Friday, December 19

Sickness and Santa

It's been a while - sorry...

As you may or may not know, December was a month of illness for us. Noah had a cough for 2 1/2 weeks. Just as his cough started to get better, he started complaining about having severe pain in his right side. We called the doctor and we are immediately sent to the ER for suspected appendicitis.

We arrive about 1pm and go back to an exam room almost immediately (impressive for Children's ER - much faster than expected). After hours of poking, proding, x-rays, ultrasounds, blood work, and an IV, Noah is finally admitted around 3am. We were in the ER so long that some of the hospital office staff stopped by to visit. They said that they can't ever remember a time that a patient has spent so much time in the ER without being admitted and jokingly said they are now calling his exam room the "Noah Suite". How nice - by 3am when we're admitted, it's probably gone from Noah's Suite to Noah's Wing. The next afternoon he is discharged and the dr says that it's just a bad tummy ache. Once he poops, he'll be fine. What I hear: "We don't know what's wrong. Go home and if it gets worse, come back." He can sense my frustration and once all the student dr leave, he asks me how confident I am in what he has told me. I told him that I don't believe him and they were discharging us without diagnosis. We talked about it and I felt better but not convinced I wouldn't be back later that night. Noah has waves of severe pain over the next few days. We had hospitals bags packed by the door and everyone on stand by to take care of Natalie. It turns out the dr was right - he just needed to poop. I'm glad it wasn't appendicitis but how embarrassing..."Noah was in the hospital." "Why?" "He had to poop." Really - I can't have some amazing story of rushing off with appendicitis and survivng surgery and recovering at home. Don't get me wrong - I'm glad it wasn't appendicitis but come on - he just had to poop?!?!

A few minutes before the severe pain started, we were visiting Santa at the mall. Santa also came to see him in the hospital before he was discharged. On the way home from the hospital he says, "Mom, I don't like the hospital Santa. Just the mall Santa." I'm surprised and ask him how many Santas there are "Two. One that lives at the mall and one that lives at the hospital." "Which one do you like?" "I like the one at the mall. I don't like the one at the hospital. He scares me." He's pretty smart...the difference was the beard. Mall Santa has a real beard. Hospital Santa has a fake beard. "Which Santa makes toys?" "The one that lives at the North Pole." So, apparently there are 3 Santas - one at the mall, one at the hospital and one that actually makes the toys.

Once all is better from the hospital, Noah's cough starts back up again. Natalie and Dave get the cough, too. Natalie stops sleeping through the night - double ear infection. The coughing stops just in time for strep throat to be passed between the 3 of them.

A few days before school to starts back up again, the coughing, the ear infections, the strep, etc has passed and things seem to be getting back to normal. FINALLY!!

After one of our many trips to the dr during the last few weeks, we decide to stop by Chipotle for lunch. Natalie ate a quesadilla - sort of. About 2/3 of the way through, she saw Dave blow his nose so she decided her quesadilla was a tissue and used it to blow her nose. So - she sort-of ate a quesadilla for lunch.

Noah is potty trained. We haven't quite mastered overnight but I'm not as worried about that. He's wearing pull-ups overnight and some times he will wake up to change his pull-up because he's peed in it. The fact that he's waking himself up to change it is a good sign. Now if he can just learn to wake up BEFORE he pees in the pull-up. :)

So - after all that - sorry it's taken so long for an update. I've been busy...

Thursday, December 11


Noah was watching Charlie Brown Christmas on TV the other night. He was laughing and wanted us to watch. He kept telling us the funny part was coming on again. We waited... Finally - "There he is!"

"Do you know who that is?"

"Tell me."

"That's Snoopy."

Off I went to finish dishes and Dave to work on the computer. A few minutes later, Noah yells, "He's back on!! Sniffy is on again!!"

Apparently Noah thinks "Sniffy" is pretty funny :)

Saturday, November 15

Bed Time

Dave asked Noah last night if it was time for bed.

Noah replied, "No. My yawns haven't come yet."

"Well, maybe they'll come upstairs when you lay down."

"No. We have to wait for my yawns to come."

A few minutes later Dave and I are in the kitchen and Noah comes running in. He's very excited when he yells, "MY YAWNS CAME!!! It's time for bed!!" and off he went to bed for the night.

Tuesday, September 30

Two things

Noah's been sick with asthma the last few days. He's on over-the-counter cough meds every 4 hours - religiously - so he can be sure to make it to school for picture day. I went into his room the other night to wake him and give him his next 4 hour dose.

"Noah. You have to take your medicine."

He rolls over and mumbles "Erica"

I smile to myself. He's dreaming about Erica - the love of his life.

"Noah. Take your medicine."

He takes it and falls back to sleep.

In the morning, I asked him what he had dreamed about.

He said, "Grama Texas and Jr."

"Really. Did you dream about Grama Texas or did you dream about Erica?"

His eyes light up and he says, "ERICA! We played catch with the pink tennis ball and the blue round thing on our hands where the ball kept getting stuck." (catch with velcro paddles) All the while, he's doing the motions and showing me exactly how he played catch with Erica.


Dave took Noah down the street on the motorcycle on Sunday morning. Noah just loved it and has been asking me non-stop since if he can get on "daddy's motorcycle." I tell him, "It's daddy's motorcycle and daddy's at work."

This morning, when we got home from school, he asked if he could ride the motorcycle and the conversation went as usual until he said, "You take me."

(I open his door to get him out of his car seat but he won't take his arms out of his seatbelt until he's done talking so he's doing all the motions from his carseat.)

"Noah, I don't know how. It's daddy's. You'll have to wait and ask daddy when he gets home."

"No. You do it. Like this: get on and put your hands like this (shows me how to spread my arms apart to grab the handles) and go VROOM-VROOM like this (shows me how to steer the motorcycle by turning his arms) and then we go around the circle."

"Oh. Is that how? Well, it's daddy's motorcycle so mommy isn't allowed." :)

It seemed to work because he got out of his carseat and went in the house - whining the whole way in about how I should do it so he doesn't have to wait for daddy.

Wednesday, September 24

So smart it's aggrivating sometimes

Noah has a problem lately with seeing just how much food he can put in this mouth. There have been several times in the past few weeks where I find him gagging at the table because he has so much in his mouth that it is spewing out between his lips and his eyes are watery. He's not choking - he just can't chew it and there's so much that he gags.

I have told him - more than once - "Don't put too much in your mouth. You'll choke and have to ride in an ambulance."

Noah and Natalie have taken to having raisins as an afternoon snack lately. Raisins are apparently an extra tempting snack to shove in your mouth all at one time. Every time I put a handful of raisins on the table in front of him I say, "No more than 2 raisins in your mouth at one time. How many raisins in your mouth?"
"That's right. Two. If you put too many in your mouth, I'm going to have to feed you like a baby."
So today he responds: "Like when I was a baby and you cut the raisins in half so I wouldn't choke on them."

WHAT!!!! Are you kidding!?!?!?!?! I haven't done that since he was like 12 months old. How does he remember this stuff!?!?!?!

Monday, September 15

Hurricane Ike Hits Ohio!

Large tree down...

...over the neighbors fence...

...the house has been for sale for over a year.

One medium tree snapped in half

Second medium tree snapped in half

Small "twig" tree down and you can see tree trunk in background from previous photo

Large branch

Small branches in the yard

Wednesday, August 27

Oh, Noah...

Noah - "Where we going"

Me - "We're gonna go home because it's time for Natalie to go night-night."

Noah - "I wanna watch something."

Me - "I think it's time for you to go night-night, too."

Noah - "No. I wanna watch something."

Me - "No. You're gonna go night-night."

Noah - "No. I'll watch something and then go night-night."

Me - "No. You go night-night and when you wake up, you can watch something"

Noah - "That's not a deal."

Me - "We'll see."

A few days ago we were driving past a church and Noah asked if it was a castle. I told him it was a church. He said, "That church has a BIG hat."

I asked, "A big hat?"

"Yes. A BIG hat. Look, there's a church, too."

"That's right. There's another church."

"That church has a small hat."

"A small hat?"

"Yes. A small white hat."

And then I realize the "white hat" is the steeple. How funny!!

Tuesday, August 19

Things I thought I'd never say (part 2)

Dave had to go to White Plains a few weeks ago for work. He used my roll-board suitcase because the handle on his is broken. I can't tell you the last time I used that suitcase - clearly (keep reading).

When he came home, he unpacked it and left it in the living room for the kids to play with. They love playing with the suitcases and Noah likes to pretend he's "going to the airport to see Grampa Dirt".

Dave and Noah were outside, I was on the computer and Natalie was playing in the living room with the suitcase. I hear paper rustling and look to see what Natalie has found that she is possibly eating. She has opened one of the small zip compartments and has emptied out the bandaids. No big deal until I focus a little more on what's in her mouth and not on the floor aound her. The following quote is DEFINITELY something I never thought I'd say:

"Natalie, don't eat tampons."

Luckily, Noah was outside so I didn't have to worry about him asking, "What's that?" I had a good laugh to myself when I wondered what the security checkpoint must have thought when Dave cleared security with tampons in his suitcase. :)

Famous Noah Quotes

Every week when we're leaving church we ask Noah what he learned in Sunday School. We usually get varied responses that include the names Jesus or Mary along with other commentary about the most important part of Sunday School: the toys and the snack.

