Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Man

Should I tell you that he isn't actually picking his nose or should I let you think that he is? Apparently, he was posing to make it appear so because he knew his dad was taking a picture. Or, so he says. That's my funny guy. A catch, eh? 

I think so.

He got some new threads for Christmas and I made him say "cheese" for me. He's a little suspicious of his new shirt. He says it's purple. I swear that it said "burgundy" on the website! I think he looks handsome. 


Santa's Elves (aka Bryon and I) got to work last week finally opening all the shipping boxes that came to the house, assembling and wrapping. We were sorely disappointed to discover that the bike that I ordered from Wal-Mart was missing the pedals. It's not like a kid needs pedals on a bike or anything. If I ever needed an excuse not to shop there, now I've got one. I fully recognize that this could happen anywhere, but if Wal-Mart didn't get their lowest prices by undercutting everyone else then quality control wouldn't be such a big deal. I cannot remember the last time I bought anything from that store, but I took a gamble. Their excellent customer service upon trying to rectify the problem has only confirmed my resolve to never set foot in one of their stores again. I've still yet to hear from them, despite their "if you need anything regarding this order, e-mail here," line. Ugh. Bryon stood in line for practically half a day only to be turned away and told, deal with the online store on our own and try to get them to either refund our money or pay for aftermarket pedals. All this on Christmas Eve. It's a crappy store in the first place, for many other reasons, and now I just hate it. And that, folks is the end of my anti-Wal-Mart rant. Shop anywhere else if you can. 

Anyway, we solved the problem on our own because Bryon got pedals from a bike shop and we had a lovely Christmas morning. Bike and all.

Yoda was there too. With Mr. Bubble. It's not a great picture but I think they look just so darn cute that I had to show you. He's so snuggly. 

Is this the face of a happy guy, or what? He opened this and said, "this is what I always wanted! How did Santa know?" He said that more than once. He's prone to exaggeration right now, as in, "this is my favorite!"

We always open stockings in bed, before we set eyes on the tree. It saves the "big" moment. He was still thrilled. One look at his stocking and he said, "MOMMY! Santa was so SILLY! He gave me so MUCH that it didn't fit in my stocking!" He had a few (a lot) presents that didn't fit and they were on the floor next to his stocking and he was just tickled pink with it.

The first thing he opened from under the tree was a Luke Skywalker costume. He immediately put it on. For the remainder of the day, we were with Luke. 

I have found that he is pretty much incapable of making a non-adorable face. 

See? Look at that handsome guy. He's so stinking cute.

I love this picture. It's pure excitement, throwing the paper over his head to get to his new swords and shields.

This is his "big" present, the one we made him wait until last to open. I took Daddy's word for it that he'd love it and Daddy was right.

It is an Imperial Walker and it might as well be life-sized it's so darn big. It does everything short of actually shooting

And the little man has barely taken his hands off it all day.

My Favorite Holiday Tradition

Every year, since our first Christmas together, Bryon and I have gone to the craft store and bought those plain white ceramic ornaments and painted them together, wrote our names on the back and dated them. It's my favorite tradition. It forces us to slow down during the holidays, if only for an evening, or an afternoon and just spend time together chatting and doing something that's lets face it, is playing. I love it. They always come out terrible in some way, and it always makes us laugh and we have such fun pulling them back out every year and remembering them. I like to write the city we were in on the back too now, because as it is now, we are starting to move too much to remember every year. And it's only going to get a good way ! The tradition only got better with Collin. His ornaments are such treasures. 

Bryon's ornament this year was perhaps the best one we've ever seen. For some reason, he painted his hugging "people" brown (what the frick are they anyway? snowmen?). He admitted to making an "odd" choice but he couldn't really go back once that first paint stroke was made so the jokes kept rolling. We eventually decided to tactfully call them "gingerbread" snowmen, instead of accusing Bryon of being a closet racist that painted his ornament in makeshift blackface/brown-face. I thought they looked like perhaps little Ethiopian children or something, like it was an ad for an orphanage. It got pretty politically incorrect.

On the other hand, isn't this a charming image here? I love this tradition. It warms my heart. And you know what's better? My sweet husband knowing how special it is to me, went out for me this year to get them because he knew I wouldn't have time to get them before Christmas and he didn't want me to stress out about missing out on the tradition. What a man. I never for a minute forget what I have in him. I didn't even have to ask. It was just done.

I hope Collin enjoys this tradition as much as I do. Maybe it will be something he takes out of here to his kids. Do you ever wonder what traditions will make it out of your house and what things they'll roll their eyes at and say, "thank god I don't have to do that anymore!"

