Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Captain Destruction!

Do you remember that cartoon character, Captain Caveman?

I don't remember what show he was part of, something Hannah Barbera.  I do remember that he was a bit wild and crazy, had googly eyes, and always caused more trouble than good.  But, he somehow caught the bad guy in the end.


Well, think, "Captain Caaaavemannnnnnn"  but in our house I think we'll call him "Captain Destruction".

This little Chick of mine has come out of the sickie cocoon of bronchitis full steam ahead.  He's feeling better and as part of feeling better, he seems to feel a sense of vengeance against his older brother, also known as "the one who takes all my toys away".  In the last four days or so, Captain Destruction has learned to turn everything into a weapon to inflict bodily harm, always aiming for his brothers nose.  He has learned to scratch and head butt and bite.

Yes, bite.  I've managed to stop him in his slow motion movie vampire maneuvering, but soon I'll be too slow.  He may draw blood.

So not only has a little aggressive streak made it's way out of his presumably sweet personality, he's also upped the anty when it comes to getting into stuff and wreaking havoc.

He pulls knives out of drawers, cleaner out of cupboards, and tries to eat only things he knows he shouldn't.  Last night, after some parenting mis-communication, I was downstairs and Ross was cleaning one of the boys rooms.  Elliott started yelling for, "Mom, hurry.  Come quick".  I didn't know what he needed.  He was in the tub so I really figured he needed to get out and pee.

Upon entering the bathroom however, Elliott started laughing uncontrollably.  You see, his 15 month old brother was fully dressed, in the tub with him.  Apparently, the Chick can climb into the bathtub.  I didn't know that.  Ross didn't know that.

What a lovely surprise.

We got him out, put him in his own bath and then one thing led to another and I had two naked babies running through my house.  It took all we had as parents to contain the nuditiy and the chaos.

Fast forward to this morning.  I was sitting in captain destruction's room on the floor folding laundry.  Elliott was in the rocking chair watching Olivia.  It's our super hero's habit to wander away, especially when were all in the same place.  He climbs on beds, step stools, and generally makes a mess.

It was too quiet.

He wasn't in Elliott's room.

He was in my bathroom.  Standing on a stool. Using the finger nails on the hand that hasn't been clipped to dig all my blush out of it's container and spill it into the sink.  It was like my make-up had been brutally attacked and the culprit was too dim to leave the scene of the crime.  Probably because he was having too much fun.

Cleaning up his very pink fingers wasn't that fun.

Oh, the joys of mothering boys.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

1000: a retrospective

This is it.  This is my 1000th post.

Crazy, isn't it. I wonder how many words I've written in 1000 posts.  Definitely millions, I'm sure.

I knew that this post was coming up and I was trying to figure out how to commemorate such an event.  Five and a half years of my life has been documented on this dumb blog.  When it all started in September of 2005 I figured that a blogger account was just one more account I'd create and then forget about.  That hasn't been the case.  This blog has led me to an immense knowledge of other cool websites and people, technology tools and terms, and a form of self-expression that I just didn't have when I got started.

Back in the Spring I said when I hit 1000 posts that was going to be the end of things here.  After a conversation with Ross a couple weeks ago, I guess I'll keep going.  If for the only reason that this is the only documentation I've got of my family.  Of my boys growing up and being funny and cute, and annoying.  Of our family events, and my random thoughts about the world at large.

Back when I started, it was only the two of us.
philadelphia christmas 123

There have been a lot of changes in two years just in our little family

and my family at large.

Besides my hair color and length, and some added weight, and life changing events like kids and jobs and all that stuff that goes with having a family and being a parent, things seem about the same.

except for all that stuff.

1000 posts ago my brother was a baby and now he's a sophomore that played in his first varsity football game before he even attended one day of high school.

One of my babies started preschool today and the other has bronchitis. 1000 posts ago, neither of them were a glimmer in anyone's eye.

In 1000 posts I've got from being a "career woman" to a mom who struggles to work from home - fighting every day to keep my priorities straight, my head clear, and my children loved.

In 1000 posts I've become the cook, the photographer, and the "documenter" of life. My husband takes good care of us and is a better dad then I ever thought he could be - and I was pretty sure he'd be a good one.


