Sunday, December 23, 2007

Make believe camping

Over the summer Aaron reserved a camping spot at san elijo for us to spend the weekend before Christmas frolicking on the beach and making s'mores. He forgot that we have spent the last nine years of our lives living in southern California and that 50 degree weather is freezing cold weather to us now. Needless to say we did not sleep there. We did however lug all of our camping crap there and proceeded to pretend like we were camping. Here are some photo's:

That's sand on her butt not poo!

Christmas time in SoCal

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ankle arms

Amelia has decided that she no longer has the need for elbows. Their very existence causes her an overwhelming amount of stress. We avoid using the word elbow at all costs!

Just a few days ago, after Andrew finished his mound of homework, I treated the kids with a pay per-view movie. While Amelia was balanced quite freakishly on my knees she noticed them, and by them I mean the elbows. I think their sharpness is was what put her off. She kept touching them and making a dissatisfied face.

"I don't want these!' she declared

"You don't want what?" I asked

"These!" She said looking at me as if I were the biggest idiot she had ever had the misfortune of dealing with

"Your arms?" I asked

"Nooooo!" she said getting annoyed "These, my… my… ankles."

The boys being the boys that they are, and getting immense pleasure out of anything hilarious and outlandish, of course found the idea of Amelia thinking her elbows were ankles endlessly hilarious. It was a little first!

"Her ankles!" Jacob yelped. "Amelia has feet for arms and arms for feet! She's a weirdo! Maybe she's from space. "Andrew, Amelia is from space! She has ankle arms!'

I thought he would pee himself by the way he was carrying on and on about how funny that was. Who needs a $3 pay per view movie when you can be entertained by a sister with ankle arms?

Amelia was not laughing, nothing about her ankles were funny! She was actually bitterly sobbing over their existence.

"Those are your elbows Amelia. Ankles are down here." I said pointing down to were her ankles really are

"I don't want elbows, get rid of them!"

"Everyone has elbows Amelia; you need them to move your arm."

"Get rid of them momeeee, I don't want them"

This is when I realized that no reasonable explanation was going to do. Clearly I was dealing with an ankle armed outer space child. For the next two hours she would randomly check if her elbows were still there. She would slowly inch her fingers in their direction and finally touch them. Upon realizing that they had not gone anywhere she would completely lose it.

"They are still here!" She would shout in total dismay "take them off me!"

Finally I came up with the genius idea of putting her in long sleeves. After pulling the shirt down over her belly she did an elbow check.

"They're gone!' She shouted with such enthusiasm that you would of thought for sure that the most exciting and magical moment in her life had just occurred

"mommy my elbows went away."

I didn't dare explain that her elbows were hiding out under her sleeves because sometimes it's nice to have peace and quite!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Why the Braun's avoid boomers like the plague

Last weekend Aaron and I had the genius idea of taking the kids miniature golfing because nothing says love like miniature golf, that and we enjoy torturing ourselves.

Jake, being the highly competitive kid that he is, decided to get a hole in one, and then another one, and then just to really rub it in, one last hole in one. For an instant I was sure that Andrew might completely lose it and start going king Kong style right there at the kid friendly amusement land of family spending. I thought for sure he would start swinging his golf club around while banging his fists against his chest and topple the entire fake wooden city that is shabbily constructed on hole 6. That's how intense the laser beams of anger that he was aiming at Jacob were.

I had a flashback of 8 year old me at the bowling alley with my sister. My sister always consistently kicked my ass at bolwing. She managed to effortlessly and elegantly throw strikes. I always awkwardly rolled my ball toward the gutter. The only way I avoided the gutter was to completely humiliate myself by doing the granny roll between my legs with my butt in the air. Michelle had this obnoxious taunting dance she would do after each strike that involved a hip wiggle and a little hand jive. It took every ounce of will power for me not to chuck the ball at her freckled face. Oh, sibling rivalry how I miss thee.

My sister was always better at everything then me, she made the pom pom squad when I was unable to do even a cartwheel, she got a 4.0 in high school, she was 1st
singles on the tennis team while I was 3rd and lets not even discuss her massive boobs that developed in junior high while I resembled a little boy. I so understand Andrew's agony and was quietly hoping he would make a comeback that involved his own long drawn out victory dance. That comeback never came. As a result instead of experiencing the boomers commercial of smiles and giggles ours was a wretched, angry, and whiny round of miniature golf.

Aside from the hole in ones, miniature golf proved to be extremely frustrating for Amelia. In fact, Amelia lost it completely after Andrew's ball dared to knock hers out of position. Oh the agony! Her reaction was monumental. She didn't throw a simple fit, oh no, this was a spectacle full of sobs and those little gasp of air that people do when they are really upset. To make it even that more memorable, she did a little face dive onto the synthetic green stuff while kicking and banging her fists. It was quite the magnificent display.

