Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Happenings at the McClain House of Late

It's amazing how busy seemingly nothing can keep our relatively small family, even on summer vacation. First, there's the absurd amount of sweeping that I do. Now, I know that I keep my house pretty clean. But, since we've moved into this house, there seems to be a weird amount of dust and hair accumulating in our downstairs. I'm not sure if the dog and cat are in cahoots to overrun us with tumbleweed like balls of hair every day or I just never noticed it before. Either way, I'm sweeping the darn downstairs pretty much twice a day. I caught Collin with the rug I moved aside to do said sweeping the other day. Apparently, it made a good bed for him and monkey. Kids and their imaginations. Seeing as that's the rug I stand on day in and day out to cook all manner of meal, I see it not as a snuggly blanket but as a festering pool of all manner of food germs like salmonella or e. coli. Sweet dreams.

We also had a little party to thank our friends for all the slave labor/generous help they provided us when we moved. This is about half of them crammed at our table eating the yummy food we provided them. A paltry thanks for all they did. Thanks guys. Note that it's the kids I took a picture of. The kids really didn't help all that much in the move. In fact, they didn't do much of anything except hang around and help by not being a non-help. I guess that's the most you can ask of kids. Thanks for that kids.

Oh, and there was Ben. That kid knows how to protect his bun. Oh, and wear Collin's hand-me-down shorts. I might be biased but I think Collin looked only slightly cuter in them. Mind you, I say only slightly. And, we are still working our buns off at P90x still. Collin thinks he's working out too on occasion. He's been helping me with form. Seriously. This is Collin actually correcting me. The nerve. I'm not trying to sound cocky or anything here, but I'm pretty certain my abs are flatter than ol' keg barrel tum-tum there. And in all seriousness, two weeks in and I've got the actual line down the middle cut abs and the six pack starting. I can do chin ups without a chair and I have muscles I've never seen before. This workout is like nothing I've ever seen before and I consider myself in pretty good shape. Thankfully, I have Collin to correct my form, or I'd be lost. I'm so glad we have it though; without running, I'd be going nuts.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Considering California is in a drought, I have some serious questions as to where the following lake of a mud puddle could possible come from and furthermore, how it could possible sustain itself for days on end.

Let's consult the oracle, unearthed from the cesspool just this morning. "Joker, where did this mud puddle come from? And, can Mommy take a non-blurry picture of us conversing about it?"

In all seriousness, the cesspool of filth probably formed by big kids digging a monster hole and the sprinklers filling it in and now we're left with a semi-permanent mess-maker. Awesome. Well, at least someone thinks so. Maybe it's like any toy. The shine will come off the penny, so to speak. He's not a big fan of getting hosed off in the driveway in his birthday suit when he gets home.

Oh, and a tip of the day for everyone: you can pick your friends or you can pick your seat; but you cannot pick your friends' seats.

By the way, yep, those are Buzz Lightyear sunglasses. Is he a Stud Muffin, or what? He thinks so. Of course, the minute he got mud splashed on them, he took them off, promptly returned them to the mommy-slash-pack mule and said, "It will be alright if the sun is in my eyes. These are damaged now."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mud Pies and Such

So, I am a (horn tooting warning) pretty darn tooting (see, I told you) good cook, if I do say so myself. I cook most nights of the week and we rarely have anything from a box, bag or freezer. We rarely eat out because I cook better than what a restaurant serves, in my opinion, and in the opinion of my ever-loving family, and it's healthier. But, I have a failing in the baking department. I have a few recipes I shine at and then I get a big, fat, stinking F, an F- even. I'm terrible. It doesn't stop me from trying.