Looking ahead - I'm not sure that there are another 5 and a half years in me here. The older my kids get, the less inclined I am to write about them all the time. Maybe a shift is in order or maybe in the next little while it's time for retirement.

Who knows, but for now things will continue. As Ferris Beuhler once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you dont' stop and look around, you could miss it."

And without this blog, I think I might.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What a night!

For the 3 of you who read this blog - please tell me that the following doesn't just happen in my house.

My mom says it's called, "being a parent", whatever that means.

Our night last night - in a nutshell

7:00 pm - stand in LONG line to get tickets for high school football game season opener.

7:15 pm - find our seats with family, sit facing the sun, baby is whiny, watch the game.

8:30 pm - baby climbing on bleachers falls and bangs head. stand on the grass and see 4 of my former high school students milling around. (I quit teaching almost 6 years ago - why are they still hanging around high school football games?)

8:50 pm - scream, yell, freak out. My brother, a sophomore, gets into the varsity game as a lineman. We all were beside ourselves - it was awesome. Glad we stayed until the end.

9:15 pm - drive home from game. boys fall asleep. get them home and in bed.

9:45 - 11:00 pm - Ross and I wrap up shavy jones business for the night, hang out, read books, go to sleep.

12:45 am - I wake up sweating. Oh no! low blood sugar. yep - number is 31. crap. Binge in the kitchen while shaking. Sit at the kitchen table for 45 minutes because I don't think that my legs will carry me upstairs.

1:35 am - back in bed.

1:45 am - Elliott up SCREAMING! first thought - oh no! he's going to throw up. Ross races into his room and he's drowning in his own boogers. Allergies. he won't blow his nose. he won't drink some water. we hold a towel up to his face - want to save the carpet from 3 year old puke. He screams and gags for 25 minutes before he finally starts to calm down. Dad gives up. I try to help. he finally tells me that he has to go to the bathroom. He pees GALLONS in the dark. hadn't been to the bathroom since 6:30 before the football game.

he decides he wants his pajamas on and for me to lay down with him. he takes several deep breaths - in through the nose, out through the mouth - and is back to sleep within 10 minutes.

2:45 am - I climb back in bed. Chicker starts crying. i get out of bed, go to him and shove his bink back in his mouth.

2:50 am - back in bed. head hits the pillow and BAM! Kid SCREAMING. Not crying but screaming. He's been sick - (think butt on fire) and I'm nervous. I race to him, check his diaper, shove his bink back in his mouth and climb back in bed.

3:00 am - screaming again. One more round of the binker game.

3:05 am - head hit the pillow and I'm out like a light. gonzo.

3:30 am - the Chick is up screaming again. I don't hear him - Ross does and gets up with him. They are both up until 5:00 am.

5:00 am - everyone is asleep. Finally.

6:30 am - Chick is awake. Again. Ross turns the TV in his room on and leaves him alone.

9:20 am - I wake up, roll over and look at my clock. Once I recognize how late it is I roll over to Ross. He's a zombie. So tired. We hear talking and yelling and playing. Oh, the boys are awake. Shock!

9:30 am - I get out of bed, pee, and venture into Chick's room. It looks like a bomb went off.  There are ripped tissues and wet wipes all over the floor.  Furniture is turned over.  Toys are everywhere.  The crib contains every stuffed animal in the entire house (thanks to big brother) and one angry 15 month old. 

Why is he angry? I'm not sure until I see slimy brown streaks in several locations on his crib sheet. Can you say, "exploding diaper"?

I get him out, put him on the changing table and reach for a diaper.

guess what.

no more diapers.

they are all down stairs.

I then pick up the exploding poo butt, carry him downstairs, get a couple diapers and come back up to put him in the bath.

he escapes and i catch him just as he and his nasty rear end (yes, he's still wearing the icky diaper) are about to climb on a very nice chair.

good thing I'm fast.


How was your night last night?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A milestone to mention

6 foot 4

He got his drivers permit today.

Heaven help us.

Holy Crap do i feel old.

Double Holy Crap - I never actually thought I'd use that line.

Moving Targets

This week, our nephew Isaac and his mama are in town. We haven't seen his mom - she's been in some classes. We have been able to spend a lot of time with Grandma and Isaac this week though - and have had a lot of fun.

