Monday, July 30, 2007

Soakin' up the Sun on Sunday

First off, how do you like the new header? I'm no pro and I can't make it look any more attractive, but I got tired of the plain ol' block-colored background for the header. At least this one seems more fun. Kudos to Grandma Gertie for the shot of the Tower Bridge here in Sacramento.

Grandma Gertie had her camera once again when the boys joined their cousins for some sprinkler fun. Apparently, after getting that shot of the sign in our 'hood I had not returned the camera to the Wiggles backpack where it normally rests. Oh, I guess I was charging batteries for it too. You can always count on GG!

Saturday, July 28, 2007


No Dunping??? Aw Shucks!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Random Thoughts...

Potty-training 101?
I think this is it! This must be the beginnings of potty-training...sitting quietly outside the bathroom, listening carefully to big brother's, ahem, bathroom duties.

When will the shoe fetish end?
If it's not his own shoes, its someone else's. Why? Why must he put his feet in other's shoes and try to walk in them? Why must he get upset when they are too heavy to lift off the floor?

How can a rubberband and a 25-cent plastic
disc shooter be so much fun?

Seriously! Upon finding the "leftovers" from his birthday goodie bags, Dominic has created a "morpher" and a "blaster", one for each arm. They go to bed with him and sit on his shelf until morning...they wake up with him...they go to daycare in the morning, but sit in my car all day...they then return home in the afternoons. They are NEVER left out of sight. Who would have thought?

Interior Decorating 101?
When will I get to decide the decorating "theme" for our kitchen? The Power Ranger masterpieces have taken over (with the exception of a Kindercamp specialty). Notice, they are out of little brother's reach!

Monday, July 23, 2007

One-eyed Ogre...

Doesn't every family have one?
(Amanda, Uncle Chris and Donovan)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

LA Boxing's Grand Opening

For the past month and a half Dominic and Daddy have been taking classes with the RAMA Family (Reaves Academy of Martial Arts). Rudy went to school with Instructor Marcus Reaves way back in Junior High School. He once learned from Marcus, but never stuck with it. Perhaps he was more involved with soccer. Dominic is enjoying "the gym". Infact, he'd prefer it to be known as "Power Ranger Training". Today marked the beginning of a new era for their instructor. Mr. Reaves is now closing his academy to open up the first La Boxing in Sacramento. A well-qualified instructor he is. We stopped by the festivities for some time before bodies got sweaty and windows became fogged up! Dominic and Rudy will now be taking classes at this new location and are looking forward to their first workout.
The labyrinth of punching bags

I don't want to be anywhere near these guys. Show offs!

Donovan provides some "love" to the bag before it gets him back.

Dominic gives his Dad some swift kicks.
(Love the Wiggles backpack?)

Dominic steps up to the bag.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Starfish to Shrimp + Shrimp to Guppy

After my week long SAHM trial, getting back to work was not easy. It's always hard coming back to find procedures not in place, things done incorrectly (or not at all), and an in-basket piled high. Today, I finally found the bottom, only because I had to be sure nothing was there that had a deadline. It's all mine. This huge stack held all my insurance certificates for the subcontractors on all of the projects the company is currently on. Because I'm so far behind, I'm sure there are a few subs out there working on jobsites with incorrect insurance coverage. Yes, I'm the Insurance Police. I've been known to void contracts of subcontractors lacking proper coverage or trying to squeak by with minimal limits, etc. THAT, although a pain for Project Managers, is my favorite "stick it to 'em" thing to do (when I catch those!) So, it's certificate chaos in my in-basket. New ones, old ones, renewed ones and revised ones. I'm buried in them. I'm hoping that after tomorrow, I won't feel so far behind and things will be under control. It's only taken me an entire week!

Dononvan came to work with me today for about 45 minutes. He had an appointment with his ENT for his ears. After having the installation of ear tubes back mid-October, we're now approaching 9 months of much-appreciated relief from constant fluid build-up and infections. The appointment was scheduled well ahead of time, but it was a coincidence that he was showing signs of a possible earache: fever, crankiness, cold/congestion. My well-equipped daycare provider has an otoscope to see what may lurk in there. It's been a nice tool to have when I've been in doubt in the past of whether to take them to the doctor or not. We saw no sign of infection, however we could see that his right ear tube was making it's way out of his ear (they usually fall out naturally between 9-18 months of installation). It was hanging on the brink. After discussing our findings with the ENT this morning, I have once again been labeled the "mom that doesn't know what she's talking about". Okay, so he says the tubes are in there "rock solid". What do I know? And, heck, my daycare provider has seen it all before...having two boys of her own (25+ years ago) with 2-3 sets of tubes EACH in their younger years. Heck, we're not doctors! We're just moms! (...and we don't know anything!)

