Where Has The Time Gone?

I was thinking of how small Rory was when we moved back to San Diego.  He barely talked, was still in diapers, sleeping in a crib and taking 2 naps a day.  Now none of those things are true – especially the talking part.

As I’m trying to squeak out a quick little blog post, my Little Buddy is crawling all over me and trying to get a few of his own words typed out.  Trying to fight off a wiry little 3 year old while typing isn’t easy.

The picture above was taken less than a week after we moved back to San Diego.  I don’t know why, but when I see Rory in that picture, I imagine him acting just like he does right now, but I know it’s not true.

Maybe it’s because he can still fit into that shirt and I’m pretty sure he wore those pants less than 6 months ago, but they were on the shorter side.  Or maybe it’s because he was an ornery little boy at 20 months and he is still an ornery little boy at 3 years old.

The same thing goes for Kamryn.  Although a year and half has passed, I find it increasingly difficult to remember her as a freshly turned 4 year old.  She couldn’t ride a bike, swim or read any words and now those are all crossed off her bucket list.

I’m curious in 5 years if I’ll look at my 10 year old and 8 year old and think the same thing as I do now, but with updated accomplishments.  It used to be impossible for me to imagine Kamryn going to school, but she did and it wasn’t traumatic or strange.  I kind of feel the same way about Rory now that he is entering preschool age, but I’m sure that when his first day of school rolls around it will come and go just like Kamryn’s did.








Flashback Friday

Last month, after tromping around in some muddy strawberry fields, I found Rory in the bathroom cleaning his shoes.  Kamryn tends to like to clean her shoes as well.  I would always find her in the bathroom with a sink full of water and shoes floating around.

I never insisted that the kids have clean shoes and I don’t even recall ever telling them not to step in mud, but for some reason, having clean shoes is a must for my children.  And then I remembered something.

I had a flashback of my own after seeing Rory cleaning his shoes.  I recalled a time when I was about 6 or 7 and I was cleaning my own muddy shoes.  I really liked cleaning my shoes.  I preferred to let the mud dry and harden in the treads of my shoes and then chisel it out with a butter knife.

During this particular shoe de-mudding, I was scraping away when the knife slipped and I stabbed my left wrist.  When I say “stabbed”, it was more like scraping off that top layer of skin.  It didn’t even bleed, but I thought I was going to die.

Around this time I had heard about or seen something in a movie that had to do with someone slitting their wrists to kill themselves.  I obviously didn’t understand the logistics of how one ended one’s life in that manner.

This is what I find really funny.  I was sitting on the driveway, by myself.  My mom was just inside – I could hear her in the kitchen, but I didn’t run in to tell her I thought I was going to die.  I just sat there, glancing at the door, then back at my wrist.  My adrenaline was pumping and I was close to crying.  Nothing hurt, I was upset at the thought of my impending doom.

After about 5 minutes, I was still alive and I took that as a sign that I just may pull through this inadvertent suicide attempt.  I continued chipping away at the dried mud on my shoes, careful to keep my left wrist well out of the vicinity of the butter knife.

Obviously, I don’t find suicide funny, but the mindset of a child.  Kamryn will come up with bizarre things to be worried about and at times it can be exhausting trying to explain to her that she has nothing to be concerned about.  Having a memory like this is a reminder that kids just don’t understand everything yet and while it seems like common sense to me, as an adult, my kids haven’t quite gotten to that point yet.

Daydream Belieber

That’s not a typo.  Today I learned that a Justin Bieber fan is called a Belieber.  I also learned that my 5 year old daughter is a Belieber.

I like to think of myself as a little knowledgeable when it comes to what the kids are listening to these days.  (Says the girl who titled her blog post after a Monkees song.)  I haven’t programmed any soft rock stations in my car yet, although I do love me some Air Supply.

Last week Justin was on the Today Show’s Friday Concert Series.  Kamryn really likes his song, Boyfriend, and she has mentioned that she likes Justin Bieber, but I thought  that was more influence from one of her friends from school.   When he sang “her song”, she was dancing around the living room and had this big cheesy grin on her face.

When Justin first became popular a few years ago, I was far from a fan.  I actually kind of despised him.  I hated that hair cut and I still do.  His voice was too high and prepubescent. So when Kamryn and I watched him on the Today Show last week, I thought , Hmmm – he’s a cute kid.  I guess his voice isn’t that high.  How old is he again?

Last night there was a Justin Bieber special on TV that Kamryn asked me to record for her.  I did, and this morning when she got up, she asked to watch it.

A captive audience.

Ahhhh, The Biebs.

I guess I can start packing up all the princess crap – it looks like there is a new favorite.


Squishy Balls

I feel especially lucky to have a boy and a girl.  I would say the same thing if I had two girls or two boys, but for my purposes today, I am feeling fortunate to have one of each.

