Thursday, May 29, 2008

a lizard on a leash...

I don't think most people are too aware of time zones. I don't even pay attention when I hear "7 central" listed as a tv show time. But having family in CA and GA makes us more aware that one is two hours behind, the other one ahead. Which just means we pay attention to the time when we call.

Beckett, on the other hand, doesn't know or care about time zones. Which is why he woke up Tuesday morning at 4:30 a.m. Pacific Time, because it was, after all, 6:30 a.m. in St. Louis thank you very much.

Despite the early start, it was a great day. The cousins hit it off immediately. Emerson and Eli "cooked" in her kitchen, Aiden and Eli golfed and threw balls in the yard. I ate my weight in olive tapinade and sourdough bread.

Later that afternoon, my mom arrived. Aiden and Eme call her "Chicken Grammy" because, well, because she had chickens. The other Grandma is, quite logically, "Pool Grammy". Beckett met Grammy, and eventually we all walked to the playgroud and the beach.

There, we ran into a man who had a lizard on a leash. Yep. Apparantly, even though lizards are lightning quick, you can catch them by making a slipknot on the end of a long piece of grass. They don't care about grass touching them, so they let you place the circle around their neck, and their movement tightens it just enough to keep them on the end of the leash. And that's how you catch a lizard.

The kids were fascinated, and "hiked" to follow the man and his kids. Then we checked out the waves, but it was pretty windy by then, so it was a quick look.

one cool lab

On Wednesday, we headed to Seymour Discovery Center . The kids got to touch starfish and seaweed and other sea creatures. Aiden, my nephew, loves animals and Diego, so he came in full "animal rescue" gear.

I learned that abilone, which I love, are actually giant snails. Uh, yuck! And that there are giant pockets of trash in the ocean. The Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch is the size of Texas. How have I not heard of this until now?

Anyway, here are some pics...

Trains and Planes

Eli was so excited to go to California. Though I couldn't tell you why. He can't remember his last trip there- he was 10 months old. I told him about it two weeks before our departure date. Big mistake. He woke up from nap time and said, "NOW we get to go to California, yeah!!!" I told him not yet, so the next morning he woke up, same thing. CA bound. So I dropped it.

We told him Sunday night that when he got up in the morning, we would get on a train and go to the airport, and then we would get on an airplane. He was thrilled. And we were praying that the train and plane would it all go smoothly.

I wish we had pictures of the adventure that morning. We don't, because I didn't have a free pinkie finger. We got to the Metro Station and saw the sign "No Parking Overnight". Uh Oh. Too late to change plans though. We hid the keys, Joel took a picture of our parking spot with his phone, and sent it to a co-worker who saved the day and arranged to pick up our car. Meanwhile, we got on the train. With our 2 year old, 6 month old, two car seats, 2 suitcases, diaper bag, computer bag, toy bag, and a stroller. And then we had to get off to change trains. Ugh. Those doors don't stay open long, and it was one part comedy and one part nightmare to try to get all our luggage off AND not leave a child on the train bound for East St. Louis.

We made it to the airport about 2 hours to spare. Another way that Joel and I differ, and truthfully, another way he is making my life less stressful. We had time for some Starbucks, diaper changes, and run around the airport time to burn off some Eli energy.

Eli was still super excited to get on the plane. When it was time to board, he handed the agent his own boarding pass, then ran to the end of the ramp, where we ditched the stroller. He took one step onto the plane, saw the rows of people looking back at him, and thought, "uh, uh." He froze, turned around, and said, "Mama, I don't want to get on this airplane anymore." We eventually carried him to his seat while he protested and cried. The guy in the row behind us had a worried look on his face. I know he was wondering if this was going to be one of those flights with the screaming toddler. But Eli was fine in two minutes, and except for his fascination for kicking the seat in front of him, he was fantastic the whole flight. No significant delays, two easy boys, an easy transfer in really could not have gone better.

We're in CA.


It became apparent pretty early in our relationship that Joel and I have much different styles when it comes to unpacking. There were seasons in my job- a lifetime ago- when I traveled every week. When I came home, the last thing I wanted to do was touch my suitcase. That green Samsonite sat in the corner of my room, untouched, for days. I'd slowly pull things out as I needed them. Or after I'd looked everywhere else I finally remembered that they were still in the suitcase.

