Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nanny McMe

I have a new "job" and I'm very excited about it. I am going to be watching a little boy from church Monday-Friday starting after Labor Day. The hours are somewhere between part-time and full-time. His name is Alex and he just turned 3 and I'm hoping and praying that he and Topher will love each other and become surrogate brothers. It's funny how Alex's mom and I found each other, really. I've been praying for a way to make a little money to contribute to my family, and she was praying for someone she could trust to love and watch over her son, and Heavenly Father did the rest. So now I'm all keyed up, ready to start my new role as a nanny. I have no idea what specific challenges lay ahead in having 2 crazy boys in my home, but I know we'll just all be silly together and we'll have fun figuring it all out. I'm hoping that Topher will learn some "big boy" behaviors from Alex ("See Topher, Alex doesn't need a bottle because he's a big boy...") and I'm hoping that the boys will play well together and just have fun being energetic little boys. (And yes, I'm secretly hoping that they will wear each other out sometimes, too!) I'm trying to mentally prepare for a little more chaos, a little more refereeing, and a little more juggling. I think I'm prepared for a boy who can speak his mind and talk my ear off. I'm pretty sure I can handle the challenge of Alex's potty training, and I think it will be good for Topher to be introduced to the idea. As you can probably tell, I don't know much yet. I'm sure the learning curve on this one is going to be pretty steep for all 3 of us. But I DO know that if the boys can learn to love each other's company, I'll be happy. And if I can get twice the hugs and kisses that I'm getting now, well that would just be a big fat bonus. --KC

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Less Milk, More Public Dancing

Yesterday was a BIG day in this house. We decided to take away Topher's M-I-L-K in a bottle. (We have to spell things around here, he's getting too smart.) We know, we know, most kids have been off the bottle for about a year by now, but we're terrible at all of this. So every time he asked for milk yesterday, we gave him a choice of milk in a cup or plain water in his bottle. He chose the bottle every time, which confirms our suspicions that his bottle is really just his pacifier. He literally went the entire day yesterday without a sip of milk, and for a kid who usually drinks half a gallon a day, that was a BIG change. We expected a lot of meltdowns yesterday and there were a few, but it really wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. In fact, after a nap, we took him to Jordan Creek Mall and he surprised us by being unusually happy and hyper. In fact, as we passed by Hollister, he heard some music he just couldn't resist. And then, right there in the middle of the mall, he started dancing, and I mean dancing. He even made up this new move where he puts his palms flat on the ground and shakes his booty up and down. He even ended every performance with the "fish-out-of-water" routine where he'd lay down and just keep wiggling. Strangers were watching, suppressing grins, and laughing out loud. He is quite the outgoing, exhibitionist, entertain-the-world kind of guy. It is so far from my personality that it just blows me away to watch him be so fearless, and so much without any reservations. He is a slightly strange and completely wonderful individual. video It has now been more than 24 hours, and he still doesn't want anything to do with milk in a cup. After a little while of the water-in-a-bottle, we'll phase that out too. (Although in the meantime we can already tell that it will be much easier to travel with regular water rather than ice packs and gallons of milk at the ready.) It really is hard growing up sometimes, but with moves like that, I think he's going to make it. And probably to much applause. --KC

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Exhaustion

We've all had colds this week but have been affected in different ways. While my voice is gone completely, Topher has taken to falling asleep anywhere. One minute yesterday he was playing with his cars (see one still clutched in his hand) and the next minute he was snoring on the stairs.
I am also experimenting with blogging straight from my iPhone, so please bear with me while I figure it all out. If you see short posts appearing and disappearing, those are just my experiments. Right now we are just a sad house full of Kleenexes, cough drops, whispers and broken squeaks (that's me without my voice, it's truly pathetic). We are all hoping for a full recovery very soon. But in the meantime, I'll just enjoy my son's little snores and snorts.
--KC

Friday, August 13, 2010

iLove my iPhone

After waiting 2 weeks for our new iPhones to arrive, they are finally here and we're still trying to discover which features we haven't discovered yet. We've never had smartphones before, so everything past making calls is like digital magic. We've already taken advantage of the Facetime feature, calling our friends in Florida and seeing them face-to-face through our phone as we took a real-time tour of their house. As you can probably tell from the last video I posted, I keep forgetting to turn the camera sideways for videos so they won't be so tall and skinny. I'm especially happy with the camera/video because it seems to be comparable our digital camera so now I won't have to tote around multiple gadgets everywhere I go. Here are a few sample pictures (totally un-retouched and straight from the phone) I have taken:

It's addictive having so much information at your literal fingertips. I can transfer money to my bank account and then a second later I can whip out a game that will keep Topher entertained in the car. I know that most of the world has been doing this for ages, but it's new for us here in the dinosaur age. (I also didn't have a cell phone until a few years into college, but don't tell Topher that because he'll think I'm ancient, lol.)

My phone got named Apple while TJ took the more masculine Mac. We are extremely creative that way. If you know me, you know that I never make a purchase without extensive research and after all was said and done, nothing compared to the iPhone for us. The reception has been great, the features are amazing, and I officially give it a 9/10. (One point was taken off for having to recharge so often, but that's also because I'm using it so often. Still, they should have known that such a cool phone would need a beefier battery.)

Once I have explored it more, I think I might do my own "10 best apps" list. Stay tuned and happy phoning!

--KC

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Multiple Syllables

He loves to try the big words.

video

I love hearing whatever is on his mind.