Cousins, in my opinion, are some of the greatest things ever. My kids won't have too many first cousins (one on each side. Miss Molly, we love you, too), but they've got a butt load of second cousins. Even still, first cousins are built in friends. You've always got someone to play with, drive cars with, and just have fun with.

Isaac goes home soon. I'm not sure we'll see him before he goes, but we've had fun.

Hanging out at our house

Visiting the aquarium

and lots of marching and dancing at grandma's house



I thought it was hard to take pictures of my own kids. Add another little boy to the mix and everything is bound to be blurry. I'm pretty sure that means they were having fun.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Preston and Katie

Last Thursday my cousin Preston got married.  It was sort of crazy to participate in his wedding. He's only 22 and I've grown up with him around.  I used to babysit him and we'd watch Hatari and he'd go to sleep in his cowboy boots.  He was a student of mine in high school and even my aide.  For about 6 months of that school year, he thought he was Napoleon Dynamite - permed red hair, moon boots, wolf shirt, the works.

We were happy to participate in their happy day and I was even more happy to take some pictures.  It's hard to focus on photos where you've got two monkeys around, but I tried. 

Enjoy the video.  It's a very small sampling of some of the pictures I took on the wedding day.

preston and katie from Annie Howden on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Griswalds Vacate

When one owns a summer business and has two small children, one (and her family) don't get the opportunity to vacation. Not like a real, travel long distances (bring a nanny, ie grandma) vacation. It's just not feasible when you're counting money, doing dishes, and filling bottles with flavor every morning and night.

When the rare opportunity to "get out of town", for one who owns a summer business, you jump at the chance to leave the house and spend some time away.

I'd been looking forward to our mini vacation for weeks and weeks. Since the day we booked the place. The thought of getting into the mountains with just the family, no real technology, and a calm weekend was almost too much to bear. That was until we actually started the "vacation". Someone should have warned me what traveling with a 15 month old is like.


We arrived at the Isle of View on Friday morning and once we opened all the windows, aired the place out a bit, and got over the really old furniture we were ready to relax. We found the cute cabin on VRBO and were really happy. The boys were in heaven - there was a suspension bridge, lots of open space, a wrap around deck, the river to throw rocks into, a pool table, and a little sandy beach to play in. Like i said, little boy heaven.




On Friday night we played in the sand, went for beautiful drives around the reservoir and ate dinner at a crazy pizza place. Only one of us slept the first night and it wasn't me, or Ross, or the Chick. After a rough night in which I was sandwiched on a bed between a thrasher baby and a snoring husband we were off to an early start the next day.


We visited the Ogden Farmer's Market and spend a couple hours hanging out with some very decent and nice people and also some very dirty, stinky tatooed people. We split the biggest cinammon roll 4 ways and bought some honey, where some of the actual bees were on display, and some hand made pasta. Yum. Oh, We also touched a snake. Well, I didn't touch a snake, but I was with some people who touched a snake.

Tied of the travel log yet? Too bad. Here's some more.

We visited the Ogden Eccles Dinosaur park where the older of my boys panicked at automaton dinosaurs and the younger was enthralled. It was hot, and there were some very large and real grasshoppers cramping my style and blocking my path, but overall it was a good experience. And, I spend $21 on two plastic dinosaurs. What a steal!



Saturday ended with more playing in the sand, playing in parks, eating good food, and general chaos. You see, traveling with two small children doesn't go according to plan - and the boys turned into wild and crazed animals. Seriously. Crazy. Sleep deprived nuts.


On a nice relaxing drive that evening...Oh wait, it was a drive but not nice or relaxing because those crazy animals were losing their minds in the car...we headed over to look at the local monastery. Except it was past hours for the monks and on the 5 minutes we drove in and drove back, they'd locked the gate.

We checked the lock. We looked for an alternate escape route. We panicked a small bit. The boys screamed. Then a van pulled up behind us and a nice monk in his robes and a baseball hat let us out. He asked if we were sleeping over.

We said no but thanks anyway.

Then we almost hit some bikers. Some recumbent bikers. Recumbent bikers are dumb.

Everyone slept better the second night (thank heavens!) and we got up in the morning ready to go. After a nice scenic drive home through East Canyon we arrived at our hot house - with our mangy mongrels hoping for naps.

