Showing posts with label family time. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family time. Show all posts

Turning the Tables on My Mom

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I bet when most of us were in our early teens, and we would call our friends to complain about our parents we'd say would never grow up to be like our moms. I know I did. Of course, as an adult, I see how almost inevitable it is that we'll inherit some traits from our parents. Now, that I'm a mom myself, I really can't think of anyone I'd rather be like.

Aside from the whole giving birth to me thing (since that's a given), she's done so much for me. Mom didn't complain when I'd finish both Sweet Valley High books the same day we bought them. She taught me how to use tampons. Literally. She let me wear her fur coat to prom. She bought me my first car. And my second. I think I just finished using the last pencil in the box of one gross that she sent me to college with (I'll save you the Google, it's 144). When we go to Costco and I ask if she wants to split something with me, she'll say yes even if she doesn't really want it.
My mom and I talk to each other at least once a week if not more. Now that she got an iPhone, she emails me even more often with things like, "what is pinging?!" in the subject line. But, despite how frequently we talk, we never run out of things to say when we're together. It's pretty rare that I get to treat her to a night out. It's almost always the other way around. But, a few weeks ago, I decided to take my mom on a date. We went to see Cavalia, a new Cirque du Soleil show. I took her to dinner before the show. Granted, it was only soup and paninis at Corner Bakery, but I think she was pleasantly surprised when I paid.

We got lucky during the show. One of the members of the animal training staff sat next to us. It was neat to hear him talk about all the horses, things that go on behind the scenes and what it takes to put a show like that together. The horses were beautiful, the music and acrobatics were great and the show itself was fun. It was nice because I don't think going to see a Cirque show is anything we would have done on our own.

Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well that day. I could barely keep my eyes open the whole way up to LA. I got there early and pulled into a parking garage and sacked out for half an hour with the car running so I could keep the heater on. By the time the show was over, I wished we could have gone out for a nightcap but it was pretty late and I needed to get on the road. My mom stayed up well past midnight to wait for my call that I'd made it home safe. Because she's awesome like that. One little show isn't nearly enough of a 'thank you' to my mom for everything she's done for me. I hope I can repay her again sometime.

Have you been able to do something special for one of your parents?

*I was provided with tickets to the show. No cameras were allowed, thus no pictures. :(

How to Embarrass Your Kids at Disneyland

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Every ride you go on, even if it's not a coaster, raise your arms and start singing Taio Cruz's Dynamite. 

Big Thunder Mountain, March 2011

"I throw my hands up in the air sometimes, saying ay-oh, baby let's go!" 

Totally works.

Neglected Blog, But More Family Time

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hello! I was gong to apologize for not being around but I changed my mind. I wouldn't have anything to blog about if I didn't step away from the screen every once in awhile, right?

My Gramma was here visiting. She's set to head back to the midwest soon and wanted to spend a little more time with Tyler. Gramma spends the winter at my mom's, arriving in early November and leaving in February. This year's trip has been a rough one for her. Two friends and her brother died while she was here. My mom said after she got back from the east coast for her brother's funeral, she seemed to have lost a lot of her usual energy and vitality. I think it was good for her to be with her Sweetie Pie (me) and Grandbaby.

Gramma and Tyler are totally in love with each other. They have such a great relationship. That they've been able to spend so much time together over the years is something I'm happy to be able to have done for him. Some of my happiest childhood memories are of time spent with my grandparents. 

We didn't do a whole lot while she was here, but that's the cool thing about Gramma. We don't have to. We shopped, she showed me how to make chicken and dumplings and we all played Wii. My Gramma is a lot more competitive than I remember and a pretty good bowler too. We took her Tyler's hockey practice and she said 'woops!' every time one of the kids fell, which was often. And we laughed. A lot.

We've been teasing Gramma about her selective hearing. We say one thing, but she hears something totally different. The resulting conversations have often been hilarious. Example:

Me: Gramma, do you want an Oreo?

Gramma: Sure, thank you. (as she takes the whole sleeve) Where did you get these Oreos in a sleeve? Don't they usually come in a package?

Me: I got the Family Size box at Target.

G: You don't want to tell me? Why not?

Me: What?!

Gramma: Why don't you want to tell me where you got the Oreos?

Me: I said I got them at Target.
Gramma: Oh. I thought you said you didn't want to tell me.

Me: Those two sound nothing alike!

Gramma: You're right, I guess they don't. Want an Oreo? 

Oh my gosh, we were hysterical. Reading it, it doesn't seem very funny. I guess it was one of those, 'you had to be there' moments. 

