Sunday, January 23, 2011


We picked up Collin's painted robot from last Saturday. Against my better judgement, I let him carry it to the car.

I don't think I've ever seen him so sad. The heartbreak on his face was so dreadful. He dropped it literally in the middle of traffic and stood there and just froze and wailed while I picked up the pieces and cars just stopped around us. It was horrible. I think the worst part was realizing that cars were waiting not realizing what tremendous tragedy had just occurred to my little boy, as if their world could continue while such tremendous pain was happening to my son. I felt so badly for him.

Although, it was nothing that a little bit of lunch at a restaurant didn't fix. I know the way to my son's heart and food is certainly it. Thankfully, the store is in a large shopping center so we just marched our behinds right to a restaurant and we ate. Distraction achieved and I'm happy to say that the large pieces have been salvaged and he's none the wiser to the chips that he can barely see missing. No need to adjust your monitors, it is actually that color(s).

Mr. Robot is happily getting Ms Tinkerbell sloshed in the china/liquor cabinet as we speak and since the doors are closed, they are thinking about....

Building a Star Wars Bear

Saturday Fun Day with Mommy was a busy one this week. We were invited to a morning birthday party and I ended up going to Santa Monica in the afternoon to pick up a desk. Not to disappoint my boy, I managed to cram in the Build-A-Bear ON Saturday, as promised.

He was super excited and changed his mind at the last minute. He talked about a Darth Vader bear all week. He was pretty insistent that's what he would build. In the back of my mind, I was pretty sure he'd pick one of the other options and just crossed my fingers he wouldn't be bedazzled by a princess choice.

I was right. He immediately settled on a Storm Trooper. Well, technically it's a Clone Trooper but who's being that nit picky?

By the way, doesn't this poor teenage boy look super thrilled to be working the stuffing machine and wearing an apron with the word "love" on it? Get a tougher job, dude if you hate working at a store where you have to hand hearts to kids to kiss.

He couldn't be dissuaded from getting a light saber even though a Clone Trooper doesn't fight with a light saber and would, in fact have a blaster. His argument was that, "Mommy, they don't have any guns here and he needs a weapon." I guess he had a point.

Yes, the light saber makes noise and yes the bear plays the Star Wars theme song so we are noise-d out. It's fun.

The best part about the Clone Trooper bear is that his helmet doesn't stay on properly so he constantly asks me to "fix his helmeNt" for him.

Have I mentioned my son's penchant for inserting the letter "N" in the word helmet and flat-out insisting that it's the correct pronunciation? He will actually go out of his way to bring it up in conversation just to say, "Mommy, did you know that 'helmeNt' is right and 'helmeT' is wrong?" Can you tell he knows that it's under my skin? Having children is like having a crazy roommate you can't kick out, I think. And yes mother and father, I hear you laughing at me all the way from California. I realize this sounds strikingly similar to an argument I had with you around this age in which I insisted that we spoke American.

Anyway, he had a fantastic time at Build-A-Bear and I'm glad he's not too into the whole experience because I'd kill myself if we had to go there a lot. It's an expensive way to spend thirty minutes, even with a coupon. And, we were there on the tails of a birthday party so it was a zoo. He's been carrying it around the house though, so he must love it. Thank goodness. The last time we went, he handed it to me on the way out the door and said, "Here you go mommy, you can have it."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Way to Hug Daddy

Forgive the non-edited video but my software was acting funky and my priority was for Daddy to be able to see this sooner than later.

Untitled from Rachel McClain on Vimeo.

I think Collin's joy says it all. This was a great idea. Thanks Hug-a-Hero for making such a great product and thanks Jen for showing them to me.

When he went to bed tonight, he introduced Daddy to Monkey and they shared a hug and Collin said to monkey, "Thanks monkey for being nice to Daddy. Now we can all sleep together and get along." So sweet. This was after Collin hugged his Daddy the whole way home and they chatted about his day at school.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Oh And This...

We got our pictures taken about two weeks ago. My friend Ashley is a photographer and she does beautiful work. I met her in one of my classes and I thought it would be fun to let her take a couple of really relaxed shots of us just playing and being ourselves at our favorite spots, and to do it right before Daddy left.

We're going to buy the proofs so Grandparents, have no fear, I'll upload the whole 200 and some shots to Shutterfly when I get it. You'll be able to go crazy. They are really lovely.

I just thought you might like to take a look at her post about it.

Collin and Mommy's First Date Without Daddy

Collin and I have started a calendar system for while Daddy's gone to help us get through the weeks. Collin is having some trouble both adjusting to going to school five days a week and to Daddy being gone, which was of course, expected. So, we have a calendar on the refrigerator that he puts stamps on every morning to check off every day towards Saturday, which is his Mommy and Collin "date" day. (We'll send him to therapy later to deal with the issues associated with dating his mother--what? No woman will ever be better than me for him anyway right? Right? Right?!!) 

At the beginning of the week he picks out a Saturday activity and we stamp out every morning towards our Saturday "date" and countdown. He really, really, really looked forward to it this first week and I hope it keeps working as we transition and he has more things to look forward too, like his first visit with Daddy sometime next month! 