Chistmas-O Parto-Uno

Being a military family, it's a given that you are not close to all or some of your family near the holidays. Being in California though has afforded us the chance to be close to Bryon's side of the family for these years and it has given Collin the chance to spend some time near some of his grandparents near the holidays. We still reserve Christmas day for the three of us, but it's been really fun to spend this time with them. Collin got to see his Gramps and Nana last week-end and he was really excited to see that "Christmas" was kicking off. 

He was even more excited to realize that they brought him more GeoTrax train pieces. Mommy admits that it's a cool toy and that Collin loves it. She just hates how much space it takes up. This is what the new pieces look like when it's all set up. Collin freaked out when they took it apart to try a "new layout."  Apparently, my son's OCD tendencies are beginning to emerge with a vengeance.

We are also sharing the holidays with this little guest who found a quite comfortable spot in the playroom while we set up the track. Our friends, the Roaches are visiting family in VA to keep themselves busy while Daddy is deployed and she needed a place to stay. She apparently didn't like the GeoTrax, as the moment it was set up, she peed on them. She has it pretty ruff here (had to do it). She's learned that if she sits, stays, goes to her bed and kennel when I tell her and doesn't bark, she gets a Cheerio, which apparently, she prefers to bits of pepperoni. I know, poor thing. She is ridiculously snuggly and Eddie is jealous. I feel badly for him; so badly, in fact that last night, I allowed my sixty pound dog to sit on the loveseat between Bryon and I. You read that right, not couch, smaller. Don't worry, I don't want another dog. I just wanted to show Jen that she's doing well.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Why I Don't Photo-Edit

I tried to correct the red-eye in this picture. 

I failed. I accidentally hit save. It looks like Collin got punched in the face. This is why I generally don't edit photos. I'm certain there has to be a way to change the size of the red-eye "circle." And the "auto" button worked quite well, but when you looked closely at the eyes on the surrounding people, they looked weird on auto correct. So, I got frustrated and stopped editing.

No one wins; especially not the person with the black eye.

It's Official! Cutest Kid Ever!

He is now the cutest kid on the planet. In case you are wondering why I have decided to bestow this honor him, it's because during his holiday program today, instead of standing completely still, as per usual, Collin decided to actually perform. That's right, he sang, folks. SANG! He moved his lips and everything! 

He sang right along with the other kids. The word must've gotten out that he was going to be adorable because the house was packed. I estimate that there had to be at least a hundred and fifty parents in that tiny room.

He was less than enthused with the recitation of "Twas the Night before Christmas," however. 

Do you know how hard it is to identify your child in a gaggle of children, that are dressed identically? It is actually embarrassing. I feel comforted by how many other parents were whispering, "I can't find him/her! Where is she?!" It took about three minutes of scanning to find him.

In my defense, there are about eighty-ish kids at the school, roughly? Yes, maybe twenty kids per room and five rooms. That's a lot of red shirts to scan through. Still, is it bad to not immediately find your kid?

This is the most adorable hand motion ever, isn't it? "He sees you when you're sleeping." It is similar to "Silent Night," which always cracks me up because it's ironic to hear the loud way children sing yelling SIIIIILLLEEENT NIIIIIGGHT. So cute. 

What's better after seeing Collin perform, than having our annual picture in front of the Disney tree? It could've been better if it wasn't pouring. Can you tell? Good. We took our hoods of for three seconds and made a Disney employee take our picture and then ran back to shelter. He gets called an "employee" and not a "cast member," because he was a little grumpy. It's the only day I've not seen a photo pusher in front of the tree. Ugh, the ONE day I wanted one there for our picture. Frustrating. Whatever.

Now that Collin has learned the art of performance, Bryon decided to take us to Captain EO this time. Apparently, he wants to encourage him down a dangerous path. Let us know if you see any signs of Michael Jackson like behavior. That was one weird show. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


At least Collin has stopped wearing them with such frequency. I'm not sure who looks worse in them. Eddie certainly has an air of pitifulness about him, doesn't he?

Meeting Santa

If you think that this picture of Collin with Santa looks a little "mischievous," you are perhaps correct. He was a total stinker on "tree lighting" night at Fort Mac. He was awful. He was so bad, in fact that Daddy brought him home, as in "if you don't knock it off, we are leaving." The threat of Santa watching didn't work, apparently. 

At least we got one good picture out of it. 

