the big four.  January 5, 2012 - 12:55 pm

I am reading through the description of my son at his third birthday, and age 3.5, and I feel like I could copy/paste all of these items again. He is exactly the same as he was last year: very into electronics, not so into toys, left-brained, earnest and verbal, interested in the moon, obsessive about being neat and clean, an old soul. He still clings to his daddy, adores mazes, loves pirates. What’s funny is that very often, I describe him in some way, then I realize he’s been that way since birth. In one form or another, he’s exactly the same person I met four years ago.

Here are a few more, and then his stats.

- He was fully potty trained in February, so we’ve had nearly an entire year of big boy underwear. Although he did not train early, he trained relatively quickly, and has been almost entirely accident-free since that time. In August, we switched to underwear at night as well, and he does very well staying dry overnight as long as we wake up him for a quick “dream potty” before we head to bed. (Daddy does this quite dutifully, and not always easily.)

- Sometimes I say “he has a little Rainman in him” – based on his tendencies to be extremely math/counting-oriented, routine-driven, and a little OCD about some things (closing drawers, turning off lights, putting things in their place, following his routines). What’s really interesting is that he is also extremely social. He loves to talk, is very outgoing, will have a one-sided conversation with anybody if necessary (even children his own age, although he prefers to converse with older people), and is always aware of other people’s feelings. He has more empathy at age 4 than I ever have, and he is extremely cautious and sensitive to other people’s moods and attitudes toward him. He will tell me calmly, “Stop being angry, Mommy. You’re being mean to me.” and sometimes it’s true.

- Similarly to the above, he loves loves LOVES to make people laugh. He’s always telling jokes, doing impressions, quoting movies or TV. His velcro-like memory aids this, and combined with his outgoing personality, he completed an on-stage comedy routine at our camping “variety show” without a single hesitation.

- He hates art projects or coloring. We push them to some extent, because there are some necessary skills there (including performing tasks that are not your favorite in school) but for the most part, he avoids them completely. We have learned that he is fantastic with crayons, scissors, glue etc, when he puts his mind to it. But honestly, he just doesn’t like it. At all. And that’s okay.

- He’s been reading for about half a year. He reads everything. Words continue to just make sense to him. I think he applies the part of his brain that might be drawing, to reading instead. :P

- He likes technical things. He is a bit too young yet for following real Lego directions (and, let’s face it, still has the attention span of a typical 4-year-old boy), but when he can follow directions or instructions, he loves it. He loves to read recipes to me (no interest in the actual making or baking). He loves finding the correct number & types of pieces for building with his Trio set (LOVE the Trio blocks). He loves to replace batteries, look at the insides of things and find out how they work – and if he can’t, or something isn’t working properly, he has no use for it. Such an engineer.

- He’s still a picky eater. Moreover, he’s just not an Eater. He could take or leave food most of the time. I have NEVER heard him say “I’m hungry.” Not even when he was a tiny baby.

Weight & height: 41 pounds, 42 inches tall. Big kid!
Favorite foods: Cheese, any/all nuts, plain/butter noodles, bread, quesadillas, ham & cheese rollups
Favorite shows/movies: Backyardigans, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Polar Express, Veggietales, Phineas and Ferb
Favorite toys/games: Mazes mazes mazes! Board games, building sets with instructions, iphone games, computer games, science experiments
Favorite books: Walter the Farting Dog, Heavy Metal Mater, Backyardigans books, chapter books. He has so many books.
Clothes: 4T or boys XS clothes, size 11 shoes
Favorite recent words & phrases: “That is to say…” “I beg to differ.” “Not if I can help it!” “ginormous” “.. when, suddenly…”

i just came to say hello  November 23, 2011 - 2:05 pm

I’m always updating my blog sidebar. I think I’m the only person who ever looks at it, especially considering I don’t actually write blog posts, but it still makes me happy to have everything documented. Facebook isn’t quite as good for that.