Being the inappropriate parents that we sometimes are, and knowing that really there is no use in getting all uptight in these situations, Aaron and I laughed so hard that we had tears rolling down our cheeks. We were paralyzed with laughter for a good five minutes while the nice woman with her well behaved kid waited patiently for us to move on, their mouths gaping open, in utter astonishment at the circus that is our family.

Amelias little fits of outrage continued for the rest of our miserable game. I am certain that the story of our family's miniature golf experience will be retold during the thanksgiving dinner of the poor woman and her well mannered kid stuck behind us.

On the car ride home, Jake, after going on and on about how awesome he is at golf asked if we could come again in two weeks for his birthday. I don't think there is enough valium in the world for me to go through another boomers trip.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Bully

This year Andrew is in a combined class with third and fouth graders. I was under the impression that it would be really great for him. I thought that he could be competitive with some older kids while at the same time soak in some of their lessons. Little did I know that the fourth grade class would have a kid with the personality of Gargamel (the evil villain from the smurfs whose goal in life is to destroy them!).

He takes immense pleasure out of making Andrew's life as miserable as possible. I have actually witnessed it first hand and it took all of my will power not to revert to a ten year old and call him poo head. He makes fun of Andrew's voice, the way he eats his lunch, how he plays sports, the cartoons he watches, his book reports, and lots of other random ridiculous things. It has gotten so bad that Andrew doesn't even want to go to school. He panics every morning before we go to school and pleads with me over the most mundane things

"Mom, don't put salad in my lunch, Paul will make fun of me!", "Paul says that I don't know how to talk and that I sound like a baby!", "Paul is going to make fun of the book I read for my book report!"

I wouldn't be surprised if bully kid mocked Andrew's intake of oxygen. The kid is ruthless!

For the longest time I had no idea who bully kid was. I had never seen him. Finally last week I got to put the name with the face. I was shocked! He wears his shorts hiked up to his belly button and he is tiny. He is probably about the size of Jacob only a ton skinnier. Not only that but his face resembles a rat. I am not just saying that because he makes fun of my kid, he really does have a rat face. Regardless of what he says about Andrew if I saw him on the street and had no clue who he was I would think to myself "that kid would play a great rat in some theatrical production." When I pictured the bully I envisioned a big kid perhaps a freak of nature who was growing a mustache at age 9 not one that resembled Martin short .

After seeing the kid I wanted to tell Andrew to suck it up your bully is a dork. Even though there is a huge part of me that wishes my kid would hurl back some insults, clearly there is a ton he could say; I know that he should not stoop to that level. Instead I have encouraged Andrew to ignore him, to act as if he could care less about what this kid thinks about him and above all be nice to him. Chances are that bully kid has a miserable life. Someone must be really hurtful to him if he needs to take it out on Andrew. I explained to Andrew that Kids who are mean need the most love of all because there is always a reason for their meanness. I am hoping that this little road block in Andrew's life will help grow him as an even stronger little person. I hate seeing his self esteem so bruised by another kid. Maybe in the future when something similar happens to Jacob or Amelia I will be more prepared and better equipped to manage.

Martin Short:

Monday, October 8, 2007

Dear Amelia,

Last week you turned three. When I woke you up on your birthday and whispered in your ear "Happy birthday", you immediately wanted to know where your cake was and when you friends where coming over. Also you told me that you were a bumblebee. "Today is my birthday and I am a bumblebee". Apparently you have gotten your birthday confused with Halloween, because on Halloween you will be a bee.

For me it is hard to believe that you have only been a part of our lives for three short years. It seems as if you have always been here with your wide open smile and chubby hands. At my ultra sound when the technician announced that you were a girl I was uncertain how I would manage after all the dirt, toy cars, and star wars toys I had been surrounded by during the pervious 4 years. "Is it really a girl?" I asked skeptically.

You have developed into the most perfect balance of tom boy and girly girly I have yet to encounter. You are drawn to pretty things and baby dolls but prefer princess Leia to any of the Disney princesses. You choose Thomas the train over strawberry shortcake, and would rather pour tea for the boy's plush yoda and pokemon toys over your own pink and purple stuffed bears. I adore that about you. I have yet to meet another person so intent on being adored. You don't just expect the adoration of those around you, you demand it. After I help you get dressed in the morning you pull at the legs of your brother's pants and shout " look at my dress, look at my shoes, isn't my hair pretty?" They know better then to disagree.

