July 25, 2006

Game Night

Many years ago, way before kids, Kevin and I would have game nights. We'd call up Kat and Josh and break out our old favs or a new game to try. Now, by "game", I don't mean the traditional Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit. Oh no, we went for the good stuff. I had stumbled across a website, Fun Again Games, that sold German games. These games are like no other and fun beyond words. My personal fav is the Bean Game (Bohanza). It's a quick and silly bartering game that is always fun. And I must say, it's still a winner.

We played games and laughed so hard we were crying. I'm surprised we didn't wake the kids! I had forgotten the joy of games. There is nothing like a night of good games, good friends, and mini-cupcakes. Yum!

Posted by Chrissie at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2006

Zoo Pics

Kat posted the pictures from our zoo adventure at her site. No shot of the elephant but lots of cute kid pics! Go see!

Posted by Chrissie at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

Bit by Bit, Row by Row

Last night I was pretty exhausted so I headed out to my garden to unwind.

What? You didn't know about my garden? Have I failed to mention my newly found green thumb? Well, let me rectify that right now.

I have always dreamed of having a veggie garden. I have no idea where this strange desire comes from. Probably from that same place that makes me want to move to West Virginia and raise chickens. Don't ask.

Anyway, I have pined away for my own little garden. When we bought our first house, I thought my dreams of a little veggie patch where finally realized. I bought books, and tools and seeds.

And then my dreams were dashed. Turned out my little house that was built in the 1920's came with trees that where planted in the 1920's. Our trees where huge and gorgeous and shady. Very shady. My dreams for tomatoes and peas and beans were dashed under the reality of giant elm and pine trees. So I packed away my vegitable books and invested in the Gardening With Shade series. Boring!

My dreams may have been mothballed but they were not dead. Our next house was in suburbia. This former farmland was covered in sprall with teeny little newbie trees and lots and lots of sun. Even better, the former owners had a garden and left me a nice patch of earth just right. Since we moved in during the month of July, I had missed the planting season. I brushed off my books and that winter I began planning my little plot. These plans were regretfully placed on hold when I discovered I was preggers with Kulia. The idea of being 6 month pregnant and pulling weeds just didn't jive with me so when spring came I heaved a sigh of regret and waddled my pregnant butt back indoors.

This spring, however, I vowed nothing would stop me. Not the exhaustion of running after two babies, not the lack of time or money. Oh no, this year I was going to have my garden. Period. Return.

So I got my seeds and began them inside, moved them to the porch and then, finally transplanted them into my little patch. I only planted about 1/3 of my garden since I knew my time would be limited but I went hog wild. Peas, beans, tomatoes, strawberries, pumpkins, bell peppers, onions, zuchini, cucumbers, lettuce and sweet peas. Ok, maybe I went a little crazy but I expected a high mortality rate.


I don't know if you are aware of this, but things GROW here in Oregon. Like crazy. I planted way too much way too close together and everything took off. I have a hodge-podge of plants out there now. The zuchini has mingled with the bell peppers. The strawberries and onions are fighting it out and the peas. Oh those heavenly peas! I havesn't even managed to bring any inside because Leina and Kulia fight for the right to devour them raw right out of the pod.

By my latest count I have 64 onions and bout 57 tomatoes on the way. I've harvested about 6 zuchini so far and see another 7. And the pumpkins. I don't even look at them. So far they have devoured that back half of my plot and show signs of continuing their domination.

Already I'm re-planning for next year. I'm thinking of turning in some compost, making some nice paths, maybe adding a trellis or two for the climbers. I'm also eyeing a weed pile for a cut flower bed. Oh the joys of growing a little something.

After wandering amoung my plants for half and hour I felt refreshed and calmed down. Ready to face the dishes and the cleaning and the laundry and the bills and the toys and on and on and on.

Posted by Chrissie at 10:19 AM | Comments (1)

July 20, 2006


We went to see Hapa last night.

Well, sort of.