Yesterday as we were heading home we asked:

"Noah, what did you learn today in Sunday School?"

He replied: "We learned about my Ark!"

Friday, August 15


Noah hasn't been sleeping well since we got home from Connecticut. He's insistent that we lay down with him until he falls asleep. We're not sure why or where he got the idea that laying down with him is part of the bedtime routine. We don't lay down with him and it requires a little more effort at bed time but why play into it and have more problems later.

I've been sleeping in the guest room because I go to bed so much later than Dave. I'm afraid if I sneak in to bed, he'll wake up and be too tired for work the next day.

Noah comes into "my room" a few nights ago at 4:30 and all he can say as he runs across the floor and buries himself into my shoulder is, "I'm so scared! I'm so scared! I'm so scared!"

"Buddy! What are you so scared of?"

I pull him into bed with me and he says, "That man. I'm so scared!"

"What man?"

"That man. That man over there."

"What man? There's no man."

"That man over there."

"Over where?"

He points to the chair in the corner of the room. As I pull him closer to me to calm him down, I feel that he's a little wet and needs a diaper. I tell him that I have to go downstairs to get him a diaper. He looks at me, begging with his eyes, and asks if he can come with me.

Every part of me wants to tell him yes but I know that if I take him downstairs with me, I'll never get him back to sleep. I tell him that I'll turn the bedside light on and leave the door open. He agrees that leaving the light on and the door open will work for him in my 15 seconds of absense.

I head downstairs, knowing how scared he is, almost swearing there's a man in the house. I'm such a chicken that now, he has me convinced that there must be someone in the house; he's seen someone in his room. I reason with myself: the gate was closed and no one could get upstairs without opening the gate which would wake me and Dave much less all the way to Noah's room without me hearing the floors creak. Okay - I'm good! I head back upstairs with the diaper.

I go into the room and Noah is really staring hard at the chair in the corner of the room. I ask him if he's okay. He tells me no and is insistent that there is a man behind the chair. (You have to understand, we're not talking about a small rocker. It's a large, oversized, chair that is almost as big as a small loveseat. It's at an angle in the corner so someone could very easily hide behind it and we would never know). Okay - now I'm freaked out but I continue to reason with myself on the same logic. "No one could get upstairs without opening the gate which would wake me and Dave" I know that if Noah sense me being scared that we're really screwed.

I calmly, in the most loving maternal voice I can muster, say, "Noah. There's noone over there." He is looking at the chair and would burn holes through it if he could because he's staring so hard. Okay - reasoning with myself is starting fail - "Stay calm! Stay calm!"

I want to run down the hall and wake up Dave but it's a "school night" and I know there isn't really anyone behind the chair. He'll think we're both crazy but I'm really starting to get scared. I decide, before running down the hall, waking up Dave and defeating the purpose of me sleeping in the guest room, is to go "look" for myself. If there is really someone there, I'll scream, it'll wake up Dave, it'll send Noah running down the hall to "Dave's room" and then Dave will save us all. I'd say my logic is running pretty good for what is now 5 am. "Stay calm! Stay calm!"

"Noah, there's noone over there. Do you want me to go look?"

Thumb in his mouth, clutching dog, near tears, he looks at me with puppy dog eyes and nods.

Okay - here goes nothing. "Please God!! Do not let anyone be behind that chair!!"

Whew!!! It's clear!!!! Relief!!!!

I tell Noah that there is noone back there but I can tell by how he is looking at me and the chair that he's still not sure. "Noah. If I move the chair will that be better?"

Again - thumb in his mouth, clutching dog, near tears, he looks at me with puppy dog eyes and nods.

I push the chair all the way into the corner so it is completely flush with the wall. I climb back in bed hoping that now, we'll be able to go back to sleep. I know that there is no way he'll go back in his room alone and I'm too tired to care so I let him sleep with me. I turn the light off and see that we've been up for a little more than an hour. Oh - I'm gonna hate life tomorrow and I'm gonna need an extra large Starbucks!

It's a cool night and the window is open in my room. A car drives by and Noah rolls over, gets inches from my face to be sure he can see me in the dark and says, "Did the cow go back in the barn?"

Um - okay?!?! "Yes buddy! The cow went back into the barn."

He rolled over and I didn't hear anything else from him until 8:30. Dave has already left for work so I didn't get my morning run to Starbucks (refernce posting "Mom Brain") but I got an extra hour of sleep to make up for the hour and a half I was up in the middle of night. I can't go without completely so I load the kids in the car and we head to Starbucks.

The chair is still pushed all the way against the wall and will probably remain that way indefinitely. After that night, I don't think I would ever stop wondering if someone were hiding behind that chair if I moved it back to where it was.

Saturday, July 26


We arrived in Connecticut at 230 Friday morning. Penny got up to greet us when she heard the kids. Noah stood in the hallway, trying to hide behind my leg so he wouldn't have to say hi. It was a little weird but we had been in the car for 12 hours, it's 2:30 in the morning, there aren't a lot of lights on - maybe it's all to much at 2:30am.

We get ourselves settled: Dave and Noah in one room; me and Natalie in the other room.

I hear Noah running laps bright and early in the morning. I'm so thankful that Penny can take care of it. Dave and I are exhausted from the long drive.

A little later, when Dave and I are up, I learn about how Noah's morning started:

When Noah woke up, he climbed in bed with Dave. Dave opened his eyes to see Noah sucking his thumb, clutching dog, lip quivering and "big alligator tears rolling down his face." Dave asked him what was wrong. Noah replies with a shaky voice, "Grama Penny has to put her eyebrows on!!" He then heard her in the kitchen making coffee, looked at Dave as if nothing was wrong and said, "I go see Grama Penny. You go night-night!" He took off out of the bedroom and rounded the corner into the kitchen. Tears starting up again and voice quivering he looks at Penny and says, "Grama Penny, you have to put your eyebrows on!" They talked through it and all was well.

Now we know why he was trying to hide behind my leg when we arrived at 2:30 - Grama Penny didn't have her makeup on.

Mom Brain

My new morning routine, since we got back from California, is to run to Starbucks in the morning, all by myself, before Dave leaves for work. I get a few minutes to wake up and a few sips of coffee before the kids start my day.

I work out 3 days a week and this particular Friday was no exception. I have severe "mom brain" today. It's so bad that I got lost getting out of the Kroger parking lot (the Starbucks is in Kroger). It's 730am and there's probably only 7 cars in the parking lot, all of which, I'm sure are Kroger employees and I can't find my way to one of three exits. I finally make it out of the parking lot, make it home, feed the kids breakfast, load up and head to the Y. I haven't finished my Starbucks yet but I have a few stops on the way so I take it with me.

I load Natalie in the car, make sure Noah is strapped in right, and we're off to start our day.

We stop at the bank. I have to deposit cash so I don't want to use the ATM.

I ask the teller for a deposit slip. As I'm waiting to finish the transaction, I reach for my Starbucks but it's not in the cup holder. Well, shoot - I left it on the counter. Oh - wait - no... I put it on top of the car to strap Natalie in and I bet that's where I left it. I slowly open the sunroof cover to see my Starbucks cup laying on it's side with my mocha getting ready to run down the front window. I bet the teller can see it and now I'm so embarrassed!!

It's only 930 and I have SEVERE "mom brain". I have got to get it together!!!

Sorry mom!

We are headed out of town and it never fails, when we leave, the kids get sick. We've learned that even if there's no symptoms, take them to the doctor before we leave anyway. It's just a precaution so we don't end up spending crazy money on an ER visit. This trip was no different. The kids have been sick for several days with a cough and runny nose. I'm worried Natalie will get an ear infection so we head to the doctor the day before we leave.

Sure enough - Natalie has an ear infection in both ears. The doctor and I were both surprised since she is so smiley and happy. Noah has fluid in his ears but it's not enough to be concerned about an ear infection. Natalie is prescribed an antibiotic and Noah is "prescribed" Dimetapp Elixir. The Dimetapp is supposed to drain the fluid in his ears so he doesn't get an ear infection.

By the time I leave the doctor and get to Walgreens, we are on the border of nap time. The kids still have to eat lunch and we have to wait for their medicine. I turn in the prescription and head off to find the Dimetapp. It's still taking a while so we venture down the clearance aisle.

"Prescription ready for Weaver."

Great - let's go!! I pay for all the medicine (including the inhaler refill I forgot we ordered) and catch my breath as I'm told how much we owe.

I tell Noah we're leaving and he has to take my hand. He runs ahead of me and around the corner. I yell for him and start to count. As I turn the corner, he's gone. I start to panic until 2 steps later I see him in the toy aisle. Now he's in trouble!! He not only wouldn't hold my hand when I told him to but he ran ahead and I couldn't find him. I grab his hand and tell him, quite firmly, that he MUST hold my hand. He doesn't want to hold my hand and decides he won't walk if I won't let go of his hand. Now, I'm carrying Natalie, a Walgreens bag in one hand and literally dragging Noah out of the store with the other. His shoes are scraping the ground and he is trying to pull his hand away from me. I'm about to drop Natalie and he's really in trouble now!! He's on the verge of a temper tantrum and I don't have anymore patience to deal with this.