I think your brothers adore you most of all. The other day you ran into the edge of the table and your lip bleed a little. Your brothers went into panic mode. They were much more upset over the whole incident then you were. Jacob was a basket case, he actually cried because he thought you were severely injured. Andrew hugged you so tight I was afraid he might squeeze the very life out of you. It took much convincing for the boys to take my word for it that we did not need to take you to the hospital.

Lately you have been very extreme in all that you do. There is no middle emotion when it comes to you. You are either overjoyed or in the pits of utter despair. When you sing you don't just sing you belt out your words at almost a shriek and shake your little booty will moving your fists. It's quite a spectacle. I am afraid that you may have my rhythm. You will shout "LET"S SING THE ABC"S!!!" I may be losing a portion of my hearing due to all your enthusiasm. When you first wake up in the morning, you waddle down to the kitchen and shout "I am awake!" while throwing your arms up in the air as if you had just returned from the longest journey of your very short life. A few weeks ago I brought you home a plastic play kitchen. Your reaction was so intense that one would think It was solid gold and lined with diamonds. You obsessively play with it everyday and greet it as if it is a member of the family. For awhile you were calling your kitchen your birthday. You would grab me by the wrist and say "mom, let's go play with my birthday." I think there is still much confusion over what exactly a birthday is.

As we head into the three's with you I hope you remain the little firecracker that you have always been. I am expecting you to keep it interesting. I am looking forward to more adventures, more loud rendentions of Old McDonald, and baking hundreds of imaginary cookies on your pretend kitchen. I couldn't be more happy or proud to have you as a daughter. I love you!



Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The perks of parenting

It has been particularly insane around the Braun house for the last three weeks. I am still adjusting to the kids being back at school. It feels like I barely have a moment to myself. Andrew's dose of daily homework borders on child labor and trying to get Jake to sit down to complete a simple workbook page that he could do with his eyes closed is like pulling the tooth of a rabid giraffe. He does a lot of flailing around followed by heavy dramatic sighs about the injustice of being 6 years old. All the while Andrew sits Zen like at the kitchen table finishing his hundredth math problem.

In the last few weeks I have learned the necessity of adding art to everything school related for Jake. As long as I pull out the markers and say "let's draw a picture about this" he's into it. The art thing has actually worked wonders on his spelling ability. Last week it took him 4 days to learn his spelling words. This week it was only 2 days with the help of some crayon decorated flash cards. If only I knew this during the first two crucial weeks of school when I thought I might lose my mind entirely.

Apparently my kids are artistic, or so I was told at parent's night. I just about craped rainbows when Mr. Ash commented on how artistic Andrew and Jacob are. The joy that comment brought me borderd on insanity. It almost made up for the 15 minute humiliating public conversation about Jake's incessant thumb sucking and his odd habit of hiding under his desk when he doesn't feel like doing something. Due to a severe case of immaturity I almost laughed out loud at the very image of Jake hiding under his tiny desk thinking no one would notice a 40lb kid under there. A genius he is not. The only comment I could come up with was:

"wow…..our kid is weird."

I thought Aaron was also going to hide under a desk; that's how embarrassed he was. Later he told me to self edit. Note to self: when told your kid psychotically hides under desks come up with something more eloquent to say then "wow, weird!" I have a terrible habit of saying everything I think immediately without considering how dumb it sounds at the moment. Perhaps I have a mild case of Tourettes minus the swear words and mean comments (unless I have some booze in me). My brother's best friend growing up had tourettes and on a daily basis he called me Granny gray head fuckface until finally they medicated him and he decided to call me tinsel teeth instead. I actually preferred granny gray head fuckface because at least that had some originality.

Anyway, when we got home we spent a good half an hour discussing appropriate and inappropriate behavior with Jake and consequences along with drawing a list of family rules (because he is a visual kid). So hopefully the weird desk thing is behind us. I am sure he will pull some eqaully hysterical new stunts though. My kids sure do keep it interesting. I have a feeling this school year is going to have a lot of ups and downs.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Adventures in Braunland

We arrived home Sunday night from our annual family vacation. Our trips always involve camping because we are the kind of people that don't mind getting stinky.

The worst part about camping road trips is that when you get home there is no throwing yourself down on the coach to take in the greatness of your home, nor is there the automatic pleasure of viewing all 4 of the big brother episodes you missed. There are no refreshing immediate showers. Instead you are forced to unpack the contents of your car and clean out all the empty cups in the backseat, crumpled up food wrappers, and start on the truckful of dirty laundry.

Even with the filthy aftermath of the trip it's worth it. There is nothing I love more then road trips. We get to stop at kitschy little spots and visit towns and cities that normally we never would. It's like a fun little glimpse into other people's lives.