Rory and Kamryn have very different personalities and if I were to give you characteristics of Kamryn, I think most people would assume I was talking about Rory and vice versa.  It’s kind of perfect like that, but it also keeps me on my toes all the time.

As anyone with a little boy with tell you, they seem to be born with an innate fascination with the business below their belt.  Pulling, tugging, pinching, twisting, etc.  I keep telling Ryan that he is in charge of that area when questions arise.  (No pun intended.)

A few weeks ago, Rory discovered his testicles.  He told me there were little balls in there.  I told him they were called testicles and he said, “Squishy balls?”

“No,” I replied, “testicles.”

“Squishy balls?” he asked again.

“No, Buddy, they are called testicles.”

“Me squish them?”  As he is pinching them in his fingers.

“No, don’t do that, you could hurt yourself.  Talk to your daddy about it.”

Fast forward to last night as Rory is getting out of the shower.  And once again playing with his twig and berries.

“Hey Mommy, these squishy balls?”

“Nope, testicles.  Remember?”

“Mommy, you have popsicles?”



Bowling or Food?

Today I took the kids bowling with 3 other moms and their kids.  It was our first time taking advantage of the Kids Bowl Free promotion that runs every summer and I admit I was a bit skeptical.  I thought there had to be a catch.

It clearly states on the coupon that each child and adult is allowed 2 free games, but you do have to pay the shoe rental.  I thought they would end up screwing you on the length of time you had to bowl and if you went over that time, they would charge you.  Nope!  We were there for 3 hours!  What a deal!

While I was standing at the counter waiting to get shoes for the kids, I was listening to a woman trying to negotiate the shoe price.  Before I continue, let me just say I do not support nor condone fleecing.  The shoe rental is $4 per pair.  A little steep?  Yeah, maybe, but since I wasn’t paying for the actual game and I have my own shoes, I paid a total of $8 for 3 hours of fun!

Here is a snippet of the conversation between the woman and the manager of the bowling alley.

Woman:  We plan on coming here a lot this summer and I was wondering if you could cut us a deal.

MGR:  Cut you a deal on what?

Woman:  Your pro shop isn’t open during the bowl free time so I don’t have a choice but to rent shoes.

MGR:  I don’t understand what you are asking.

Woman:  Your shoe rental is too high.

MGR:  You are bowling for free, we have to charge for shoe rental.

Woman:  Can you at least match the price in Mira Mesa?  We would go there, but I don’t want to take my kids there because of the gangs.

MGR:  Mira Mesa is on the verge of going bankrupt.  We are a for profit organization.  I am already losing money on this.

Woman:  I need to feed my kids!

MGR:  I’m sorry, but I have to charge for shoes.

Woman:  I told the whole San Diego dance team about this place.  They would have no idea about it if it weren’t for me.

MGR:  I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere here.

Woman:  I guess I just won’t bowl and Allison, you can’t bowl.

My friend, Kate, and I both agreed that if $4 is going to decide whether or not your children eat, maybe you should be choosing an activity that is completely free.  Like going to the park or the beach.

I don’t know how the “negotiation” went, but I was really pulling for the manager.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he isn’t going home to his beachfront property in La Jolla that he bought from all the shoe rental commissions he makes.  One way or the other, I saw the woman bowling later on and Allison was as well. 




Weekly Menu 6/18 – 6/24

I have slacked on the last two weeks of menus because we have been busy with school ending and overcoming illnesses in our house.  Now that we are all healthy again, it’s time to get back in the swing of dinner planning.  I hope never to take a break from doing this again because I have already changed the meal for tonight.

Also, this morning when I was trying to plan the menu, I had just finished eating left over pizza and was kind of stuffed so nothing sounded good.  So they say not to go to the store on an empty stomach, don’t try and plan 3 weeks of meals on a full stomach.  It’s really hard.

Monday – Crab Cakes w/ Salad – They usually have some snow crab legs in the meat department for about $10 a pound and I was going to splurge a bit and make the crab cakes with fresh crab instead of the canned stuff.  Well, for one, they didn’t have any in the display and the canned stuff was $4.50/can and I needed 4 cans.  So, I’m replacing the crab in the recipe with tuna.  I’m not too excited about the swap, but it’s $20 cheaper this way.

Tuesday – Skirt Steak W/ Lemon & Chili Roasted Potatoes – I bought a flank steak instead of skirt steak, but I think they are the same thing.

Wednesday – Curried Chicken Salad – I love chicken salad, but until now, I was never satisfied with making it at home.  This recipe changed that.  This is an excellent chicken salad.  I intend on serving it over a bed of lettuce instead of on bread.

Thursday – Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwiches – We’re going to go see an Elvis Tribute band on Thursday and what better way to celebrate The King than with his favorite sandwich?

