28 June 2009

Frazer Meadow

Yesterday was a gorgeous day. We took the kids on a hike to Frazer Meadow. Jonathan took Blue there about a month ago and he thought maybe Lion would be able to manage it, too.

It's a beautiful hike up to the remains of a shack where a man named John Frazer had a homestead in the late 1800s. He lived up there and cleared a field for crops that is now a beautiful meadow.

Whenever he needed supplies or wanted to sell lumber to the townspeople, he had to trek (with a bad leg, apparently) up and down the mountain. I kept thinking of Adam Pontipee from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on the way up to the meadow and thinking that these mountain homesteaders were insane. Give me a place down in the town any day!

John Frazer was killed in 1894 when the logs he was hauling down the mountain broke loose and crushed him. It was really incredible to see where he lived and worked and to admire the meadow where he cleared the land. I love wandering around places where people used to live. My imagination just runs wild. I think that is why I was a history major in college.

Anyway, this was the Lion's first real hike. It is a good four miles round-trip and it is uphill all the way to the meadow and very rocky. I think Jonathan said it is ranked a "moderate" hike. Lion did so well! We took a few breaks to drink water and eat granola bars and he fell down a few times, but he would just get right back up and keep on hiking. Jonathan and I were very proud of him!

After the hike, Jonathan took us to Ruby Tuesday's for dinner to celebrate our mutual success on the Atkins Diet. I have lost 19 pounds and he has lost 21 pounds! So we celebrated with some steak and salad bar. Ruby Tuesday's rocks because they offer mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes on request. And their salad bar is amazing. I enjoyed my celebratory steak, but my back was starting to really hurt by then...

Because I got a horrible sunburn on my back. I was wearing a tank top and before the hike I made sure to spray the kids and me and the back of Jonathan's neck with sunblock. But there was a pretty strong breeze while I was spraying and I don't think any of the sunblock actually got on my back. So now my back is all dark red and splotchy (maybe some of the sunblock hit its target?) and I had to take a sleeping pill to fall asleep last night because it hurt so badly.

Lesson of the day: Do not attempt to spray your own back with sunblock. Have your handy (and much taller) husband do it for you.

26 June 2009


We woke up this morning and as I was running around getting the kids dressed for soccer, Jonathan got a phone call from his boss. Asking if he would be interested in going on detail next month. To Detroit. Jonathan mentioned that he will be on vacation at the end of July, so he would be unavailable. Sorry.

But then we mulled it over and decided that as long as he could be home in time to fly to Virginia, maybe he should offer to go to Detroit. Because we have nothing else on the calender for July. And because it would be horrible if they tried to send him on detail next year. Our schedule for next year is really crazy because I am going back to school in August. And we are going to be flying to England in April. And going to Disneyworld with his parents in May. Maybe if Jonathan volunteers to go to Detroit now, they will not ask him the next time they need to send people somewhere on detail.

So he called his boss back. And he will be in Detroit for the month of July. It seems nobody else in his office was keen to go!


I hate when he is away.

And it stinks because one of the reasons we moved out to Colorado was to escape Virginia summers. And instead of enjoying a balmy Colorado summer with his family, Jonathan will be stuck in Detroit in the summer alone.

But hopefully his office will remember that Jonathan volunteered to go on this trip. And hopefully they will not ask him to go anywhere next year. Because Blue will be in kindergarten, Lion will be in preschool, they have their little extracurricular activities, and I will be in class in the evenings. I don't know what we would do if they tried to send him somewhere. Maybe I could fly one of our moms out here to babysit the kids in the evenings while I am in school? (Haha. I can see the moms reading that and secretly praying Jonathan is sent on another detail!)

Anyway. Detroit. Blech.



