Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Remember these from when you were a kid?

When we went to Denver the kids were obsessed with something my sister calls Pearler Beads (Yes, she really knows the BRAND NAME of it :-)) It is like these beads you put on little plate patterns and then iron them to make them melt together. I totally remember them from my childhood! Anyhow, the kids and Monica and I did them almost every day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sam broke something, try not to be shocked

Sam just broke this croquet mallet he found in the garage and has been carrying around for two days. He didn't so much as break it, per se, as unscrew the head from the stick.

Jack carries it in, one in both hands, and says, "Mom, I knew Sam was going to break this. Where's Daddy anyway? He's the Handy Manny around here."

Heavens, if that is true, we are in big trouble people.


Also, the babysitter I had today, the sweetest thing in the whole world who my kids absolutely adore (whose name is Catherine and Jack calls her Cath-room as in Bathroom) asked me when I left:

"So Sam is walking now?"

"Yes, definitely."

"So, what should I do if he like, falls down?"

"Well, I wouldn't say if, he will fall down about 100 times, and just act like absolutely nothing happened, because that is what he will do."

I come home several hours later

"Miss Alicia, I'm glad I asked you about Sam falling, because he fell about two seconds after you left and I think I would have been nervous otherwise."

Um, yeah.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Another Vacation

We just got home from another vacation, this time to Little Rock, Arkansas and Branson, MO, to see friends. I know, I know, I'm like a drunk psycho person who enjoys the punishment. I can't tell you why I do it to myself. Anyhow, there of course was plenty of hullabaloo and craziness I could write about here, but mostly I just have one question. Why does 8 hrs in the car with the boys alone still seem easier than 2.5 hrs on the plane? Is it just because I can stop when they are totally done, and I don't really care if they are crying? Why is the plane so inherently hard? I think it is all the judgement of the others, mostly.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekly Jack Art

Note, though, he says this one is NOT HIS FAMILY yet just happens to be four people that look like they could be.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Doing the Plane Thing Alone

We've done the airplane with kids. A lot. We lived in Japan and we flew home with Jack several times which involves usually two plane changes and about 24 hours of flying. It was never fun at all, and we never enjoyed it. I did it alone a lot too.

Somehow, it is just next to impossible now to do ANY flight alone with two. I don't really see why it is so much harder because Jack is now at the stage where he isn't much work on planes (well, this is RELATIVE) and Sam is at the age Jack was when I used to do this all the time and go a lot farther. Somehow, though, it is just way way sicker now.

On the flight home from Denver, we arrived at the airport at about 5 for our 7 o'clock flight. I checked my bags outside, already had my boarding passes, so I just had to do security. Lines weren't too long, but still it makes me start to sweat to do that security thing alone. For those of you who don't try it often, it involves: getting up to the lane, taking off Jack's shoes, taking off my shoes, putting Jack's backpack on him, putting my purse on my shoulder, putting the diaper bag on the other shoulder, picking Sam up, moving the back seat of the stroller to the front, folding the stroller, putting in on the conveyor, putting Sam's huge bulky car seat on the conveyor, putting everything else I just mentioned into boxes, having Jack push them through while I hold Sam, then going through the metal detector and then coming out at the other end just to put all this back together into my workable moving travel station. It's awesome. For those of you who don't know, though, my new trick is to say "My stroller won't fit through" and then they will take it from you and manually search it and for me it saves a lot of stress from having to fold it and put it up and down and all.

Anyhow, after that we went down to the tram, took it to our concourse, and this was at about 5:20 pm. Still pretty early. I check the screen and our flight is delayed until 8:35 and I am just so happy I could scream. Since I now have three hours to kill in this one concourse, we go get some dinner at two different places and sit and eat. The place has no high-chairs, which is just unheard of, but whatever. I feed Sam in his stroller and at least four other women walk in and look around quizzically for a high-chair. What Denver airport was thinking I have no idea. That kills about 20 more minutes and we walk down to our gate.