We make it to the car and put him in his seat - how, I'm still not sure. I put him in before I put Natalie in but, he's in his seat and he won't do his seatbelt. I threaten him, "Put your seatbelt on - NOW - or I will bust your butt!!" To my dismay, the woman is getting into her car beside me and, in this day and age, if she heard me threaten Noah, is probably on the phone to child services.

I get Natalie buckled in and then buckle Noah in. As I open my door, it doesn't catch and it swings back. I hit my head - hard! I now have a knot and I can't tell if the cut on my head is going to bleed. Just get me home............. Really - I'm going to get in the car in 24 hours for a 12 hour drive to Connecticut - Really!?!?!?!? Just get me home..............

We survive the 1.2 miles to the house. I get him out and tell him to go inside. I get Natalie out and put her down in the kitchen. I go back out to the car for the Walgreens bag. The meds have to be refrigerated. I can't really wait until after the kids are in bed.

Noah knows he's in trouble. I come back in to find him sitting at the table, waiting patiently for his next set of instructions. I tell him that he is eating a hot dog and then he's going to bed. He, at this point, would try to convince me that he's not tired but not today. He says, "I want ((insert random food item))." "No. You're eating a hot dog and you're going to bed." No comment - great, I'm glad we finally understand each other.

I put the hot dog in the microwave and call Dave at work. I'm really close to tears - stress, headache, Natalie wanting nothing but to be held, too much to do and not enough time to do it in.

I tell Dave that I have hit my head and I have a knot. He asks if I'm lightheaded, headache, dizzy, ya-da, ya-da. Once we agree that I'm not going to pass out, I begin to lose what little bit of control I have left and my voice cracks. Dave asks if I've taken anything and tells me he will check back in 20 minutes. I proceed to tell him about my trip to Walgreens and how mad I am at Noah. Noah is sitting at the table waiting for his hot dog listening to my conversation with Dave.

...he ran ahead of me, I couldn't find him for a second, he was in the toy aisle, I told him to hold my hand, "I had to drag him out of the store. People probably thought I was kidnapping him. 'I swear, I'm not trying to kidnap my own child.' I was literally dragging him out of the store. I was dragging him across the parking lot all the way to the car."

We discuss our Noah problems that we are having lately and I hang up. I'm still so upset with him that I really just want to put him to bed. If I expect a long nap from both kids, they have to eat lunch.

As I'm cutting up his hot dog, he says, in his sing-song voice, "Sorry, mom."

"Sorry for what?"

"Sorry for walking like a dragon in Walgreens." (oh the mind of a two year old - I said "dragging" and he thought I meant walking like a "dragon")

When he's that cute, how can I stay mad at him. I wanted to stay mad at him but he was "walking like a dragon"

Wednesday, July 23

Just catching up

So, it's been almost a month since my last posting. There have been many moments that I think "That definitely has to go in the blog." My next thought is, "I hope I remember." It seems like times runs away from me and time to update the blog is few and far between.

Noah got hurt at the 4th of July cook out we went to. It's the cutest thing to hear him tell it. He was pushing a Little Tykes mower through the yard. When he got to the patio, the mower stopped because the patio is slightly higher than the grass line. Noah pushes with all his might and the mower went onto the patio. Because he was pushing so hard and wasn't ready for the mower to move, the mower took him down. In the process of the fall (and it's a medical mystery as to how it happened), his ring fingernail on his left and right hand were "blown" off his fingers. Best we can tell from the aftermath, based on how we think he was holding the mower, the pressure from the fall onto his hands blew the fingernails right off his fingers about 2/3 the way down the nail. There was blood everywhere. There was no other scratches, scrapes or bruising anywhere on him or his hands. The only evidence of the fall is that he's missing 2 fingernails. Whether the nail will grow back is to be determined over time. If we/he is really that worried about it cosmetically, we can take him to a specialist to have the nail pulled completely from the bed of his finger and let the whole nail start over fresh. Only time will tell!

There has been a few moments of cute, innocent Noah comments - I hope I can remember them...

Yesterday we were cleaning up toys and he had a toy cell phone in his hand. I reminded him that if we wanted the blue tent from the basement, he had to help clean up. He said into the phone, "Hold on a minute, Stacy." He looked at me and said, "I'm on the phone to Stacy. My Stacy, not your Stacy."
"Oh - okay. Well, clean up or no tent."

Dave was scrounging through the kitchen a few days ago looking for a lost tea pot. He opened the island cabinets under the stove top and I saw a really fantastic colander. I said, "Oh wow!! I didn't that was under there. I'll take that!" Noah, who was sitting at the table eating lunch, said, "That's what we bought for you with Grama Penny." Really... I love it!! Thanks...

When Natalie falls, she's very dramatic about her reaction. Dave and I will usually say, if we can tell she's faking it, "You're fine. I saw it." Yesterday Noah, Natalie and I were playing in the floor and she was standing next to the ottoman. She leaned against a pillow that didn't hold her weight and she fell. She didn't cry or react other than to pull herself back up. Noah, on the other hand, looks at her, laughs and says, "You're fine. I saw it. No crying."

If I can remember the other things that he has said, I'll post them. Hopefully when I remember them. I should start carrying around a notebook to write it down so I don't forget.

We were sitting in the parking lot outside of Kohls today while I fixed Natalie a drink. Noah pointed out the window and said, "Hey, look mom. A shoe."

"A shoe? Where?"

"Right there. That white one."

"That white car? Is that a shoe?"


Apparently, in the mind of a 2 1/2 year old, a Mazda CX-7 looks like a shoe.

Noah is an amazing baseball player. He'll play with the Fisher Price tee-ball he has but he prefers to have someone pitch it to him. If he's not outside, he'll even try to play in the house. He throws a little plastic puzzle piece up into the air and hits it with a wooden spoon. I'm amazed at his ability to hit it. He hasn't quite figured out where to stand for where he wants to ball/puzzle piece to go but he's still pretty good. The next baseball game in the front yard, I want Noah on my team. He definitely doesn't get his baseball ability from me.

Natalie is standing by herself. She will walk if she's able to hold onto something. She hasn't taken her first steps by herself yet but she's trying. You can tell she wants to and she really thinks hard about whether to try it or not. In the end, she lowers herself to the floor and crawls away. She's so close to walking. She likes to wrestle with Noah. He'll sitting in the floor playing or on the couch watching TV. Natalie crawls right up next to him, gets up on her knees, makes an attack noise and body slams him. Sometime he plays right back; other times he's just not interested.

Saturday, June 28


Sand box at a yard sale: $2
Sand for the sand box: $7
Toys for the sand box: $6
Playing in the sand with dad on Father's Day: Priceless

Thursday, June 12

"Your dog just ran away"

Now that we are home and back into our routine - somewhat - I've started working out again.

Noah is out of diapers at the house, so after the Y, we have to stop by Costco to buy more.

After working out and sweating like crazy, I'm starving. (don't worry - i showered at the Y so i won't stink everybody at out at costco :) ) I decide to stop at Wendy's. I worked out today so I've already worked off any fat I'll collect from their burgers and fries - I'm even today :)

While waiting in line at the drive thru, I look out my window and see a dog squeeze it's way out of the back seat window of a car next door at Sears Hardware. I can't really blame him - it's 92 today and HUMID!!! I'm surprised at what I see and since it's not in the Wendy's parking lot but Sear's Hardware next door, what do I do??

I have the kids with me so I can't just hop out and chase after it. I'm next in line at the drive thru and I don't want to give up my turn. Now what? I decide to call Sears and tell them what I've seen thinking they will page the owner of a black dog. I search information for the store phone number but information doesn't have the store listed. I get the number for another store in the area thinking I'll call them to ask for the number I need for the store I am next door to. I order my food first - I can't work on an empty stomach :)

Poor Noah just wants "a plain cheeseburger" and I keep telling him to wait. There's too much happening and I'm losing all concentration... get a phone number - "wait, Noah" - order my food and a "plain cheeseburger" - "wait, Noah" - ask one phone number for the correct number - "wait, Noah" - pay for the food - " wait, Noah" - pick up the food and be sure we have everything we ordered - "I know, Noah. Please wait." - call the correct phone number...

"Hi, I'm sitting in the drive thru at Wendy's and I just saw a dog jump out of one of the cars in your parking lot. You should page the owner of a black dog. If I was the dog's owner, I'd want to know."

"Yes. Of course. Thanks"

I give Noah his "plain cheeseburger" and drive over to the store to see if I can find the dog. I just keep thinking of mom and Junior in TX. What would she do if she walked out of the store to find JR gone? How terrible would that be? Where is this dog? Where is the owner? If Sears paged the owner and the owner didn't come running out in a mad frenzy, maybe it's not like mom and JR after all.

I see an employee come out of the store and stand there looking around. I roll down my window and ask if they are looking for the dog. She tells me that someone just called about a dog. She's acting like it was a prank call. That poor dog owner has no idea. No wonder they didn't come running in a mad frenzy. I'd be so mad if that happened, someone saw it and reported it and no one told me.