I am still doing the Atkins diet. I have lost 18 pounds! I think I look a lot thinner than I did a month ago. But I am still very hungry. This is what I want:

But since those are not Atkins-friendly, this cute print from Sandra Juto would suffice:

15 June 2009

ad infinitum

I have been scrubbing our floors today. Because Jonathan's mother and sister arrive tomorrow. But mostly because they look awful! We got this gorgeous, dark wood laminate floor installed and then someone (meaning me) painted all the walls a creamy white without using dropcloths. Sigh. It is very tedious, very hard work scrubbing all of the paint spatter off of the floors. My hands are killing me. But mostly I just feel like an ass. Since the paint spatter is all my fault.

Most projects we have worked on, we are cursing the former owners up and down because of the neglect and/or shoddy work that led to the project we worked on. But this time, I can only curse myself. And I have been. All day.

The Finding Nemo mural in Lion's room is almost finished. It is amazing how expressive fish can be! I will post some pictures when I finally finish. I think he really likes it. I have caught him sleeping up-side down in his bed a few times, as if he fell asleep looking up at it. Very gratifying.

Blue wants a mural next. And it's only fair that I do one for her, too. I was thinking of a forest scene, with some flowers and wildlife, and of course a princess castle in the distance. She wants me to do something princess-y. The other day she asked me if I could paint her on the wall -- as a princess. I told her that may be a bit too difficult for Mommy's artistic abilities!

07 June 2009

Poem to Myself

You have given your son a plastic watering can
he now holds suspended over the bathtub
watching a stream of water shower down
upon the smooth, white surface.
As he fills it again you reach for your book and open it
to a favourite poem hoping to thwart
this staggering boredom that comes from sitting
crouched in play now for three years.
The poem is well-rhythmed and vivid,
turning a handful of simple moments
into a kind of rhapsody,
causing the little wings in your chest to rustle and flap,
all because of a peach, an arched bridge,
a walk in the garden.

What I want to say to you is,
lift your eyes off the page.
Put the book down and direct
your gaze to your small son.
The bottoms of his socks have darkened,
and patches of water spot his jeans but still
he carries on with his industry,
broadening his scope to include
the tiled shower stall and the little perched sink,
feeding liquid down into each silver gullet.
Look at his face, the way he is so rapt,
yet at the same time open
to the full enjoyment of what he is doing.

These are the moments of his life,
which are the moments of your life, too.
The poet has crossed the bridge,
he has finished the peach and tossed the pit
into a snarl of bushes and gone home to sit
by a blazing fire where you are not invited to join him.
Step out from the thicket
of your mind and join your son instead.
Follow the damp footprints down the hall
and watch as he pulls a heap of soft blankets
to the floor and fashions them into a nest.
He wants only that you climb in with him, that you sit
together taking turns, first him, then you,
his little finger pointing. You are the Mama bird, he says,
and I am the baby.

Sara Byck

06 June 2009

Starve, Pray, Love

I went to book group tonight. We were discussing Eat, Pray, Love. I meant to reread it, since its been a while, but I didn't get around to it. We really only talk about the book for a fraction of the time we are together so it was okay.

I had a really nice time. But I was so hungry! I have been on the Atkins diet for 8 days now. So almost no carbohydrates. And so I brought some cheese cubes (sigh) tonight and my own sparkling water to drink and watched the others drink wine and eat these gorgeous brownies someone had brought. I was honestly drooling. But I am determined to lose weight. And to break my insane addiction to sugar.

It is funny. Last week when I started the diet, I was saying that I was "cutting carbs" rather than admitting that I was doing the Atkins diet. Because of all of the negative opinions about the diet. I just didn't want to hear it. But now I am so friggin' proud of myself that I haven't eaten any processed food for over a week that I am telling everyone. I am doing the Atkins diet, people, and I am on day 8. I am hard core.

04 June 2009

I foresee travel in my future...

Thanks, everyone for the encouraging words about my little monster. I think Blue and Lion are both just very bored. Blue because preschool is over. And Lion because we went out every day together while Blue was in school. Luckily, next week their new summer activities begin. I wrote all of the times on our calender and I colored each day. Blue for swimming, pink for ballet (which ends this month), purple for cheerleading/gymnastics and green for soccer. Blue loves this. I may have to buy her a little calender for her room and color it for her. In fact, this may be a good way to help her grasp the concept of days of the week...