This is normally my favorite week of the year, but I’m grouchy today. Could be the fact that it’s almost 70 degrees outside. Last year at this time, it was 20 and we’d already had snowfall. Thirty minutes of small cotton flakes doesn’t count. I want frozen temps and a white ground cover, people. Not San Diego.

Could also be the pregnancy hormones. I think everybody knows about this now? (If you don’t, aren’t you my FB friend??) I am 14 weeks and very very happily just into my second trimester. But I’m also a little bit cranky from time to time. And Christmas songs make me cry. They always have, but now it’s the worst. The lip starts quivering when John Denver sings the 12 Days of Christmas with the Muppets.

Okay, I am now shaking off the grumps. After work I am going home, smelling up my house with crockpot cranberry sauce, figuring out where my husband’s missing undershirts have done, and having the hap-happiest Thanksgiving since Bing Crosby tap danced with… well, you know.

ps. I really enjoy reading through my pregnancy posts from 2007, so I may be back here to document this some more. Because honestly, I am about 400% more excited and at-ease about this pregnancy than I ever was with Andrew. Also, maybe some more about him. In a couple weeks he’ll be FOUR.

a typical day  August 26, 2011 - 7:33 pm

Each day in the life of Laura is pretty much exactly the same. And that’s just the way I like it. Saturdays and Sundays are obviously different from weekdays, but even those days are relatively consistent from week to week. Jen at Jayesel wrote about her Typical Day and I was inspired to do the same, for posterity if nothing else. So I give you… a weekday in the life, verbal-style.

5:50a Alarm goes off so I can take my temperature. (I’ve been charting my fertility/cycles by temping for over 5 years now.) Then I get to hit the snooze and go back to sleep.

7:00a Andrew trots into our bedroom and wakes me up. He climbs into our bed, I turn on the TV, and he gets to watch an episode of Little Einsteins while I’m waking up. Occasionally he’ll sleep a bit later, but 7:00 is the earliest he’s allowed to come into our room.

7:20a I get out of bed (ew) and start getting ready for the day. This entails: putting in contacts, washing face, getting dressed, quick makeup, quick hair. It takes me about 20 minutes.

7:30a Little Einsteins is over, and it’s time for Andrew’s first morning task: making his bed. (Mommy helps.) Then he gets to watch the first half of Special Agent Oso, and it’s time for the husband to get up. Which doesn’t mean that he actually gets up.

7:45a The first “episode” of Oso is over, and the TV gets turned off. Now it’s time for everybody to get ready. Andrew goes through the rest of his morning routine (take off jammies, pee & weigh, get dressed) and Kyle gets ready too. I make the bed as soon as it’s empty.
(By the way, Andrew weighs himself because Daddy weighs himself every morning, not because we’re some sicko parents who make their 3yo obsess about his weight. He loves to “scale” as calls it.)

8:00a With a kiss to both boys, I’m off to work.

8:10a I arrive at work and do what I do. Mornings always include cleaning my phone with sanitizer, filling my water bottle, making hot tea, checking my email, signing on instant messenger, checking FB and the like, and working on projects.

1:00p Lunchtime! I meet Kyle for lunch at Quizno’s or Spicy Pickle. It’s like having a Date Night every single day. Most people think we’re crazy.

3:20p Work is DUN. My after-lunch time is spent writing/sending my quotes & POs and getting things cleared out for the day. Since my clients are all over the country, this is one benefit of being on the west coast: things quiet down dramatically after 2:00p.

3:30p I arrive at my mom’s house to pick up Andrew.

4:00p Home. Andrew gets to watch one TV show while Mommy “finishes her work”. This means I have about 20-25 minutes to change my clothes and start my daily routine: start a load of laundry, swish & swipe a bathroom*, empty the dishwasher, gather glasses from upstairs.

4:25-5:00p TV goes off. This is Andrew & Mommy time. He usually gets to pick what we do, but he doesn’t have much of an attention span. Sometimes we go outside, sometimes we play a board game, sometimes we bake something. Sometimes it’s nowhere near that productive and Andrew flits around while Mommy sits.

5:00p Time for me to start dinner. Andrew gets to play games on his phone until Daddy gets home. If he doesn’t feel like it, he’ll wander around and get into other stuff.

