Friday, June 27, 2008

Where does the time go?!

It seems more like one day ago than three years ago that we felt someone had made the biggest mix-up and allowed us to take you, this tiny little baby, home from the hospital!

What were they thinking? What were we thinking?! We were so unqualified to be parents. We even skipped our last child birth class to go watch Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. And they still allowed us to take you home!

We have since realized that they must have covered an awful lot of material in that class because apparently we missed some crucial instructions somewhere! However, given your delightful personality--albeit sometimes trying personality--we must be doing something right! And even though we now make you share our love and some of your stuff--not all, because that would just be wrong--with your sister, you are still the delight of my heart.

Happy Birthday, Jacob Connor!

Singing Happy Birthday to himself

Yummy...he'll share if you ask nicely!
(Yes, Amy, that is a checkerboard cake. And if I told you I didn't use a kit I'd be lying. Sorry.)

a "Bug Vacuum" from his cousins! Our house will soon be spider free! Don't worry, they--usually--get released into the wilds of the backyard.

Sammy demonstrating how to operate the remote control Camero from Kokoo--which, as cool as it is, took a far distant second to the the bug vacuum as coolest present!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Move along, please.

Nothing to see here.

Just an exhausted, sleep deprived, icky feeling woman with deadlines looming, a birthday to plan for, a bathroom that is this close to being finished, a son who is now interested in using the potty (thank the Good Lord that urine is sterile!), and a baby that is once again cutting teeth.

No--once again, that isn't me in the picture. But Dakota T. Dog sure looks how I feel!

So...move along to the next blog, people.

We'll return to normal blogging soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Saturday at the river

"Mommy! Look! I'm playing with Ethan's poop!"


A few days before, the cousins had been down at the river. They discovered an abundance of wonderful clay just under the riverbed and spent the time sculpting various works of art. The majority of which turned out to look like poop. And my son was playing with Ethan's "art".

That was Saturday.

Sunday morning he starts talking about it again.

"I was playing with Ethan's poop!"

Right. Not exactly the opening greeting I was hoping for while walking into church.

"Sweetie, it wasn't really Ethan's poop."

"It was Sammy's poop!"

"No. Jacob, it was just pretend poop. Ethan made it out of clay. Like your play dough."

"Oh, Clay Dough."

"Yes! We can call it Clay Dough."

"I was playing with Ethan's poop!"

"It. Wasn't. Ethan's. Poop."

"It was giraffe poop!"

Fine. You're right. It was giraffe poop. I'll notify the Department of Wildlife Management immediately. They'll want to know about the giraffes wandering around the Willis River in south western Virginia. They might also be interested in the hippos that are also apparently in residence there.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Farewell , George! For those of us who have lived our lives a little off center and who believe that Authority is something to be questioned instead of blindly followed--your life, your humor and your social commentary will be sorely missed. Rest in peace.

George Carlin
May 12, 1937-June 22, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Around our yard...

Jacob and I took a walk around the yard today. Spent some time in the front--not something we usually do. A fairly busy road and an even busier 3-year-old. Not a good mix. But we saw this on the window and Jacob wanted to get a closer look. So out the front door we went.

I was asked if this was a mommy praying mantis or a daddy praying mantis. I figured odds were pretty good it was a mommy seeing as it still is in possession of its head.

A spider that has taken up residence between the panes of our louvered windows in the sunroom. Every now and then we get to watch it hunt and gather. Fascinating!

And a plant I had no idea existed in our yard! I should walk around the house more often!

And if I did walk around more often I'd have noticed sooner that my poor crape myrtle is fatally diseased. Very sad.

And here we have the latest resident of the front. My dad felt that this little guy needed to be in our yard. Given how heavy it is, this is as far from the vehicle as it got! He's actually quite quaint and growing on me.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Coming up for air

Just wanted to let all concerned citizens know that although I am being held hostage by my bathroom, I am in good spirits and good health. Please send wine.

I was going to hold off on pictures for a while and then post with a big "Ta Da" but like everything else with this project--it's just taking way too freakin' long! Besides, there have been requests for pictures of the floor. Okay, one request. By my dad. How can I refuse?

I drove the little ones out to spend Friday and Saturday with my mom. We were thinking that'd be plenty of time to tile the bathroom. We didn't count on a two hour trip to Lowes. Or the fact that the floor still isn't level. Oh, and then there's the fact that we don't know what we're doing. And by "we" I mean "me", since this is my part of the project.

Friday actually went well. The floor went fairly quick--all things considered. And Husband and I went out to dinner--almost like a date. I know--that's just crazy talk!

Then came Saturday. I wisely started with the most difficult part--the upper area around the tub. And that's all I did. All day. One itty bitty part. All day. Every tile had to be cemented one-by-one. Up and down on that tub--all day. Oy. I still hurt.