A few seconds later a large man comes mozying out of the store and walks to the car like it's no no big deal that the dog is gone. He seems confused that his dog is not in the car. I can't believe the people at Sears didn't page this man like I asked!! I get out and tell him that I was in line at Wendy's and saw the dog squeeze out of the window and run towards the back of the store. He proceeds to question me on how a dog could squeeze out of the car window. By now, there are two other cars involved. One has gone towards the back of the store on the left and the other on the right. The owner is talking to me like I'm crazy and there 's all these other people telling him that his dog has just run towards the back of the store.

Between you and I - with as far down as the window was, I can't believe the owner is shocked that the dog got out.

As I drove away, with Noah still talking about his "plain cheeseburger", I saw the owner in my rear view mirror walking through the parking lot with his dog, Lulabell.

A man that size with a dog named "Lulabell" - something just ain't right :)

San Francisco or bust

We arrive home from Vegas at 2am on Friday morning and we are off again, headed to the airport, by 9am on Saturday.

We stop in Dayton to say our goodbyes to Penny before heading to Columbus for our flights to San Francisco.

We board our flight and things seem okay. We push back from the gate, taxi into takeoff position and Natalie starts getting anxious. We take off and she's off - fussy and carrying on. She's an anxious flier to the point that she and I both need to be sedated to fly.

She seems to be okay if I let her tear the pages out of the "Skymall" magazine one at a time. As we are starting our decent into Atlanta, so is Natalie. The magazine is in shredded pieces on the floor and she's starting to get fussy again. Luckily we land and have a short taxi to the gate. We've survived another flight with Natalie.

We have a 2 1/2 hour lay over in Atlanta before our flight to San Francisco. We push the kids and all our "gear" to the last gate at the end of the hall. There is tons of room for Noah run loose without getting in anyone's way. Natalie is teething 3 teeth so we give her Tylenol and Oragel hoping she'll fall asleep. We have plenty of room to spread out after flying with her and we hoping to get a second burst of energy before our 5 hour flight the San Francisco. Little did we know how important the second burst would be.

We are now at our departure gate area and we've been told it's an absolutely oversold flight. They aren't even going to get everyone on the plane. Oh well - a 767 from Atlanta to San Francisco seems unlikely to be that full but we knew it was gamble getting a seat for her. You'd think after our losing gambling streak in the Vegas a few days earlier that we would have stopped gambling but sometimes people just don't learn.

Natalie is getting anxious sitting in the gate area. Noah isn't listening to anything we are saying and I'm getting stressed. Really 5 hours of this without a seat for her? Dave calls the 800 reservation number just to see if they can tell us anything different. Nope - oversold flight! CRAP!!!! Oh the stress that is enveloping this family - God help us and everyone else on this flight.

We board and check Natalie's car seat at the bottom of the jet way as instructed. Dave goes ahead of me and the kids so he can get Noah's car seat strapped in before we get there. This is normal for us. It's part of our "travel routine".

We find our seats and sit. Natalie is beyond fussing and is uncontrollably crying - sobbing! I'm beyond stressed. My hair is falling by the fistful and I'm not even pulling on it. It's falling out around me in big chunks. I'm now bald! People are taking samples to share my story and have proof of the crazy lady they flew to San Francisco with. Noah's having a blast - he loves to fly about as much as Natalie hates to fly.

The flight attendants make their announcement indicating that all passengers are on board and we can't leave until everyone is seated. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!???? OVERSOLD MY ASS!!! We are in 36 C D E. There is one gentleman in 36 B leaving 36A open. There is a gentleman in 35 B leaving 35 A open. There isn't anyone sitting in 34 A or B. That's just what I can see from my middle seat in 36 D and a screaming baby clawing my eyes out.

Dave can sense my madness and decides to take Natalie to 34 A/B. Maybe if she looks out the window all will be well. Nope!! After hassling with her for a few minutes, we swap and I take her. This goes on - back and forth with "pass Natalie" - for about 20 minutes. We are still sitting at the gate 20 passed our original departure time. Dave hands Natalie off to me and I resume the position in 34 A/B. I am getting the looks from passengers around me - you know the look... "Oh great! This flight is going to suck and it's all your child's fault!" I'm sympathetic to them and am sorry. But I'm not sorry to the lady and her travel companion in 32 C and D. They turn and look at me like, "Why can't you control your child? Be a better mom!" I lose it... It's one thing to have a crappy flight because of my 12 month old; it's another make me feel like I'm a bad mom because my 12 month old can't reason with the situation. It's not like she's Noah's age and won't sit still in her seat. She's clearly an infant who doesn't understand. They were the idiots who boarded a full 767 for a 5 hour flight without ear plugs - DUH!!

So, in receiving this look, I respond - quite loudly as to be sure the two ladies heard me, "I'm doing the best I can!!! Stop staring!!!" Dave pulls a Kramer and suddenly slides up the aisle appearing beside me in the same way Kramer came sliding into Jerry Seinfeld's apartment. He leans in and says, "I'll take her!" I respond, "No, it's fine. She's fine. I have her. (and say loudly again so 32 C/D hear me) I want the ladies up there to quit looking at me like I'm a bad mom. She's 12 months old. What do they expect?!" He insists, "No! I'll take her." Fine - whatever!! I go back to 36 C/D/E and sit with Noah.

Noah is definitely sensing the tension on the plane so I distract him and myself by playing with the TV screens on the seat backs in front of us and we have a good time.

Exactly 1 hour from our original departure time, we take off. We never received an announcement as to why we took off late. We never heard why we sat at the gate for 45 minutes after our original departure time. That's Delta for you... Financial trouble and bad customer service. Do you think the two are linked? Anyway...

Natalie finally cries herself to sleep until the flight attendants become announcement happy. "We're serving drinks." "We're serving snacks." "Sign up for a Skymiles credit card." "Here's how you work your TV." And now, Natalie's awake and crying - again!!

Now that we are in the air and things seems to be a little less tense thanks to her 60 second nap, Dave and I trade off again. He sits with Noah and I take Natalie who is still uncontrollable. The only thing that seems to calm her is standing in the aisle. It's a cramped space so I take her to the rear galley where the flight attendants store their service items. Since they woke her up, they can listen to her. My plan backfires - they are already in the aisles doing their service so they don't have to listen to her.

I bounce with her in the galley area and she seems content watching everything going on in the aisles - people coming and going to the bathrooms near where were are standing, flight attendants serving food and drinks, people turning to see if we've moved farther from them so they don't have to listen to her, etc. She's not crying anymore but she's still making fussing noises. I think to myself as if I'm talking to her, "Please, get control of yourself! It's just an airplane. It's in your blood - your dad's a pilot, your mom's a flight attendant, your brother loves to fly... please get it together for all of our sakes and sanity!" This goes on for the first hour and a half of the flight. Keep in mind we took off an hour late so we've been dealing with this for a little over 2 hours.

Just as soon and as suddenly as the storm started it stopped. She was talking, smiling and laughing!!! What the hell?!?!?!?!?!

While waiting to be sure this isn't just the calm before a second storm, there are people milling about the galley - stretching their legs, waiting for the bathroom, etc. A few actually stopped to say they are proud of me for standing up for myself with the way some people were looking at me. Thank you... See, I'm not that crazy!

I cautiously return to 34 A/B to be sure she doesn't start up again. All seems well! She's fine - as long as I'm holding her. If I have to go to the bathroom and pass her off to Dave for a few seconds, she's fussy. If I have to pass her off to Dave to change Noah's diaper - nope, she's fussy! I am her saving grace and yet - I'm the one that nearly got us thrown off the plane for yelling at the other passengers to stop staring. Maybe that's why it's all about me - I tried to save her the embarrassment of the glaring that was coming our way. Whatever it takes to keep her quiet - so be it!!

She's torn up the magazine, thrown all the stuff out of our carry on, is moving the shade up and down just to see it work, has chewed on the airplane seatbelt, is trying to figure out how to work the arm rest, and has eaten all the food I brought for us. She won't drink a darn thing but whatever it takes to keep her quiet - so be it!!! God only knows how many germs she picked up from the seatbelt alone but she was quiet and that's what matters. :)

All is well the remaining 3 1/2 hours of the flight. Just as the wheels are about to touch down in San Francisco she falls asleep... Really, now?! But wait - there's an announcement from the flight attendants "Welcome to San Francisco..." Oh well - there goes another 60 second nap.

As people are leaving, some stop to let me out of my seat. I tell them to go ahead because I'm waiting for my husband and my son. They say, "Are you sure? You've had a rough flight!" Different people - same comment.

You win some - you lose some! Some were happy I stood up for myself - same wanted to push us out the nearest exit.