We bought something like nine flats of raspberries at Costco this week. It's an insane amount of raspberries (although I eat a pint a sitting) and I decided to make tart. Damn those stiff peaks. DAMN them straight to hell. I should know by now that if a recipe says "beat until stiff peaks form," I should just turn the page and try something else. These are decidedly NOT stiff peaks.
In other news, Collin found a mud puddle at the park today. He had a blast. He did not enjoy the strip down and hose off in the front yard. It wasn't the nudity so much that bothered him as the ice cold water. Although before nap he said, "Mommy, I think I like mud still, even though clean up is no fun." That's my boy. And no, that grainy appearance of the photo is not a bad picture, that is all filth; filthy hair, dirty face, it was IN his underwear.
We've also made some decisions lately. We will be renewing our passes again next year for that happiest of places on earth, despite the fact that the little guy will need his own pass next year and there is no "child's" pass that is cheaper. Grrr. The following photo explains why we'll do it anyway. Any questions?
We've also made some investments lately. Collin is currently obsessed, and I mean in a neurotic way, with Buzz Lightyear. If Buzz were real (shh, don't tell Collin), he might need a restraining order on my child. He just got his first Astro Blaster. This means that my new name (and Bryon's) is Zurg. Go ahead, call me that, I'm used to it. I'm thinking of putting it on my driver's licence. I spend most of my day "dead," then being reanimated so I can be "killed" again because, to Collin, it's no fun for Mommy to simply be lying around dead all day (I somewhat disagree). I think he needs a firmer grasp of what "dead" means.
We've also bought P90X. Mommy is thrilled. Daddy, not so much. Mommy was going nutty not being able to workout as hardcore as she normally does (read: no running allowed STILL), so she talked Bryon into buying it for her. Yeah, it's as insane as you've heard, more so. I talked Bryon into doing it with me and he's a little irritated. Bryon is one of those skinny guys who eats like a garbage disposal and works out only if you poke him with a rake...in the eye. In other words, he's annoying. When he found out pull ups were involved and that it was, you know, hard, he was ready to check out. After the first four days of pretty much being wheelchair bound with muscle fatigue, we are recovering nicely and it's actually a cool workout. Collin calls it dangling and we keep catching him stealing the pull up bars from under the bed. I guess there are worse things to catch your son with from under the bed than pull up bars, eh?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Proof Men are Men from Birth

Collin was supposed to be putting his pants on by himself. Collin, however, discovered the joy of "reading" in the bathroom. Men.

His throat is feeling better though. I was given a tongue-lashing for catching him with his pants-down, so to speak.

He looked a little cute though in the moments just prior, didn't he? Don't worry, no naughty bits showing. Still, sometimes I wish I could go back in time to when he was this little, when he couldn't talk (or scream) at me. Seriously, look at that adorable, squishy face.

No, you aren't confused. This face isn't my child. This is Ben. We missed you, Ben. He was on vacation for a while. He's back. He ate a sandwich at my house. Then he fell down and ate a little of his own lip. I think he liked his sandwich more.

Because Collin must've known I was going to entitle this post what I did, he also likes to irritate me and has been choosing to cross-dress all week...in public no less. That's my cardigan. He's been insisting on wearing my sweaters, everywhere. It's weird, don't' you think?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

And There's This

I generally try to keep my whole "not believing in God" thing as a thing that I don't push on others but something that I might make a crack about every once in a while; something like, "hey good think I don't believe in God, or I'd be going straight to Hell right about now." It's not so cool to broadcast it, you know? People, most people, believe in the dude. And most people think he's really, really important. I'm down with that. Seriously. I have the utmost respect for everyone's beliefs. If you choose to believe that your ham sandwich is your personal savior, great. I'm not going to argue with you. I literally do. not. care. I also find that sometimes, people on both sides of this God-fence can have a bit of a pushy agenda when it comes to religion and I'm not so down with that. Let's just leave at at that.

But this morning was when I had a moment of doubt. See, I actually called Bryon from the toilet (where I do my first news update of the day, scrolling my phone, bleary eyed for the morning--you needed that image, didn't you?) because I couldn't contain my glee to pass on the news about this.

It used to look like this.


Many a time we've passed this statue on the way to Cincinnati when we lived in Ohio and Bryon and I got into many a long conversation about how the pulpit preaching must've went in the mega mall, oops, I mean church to convince the parishioners that their collection plate filling was going to a good cause to build it rather than to homeless, lepers, etc.

