the boys would do. But she finally did go to sleep. She looks so peaceful sleeping. Just like a little angel. Of course my children look like complete angels sleeping peacefully in their beds as well.

I really enjoy Emma. I enjoy getting my girl fix. Fixing our hair, painting our toe nails, all that fun stuff I never get to do with the boys. But as she was binging off the walls with energy, I was thankful that I no longer have wee little ones.