Disney--Yes Again

Collin went to Disneyland with Paige and Austin last weekend. Apparently, he had a good time. It's hard to tell. 
I usually think that my kid is the cutest one in the room, but when you put him next to Paige and Austin, they look like magazine-cover children. Don't they?


I don't have much else to say except that I'm surprised that the Disney "cast members" don't assault them and ask them to appear on brochures. I mean really. They are so cute.

Future Jack Palmer - Because Tiger Woods isn't a Good Role Model Anymore

I've been meaning for Collin to try the good old-fashioned "sport" of putt-putt. I swear. I even have expired "Fun Center" coupons on the fridge. Thank goodness Collin can't read, or he'd have known how long the idea was in my head, and how long I hadn't taken him. So busy true, but something else about giving him a metal stick with permission to hit with it made me nervous.

Anyway, Granny and Grandaddy came to visit recently (okay semi-recently: remember, kinda busy?) and they needed a fun activity.

It made me sad not to be able to go but I was happy to let him have a fun new experience, nonetheless.

In my mind, he won and he is probably a prodigy. Don't you think? Since I couldn't see his performance, I'm sure that is what happened.

And no special trip is fun without a trip to Jamba Juice. I love this picture because you can't tell if he's cute or evil. That pretty much sums Collin up in a nutshell. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

In a Week...

In a Week...

My semester will be over:

That means my seminar paper will be written. The one that I have a draft of done but it looks like I was drunk when I wrote it. Maybe I was. I'm so fried, my memory is a little foggy. Anyway, I'm starting over in a few minutes. Anyway, in a week it'll all be over.

Also, in a week. my final in Medieval lit will also be over and my first semester as a full-time grad student will be over. In theory and with luck, I will have two A's and maintain my A average thus far and I will not have killed anyone, including myself. Bryon did a spreadsheet. He showed me it's possible. He's good at spreadsheets. It took him three seconds. It took me the same amount of seconds to determine that I could not figure out that math. This is the reason I'm studying English.

Also in a week I promise to dump all the photos that are clogging the camera with cuteness and allow you to bask in the adorable-ness that is my child. He has seen Santa. He has had some fun with friends. All that "normal" stuff that's been going on. I will update you on stuff. He's had parent-teacher conferences (yes for a pre-school). Among other things.

Also in a week, we will be one week closer to losing Bryon. It's coming. I don't think about it too much or I panic. I will be one week closer to being alone. Without the love of my life. I will be one week closer to having to do this full-time school thing, alone. I will one week closer to having to parent, alone. I will be one week closer to making dinner every night, alone. I will be one week closer to taking the trash out ever single time, alone. I will be one week closer, alone. Does every one getting ready for deployment go through this? I know that a deployment is different because your husbands are in danger and your husbands don't get the option to visit but this feels really, really scary. I'm going to be alone. A lot. No matter how much help we have, no one is your husband and no matter how much he visits, he's not "home." This is going to be a tough year. I didn't mean for that to sound "down" if it did. Anyway, hug your family! Tight!

And, we are one more week closer to Christmas. If you get your cards late this year. I'm sorry. I'm usually on the ball about this. Bryon has tried to help. We have a draft of a letter. No card this year. Forgive us. We're working on it. We've had A LOT on our plates this year. I think Daddy having to suddenly move out is a good excuse, don't you? Maybe you'll get it in January and we can call it a "holiday greeting." We are barely scraping presents for everyone. We were up half the night last night doing that. Almost got everyone done. Phew. If only I could think of something for Bryon. Anyone?

Anyway, this was a long-winded explanation that I promise to put up a Collin-update soon!

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Not All Bragging

Bryon and I were innocently eating dinner while Collin was mumbling something to himself about writing his name with his car track. We were ignoring him until his whining about not being able to make an "N" was getting incessant and then we looked over at what he was doing and realized that "holy crap! look what he did!" 
Yeah, without any help. We were, no kidding, eating while he did this. He had finished his dinner (all two bites of it, and was playing by himself (right next to the table no less) and did this all alone. He made the letters all by himself and even arranged them. Damn I'm impressed. Please ignore my near-flashing of boob. It's the only picture we have of my son's genius. Can't help it. Maybe I should have gotten dressed for the occasion. You'll pardon me for not bothering to dress right now, between the stress level and homework level, I'm lucky to brush my teeth.
In other news: My dog is, as always rising to new heights of bravery. He has allergies and fleas and he is greeting both items of news with the expected cowering. In addition, every time we leave the house, he thinks we leave the house, or he thinks we are asleep, he sneaks into the laundry room for tasty treats (aka cat poop). He's becoming quite the thorn in our side lately. Fleas and now cat poop. Eddie, we love you but you suck. It's a good thing that Collin has deemed a new purpose for you: dress-up-doll and that in your ever-patient, good-natured doggie attitude, you seem to actually like whatever attention he bestows on you, otherwise we may begin to dislike you for your antics. Although Eddie, I don't know what I'd do without your snuggles right now. Your ears feel like velvet and I'm glad that no matter how much I rub them, they don't ever rub off and you just seem to like it more and more. The other night, when I called you to me at two a.m. and you snuggled into my side and let me rub your ears for two straight hours, you earned your keep, cat poop breath and all. Good dog.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meeting Jack!