Err, not really.

Let me start over.

We planned to go and see Hapa last night. Alas, it was not to be.

It all started out quite well. Kev got home early, we fed the kids, loaded them into the car and then headed for the zoo where Hapa was playing on the green at 7pm. Unfortuntely, everyone and their dog was trying to drive up I-5 and we sat and sat and sat in traffic. We finally pulled off and hit the back roads and managed to reach the zoo around 6:30. Our first clue that things were going horribly astray was when we rounded the corner and saw the parking lot. Actually, we couldn't see the lot at all, just line after line of circling cars. At this point, Kulia decided she had enough and began screaming so Kevin pulled over and let me out. I was to take the girls and find a place to sit; he would find a place to park.

In our defense, we were rather flustered due to the screaming and mobs and we neglected to figure out how, exactly, we would find eachother. Minor details really.

So I took the stroller, girls, blankets and food into the zoo. We followed the hords and hords of families to the green and there I pretty much passed out. It was crowded. Packed. Wall to wall people. There were people sitting in trees. People sitting in the dirt under trees. People sitting up against the bathroom doors. I have never seen so many people crammed into one space in my life. It made LAX at Christmas time seem like a stroll in the park. So here I am, luggling my kids and stuff looking for any place to sit and if just ain't happening. There wasn't even a place to stand, let alone sit, so I turned us around and tried to get us out of this mosh pit when it hit me.

Kevin was here- somewhere.

Right about now, I started to panic. The kids were cranky and we were lost in a sea of humanity. There was no way I was going to find Kevin among the hundreds and hundreds of people and there was no way he could find me. So I positioned myself near a funnel spot and began scanning.




7:10. The music starts. The crowds taper off a bit but still no sign of Kevin. Somehow, we must have missed eachother. I don't have a phone to reach him. All I have to two small children running around in a giant crowd. Panic begins to turn to horror when I see him.

It's Josh! Good old tall Josh wanders by with Kat a head above the crowd. We were suppose to meet up with them but I had given up hope once I saw the chaos. They had a phone and were in touch with Kevin. Turns out by the time Kev parked the car, they were sold out of tickets and had closed the gates to the zoo. He was sitting out front, wondering how in the world to contact me. Luckily, I had a ticket for him so Josh went to rescue him and we bailed on Hapa. Instead, we decided to get ice cream and see the animals.

Most of the animal exhibits were closed but that didn't stop Leina and Kulia from running around and having a ball. Leina latched onto Josh as usual. She adores "Joshie" and spent most of the night yelling, "come on josh! Lets have an adventure!" Josh was more than happy to run from one empty enclosure to another with her. The only close call was when Leina realized that the Lorikeet exhibit was closed. Feeding the birds is her calling and when she was denied her birds, she began crying hysterically and clawing at her face. She was beyond destraught. Luckily, the tigers were up and about since it was dusk and minor emergency was diverted.

I must say we had such fun just wandering around an empty zoo with Kat and Josh. Everyone was sardined in for the concert so we could roam at our leasure. The big cats were up and awake and we got to see an elephant penis. That was truely amazing. I though it was a fifth leg until I took a closer look. Josh refused to take a picture so I have to visual for you. I though it was a Kodak moment but Josh stuck with leaves and flowers and mundane things like that.

So we never actually saw Hapa but that's ok. We had our own little adventure to remember which is what we really wanted in the first place.

Posted by Chrissie at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2006

Oaks Park

For our playgroup yesterday, we headed to Oaks Park. This little park on the east side of the Willamette turns into a mini-amusement park during the summer. And even better, they have a special pre-school morning on Tues and Wed. For a mere $5 per child, they open up all the kid rides for the morning. We hit the giant slide, spinning ballons, merry-go-round, and train before finishing with a story time where milk and cookies were served. The rides were just the right speed for the kids and the lines were only a few minutes. Everyone had a blast. For lunch we headed to a BK with a giant indoor play structure. The kids were all on fire - running, jumping, sliding and just bursting with energy. Even Kulia joined in the fun and disappeared into the depths of the structure where she found a little boy to tool around with.

