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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Manly Men

I sometimes feel like I need to start a spin-off blog with the quips this two-year old of mine has been throwing out lately.  I think I'll call it "Sh*t my son says"...

This evening I was upstairs finishing up some work on my laptop, when I overheard heard my boys talking downstairs in the family room.  Noah had been playing with his tool kit and says (as he always does) to Jordan, "Hey Dad!  We're MEN!"

Daddy says, "Yeah we are. And what do men do?"

Noah: "Watch TV!"

Dad: "Oh yeah, what else?"

Noah: "We can bounce balls.  And we sit on our butts."

Dad got a good chuckle out of that one, and apparently decided to goad the kid on:  "Sounds like us for sure.  What else do men do?"

Noah: "Eat pizza?"

Dad: "Yep! What else?"

Noah: "And burp and fart!"

Dad: "AWESOME!  Anything else?"

Noah: "And we sleep in our own beds!"
My sincerest apologies to my future daughter-in-law...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guess Who's Coming to Town?

Guess Who's Coming to Town?

Last Friday, I got to take a trip with Bam-Bam's daycare class over to our favorite holiday spot - Santa's Village.  The brave souls (aka the "2's Teachers") fed, napped, pottied, and bundled up 24 little munchkins before some of us parents joined the group for the trek over to the park for the big outing. 

As soon as we got there, unbundled, and split the group into two more manageable groups of toddlers, No-Fear Noah was the first kid to hop up on Santa's lap. He asked Santa for a Brachiosaurus. Santa throws me kindof a panicked look, but then very sweetly says, "well, have you been a nice little boy this year?"
Noah: "Yeah! I'm a good boy!"
Santa: "Okay then, I think I can manage to bring you a dinosaur for Christmas."
Noah immediately jumps off his lap, yells, "okay! Let's go get it!" and tries to pull Santa up off the chair -- there will be none of this waiting for Christmas morning nonsense, he needs this dino RIGHT NOW.  Bless his heart, Santa managed to salvage the moment by telling him all about how if you are kind to your sister and helpful to your Mom & Dad, when Christmas morning comes that dinosaur will be in your stocking.

Crap.  Anybody happen to know where I could find a Brachiosaurus for sale?

Noah and his new friend Santa Claus

Santa even got fist-pounds from some very excited little boys, prepping him for his long trek on Christmas Eve.  The boys were also particularly interested in un-decorating the beautiful Christmas trees that decked the halls of Santa's Village.  Mrs. Claus was less successful in getting the gang to sit still for storytime.  (But really, Mrs. Claus, they're two - did you really expect complete silence and full participation from this crowd?)

Noah & Mama, still smiling after being told for the 12 billionth time, "DON'T TOUCH THE TRAIN!!" 
He also snatched a $1 bill out of the toy train (a collection for the local Food Pantry).
I'd be impressed if I weren't so mortified.

Asha's nose was pretty out of joint that her bro got to go to Santa's Village, but she wouldn't get to attend because she'd be in school.  We went there the past two years as a family outing, but fighting those crowds just didn't seem like a whole lot of fun with a rambunctious two-year-old in tow, especially one who had already seen the wonders this place had to behold.  But Mommy took pity on her, and we ventured across the neighbor's backyard to the Village late that Saturday afternoon.  We quickly discovered that is definitely the time to go!  No crowds, no lines, unlimited access to the craft table, and plenty of time to give Santa the entire rundown of your wish list.

That's a whole lot of sparkly blue eyes!
Decorating cookies with Mrs. Claus.  Dear old Mrs. Claus shared plenty of Christmas-themed jokes, which Asha has since repeated constantly to anyone who will listen (and even those who won't).  And quite the cute little elf, if I do say so myself!

Ornament making was her favorite activity, followed by a visit to Dasher & Blitzen, then a carefully worded request to Old St. Nick to bring this very good little girl something special in her stocking Christmas morning.  So while we went on separate trips, I must say we all thoroughly enjoyed the Santa Village for the 3rd year in a row! 