The thing I love most of all about road trip are the books we read. The kids got to hear charlottes' web and we also read the life of Andrew Jackson. I finished a tree grows in Brooklyn and David Sedaris, me talk pretty one day. There is nothing better then books and the open road.

On day two of our trip, Aaron announced that all of our lives are increasingly more and more exciting due to the spontaneousness of him. I got a great big long chuckle out of that one. He went into a 30 minute rant about how incredibly spontaneous he is. All of this was said we'll he peered at a map planning out the quickest and safest way to the nearest grocery store to pick up some mustard for the 2nd out of four of our preplanned camping meals. All the while he had our trip itinerary folded up neatly in his back pocket. Oh he is so spontaneous! I mentioned that perhaps I was the spontaneous one and so began the first of many arguments that occur when trapped in a vehicle with 4 other people.

However, I will say that the 6 ½ hour hike we went on the morning after arriving at big basin national park was pretty spontaneous. The kids and I thought that we were taking a leisurely hike to some nearby waterfalls. Aaron was well aware that it would be a lonnnnnnnnnng hike. I should have been clued into this when I saw him filling up our backpack with about 8 bottles of water. I was under the impression that he was being overly cautious, making sure we had enough water in the rare case we got lost in the forest. That's the Aaron I know and love. The one that packs matches, band aids, and toilet paper in our back packs just in case not the spontanoues one who leads us on a 6 1/2 hour outing in the great outdoors.

For the first couple of hours of hiking things went smoothly. The boys pretended they were warriors off to save their kingdom from the forest people. When that got old we looked for fairy and troll houses at the foot of redwood trees. I am almost certain that Jacob really believes in forest fairies and trolls because he took the game much more seriously then the rest of us.

The novelty of these games soon wore out. By the third hour Jake would periodically announce in his oh so dramatic way "I think I might die." Or "my leg is going to fall off!" also every ten minutes or so he would collapse to the ground and roll himself up into a little ball while stating very seriously that he just could not go on.

I managed to curb some of the whining by convincing the boys that grizzly bears are attracted to sound of whining because it's a similar sound that their baby cubs make (little did I know that I would be paying for my bear reference days later)

Amelia was the toughest in the pack. She would run down the trail and point out butterflies while singing her rendition of the wheels on the bus, the ABC's, and old McDonald. We rarely carried her. Mostly she wanted to walk. I think she had a ton of fun and I am really impressed at her ability to behave like the energizer bunny.

Andrew did a lot of complaining and belly aching but got over it when I told him he could be the leader of the Braun army. He loves power! In the end we survived and made our way safely back to our campsite. The kids fell asleep at 8 immediately after they got into there sleeping bags.

On the last night of our camping trip Andrew woke up in the middle of the night convinced that there was a bear outside his tent getting ready to eat him. I have to admit that I was slightly terrified, especially when I could not find our flash light and had to stumble around in the dark to try to soothe him. I think that at times I have similar fears as a child so it's almost riducoulus that I am in charge of three little people who need me when they are frightened. I managed to calm him down by convincing him that bears cannot open zippers to get inside tents. He soon fell asleep but I stayed up long after convinced that every little noise was a bear.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Just plain gross

I would like to preface this journal entry by saying that I am not one of those annoying girly girly types. I am actually pretty tough. I don't mind getting dirty and I can kill spiders on my own. As a matter of fact I am pretty laid back about most of the stuff god throws at me except in the presence of birds. Even then I don't mind the little birds it's the big ones, like those crazy colorful parrots that people parade around on their shoulders, or filthy crows, pigeons, and sea gulls. I don't mind song birds much as long as they aren't flying anywhere near the vacinity of my head. What I am getting at is that I am chill, mostly.

Today I wasn't so chill. It all started at the mall. I was walking up one of those ramps to get to the top level of the mall when I heard the two dudes behind me snickering. One of them, said, in his oh so California way,

"Dude we should tell her." Snicker, snicker.

I knew they were talking about me. They had to be; who else could they possibly be snickering about. For an instant I paniced remembering my recent trip to the Nordstrom bathroom. My first thought was that I had tucked my dress into my underwear (which by the way are my ugliest pair of granny panties., floral print and oversized0.) I actually did that once during my senior year in high school. I walked all the way to my English class with one of my long hippie skirts tucked into my underwear before Katie Harken whispered

"Your butt is hanging out!"

Anyway, I causally did a butt check and thank god my dress was in tact. I brushed them off convincing myself that I was paranoid. Clearly they were not snickering at me.