"Oh ye Christian followers, the gads of money it will take to build this classy statue cannot be better spent on Christian deeds 'round the world. No! No! We will not be the laughing stock of this, our great state of Ohio! No!"

Anyway, I'm convinced that perhaps if there's a God, he finally smote this absurdity. The irony: the church will likely be able to fix it with an insurance claim under an act of God, I'm sure because it was a lightning strike that caused the fire.

Or, he did it to give Bryon a little glee because Bryon is the best husband on the planet. In the past week he has bought me ALL new replacement everyday dishes in Spode everyday no less. Hooray for Bryon! And he bought me this.

Yes, I've wanted this for the past two years and he broke down and bought it for me. He let me bargain hunt for two years, and if I do say so myself, I got an excellent deal. It was not the retail price of, gasp $600.

Anyway, Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

School's Out Foooooooor Suuuuummmmmer!

Collin celebrated in typical Collin-style at the school picnic.

He ate. Chloe, our assigned, parentless-child, didn't so much eat, as wander off a lot to the playground, which was off limits until everyone was done eating, making me feel like a bad assigned parent. Wait, calling her parentless makes her sound like an orphan. Look how adorable she is. Her equally adorable mother just wasn't there. So she, in her totally adorable way, took me be the hand the minute I got there, as if she had bat-radar and said, "I'm to sit with you, okay?" Then, she commenced squatting, as to be better able to dash off at a moment's notice (aka when I was busy not watching her).

Collin also celebrated the end of the school year by being adorable to the ladies. I guess he figured that since he wouldn't be seeing Audrey for a month or two, he'd better make a lasting impression on her, so she'd be thinking of him all summer. He spent all of the last day of school macking on her. I watched him follow her all over the playground and attempt to impress her with all sorts of shovel tricks. This one pretty much consisted of flicking hard-packed mud from the ground into wide arcs. She was somehow not as impressed as he would've liked. I say that any girl who pulls of socks and sandals is a keeper. You chose wisely, my son. And she even accessorizes! And everyone knows how I love a cardigan! Oh, be still my heart.

The whole school celebrated with a bouncy castle. You have not seen joy until you have seen twenty kids at a time, bounce in one of these things. You have also not been summarily impressed until you have seen the skill with which this school managed this. No injuries. No tears. Not a single bonked head. Not a single fight. Nothing. Just fun. It was a-ma-zing! By the way, kids with their pictures on their shirts all saying "I'm special at Rolling Hills Montessori," is so painfully cute!
Mommy couldn't pass up the opportunity to let Collin celebrate his first last day of school at Disneyland. I mean how many kids are lucky enough to have that option? Swing by McDonalds for lunch after spending the morning in a bouncy castle and then dash off to ride Peter Pan? He's one lucky fella, if I do say so myself? Get a lollipop on the way home for being a good boy (because how could you be a pain in the keister after all that) and call it a day. When you finish typing a paragraph like that, your kid sounds like one spoiled little monster.

To compensate for spoiling him, we sometimes deprive him of necessities, like glasses. I made him these out of an egg carton. Daddy is showing him how to wear them so he won't get confused. We figure that this will help him feel more well-rounded.

I'm not certain that he's buying it.
At least, he still thinks I'm funny. I know that one day, very, very, very soon, he will think that I'm just as lame as Daddy is. Wait, no. Daddy's still funny too. You get the idea.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Just a Reminder

That we live here.

At the beach.

Yeah. It's this nice. Mommy needs to learn that it makes more sense to just take off her sundress cover up than to lift it up because, you know what? Waves are unpredictable. Holding it up? Stupid. It got wet. That's what the bathing suit is for. Duh. Of course that made it wet and cold for when I was ready for something dry and warm later. Grrr. Ocean water is not warm. Not at all. And no, you don't get used to it. Ever. Ever. Ever.

It was about 70 this morning. Not too hot. Not too cold. Juuuuuust riiiiight, for learning how to "jump" over waves.