We head to get the bags, get the rental car, get the kids strapped in, and then she starts up again. We stop at a drive thru for milk for her and she wants to drink it but it's cold. We survive the drive to Cupertino and I vow to never fly with her again. (Of course that can't really happen - I have to get home from San Francisco but it's a nice fantasy! :) )

I overhear Dave telling the "adventures of flying with Natalie" story to Dick. I tell him that I was complemented for speaking up and about how "Kramer like" he was in appearing next to me after I yelled. He said he was worried I was going to be escorted off the plane in handcuffs. Well, I wouldn't have had to listen to her if I was in jail. Thanks for screwing that up for me :) :) It was still too early to laugh about the incident and I think it still is - a week and a half later :) Dick's response, "Well, at least you have good material for your blog." :) True!!

I tell Dave later that I can't fly with her anymore. I have so much anxiety thinking about and leading up to flying with her that I need a sedative myself. I'm going to ask the dr. if he can prescribe something stronger than Tylenol or Benadryl for her when we fly. Tylenol and Benadryl make her tired and she usually sleeps once they "kick in" but when it comes to flying she'll fight through the sleepiness. He tells me that the dr. probably won't be on board with use giving our 1 year old a sedative. If the dr. can't prescribe her a sedative, maybe he'll prescribe me some anti-anxiety medicine. This child's fear of flying is going to give me a one way ticket to crazy town. :)

We get through our visit without incident.

Our flight home leaves San Francisco at 7am so we have to be out the door no later than 5am. Surely it'll be so early that the kids will sleep. Noah can sleep like a champ on an airplane - usually. Not today...

Natalie isn't as anxious but she isn't going without a fight. Luckily the flight is only half full so we get a seat for her. In fact, on boarding we see that we get a whole row - 6 seat for the 4 of us. God is finally smiling on us!!

We survive the flight home with minor fussing fits from Natalie and no sleeping from either child. We are scheduled to land in Cincinnati and have a long layover before our connection to Columbus. The kids and I get off the plane and Ben picks us up. Dave waits for the flight back to Columbus to pick up our checked bags and the car. Wouldn't you know it - 10 minutes into the car ride both kids pass out. I'm too stressed out to sleep and I'm realizing on the drive that the cicadas have emerged and I'm absolutely terrified of them. I've jumped out of a moving car to get away from one before. This is not going well. They are supposed to be here for another 3 weeks! Why, God, Why??? Like I haven't been through enough?!?!?

Ben drops us off at home and heads to Stephanie's. Noah won't fall back to sleep but Natalie sleeps and sleeps and sleeps some more. Poor thing is exhausted! Maybe that'll teach her to sleep on the flight - not likely but there's always hoping.

The rest of the day drags on and we eventually head to bed for the night. I toss and turn and finally fall asleep a little after 2. Why - like I haven't been through enough and now, I'm not only jet lagged, I can't sleep.

Viva Las Vegas - "loser city"... I mean "sin city"

Dave and I left for Las Vegas on Monday, May 26. We were excited to have a few days without kids and to forget what it's like to be parents. We get to the airport and Dave tells me how much money he has taken out of the bank as our gambling money. I tell him, in summary, what I heard him say and he decides - more money would be best. We go the 5/3 ATM to withdraw cash so we don't have to pay extra ATM fees in Vegas if we need more money. The ATM won't take Dave's card. It's not broken but it's not working for us. I interpret this as a bad sign. Not the way I want to start out a trip to Vegas. If we can't even get the ATM to work, what's gonna happen when we put money into the slots? Dave interprets it fate is telling us we don't need anymore money because we are going to win so much that we won't need to go back to the ATM. We'll see...

We board our flight and see that our seats are directly in front of the exit row. That means less leg room and our seats don't recline to make up for the couple in front of us reclining their seats. It's a short flight between Dayton and Atlanta. The next flight is a long one and our row is different so we scout out where are seats on the flight to Vegas. Surely the seats will be better. We get into Atlanta and it's a very crowded airport. Dave is getting stressed - big crowd, loud intercom announcements, no where to sit. This is not going well! Please let our luck turn - SOON!!! We board the flight from Atlanta to Vegas and guess what... we have the row in front of the exit row again. Different row assignment but it's a different airplane type so we're stuck. It's a full flight and no option to move. The gentleman sitting next to me is old and he's a smoker. Oh boy!!! Surely this trip cannot get any worse. Let's just get all of our bad karma, bad luck, bad whatever out of the way now so we can have good luck in Vegas.

We arrive and unfold ourselves from the cramped seating arrangements. We check into the MGM using the hotel check in desk at the airport. We reserved a king size room with the option to upgrade on check in for $50. We'd like to upgrade. "Sorry, there's only 1 standard queen room available."

"No. I reserved a king room, not a queen room. I understand there's no upgrades and that's fine but the queen room is not fine." (Again - this trip is for us to forget what it's like to be parents. Because the kids keep Dave up all hours of the night with their sleep noises and not sleeping through the night, we don't usually sleep in the same bed. If this vacation is about forgetting what it's like to be parents, sleeping in separate beds is not an option.)

"Well, the only king room available in the hotel is on the 3rd floor but it's not ready. The maid is cleaning it now."

"That's fine. It'll be done by the time we get there?"

"Yes. There is also a room on the 5th floor if you'd prefer that." (Um - what happened to no king rooms available and within 10 seconds, 2 king rooms are now available. If I keep waiting will an upgrade room be available?)

"Which room has a view?"

"Neither. There isn't a view below the 16th floor."

"Well, I guess we'll take the 3rd floor."

We head off to claim our bags and decide that since we are waiting, we might as well go ahead and stick a few quarters into the slot machine. What?!?! The slot machines don't take coins. That's weird!! Maybe it's because they were having too many problems with all the airport travelers and people just passing through causing congestion.

We go to the taxi stand and wait for a cab. Of all the cabs in all of Vegas, we (trying to forget what it's like to be parents) get a mini van taxi. Oh yes - this trip is starting off so well!!! Broken ATM, bad airplane seating, no view from our room, no upgrades available, no coins in the slots, and a mini van. Surely this has got to be the end of our bad luck!! Maybe once we get to the hotel and settled into our room we will have better luck.

We get to our room and see that our view is of the fire exit stairs from the next building over. We knew there wasn't a view of the strip but the emergency fire escape wasn't what we had in mind either. We call the front desk to ask if there is a better room available. "I''m sorry, sir, the hotel is completely full. There aren't any other room available. If you'd like, you can check back with us tomorrow."

We decide to head to In-N-Out for a burger. Maybe that's all we need to change our luck - a good double-double animal style (yum!). We get a cab and the driver is nice and very informative. There's major construction on the strip and he gives us the low down on what they are doing and when it's supposed to be done. The cab driver's are on unofficial strike because the city keeps adding more cabs causing less money for the current cabs. I asked him the new monorail is effecting the business the cabs get. He says, "No. Locally it's known as the mono-fail." Good to know... It's $9 per person/per ride and you have to walk all the way to the back of the casino to get on and all the way from the back of the casino to get off. It's too much hassle to get on and get off so a lot people don't ride it. By the time you walk to/from the back of the casino you could have practically been to your destination without spending the money for the monorail ticket.

We eat our lunch and grab a cab back to the Bellagio to watch a water show. We call Noah and he seems to not even miss us. He is so distracted by whatever he is doing that he gives the phone back to Penny mid-conversation. Good that he doesn't miss us but at the same time it's so sad that he doesn't miss us. Well, not missing us is better for Penny so we head to the water show. We stop by the Monte Carlo to gamble a little. Dave bets the slots. I'm usually a black jack player but I can't find a cheap table so play slots with Dave. The slots don't take coins anymore and it's a shame. The casinos are so quiet (compared to what they used to be) and it's just not same. You put dollars in and a cash voucher when you cash out. You can take the voucher to a voucher/atm machine or to the cashier station to get cash. We didn't win anything so we don't have to cash in our vouchers. We decide drinking alcohol would be more fun at this point so we head to the NYNY. We've always liked the NY casino and we stopped for a frozen drink on the way.

The NY is doing construction in the casino so it's hard to navigate and you can't find anything. We sit down at a slot, play a few bucks and leave...without a voucher because we aren't winning.

We cross the street back to the MGM. Maybe we should just call it a night and hope for better luck tomorrow. We stop at a slot machine in the MGM. Dave sits and is having fun playing, winning 50 cents here, 75 cents there. I'm bored with the slots and lose $20 in a matter of seconds. The slots are so boring to me so I decide it's better to watch him. I can people watch, too and that's free. It's depressing how much bad luck we are having. The slot machine Dave is playing seems like fun so I decide to put $5 in. The machine won't take my $5 because it's one of the new bills. I press the button to call for the "change" person. They don't come so I run over to the cash/voucher machine to trade in my $5 for 5 $1. I head back to the slot machine with my 5 $1 but the machine doesn't take $1 only $5 and up. Oh my gosh... this is such a bad sign. I press the "change" button again and wait for someone to come help me. They are no where in sight so I stick my $1 in the nearest machine that will take it, cash out immediately and plan to put the $5 voucher back in the machine next to Dave. By the time I get this all worked out, a family from India has sat down to play at my slot machine. Oh well - it's probably better anyway. All that work to play tells me that it's best not to play. If I can't have luck getting my money into the machine, I'm probably not going to have any luck getting extra money out of the machine.