Anyhoo, that's where I've been. I'm staring down a whole week's worth of To Do's but it was totally worth it. My Gramma makes me happy. Hopefully I'll be back to regular (maybe semi regular) posting next week. Happy Friday!

I Will: Be More of a Yes Mom

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tyler and I were at Henry's a few weeks ago getting supplies for dinner. He asked if I would buy a pack of mini blueberry muffins. I said no, we have mix at home, we can make them. His response stayed with me. It wasn't what he said, "you always say that," it was how he said it. He sounded so resigned and a little defeated. Then I lost my Mom of the Year hat because I totally turned it around on him. "Well, you can always offer to help me make them." 

Why did I say that?! It was a knee jerk reactionary and passive aggressive statement. It's not like he was accusing me of being a horrible mom in the middle of the grocery store (though that must be how I took it since I basically blamed him for the lack of fresh baked goods in our house). I felt horrible after I said it. Who blames the 7-year old for not offering to bake?

I thought about what he said for the rest of the day. He's totally right. I do always say we can make muffins but rarely follow through. It's just muffins. And not even homemade ones.* Why is it so hard for me to give him something so simple? I resolved to be a different mom for the rest of the summer. I posted on Facebook that I was going to be "more of a Yes Mom." Since I posted I think I've done OK.

We spent last week at the beach with Phil's family. I smelled like campfire smoke every day and brought half the beach home with us, but Tyler had a blast. Between the junk food, S'mores and candy he had more crap in a week than he's had in a month (probably longer).

Between Phil and I, Tyler has been to the park (many times), Disneyland, the zoo, three camps, our neighborhood pool (a LOT), the library and the book store (that's my boy!). There's been more TV, computer and Wii time and staying-up -until-11:30 reading time than I normally allow. I think we've given him a good summer. 

At the end of the day, when Tyler gets older he won't remember the exact things we've done for him, or the quantity of things we did. He will remember that we were there. When he looks back on the times he said, "today was the best day of my life!" we'll be woven into those memories. I don't want any of his best days tarnished by all the times we said 'no' to one of his requests.

When we got pregnant, we talked about not giving in, not letting our child control the house and drawing the line being being occasionally indulgent and spoiling. I think we've gotten so caught up in keeping Tyler grounded that we forget to let him have fun. 

Santee, Ca July 2010
I'm going to try harder to find the balance between giving him every little thing he asks for and keeping reasonable limits. I will continue to make him "earn" his treats but slip him a piece of candy once in awhile. I will bring a little more fun into our time together. I will make more muffins.

*I add a little vanilla and fresh berries to the mix so they could totally pass for homemade.

Movie Night in the Burbs: Wordless Wednesday

How I Spent My Mother's Day Eve: Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Not pictured: The daiquiri machine to my left. Yum.

Wordless Wednesday: Blue Italian Ice

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oceanside Farmer's Market April 2010

What Do You Know About It?!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We've been watching Life on Discovery*. It's been great family time. It has, however, opened a door we weren't prepared to go through. The show talks a lot about mating. A lot. Two weeks ago, we were all cozied up on the couch watching the episode about birds when Oprah (she narrates) said the word seks and Tyler screwed up his face.


Me: "What's ewww?"

"She said, 'ES-E-X'." [how does he know how to spell it?!]

"What do you know about seks?" 

"It's gross."

"Why is it gross?"

Phil is looking at me over Tyler's head and his eyes kept getting bigger and more deer in headlights-y.

Kinda like this female Dawson's Burrowing Bee.

"Because there's all that kissing. That's gross."

"Actually, kissing is kissing. Seks is how babies are made."

Phil had a heart attack. 

Tyler didn't say anything to that. After the show, we sent him to get ready for bed.

Phil: "Why did you tell him that?!"

"I didn't want him on the playground yelling at some girl, 'stop trying to have seks with me!' He needs to know the difference."

"I'm not ready for this, he's only 7!" 

"Me neither, but kids are doing some scary stuff, we're going to have to talk about it eventually."

"Yes, but he's only 7!!"

We told my mom the story when she was here last week. She, of course, thought it was hysterical. My parents didn't have The Talk with me. I'm sure with my brother it was, "do not, under any circumstances, bring home a pregnant girlfriend." 

I've been wondering when the topics of seks would come up. I figured we'd wait until Tyler brought it up and answer age appropriately. When he was a toddler, we told him the proper names for body parts and that he used to drink milk from my breasts. I think we've done a good job giving him the information he needs and answering his questions honestly. 

Now that he's brought it up, I guess it's time to think more in depth about how we'll answer the actual how-to questions. I'm sure it will be up to me, given Phil's reaction to this little incident. 