Friday – I’m heading out of town for the night so Ryan will have to come up with something.

Saturday – Parmesan Pasta w/ Chicken & Rosemary – This looks really easy to make and I doubt I’ll be too excited about making something, I’m hoping this prevents me from ordering something or going out.

Sunday – Salmon w/ Lemon Cilantro Vinaigrette – They had sockeye salmon on sale at the store so I had to get it.

Happy eating!

Things My Dad Taught Me

Happy Father’s Day!  Today we spent the day swimming, riding bikes, eating pizza and watching golf.  Ryan got to choose the day’s events and as it turns out, they seemed to lean towards things the kids like to do…minus the golf watching.  They are not fans of watching golf.

I called my dad this afternoon to wish him a happy Father’s Day and I started to think of all the things that I have learned from my dad.  I really had to think about it.  I’m not saying my dad hasn’t taught me anything, but it’s hard to pinpoint the real lesson.  If you know my dad, he tends not to be real straight forward.  He kind of speaks in sentence fragments and in code and can jump from one subject to another without you realizing it.  It was funny to watch Ryan talk to my dad the first time – Ryan had no idea what the hell was going on.  He has since figured out how to communicate with his father-in-law. There is always a lot of sarcasm and wit when talking to my dad and if you struggle with that kind of humor, you may not enjoy talking to my dad.  It has happened on more than one occasion that I have had to explain “the joke” to someone, which usually makes my dad explode into fits of laughter.

Here are the most useful lessons and skills my dad has taught me.

  • Nicknames are much better than someone’s real name.  My dad doesn’t call anyone by their first name.  Not even me.  He shortens it to Am or may lengthen it to Amomous.  When he’s talking to someone about me, he refers to me as Daughter Dearest.  He taught high school for over 30 years and I don’t know if he could name one student by their given name.  He would tell me stories about a girl he referred to as “Blondie”, he coached with a guy he called “Show” (which was actually just shortening his last name), guys were frequently called Meatheads.  If my dad didn’t put any variation on your name or have a nickname for you, he may not have liked you.  I won’t say he didn’t like you, but if you had a nickname, it was almost certain he was fond of you.
  • It’s never too late to start something new.  My dad went back to school and got his Masters in Special Education when he was in his 50’s.  He ran his first marathon a few years after earning that Masters Degree.  He also took up golf during that decade – maybe he was going through a midlife crisis, but at least he didn’t buy a sports car and start wearing a rug.  Anyway, it made me realize that if I decide that I want to start a new career at some point, I have plenty of time to do it.
  • Cotton pickin’ and dog gonnit are legitimate phrases to express disdain.  I have been making fun of my dad for years about these two.  The cotton pickin’ air conditioner is broken.  Usually dog gonnit is a sentence in and of itself.  I have no idea what either means, but I know my dad is usually pissed off when he says either one.  It’s not like he doesn’t swear and this is his “nice” way of expressing frustration.  They are just two phrases that I have never heard anyone else say but my dad.
  • How to throw a football and not to close my eyes when catching a ball.  My dad was a head football coach forever and while I still don’t understand all of the formations or plays, I do have a fairly firm understanding of the game which comes in handy if you marry a man that watches football every waking moment during the season.  My dad would always tell me to quit throwing like a girl.  And I would reply with, “But I am a girl!”  Eventually, I understood what he meant.  When I was learning to play softball, we were in the front yard playing catch.  Each time I went to catch a ball, I would close my eyes.  I still usually caught the ball, but obviously, not the best strategy.  Once he threw me a pop fly and I was right underneath it, glove up and I closed my eyes at a crucial second.  It slammed into my forehead.  “Don’t close your eyes, Am.”  Huh…maybe he was on to something.
  • On that same note, and I mentioned this earlier in the week, if I got hurt and it was clear it wasn’t life threatening, my dad would tell me, “It’s a long way from your heart.”  In other words, you aren’t going to die – buck up and get back out there!  I have said this to Kamryn and Rory and I get this really confused look in return.  I remember not fully understanding this until I reached a certain age, but I think it’s probably good to start young.
  • Possibly one of the most useful lessons my dad has taught me is:  it’s only money.  I have had two major car issues in my life.  The first was totaling my roommates car in college and the second was getting my car stolen when I was 24.  In both instances I was really upset not only because of the shock of the situation but because of the huge expense and the lack of funds I had.  In both instances my dad said “Did anyone get hurt?”  I replied with a sniffling, “No.”  And he said “Well, then it’s just money, Am.”  Yep, itis just money and I can always make more.  This was by no means an open invitation to go and blow a bunch of money on useless shit, but instead when something is out of your control and the money is the most upsetting part…it’s just not worth worrying about.

I don’t know if these were lessons my dad realized he taught me or even intended on teaching me, but he did and I’m glad he did.  I use at least one of the above every single day.