The Indian family is having a hard time understand how to play. Yes, they are from India, the call-center-technology capital of the world where all of the US work is being outsourced to and yet, they can't figure out a slot machine. Hoping to change our karma and bad luck, I decide to help them. They keep putting the money in and telling me to push the button. I tell them that if I hit the button and it wins, I get to keep the money because technically, I'm the one gambling it even though it's their money. They decide to hit the button themselves. Once they've learned, I go off in search of another slot machine to play my $5 on. I mozy over to one that looks half way interesting and sit down. I somehow or another bet the max and am out of money after 2 spins. Now who can't figure out the stupid slot machines!!!!????? I sulk back over to where is still playing and people watch. My drink is empty and I've lost too much to keep trying. I've given up gambling for the night. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

We head back to the room and I sleep terrible. There is large flood light attached to the fire escape stairs and the curtains have been closed in a way that the light is shining straight through the slit in the curtains and into the my eyes. I'm too tired to get up to fix it but I'm not really getting any sleep. I sleep fitfully and wake at 615. Why - I'm on vacation and am forgetting what it's like to be a parent. All non-parents always wake up at 615 so of course this is normal. Oh - please do not let this be an indication of my luck today. I'm in Vegas - cut me a break. I finally fall back to sleep and wake up at 9 when I hear Dave bringing back Starbucks. Ahhhh, Starbucks - maybe this make my luck all better?! It usually helps make my day better back home.

Dave checks his email and there are serious issues at work. He has to do some work and possibly a conference call. We decide to try to rent a Harley and go ride for the day. Dave checks their website and it says we have to show proof of motorcycle rental coverage on the insurance company letter hear. Dave calls his agent to have them fax a letter only to be told that motorcycle rental is a lot different than a car rental and we aren't covered. So much for renting a motorcycle. Hopefully this is not an indication of our luck for the day. Dave deals with his conference call and I shower. We decide that since can't get a motorcycle, we'll lay by the pool today. I've already told him - weeks before we arrived - I was going to spend a day by the pool and made sure the clarify what "day by the pool" means. Dave and I do not have the same tolerance for the sun. I am a "water baby" and would like right next to the pool if I could. Dave burns easily and isn't "all day" sun like me. All day, to me, means 11ish to 3 or 4. All day, to Dave, means an hour. :) We get some breakfast and make it to the pool around 1. Because it's so late in the day, all the good spots are taken. We find a spot, plop down our stuff. I float down the lazy river; Dave lays by the pool. Eventually, Dave floats and I lay. I'm quite impressed that after an hour, he hasn't gotten "too much sun" and headed inside. In fact, he lays by the pool with me all day. We moved spots a few times to find shade for him and sun for me and made it work. Maybe tomorrow we can make it out here before 1 and get a good spot that will work for us all day. I decide that I want a drink. I get a beer. Holy cow...$7 for 1 beer plus a tip. I'll be sure to make 1 beer last all day :) We call home and Noah is definitely missing us. I call Stacy to see if she can takes Adam and Bella to visit Noah tomorrow when she gets off work. Stacy is his favorite aunt (but only because of her car and Bella's shoes :) ) so says she'll go play with Noah. We call Penny to tell her that she's coming. We think it'll give Noah a little reassurance that there is some normalcy to his life. He hasn't been completely abandoned and it'll give Penny a chance to breath a little. I'm not sure if she needed it but the kids exhaust me and I know it's nice to breath a little sometimes.

I decide I want Chipotle for dinner and Dave remembers seeing one on our last visit here. There is so much construction going on and so much stuff has been torn down that I call the front desk to ask them if there's still a Chipotle on the strip. I'm told "no" so we head to a Mexican restaurant across the street at the NYNY. It's really good and I'm still craving their salsa today. YUM!! We get our souvenir cups from the night before refilled with another frozen drink and head out to gamble. Needless to say, after waking at 6, not renting a motorcycle, Dave having to work during vacation, paying $7 for a beer and not getting Chipotle, our gambling luck isn't any better and we lose all night.

Oh well... That seems to be the theme of the trip - "you are the biggest loser, goodbye!"

I sleep better because I've fixed the curtains but wake at 6 again. I fall back asleep and have the most terrible dream. Dave said I was crying out in my dream and really restless. He goes for Starbucks but has to follow up on the problem with work that he was working on yesterday. We get a much earlier start on our day anyway and head to breakfast. I really want Denny's but the one next door has been torn down and the other one is on the other end of the strip. By the time I get down there and eat, the day will be half over and by the time I make it back to the hotel, I'll be hungry again because it takes so long to get down the strip. We find a sandwich shop near the pool and grab some food to eat poolside instead. Because it's still a little early, we get a really good spot by the pool. We buy a beer and again, make it last all day.

We call home to check on Noah. He's really excited because Stacy should be pulling up any second. Again - he could care less that we're not home. Good and bad for us but I'll deal with it. Penny then tells me that when he woke up from his nap this afternoon, she said, "Guess who is coming over to play with you today?" Little Noah replied, "Mommy and daddy!" I lost it - right there in the middle of the pool, I lose all sense of control and start crying. The poor people sitting in the chairs beside us decide go for a swim as soon as they see me in tears. I'm not sure who they were but I can only imagine what they were thinking. Dave and I walk a few feet away to make a phone call and I come back in tears. Them leaving for a swim a few seconds later seemed a little coincidental.

I get control and we head back to the room early because we have tickets to the Cirque Du Soleill "O" at the Bellagio. We want to have a nice dinner before hand. It has taken us the entire 3 days we've been here to track the tickets down. It's our bad luck we are having that is causing the problem for us not getting the tickets but Dave is finally able to track them down.

Dave decides that since he has had to work during his vacation that work should pay for part of our dinner so we head to Smith and Wollensky Steakhouse. We eat the best steak we've ever had. The asparagus were cooked to perfection and the potatoes were so fluffy and creamy. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. YUM!! We order creme brulee for dessert. It comes in three separate flavors: regular, pistachio, and chocolate. The chocolate is too rich for me but Dave likes it. The pistachio is my favorite. Dave order a glass of the dessert port. I have a Bailey's and coffee and we both seem to be in heaven. They bring our bill and Dave reaches for his money clip only to find that he doesn't have his work credit card. So much for being in heaven. Adding to our already high expense for this trip because of all we've gambled and lost, we now have a $200 food bill to pay plus a tip. Okay, okay, okay - enough bad luck already, PLEASE!!!

We see the show and absolutely love it. After the show we decide to stop in the Monte Carlo on our walk back to the MGM to see if there is a cheap blackjack table for me to play. I've had a small amount of luck in finding a cheap table at the Monte Carlo if it's early enough in the night. Don't get me wrong - I haven't had luck winning big but I've found a table. Not tonight... All the tables are $10 or higher. Dave is sulking because he hasn't won anything and we are on our last night in Vegas. I decide to go back to the hotel, change into jeans and tshirt and call the Excalibur to see if they have any $5 table going. They have 1 $5 table. We head to the overpass to walk to the Excalibur and Dave sees a sign that says, "$5 Blackjack 24 hours a day at the Tropicana." Now, 12 hours before our flight home we see this... Now is when our luck is changing... Seriously?? Somebody has not so funny humor!!

We head to the Tropicana. I sit down at a $5 table with $20 and 3 hands later I'm off to find Dave and I'm broke. He's at a slot machine not winning either. Oh well - at least our luck didn't really change so I'm leaving wondering if I should have been gambling at the Tropicana the whole time. As we are leaving I talk Dave into sitting at a $5 table with me for $20 each. Let's see what happens - maybe this will get him out of his "we're losers and we suck" sulking mood.

It works... he's not sulking anymore when we walk away after about an hour and a half. We're aren't up any money but we aren't down any more money either. We walk away with the $20 each we sat down with. We played, won few hands, lost a few hands, had a good time and walked away without losing our $20. I'd have to say that was one of the best times during the whole trip! Sitting together, gambling and laughing along with the crowd and the dealer. It was fun!!!

We fly home on Thursday. We made sure the pay a few extra bucks in order to book our seats a day early and guarantee we weren't in the row in front of the exit. It wasn't so bad. The flight wasn't completely full so it worked out. We had 3 seats together to just the 2 of us. We could spread out and take a nap. We needed it... We didn't get back to the house until a little after 2am.

Noah came in at 6 - like usual. I heard him coming down the hall because he SLAMS his door shut alerting me that he's headed my way. He stands outside the door for a few seconds. I call his name and comes in hesitantly. That's weird!! (later I found out it's because Penny slept with the door open - he was confused why the door would be closed) He trots over to my side of the bed. When I open my eyes and smile at him, he seems confused to see me. I say "Hi, Noah!" and chin starts to quiver and his lips starts to curl like he's going to cry! Poor little guy - I can tell by how he's looking at me that he thinks he's dreaming. It's only after I reach for him and pull him into bed with and give him a great BIG hug that he's able to stop quivering and see that I really am there. I think he thought he was dreaming - what a terrible dream for a 2 year old to have. Can you imagine the mental damage that would cause - "I dreamed mom came home but she didn't really. She's abandoned me!" But I was really there so all was well.