The next 2 hrs and 30 minutes are so so long because my kid, Samuel Michael, is nuts. He has started walking and now does something that approximates running even. He has no fear or idea of boundaries at his age. The first time I went to sit at the gate I went to our gate and it was in the middle of the long concourse area. This was a terrible idea b/c as soon as I let him out he just starts hauling tail in one direction or the other and I have no choice but to chase him. My stuff stays in the middle and at the beginning Jack is still being totally crazy too, running and trying to do gymnastics and all kinds of stuff. So, I know this isn't going to work because I can't get more than about 5 yards away from Sam which means Jack keeps getting like 30 yards away and making me incredibly nervous and someone is going to call security because all our stuff is unmanned. So, I do what I usually do and take them to find a gate that is not being used so there will be less people. We go down to the end of the concourse and I settle Jack in coloring and then spend about the next 1.5 hours chasing Sam. Everyone around seems to think it is hilarious to watch but I am really not having fun at all and my feet really hurt by the end of it. At one point he ran into the men's bathroom and I had to go in and get him.

After a while I am tired of that too and we go back near our gate to wait it out and of course the plane is even later than expected at it is like 8:45 when we get on and this is about 45 minutes past Jack's bedtime and an even more imperative 1 hr 45 min past Sam's. I figure he is exhausted from running and will fall asleep, so I'll only have to mostly entertain Jack since he is likely to stay awake and want to do all his little activities like read, color, stickers, snacks, etc.

The most stressful part of the whole thing for me is getting from the end of the jet way to our seats. I have no stroller and I have to hold a 15 lb bulky car seat and a 25 lb baby and keep tabs of three bags and one four year old and it is just impossible, to tell the truth. Luckily, some man helped me carry my car seat. But the end of the jet way is always my most stressful part of a flight if I am alone because it is really hard to fold up the stroller you are using after you have taken the baby that was in it out. Where do you put the baby during the folding? Especially in the case of this baby, who is highly likely to bolt in any direction. In this case I pinned Sam down to the floor with both my legs while I folded the stroller up. It was not pretty and there was a huge line of people behind me waiting. Oh well.

Once we get on the flight Jack falls asleep as soon as it takes off and I am congratulating myself on how I now won't have to deal with any kids at all on this flight and will be able to read. Sam is sitting in his car seat and I give him his milk and we take off in peace. I am not really going to go into the crying and all but lets just say in all honestly, it took two hours to fly home and he cried a lot of it. He has to cry in his car seat to fall asleep, so I try to look away from him and look aloof at the people that are staring, but it got out of hand and I finally took him out after about 20 minutes of fussing that turned into screaming. He was happy as long as I didn't try to put him back in. During the final descent into Houston I put him back and he started crying for the ten minutes it took to land and then about 10 seconds after the plane touched down he fell asleep. Typical.

Now I have to get two sleeping kids off this airplane and it is 11:45 at night so whichever wakes up is going to be grumpy as hell. I have a double stroller but I have to use one seat for the car seat, but I decide to try to put them both in there and wear the car seat like a backpack. I tell the flight attendant that I have to leave one sleeping child on the plane to go set up my stroller and she says sure and it ends up there are two other women in this same situation. I go out and try to carry Jack out there and he of course wakes up and starts crying because he says, "I want to fly." Since he slept the whole time he thinks we never flew and thus he missed out on doing "all his fun things and getting his snack and drink." He is highly pissed about this. A lady and man a couple of rows ahead of me has very sweetly hung around to try to help me get Sam out of the plane and we decide to keep him in his car seat and carry him out. He stays asleep and the Southwest lady gives us a wheelchair to put his car seat in which is pretty smart if you ask me. So, off we go to meet Keith, one double stroller, two kids (one crying and one sleeping), one car seat, one wheelchair, and three bags later.

Here is how the story would go if I had flown alone: go through security with one backpack, get there early, eat at a nice restaurant since I have time, sit down at the gate and read my book for the three hour wait, get on the plane, sit down, read and sleep, go home.

Honestly, if we ever have three I think I'm out of the air travel alone game. It just seems too horrible.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Don't you wish you had this much energy?