How old were your kids when you had The Talk? What did you say?

*Life is such a good show. Very similar to the Planet Earth series. I wasn't asked to write about it, we just really enjoy it and have had fun watching together. Photo from the Life/Discovery website.

Losing My Mom of the Year Award

Monday, April 12, 2010

I made Tyler cry yesterday. Granted, I've done it before, but this time it was accidental. Yesterday's weather was below southern California standards. It wasn't nice enough for the pool, beach or park (don't hate) so we decided to go see How To Train Your Dragon.
Tyler was outside playing. I called him in and told him to change into jeans and get his shoes on.

Before I get to the part where I made him cry, let me explain a little bit about Tyler. He makes it virtually impossible to surprise him or treat him to something. Whenever I ask him to get ready so we can leave, he starts in with 20 Questions.

Are we going somewhere?
Where are we going?
Is it the park?
Which park are we going to?
Is it the squishy one* or the one with the sand?
It's not the park?
Is it Chuck e Cheese?
Will there be food there?
Will my cousin be there?
Is it the skate park?
Can I bring my scooter?
Why is the sky blue in the daytime but not at night?

If I don't answer, he just keeps going. I've told him before that sometimes, part of the excitement of going somewhere is the anticipation and element of surprise. He needs to just sit back and enjoy the ride every once in awhile. We're still working on it.

Back to the story.

I can see that he's about to launch into 20 Questions. We need to get moving since we decided to go at the last minute and wanted to catch the next showing (leaving us about 25 minutes to get there) so we could go to dinner afterwards. We didn't have time to play his game.

"We're going to the movies and we need to get a move on."

"What movie are we seeing?"

I get easily frustrated that, when asked to do something, Tyler doesn't always just do it because we're his parents and we asked him to. He has to question everything. I'm sure this is a trait I'll admire later. Now? Not so much. Which is probably what led to me saying:

"You're not seeing a movie, Daddy and I are seeing a grown up one and you're waiting in the car."

Phil laughed a little and said, "we're going to see How To Train Your Dragon and we need to hurry."

Fast forward to after the movie.** We're walking back to the car asking each other what we thought when Tyler says to me, "you know, Mom, you made me cry earlier."

"What do you mean?"

"Before, when I asked where we were going."

"You mean, when I said you were going to be waiting in the car?'

"Yes. I was crying in the back seat on the way here. I used Dad's sweatshirt to wipe my tears."

Yes, he actually said 'wipe my tears.' I felt about thisbig. He didn't hear Phil when he said the name of the movie. My poor kid thought he'd be sitting in the car alone! Obviously, my sarcasm didn't quite come through. I've apologized profusely, but think I'm going to have to pull something really special out of my ass to make up for this one.

Please tell me I'm not the only one to inadvertently reduce their kid to tears?

*We have a park nearby with that bouncy, rubber tire-like stuff under the play structure. We started calling it the squishy park, to differentiate it from the sand park, and the where-we-used-to-live park.
**We all loved the movie. It's really cute. We saw it in IMAX 3D. The dragons aren't super scary, except for the giant bad-guy one. I wouldn't take kids under 5.

Three Years in the Making

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When we were looking for a house, I had a few non-negotiable's. I really wanted three bedrooms, two stories and a fireplace. Everything else was gravy. Luckily, the house gods were smiling on us and out of three of our accepted offers, the house we ended up buying met all my criteria. 


We bought a fixer. We wanted the school district so we sacrificed move-in ready for location and a school within walking distance (not that we do walk, but we could). One of the many "issues" our house had was a non-working fireplace. The seller refused to fix it. The repair kept falling to the bottom of our to-do list. 

During the brief California winters, we've been looking longingly at the broken fireplace, wishing we could warm the house with blazing logs rather than turn on the heater, listen to the crackling and sit next to it sipping hot cocoa together. 

After three years, we finally got our wish and it's just as nice as we thought it would be.

And Then He Could Fly

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's hard watching Tyler struggle with self confidence and being brave. On the one hand, he's recently asked me to help him become famous. On the other, he gets stage fright sometimes. He loves roller coasters but doesn't want to try the "big kid" ramp at the skate park. 

We try to be encouraging without patting him on the back for every little thing he does. The "everybody gets a star" mentality has ruined kids' abilities to take constructive criticism and have pride in their own accomplishments. But, it's hard not to give in occasionally when I see Tyler falter. 

