Sunday, June 29, 2008

Party & a picnic

B's birthday is Christmas Eve, so we've been having half-birthday parties for him. It doesn't seem fair that he should have to get all his new toys in two days. M likes to tell people that we give him batteries on his birthday, and the toys they go in on Christmas. Poor kid. Anyway, the half-birthday party is great fun. We do it in June, so he can do all the fun outside stuff that you can't do in late December. We put out the wading pool & a slip-n-slide and invite over all the friends. I imagine someday we'll have to step up a little more and have it at a "real" pool or something, but for this age, the backyard party rocks. This year's party was last weekend. I have just two pictures, both of some of the many fun gifts he got:

The Super-B cape wasn't actually a birthday present. It was a gift from an online friend that just happened to arrive the day before the party. The Hulk mask & fists are from my parents. Remember how we found him a Hulk costume at a yard sale a few weeks ago? He loves that ratty thing, and now he's Hulk from head to toe. The mask has green lights inside the eyes that glow when you push a button, and when you hit the left fist into anything, it roars and mutters, "You're making me angry. You won't like me when I'm angry!" It's pretty hilarious. I guess my parents' dog didn't think it was so funny -- she was very suspicious & probably glad when they left the house.

This past Friday was M's company picnic. I picked the kids up from preschool right after lunch, thinking Z would nap in the car. It's almost an hour drive, so it seemed like a reasonable thing to expect. Ha! She screamed for twenty minutes, then slept for fifteen. She & I didn't stay that long -- I tossed that grouch back in the car & took her home for a real nap, while B & his dad stayed to play. They had putt-putt, go-karts, a batting cage, and an arcade. B was in heaven. It was his first time driving a go-kart, and I think you can see the terror in his eyes in the close-up. He did great, and even managed to go fast enough on his second lap that the attendant had to pick up his pace in order to walk behind him the whole way. Heh heh. He's pretty cautious when it comes to trying new things. I bet the next time he drives a go-kart he'll be a little Speed Racer.

Friday, June 20, 2008

4 months home

CCAI carnival

This morning we went to the CCAI carnival. B & I went to this last year, before Z was here of course, and had a blast, so we were excited to go back t his year. A good time was had by all, although B was disappointed that we had to leave before the ice cream truck came (a certain little girl was desperately in need of a nap and starting to lose her marbles). The best part was that Z got to see one of her old buddies. KS, whose family was part of our travel group to Nanchang back in February, came to the carnival too! She's grown a lot and has a head full of shiny, pretty hair. Here are the two of them together:

And here are my two monkeys at the carnival:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The bottom line

$80 new ignition coil + labor
$55 diagnostics to figure out it was the ignition coil
$ 260 80K service (might as well, since it's there)
$65 new passenger side window
$460 + tax. That car better drive like a freakin' dream. What IS an ignition coil, anyway?

Tomorrow I'm taking the kids to CCAI's annual carnival. Think bounce houses, games with junky prizes, hot dogs, ice cream, and about 500 kids. They'll be in kid heaven. We'll probably only stay an hour or so, so that Z can squeeze a nap in. One of the families we traveled to China with is going to be there too, and it will be fun to see them again.

I'll also take Z's four-month picture & post it tonight or tomorrow. I don't know why I keep forgetting to do that until about two days past the day I'm supposed to do it!

Sunday is the big half-birthday party for B. His birthday is Christmas Eve, so we started a new tradition last year where we have a big bash with friends on his half-birthday, and just a small party with family on his real birthday. Stay tuned for news and photos...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Life keeps getting in the way

I am dropping the ball big-time on the blog these days. There just isn't time! Take yesterday for example:

6:00am Wake up, make coffee get dressed & ready for work, let the dog out, feed the critters, shut windows & blinds so the no-A/C house won't be 1,000 degrees when we get home in the evening, pack lunch & put it in car so I won't forget and leave it on the counter, fold a load of laundry
6:40am Wake up kids & get them ready to go
7:00am Out the door
7:20am Drop off kids at school
8:00am At my desk at work, frantically trying to cram my full-time++ job into my part-time (and part-pay) schedule
5:10pm Leave work
5:15pm Car starts acting funny
5:20pm Call M to warn him I might not make it to childcare by 6:00 (the time they close and start charging you $1/minute/kid if you're late)
5:40pm Car starts to totally break down on mile-long bridge with no shoulders, check engine light starts flashing frantically, I call USAA for a tow truck and start praying (to whom, I don't know) that the car makes it off the bridge before it totally dies
5:42pm I make it off the bridge, abandon car at a Denny's parking lot, run in to tell the manager why it's there, run back to the car to grab some change because my bus pass is in my other bag at home, and sprint six blocks for a bus (in high heels and a skirt, clutching a purse in one hand and pressing a cell phone to my ear with the other because I'm still on the phone with USAA)
5:55pm I catch a local bus that's standing-room only and stops on every corner
6:15pm I run in the door at childcare; luckily for me, it's a night they're open late for parent training (so no $30 late charge), and they're even feeding the kids dinner
6:30pm M arrives at the broken down VW, takes the child seats out & puts them in his car (Note to self: buy another child seat this weekend so we can have 2 in both cars at all times), and gives the VW key to the tow truck driver
6:40pm M arrives at childcare
7:00pm We arrive home; Z pretty much goes straight to bed; I water gardens, feed the dog, etc.
7:45pm I start getting B ready for bed
8:30pm B is in bed; I finish watering gardens & take a weak stab at tidying the house
9:00pm I eat a tortilla and call it dinner, collapse into bed with the Daily Show on
5:45am today: Repeat (except that M drives the kids to school and I catch a bus 2 blocks from the house -- a much nicer way to get to work than driving IMO -- I'm hoping M decides he likes taking the kids to school & I can ride the bus from home most days)

Now if only the car repair shop would answer their phone or call me back...