I'm always surprised by our playgroup. We were randomly thrown together. There were no personality tests, no levels of compatibility or questionares. Just three moms with kids the same age. And yet, it worked so well! When our kids are happily entertained and we can just sit and mom chat, it is so nice. I haven't yet hit that zen state with Kulia's playgroup but I hope I can get so lucky again!

Posted by Chrissie at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2006


We are going to have the greenest lawn in our cul-du-sac.

Leina has recently discovered the joys of a sprinkler. Last year, she was too scared of the shooting water. But now, she can spend hours running around, through, and over sprinklers. Luckily, we have a very big yard to water so I don't mind her antics. Every 20 minutes, I just move the sprinkler a few feet and let her rip. Kulia isn't quite as enamored by the water. Instead, she toddles behind Leina just out of reach of the water. And me? I sit on the step with a book or crossword puzzle and listen to their squeals of joy.

The water bill is going to be horrible but what would summer be without a romp in the sprinklers?

Posted by Chrissie at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2006


Kevin has been working his arse off at work lately. I've been alone with these children all day long with no break at lunch or even dinner. It's beginning to take its toll on me and I'm becoming very snippy. As a direct result of my grumpiness, I've started introducing Leina to the concept of Time Out.

She isn't very enamored with this new game.

Leina is a lovely child but listening isn't her strong suit. I snapped yesterday after the library class. As I strapped Kulia into her car seat, Leina decided to jump out of the car and run around the parking lot. Of course, there were a bajillion mothers in large SUVs and minivan trying to leave and having to dodge around my errant child lead to a nice traffic jam. When I tried to grab her, Kulia would launch herself out of her car seat and started climbing out of the car. No matter how much I yelled, Leina refused to get back in the car. She just laughed and danced out of my grasp. My only recourse was to let her run around the parking lot until I strapped Kulia in. The I grabbed her by the wrist, very roughly, and dragged her back to the car.

The next part I'm not proud of. Remember, I'm tired, Kulia is screamin bloody murder, and Leina is refusing to get into the car, and I'm getting dirty looks from the other moms as they drive by.

I picked Leina up and slammed her into her car seat. Hard. She looked up, shocked, and said, "Mommy, are you angry?"

"YES LEINA! MOMMY IS VERY ANGRY!!!!" I yelled and I snapped her belt on.

Leina joins Kulia in crying and sobs, "Mommy, mommy, why are you angry?"

"MOMMY IS ANGRY BECAUSE YOU WEREN'T LISTENING! WHEN YOU DON'T LISTEN, MOMMY GETS VERY ANGRY!" I slammed her door and stamped around to the driver side and got in taking deep cleansing breathes while by girls screamed bloody murder.

"I'm sorry mommy. Don't be mad! I'm listening! I'm listening!" Leina sobbed.

By the time we got home, we were all doing better. I explained to Leina that she needed to listen to me and that running around the parking lot was very dangerous. I thought we had made some progress and was feeling better...until.

We got home and I got Kulia out. I carried her over and unhook Leina. "Come on Leina, lets get inside."

I headed to the door carrying Kulia when Leina....ran....off.

Yes, she ran down the street and I felt like crying. Why does is go in one ear and out the other? Why? Why? Why?

After safely depositing Kulia inside, I had had it with Leina. It was time to introduce her to a time out.

And so I dragged her, kicking and screaming in to "naughty corner" where she fought me. Refused to sit, refused to stay, refused to listen. Thankfully, I was so mad I didn't care. I just kept taking her back and sitting her down. Eventually, she sat. Eventually, she listened.

We have had several trips to time out since yesterday for not listening, hitting, and taking things. Each time it gets easier. Leina still fights going but now she will sit until retrieved. She's screaming her head off the entire time but she is sitting.