This week, we went to Color Me Mine in Torrance and he got to pick whatever he wanted to paint. I was a little worried we'd end up with another questionable item, as he selected Tinkerbell last time. He talked about a dinosaur all week, but the T-Rex was $89 and I had to put my foot down.

We even invited Austin to come along. They both settled on robots. Collin chose to paint his robot every color in the store. I'm sure that when we pick him up next week after he's glazed and fired, he won't be as ugly as I remember him. Collin and I actually had some sassy-mouth words about him needing to stop "mixing" colors as he was calling it so he could actually finish the robot before next Saturday's date. He was painting the same spot over and over and over again in hundreds of colors and refusing to paint anywhere else. Alas, it may never dry.

Considering we had two preschool boys in a store chock-full of breakable items and paint, I was very proud of them. Not a single thing got broken and neither one of them was covered in paint. They were pretty good. They only reduced to covering their eyes with the sponges and calling themselves "sponge-eyes" during the last few minutes. Overall, they were really good.

Next Week's Date: Making Star Wars Build-A-Bears. He's already really excited. He says he wants to make Darth Vader. Thank goodness for coupons! 

First Fall Field Trip Fun!

Can you say that five times fast? Probably. It's not a very good tongue twister. No one said it was.

So, Collin had his first field trip of the year this week. It was supposed to be his second but the pumpkin patch farm visit got rained out this year. Can you believe that a farm visit got RAINED out in California! The farm was flooded. Yes folks, flooded! We were saddened.

The Kidspace Children's Museum made up for it, despite it being in Pasadena. Pasadena is a great city and really beautiful but it's also not close and not easy to get to. It's a big commitment to take an entire school out there. The kids loved it.

It's kind of hard not to love a museum that let's you pretend you are a bug, right? It's like a big park. They had a blast.

Daddy, if only you'd left this weekend instead of last weekend and you could've been with us to see your boy climb a rock wall. you would've been so proud. He made it right to the tip-top immediately and promptly fell right off, flat on his butt. The whole crowd of parents did the gasping shock thing and he jumped up in TA-DA stance and burst out laughing as if he thought it was the most hilarious thing in the world that anyone should think it scary that he should fall and then he climbed right back up again. That's my boy. Of course, then he promptly continued to fall repeatedly hoping for more attention.  

Anyone in the area really should consider checking this place out. It was really fun. It was all hands on and the kids could play on everything. There was lots of climbing and jumping and playing. The structures were all pretty adult accessible too, so you could easily get in there with your kids.

They did a little interactive show with the kids at the very end that Collin could've lived without because he would've rather continued playing on his own with the exhibits but it was still pretty good. To be honest, I think that the show was a let down for a lot of the kids because they do such a good job with music lessons at their school every day that the "music" they tried to do at the museum was sort of like "uh, why can't we go play?"

Collin was just bummed that the other kids got sticks to play with and he got a shaker egg. I felt bad for him. But, on the other hand, I was so proud to see that his friend, without prompting, kept switching with him when she saw he was sad. She kept letting him use her sticks and alternating with his egg. It is just that kind of sweetness that I love seeing at this school. They really learn to take care of each other. The environment warms my heart.

They all painted a huge picture as a class as an end-of-day project which made me grateful that I don't have the job as one of those museum people who runs these type of projects. About a hundred preschoolers and and uncountable number of paint bottles. No thank you. I'll just go ahead and stand back and take pictures and silently judge. It was a cute idea and the kids liked it.

A Way in Which He is NOT Like His Mother

For as anal retentive as I am (let's just call that an endearing quality, shall we?), about any number of things, being on time is one of the things I have to work on. I'm not usually very, very late, but I'm usually spot on, or one to five minutes late. And to be so, I'm scampering out the door. Truth be told, I do a lot of math and rationalizing in my head that tells me that if I take an imaginary shower during which I suddenly figure out the secret to turning off the luxurious, relaxing water or blow dry my hair in a land where my hair always cooperates, etc. then I CAN read for seven more minutes instead of two.

Anyway, Collin seems to want to be on time for our future move to D.C. He keeps asking when we are going: as in asking every day, sometimes up to thirteen thousand times a day. It hasn't passed into annoying yet because I know how much he misses Daddy and I do too. All he seems to understand about D.C. is that Daddy lives there and that it snows there. These are the only two facts about the place that he seems to have retained. Someone get that kid a book or two so we can beef up his knowledge. 

Alas, he is dressed for the occasion. Daddy didn't have the heart to take his winter hat with him when he saw Collin put it on and ask to keep it. It's not like it's inappropriate for a nearly four-year old child to wear a cap with a Guinness logo on it, is it? Besides, it's reversible, to a different Guinness logo. Wait, that's equally inappropriate. 

So, a lot of our conversations these days go something like this:

Mommy: We are stopping at Von's on the way home from school because we are out of milk.
Collin: Ok. And then are we moving to D.C.?
Mommy: No.
Collin: Why not?
Mommy: Because we will have just bought milk and we still have to finish it.
Collin: Oh. Well, I can eat snow when we get there though.
Mommy: It's still going to be a whole year. Sorry bud.
Collin: Ok. (Long pause) Well then, can I have a piece of candy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Go Fish!