Seeing all the Christmas cheer at the Village also inspired me to get my hiney in gear and get the Christmas decorations put up in our house.  Despite the ZERO snowfall we have on the ground as of December 14th (!), it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kindergarten Advice: How to Succeed in Business (without really trying)

Yeah, yeah, I know: it's been awhile since we've chatted.  I've really been quite the slacker with the ol' blog these days.  I could tell you it's because I've been out enjoying the unseasonably nice weather we've had around here.  I could tell you it's because I've been busy cooking and baking and prepping for a huge Thanksgiving feast.  I could tell you it's because I've spent the last 6 weeks preparing, cleaning, moving, cleaning, touching-up, cleaning, staging, cleaning, re-organizing and cleaning our house before we put it on the market.  I could tell you that between parent/teacher conferences, gymnastics, soccer, hockey, birthday parties, and a newfound love for racquetball (yeah, I know), I just haven't had a whole lotta extra time on my hands to blog!  Or, I could tell you what is probably the most truthful:  that I haven't really had anything all that interesting to say lately!  Ha! But I'm back, at least for now, because I just had to tell you about...


A few days ago, Asha asked us if we could go to Disneyland.  It's a common occurrence, her asking this question, so we didn't give much thought to it and just gave our standard "no" response.  But the child was feeling particularly persistant that day and kept digging for more.
"Why CAN'T we go?"

"Because, we just can't."

"Well why not?"

"Because I said so!"

"THAT'S NOT A REAL REASON!"  (that one sure came back to bite me...)
She had me there. So I brought in the Truth Teller, (aka The Dream Crusher): Daddy.
"Asha, we can't go to Disney because we just haven't saved up enough money to take a trip like that right now." 

"Well you guys have lots of money, I saw a whole bunch in Mom's purse!  Let's use that to go on our trip!" She was referring to the approximately $7 + change that I had that particular day.

At this point we decided to make this a lesson in hard work and penny pinching.  Mistake?  Probably.  This kid outsmarts the both of us on a regular basis and we tend to make poor parenting decisions...
"Oh, honey, we really would love to take you there, we just can't right now.  Ok?  Maybe in a couple years when Noah is bigger we'll all go. That way we will have time to work hard and save up our money so we can do everything there that we want to do."

She wasn't convinced.  "But I wanna goooo nooooowwwww!  Can't you guys just go and work harder and make some more money at your jobs?"
Mommy inserts wisecrack, "Well, can't YOU just go GET a job?"  Jordan shoots me a 'you're not helping' glare... 
"No Mom, I'm five, I can't even drive yet and you won't even let me walk to daycare. Why don't you just go tell your bosses to give you more money and then we can go to Disneyland?!"
Well, durr. Sounds perfectly reasonable!  Why the hell didn't I think of that before?  But then Jordan, guy-who-never-lets-sleeping-dogs-lie, keeps on with our little life lesson.

"It's not that easy, Asha.  It's very important to work hard and do your best, but sometimes that doesn't mean you'll get more money".  (I must admit I sortof tuned out at this point, right about when he started in on the money-isn't-everything lecture. The guy can be a real bummer sometimes...)

But just when we thought she was about to concede, Asha responded with a frighteningly well thought-out argument as to why we should just get off our (apparently) lazy butts and get to the moneymakin' so she can meet up with Mickey & Minnie before she hits the ripe old age of 7 and all the magic is over.  And yes.  Yes, she did use the word "magic".  *sigh*

Ever had those parenting situations where you know you ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT LAUGH at your child in this moment, but every muscle on your face is twitching from trying not to erupt into giggles and it is taking every ounce of self control not to look your spouse in the eye cuz you know you'll lose it?  Yup, that happened.

So I had her restate her points on camera just so we wouldn't forget.  As if we would.  It probably wasn't quite as poignant the second time around (and of course she had to do one take with sparkly hat, one without, and restage her background for better lighting.)  If this girl ain't the product of the Debate Coach and the Theater Queen...

But really, the kid makes a whole lot of sense, doesn't she?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Under Where?