You would think with all the times we've been to The Haunted Mansion, that we'd have checked "meeting Jack" off of our Disneyland list. Nope. 

Collin was so awestruck, that when he met him, he just kept sucking breath and whispering. Collin kept pointing at his own shirt and then back at Jack and finally said, "I was Jack for Halloween! I was Jack!" It was so cute. 

When we walked away, he said, "I forgot to tell him that he's the wrong Jack. His head is all squished on the sides and not round enough." I'm sure that the Disney costume designers would like to know that the nearly four-year-old boy has a critique for them. I do, however, agree with him. And everyone in line to meet this particular Jack agreed as well. It did look weird. 

He got over it though. We had another weird day there this weekend. Mommy left Daddy and Collin at lunchtime and went home to study. Boo :( They spent all afternoon at the park by themselves having Daddy and Collin fun time. I don't begrudge them their fun since Daddy and Collin won't get much time together soon; but, I missed them, especially when I see pictures of my boy looking so darn cute while I was away.
I met up with them after dinner for Collin's first Disney experience of fireworks. We've held off for a long time because he always poops out by the evening and I don't mean a little. I mean major poop out. He turns into the great pumpkin and it isn't worth the effort. We just figure eh, let's try again another day.  Since they have the snow in the street at the end of the show for the holidays we really gave it a try this time.

This is Collin's opinion of snow after the initial five seconds of being impressed by it. I don't think he even wanted Daddy to have it on his head. He was pretty convinced it was uncomfortable. And he was confused as to why it would disappear. Ah, the joy of raising a child in California where snow is a novelty because it comes out of a machine attached to a street post.

And this, my friends, is Collin, no kidding, three minutes after the fireworks were over. He slept until almost ten the next morning. I think that is the latest he's slept, ever. He didn't even know we'd bought him that flashing light saber that he begged for until after he woke up. Kind of a lucky guy, if you ask me. Maybe spoiled is the word. Nah, it can't be true. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Why I Will Hire Tutors

I went to "observe" Collin at school earlier this week. I braced myself for them to tell me that he's hyper. I know he's hyper. I've met him.

Guess what? He's hyper. 

We're working on it. We have some "strategies" and some plans and some other stuff to work on and all that.

What I wasn't prepared for was the fact that my kid is way smarter than I thought he was. See, I do workbooks at home with him because I ask him all kinds of questions all the time to sort of "test" his knowledge and see what he's picking up, because it's impossible to gauge his knowledge. He will persistently exhibit absolutely no knowledge of anything whatsoever, and then suddenly whip out random comprehension of something akin to say, the pythagorean theorem, indicating previous dishonesty of said incomprehension. So, I sort of try to do workbooks of letters, numbers, and all sorts of stuff with him to see what he's getting. 

I always fail. Why? He refuses, flat out refuses, to learn from me. It's literally like as soon as he can tell I'm trying to teach him, he can tell that something "educational" is coming out of my mouth and his brain shuts off. I've tried tricking him, by approaching the same information in "toy" format with play-doh, chalk, you name it. He figures it out at warp speed. The kid is a diabolical. 

Anyway, I assumed that all the writing work he was bringing home all year, was stuff he was tracing. I have often asked him to write for me at home. Of course, he tells me, "no." He tells me, "I don't know how." I figured the tracing was at least good for motor skills and it was good for him to see the letters and numbers and he was building a knowledge base, but heck he's almost four, he should be getting this stuff, right? 

The jig is up, child. I saw you. With my own eyes. Turns out, he WAS getting it. 
So of course, I made him do it again. 

 And pose for a picture. For posterity. Because it's nothing, if not documented.
Despite the fact that he's been doing this all stinking school year without my knowledge. 

So, thank you, child for reaffirming my failure as a parent. 

Apparently, I am incapable of teaching you anything. 

Oh, except lying.