Near the food court Jake kept hounding me for food

"I am hungry, so hungry!" he kept saying, not so casually hinting that he wanted some greasy mall food.

I gave in making one last pit stop before heading to the parking garage. We stopped at la salsa. That's where it all went down. While sitting outside patiently waiting for our grub I decided that my hair was in a way too sloppy bun. I took my rubber band out and ran my fingers through my hair to sweep it neatly back into a pony tail. That's when I felt it. It was some sort of lump.

"What the heck is that?" I thought to myself.

I ran my fingers through my hair a second time and felt "it" again. It was big! I was certain it had legs!

Oh. My. god. I began to panic.

"Jake is there a bug in my hair?" I shrieked in his direction. "Jake look at my hair!"

By that time the people at the table nextdoor were gawking. Jacob didn't move. He looked terrified!

"Jake!" I pleaded.

There was a look of sheer horror on his face.

"Get it out!" I hissed.

By the size of his pupils I realized that we were not dealing with your everyday, run of the mill bug! I turned to the table of teenage girls next to me. As casually as my situation permited me to be, I said,

"I think there is a humongous bug in my hair. Is there a humongous bug in my hair? If there is don't tell me because I think I might start screaming. Will one of you take it out? Please! Please!"

By that point I was begging and on the verge of tears, or a frantic break down that involved ripping out my hair, stripping, and finding the nearest fountain to bathe in. All I could think about was that there was no way in hell that I was touching anything that big thaht has decided to take up residency in my hair. One of the girls got up to look at my hair.

"Holy shit." She said "I'm going to need some napkins"

That was not what I wanted to hear.

"Do not tell me how big it is or what it is, until it is out because I think I am going to totally freak out!"

She grabbed a handful of napkins and pulled it out quickly and effortlessly. I mumbled something about her beng my hero and then asked

"What was it?".

"Some weird looking green beetle with wings. That thing was huge!"

Then it came back to me, the flying beetle on the 2nd floor near Arden b that Jake was mesmerized by. It was flying near us and then oddly disappeared, apparently into my hair. It had been in my hair for a good 15 minutes. Never again will I wear a bun for fear that another one will try to make a home in my hair. I will now have to add flying beetles to my list of phobias! Gross! Why does everything about my life have to be so hilarious?!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

On strike

Amelia is on a napping strike. It started last week and has trickled into this week. Multiple times a day she will tell me

"no nap."

She is obsessed with having fun. I desperately need my down time especially in a house of four little people under the age of 8. I need her to nap like a frat house needs its beer bong. Naps are like crack. I neeeeeed them! It's when I get things done or when I get nothing at all done and sit on ass peacefully! For one whole hour, sometimes two, I get to relax for a moment uninterrupted from the dramatic pleas of two year olds. I love naps. Lehlahni, the little girl I baby-sit for almost always conks out for a nap without a problem as long as she has her two blankets and a pacifier. Amelia is much more challenging. She needs her pillow situated just so and her pink blanket not her purple one, and while I am at it her music box on, and her dog stuffed animal not her doll. While demanding all of these nap time essentials she looks at me like there is something seriously wrong with me. Like how could I have not known that today of all days she must have her black stuffed dog with the red collar. How stupid must I be for thinking her doll would suffice when clearly today she needs her dog! After all of that preparation she makes her way down stairs not 5 minutes after I have turned off her bedroom light. Casually she will say

"hey mom." She always has a cute little innocent smile on, along with that adorable bed tousled hair and will try to charm me with one of her toys by saying "I share with you."

She is one charming little manipulator. When I force her back up to her room there is always a big protest and crocodile tears.

After these little episodes she will take a fake nap for half an hour-45 minutes tops. Afterwards she has a severe case of the grouch. By the time 5 o'clock rolls around she is foaming at the mouth and has sprung a second head. Amelia is not cute without a nap. As result of the nap protest she lost it at the dinner table last night when I handed her a piece of bread instead of salad.

"Salad! Salad! I want salad, Saaaallllllllllllllaaaadddddddddd!!"

Our daughter is a psychopath. After the salad incident there was the shoe one, where I dared to put her shoes on her feet instead of allowing her to do it. Clearly that was the wrong thing to do.

Without her naps the girl is a wreck. At this rate she will be a frightening teen. When I envision my kids as teenagers I break out in a cold sweat. I was the most atrocious punk of a teen. I worry that I will be paid back in full with Amelia. She is two and already my teen years are looking good. I am in for it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Camping again

This weekend we experienced the greatest camping trip of our lives. There were exactly three aspects that made it fantabulous.