You've all heard the golden line from your dear Mother: "Always wear clean undies in case you're in an accident."


If I'm in an accident, I'm probably gonna crap my pants out of fear and shock anyway.

It was probably just some wisely figurative way of saying "always be prepared" or "appearance matters" or maybe "if you're going to make an impression, make a good one"… y'know, some brilliant nugget of motherly genius.

I'm coming to realize that what Mom probably should have been saying all those years was, "always wear non-embarrassing underwear in case, God forbid, anyone ever sees them." This is far more practical advice.

Yes, this advice would have served me well tonight when I went to the massage therapist. As I stripped down, I realized with horror that I was wearing…. THEM. The most embarrassing pair of underwear on this big blue planet. These weren't just your everyday run-of-the-mill Granny Panties. Nosirreeebob, these were some extra-roomy maternity undies. Let's be clear: I am not and will not be pregnant. Nor have I been for 2.5 years. But I have continued to don the ginormous bloomers because to be perfectly honest, they are SUPER comfy. I have the same sentiments about maternity clothing in general. In fact, it's a good thing my sister-in-law got pregnant when she did (she inherited my maternity clothes) because if she hadn't, I'm certain I'd still be wearing those jeans with the stretchy, oh-so-comfy expandable waistband. Don't judge me. They're fricken comfortable.

Back when I was in my teens & twenties, underwear were a novel item: sexy, colorful, expensive garments that NEVER saw the light of day. But in my thirties, my underthing-priorities have changed considerably: Practical, comfortable, cheap. And now it seems like EVERYONE sees them. My doctor, massage therapist, chiropractor, the kids, the husband, hell, even the UPS Man (long story, suffice it to say we won't be ordering any packages anytime soon) and one time even a male co-workerwho got a close-up glimpse of the GP's when a laundry incident landed a pair right in the pocket of my hoodie (which I proceeded to pull out and examine right in front of him. Smooth move, huh!?).

But those extra-roomy, panel-in-front maternity underpants? Those, I kept. Sweet mercy, WHY!!! But guess what? I don't care. Because that stretchy, sturdy cotton is like wearing a fluffy cloud on the hiney. Some days, my life is absolute chaos. And the practical comfort of those giant underoos help me tackle my crazy life with energy and fortitude that no one wearing a pair of those floss-in-the-crack panties would be able to muster. So yes, I think my massive Mom-derwear gives me power.  I am SuperMom!

There's another popular saying that goes, "put on your big girl panties." I think it's figuratively supposed to mean "suck it up, deal with it, be strong, etc.". Well, my Mom-advice is to take that saying literally. Because even though, frankly, they kinda might… well… look like mountains, those suckers might just be able to help you move mountains.

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's a Hard Knock Life

by Asha (As told to Mommy)

When I got home from daycare tonight, things were going pretty rotten for me.  I couldn't help it, all I wanted to do was listen to my favorite Justin Bieber song ever on the radio, and Mom just turned off the van right in the middle of it. How dare she!  So I threw just the teeniest little temper tantrum to let her know just how displeased I really was. That didn't go so well, cuz then I had to sit in time out when we got in the house.  No fair! 

As soon as I got out of time out, Noah picked up his toy sword and smacked me right in the face with it.  UGH!  Little brothers are such a pain!  This just wasn't shaping up to be a good night.

Then... my Mom made yucky supper that had vegetables in it.  I hate it when she does that.  Dad told me I better suck it up and eat it, cuz that's all I'm getting for supper. They're the meanest.  All I wanted to do was hang out in my room so I could read my new library book.  You know, the one about the dead kitty cat that Mom freaked out about when I brought home from the school library?  But noooooooo.  Nobody would leave me alone so I could enjoy my peace and quiet!

Don't they understand what a rough month I've had?  I mean COME ON, PEOPLE!  I have been one busy kid lately!  The life of a Kindergartener is not an easy one, ya know!  One month ago, I started going to school.  Like EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.   That's a lot of learning.  But I love school so much, it's so much fun.  I really like my teacher and I have made lots of new friends.  In fact, I've learned so much in the past month that I think I'm pretty much ready to go out and get a job now. 