Tonight was the last session of our 2-week swim class. I'm not sure if any skills were gained. It was a "play day" for class tonight, in which the kids (if they wanted to) could venture down the waterslide into the pool. Daddy was definitely more excited to go down than the kids. Rudy went up to the slide and got into position to go down with Donovan, when he "caved" and listened to his son's plea to NOT go down the slide. Wow! I thought for sure he'd force Donovan down the slide? Miss Sarah, our instructor, attempted to go down with another student, when that failed and since she was already in position, I had Daddy hand over Donovan. WHOOSH! Down they went. Miss Sarah went under while holding Donovan's head up out of the water. Amazing! The crowd clapped and cheered while Donovan stared at them frantically looking for his Mom and Dad. Dominic tried to avoid the entire scene, but of course, couldn't. Away he went, first with Miss Sarah...that wasn't so bad, so he tried it again..this time Daddy made him go by himself. Absolutely terrified, Miss Sarah was at the bottom to catch him. Again, the crowd cheered and applauded. He was done. The teeth start to chatter. More fun was had when the 3-4 lifeguards/instructors that were there each got bodyboards and used them to create waves in the pool. That was fun. All of the kids got to "swim" through the waves. Mind you, it was only 3 ft. of water or so. Dominic "pogo-sticked" to the other side. He thought that was a riot. So after our session today, my starfish will become a shrimp next year (along with me, yea!) and the shrimp will soon become a "guppy". Now guppies are a huge advancement (for me anyway) as the class is WITHOUT parental support in the water. Yikes! I'm not so sure my guppy can be controlled! He's usually like a fish out of water. Time will tell. Perhaps his year in Kindergarten will discipline him enough to follow an instructor's lead. Donovan and I will have at least 1-2 years together before he moves on to "guppy". The kids enjoyed popsicles from Miss Sarah. Icky sticky!

From Starfish to Shrimp...

From Shrimp to Guppy...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Now you don't see THAT everyday!

As the weekend comes to a close, I'm sad I won't be spending as much time with the kids as they go back to daycare, and I'm looking forward to the chaos at work. I'm not sure if 5 days was enough to make any conclusions on life as a SAHM. According to my trial, I don't think it's my thing. If money were no object and we had it coming out our ears, I would certainly make do being a SAHM, but for my sanity and some adult interaction, work is what I plan to do.

Today we had a little bit of excitement in our area. Okay, it's just a helicopter, but can be pretty exciting when you don't expect them flying around our community. As Rudy was out on "poop patrol" in the backyard he spotted some billowing smoke forming a large plume very close by. We certainly don't live in the "country" per se, but do have country grass areas with a creek about 1/4 mile away from us. This seemed awful close to be a grass fire. The neighbors started to form clusters outside and some even jumped in their cars to see what was going on. Donovan and I just took a walk down to the corner just to see what crazy people were out and whether we could see flames. We saw a heck of a lot of smoke and heard plenty of fire crews on their way. Our close neighbors up at the end of the court gave me the "scoop" as they returned from their gawking. It WAS a field fire, however, it was also burning the back fence of someone's yard and approaching their home. There is an entire row of homes along the fielded area. Scary. Sad. The helicopter was flying extremely low and would drop water on the fire. It would venture out for a refill and would soon return. Just not something we see everyday here.

Whelp...Big Day for us tomorrow...gotta get back to the grind and get the grinding back into the kids (and Rudy)! Does this mean my blogging will take a back seat?

Date Night and Movie Review

He did it! Rudy actually paid full price to see a movie! Saturday night, I forced him into taking me out to dinner and seeing a movie that wasn't rated "G". After all, he has owed me dinner at a restaurant since Mother's Day, my birthday, and most recently, our Anniversary. Grandma and Papa Gertie (and Gertie herself!) came to entertain the kids while we snuck out. I printed out the movie listings at the two local theaters, so depending on what time we left from the restaurant, that would determine what movie we'd be seeing. I wanted to save Ratatouille and Transformers for the kids. Pfft, as IF we'd ever get the chance to see another movie! The pick was Ocean's 13. Mind you, I haven't even seen Ocean's 11 or Ocean's 12 (we don't get out often) but thought it was a fair choice given it's setting was a Las Vegas casino and it had George Clooney in it. What more could you ask? Rudy's eyes light up at the sight of craps tables and rolling of dice, the trickery of gamblers, the role of mathematics or engineering, etc. It was a good flick, I think? I'm not sure what it is categorized as...drama? It did have some rather funny parts and plays on words. I don't know what else to compare it to. How do I rate a movie? Thumbs Up or Down? Do they do stars still? I'll give it a Thumbs Up and 3 out of 5 stars (right in the middle, that's safe!)