5:40p Kyle’s home! Yay!

6:00-7:00p Dinnertime! Andrew eats three bites total, then says “I’m not really hungry anymore” and gets down. Or he lingers and spends an hour at the table. Toward the end of this time, I do some cleaning up/dishes and finish up the load of laundry. If there’s time, the boys will play or go outside after dinner.

7:00p Time to go upstairs and start the kidlet’s bedtime routine. Andrew gets to play games on his phone while the bath is running. When it’s done running, he gets a 5-minute timer to finish up his games. When the timer beeps, he turns his phone off, gives it back, and gets undressed and goes potty before getting in the tub.

7:15-8:00p Daddy and Andrew finish up the bath, then Andrew gets a couple videos on the computer, then bedtime books. I have time to complete my daily “home blessing” task*.

8:00p Bedtime is prefaced by brushing teeth, another potty stop, a prayer from Andrew’s book, and then our bedtime prayer. Night-night, Andrew!

8:00-9:30p I finish up dishes, clean up the house, declutter in the current zone for 15 minutes*, recharge with God, have bath or shower, shine my kitchen sink*, lay out my clothes for tomorrow, floss and brush, lotion my feet, watch baseball, play around on the computer. Not necessarily in that order.

10:00p I’m in bed. Kyle is usually still playing on the computer, or starting his shower/injection. Most nights I am asleep before he is.

11:00p SLEEP!

*I’m a FlyBaby!

three and a half.  June 10, 2011 - 9:55 pm

In a little over a week, Andrew will be 3.5 years old – his Junetime “half birthday”. For some reason I have the feeling that the days between age three-and-a-half and four (are there really only 6 months left until the end of the year??) will bring about a lot of changes, so again I pause to document my little son now, ever changing, ever amazing. Indeed, the days are long but the years and months are short.

- He’s just starting to pick up more self-discipline and a better attention span. He received two board games for Christmas, and when we tried them at the beginning of the year, he had absolutely no ability to stay focused, take turns, follow directions, etc. We recently pulled them out again, and played three full games of one and a game of the other, the latter of which is actually already too easy for him.

- He’s reading, in the same way that I read at age 3. He probably has about 50 sight words, maybe more. He looks at the word, hears it, and knows it forevermore. Words he doesn’t know, he sounds out or guesses something with similar letters. If you speak just about any word, he can take a great stab at spelling it. It’s amazing, but at the same time it’s so familiar because words have always made sense to me.

- He’s a daddy’s boy. I think I’ve commented on this in just about every update, but the past half a year has seen some ridiculously intense attachment to his daddy. We humor it to some extent, but other times he just has to live with the fact that he has two parents and one of them happens to be mommy.

- He is completely daytime potty-trained. He was pee-trained in November and the rest followed at the beginning of this year. He is still nowhere near night-trained and we haven’t really made much of an effort toward that yet.

- He has no interest in coloring, cooking, or creative art, but will draw letters, numbers, or do connect-the-dots and mazes until the cows come home. Every week at church his is the only coloring paper with nary a scribble on it, but he’s tearing through the ages 6-8 maze book. He can write his name by himself, but can’t really form any other letters without help.

- He loves to help with just about everything, especially laundry or fixing things. His favorite outdoor activity is walking around with a squirt bottle, which he says is bug spray, squirting every bug he can find.

- He’s really into pirates & adventures. He picks up a lot of dramatic words and phrases from his favorite TV shows.

- He’s a very picky eater. Sometimes he’ll go through brief phases where he eats better, but for the most part he subsides on one semi-decent meal per day. What kills me is that he doesn’t like fruit, except for strawberries. As a fruit-lover myself this is a really difficult one!

- His physical attributes continue to fascinate me. I see both of his parents in him, and yet neither at the same time. His features are so mixed between us that sometimes I look at his face and wonder whose kid he is.