For example, since school started, I've learned how to write all 26 letters of the alphabet in lower case.  I can write lots of stuff now, like notes to my parents which I leave all over the house for them.  Oh, and I almost forgot the most important part:  I learned how to READ!!  It's pretty cool.  So that's why I've been going to the library more, and getting really interesting books about things that my parents don't really wanna talk about.  Grownups are weird.

I also just learned how to tie my shoes.  You might think that's no big deal, but Dad says "thank goodness, no more velcro or slip-ons!"  It still takes me about 100 years to tie one knot, but I'm getting the hang of it.

No more training wheels!  Wooohooo!!
Guess what else I figured out how to do this month?  Yep: I can ride my bike with NO training wheels!  I tried a couple times this summer, but always got too frustrated.  So one weekend when my Grandma & Grandpa & my uncles were here, I just decided to show off my skills and I just hopped on my Princess bike and rode on down the street while my Mommy ran behind me.  She was yelling something, but I couldn't hear her because I was going so fast!  It's super fun, now I ride all the time!

This was right after I scored my very first goal ever!
One of the best things I've done lately is start playing K-1 soccer.  I played Pre-K last year, but this team is only girls and WAY more fun!  My Dad is the coach.  He's kindof a fun-killer for my little soccer social hour, but it's pretty great having him coach me and my friends.  We have an awesome time together.  I scored my first goal EVER this month too!  I thought that was so much fun that just I went ahead and scored my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th goals over the next 3 games!  I pretty much don't ever slow down... soccer is awesome!

On top of all those super amazing things I've been doing lately, I still manage to find the time to do my normal fun stuff, like playing dress-up, Barbies, bugging my bro-bro, reading, coloring, painting, singing, dancing, giggling, shopping, watching movies, riding bike to the park to practice my monkey bar routine, and other regular kid things.  Mom says she doesn't know where I find the energy.  I do.  It's all those darn vegetables she's feeding me!

Miss Monkey Business

So I wish those grownups would just cut me a little slack, ya know?  I've got a busy life, and now I don't even get to take naps anymore!  I mean, I'd like to see you learn how to read and write, tie your shoes, ride a bike, kick a goal, and swing across the monkey bars 76 times and then land on your feet!  ALL WITHIN 30 DAYS' TIME!  My many talents tend to go unappreciated...

It ain't easy being a Kindergartener.  But I'm getting pretty good at it...

I "crack" me up!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Two and Five"

Despite being just a few months behind schedule, I took the kiddos in for their "birthday portraits", taken the end of July.  When we got to the studio, the photographer asked how old they were turning, so I responded, "two and five."  Noah, ever the little parrot, starts repeating "two and five! two and five! two and five!" until he nearly drove his parents and sister bonkers!  Apparently, this little phrase was pretty catchy: We're potty training now, and use M&M's as a little reward when he goes on the potty.  If he does the deed, I'll ask him "Ok, so how many M&M's do you want?" and he always responds, "TWO AND FIVE!"  Glad to see those Christman "weirdo genes" are starting to show up in that kid...
Anyway, here are the results of our photo-session.  The patriotic red-white-n-blue theme wasn't intentional but they sure do look like the All-American kids don't they!?  Not sure how it happened that these little monkeys grew up so dang fast!
Hello my smiley little man.  I happen to think you are the cutest two year old boy on earth!  That chin dimple is too much & I just wanna smooch your pudgy toddler cheeks all day long!

Anyone else think he looks a lot like Daddy here? Right down to that dang untameable cowlick on the back of his head!

This look usually says one of two things: 1) I'm tired and wanna snuggle or 2) I'm kinda bored and am about to get reeeal naughty.  The goose egg on my forehead [*head butt*] is a sign that I have not yet learned the subtle nuances between the two.

Looks like he's about to share some "wisdom according to Noah"

Silly goob.  This so very well captures him though, my contemplative little comedian!