Welcome to the world of three. Enjoy the ride!

Posted by Chrissie at 10:26 AM | Comments (3)

July 12, 2006

Half a Leaf

I've decided to turn over a new leaf. Well, maybe not a whole leaf. Perhaps it's closer to half a leaf. Or maybe a whole leaf but just a quarter turn?

However you phrase the metaphor, I've decided to shake things up. Kulia is getting easier, sleeping better, and needs less undivided attention. Leina is a play alone champ and a very good self entertainer so I'm finding myself with more free time. Under the old leaf, this new found free time was squandered on books and t.v. Not good.

So, now that I've decided to do a little changing, I'm cutting way back on my old lazy ways and trying to do more with what little I have. This means no t.v. before 10pm and restricting myself to one book per weekday and one book per weekend. With the newly freed time, I have 101 projects that need finishing and I must say it feels good to finally get them done!

I was so happy under my freshly turned leaf, that I convinced poor Kevin to join me. We have embarked on a diet. Now, neither one of us has much selfcontrol. In fact, I think Kevin and I combined have the self control of a two year old. Yes, it's pretty sad.

So we knew there was no way we could go on a real diet. You know, the kind when you can't eat certain foods or have to count things. That would never work. Instead, I came up with the brilliant idea to go on half a diet! Sounds pretty good, no?

My half diet works like this. You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. The catch is, you can only eat half as much. Want a donut for breakfast? No problem, just eat half. Ice cream before bed? Go for it! Just take one scoop instead of two. Pretty easy, eh?

So last night, Kevin came home late and was making his dinner. I watched him prep two brats.

"So, how's the half diet going?" I asked.

"Great!" Kev replied as he drapped a little swiss cheese over his buns.

"Hmmm," I said, "you're having two brats. Does that mean you'd normally eat four?"

Kevin paused and thought for a moment and then replied, "Um, no, I just decided to eat two brats because I'm going to skip my veggies. One of these replaces the veggies you see."

I just nodded along with this blinding logic as Kevin happily muched up his bratwursts sans veggies.

Yup, I'm thinking I could really be onto something with this half a diet. I expect the pounds to just melt off all by themselves. Expect before and after bikini pictures any day now!

Posted by Chrissie at 09:51 AM | Comments (1)

July 10, 2006

Ahoy Matey

Kat and I went to see Pirates II on Saturday. We both totally enjoyed the movie but this might not be saying much.

The last three movies I have seen in the theatre are, in order, The Incredibles, Serenity, and The Devil Wears Prada. I think I see about 2 or 3 theatre movies per year. As such, I pretty much always enjoy them. There are no screaming poopy kids around, big pictures and loud music. It's enough to overwhelm a poor mom.

Kat isn't much better. While I like watching movies with Kat, I have to admit that the highlight is the trailers. You see, Kat has NEVER met a trailer she doesn't like. The whole theatre can be groaning and saying "that looks horrible" and Kat will turn to me a whisper, "that one looks cute!" It is truely amazing. If she ever decides on a career change, I think she'd make a killing selling those one line reviews to movie studios. Ever wonder who those people are who say nice things about horrible movies? That would be Kat. After the clip for Bring It On - For Reals (or whatever the title was) that went straight DVD, Kat looked over and said, "gotta see that one!" And she meant it!

So with the above disclaimer in place, we both had a great time at the movie. Go see it!

Posted by Chrissie at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2006

It's Time

I've started to wean Kulia and my heart is torn in two.

Part of me knows it is time. She doesn't need it anymore. Nursing lasts about 2 minutes in the morning and then she hops down, runs to the fridge, and bangs on the door until I get her a cup of milk. I love the idea of getting rid of my nursing bras and being able to wear a dress instead of the dreaded t-shirt and pants. I'm ready to re-claim my body as my own.