1. The weather (beautiful)
2. Sammy (for being so funny and looking after the little ones)
3. The adventure

Camping with 8 children can have its ups and downs. There's the fighting, the name calling, the intake of way too many cookies and juice. There's the whining, the dirt and grim, the ganging up on one kid, and the temper tantrums. I think we have all finally gotten the swing of this camping thing. We have realized the importance of putting the kids to bed at a decent hour for some adult time. Most importantly we have learned that if given the oppurtunity all our kids can act like embarassing punks. We have finally gotten the hang of what kind of food to bring. The Lettows are good for their food, the Colts for Sammy (Amelia and Fletcher's adopted mommy) and the Braun's for our good looks and charm of course.

We surfed this weekend, we meaning the ladies, Nicole, Molly and I. It was a first for all of us. I think we were all kind of impressive for first timers. I was proud of myself for getting out there. I have this extreme fear of the ocean that wasn't helped by watching that frightening movie--Open Water, oh, and Jaws at the tender age of ten. I still sometimes hop into bed for fear that's jaws is underneath it trying to bit my ankles off.

There were a few moments out in the water where I thought I saw something swimming by me. I had to scream over to Aaron to stand by me and ask him if he thought I might be eaten alive by a man hungry shark. He thinks I'm crazy. I know that I am crazy. I think I am falling in love with surfing despite the whole shark thing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

roughing it

Last weekend we went on our first camping trip of the summer. Oddly enough we camped in Santee, just a quick drive down the 52 from where we live. The kids had a great time catching tad poles in the lake and running around like little holligans. On Saturday morning Aaron came up with the genius idea to figure out if we could find a hiking trail that led to our house. Sure enough we found one. Aaron, Steve, 6 boys under the age of 12, and I, set out on a mini adventure. In all it took about 2 hours to get to Tierrasanta where we were able to eat otter pops from our fridge and swim in our pool, now if that's not roughing it I don't know what is.

Here are some photo's from our adventure:

David by far was the greatest little hiker in our group. He will be a future athlete for sure

Jamie and big jake. They are old enough to find hiking tiresome amd boring. We nicknamed them the my little ponies. We are mean!

These guys were nicknamed the hardcore group (minus Andrew who hung back with the my little ponies) because they kept up with the grown ups and didn't complain.

Mr. Braun

juice break

Scary trantula that Nicole, Aaron, and Steve found on the hike home.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The single life

Aaron has been out on one of his dive trips since Monday. He was gone all of last week as well. I'm kind of over it. The kids started their summer break on Monday. Jake and Amelia are already at each others throats. Jake likes to play this game with her where he says,

"Your not Amelia, you're a ladybug, oh wait no you're a bee, or a ghost, no your a horse."

Amelia will scream and yell about how she is not any of those things she's Amelia! She gets really mad and kicks her little legs and crosses her arms. Jake loves it. There is nothing more enjoyable to him then making her freak out. As a result, Amelia will come up to me several times a day, for no reason at all just to let me know "I am Amelia." She will stand there patiently waiting for me to agree that she is in fact Amelia. Sometimes, because I have a mean streak, I will say something like "are you sure your Amelia, or are you a butterfly." This does not make her happy. I am a little bit evil.

I am not at all adjusted to life with the boys being around 24/7. My quiet house is filled with the loudness that two boys bring to a home. This afternoon I walked into the kitchen to find Jacob forcefully shoving popcorn into Amelia's tiny mouth.

"She wouldn't stop asking me for some of my popcorn so I decided to give her a lot."

I never thought I would ever have a conversation with him about overdosing his sister on popcorn. Jacob makes things interesting around here. He keeps me on my toes.

I feel like the boys constantly want to eat. They are always hanging out by the fridge looking to scarf something down. The other day Andrew told me he was so hungry he could eat Jacobs head.

I have not made a single dinner since the departure of Mr. Braun. On Monday we walked to the local Chinese joint. Its two blocks away and Andrew begged me to drive

"but its sooooooo far." he whined

If you strain your neck in our living room you can literally see it, it's not sooooo far!

The lady working the night shift seemed pretty put out when I said "for here" instead of to go. She snatched up all but one set of chopsticks from the table saying

"I don't want them", while motioning towards the boys, "sticking these up their noses."

Andrew was pretty outraged that she implied he would stick anything up his nose. Jacob thought it was downright hilarious. Because Andrew is 8 and can basically get away with saying anything that suits him in the moment he said very matter of factly

"why would someone stick chop sticks up their nose?"

Our waitress ignored him. I was wondering the same thing. I went ahead and assumed that perhaps our waitress had witnessed an extremely traumatic chop stick nostril moment. Maybe she has been marred by the experience leaving her to flinch at the very sight of chop sticks in little boy's hands.