I was outside with Jacob this morning when one of our neighbors decided to be chatty. I felt the need to explain why our toilet--the only part of the old bathroom not being replaced--was taken apart and sitting in our backyard. A simple tub replacement due to the tub starting to fall through the floor turned into a complete bathroom gut job and re-do. Sighs and eye rolls. So she says that the same thing happened to her and she had to get people in to renovate her bathroom. How sweet. Where are these "people"? Why don't I know them?

And so, here we are tonight...

The window frame isn't back up yet...maybe we should take care of that.

Yep...nothing like a full day's work with hardly anything to show for it!

This is a fairly roomy bathroom without the toilet and sink! The other wall is actually tiled as well thanks to Husband going in after all short people were in bed and trying his hand at laying tile. He's a pro at it and the wall looks great! Hmmm...maybe I do have people!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A random post

I managed to snag pictures off of my mom's camera (Thank you, Daddy, for the CD) and figured I could share. So, here you are...a photo journal from the past several weeks. Besides, I've been tiling all day and my brain is mush!

He missed the shot of me with the reciprocating saw...but a crow bar and destruction is almost as good! This seems like a lifetime ago!

Babu and Jacob walking up from the river.

Cousins enjoying the water.

Kyleigh not too sure about the whole cereal thing yet!
She's a pro at it now!

Jacob and I sitting by the river. It had recently rained and I'm looking at the level and speed of the water--slightly terrified and positively against my son going for a swim that day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What's in my head right now...

Jacob made a statement the other day and at first it went right on by me but when I thought it over again it struck me as one of those things That We Need To Address--and it's just sort of lingered around on the outskirts of my brain just waiting to be re-visited and dealt with.

On our way home from somewhere we drove by a building and Jacob asked if that was a school. I replied, yes it was.

Is it my school?

No--unless we manage to stay here for a good while longer. Then it'll be your school.

But I want to go to school

My own experience with grade school having been so traumatic, I was curious as to why my son is so interested in school.

Well, why? What do you think happens in school?

A teacher talks.

A teacher talks

Where and how did my almost 3-year-old son come up with this concept?!

A classroom where my son is expected to sit and listen to a teacher talk would be a dismal failure of a learning program with nothing sort of disastrous results. He needs to be challenged and encouraged and given the chance to express himself. His father wasn't given any of these things and grew bored and restless--and what do bored and restless kids do? They act up and get labels slapped on them. Disruptive. Inattentive. Hyper. Lack of Impulse Control.

I had those labels as well. All because teachers just assumed I was reading and comprehending at the same level as my classmates. Not exactly an easy thing to do when I could barely read. So I was inattentive and disruptive.

I realize that I'm supposed to be thinking about my children's future and figuring out their avenues for education. But how did it sneak up so quickly? I don't even know where to begin. And did I mention that these children are still babies? Yes, Jacob's 3rd birthday is in two weeks--but he's still a baby. Can't I just allow them to be? Must we start formal education right away?

Husband and I were both, for the different reasons I already brought up, failed miserably by "traditional" education. He in public schools and I in private church schools. He is extremely biased against the local public school system. Having seen our bank statement, I realize it is unrealistic to think we can afford private school. And Virginia is not one of the states that has elected to help parents pay for alternative education with state funds. Not only that, I am really against a church school which would teach its own doctrines as part of the curriculum. I want to encourage my children to find their own answers in regards to faith and religion. I don't want them being preached to in a classroom--it's too easy to believe that that then is the only truth when there are in fact a great many truths.

Which brings us to the idea of home school. And that terrifies me to my very core. I am completely and totally unqualified to teach my children in that way--in knowledge, temperament and psyche. Yes, there are co-ops and such to help with homeschooling, but the brunt of my children's education would fall on me. Husband and I swapping roles is out of the question. Despite my resume being a mile long I have no real marketable job skills--at least none that would fetch the type of salary required for me to be the one bringing home the money and allow Husband to remain home as the care-giver and educator.

So here I am at the end of this long ramble and I'm still conflicted and confused. I want my children to be safe and learn in a loving, caring and stimulating environment--and excel to their fullest potential. Does such a place exist? Or have I once again entered my fantasy world?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Art, by Jacob

Jacob came running in the other afternoon--all excited!

Mommy! I made something special! Come look!

He made a sculptor out of the potato masher and forks. Ingenious!

Of course, he had to take it one step further and make it "Performance Art"!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Warrior Son

We do our best to keep our children's world as a haven where anything is possible and imagination is greatly encouraged. At times this philosophy can be trying.

Some time ago Jacob welcomed imaginary dinosaurs into our household. Some are friendly but for the most part he insists on fighting them off. With a sword. His sword is anything he can pick up--a stick, a potato masher, train tracks, his sister's links--and brandish in his best swashbuckler manner. The end result is usually destruction of some sort or another or inflicted pain on either one of us or his sister--and the wily dinosaur always manages to escape.

Despite our repeated proclamations of "We don't hit!", confiscating the "sword" and multiple time outs, the behavior remains. So we attempted another route--all the while doing our best to maintain the idea that imagination is good.