- He craves routines to a fault. If something changes (wearing sandals without socks instead of sneakers, mommy reading bedtime books instead of daddy, not having his bath) he gets extremely out of sorts and sometimes downright cranky. Although I know this is probably somewhat common to most children, both of his parents are excessively the same way, so it doesn’t surprise me.

- Three has been the hardest age for sure. Sometimes he seems so much more mature than his age, and I have to remind myself that he’s only a 3-year-old. Other times I cherish so much the sweet things I know won’t last long, like him showing me how his imaginary and very complex “bathtub machine” works during bathtime, or how we try to find the mail van every day on our way home.

Weight & height: About 35.5 pounds and 39.5 inches. In the past 6 months he has not gained any weight, but has grown over an inch taller.
Favorite foods: Cheese, plain/butter noodles, bread, french fries, hot dogs. Still eats veggies pretty well but the only fruit he likes right now is strawberries. He is not a big eater in general and can be pretty picky, so his dinners are often very minimal.
Favorite shows/movies: Backyardigans, Team Umizoomi, Bubble Guppies, The Magic School Bus, Little Einsteins
Favorite toys/games: His pirate hat & sword, trains, balls, his toolbox, mazes or connect-the-dots
Favorite books: Any Step 1 reader books, High Five, Suppertime for Frieda Fuzzypaws, nursery rhymes
Clothes: 4T-4 shirts, 3T pants, size 9-10 shoes, size 3T-4T undies, size 4T night-night pullups
Favorite recent words & phrases: “Who goes there?” “Not so fast!”

are you saying “boooooo” or “juuuuuuune”  June 4, 2011 - 9:05 pm

Holy pizzoli, it’s June. Better known as “Juneuary”. We haven’t seen 80 degrees at all this year and we’ve only seen 70 a handful of times. I remember, as a child, sitting at home in early June wearing shorts, with the windows flung open, sprinklers going outside, munching on cherries. I ate a cherry today at the grocery store – then sadly looked out the window at the completely overcast sky, fleeting raindrops, 30mph winds, and 55 degrees. Each year for the past 3-4 years, winter has lingered long into late spring, but this year is the worst I can remember. This isn’t a typical Nevada “winter’s last fling”. This is consistent cold, through and through. It’s pretty bizarre to say the least.

The good news? Three weeks until Disneyland. THREEEEEEEEEEEEE. Is it okay that I’m already antsy about getting my stuff set aside and starting to pack? I’m starting to get that pre-vacation suffocation feeling which is one of the last signs that there is a serious shortage of Disneyland in my blood. I’ve already been hearing and smelling the place for weeks.

I’m going to write a separate post about my little son who is 3, going on 12 years old. His half-birthday is this month which is completely ridiculous because I’m sure his third birthday was last week.

I’m hoping everybody out there is having the most fantabulous summer. And I hope you’re actually having summer at all.

may: on my mind  May 11, 2011 - 11:59 am

Oh hai!!! So apparently it’s the middle of May. My Spring Tour of the Southwest is 3/4 over. San Antonio was beautiful, Sacramento was chilly, San Francisco was freezing – but all were wonderful trips. Last stop: Albuquerque. And the in-between moments have been sprinkled with a bit of this, that, and the other. Great things and not-so-great things, but nothing unmanageable and God is ever faithful!

Winter and summer are still duking it out, and winter’s current score seems unsurmountable – but summer ALWAYS wins. And oh, when it does. Last night we finished up some yard work outside after dinner, and I saw literally every neighbor on our street outside at some point. Many of them were working in their yards as well. The sounds of lawnmowers, sprinklers, ice cream trucks, and birds chirping loudly were a sweet harmony.

April and May have been speeding along, as fast as I’d hoped they would. But I can’t wait to spend some quality time with June. I think it’ll be a great summer.

How YOU doin….?

I’m dreaming of… Hawaii! My dear friend who got married last month is going to be living there for her residency (of the medical variety). And since we met her husband there, nearly six years ago, it feels very nostalgic for me. That beautiful state has never been more appealing.

I’ve started collecting… Andrew’s art projects in my office. There are so many awesome ones, I have no idea how I’ll ever be able to choose which ones to keep.