The boys were playing "Freeze Dance" where they dance crazily until the music stops and then they freeze. I wish I had their energy levels.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Jack-isms Volume III

Visit to CO creates endless funny things Jack says...

Today getting out of the car at Target he was whimpering and I said "What?" and he said "That car got my arm fat!"


The boys were playing a game of tackle wrestling that involved being "ghosts" and covering up their heads with blankets. It was overall very dangerous and high energy. After a lot of playing Jack brings us the blanket and calmly says "Can I have another one, I puked on this one."

They run off to get another one and Drew tells Jack, "OK, PLEASE don't puke on ME!"


We hear the boys conspiratorially whispering in the corner. Drew says to Jack "See my mom has these granny panties" and Jack starts looking around (having no idea what that means) and says "What granny panties??"


And for those of you who know my sister, you will think this is funny, the first night we were here Jack looks at me and goes, "Mom, why does she laugh a lot?"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Jack-isms Volume II

Daddy: "You need to be good for your mommy tomorrow on the airplane and help with Sammy because you are a big boy. It isn't a really long flight like home from Okinawa, it is short, like only two hours."

Jack: “yeah, I hated that flight from okinawa because it was very very long and I was like, busting out!”


as I return in the house from getting the diaper bag from the car, I see a little Indian boy in front of me running down our apartment hall calling out to his friend, a name that starts with S but I'm not sure what it was. Jack ALWAYS thinks that these people are talking to him through the walls...

I walk in the door.

Jack, hands on hips, "Mommy! That Jap-nese boy just called me STUPID again!"

Monday, July 7, 2008

Well, we did the movie thing

As I have previously discussed, Jack is scared of the movies. More specifically, he is scared of the movie THEATER, because he is more than a little obsessed with the kind of movies that come in "suitcases" (read, DVD cases) and can be watched at home. We have discussed why he is scared of the movie theater with him countless times without getting too far. He says it is (a) too dark (b) too loud and (c) too scary. I am figuring a and b must lead him to c.

This has been going on for quite a while and we finally decided to MAKE him to see a movie even though he didn't want to at all. So, this weekend, Keith, Mimi and I took him to see Wall-E in San Antonio. I had read that it had no dialogue for the first thirty minutes so I thought it would be perfect since he'd have time to ease into the whole "too loud" thing.

Before we even got in the door, he tried to make a run back to the van. Keith ran and caught him, and I carried his 43 lbs in and through the snack line. The snack had been one of our main bribes and was a total bust as he didn't care at all and was too scared at that point and upset to even really choose his own candy.

Keith had brought these HUGE headphones that block out noise that are from when his dad was in the Marine Corps in the late 70s early 80s. I cannot at all explain them and wish I had taken a picture. Trust me they were ENORMOUS and if you had seen Jack you would have thought he was nuts. We also carried in the following things... three beanie babies, one of the grandparents dogs' blankets, and one stuffed duck. If I had a picture of Jack and all of these things in the headphones it would make this post so much better, but it was too stressful to take a picture at that juncture.

So, Jack starts screaming during the snack checkout and I tell Keith we are going into the theater. I attempt to go in and sit down. Jack has his head burrowed into my chest and is carrying all his stuff. Once we get into the dark theather he starts full-fledged crying and talking loud/screaming. "Let's GOOOOOOOOOO" is a common refrain, as well as "NOOOOOOOOO!!", "I don't want it!", "I don't like the movie theater", and my favorite as well as the one that made me feel the most guilty "Let's get out of HERE!!!!" After about three minutes of this that felt like about thirty, I left the theater with him. We sat on a bench for a while outside the theater while I came to the realization that one of the main problems here was that Jack wasn't sucking his thumb. He had both hands over his ears the whole time so he didn't have a free hand to suck. I tried to convince him to put the military headphones on again but no dice.
F I N A L L Y after a lot of work I got him back in there with one hand over his ear myself, one of his hands over the other ear, and his other thumb in his mouth.