Dinner? Another "mind you"... Rudy had a Black Angus coupon in his pocket! We rarely get this chance to go out and there are TONS of newer restaurants in the area, and his choice is the TWO FOR at Black Angus??? NO WAY!! We settle on another steakhouse however. We went to Texas Roadhouse after many rave reviews. It was delicious. What'd we have? Beef, of course! We both selected different cuts, mine was more fatty, but still good. Rudy polished his plate. We both had margaritas too! Yum! I don't get too many of those!

Dominic was so excited to have Grandma and Papa over. I'm not sure why? He wore Papa out watching Sam I Am and Green Eggs and Ham, over and over again. They played outside too, so that Grandma could capture more photos..

Donovan is getting ready to take the plunge down the slide.

"We do doo-doo"
There's some fascination with the pooper scooper that I don't get.

Fred: "You know, the grass is always greener..."
Gertie: "What is it guys? huh? huh?"
Roxy: "I'm not sure, but it definitely has a tail!"

Thanks Grandma and Papa Gertie for babysitting!
Fred and Roxy thank Gertie for romping around with them.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Trials, Day Five - Friday Fun Day!

Ahh, Friday is finally here. It couldn't come any sooner. It was going to be a "play day" for all. Along with the Six Pack, we took the kids along for a day at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. It resembles nothing of the old Marine World that it used to be. Rudy and I figured we didn't want to bother with getting a sitter for the kids and celebrate our 10th Anniversary, so we did something with the kids instead. Romantic, eh? Keeping each other company, passing off kids, refilling souvenir drink cups throughout the day and swapping stroller-tending duties off so that us big kids could get on a couple rides was nothing but pure fun, I think? Uncle Ben must drive 2O MPH over the speed limit because we were well ahead of them on the way there. We pulled off as we spotted an ATM and grabbed some french toast sticks for the kids just long enough for them to catch up with us. They did, and beat us there! After parking the car and lathering up with sunscreen, we get inside the park and try to meet up with the Six Pack. Poor Tia was sucked into Thomas Town with the kids that she didn't hear the 10-15 calls I tried making to her on her cell phone. (Don't expect to be able to hear anything when you've got Thomas-tickled-toddlers surrounding you and the constant noises of the kiddie rides drown out any cell phone ring tone). So, I figured we could meet up with them once she noticed why her cell phone had so many missed calls. Meanwhile, we run into Cousins DeAnna, Kevin, Gabriella and Alexander. Small world! They had just walked into the park as well. By chance we all ended up at a small dolphin encounter exhibition. This was at a dolphin's tank with two large windows for underwater viewing. After no hands were raised for lucky volunteers to help "signal" the dolphins, Gabriella raised hers and got to help out with the demonstration. It was really cute how the dolphins reacted to her "commands" through the window. Some great photo opportunities were there, but my amateur photography skills allowed for great shots of the dolphins, but crappy shots of the kid! Go figure. Finally Uncle Ben called us over to Thomas Town where we all gathered up and went about our day's worth of napless kids and thirsty parents!

I must say, the park was not too crowded at all and there were awesome photo opportunities with the characters as well as time to interact with them a bit. Bugs Bunny came along and no one was really around to pose in the typical "kodak moment" shots that every parent wants. Donovan went right up to him and gave him the biggest hug! Do you think I could get my camera ready in time??? Right! Geesh...I wasn't ready! I really didn't think he would actually fall into Bugs' arms like that. So I finally got my camera ready after Donovan had left the scene. Luckily, Bugs didn't have many visitors and Donovan went right back up to him. This time I had camera ready. But darned if we were sitting in the shade and the shot came out dark. I was so proud of myself for such a unique picture...even though you can hardly make out what or who it was!
Gabriella's Kodak moment. (apparently, not mine!)

Muscles everyone!

Bianca clearly thought this was her bed.

Rudy and Dominic get left in the dark, while Donovan
gets irritated at Bug's big cheeks.

The White Water Safari
(Top left, counter-clockwise: Rudy, Kristie, Bianca, Dominic)

Donovan's photo-op with Bugs.
(Thanks to Grandma Gertie, this doctored photo
looks a LOT better than it did!)