My Jekyll and Hyde reading list… is right on my kitchen table: ESPN Magazine and Us Weekly. (What’s funnier is when I’m reading ESPN and Kyle is reading Us.)

If I weren’t… such a weenie, I would have worn pattern on pattern today. I chickened out and went for a solid-colored top.

If I could invent anything… I would set up time travel goggles. I don’t want to actually GO anywhere, just be able to see & relive experiences.

My shopping mecca is… Las Vegas or San Francisco. I always shop in both places.

My coworker introduced me to… airbrush tanning. I got one a few weeks ago for my friend’s wedding and it was awesome!!

My curl friend is… nothing at the moment – I haven’t worn my hair down & curly since I got it cut! It’s a bit too short & doesn’t have enough weight to hold it down.

Dream duets… I always sing backup vocals for Owl City. Does that count?

bcb march 2011: girl, interrupted  March 30, 2011 - 2:12 pm

The Book Club Bloggers selection for March was Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. I picked this one (after much deliberation), and I’m glad because I loved it even more the second time. I literally read this book in two sittings. For me it’s just a page-turner.

I can’t pinpoint what I like about it. It’s her writing style, the gripping way she details the events that happened. Or maybe a morbid fascination with the daily lives of mental health patients. Perhaps it’s her amazing descriptions of her interpretation of herself and “insanity”, the way she so clearly takes you inside her brain and explores how she really observed the world. Or maybe it’s just the realization that on every page, in some way, you can relate to either Susanna or another character, and you are left questioning the purpose and authenticity of the institution that kept her and the other “crazies” locked inside.

And in addition to all of that, I think it’s partly because the subject matter alone fascinates me. I loved psychology in college; I still reference my textbook from time to time. Whenever my mom attends a class about child development, I devour the paperwork and notes she brings home. For a long time I thought I wanted to study behavioral neurology. Okay, I still do.

The movie? Loved it too. My husband was the one who originally suggested I both read the book and then watch the film – and I did so in that order, which usually means a disadvantage for any book-to-film adaptation. It was well done.

The success of this book is utterly dependent on it being a true story. Remember A Million Little Pieces by James Frey? The books are very similar – in content and in writing style – and I can’t help but remember all of the controversy and fallout when he admitted it was “partially” fiction. People were outraged and felt cheated. Were his experiences and writing somehow less authentic because he invented many of the details? Is the author required to relay everything in full disclosure? What about details that were forgotten, remembered incorrectly, or even just plain made-up? Does your opinion of a “biography” depend heavily on fact vs. fiction? Does the author’s “questionable” mental health make the idea of “fictional details” more tolerable? Would you like this book as much if you found out that some of it wasn’t true?

Thanks so much to Charlotte for letting me select this month’s reading. :)

a few things…  March 10, 2011 - 8:57 pm

Andrew’s favorite color is blue, his favorite number is 12, and his favorite word is “the”. All self-proclaimed by the household 3-year-old.

By the way, we are thinking of moving him out of the house, perhaps into the green garbage can. If anybody tells you that age 2 is harder than age 3, they are lying. Promptly step on this person’s foot.

Just kidding about the garbage can. Mostly.

It’s currently about three weeks before my work conference, which means we are shifting into high gear and prep mode in the office. This is the earliest in the year we’ve ever held it (in the past it’s always been May or June) so this month has been like lightning on roller skates. Which is actually just fine with me.

Because in April and May, I will be in San Antonio, Sacramento(ish), San Francisco, and Albuquerque. I’m calling it my spring tour of the southwest. And after all of that, June is MY MONTH. Do you hear me, 2011?? Vacation, how I need thee. Disneyland, please wait for me, as you always do so patiently.

I’m desperately craving the daylight change this Sunday, because I also really need more daylight hours.

March, it seems, is often full of labor pains, as winter begrudgingly gives way to that which it has spent a season cloaking.

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”
(Andrew Wyeth)

bcb february 2011: cat’s cradle  February 25, 2011 - 3:45 pm

This month, the Book Club Bloggers have been reading Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Cat’s Cradle. As a preface, I love Kurt Vonnegut’s work, and Slaughterhouse Five is one of my top 10 favorite novels.