Want to know what this random picture is for? An unpredictable wave knocked Mommy on her kiester. She was excessively careful with the camera. You might say she was insanely careful with it. Still, when the mean wave knocked her down (darn those oceanic currents) a teensy-weensy splash got on the camera and she freaked out. She has a bad track record with cameras and the ocean. Thus this is the test shot later after she let it rest for hours and hours and hours before turning it on again. Thankfully, even if it didn't work, we bought a protection plan for this camera. Phew. P.S. I'm pretty sure I'm reminding myself of this wonderful living arrangement too so that once we move somewhere sucky, I can either feel better at having lived here or feel terribly depressed at having been forced to move. One or the other.

Things Collin Does When He's Better

There's a basketball "court" across the street from our house. I call it a "court" because, thanks to living in earthquake-central, otherwise known as California, it's cracked all the way across the middle and looks like it might be part of the fault line because half of it is three inches taller than the other half. I'm not sure how much real basketball a person could play there. I think that this is actually a good thing, because it'd be pretty annoying to hear all that dribbling all the time. Have I mentioned my aversion to annoying noises? I digress. Collin loves the basketball court.

After nap on Thursday was the first time since the surgery that I let him outside for playtime. It was also the first time he didn't wake up in hysterics and the first day he didn't spend at least half of it complaining of excessive pain, thus not drugged up. I think he had a good time.

Considering we only went twenty yards from our house and we played on a concrete slab with a single ball for all of forty minutes before he was totally exhausted, I think it was a success. It never ceases to amaze me how much fun a three year old can make out of such little accoutrement. Seriously. Concrete slab, encased by fencing and grass. We spent ten minutes watching an ant. Are you hanging on the edge of your seat to know what happened to Mr. Ant? He was.

Friday was a thrill a minute too. I sound like I'm being sarcastic (and I am, just a little), but I truly love this time with my little man. Is there anything more special than being with your best little buddy, watching him be happy? We made banana cake. Daddy insists that it is banana bread. Mommy keeps calling it pumpkin cake because she is insane and can't keep anything in her head straight and because three year olds are very persnickety, and it drives Collin up the wall when she says it incorrectly. What fun can Mommy have if she can't amuse herself by annoying Collin sometimes?

Know what Daddy's doing? Sleeping. Lazy fool. Know why? Remember how I mentioned I was feeling poorly when Collin got his tonsils out? Turns out I had the flu. The flu morphed into bronchitis which is oh so much fun. Well, Daddy is such a copycat.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Solution?

Ever since Collin's epic anaesthesia meltdown which required two nurses, three doses of Demerol and forty-five minutes of restraint, he's had mini-flashback meltdowns every time he wakes up. Bryon is inclined to tell me that this is "just a phase." I'm inclined to say, uhhh, it started immediately after that horrid day and has happened every stinking time ever since. So, I think he's going through some sort of weird "I'm afraid to wake up" thing that has to stop. That, combined with the fact that as he sleeps, his mouth hangs open like a slack-jawed yokel and dries out his pulverized, hamburger throat, which of course, makes it even more sore. So, he wakes up screaming, sobbing and generally like a kid making this mommy even more certain she doesn't want any more children.

Anyway, in our more lucid moments, Collin and I have been chatting about why he cries inconsolably for anywhere from ten minutes to an hour upon waking both in the morning and after nap for oh, this past week. It's been a joy. He has yet to give me an answer. In between sobs, he hits me, pushes me, tells me to go away or, alternatively, wants a hug. It's all lovely behavior that makes me so proud of him. Clearly, all of this horrid behavior is tolerated in our house and hitting, pushing and kicking are the norm. Rationalizing with an out of control three year-old is awesome: "Collin, does Mommy EVER hit you?" (Collin then proceeds to shwack me in the face).

Yesterday, once he'd calmed down and after I'd removed everything from his room; and I do mean everything (think sheets, comforter, etc) that he could throw because he'd reduced himself to pure meltdown after about forty minutes, he said that maybe he'd feel better if, when I woke him up from now on, I greeted him with a snack. Yes folks, according to the king, I need to be greeting my child with food. Perhaps I should be investing in a silver tray with a little doily? I thought this a bit much but I'm willing to try anything at this point.