See why I haven't been blogging? There's always something. I'm actually at work right now...better stop blogging and do some actual work...

10:30am UPDATE: Shit. Just talked to the car repair shop, and someone broke into my car overnight. It doesn't look like they took anything, but they broke a window. Now I have to head over there to meet the police & file a report. Fortunately, the shop has the whole thing on videotape, so maybe they'll actually catch the @ssholes. Pardon my French, but I'm pissed.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

We try a babysitter

And not just any babysitter; this was my parents. The plan was this: we'd take the monkeys up to my parents' house, hang out for awhile, then M & I would go out to dinner while my parents fed the kids and put them to bed. Sounds like a solid plan, right? Ha ha ha ha haaaaaa!!! It turned ugly on us.

First off, Z was in no mood to go to bed at bedtime. I don't think it was the fact that we weren't there so much as it was that she was in a different room than home. She & B were supposed to share a room at my parents', but Miss Z was doing so much screaming that poor B couldn't sleep. Apparently it took three or four tries to get her to go sleep. When we got home after 9, B was up reading books with his grandma. 9:00 is way, way past his bedtime. We got him to bed right away, and then got ourselves to bed at a decent hour. We had to stay up a little later than we wanted because there was a backyard wedding two doors down with a really bad band that wouldn't stop butchering Pat Benetar covers. As M said, no one should sing Pat Benetar songs except Pat Benetar, and even she shouldn't be doing it after the 1980s.

It got bad, and I mean really bad, after that. Z cried twice, causing me to leap out of bed each time, run across the hall, and quiet her down before she woke up B. Then Kenai escaped from our room, and I was afraid he'd go to the bathroom somewhere in my parents' house in the middle of the night, so I got up and chased him down (not as easy as you might think -- imagine a slow-speed chase in pitch darkness, me on tippy toes & frantically whispering at the d@mn dog, trying to avoid waking everyone up). Next it was B's turn. He woke up at around 4:00 (just as I was going back to sleep after the slow-speed dog chase), screaming at the top of his lungs that there was something scary in their room. That woke Z up. B went right back to sleep, but Z kept fussing.

After two more runs across the hall, we threw in the towel. M crawled into the bed where B had been sleeping & stayed in that room with Z (she was in her pack-n-play), and I hauled B across the hall to sleep with me. For the rest of the night, M had to go "shhhh" every ten minutes, while I was repeatedly squeezed, snuggled, and kicked in the kidneys by pointy little four year-old feet. I had to sit up & move him back to his own side of the bed twice. I actually really like sleeping with B, but I'm never going to claim it's a good night's sleep. Z woke up for the day sometime between 5 & 6. When B woke up at 7, I went to relieve M of Miss Z, and the kids and I got up for the day.

Sounds like a bad comedy, right? Welcome to our lives. Today wasn't exactly a stellar day either, considering none of us had much sleep. There was a lot of crying, and it wasn't all the kids. Needless to say, I don't think we're babysitter-ready afterall. Sigh.

On a more positive note: both kids started swimming lessons yesterday & they both did really well. Apparently Z goes completely limp and totally relaxes when she floats:

On the way to swimming lessons we passed a yard sale. M and I both spotted what you see below at the same time. I ran over there with Z while B started his lesson and snagged this for $1. He's been wearing it almost constantly ever since, most of the time with a bike helmet too:

I've always loved it when I see other people's kids dressed in stuff like this while they're out grocery shopping with their moms. I think it's hilarious. B wore it to play on the playground, walk the dog, and grocery shop this weekend. It makes me smile.

I actually hit the yard sale jackpot this weekend. We scored a train table that wheels under B's bed for $5, a fancy-schmancy hose reel for the backyard for $2, a push broom for another $2 (I may be more excited than you think I should be about these last two, but they're things we've been needing and haven't wanted to spend the money on new), and best of all, a new (to us), very nice, much bigger patio table for $20. Score!

And just to show you both our kids look good in green:

Last but not least, Miss Z. Her receptive language has been getting better really rapidly lately. Yesterday she kept going over to the dog bed & plopping down in it. My mom started saying "Night-night," and every time she did, Z would run over to the dog bed & lie down. Mom got her a pillow, a blanket and her panda, and after that we couldn't keep her out of the filthy, furry dog bed. She'd go over there and say "ni-ni" until someone covered her up in her blanket, then she'd wiggle with joy, clutching her panda. Silly bao bao.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Help for a friend

My asshat friend Lisa leaves for China to meet her daughter in 13 days. She's a single mom and has had a run of bad luck in the last few months that's making it hard to scrape together the travel money she needs. You can help by entering a raffle for a makeover of your blog. Half the proceeds of the raffle will be donated to Lisa. Visit Blogs by Danielle to enter.