Ben and Rudy ride the Boomerang Coast to Coaster.
(They're in the last car, now at the top!)

Kristie and I ride Medusa. We ROCK!
(3rd car from left, Kristie's legs point the direction!)

"Let's do this quick Tio, before my mom sees us!"

Rudy wanted to be sure he received credit for the "butterfly pictures". He is quite proud of himself. He complains about my camera because his shots are horrible most of the time. I told him it's usually the operator that doesn't know what he's doing! I don't have his problems. Little does he know that of the many shots he took, I had to delete many of them too! The better photos are shown here:

We left the park in perfect time. We got to take a picture with many friends. (Notice Foghorn Leghorn coming up on the right. Bugs came along too! Oh well, they might not have fit in the picture.)

Thanks Ben, Kristie, Bianca, Sydney and Peyton for joining us!
We had a blast!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Day Four - T.G.I..... almost F!!!

It's Grumpy Thursday!

You didn't know? My goodness, what a day. My patience was tested over and over today. I flunked. The kids are completely "out of sorts" I think from being victims to my SAHMness. I've tried to mimic the schedule they would normally get during daycare as much as possible. I think Tuesday was only remotely close to a "normal" day for them. Yesterday, NO NAPS at all, and today again, no naps! Yowsers! Well Donovan FINALLY fell asleep after much protest. It's all Daddy's fault (Rudy took these last 2 days off this week). Poor Donovan fell prey to "Daddy Duty" this morning, while I took Dominic to school, got my manicure in and bought an Anniversary card for my husband (TEN years today! -- sounds so funny!) So Rudy took Donovan to work in the morning for a couple hours where he was most likely overstimulated by State Workers! He slept for the 1/2 hour drive home, and refused to take that nap that I so wanted him to take. The constant whining, shoes on, shoes off, messing with Rudy's alarm clock, TV on, TV off, squirt lotion here and there... MUST. TAKE. NAP. Was it me? Was it me that didn't know how to tolerate such behavior? Perhaps I need more practice as a SAH mom? NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

The pushing, the shoving, the dog-piling, the possessiveness of toys, the need to have that "thing" the brother has, etc. The constant flying off the couch, throwing of pretzels, and lack of listening skills....I'm done.

Swim classes were disastrous. Donovan was not a happy camper at all. For a 30-minute class, he finally quit whining at the 25-minute mark. He did not go into the pool on his own. He would not sit with me in the zero-entry zone. He would not play with any water toys. Nothing was funny to him. Nothing worked...until a 3-year old showoff of a swimmer displayed his rocket-fetching abilities, which ultimately made Donovan interested. Time's up! .... and we're just getting warmed up to the idea of playing in the water! Ack!

What was today? I can hear the broadcast now, "This is a test....This is ONLY a test". I hope so. Please let today not be a precursor to Friday the 13th. We've got a busy day ahead of us. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Day Three, with a riddle!

What do you get when you combine 3 napless toddlers and a trip to the park?
See answer below:

Tia Kristie pointed us to a great little park that had lots of shade, a play structure and a children's wading pool (with a mushroom waterfall). Best's FREE!!! So us big kids got calf-deep in this cold water, while the tots had fun splashing and daring the waterfall. I would assume the water is so cold because of the constant need to replenish the water - who knows what gifts other swimmie diapers have left behind. It was fairly clean! It was perfect for the little ones. Donovan played in the "mushroom" to the point where it left him so giddy with excitement, he wasn't sure which direction was OUT from the water. Don't INHALE! Silly kid. Sydney had fun splashing, then taking dives face first into the water. Peyton enjoyed climbing in and out of the water copying her cousin. Dominic was in "Power Ranger Mode" the entire time and refused to go into the water for fear his "morpher" would get wet. You think the kid could set his toys down to have some fun in the water? Cousin Bianca was a helpful eye while her sisters wander out of control at times. After drying off and playing at the playground, we all loaded up in our cars and headed home. Dominic fell asleep within 5 minutes of leaving the park. Donovan fell asleep within 5 minutes of getting home.

Ever seen a slide like this?

The vibration is pretty fun! ooo --oo--ooo

"Man, I was pushed!"

