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    November 30th, 2013

    I finally got around to putting together this year’s collages.



    In my bed tonight

    November 27th, 2013

    In my bed tonight;

    • one Iron Man figurine
    • one Bruder crane
    • one batman figurine
    • a sand-pit shovel
    • a big ole carabeener

    We have children. This much is true.

    Now… care to guess if I ever got it out of the way before I got under the covers?

    Song commentary

    November 24th, 2013

    From a recent “taunt” of G’s:

    G: Stormy and Jesse, sitting in a tree
    Me: Who’se Jesse?
    G: K-I-S-S-I-N-T
    Me: G. KissinG. Not T
    G: First comes first. Then comes second.
    Me: What? Are you playing a baseball game now?
    G: Then comes a baby in a baby carriage.

    That’s how we roll.

    Mr. Leisureware

    November 23rd, 2013

    S2 could live in sweats all day, every day. Actually, he does. He calls them “cozy pants”. I went through a bunch of work getting him jeans, and chords, and other pants, but what he wants each day: sweats.

    I have visions of my son wearing leisure suits each day as an adult. Huh!

    Ding Dong Big Milk is gone!

    November 22nd, 2013

    I’m not especially proud of this fact, but Dr. Brown’s bottles have been a staple in our home. For anyone visiting overnight, you’re might be familiar with the sight of a 3 or a 5 yr old sucking down 8 oz of milk via a  bottle. “Big Milk” is what they called it. Well, no more!!!

    I decided that our Disney trip and hotel room stay would be an opportunity to kick the bottle habit and gave it a try. I told the kids (a night before we left, as we were packing) that bottles wouldn’t be coming with us. They were confused, but accepting. The hard part was coming home. I hid them all away the night we returned, and the next morning peeled off the band-aid. It was rough! But it’s over.

    I can’t tell you why it’s been so hard to move on. G’s been especially attached, and S2 I think was more or less following his brother. G was the one that named the bottles “Big Milk”, and it was hard to re-brand, and explain to him that “Big kids” don’t drink “Big Milk”. Even though he’s in a taunting phase of calling everyone, or everything, a baby, he wasn’t willing to accept that only babies drank from those bottles.

    Warmed milk is still a staple in our home every morning, but now at least it’s from a sippy cup.

    So win for mommy. Finally!

    Disney trip 2013

    November 19th, 2013

    With S2 turning 3, I thought it would be a good time to visit the land of the mouse again. As a whole it was a good trip, and certainly one I won’t easily forget. What made it memorable? Lesse, let’s start with:
    – bribes
    – stomach flu
    – kid cuddles

    Re:bribes. Here’s a typical conversation overheard at the park:

    Mom: Behave, or you won’t go on any rides!

    Now here’s what you heard from my mouth:

    Me: G, go on this ride and I’ll give you a quarter!

    That’s right, while moms were bribing good behavior with rides, I was bribing going on rides with quarters. Apparently staying at the Fairfield Inn (which I really liked by the way!) was much better for G, who would’ve rather spent his life savings at the arcade room on the 3rd floor, than go on the rides in the park. He’s a cheap date. I appreciate this, but c’mon! Once he did the ride, he liked it, but convincing him to do it was a bear. Plus it’s hard to motivate a kid and keep him excited when you gotta wait in line for 20 minutes. I’m actually shocked we survived the Jungle Cruise line. I was ready to lose it on that one.

    Re: stomach flu. That’s right — the mighty fell. The mighty in this case being S. On our first afternoon at the park he bailed because he wasn’t feeling well. He went back to the hotel and proceeded to have, what I can only imagine, is one of the worst vacations of his life. Poor guy! I did the following day with both kids on my own. As stressful as I was gearing for it to be, I’ll actually say that it was probably my favorite day there. The kids could kinda tell something was up with dad and they took it easy on me. The quarter bribes helped w/ G, and I stopped for a snack every other ride, which helped with S2. I won’t lie: probably the only healthy things they ate that day were pineapple, grapes and pickles, but I didn’t lose anyone, my sanity or temper, so I consider it a win. S2 insisted that he didn’t want to be in the stroller, only to immediately ask me to carry him once he was out. My arms are sore, but I think I’ve gotten stronger. Bonus: S2 is now into Mommy mode again. Both G and he have been on a Daddy kick for what feels like a year now, so it’s nice to have a kid want me back for a change. I dreaded the rest of us getting ill after S, but luckily we made it back home with no additional casualties. While I’m not eager to welcome the bug back into our lives, if it has to revisit, at least I’m glad we’re home.