Anyway, they should be very busy in the coming months. And then, the week their summer activities end we fly to Virginia for ten days! I cannot wait. Even though the horrible tragedy of the plane that crashed into the Atlantic this week has been on my mind a lot. I hate flying. I hate having my children on a plane. I tell myself that flying in a plane is so much safer than riding in a car. I know this. But there is something so terrifying about placing your fate in a total stranger's hands.

Speaking of flying, I am so superexcited I can barely stand it... Jonathan received a phone call today from his best friend, Andy. Andy and Teresa have finally set a date and they are getting married in Lincoln in April of next year. And Andy asked Jonathan to be his best man! So it appears we are going back to England sooner than expected! I cannot believe it! Someone pinch me! We plan to fly to Virginia with the kids and leave them with our family and then fly from DC to England. We can't wait to travel with the kids, but we are waiting until they are at least old enough to know where they are going! Besides, I wouldn't want to bring them to the wedding. And they will have fun with their grandparents, so it will be nice for everyone.

England. I cannot believe it! I get teary just thinking about it. Jonathan wants to spend a good ten days there before the wedding, to take Andy out for a night of debauchery and so we can help with any last minute wedding details. So we will be in England for our anniversary (again)!


I cannot believe in less than a year I will be back there!

03 June 2009

bad boy

I have been having a lot of trouble getting the Lion to listen to me lately.

He is driving me crazy.

Last night when I picked Blue up from ballet he had a horrible temper tantrum in the ballet studio. I was mortified. I so do not want to be That Mom. You know. With the out-of-control children. I practically dragged him to the car and he screamed in the car all the way home. At the top of his lungs. Poor Blue, stuck in the carseat beside him just stared at him all the way home. I put him to bed without any dinner. My mom was appalled, but trust me, that kid is not going to starve! He eats more than I do!

Grrrr. He was a peach this afternoon, too. Jonathan thinks we need to use Time Out a lot more.

Is this normal for a three year old boy to make such a Jekyll/Hyde transformation?

Because I am losing my mind!

02 June 2009

fears and fearlessness

I signed Blue up for that cheerleading/gymnastics class today! And I signed both of the kids up for a soccer class called PeeWee Kickers. It starts next week. It is a very small group of kids and they are all 3 or 4 years old, so Blue and the Lion can be in the same group. Which I think will be nice for Lion, who is a bit nervous about striking out on his own sometimes.

It is funny. Most of the time, he is the leader. When I ask them any kind of question, whenever they have to make a decision, like what they want for lunch or whether they want their sandwiches cut into rectangles or triangles, Blue always defers to the Lion. She either waits for him to answer and echoes his decision, or she changes her mind once he answers me. And when they are playing he tends to call the shots. It's pretty predictable.

But when it comes to doing something independent of each other, like going off to school or taking swimming lessons, Blue is the fearless one. She marched right into preschool on her first day without even looking back to wave at me. But Lion is very nervous about/obsessed with the very idea of preschool. And he cried the first couple of swim classes.

When we went to Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday party a few weeks ago, the Lion and I got there before Daddy and Blue, who were out on a hike together.  Lion only went into a few rides, and those were the little toddler rides. He was fascinated by the huge hamster-cage maze of tunnels but he wanted nothing to do with them until Blue arrived. She burst onto the scene and tried every single crazyass ride in the place and the minute she climbed up into that tunnel, Lion was in there after her.

I love that Blue is so brave. Because I have never been. I sucked at sports because I was always afraid of getting hurt. Especially something like soccer, where all the kids are kicking at the same ball. I would hang back, afraid someone would kick me in the shin or something. And I hate rollercoasters. All rides, really. So I love that my daughter will be one of those girls who loves rides. She already cannot wait to go to Disney World next year and try everything.