I first read Cat’s Cradle maybe ten years ago. This time, as I started into the book, I quickly came across the ONE concept I remembered from this story, and perhaps even the one concept I remember most from any Vonnegut book. It’s even such that I’ve told others about it, and referenced it from time to time throughout my life. It’s always “hit home” with me, and that is the concept of the karass: a group of people who may or may not know (or even like) each other, whose lives are inextricably intertwined for some common purpose. I have learned this: if you haven’t read the book, it’s impossible to understand. One thing about Vonnegut is that he somehow brings incomprehensible concepts to life and logic.

Interestingly, my husband, who also hadn’t read the book in over a decade, remembers NOTHING of the karass. He remembers ice-nine, while my memory couldn’t have cared less about tucking that one away.

On this particular occasion, my goal was to evaluate the meaning of the book’s title. Why is the story called Cat’s Cradle? The author references the literal concept of the hand/string game several times and led me to two answers to this question:

1. existentialism — n a modern philosophical movement stressing the importance of personal experience and responsibility and the demands that they make on the individual, who is seen as a free agent in a deterministic and seemingly meaningless universe

2. One of Bokonon’s calypsos:
Tiger got to hunt,
Bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder, ‘Why, why, why?’
Tiger got to sleep,
Bird got to land,
Man got to tell himself he understand.

What I like best about this book is Vonnegut’s writing style. Of course! I love the detachment and coolness of his tone, the way he approaches life and death matters with such an air of carelessness. Of meaninglessness.

What I do not like about this book is the ending. I can’t pinpoint the reason, but perhaps it just feels….. meaningless?

….OH. (A literary success.)

february: on my mind  February 10, 2011 - 1:50 pm

I just upgraded my WordPress & all of my plugins, something I haven’t done in a very long time. I’d been putting it off because I knew the new version of WP required a newer version of Mysql, and I knew I’d have to create a new database with my host, export/import data, and change everything over, before even thinking about upgrading. Lots of knowing and not a lot of doing, but I finally dug into it today. So far, so good, and no hacking! Enough tech speak… it’s Feburary! ETA: Okay, comments should be working now as well. ;)

My style icon is… Jennifer Garner. She just seems so “normal” to me. When she’s dressed up she is really classy, pretty, and pulled-together, but her everyday clothing seems very casual and unstuffy.

My latest passion is… slow cooker meals. For the Super Bowl I made buffalo chicken sandwiches in the crockpot, and I’ve been doing about one crockpot meal per week. The only problem is large quantities – I hate leftovers, and Andrew rarely eats our food in the first place, so poor Kyle is stuck with days worth of left over dinner.

I can’t travel without… a cardigan, a scarf, and comfy shoes. I usually wear clogs, though they aren’t necessarily the best choice for airport escalators and other moving equipment. :P

I love to collect… I try not to collect anything these days (too much clutter!) but Kyle collects shot glasses (mostly gifts from me) and has an awesome little collection.

I am dying to go to… Disneylaaaaaaaand auughhh. I’m starting to really crave it.

I’ll never commit to… gold or silver toned jewelry. I wear both equally, depending on my outfit (though my “permanent” jewelry is all yellow gold).

I love wearing… turtleneck sweaters. I have a long, thin upper body and a stouter lower body, so anything that makes my upper half appear bulkier is usually good. Plus, I love something snuggly and warm around my neck!

I’m a big believer in… rules and order. I’m such a rule-follower that it can be scary. I’m SOOO Monica Geller in this respect. (“Rules are good! Rules help control the fun!”)

about me
Laura, 30 years old
High-desert dweller
Wife to Kyle since 9/10/05
Mommy to Andrew (12/20/07) and Lucas (5/25/12)
Computer engineer by training, Photoshopper by profession and play.
I love sports, Coke, shopping, Jesus, photography, and aviation. Not necessarily in that order.
my flickr photos
follow me at twitter.

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