    Cuddles. Each parent took a kid as a sleeping buddy. G got S (of course!) and I got S2. He really IS a great snuggler, and I realized that there won’t be that many family vacations left where 1) he would choose to share a bed with me; 2) snuggle up to me the whole time. I know he’ll grow up and prefer his brother (or a separate room) over me, so I’ll take the 4″ of queen-bed-space he’s willing to let me “share” with him 🙂

    S2’s favorite ride was Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. He asked to visit that again in our last few hours at the park. I obliged! For a kid not allowed to play with guns toys, he scored more than 0 points. So he wins 🙂 Second place would probably be a tie between Gadget’s Go Coaster and Toy Story Midway Mania. He also asked to go talk to Goofy and take a picture. I didn’t have the heart to tell him he was hanging with Pluto — I just wanted the character hug picture.

    G’s favorite ride was the Radiator Springs Racers. He went on it twice (thank you Parent Swap Pass!). I’m a little bummed S2 was too short to ride it. He would’ve liked it too.

    G insisted on driving in Autopia. I expected him to, to be honest. It was also a fantastic learning experience for me, because I will NOT be sitting with him in the vehicle as he learns how to drive.

    I am also happy to report, that unlike our past visit, the standard issue ducks were no longer an attraction 🙂

    It made me really happy to witness S2 so in awe and being able to suspend disbelief the way only a small kiddo would. He waved at all the characters and in the games. G on the other hand knew “it wasn’t real!” and was happy to say so.

    G and S2 watched the Jedi training academy, only to walk away wanting to be Darth Vader. I would actually LOVE to see them get picked, only for when Darth Vader tempts the younglings to join his forces to have my two go “Ok!” How would that be for the show?

    We definitely tired these kids out though. S2 didn’t make it out of the park awake on our 3rd day. He was out for the night and down for the count. G snuggled up with his light scepter waiting on S to get back to the room with the adult dinner, and was also out for the rest of the night.

    So that was our trip, in short. I actually do have warm, fuzzy feelings thinking back on it, although on the first day there, this end result was questionable.

    Now onto the photos. And trust me, there are a LOT. Presented in more or less chronological order 🙂

    Mr. Practical

    November 15th, 2013

    In watching the Disney Holiday parade, one of the floats was just a Christmas tree, moving along the route. I asked:

    Me: G, look! How does a Christmas tree move on it’s own?

    Without missing a beat, G looks at me with an incredulous look on his face:

    G: Wheels!

    Well, yep — there you have it! No suspension of disbelief here!

    Failing 18th century womanhood

    November 10th, 2013

    I made G’s Halloween costume this year. That’s right! Do act shocked. He wanted to be a caterpiller, and with less than 2 weeks to go between Halloween and his mind-swap, there was little opportunity to find something that would fit him online.

    Sewing can’t be that hard right? I mean with YouTube on the right and the sewing machine on the left, what can go wrong? Just as soon as someone figured out the whole bobbin thing for me I’d be set, right?  Yeah, let’s just say I owe the iron-on seam inventor a big thank you for that day.

    So… I don’t sew.
    I don’t like doing laundry.
    Cooking is an event, in my mind, not an every day chore. I am good at this, though.
    I can’t embroider worth a damn.I did learn how to knit, although haven’t done anything since my very early teens.

    There. I totally would fail at being a female in the 18th century or earlier. I would either need to be an aristocrat, where most of the above wasn’t expected, or just die a lonely old maid because I bring no value to a house-hold.

    I don’t object to the above… most of the time. But when a friend asks you to contribute to a tribute project, or your kid looks up at you with grand designs on a costume? Kinda wish I had the skills. Photoshop, after all, can only get you so far.


    November 3rd, 2013

    I’ve gone back and forth for years thinking about how I want to express my religious beliefs to the boys some day. The hard part in sharing this is that before I can tell someone else, first I have to be able to tell myself.

    I wasn’t raised in any faith. I wasn’t baptised. My parents didn’t belong to a place of worship. A big part of this, of course, was that during my very young years I resided in a communist country. My first visit to a church was with a school field-trip. Even though Bulgaria respected, maintained and showed pride in it’s places of worship, religion wasn’t really evangelized in my youth. I was aware Christianity as “the” singular faith because of my mom’s work as a restorer and an iconographer and Bulgaria was (and actually now post-communist again predominantly Orthodox Christian). I could spot Jesus on wooden artwork in a second, and can tell you how to write his name in ancient Greek by the time I was 6. That… was about it.

    My mother began talking about God, and praying after the car accident my sister and I were in in 1994. I didn’t really get why that changed in her until fairly recently. My father to this day has remained mum on the subject.

    In many respects this un-attention to religion has given me much freedom to explore what *I* believe in. I can’t thank my parents enough for this freedom. I have been fortunate in my travels around the world to attend services across multiple faiths, although there are many I am yet to experience. I have friends that relate to different faiths. My hope is that some day, I will be able to expose the boys to the same and have them come to find their own relationship with God, if they chose to.