Answer: Two wiped-out mommas!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Trials...Day Two

Okay, BOOOORRRRRING!!!! Today wasn't as active as Monday. After dropping off Dominic, Donovan and I went grocery shopping. I had a list of things to get...mainly ingredients for a couple of crock pot dinners to be attempted this week. Donovan didn't enjoy the temptation of food and not being able to have any. I caught some items before they hit the ground as he threw them out of the cart in protest. Fish crackers to the rescue! I had the infamous Wiggles backpack with me, and in the bottom were a package of crushed fish crackers. He enjoyed them, although I think most of them ended up in my pocket as I picked them up off the floor. I got my items and we headed home. We did a lot of sitting around. I attempted to do some laundry, but always got side tracked. Before too long it was time to pick up Dominic from Kindercamp. It's always a fun visit to see Grandma Gertie (she works at the school) when getting Dominic. It's usually a show-n-tell session where Dominic proudly displays his creation for the day. Today's masterpiece was his name written in pinto beans! It's now scotch-taped in the house to the back of the front door.

After getting home, the boys had lunch, I prepped the crock pot and Donovan went down for a nap. I try to sneak in a nap at this time too, but the constant "hyah's" and "Power Up's" from Dominic wouldn't let me catch a wink. The weather today was overcast - a bit strange after experiencing 100+ temps in the past week. It still made for fine popsicle-eating weather.
Donovan's amazed he finished his
popsicle before Roxy got to it.

Roxy wonders why we've been home during the day,
but is not complaining

Dominic has got the method down - chomp or the dog will.

Yes, the grass is dead. There's no reviving it.

Fred stays away from all activities. Smart!

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Trials of a SAHM - Day One

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are those of a 23-month old toddler and may not depict those typical in similar lifestyle settings.)
No daycare this week, yippee!
Big brother goes to Kindercamp in the morning, yippee!

That means Mommy and I get to do whatever we want, yippee!

What can possibly be accomplished in 3 hours? I'll tell ya! Mommy took the week off of work to spend time with me and my brother. I'm not sure what's going to happen this week, but I'm sure to get out of my routine and be a bit crabby at times. Some mommies get to be SAHMs (Stay-At-Home Moms), which means they usually have to be prepared to entertain us kiddos for the day and keep us out of trouble. Mommy doesn't have much practice being a SAHM to kids my age. So let me tell you how Day 1 went:

We got out of the house as usual, except mommy didn't drop me off at daycare. We took my brother to Kindercamp where he gets to go into a big classroom full of fun stuff (thankfully, mom didn't leave ME there). Then we headed to Starbuck's, where mommy got her caffeine fix for the morning. I got first sips and even spilled some on myself and mommy from squeezing the cup too hard. We did some park-hopping today. Mommy wanted to check out the park where we will have my 2nd Birthday Party. It has a Splashground, Tot Area, picnic tables, BBQ, a sink, basketball court, skate park, soccer and softball fields and even an amphitheater (thanks for the spell check mom!). I approved of the area very quickly.

This is the area where my party will be. It's going to be great!

This is the Tot-area, although it's pretty scary at the top of the structure.
This is the Splashground, where my cousins and I will have a blast when the water gets turned on!

On to Park #2. Mommy decided to reserve the area above for my party in August. We got it! We had to go to a different park with the office to sign up and pay some money. Mommy is always handing out money. I got to see ducks, geese and swimmers! We didn't stay long at this park...there's no telling mom when I've had enough, but she senses it and buckles me up quickly in the car before my irritability (whoa, big word) starts to be noticeable.

The ducks didn't seem to care for me or my Cheerios.

Mother Goose?

Some day, I will swim like them!

Big brother is only in Kindercamp until 10:50 am, so we had to go get him...but not until I got to see my cousins over at Grandma and Papa's house. Their momma gets to be a SAHM at the end of this week while our daycare is on vacation. We played in the backyard for just a little, until it was time to get brother.

Peyton and Sydney always seem to have a plan.

Mommy says "relaxing" is what a week
off is supposed to be about.

We picked up brother and went home for lunch and naptime. Hrrmph....a long naptime it was! Daddy got home from work, just in time to change and get ready to go to our first swim class for the summer. Dominic is in the class (he's a "Shrimp") with Daddy and I (I'm a "Starfish") am in the class with Mommy. Seems a bit silly to put Shrimps and Starfish in the same class, if you ask me!

The (not quite fried) Shrimps!

Mmmm....speaking of SHRIMP,
I think my tummy might be saying something!

I will not "blow bubbles" in the water on command.

Phew!... all in a day's time frame. I wonder what mom has in store for me tomorrow? I don't think she quite gets the "S-A-H" part of "STAY AT HOME MOM". Heck, I'm not complaining!