I have 36 hours to do laundry, settle back in from Vegas, and repack the suitcases before we head off on our next adventure. We are headed to San Francisco for Joyce's memorial service. I don't think we could have done it without Penny being there to help. I was so tired and there was so much to do. But we did it and we're off again!!! San Francisco or bust...

Thursday, May 22

My hair

Noah and I ran down to Kroger (about 1 mile from the house) on Saturday afternoon to get a few things I forgot to get for Natalie's birthday party. He likes to have the windows down so I rolled down his window (behind the driver seat) and the front passenger side window as we were driving through the subdivision. As I turn onto the main road and start accelerating, he asks me if I feel the wind. I told him I did and asked if he felt the wind. He said he felt the wind and just as we are closing in on the entrance to Kroger, he asks me to roll the window up. I tell him it's nice out and we should keep the window down. He then tells me why to roll the window up...

"The wind. It's messing my hair."

Oh my gosh... really!!! I rolled the window up as we pulled into the parking lot and kept them up on the way home.

Natalie had fun at her party. She's showing you, "see":

Monday, May 19


Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints of snow.
I am the sunlight in ripen grain.
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I did not die.

We'll miss you, Grama Sunshine!!!

Thursday, May 15

Identifying Art

The lovely art mural that Noah painted for us on the bathroom wall about a year ago now has been identified:

As Noah was getting dried off after his bath this morning, he pointed to the wall and said, "I did that."

ME:"Yes, you did. Did you get in trouble?"

NOAH: "Yes. That's naughty. Mommy and daddy only." (he's referring to "mommy and daddy" are the only ones allowed to paint the wall.)

ME: "That's right. Mommy and daddy only."

NOAH: "It's a giraffe."

ME: "It is? It's a giraffe?"

NOAH: "Yes. I did that giraffe on that wall."

Okay then - we have a lovely giraffe mural on our bathroom wall.

Sunday, May 11

Happy Mother's Day

So - Because I'm not as smart as I once was (reference: Nanny and Hearing Aid post), I didn't know that today is Mother's Day until 3 days ago. I have a calendar. It's a calendar I make for my family every year. I even make sure to put the various holidays on the calendar so we don't forget. For some reason, my brain kept telling me it was next weekend. My calendar says it's today - my brain says next weekend. Yes, 3 days is enough time to get a Mother's Day card in the mail but as soon as the thought of Mother's Day entered my brain, it left again. I realized over dinner this evening that I didn't get a card for my mom or either of my mother-in-laws. So, please consider this my card - "Happy Mother's Day - Your great and I'm so glad you are a part of my life. You each have your own special "mom" spot in my heart and I'm grateful that I can call you family." I know it's not a teary, sappy Hallmark card but it's forever marked in the internet world of blogging for all to see and I wanted to at least say "I'm thinking of you".


Finally... 7 days before her first birthday and she says her first word. I was able to get it on video today. (there is a video posted below but it may not work depending on your browser)

Monday, May 5

A Nanny and a Hearing Aid

Dave and I are leaving for Vegas in 3 weeks. I want a good base tan so I don't burn in the 100 degree sun at 10am. I got a tanning package to the local tanning salon and I went to use my first session on Saturday. It's been 2 years since I've had any kind of a tan and probably 5 years since I've been to a tanning bed.

When I'm finished with my session, I look around the room to be sure I have everything and notice, on middle the bed that I just finished tanning in is a plastic card about 3 1/2 x 3/12 that says "This bed is sanitized." Oooo - sanitized and the tan line on my back to prove it... :)

I come home and tell Dave of my misfortune. He laughs! He's been working on replacing the bathroom all day. The kids are laying down and he's working in the garage.

He goes to the basement to get the door frame to carry to the garage. He come to the top of the basement stairs, walks to the garage door and says, "Hey, can you get that door?"

Sure, I can't wait to see the door finished so I'll help anyway I can. I closed the basement door. Dave looks at me like I've lost my mind - "No, get the garage door!" Oh yeah - sorry 'bout it... :) I open the door and as he's walking out, he says, "I'm getting you a nanny. Not for the kids but for you." ha ha ha

Later Saturday night, we had Ben and Stephanie over. We were outside by the firepit and we saw a car drive by and stop in front of the neighbors. I was sitting down and Dave was standing beside me. He saw someone get out of the car and I heard him say, "Oh, banana."

I said, "Did you just say banana?"


"It sounded like you said, 'Oh banana!'"

"No, I said, 'Pizza guy'. I'm buying you a hearing aid."

A little while later, we were talking about the beer bottle I had put in the fire and the way it was melting. I told everyone it was my art. I heard Ben say, "You're so obnoxious." Again - after some clarification, Dave said, "I'm buying you a hearing aid. A hearing aid and a nanny for Mother's Day."

Can't wait.... :)

Monday, April 28

Noah, how old are you?

We're driving down the road a few months ago and Noah sees a big brick building and asks what it is. I tell him, "It's a retirement home. That's where the old people live."

He says, "Oh! That's where daddy lives."

Too funny - where did he learn that? I didn't tell him that and the fact that he associates Dave as "old". Too much!!

About 2 weeks ago, Noah wanted me to ask him how old he was:

"Noah, how old are you?"

"Um, I'm 2 1/2."

"Noah, how old is mommy?"

"Um, she's 30."

"Noah, how old is daddy?"

"Um, he's old."

Again, where on earth did he come up with that answer. He knows I'm 30 because one day he asked me how old I was so I told him. Where did he get the answer that Dave is old? He's so smart that I'm guessing he overheard someone giving Dave a hard time about his age and "being old" so Noah now thinks Dave is "old".

Friday, April 25

Round And Round

Noah hasn't been sleeping well lately which means he's extremely sensitive and in trouble alot. Mom is in town this week and I've been wanting fettuccine so me, mom and the kids go to Olive Garden for lunch. Noah won't listen or sit still in his seat. And the following conversation begins:

ME: "Noah, sit on your butt!! You and I are going to go round and round today if you don't start listening."

NOAH: "Round and round?"

ME: "Yes, Noah, round and round."

A very excited and bright eyed NOAH: "Okay."

ME: "Okay? You want to go round and round with me?"

Again, excited and bright eyed NOAH: "Yes!! Come on grama. Let's go round and round."

GRAMA: "Round and round?"

Excited NOAH: "Yea!! Come on - grama, mommy, Noah and Natalie. We'll go round and round!! Come on - let's go!!"

Just forget it... Not quite what I was going for :)

Today is mom's last day in town. Noah has eaten 2 Eggo waffles and drank 6 ounces of milk before we meet up with mom and Kate for lunch and shopping. Noah eats 2 small quesadillas from Chipotle. He has eaten all this over the course of 4 hours. As we're walking out of the mall, Noah says, "I'm hungry! I gotta eat!"

Mom asks, "Hungry!? We just ate. Doesn't your mom ever feed you?"

In a very dramatic fashion, he replies, "No!" followed by a heavy sigh.

Natalie is sick. I took her to the doctor this afternoon. She's had a runny nose and cough for almost a week. At first we thought it was just teething. After a few days, we thought - not teething, allergies. A few days later and we start to think maybe she's sick. We're headed into the weekend - why wait? I'm concerned about her breathing when she coughs so I drag the kids to the doctor for a VERY last minute appt. I call at 3:20 and the receptionist says, "Can you be here by 345?"

I may be a liar but I'm not stupid. If I say no, she'll tell me to come in tomorrow morning. Yeah right - I live 20 minutes away, I'm not in the car and the kids are asleep upstairs. "Yes, of course I'll be there in 25 minutes. It'll be close but I'll be there."

We were only 7 minutes late. I think they sort of expected me to be late because the nurse hasn't even pulled Natalie's chart.

After a mad dash down to the dr, she says Natalie's lungs sound good and clean.

Oh, okay, thanks, I guess. Not really what I was looking for given the effort it took to get here but alright. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it's only a cold but come on - I made it here with such valiant effort, give me something.

Then, I hear it - "Natalie has an ear infection in her right ear. Make sure she gets lots of dairy during the antibiotic. It's been known to cause diarrhea in kids." GREAT - I'm cleaning up mucus filled vomit from all the drainage she has and now I get to deal with diarrhea, too. Thanks! YIPPY!!

Well at least it's something. I'm actually quite surprised - I didn't see that one coming. I showed up thinking bronchitis and I hear "ear infection".

Well, at least I didn't waste my $20 co-pay on nothing. Since Natalie has shown me no signs of an ear infection, I suppose it's better this way. At least I know she's manageable during an ear infection.

Everybody wins - the dr gets her $20 off me, I hear Natalie really does have something wrong with her (even though it's not what I expected), and Natalie gets an antibiotic for her ears. Noah has done so good sitting quietly that I've told him I'll stop at Kroger to buy him a balloon. See - everybody wins!!

Side note: I forgot the balloon but Noah forgot about it, too. He was too concerned about the car wash being broken when we went to get the car cleaned. He actually started to cry because we couldn't go into the car wash. I told him that we try again tomorrow. I'm hoping he forgets that part, too. :-/

As we leave the house to go shopping, Noah asks where we are going. I tell him we're going to pick up grama from Kate's and then we're going to the mall to get him some Crocs. He asks if we're going to the Santa Mall.