    I so badly want to be able to say “I’m a Christian!” or “A Muslim”… or something… but I just can’t. I know that I believe in God, but I also can’t find a faith that truly expresses what in my heart feels most honest.There was a period of time, where when someone would tell me “I’m praying for you” it would upset me, because I felt that their prayers were to pull me toward their faith when I wasn’t yet ready to declare myself. No fear: I have now accepted this as well meaning, understanding that someone keeping me in their thoughts and heart is one of the kindest things they can do. I still pull away from people proselytizing their views, however. Prayer I’ll accept — engaging me into a “truth”, I am not.

    So where does this leave me? As best as I can tell I’m a blend somewhere between a Buddhist and a Christian: somewhere between striving to find the power of understanding our world through myself, and yet seeking the comfort of a Greater being, and relishing and pulling strength from my large (extended) family network.

    What’s *my* God like? Someone (something?) kind, and compassionate, caring and empowered to adjust the outcome of the path I set on. A being that I can love, be loved by and never fear.

    Do I believe in evolution? Hands, down, yes! It makes greater sense to me that both God and evolutionary science exist in unison. As beings we can be self determinate. What is evolution but a being’s long term path to become stronger, better and more resilient?
    And how can science deny the existence of a higher consciousness purely by it’s absence? Gravity and Higgs boson were themselves hypotheses until human’s eventual understanding of our world allowed us to prove them correct. Yet though they were hypotheses, they were also popularly accepted. Why is God any different?

    This week my ties to a greater deity have somehow strengthened. Mostly because I have been talking to God in my head a lot. Almost constantly, to be honest. It started when the 6 year old daughter of a close friend was diagnosed with an acute, terminal, and incurable tumor. While there is room for a miracle, the odds are not in her favor. Since these news, I have been angry with God. Angry over why this cruelty is inflicted on this amazing family and this great kid: cruelty that MY god shouldn’t allow to happen. And then instantly penitent, and pleading, that our family should never know the same anguish. Requests that my children be kept safe and healthy through a long and content life. I fight the urge to ask our pediatrician for regular MRIs. To question how I can be certain that this won’t happen to them… only to really I can’t ever be certain. That I can’t be given comfort through a medical guarantee… only through faith. And this is very hard for me.

    S2: the THREE year old!!!

    November 1st, 2013

    Kiddo, today you are 3. I’ve been looking at your pictures over the past year, amazed, again how much you’ve changed in just 365 days. When you snuggle up in my lap, I can’t help but think of the contrast between holding you as a newborn and today.
    I feel like I it would be unfair to call you a toddler. So much of what you are is about being a little boy.

    You love being comfortable and snuggled. With Toys, soft blankets and anything fuzzy. This extends itself to your clothing. You’ve come to dislike wearing jeans in favor of “cozy pants”. You’re all about sweats. I can’t blame you — they ARE comfy, but while you can make a potato sack look cute on you, we gotta draw the line at how many times you can wear sweats in a row.

    You like to dance. Watching you boogie by rocking back and forth makes my heart melt. Perhaps you’ll be my dancing buddy?

    You’re in your element in water. You grin from ear to ear in the pool.

    You are mischievous, but sweet… most of the time. You still tackle your brother several times a day, and you still haven’t figured out that the end result of doing that to him is a guaranteed whomp. Work on that, will ya?

    I’ve found a walking buddy in you this past summer. Our routine of bagel bites + Caillou (for you) while I walk 4 miles is pretty awesome. I enjoy the time I spend in your presence, even if it’s hard to talk.

    Potty training, I feel is still a glimmer in your eye, but I think you’re ready and know you can do it!

    Today you are 36.5″ tall and 32lb 10oz “big”.

    Here’s you in your own words:

    What is your name? Stormy Roger

    How old are you about to be? I dunno. How many fingers? [3] You’re showing me 3 fingers. Is that how old you’re going to be? Yeah. Awesome! Then I will turn 5!

    What’s your favorite color? Blue. Blue and red. And black and white… and … also gray

    Who are your best friends? Garrett and Max

    What is your favorite book? Spiderman?

    What’s your favorite song? [sings an astronat song]

    What’s your favorite movie? Huh?

    What’s your favorite TV show? Favorite TV show? Yeah, what do you like to watch on TV? Batman, yeah! You don’t watch Batman! Yeah, I do.

    What is your favorite animal? Spiderman. Spiderman isn’t an animal! [snort] Hmn… a sheep.

    What’s your favorite food? Cereal

    Do you have a favorite shirt? Yeah. Baseball. The red one or the blue one? The blue!

    Tell me something that you think is really important or wise.

    What makes you mad? I’m not mad! But when you do get mad, what gets you mad? Some people run to me, and crash, into me, and I get, then I get mad.

    What’s your favorite toy? Uhmn.. Oh! Oh my gosh! A baseball and a bat.

    What do you want to do when you grow up? I wanna be Spiderman for Halloween. That’s for Halloween. What do you want o be when you grow up? I dunno! Yeah, you have a while to figure it out.

    [vimeo https://vimeo.com/78234145]