I babysat last week and had 4 kids at the house. It didn't rain after all (thank you Jesus!) so I made them go outside. The kids had scooters and I moved my car so they could roll down the driveway. The other little boy, "Joe," is younger than Tyler, shorter and seems to be naturally athletic. He's been taking skateboard lessons locally and can do tricks Tyler hasn't learned yet. "Joe" suggested they use the driveway as a ramp and then jump off the curb. He went down over and over, catching pretty good air and landing without ending up on the ground. 

Tyler started to go several times but backed out at the last minute saying he was going too fast. "Joe" was trying to be encouraging, showing Tyler how to do it and where to jump. Tyler took it as criticism and I could see the beginnings of a sulk. I debated with myself as to whether I should step in and be encouraging or if I'd make it worse. Tyler went inside and I followed. He saw me and then came the beginnings of tears. 

"Talk to me, what's wrong?"

"He's making fun of me because I can't do the jump."

"No, he's trying to be helpful, I think you're just taking it the wrong way."

I reminded him that "Joe" started skateboarding before Tyler and that he's a full head taller than "Joe", which means he's heavier and has a different center of gravity.

"You may not be able to do it his way, but you can figure out your own way."

That seemed to help and Tyler went back outside. They abandoned the driveway for awhile and raced up and down the street instead. We had lunch and I sent them back out (we'd already had one nearly broken picture frame, a Darth Vader helmet to the nose and wood floors vs. sock feet; they were too amped to be inside!).

I had a feeling Tyler would want to try the jump again. And I was right. It took him a few tries, but he did it. And then it was like he'd known how to do it all along.

"Did you see that mom?! I totally nailed it! This is SO much fun!"

I guess my pep talk worked after all. Perhaps a little too well?

For Phil: Who's A Really Great Dad

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My husband is the "fun one" in the family. He can be silly with Tyler, wrestle with him on the floor, and is generally more open to playing than I am. Last night, Tyler asked if they could go out and play Nerf tag. 

Despite still being tired from vacation and spending his day in meetings at work and trying to make a dent in an overflowing Inbox, he said "absolutely" with no hesitation.

I don't tell him often enough how much I appreciate him as a father. 

Thank you honey for being so willing to put on goofy glasses and wear a target on your chest in front of the neighbors! 


Hey, Hey, Hey Goodbye!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

After nine awesome days, we kiss our first Disney vacation goodbye!

Living With Boys, Never a Dull Moment

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tyler had Martin Luther King day off of school. We got up on Tuesday and started getting his breakfast and lunch ready. He must have still been in vacation mode, not realizing he had school that day, because I came out of the kitchen to tell him his breakfast was ready and saw this:

Love this kid!

Wordless Wednesday: Christmastime

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

(We hid the tickets for an upcoming trip in the box, more later)

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday as much as we did!

Happy 7th Birthday, Little Man!

Monday, November 2, 2009

I've tried to put together a post several times and nothing sounds right. I've heard that, when you have story to tell and don't know where to start, it's always helpful to go back to the beginning. These are excerpts from my journal during my pregnancy.

January 28, 2002

Last week and this week I've been having Imaginary Pregnancy Symptoms: tired, faint cramps, cravings and really sore boobs. I'm either late or pregnant. I took a HPT and saw a faint line. I'm not sure what to make of it.

March 1, 2002

The waiting was killing me so I broke down and took a HPT right when I got home. The faint line isn't so faint anymore! I can't believe it, I'm pregnant! I called Phil. I was going to wait until Tuesday [after the doctor appointment] but I had to share. On our first try, we made a baby!

March 6, 2002

I got the blood test results and I was right! I couldn't keep the secret, I called Mom. Needless to say she was shocked. She was out with friends from church over the weekend and they were talking to her about their grandkids. When they asked if I was thinking about kids she said, "I'll be 75 before I'm a grandmother!" We showed her.

April 4, 2002

I went to St. Louis with Mom. I had my first OB visit the day after I got back. I got to see the baby. Talk about amazing! To see that little blob and the only moving part is the heart. I wish Phil could have been there.

May 12, 2002
Today is Mother's Day. I haven't yet thought of what that means to me. I'm so ready to be a mom. Part of me feels it's the direction I've been heading.I have no idea what career path I should take. Maybe 'Mom' is it. Phil called to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. I can't wait for him to come home. We'll finally be able to act like expecting parents. Next year at this time we'll have a 7 month old boy/girl.

June 22, 2002

Phil is finally home! I got to pick him up on Saturday the 1st. It was the best day I've had since I found out about the baby. It was so good to see him again. He was surprised by how much I was showing.
Now for the really exciting news: It's a boy! We went for an ultrasound on the 17th. It was so good to have Phil home for that. He's only seen the baby in the ultrasound photos I sent to [Hawaii]. I'm glad the baby was moving around so much. The lab tech had the perfect side view on the monitor. She asked if we wanted to know the sex, but I spotted the evidence before she said anything. It was a little surprising since I'd been "feeling" girl for a long time. But of course, I'm happy. We've started working on our lists of names.