--KC

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mixed Emotions Rush In Like Water

Des Moines just broke its own record for the wettest year ever, previously set in the flood-filled year of 1993. Unfortunately, that has meant flash flooding around the state. Sunday night we had a very prolonged, very angry storm that dropped FIVE + inches of rain. Monday morning we learned that our old house in Cambridge went back under water. I always thought that moving away from that house would be a clean break for me, that I would never care about it again. But hearing that another family is going through the same thing we went through, even after the city "fixed" all the drains, starting my head spinning and my gut churning. We saw the story on the news yesterday, how the family living there had to be evacuated by boat and how they had 3 cars go under water. Everyone was safe, but it was like watching a horrible broken record. All the city's improvements didn't make an ounce of difference when the prolonged and heavy rains came. http://www.kcci.com/slideshow/news/24565504/detail.html We could never have seen this coming. We didn't trust that house anymore only because we had seen it under water once, but we never thought it would flood again so completely, or so soon, especially since the city dug up several drains and cleared them out and replaced them with bigger drains, etc. It has been just over 2 years since it flooded last. We also cannot believe this happened in August. Typically, the only months flooding is a concern are the Spring and early Summer months. Cambridge was a cement block around our ankles. Living there felt like being dragged down to the bottom every single day. Of course we are relieved to be out of that house, that town altogether. However, the sickness we feel for the family living there now largely over-shadows that relief. I think about the entire year it took us to rebuild that house. I remember standing there on the street, looking at my house sitting in the middle of a lake and rubbing my pregnant belly for comfort. I remember gutting it out, watching the innards of our home pile up in the front yard like a bunch of soggy trash. I remember walking through a house that looked like it was just being built, having studs and a concrete floor and nothing else. I remember the pangs I felt as I kept thinking of individual things that were lost forever. I remember living with TJ's parents (bless their hearts!) for 2 months while we sanitized the house and replaced all the essential utilities. I remember being relieved to have drywall put in just before bringing Topher home from the hospital because I never wanted him to know a home that was only a skeleton. I remember every nail, every paint stroke, every detail of putting that house back together. It was stressful and painstaking and frustrating and heart-breaking. It only took about 15 minutes of flash flooding yesterday to completely erase every single thing that we did, kick-starting another family's nightmare. Our old neighbors across the street said that they were up at 4am, watching for water. By 5am there was still nothing. And then around 5:15am, the water just starting rushing in. We're not sure if a drain somewhere got clogged, if something broke, or if the water just starting running off of nearby fields, but by 5:30am the block was under water. We always wondered how our house could have already been 3 feet under by the time we woke up, but now we see how quickly the water must have rushed in. It only takes a matter of minutes. We sincerely hope that the city will use its grant money to buy that property out so that family can make a new start and will be able to walk away the way we wanted so badly to do. Unfortunately, Water Street has earned its name once again. --KC

Monday, August 2, 2010

July Birthday and Anniversary

If I slack off for just a minute (or week or two) it seems like there's too much to catch up on, and that makes me procrastinate even more. It's a vicious cycle. Two big things have happened, however, that demand attention. The first is that my handsome, witty husband turned 30 on July 23rd, and we had a great time celebrating here at home. Since the weather was rainy, I was without the car and without a way to buy helium balloons, so...enter some home-made decorations. They were made with extra love.
Topher "helped" color these paper balloons.
Happy birthday, baby!
TJ and I have been dieting and I have to say, he looks every bit as good as the day I met him in college. I won't even pretend to know how I got so lucky.
Doesn't he look GOOD???
The second big thing that happened was exactly a week later. We celebrated our 5-year anniversary and we did so by taking a vacation to Columbia, MO. Topher stayed 3 days and 2 nights with Terry and Kathy, and he did great (and so did they, and so did I for that matter!) We had a BLAST and here are some highlights from the trip:
1) We took a walk in the rain to our favorite lake in Columbia. It was terribly romantic because we were the only ones out (obviously, who would want to walk in a downpour??) and we were huddled close under a small umbrella. It was funny and wet and perfect.
Five years and going strong!
2) Across town, we visited our favorite creek. This is one of our favorite places to be in the whole world.
3) We went to Rock Bridge State Park, where TJ would often bring me on his motorcycle while we were dating. We ventured out to Devil's Ice Box, a cave in the park.
The famous natural rock bridge after which the park is named.
Climbing through the park...it was a great workout!
The staircase leading down to Devil's Ice Box.
Inside the cave...not much to see, even with the flash.
Hoping to see some bats down here. :)
4) We wandered around campus. MU's campus is SO different, with construction going on everywhere. Everything is fancy and new and makes me feel like I went through college several years too early. Oh well, at least we know where all our tuition money went.
TJ dines with Beetle Bailey on the red half of campus.
The little chapel on campus where we got hitched.
Inside the chapel, remembering our ceremony.
Memorial Union, right by the chapel, where we had our reception.
Inside the Memorial Union arch.
A view of the quad, pillars, and Jesse Hall.
5) Our hotel was memorable. After booking a non-smoking room and being given a smoking room, we demanded a room change. Our new room was the only one in the hotel with stick-on numbers instead of a room plaque. Go figure.
I don't care if we got the ghetto room, I'm on vacation!
We're so happy because we got to sleep through the night for TWO nights!!!
We did a lot more than these few things. We went out for a late movie and we had fun cheating our diet and we met up with our good friends Anne and Andy, who are about to have their own little boy. We visited memories that can only come alive by being there in person and we had fun getting lost together. We shopped and ate out for every meal and walked everywhere. It was such a fun weekend.
And what kind of parents would we be if we didn't bring our little tiger a souvenir?
It's been a long five years, I won't lie. I blame most of that on the flood and just a little bit on Topher (no offense, buddy!). But look where we are, and look what we created together. We're in love and we're happy and we have an amazing son. TJ, these have been the best five years of my life because I've been your spouse. Here's to an eternity of more. --KC