Love those sparkly blue eyes!
Miss Ash has always been so very photogenic, plus she's such a little poser that photographers usually just eat her up when she comes in for pics! But this time I wasn't so sure. When I went to daycare to pick the kids up, I realized that all the big kids were on their daily excursion to the city pool!  So Mommy sped like a maniac across town, grabbed her out of the pool on that super-hot day, face bright-red, hair sopping wet, and looking rather like a wrinkly newborn field mouse.  Attractive.  But, thanks to Daddy's fancy brush-work and ingenius use of the air-conditioning system in the minivan, she arrived at the studio 15 minutes later looking adorable as all getout, with her dry(ish) locks and non-fuschia skin tone! 

We had a hard time getting her to stop giggling so her face wasn't all scrunched up in the pics... this turned out pretty cute though!  And how about that outfit?!  She's very in to "zebra stripes" lately!  I totally want those shoes...

Thought it looked ridiculous when the photorapher was having her pose like this, but it actually turned out pretty darn cute! 

My favorite shot of her... just so "Asha"!

Hello pretty girl.  How come you grew up so fast?
Then we did some shots of the two of them together.  I was a little worried that bossy big sis and independent little bro would not cooperate... but thankfully, they proved me wrong! 

This one was so that Mommy could remember the height difference between them at this age.  I can't believe how quickly Noah is catching up to his (tall-for-her-age) sister!

They had just erupted into giggles here, I think the photographer captured their silliness pretty well!

My favorite shot of the whole session - this is totally them in their element!

So sweet.  Big sis takes such good care of her little bro, and while sometimes he pays her kindness back with a little shove, most of the time he can be found right by her side, tagging along and looking for a hug!  Yes, they have their fair share of battles, but it is so incredible to see how close these two have become! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summertime... and the Livin' is Easy

There's no denying it:  summer is here in full-force!  It seems like we waited so long for those temperatures to rise, and now we're complaining about how hot it is!!  Well, I'm complaining anyway...maybe you all are more appreciative, but I've spent far too much time these past few days watching the sky turn black from those eerie summer storms rolling in.  And far too much time sweating from places I didn't even know sweat could come from.  Regardless, I am pretty darn happy that the sun has been shining down on us so we are able to enjoy tried-and-true summer activities like...

He kept busy collecting sitcks, then counting them: "9, 8, 7, Sticks" 
Playing at the park.  We live 1 1/2 blocks from the coolest little city park (we call it "Perfect Park"), tucked away in a nook under cover of trees and away from traffic.  Our bikes have put on a lot of miles heading over there lately.  Noah's favorite pastime while there: collecting sticks. (?) His sister, the gymnast, has been practicing her monkey bar routine.  That kid can fly back & forth across a set of monkey bars 6 zillion times before she even begins to look tired out!  You should see the "pipes" that girl is sporting - makes me think maybe I should incorporate her routine into my workout schedule!!

Watching good old-fashioned American Baseball... Noah's first trip to Newman field was at 3 months of age, he got rained on and it wasn't a real fun time. But this time, my team from work got to hang out in the company box seats (air conditioned inside, under shelter outside). Asha ate a metric ton of junk food, Noah was fascinated by the RedHawk mascot, and Mom & Dad got to hang out with other real-live grownups! We had ourselves a pretty darn good time! 

Checking out the action at the RedHawks baseball game

Enjoying a beautiful afternoon in our sweet box seats!
Going to the movies!  Bam-Bam's first trip to a movie theater to see Cars 2 (The original Cars ranks among his top 3 favorite movies of all time).  Great idea, we though, spending some quality family time in the air conditioned comfort of the theater - and we had free movie tickets to use too!  Oh, but we were not prepared...
#Epic Failure.  That whole "sitting still for more than 10 minutes" thing really took a toll on everyone's patience.  Consuming buckets full of buttery popcorn and gallons of Mountain Dew probably didn't help with the energy level either, in hindsight.  And where acceptable movie-theater vocal volume = 2, Noah volume = steady 10.  Maybe even 11.