August 6, 2002
Wow, I can't believe I'm this old. I never pictured being where I am in my life at this age. I figured I'd have kids by 23! Shows what I know. But, here I am, wife and soon to be mother.

October 2, 2002

Countdown has begun. I'm at home on semi bedrest. Doctors orders.
I feel like more should be happening internally. I haven't had any Braxton Hicks (at least I don't think so). My mucus plug is still there. The baby is less active but so am I. It's hard to get into a comfortable sleep position and my heartburn is out of control. When the baby does stretch out it's either against my cervix or rib cage. Talk about painful! I've been catching up on all my baby book reading. I still have to read the manual on the breast pump. It looks pretty scary!

November 1, 2002

Well, tonight's the night. I went to my non stress test appointment this morning. When it was my turn for the sonogram, I told the nurse, "please tell me something that means this baby will be coming out!!!" I got my wish. My amniotic fluid dropped from a 9.5 on Monday to a 3 today. The lowest it should be is a 5. The nurses called the doctor's office to get their advice. I'm going to the hospital at midnight for my induction.
It's close to 7pm and I should be sleeping. I tried but I can't stop thinking about what's to come. After months of waiting and wondering he's finally going to be here. Until the doctor tells me he's fine and I hear him cry, I won't be able to breathe. After tonight, my life will never be the same. We will leave this house a couple and come back a family.

Happy Birthday Tyler. We love you so much, and have since the day we found out you were coming. Without a doubt, you are the best thing that's ever happened to me. You carry my heart in your pocket every day. Watching you grow and mature has been so wonderful. You're an amazing little man. I can't wait to see what changes come in your seventh year. You blow me away, every single day.

Vacation's All He Ever Wanted

Friday, September 18, 2009

I took Tyler to get his haircut for picture day. They stylist took him back to the shampoo bowl to get all grass and leaves out of his hair (do people with girls have to deal with that?). She asked him about his summer and what types of things he did.

The little stinker said we didn't do anything fun over the summer! WTH? We went to the beach EVERY day for week when the relatives were in town. We went to Sea World. We spent a ton of time at our neighborhood pool and had Deb and her family over twice. I'm sure there's more, I've just blocked it out already. I was a bit miffed.

Then, she asked if we'd gone on vacation and all the anger fell away and I reached for my Worst Mommy Ever hat. This is something Phil and I feel really badly about. We've never been on a family vacation. Phil has gone to visit friends. I took Tyler to visit my grandparents. I've gone on trips.

But, we've never gone anywhere as a family.
We have the best intentions every year. We think about where we can go and come up with a budget. We were supposed to drive to Utah and go camping with friends but we would have been driving back three days before BlogHer and I just couldn't do it. Tyler's face when we told him we weren't going after all made me feel like shit.

I know it's not about WHERE you go, but what you do together. I get all that feel good stuff, and it's true. But. I can't help feeling like we're not making any memories. And to be perfectly candid, I want him to have an answer to this question. I want him to be able to tell his friends about the places we've gone. I want him to see other cities and states.

I shouldn't care about Keeping up with Jones' but I'm big enough to admit that I do, at least a little (who the hell are the Jones' and exactly how did they become a standard to look up to?).

Living in southern California is like being on vacation and I do feel lucky and appreciative when I get glimpses of the ocean as I run errands. But there's nothing like the anticipation of going somewhere new, eating different foods and sleeping in a hotel. Hopefully we'll be able to give that feeling to Tyler someday.

(National Lampoon poster from Google Images)

Geek References Are Above His Head (For Now)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Scene: It's early evening, just after dinner. Tyler comes in from playing outside. He sits down on the couch next to Phil.

Tyler: "Daddy, can I ask you a question?"

Phil: "42."

T: "What?"

P: "The answer to your question. It's 42."

T: (confused) "My question wasn't about how old you are."

[Mommy, sitting at the kitchen table, can barely contain herself and has to work hard to stifle her laughter]

P: (to Mommy) "You can wipe that smirk off your face."

I love my kid!

First Day of School: My Baby's in Second Grade!

Monday, August 31, 2009

A special breakfast

Surprises in his lunchbox

The walk to campus

One last hug goodbye

Mom, you can leave now

Oh, To Be A Kid Again

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children
teach us what life is all about." -Angela Schwindt
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