When our food came the boys were pretty bummed out about not being able to eat with chop sticks. They always eat Chinese food with chopsticks. That's the fun in Chinese food. I motioned the waitress over and asked her to bring two more sets of chop sticks. She was annoyed and let out a irratated sigh.

I didn't care. I was glad that I was assertive enough to ask because I never am. Normally I would have just let her go on believing that all little boys shove chopsticks up their noses. Maybe I taught her a valuable lesson!

I only have one more day as a single parent. I'm looking forward to Aaron being back home so I can regain my sanity!

My little knuckle heads:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

virtually me

This is what I spent about an hour doing last night. Hilarious!

This is Texan Siobhan:

The funny thing is that for my sisters wedding the hairstylist did a practice style that looked almost identical minus the bleach blonde hair. My dad would not stop laughing to the point that it was irratating

Me with brown hair, not cute!

The me that would wear acid washed jeans, fake nails, and tube tops

This is newscaster me

Mom by day, seedy lounge singer by night

PTA, Tupperware selling, sweater set wearing, me

With Jennifer Aniston hair:

Jessica simpson hair:

Some what normal:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

DIY hair cut

Reason #1 why I should never, ever take it upon myself to cut my kid's hair:

The look on her face is priceless it's as if she is saying "why did you do this to me!"

Monday, May 21, 2007

My sister's wedding

I lost my voice the day before my sisters wedding. There was much speculation as to how it happened; allergies from the new climate, the abnormally late night out we had the Thursday before the wedding filled with drinking and smoking, nerves, all the stress of helping to put on the wedding, or just a common case of laryngitis. In all honesty I don't know how it happened, perhaps a combination of all those things. All I know is that not being able to speak above a whisper is really, really, annoying! At least I served as some comical relief for our family and friends, that and they were all spared my karaoke rendition of girls just want to have fun!

The wedding was amazing and perfect, one of the most special experiences of my life. The days leading up to it were chaotic and stressful but it was worth it because the wedding was a blast! I loved being able to spend time with my family, Chicago friends, and getting to know my brother in law a ton better. I adore my family. I couldn't ask for a more charmingly flawed group of individuals to share my slice of life with. My favorite moments included waking up in the morning to see my mom and Andrew collecting shells on the beach through one of the big bay windows, swimming in the ocean with aunt Anna and my uncle Pat, Getting to know my cousin Sean better, seeing how excited my brother is over Desiree's pregnancy, watching Aaron be amazing with my family, hearing Roger Jordan sing dancing queen, the way Roger and Aaron worked so hard to make sure Michelle's wedding was flawless, seeing how much Jacob adores Desiree (my sister in law), and dancing with wild Amelia at the reception.

Here are some pictures from our trip:

Me, michelle, and Desi (my bro's wife)

The three most important men in my life: My Dad, Aaron, and my Grandpa

Dad with Michelle

Me and Michelle (look how huge my chin is, I could knock someone out with that thing!)

Jacob is being a bit of a basket case about people looking at him, ha!

My good looking siblings (doesn't Roger look like Will Ferrell?)

My mom (in the white and green) with her sisters and one daughter

Just married!

The wedding party

Aaron and I

The whole family, we are pale and proud!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Aaron is into grandmas

For the last couple of months Aaron has been bringing home bulk grocery items from work. Finally I had to ask

"Is there like a Costco in the basement of spawar that I don't know about."

"It's from Julie," he told me.

He went on to explain that she kept buying bulk stuff only to find out she doesn't like the item. She has been passing things on to Aaron. Up to that point I had never heard of this Julie person. With Aaron being an engineer there are very few women at his work. I like it that way because I have a tendency toward psychotic jealousy. Yes, that's right I am a freak.

After learning who the bulk items were from I started to get super annoyed every time he would bring something home. Had the woman not heard of a regular grocery store where you buy a small box and aren't out like $20 if you aren't fond of baked cheetos? The last straw was the night he brought home this fancy gourmet soup that had a pasty note on the side, that read
"Enjoy! from Julie."

I was pissed! I swore her little note that read "enjoy!" was code for I think your hot and I want you to run away with me.

I didn't talk to Aaron all night and for spite, I ate his soup. It was good I should add, really good! Finally Aaron realized that I was giving him the cold shoulder. It takes that man ions to pick up on things. I told him that I thought this Julie person was hitting on him. He went into this horrible fit of laughter that lasted forever! I thought I might kill him.

"Why is this funny?" I asked

"Because she is a grandmother, she's old, really old. She passes food on to us because she knows we have three kids and that you stay home with them." He told me

That's when I started to feel like an idiot and a big jerk but I still wasn't ready to let go of my theory that she was in fact hitting on him.