The naps didn't come.

But they went' to bed early.

Ross and I were talking that we had a great time with our kids. But maybe, just maybe, a short vacation would be a good idea.

Could they really survive a night with the grandparents?


Want to see all the pictures in the set? Click here!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two of the cutest boys around

Even if I do say so, myself.



The Squirt:: 15 months


Hello Little Chickie -

Today you are exactly 15 months old.

You are funny and make me laugh. You sing and dance and pull crazy faces. You follow your brother around and love him so much that even when he tries to knock you down, trip you, and take your toys, you still laugh and give him hugs.

I love spending time with you. You make my heart happy.

In the last month you've had more ear infections (sorry), have four new teeth (grand total: 12) and have been a little irritable, though I can't say I blame you. You've been on your first boat ride and tried to jump in the lake, took Miss Molly to the zoo for her first trip and you rode on the zoo train, which most definitely made your day. You stood and danced the entire 5 minute ride.

Zoo with our favorite people

In the last couple of weeks you've figured out how to go down the stairs, though I'm scared every time you do it. You have also figured out how to climb onto everything. For some silly reason I thought we'd bypass climbing but I was wrong. If I cannot find you, you've climbed up on your brothers bed and are jumping around like a monkey. Or, you're in my bathroom doing some major damage standing on the foot stool getting into everything.

The other day, your brother and I were in the living room and you were in the kitchen. I left you alone because I was sure you were just getting silverware out of the drawer that's at your height. Next thing I knew, you were paying me a visit with a steak knife, clenching the blade in your fist. I panicked a bit not sure how I was going to get it from you without you cutting yourself, but you gave the knife up to me. Once I had it in my hand, I said, "Show me where you got that," because I had no idea you could reach the highest drawer where the knives are stored. Silly me - you didn't get it out of the drawer. You pushed a little red chair over to the counter top, climbed up and got it. It was the knife we'd cut our strawberries with for breakfast.

Stunts like that kiddo are going to be the end of me.


You are getting to be a better eater these days, trying new foods and you haven't gagged or puked for a good two weeks. Yeah. You have even, almost, figured out how to use a fork.  That's pretty cool.  You have however, managed to convince your dad (finally) that every once in a while, picky eaters are born, and you are their king. As long as the food placed before you is sweet or salty, you're game. Or a french fry. Some days I think all you'll eat is french fries. Uncle Willie has survived on french fries and bread for 15 years, maybe you can too.


We've spent our whole summer hanging out at Shavy Jones. I think that you've probalby figured out how to shave ice and you've definitely figured out how to eat it. Oh, can you eat ice - and dump it out, and splash in it. Minus trying to pick up ants and eat dirt when were at the patio, your summer of ice has been a roaring success.

As always little boy, I love you. I don't know what I would do without you and your kisses and hugs and dancing and laughing.

If it's okay though, I'd like you to stop trying to pick my nose.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Single Ladies

Okay.  You know I like "Glee".  The new season starts soon and I'm so excited.  Not excited about Britney Spears coming onto the show, but excited about the songs that the cast will be singing this year.

As part of the "Glee" phenomenon in our house, we've become a bit obsessed with Beyonce's "Single Ladies" as seen here:

and here:

Well, we know the song, we sing the words, we have the hand actions down pat. Even little Chicker does the "single lady hand" as we call it.

Thanks to Billboard, we have a new version of "single ladies". This whole Mash up Monday thing is just about making my life worth living (remember the Neon Trees from last week).

Okay, it's not that big of a deal, but really, it's pretty cool.

Listen to this version of "Single Ladies" and not only will you be singing it all day, but it's actually clear enough that you can hear and understand the words.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

My boys - Costanza and shark week

Zoo with our favorite people

On Thursday night I worked at Shavy Jones. I got home late and had some cupcake frosting to do. I wasn't alone though, two of my three boys were still awake, waiting for me, watching shark week.

yeah. I don't like sharks and lucky for me, it was about great whites.




I did my best to just mix my butter cream and ignore what was going on in the living room, on the television. That was until there were two cute little dolphins swimming and playfully jumping in the water and out of the averted corner of my eye I saw the great white jump up and grab both dolphins.

