Aug 31, 2010

As Seen On (Late-Evening) TV...

The Cat Daddy will vouch for me on this one; we really saw it...

An infomercial for the NEW! 35mm Vivitar Film Camera! Why spend hundreds on digital cameras, when all that technology is so difficult, with the wires, and software, and stuff. Point-and-shoot, auto-focus, the whole shabang. For just $10 you get two film cameras and two whole rolls of film!!

And later I got to catch the tail-end of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I'm a bit of a dork, and a bit of a Trekkie, so it's always a treat for me to catch a little TNG.

The strangest thing happened, too. I tuned in for the last 10 minutes or so, then they showed the credits and all that, and then had a commercial break. And THEN, the show picked up again, exactly where I'd tuned in to begin with. So again I caught the last 10 minutes, followed by the credits and such. It was like my own little personal temporal rift, or time loop, or something. Which I thought extremely appropriate for TNG, since they had entire episodes on things like that.

Poker game with Data, anyone???

Aug 30, 2010

And Then It Begins...

Most of the kids around here have started school. I'm pretty sure U-dub and L-Trip are in session, and FoCo (how the cool people say Fort Collins, I'm told) is again crowded with CU students.

His Highness starts preschool for real next week. He attended his school's summer drop-in program, but for purposes of photos and officiality and all that, I'm counting next Wednesday as his First Day of School Ever. He'll be going three mornings per week. At church he'll be moving up from the toddler room to Children's Church. And he's old enough to start Cubbies at our church's AWANA program. We've been contemplating doing a gymnastics class this fall as well, to foster his mad motor skillz and crazy energy, but not sure how much we want to take on as far as actual and real commitments go.

So suddenly he has begun the phase of life where he has stuff to do. I mean, it's true that preschool is "just" preschool--there's some leeway in there. We're not talking a loss of GPA and/or college scholarships if he's late too many times or we decide to take a couple weeks off to visit the fam or anything. But we are now back in the position of being up & out by a certain time most days, and likely starting to talk about going to school even when we don't necessarily feel like it, because that's the beginning of what commitment means, and stuff like that. And now I begin to take on the role of chauffer--running him to and from school, and AWANA, and maybe even the gymnastics.

I'm certainly looking forward to the routine of it. And His Highness LOVED doing the summer program at school, so it is likely that he will enjoy it yet again. I get nervous about starting to let him go--it seems so soon, and he seems so young. The reality though, I think, is that he is absolutely ready. I'm nervous only because it is new to me, this phase of life where my kid begins to have significant parts of his world that are outside of me. I'm taking a little time out to see it for what it is, and to recognize yet another of the tiny griefs one encounters as a mom.

Not a lot of time, though--I don't want to miss out on the fun of it...

Aug 26, 2010

Fashion Choices...

I've been amazed with both kiddos, as I've watched their preferences develop. I'm not against their having preferences; it's just that they're always a little earlier than I expect. Today I put sandals on the Littler One, but then he found his new tennies and very clearly (and yet completely non-verbally) let me know that he wanted those instead. I gently told him no, since we were rushing out the door, and that we can do tennies tomorrow. And I was yet again amazed that my 16 month old cares about what is on his feet. It made me happy to see him developing more and more into who God made him to be.

This week's theme is shoes. Since it's summertime, we've been putting both boys in sandals most days. There have been days, however, that His Highness says, "I want socks and shoes!!" Loudly. Sometimes we convince him that sandals are a better idea, sometimes we outright force the issue for convenience (on the way to the pool, for example), and other times we say, "OK, go get your socks and tennies." I am very much in favor of letting him choose that sort of thing for the most part. This week has been interesting though. Yesterday he said, "I want socks & sandals." Not just regular socks, though. Awesomely-awesome red, white, & blue striped socks. With sandals.

Now I will admit right now that this sort of taste (or lack thereof) comes from me. Up until the past year or so it was one of my most comfortable footwear choices to wear socks and Birks. I haven't done it in a while, but I'm not guaranteeing that I never will again, either.