To Joel, it was absolutely maddening. When he comes home from a trip? It goes something like this. Sort through the mail, unload the car, use the bathroom, and unpack all of the bags. The whole affair is done about 20 minutes. And, truthfully, over the years, I've come to see his point. Why drag it out?

We've been home for over a week now from our trip to California. We enjoyed our time there, but when we finally got home we were tired. Traveling with two young kids is quite a bit of work. And then, there were those souvenir colds we brought home with us. I really just wanted to sleep for a few days. But like I said, I'm making progress, so those suitcases? Emptied the next day. Then I went grocery shopping, Joel did laundry...we slowly eased back into our routines.

But there's this camera. It's worse the my old green suitcase. It's not running shoes and pajamas and pantsuits. It's pictures of the boys and cousins and starfish and vineyards. It's funny little phrases and moments I don't want to forget about our trip.

Time to finish unpacking.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

one less thing to talk about it counseling...

I finally made it to get some pictures taken of the boys. I was feeling a little stressed about it since B will be 6 months on the 21st and we hadn't taken any "real" pictures yet. I don't know why it's so overwhelming for me. But I am aware of the second child syndrome and am making an effort to document B's first year.

I'm sure he'll have lots of reasons to go to counseling when he's older, but this won't be one of them. He's got pictures.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Today, in the car, driving in the rain...

Eli- "Mama, do you see the school bus?"
Me-"I do. Do you see the big truck?"
Eli-"Yes. What does it say on it?"
Me- "I think it says I have groceries in here.'"
Eli-"But do you know what the truck sounds like?"
Me- "Does it sound like 'grrrrrrrrr'? " (My best attempt at a big truck noise.)
Eli- "No, it sounds like this. Tsssssss. That's what it says when it starts going. And that's what it says when slows down and it's all done."

He's right. And apparantly, always, always observing.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

if i blog about a shoe...

My hubby is sick of hearing about new shoes. This is because I talked about them for days and days before I actually pulled the trigger on the purchase. And then I asked him about 20 times if he liked them. Or really liked them. Or just kind of liked them.

We were out talking to the our neighbors the other night, and Joel casually mentioned how nice the weather was. Then he mentioned it again. I think he brought it up 5 or 6 times, and the last few times, I nodded and smiled right along with the neighbors. We teased him about.

I just told him that I blogged about my shoes.

He asked if I blogged about the weather.

Today was a beautiful day, and a nice warm evening. Breezy. Exactly as spring should be.


maybe i shouldn't be so excited

On one hand, I have plenty of shoes. I don't really need new shoes. But I really wanted a miracle shoe. A default shoe I can wear most of the time, for most of what I do. Which is nothing special, but alot all at the same time. And I'm just not into coordinating my shoes with an outfit each day. I want a cute, comfy, well styled, no socks required, walk-to-park pushing-a-stroller, can-wear-with-a- skirt-or-pants-or a shorts shoe. See what I mean? A miracle shoe.

One REI dividend + one 20% coupon = one good candidate for miracle shoe.

This might be it.

Big Finish

I think I've mentioned that Eli is in LOVE with the drums. Some of his other great loves are Bobcats, binkies, and dried mango- but I expect the drums will long outlive his affection for the latter three.

It seems he is always thinking about the drums. We catch him walking around the house or sitting in his car seat absent mindedly patting his chest, stomach, thighs, and head while making drum sound effects.

Here's a recent conversation.

"Ka-ptch! Ka-ptch! Ka-ptch! Daa-Daa Pum, Daa-Daa-Pum...Huh-tah, Hu-tah, Puh-Puh-Puh..."
"What are you singing Eli?"
"I'm playing the drums....Ka-ptch! Ka-pthc! Do you know what that is?"
"Nope. What is it?"
"That's the crash. And this is the tom. Puh-puh-puh."
"Oh, wow!"
"And here's the kick mama. Da-Pum! Da-Pum!"

The other night, I was singing to him before bed. (Someday soon he will be correcting my pitch problems...) He requested Open the Eyes of My Heart. Sometimes he sings along, sometimes he just listens.

This time, he was quietly sucking his binkie as I finished. "I want to see You....I want to see You." There was a brief pause, and the lullaby mood was broken as he spontaneously added his own drum solo. "Bum, Bum, Bum, Ka-ptch-ptch-ptch!"

I guess when you're two, lullabies need a big finish.