And of course, all of the underwater action was caught on film.

The shark was ripping and thrashing those poor little dolphins to pieces. It was a big gruesome and a little two intense for a three year old.

How do I know? Because the conversation went like this.
Dad, what is that shark doing?
Dad, why did that shark grab those dolphins?
Dad, why is that shark shaking its head from side to side?
Dad, why is the water all red?
Dad, what's that stuff floating in the water?

The more questions he had, the more pale his face became until he said, "but dad, I like dolphins." At that point I thought he was near tears and asked for shark week to be turned off. Luckily, no nightmares have been had....yet.

And, as if my silly boys can't get any goofier on Friday morning we were getting ready to head out to the zoo. The three of us were downstairs and I was packing my bag and going over the mental checklist (don't forget the stroller. don't forget the stroller. don't forget the stroller.).

I had to run upstairs to find some missing shoes and when I came back down, my sweet sneaky little Chickie had something in his hand.

It was a piece of pop tart from breakfast.

He got it out of the garbage can.

He's George Costanza.

Pop tart? Eclair? Same difference.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

It's nice when the hair isn't there

I'll admit that I only learned who Justin Bieber and his hair are a little while ago.  Yes, I've missed the internet sensation.

I also think I just barely learned what "Viral" means when in reference to something online.  Like, "it went viral".

Anyway, my husband likes the Neon Trees.  I just learned about them a little while ago, too.

What can I say.

I'm a dork and I live under a rock.

Keeping all my lack of knowledge in mind, listen to this. It's cool.

Sickey McSick Sick!


The last couple weeks haven't been the best for us in the health department. Last week I took the Chick to the doctor after a bad weekend. Two ear infections, a sore throat (not strep) and a cold. He was put on antibiotics which as soon as the first dose came reeling towards him, he methodically and frantically has spit it out.

He's probably not really getting better. He won't take his medicine.

He is sleeping better though so the ears must be healing.

Then on Wednesday last week, the older Monkey, though told not to, hid behind a chair and shoved a q-tip to his brain. I was in the other room and will never forget the shrill, awful gut wrenching scream that came from my three year old. It took what felt like ages to get him to calm down and tell me what had happened. He seemed to be doing okay so we let him be.

In the morning though, his bed and ear were covered in blood. Back to the doctor, in the same week, for the other kid's ear.

The conclusion was inconclusive. Swimmers ear, potential perforated ear drum, and a red and pussy sore throat (not strep). We got some ear drops, he failed a hearing test, and we go back in a week to see if there was any real and serious damage done.

Now, at this point, mid week last week, I felt okay. Exhausted from dealing with sick munchkins but surviving.

Saturday day and night I didn't feel well. Sunday night I really didn't feel well. Monday morning I woke up to severe body aches. Like a million little hot pokers being jabbed at my by a very angry squirrel. Yeah, that bad.

We pushed through the day, the baby had a good afternoon nap and the other kid was willing to watch Cars on his bed all afternoon while I slept. Monday night, in the middle of the night, I woke up and knew what was coming.


stomach bile.

I raced downstairs so as not to disturb anyone and puked my guts out in the half bath. It was miserable. It was almost an hour of being really, really sick with nothing much to show for it (thank heavens I was sick with nothing in my stomach instead of after dinner).

Yesterday sucked. But not as bad as Monday.

Today is looking better.

When I was a teacher, I got sick every January. I'd come back from winter break and within a week I'd lose my voice. The kids got a kick out of me sounding like Kathleen Turner for a week or two and it would pass. That was it. On the rare occasion that I was sick, or needed a "mental" day, I got to take the day off and wallow in my misery.

No longer. I wish someone would have warned me about this before becoming a mother. I knew it - that mom's don't get days off - but holy freaking crap! I told Ross last night that, I made it through two pregnancies without even a hint of puke, but I catch a cold from the two boys that resulted from those pregnancies and I'm out for the count. For days.

Go figure.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Matt and Jenn got married

We spent the better part of our Saturday at the outdoor wedding of my cousin Matt to his new wife Jenny.  The wedding was pretty, the weather a little icky but we all had fun.

Thanks for inviting us and congratulations to the bride and groom.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer


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