Quick pic snapped in the short time he was seated!
*whispers* "Yeah, buddy, that's awesome, but you have to be quiet so the other people can hear the movie too, ok?"
"Ok, let's try a little harder. Can you whisper?"
"Noah, seriously. I'm glad you're excited, but I need you to whisper please."
*Silence, for 10 whole seconds.

Hanging out indoors where it's nice and cool...
It's so hot, a guy's just gotta find relief any way he can (settle down, it's just sparkling cider!)
Sometimes you just can't help but try to look hot, when it is hot.
Taking a dip in the backyard pool...

Uncool in the pool...

Too cute to be this nerdy already!
Indulging in delicious summery treats...
Orange Push-Ups... the only reason I tolerate the Schwann's man coming to my
door every Monday night for the other 11 months out of the year!
And enjoying summer outings...
Monday night was the main event of the summer: the Microsoft Fargo annual company picnic!  Every summer , this is a huge and fantastic family-friendly event for the full time employees on the Fargo campus.  They have never failed to disappoint, and this year was no different! We were served a huge buffet of burgers & 'dogs for the grownups, mini corndogs and mac & cheese for the kids (errr, for me), chips, corn on the cob, and root beer floats for dessert!  After snarfing down a ginormous meal and 6 gallons of water in the 112-degree shelter tent, we headed out to the field to play our butts off.

Taken out my office window at about 8:30 am, before they blew 'em all up.  There's about 2 football fields worth of land that they hold the picnic on -- full of inflatables & fun stuff as far as the eye could see!

This was taken at last years' picnic - I forgot to snap one of the whole setup this year!  Pretty incredible!

They had some fun waterslides, a couple kiddie pools, drinking water stations scattered throughout, and a 'misting tent' to keep everyone cooled off in that blazing hot heat. I'm not sure the misting tent was necessary, because there was enough water vapor in the air to make me wish I had developed gills so I could breathe!!

Ash was mostly out on her own, she found a couple friends from daycare and they were off like the wind to run through the obstacle courses and slide on the giant Wet 'N Wild!

Someone's excited about the big event!
The two little buddies Heston & Noah, looking for some trouble.
Noah's BFF since infancy, Heston, was also at the party.  Those two little turkeys didn't slow down for one second, and ran their Mamas ragged chasing after the two little sweaty speed demons.  I have no idea how they didn't just drop after playing in those bouncy-castle hotboxes!  But their little red faces were all smiles, despite the difficulty they had trying to slide down the slides. The humidity caused their little sweaty legs to slow them down significantly, so they just adapted - by jumping off them instead of sliding!  The lil' dudes spent the majority of the evening having a ball in the kiddie pool, getting good 'n muddy while cooling themselves off.  And of course, they then topped off the night by throwing massive temper tantrums when it was time to leave.

Our little miss slugger!
Our tough little cowgirl (her nickname: "BadAsh") was feeling quite brave in her little Miss America swimsuit.  She jumped right up on that mechanical bull and stayed on for a full 30-ish seconds?  It was pretty darn epic...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bam Bam's Wild Ride

"Wonder Pets Flyboat Ride*", huh Mommy?  Really?  Gotta be honest with you, I'm skeptical about this.  Have you seen this thing?  I mean, the bottom drops out from under you.  That's supposed to be FUN?  You're kidding me, right? 

Seriously!  I'm only two... this can't possibly be how it ends for me.  Can someone point me to the exit?  Anyone?

How about you looky-loos over here?  Can you help a brotha' out?  What's so funny, you've never seen a kid have a panic attack before? 

For the love of petunias, Mother, would you stop with that dumb camera and RESCUE ME?!  Grandma?  Daddy?  Sissy?  Hellooooo!!!  THIS IS STRESSING ME OUT!!

Sheesh. I give up.  You people are sick.

Guess I might as well give in and enjoy the ride.  Good thing I'm already wearing a diaper...

(*from our latest trip to the Mall of America's "Nickelodeon Universe".  Stay tuned for more stories about our weekend adventure in the Twin Cities)