The Lion, on the other hand, is like me. We talk about Disney World all the time and we watch the promotional DVD and he tells me which attractions he wants to see and which ones he emphatically does not want anything to do with. As a kid who was constantly teased about avoiding all of the rides at Kings Dominion, I know what it is like and I tell him over and over, "If you don't want to go on a ride, you don't have to." I will never forget when I went to Kings Dominion with my Girl Scout troop as a little kid and they made me go on the Log Flume ride because everyone else wanted to go on it. The log we were riding in was so high off the ground and I remember I was crying my eyes out by the end of the ride. I will never force my kids to do something "fun" that they are not comfortable doing!

rainy day

It is raining today. So it looks like I am spending another day inside painting! Jonathan's Mom and sister are coming to visit in two weeks so that is giving me a good deadline to wrap up some of these projects.

I am loving living in an older home. It was so neglected and crappy when we bought it. So really anything we do to it is an improvement! I am in a "white" phase right now which is cracking my mother up. I think it is in part because so many of the homes featured in Domino or on Apartment Therapy had white walls and partly because the house was just so dirty when we moved in. But I am painting most of the rooms a creamy white.

Here are some photos of the family room in various stages of white. We ripped out the green carpet before moving all of our stuff in. And had a dark brown pergo floor installed:

First to be painted: the brick fireplace wall and the built-in bookcase and all of the dark brown wainscoting. I painted the inside of the fireplace a flame-resistant, soot-hiding black. Then Jonathan plastered over the ugly peachy-tan stucco walls and I painted them a creamy beige:

Then I painted the brown mantle white and I am currently painting the ceiling a crisp white:

Whether you like so much white or not, it is definitely brightening up the place!

Sometimes I think Jonathan is wondering who the hell I am, since I hated white walls when he met me! But at least, doing such a 180 is teaching me to respect other people's design choices a little more. If people want to paint their walls a dark color or even just a bright one, I can think, "I once liked that look too." And I will probably be painting all over the white walls in Glenbogle house in a couple years (who am I kidding? months) too!

01 June 2009

summer activities

I am thinking of enrolling the kids in some summer activities to break up the days. Now that Blue is finished with preschool and ballet will be wrapping up soon as well, the days are very long. With lots of fighting. They can't help it. They are just around each other too much and getting on each other's nerves.

And it will just be for the summer. Because Blue starts kindergarten in the fall and the
Lion will start preschool -- if I can get the kid to poop in the potty. Do I sound like a broken record? Because I feel like one. Do people say "broken record" anymore? Would a kid even know what that means? Maybe I should say "skipping CD" instead. You know. Change things up a bit.

Anyway. They will (hopefully) both be in school in the fall. And we will continue with swimming and Blue will start ballet again. And also I have realized she will be old enough to start Girl Scouts in the fall and I get all teary and nostalgic about that so of course I will stick her in that as well.

Digressing. Here I am on Thinking Day when I was a Brownie. Back in the day:
Our troop was representing Holland. See the hats? And my shiny disco blouse? Seriously, Mom, what is up with my shiny disco blouse?

Anyway. Back to the point. I don't want to turn into one of those "Mom Taxis" but I also don't want to strangle my children this summer, either. And once they are older I will be working and unable to chauffeur them to various activities. So if it's to be, it must be now.

So. They will both continue with their swim lessons this summer.

And I am looking at signing them both up for soccer and putting Blue in an hour and a half cheerleading/gymnastics class. I know, I know. I would rather she get into sports than cheering, but there is not that much available to children her age. Physical, that is. There are all kinds of art and cooking classes, but I want them to run around and work off some of their energy. She already does dance and swimming. Add soccer and there really isn't much else. So cheerleading/gymnastics it is. Jonathan and I think she will love it.

I know she will love the soccer. She kicks the ball around the back yard with Jonathan at night. And it is so funny. Because to even the score, Jonathan plays with his eyes closed. And barely kicks so he won't kick her in the leg since he can't see. And still he wins half the time! But she is getting good at not touching the ball with her hands and at stopping the ball by putting her foot on top of it. And by "good" I mean she doesn't fall down. Much.