The Cat Daddy and I both really try to tread that line of grace. We're very much in favor of rules and boundaries, but it has to make sense, you know? We don't want to spend all this time pounding down rules that, 20 years down the road, will have us wondering why we cared what color shirt he wore or what sort of product he wanted to stick in his hair for 6 months, or whatever. So, as long as he's settling down and going to sleep in a reasonable amount of time, we allow him to take his cars to bed with him, and we let him run naked around the house (when there are no guests over), and choose his clothes most days, if he wants to. As long as he's aware of the consequences. When he puts his shoes on the wrong feet I say, "Hey, those are on the wrong feet," and His Highness says, "I like them that way," and I say, "OK, as long as you're aware of it. If they start hurting your feet, just switch them back." If he wants ME to put them on the wrong feet, though, I won't do it. I say, "No, if you want them on the wrong feet, you'll have to do that yourself." And sometimes he does.

So, regarding the socks and sandals thing, I said, "Are you aware that socks and sandals aren't very stylish? People might laugh a little 'cuz it looks a little funny." And he replied, "That's OK, I like to wear socks & sandals." And I figured with an attitude like that, he could handle it.

So I helped him with his socks and sandals...

Aug 23, 2010

Murmurs and Musings for the End of the Month...

Semi-lazy home day today. Summer's winding down. Still chipping away against clutter, schedule crowding, and other little things that intrude on the pursuit of a simpler life. I cleaned out the junk drawer and got rid of random extra stuff. Up next is bathroom cleaning, followed by an evening jog...

Had a grand time with the Fabulous Z's last week. Mr. Z. is deployed to the desert, so the Mrs. and their kids came to see us for a week. Made trips to the jumpy place, the library, and of course Sam's...sat around & talked a whole lot...hung out with some of my moms' group peeps (I decided Mrs. Z. would be a fantastic addition to the club if she lived here)...finished off the week with the carnival-esque Frontiercade on base and a surprise birthday dinner for the Cat Daddy. Awesome people, mediocre food: the Chili's in our town has gone down a bit in the way of quality. Not terrible, just not great.

Anyway, what was great was catching up with our friends. Mr. Z. and the Cat Daddy are BFF's from way back, and we always enjoy their company. The Cat Daddy took their youngest, age 7, for a haircut. His reaction to his new do? Giddy relief that he still had his ears (the Cat Daddy and Barber Glenn have a way with the youngers). Their last night, after the kids were in bed, we three grownups stayed up late making dumb jokes, talking about music, and testing my new erasable pens & hi-liters.

I'm very pleased to hear where kids' music has come lately. I found the kid-station on XM (116). My kids really like it, but I'm pretty sure I like it even better. I was working in the nursery at church recently, watching an old VHS of a very well-meaning lady who dressed up weird and sang cutesy songs. Certainly adequate for the kiddos, but pretty lame as far as I'm concerned. And what does that say about how we view our kiddos, that we are willing to let them listen to lame stuff? Maybe it says more about us that we are willing to tolerate it for our kids who go nuts for it. Who knows.

Meanwhile, in the car we jam with the likes of Jack Johnson (from the Curious George soundtrack), Amy Adams (Enchanted), and Averil Lavigne who did an awesome cover of the Spongebob theme song. Mrs. Z. told me about Dog Train, which I guess is a collection of mainstream artists doing songs written for kids. I've only heard a couple, but what I have heard is great. Catchy for the kids, but also cool enough that I don't mind getting them stuck in my head.

Go find the penguin song by John Ondrasik (of Five for Fighting) and see if you don't agree...

Aug 13, 2010

The Pull of Neurosis...

Challenging week this week. Between kid-stuff, and home-stuff, and nerd-work stuff, it adds up to worlds colliding. I am really feeling the pull between family and work...I've been working on a project and was hoping to finish up a big part of it this week. Until it went all hinky on me. I panicked a little, and then called in for help, and more or less determined that I need to start over, and it will be slow work, and I won't finish this week like I was hoping.

At first I was freaking out because I felt like I was letting everyone down. But they've been able to work the problem from their end, from a completely different approach than I've been using, and will have what they need in time for next week. A big part of me is way relieved. My insecure parts come out, though, and I think "Geez, they don't even need me," and I get all neurotic.

The thing about engineering is that it's all about solving problems. All of us are always learning and figuring out new things. The bigger picture is that, with several people working together, problems get solved, but at the same time it can be easy to feel sad & small when you are doing your best and it still isn't as good as someone else's solution.

Plus I am an expert in guilt, so I manage to paint myself into a little guilt-box, where I feel guilty no matter what. While I am working I feel guilty about not being with my kids. While I'm with my kids I feel guilty about not working. When I call for (and receive) help I feel guilty about not being able to solve my problems on my own.

I'm really pretty neurotic at the moment, I guess...