"Yes, Noah. We're going to the Santa Mall but Santa isn't at the mall anymore. He's at his house at the North Pole."

"Oh - Santa fixed my bike."

"That's right. Santa made you a bike and brought it to you."

"Yeah - Santa fixed my bike from Wal-Mart."

Shoot - think, think, think - Noah remembers riding his bike around Wal-Mart so we could figure out what size to buy him. Shoot - think, think, think - that was the beginning of December and we left Wal-Mart without it. I can't believe he remembers that!!

"No, Santa made your bike at his house."

Conversation ends - he has moved onto something else before anything else comes up about his bike from Wal-Mart that Santa bought for him.

I think I'm screwed on him forgetting about the car wash and the balloon. I guess I'm going to get my car cleaned tomorrow and buy a "big white balloon".

Wednesday, April 16

My Birthday Morning

I have been very sleep deprived for days. I'm so exhausted I can barely keep my open. They burn when I blink and they are so dry that I can actually hear myself blink. When Dave came home from work yesterday, I break down in tears about how tired I am. He says he'll take the kids and I can sleep - uninterrupted - all night. Great!!! I head to bed at 7. I toss and turn for a while, read my book and then eventually fall asleep. Even though I didn't get to sleep early, it was nice for my body to just rest and relax. I feel much better!

Dave came in this morning at 8 to wake me so he could go to work. He's working a half day and has arranged for Kate to babysit the kids around 230. I have no idea what we're doing and I don't really care - a break from the kids... how exciting!!

I consider taking the kids to the mall to play in the play area but after they eat and I shower, it's almost 11. Natalie takes her nap at noon so a trip to the mall is out. I have to go to the store to get food for Natalie so Kate doesn't have to worry about scrounging something Natalie can eat.

Noah wants to push a "kid size" cart and normally, when Natalie is with us, he isn't allowed. She's too heavy to hold for that long and deal with helping Noah not run into anything or anyone. But today is a special day - it's my birthday and so I let Noah push the cart. It's only baby food and 1/2-n-1/2. How long can that take? Two aisles and then we're done. Oh, if life could really be that easy.

He usually does very good at pushing the cart for the most part. Not today - I'm lugging around a 28lb baby and he decides he doesn't want to push the cart, he wants to hold onto the cart and bounce on one foot. Two aisles are like worlds apart at this rate and Natalie is starting to feel like she weighs 128lbs. My arm is about to give out and I tell Noah he can't hop, he has to walk. That works for about 10 steps. He then decides to let me pull the front of the cart while he hangs onto the handle with his arms draped over and drags his feet. Now, Natalie weights 228lbs and I'm dragging a cart with a 2 1/2 yr old using the cart as a tow truck. Oh My Gosh!!!!!

It never fails, there's always 1 or 2 stray carts in the store that I can grab, put her in the front, toss the groceries and Noah in the back and be on my way - Not today!!! There isn't an unused cart in sight. Oh My Gosh!!!!

I decided to speed up the process by doing the self checkout. All is well except that half way through checking out 5 jars of baby food and a carton of 1/2-n-1/2, Noah decides the self check out is a jungle gym and starts climbing. Oh My Gosh!!! Then, my phone rings. In the fumble of dealing with my trip to Kroger, I can't see the caller ID. I'm waiting for a call from Dave so I answer it. It's not Dave, it's Stacy. I tell her I can't talk and she asks why. Oh My Gosh!!!! After a brief summary of my trip to Kroger, I tell her again that I'll have to call her back. I finish checking out.

I'm hungry and decide to go home for leftover chicken and rice. I have to cook the rice though and it takes 30 minutes. After my trip to Kroger, I decide that's too long to wait for rice so I decide a Big Mac would be good.

I head to McDonalds - BIG MISTAKE!!!

I pull up to the drive thru line at 1124. I know it was 1124 because I called Stacy back when I pulled in. There is 5 cars in front of me. The first car finishes ordering and pulls forward. I see them pull out the other side of the drive thru a few minutes later. They got their food and drove off before the next car was asked for their order. At this rate, it'll take forever. I could have had rice made by now... The next car orders, pulls through and I see them leave before the next car orders. Now, I'm third in line. It's been 10 minutes. If I didn't want a Big Mac I'd go somewhere else but seeing as I can only get a Big Mac at McDonalds, I decide to tough it out. BIG MISTAKE!!!

The car at the speaker orders and pulls forward, right away, the car in front of me orders, then me - a big mac meal and a cheeseburger happy meal with apples instead of fries. It seems McDonalds finally got their act together and isn't dealing with one car a time anymore. Good - Now that I've ordered, it shouldn't be too long. WRONG!!!

By the time I get around to the pay window, it's been 14 minutes from the time I pulled into the drive thru line to the time I paid. Jeez...all that time but now, all I have to do is pull forward for my food.

I get to the food window and I wait, and wait, and wait some more.

I can see the girl filling drinks and waiting for my food to be handed to her. As she's filling cups, I'm amazed that she can fill that many and remember which drink goes with which order. I guess the cups aren't filling all the way so she starts to fill them with one of the other drinks. I'm surprised that can remember what she put in each cup seeing as they are all the same color - diet, regular, dr pepper - all brown.

She leans out and asks what I ordered for food. Um - okay - I repeat my order to her and she hands me Noah's apple juice. After waiting another minute or two she hands me his happy meal. I'm still waiting for my big mac meal.

While waiting, Dave calls. I'm so fuming pissed off by now - it's been 20 minutes, 10 to order and 10 waiting for my food. I tell Dave that I can't talk and start telling him, loudly enough for the girl in the window to hear, that I've waited 20 minutes for food at the drive thru. He asks if I can just pull away. Nope, I've already paid.

She finally hands me my food and tells me not to yell at her. I said, "Twenty minutes for food. It's called FAST FOOD for a reason." I start to pull away and realize I didn't get my drink. I yell at her, again, "I've waited 20 minutes for my food and I didn't even get my drink."

She asks, "What did you order?"

"Dr. Pepper"

She hands me a Dr Pepper and I leave.

I'm so fighting mad by now that I can't stand it. Oh My Gosh!!! It's my birthday, can't I just have a normal day.

You have to understand my luck with McDonalds drive thru. About once every few months, I get into a fight with the people working the window. Once over them accusing me of stealing 10 cents (Yes, 10 cents. I was pregnant and a little sensitive.) and another time because I asked for ketchup and the girl working the window wouldn't give it to me. She swore up and down that she put it in the bag. I searched the bag, again, and it wasn't in there. I think I even emptied the bag to prove there was no ketchup. When she finally gave me some ketchup - one packet... Whatever!!! So, today, is apparently my drive thru incident and now I'm good for a few months.

Dave has me breathe and my blood pressure starts to drop. Joyce calls and I talk to her on the way home. I get the kids out of the car, go inside and pulled the food out to eat. My Big Mac looks like it's been sitting under the warmer for a while. I didn't order anything cooked a special way so I don't know what the problem was. I pull out my fries - they are burnt, cold and soggy. Oh My Gosh!!!

Noah is enjoying his cheeseburger and apples. He's playing with his toys while he eats. He looks like he's straight out of a McD's commercial. Once he's finished with his cheeseburger, I tell him to finish his apples. He picks up an apple and said, "A chicken." I said, "No silly, that's not a chicken. It's an apple." He holds it up higher and sure enough, he's eaten bits and pieces off the apple slice and now it looks like a chicken

I eat my meal and then go to take a drink of my Dr Pepper. I didn't get a straw with my drink but who knows how long that would have taken so I pull a straw out of the draw. I take a drink - what - no ice and it's not Dr Pepper. It tastes a little like Dr Pepper and a little like Diet Coke... GROSS!!!! Apparently she wasn't that good with the drinks after all. Oh My Gosh!!! I get a cup of ice and poor myself some Diet Coke from the fridge.

I feed Natalie who has taken a liking to chewing on the table. Yes, chewing on the table. I keep telling her to stop and pull her away from the table but she is always reaching as far forward as she can get trying to chew on the table. Today is no exception.

I feed her some ravioli and try to give her a drink. She doesn't want it and is getting mad. She acts like she wants it but when I put it in her mouth, she freaks out. I give her some Gas X. Maybe chewing on the table gave her a belly ache. I try taking her upstairs to lay her down and she wants nothing to do with that. I can tell by how she's crying that she wants her drink. I try again and again she's pissed off mad and won't drink it. Maybe she's not tired. I take her back downstairs. She's super fussy and is rubbing her eyes. I try the drink again and she won't take it but she's mad and acts like she wants it. Oh My Gosh!!! IT'S MY BIRTHDAY - CUT ME SOME SLACK HERE PEOPLE!!!

Fine - I change the sippy cup to a bottle (which she doesn't really use unless it's bed time - even for naps, she gets a sippy cup). That does the trick. She chugs it down and I lay her down in her bed. She's mad about laying down but she's stopped crying and is asleep before I make it back to the kitchen.

All of this happened before 1230. I hope my afternoon birthday is A LOT better.

Please tell me - my 30s can only get better from here - right?