If you're fighting imaginary dinosaurs then you need to use an imaginary sword.

No, Mommy. I need to use a real sword.

But real swords don't work on these dinosaurs. Just pretend.


Then this morning--after going over this whole concept once again, the little man had an answer for me.

Mommy, an imaginary sword won't work. I actually need something in my hand!

I have no counter-argument for that. Advice right now will be welcome. All you veteran parents out there--anything?

Friday, June 6, 2008


Only a 7-month-old can get away with this look and make it adorable as apposed to a crime of fashion! The hardwood floors are brutal on tender little knees so I've been pulling out pants for her--that she wore this winter and are too short, but at least they cover her knees. Actually, don't they look like chic little baby capris?

In true fashionista style--Oh, is that the camera? Shall I do something cute and adorable?

At least she takes the time to chat with her fans and admirers!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sean!

Just a few short decades ago--more than three, less than four--this charming and delightful human being was born.

And I am forever grateful.

Yes, I know. There's no doubting who my baby's daddy is!

And then it was summer...

From today's newspaper...

Temperatures are expected to approach a record high today in the Richmond region, which is under a heat advisory from noon until 8 p.m.

Today’s forecast calls for temperatures as high as 94 degrees, which would be three degrees short of the record set in 1943.

Add a moderate dose of humidity, and temperatures will feel like more than 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in a public advisory issued early today.

“High temperatures in the 90s combined with moderate humidity will result in heat indices in many places, averaging from 100 to 110 degrees for several hours each day,” the advisory says.

Today, high temperatures will pair with isolated thunderstorms this afternoon. Tomorrow, temperatures climb again, with a high near 97 expected.

Saturday will likely be even steamier, with a high near 101. And next week, highs in the 90s will continue.

The heat wave comes after a series of violent storms caused by low-pressure fronts moving through the area.

We're remaining indoors today--and for the rest of the week--thank you very much! It normally doesn't get like this until mid-July and August!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Today I took a nap.

Sounds so mundane, doesn't it? But naps are so underrated!

The non-mundane part of it is that I ignored all of the house things I usually run around and take care of as soon as one or both (when I'm lucky) children are asleep. But with the craziness of life lately--yes, my life is normally all crazy but it seems to have taken on a different form of craziness and it's leaving me all out of sorts--I'm finding myself bending a fair number of rules.

So today my children both napped--at the same time--and I ignored my chores. A sink full of dirty dishes. Laundry basket full of clothes needing to be folded. Toys strewn the full length of the living room. And I laid my little head down on the couch pillow and took a nap. Bliss.

Of course all of those things were still waiting for me when I woke up. But at least I was rested--or something close to that. I have two children under the age of 3. Honestly, how rested can I really be?!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Not in hiding...

Just caught up in other stuff!

Since Gina is apparently feeling all on her lonesome on the blogging playground, I thought I'd sit down and write a diary of sorts for the past several days...

Saturday morning I managed to leave the house without my usual accouterments (my children) and spent the morning at church helping to distribute food for Angel Food Ministries. If you live in the US I strongly urge you to look them up and if there isn't a close distribution site, make one. The program is incredible and the food is top quality and good!

Saturday we moved over a ton of food--and I was struggling to find freezer space to store the food that we ourselves had ordered. If you're too lazy to click on the link for Angel Food, here's the low down: $30 for approximately a week's worth of groceries for a family of four. You can also order additional monthly specials for around $20. One of May's specials was a chicken box--10lbs of chicken done various ways for $20!! For those of you who have been to the grocery store lately--that's a phenomenal deal!

Sunday the kiddos and I went out and spent the day with my mom. Two of her sisters--the eldest and the youngest--drove up from North Carolina with their husbands. They happen to be my favorites of the seven siblings (if I'm allowed to make that distinction) so I really wanted to be able to spend time with them. And it was a delightful day! Lots of laughter. Lots of stories. Lots of soaking in the endangered luxury of being surrounded and embraced by family.

Besides, Dear Hard Working Husband was at home installing the cement wall board in the bathroom--a horrible, dusty job which the little lungs in our family did not need to be around. So, a day at Chez Kokoo's it was!

And, for the morbidly curious, this is what our bathroom currently looks like...

I somehow failed to get a picture of the stripped down walls--so just picture the entire room with no walls like this. A tad too rustic for our taste! This is the only section left to cover. Once this is done I get to go in with tile and paint and our bathroom re-do nightmare will be over! Except for the ceiling--we'll replace that once we're able to completely stop using the upstair's shower. No sense in replacing a ceiling to only have it leaked on again! See, we do have some common sense!

A spot all ready for a brand new sink.

Very lovely to be able to take a shower, look up and not see the inner plumbing coming down from upstairs!

Yesterday was spent simply keeping the little ones out of their dad's way as he finished up what he could in the bathroom before going to work.

I believe that brings us to today--which just happens to be my dad's birthday! So, we're off to burn another tank of gas by making the hour drive out to spend the evening with family and celebrate.