So, this morning, I brought Collin one cracker when I woke him up. ONE. I held it out in front of me as protection the way you might hold out mace in Central Park after dark. Anyway, when he immediately started his snarly face cries and flailing arm movements, he saw the cracker and, poof! It worked!

Apparently, low blood sugar? Or he just really, really likes food? I'm inclined to believe the latter. Anyone who's met my kid probably knows the latter to be true. Whatever. It worked. I don't like it. But, I'm rolling with it for now. We'll break it later.

Although, I'm not saying that after chewing up that bit of cracker, he didn't just roll back over and insist he needed more sleep. At least he was just "regular" grumpy and not "on crack" grumpy. I can deal with that.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dirty Laundry

I must know if my kid is the only one out there that is weird. So, here's some of his little foibles. Anyone else out there with these oddities?

1. If he gets at all wet, and I mean even a sprinkling from a passing thought of someone maybe thinking of perhaps sneezing, six miles away, he takes off all his clothes in order to let them dry. So, of course, if he drips on himself while he is drinking from a "big boy" cup, all bets are off and he's half naked most of the day. We all know what rationalizing with a three year old is like, and telling him that his shirt will dry even if it's on his body, is pretty much like dismantling the Great Wall of China one brick at a time. At least I've gotten him to stop requesting a new shirt every time one gets wet.

2. While the child has been potty trained longer than I can remember, he's pretty insistent that standing to pee is off limits. Period. He'll only do it if I force him. Or, if I trick him by putting something in the toilet for him to aim at, and he's becoming suspicious of that. Damn, the jig is up. I thought boys were supposed to like aiming that thing? And touching it? Isn't aiming it just a chance for touching? What's the deal with my kid? Taking everything off to pee is getting old. He's starting to tell me that he has to poop every time he goes in there to pee, just so he can sit. What's more, he actually squeezes out a teensy, weensy little bit of poop, just to prove me wrong when I say, "yeah, right." Honestly, a little switch goes off when they turn three and they become thinking machines!

3. He's pretty sure the world of counting stops at the number eleven. He asks us what numbers are beyond eleven and we tell him. We count together. He counts. It's amazing. He's really good. Yet, when he gets to eleven, he just says, "eleven, eleven, eleven, eleven..." you get the idea. Sometimes, he goes on from there after a while and says, "fifteen, sixteen, etc." I'm pretty sure he has a short circuit. I tried taking him to the Geek Squad but they said his software wasn't compatible with Vista. Stupid Vista. No one likes it.

4. He's obsessed with cutting. No, I don't mean the teenage angst, leave a scar on your arm kind of cutting, I mean the cutting up paper into teeny, tiny little scraps so small that every time he does it, I need to pull out the vacuum (have I mentioned I love my Dyson?). I had to buy him new scissors today because he misplaced his other ones and losing scissors in this house is as upsetting as a death. Apparently, letting your three year old cut without hawk-like supervision is weird, but he has only cut his finger once and it was really small. Of course, no cut is too small for a band aid when you are three! He is so focused and intent that I could probably go on vacation and leave him safely cutting for days. Hey, there's an idea! Headline: Mother in Aruba, Child left with Scissors and Back Issues of US Weekly.

5. He is also currently obsessed with learning to tell jokes. Why do kids try to do this? They are terrible at it. It's awful. Painful. I'm married to the punster champion of the world. I fell in love with him because puns are funny. Kids don't get puns. Kids are even worse at delivering them. Case in point:

Collin: When is a door not a door?
Mommy: When?
Collin: When it's open part way (Cue his adorable plea for laughter face)

Beautiful, right? I think he means, when it's ajar. Get it? Someone obviously explained what ajar meant and he used that as the takeaway instead of the punchline. Poor kid. Poor Mommy. Poor everyone who's had to hear that joke ten thousand times for the last few days. Then, of course, when he does get it and tells it properly, you've got to put on your best pretend hilarious laughter, because, c'mon mom, that's funny stuff, right?