"Old people hit on young guys."

I realized how stupid and annoying I was being but sometimes I don't like to admit to defeat also it can be fun to be mad. I started picturing Aaron and a grandmother running off together, her with her little cane and bifocals. It was all together hilarious.

"You're lucky you have me because all you can get is a granny." I told him

Now whenever Aaron gets ready for work in the morning he will turn to me and ask,

"do you think Julie will like my shirt?"

He is such a smart ass!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Oh Amelia!

A few months back Amelia decided to go through a phase of being generally dissatisfied with the world outside of her immediate family. Strangers were not allowed to look in her general direction and when sweet little children at the park ventured near her she would stare them down and growl. This phase lasted entirely too long. I thought I might lose my mind completely. Here is photo documentation of it during her second birthday:

This is Amelia acting outraged over the idea of people singing happy birthday to her

This is the face she made when other people dared to have pieces of her cake:

The theme of that day was: it's my party and I will cry if I want to. Luckily for me, because anything is better then a two year old who acts like a crotchety 80 year old woman, that phase has been replaced with the demanding phase. This new phase involves A LOT of screaming. Car rides are the worst. If Amelia drops something in the backseat while I am driving she will scream "get it, get it, GET IT!!!" She will continue screaming until we have gotten to our destination and she is able to pick up whatever it is she has dropped. Also she likes to demand impossible objects while we are driving, like lollipops, her robot backpack which is at home in her bedroom, or cereal. I calmly explain that those things are unavailable on the freeway. Sometimes simple explanations work but mostly I hear "lollipop. Please. Mommy." Over and over again for the next 15 minutes.

Dinner time is the worst. After I have sat down and am in the process of scarfing down my food Amelia will say "princess cup please!" "Dip please, Dora plate please, fork, spoon, napkin." It is ridiculous but at least she uses her manners!! Then there is the battle over the TV. If I am watching TV she will demand to watch Dora, by demand I mean that she will continue to say "Dora! Dora, DORA!" She will continue to say this until I physically pick her up and place her on the naughty step. Then she will cry forever and ask to watch blues clues. My girl has a strong will. Also, she will repeat things continuously until being acknowledged. "My daddies home, my daddies home, look, mom, daddy's home." If I don not acknowledge the fact that Daddy is indeed home she will just continue saying that same phrase over and over and over. The girl is an attention monger!! Andrew and Jacob have become feed up with it. Especially Jake who gets the grunt of her treatment. IF he dares lay a finger or elbow on her car seat he will hear about it through her shrieks of protest "my seat, no touch!"

Within the last few days I have begun project "no more screaming." This entails a ridiculous amount of time outs. Seriously, it's like one every half an hour. At first it was like every ten minutes. When the screaming begins I do not acknowledge her in the least. I just pick her up and sit her down on the step until she is finished ranting. This has served to be troublesome during her infamous car tirades; her most favorite screaming locale. Through trial and error I have learned to simply turn the radio up (yes, I know that this is parenting in its finest form!)

Here is hoping that the demanding phase will not morph into anything more menacing. I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sharks and other stuff

Right now I feel the following emotions:

Anxious, tired, and slap happy.

It seems as if those three shouldn't coexist simultaneously but they do because I am that person. Aaron went surfing like 5 million hours ago and it is past sun down and he is not home yet. I am a nervous wreck! I am expecting a good explanation.

Nicole called awhile ago wondering where Steve was. I am trying very hard not to assume that there was some sort of freak shark attack and that my husband is now legless. I even checked sign on san diego to make sure there were no recent gruesome surfer news stories.

Right now I am also trying t convince myself that I can in fact love a legless man. I am going to assume that they are having a too long for comfort chat about philosophy. I find those conversations tiring at times so I am glad he has an outlet in Frank and Steve. I sjut wish he could pick upa phone and let a girl know!

I have noticed recently that all of my fears are completely irrational. I think normal people are afraid of burglaries and home invasions where I am deathly terrified of a bird poking out my eyeballs or a shark eating me whole. That's just not normal.

The boys are watching Cars and Amelia fell asleep two hours before her bedtime. I am hoping she does not wake up at 3am asking to watch Dora the explorer. Okay I am done rambling now!

Here are some pictures from my sisters bachlorette party:

Here are some pictures from my sisters bachlorette party:

Michelle and I (Doesn't she have great hair!)

She is wearing a penis necklace becasue she is that classy!

Posing with some cops

Our Limo driver ended up being a stalker, also can you believe the woman in this picture is in here late 40's!