But the other part of me weeps at the thought of weaning. Kulia wakes up like me. Grumpy to the point of violence. She rises irritable from her afternoon nap. I grab her from the crib and we curl up together. Since Leina is usually still asleep, she nurses and doses for about 20 minutes and I get to hug her and marvel over her long lashes, little chubba fingers and fine baby hair. It's our time when she's still my little snuggle buggle for just a moment longer and I don't want to let that go.

Of course, this morning after a quick nursing, she lifted up my shirt and began pinching my nipple and laughing hysterically. I'd pull my shirt down and she'd lift it back up and pinch. I'm thinking that's a sign it's time close up shop. But oh, it has been a wonderful special thing and I know that the days of holding a sleeping baby in my arms are sadly numbered.

Posted by Chrissie at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2006

So, Come Here Often?

I got picked up at the park yesterday.

It was beautiful out so Kev and I packed up the girls and headed to our newest park here in town. Turns out there was an LDS 4th of July picnic in progress so the place was over run with families and lots and lots of young kids. As a mom, you learn to be on constant alert in crowds. You're watching for stray dogs, kids who push, strangers who seem too interested in your child. Every mom has had "the scare" when you turn your back for a moment and when you turn around your kid is gone or wandering off with a stranger. It's enough to give you a grey streak a mile wide.

Kevin took Leina to the big kid play area and I cruised the kiddie swings with Kulia. While she wandered about trying to eat the ground bark, I assumed mother stance and began sweeping the play area. I marked the pusher kid, the girl with the horrible cough and green snot nose, and the two strange men wearing white shirts and black ties watching the sandbox. I was scanning the swings when I noticed someone staring at me.

In my limited experience, all pick ups start the same: eye contact. Someone catches your eye, and smiles at you. If you are interested, you smile back; if not, you look away and aviod returning the gaze. These same rules apply on the playground it seems. I was a bit surprised and looked around for Kevin but he was out of sight. One my next sweep, we locked gazes again and this time I smiled back.

This moved us onto level two. The approach.

Now, back in my 20's, the approach usually involved sending over a drink or, my favorite, the dessert tray. While I have often wished for a drink or a piece of cake on the playground, I have yet to find a park with a bar and/or pastry case. So on the playground, the approach is all about the kids. The quickest way to get in good with a mom is through the kid. I recommend, "oh, she's so cute! How old is she?" Or for a boy, "wow, what a climber! You must have your hands full. What's his name?" The recipe is simple. Compliment the child followed by an open ended question. Sometimes you get slammed and the mom will answer curtly and then move to another part of the park. This is a clear sign that your overtures are not welcomed and you need to find another mom.

My admirer opened with the reliable, "she's so cute and such a great walker, how old is she?" I had a moment of hesitation. Should I answer and then go find Kevin or stay and let the pick up rise to the next level? Kulia sealed the deal as she began to wave and flirt outrageously so I began the small chat part of the park pick up.

We exchanged the usual pleasentries. Talk about the weather, the park, the crowd. We touched on the trifecta of parents - sleeping, eating and teething - and watched our kids play with eachother. This involved handing eachother piles of bark dirt and then trying to take it back.

It wasn't long before I got asked the dreaded question. "So, do you come here often?" This sounds innocent enough, right? But for parents, this is a loaded question. It's the first step toward setting up a play date. If you answer "no", that means you're not interested in meeting up again. If you answer "yes", then a very tentative dance begins around when you are coming next and do you want to meet and maybe bring a lunch or something. I could see it coming.

This mom wanted to go on a real play date.

I had caught her eye, our kids were the same age, we had similar views on the trifecta, and she was moving in on the kill. And while I liked her, and got a good vibe from both her and her son, I found myself hesitating. My dance card is so full right now. I'm "dating" four other moms right now and I just can't squeeze in another. So I turned her down. When asked if I came her often, I said no. Not really.

She was a smart cookie. We politely finished up our small talk and then she packed up her son and headed off. Part of me was relieved but part of me couldn't help a little sigh of regret.

So many moms, so little time.

Posted by Chrissie at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)