This may appear to insult my son's ability to count, his ability to play cards, and his sportsmanship; however, I find it adorable. Normally, he can count. He also can frequently play cards quite well and can often find it within the realms of reason to play fair...for a round or two.

Untitled from Rachel McClain on Vimeo.

But, like all boys approaching four, all hell breaks loose when you play more than few hands. Right?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Holidays are Over When...

You put away the tree and you remember that at the bottom of the ornament box are Eddie's antlers. He loves them. He loves them so much that you have to chase him to take the annual torture picture.  

And, when the boy goes back to school and you have the following types of conversations (like this one that we had on the way home today): 

Collin: Mommy, I've never been here (pointing out the window)
Mommy: Collin, we drive home on this road EVERY day. 
Collin: But I've never been inside any of these houses. Can I go in them someday. 
Mommy: Probably not. We don't know those people. You don't go in strangers houses. 
Collin: But strangers are all good. 
Mommy: (thinking where am I going wrong?) Ummm, no. No, they aren't. 
Collin: But we let strangers in our house. 
Mommy: No we don't. 
Collin: But what about trees. Trees go in houses. I saw one go in a house once. 
Mommy: What? 
Collin: It moved. It got up and moved. 
Mommy: What? 
Collin: The tree was so big that it went into the house and it wasn't a stranger. 
Mommy: I'm done with this conversation
Collin: And then it went to a concert
Collin: Can I go to a concert so I can see a tree dance? 

Thank goodness he's in school. 

Despicable Collin

We're behind the bandwagon on the whole "Despicable Me," thing. We missed it when it was in the theater. I think we meant to see it but every time we tried to go, Collin got in trouble or something. Anyway, we got it this week and the BluRay thing came with the goggles. 

Collin was pretty convinced that he had to have the goggles on to watch the movie. I think he thought that it was some sort of 3-D thing.

Elephant Seals

Hey Rachel and Collin, whatchya lookin' at? 

Come on, looks kind of interesting!

 Oooh! Elephant seals! 

Mommy, it's just like the zoo only real. 
(Yeah, he seriously said that)

Then, when his Great Granddad bought him a stuffed elephant seal, he named it "Puffer Fish" because, as he explained to me, "they all swim."

Christmas Part-Something-Or-Other

There's nothing like trying to get your (squirmy/busy/active/insane) child to pose in front of the Christmas tree for a nice picture/. I could put up the thousands of failed pictures for you to illustrate just how frustrating it was. Instead, I will just put up this one that says, "I'm pooping on the tree." Silly me for thinking, "oh, you are dressed nice, let's take a picture." 

After the Collin-Alone poses, I wanted Collin and Daddy poses. Collin was done with the whole picture thing so the only way we could get him to smile was by force. In other words, tickle torture or fake-dropping him and swinging him around the room. In other words, don't be fooled, while this picture may look like a loving father and son sharing a laugh, it is all contrived and only mere seconds before he was actually screeching to be unhanded from the clutches of his mean Daddy who was keeping him from all kinds of fun. 

Of course, Mommy wanted a picture too and how did I get a smile? Good old fashioned, bribery. We were about to depart on a long road trip and I told him if he would smile nice for ONE picture, he could have some goldfish crackers in the car. Did he get them? Yes.

Man, sometimes I think he's lucky we don't leave him at rest stops. It's a good thing that he takes such cute candid shots.

Speaking of rest stops. I  have to tell this rest stop story from our road trip to Granny's in hopes to get an opinion  poll of my five readers and get some people on my side. While slightly embarrassing for me, I think it makes a stranger look crazy.

I have some tummy issues and they flared up on the freeway so I made Bryon stop at the closest bathroom he could find, which was in this case a McDonald's. I was in there for quite some time, not an hour mind you, but a few minutes. There were two stalls but there was definitely a line forming for the other stall. I felt badly, but what could I do, you can't interrupt the "process?"

Suddenly, a very angry voice says, "Hey you! While you are in there reading your phone, there are SEVEN, that's right SEVEN people waiting for your stall! You think I can't see you in there!"

I was so blown away that I didn't know what to say at first. Yes, I was reading my phone while I "went." Is that so weird? I was bored. I was in there a while but I wasn't done. Anyway, waited a second and said, "Sorry, but I'm not having a good time in here. I'm not feeling well and I'm kind of XXX'ing my brains out. And what kind of person watches a stranger through the crack of a bathroom stall?"

She said, "Well there wasn't any movement in there so I wanted to know what's going on!"

I just left it at that but I really, really wanted to say something else. I was humiliated. I had to exit the stall at some point after that when there was still some of the same people waiting in line. Ugh. I was really embarrassed that I swore when I saw that there was a kid in line. I just mumbled an apology for the wait and got the heck out of there.

So seriously, isn't it kind of crazy to peer into a stranger's bathroom stall and confront them as to their private bathroom activities? And can't you kind of tell by sight, sound and ahem, smell, what's going on in there and leave them alone?