For the first fifteen minutes he watched nothing at all and had his eyes closed and ears covered. For the next thirty minutes after that he watched out of the side of his eyes while only partially having his head buried in my shirt. Finally, I turned him around and he watched the rest from Keith or my lap, still having his hands over his ears.

Afterwards, he was back up to his regular Jack persona, saying things like "I love Wall-E!" and "He is my favorite rol-a-bot." We asked him if he wanted to go to another movie sometimes and he said, "Well, no thanks."

This is what success looks like people.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Willefords morph into the Addams Family

The drawing of all four of us has really changed since the last time I posted one. In this lovely art relic, "Mom" seems to be a flying pterodactyl type. Dad, or seen here as "bab" is a good character to copy for your child's next Halloween costume, complete with his four arms. Jack is a square man of some type with eight arms and two legs (but still, he has those eyebrows). Sam is the nameless one down by Jack's right leg, looking like an angel, or at least a winged creature of some type prettier than the pterodactyl that is me. All in all, I'd say we look like we are trying out any minute for the monster's ball.

Return to the scene of the ANT crime

We had to go back to the ant park because Jack has an irrational fear of almost everything and thus has been (even more) terrifed of bugs since the ant incident, always asking, "Are there going to be ANTS there?" or "Is this bug going to GET ME???"

So I took them back there. They lived. No ants.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wow this child is busy

We try to keep Jack busy. He has been in some sort of "preschool" since Keith left for Afghanistan and I needed help and a break every once in a while. Even if it was only two days a week, we have always had him in some place where he could go and play and burn off steam. He loved his preschool in Okinawa, Little Rhinos, and he really enjoyed his preschool this spring at First Methodist Day School, the church where I grew up.

When we can to Sugar Land for the summer, I had Keith sign him up at the YMCA for just a day camp in June. He went for three weeks and absolutely loved it. They had everything that was right up his alley, craft time, gymnastics and a music class. He never wanted to leave when I went to pick him up.

His last day was last Friday because we are really busy all of July with lots of vacations and travelling and then in August we are, of course, moving again. So, that means this week, just two days so far, he has been home with me all morning.

Weekends or a few days a week are one thing. On a weekend, Keith is here, and we usually have stuff to do or we plan activities in advance to keep these guys busy. In Okinawa, on the Tuesday he didn't have school we had gymnastics and on the Thursday he didn't have school we met friends to play. We stayed busy. We never sat around the house. When I was at home and around the house, it was with just Sam. Babies and Jack are two totally different animals.

In the last TWO mornings he has: painted with paint, constructed a huge fort under the table, asked me to be Handy Manny and fix everything in the house that was broken, played dozens of computer games on, build with blocks, drawn at least fifty drawings, gone on a flower hunt (and wanted to go on it outside alone - as long as no bad guys came), gotten food to feed all the stuffed animals in his room, built a pretend nest for birds, caught rain with a net, made a swimming pool with pillows all over the floor, asked me to spell bunches of words for him to Google, studied his new species of bird book and told me about all the birds, and had a birthday party for his dog "Dolly." These are just in the hours that we have been home today, I had a planned outing both of these days as well. And of course, that list is not even close to all of it.

My question is, HOW DO PEOPLE DO THIS? I mean, how do you have a four year old this active and not have them in school or somewhere to be creative and burn off steam around other KIDS who enjoy these types of games? I know plenty of people who don't start their kids in any kind of "school" til Kindergarten, even have friends who home school. How do you possibly do that and not go nuts? I can only play inside the fort happily for so long. I can only sing at Dolly's birthday party once before I'm bored. I love my kid. He goes about 150 miles an hour when my mornings are used to running at about 30 mph. I like to get stuff DONE in the morning, you know, like dishes?

It is fun to have him home, really. I enjoy watching his mind work. But I already do this daily for a couple hours in the morning, from 12-8 pm and on weekends. So, I will add preschool as something else I am really grateful for. And at his next one is Charleston - run the kid around. Let him pretend all morning. Buy me some time people, so that I can have the patience to participate in all these shenanigans the rest of the time :-)