Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Totally Awkward Tuesday: Running Through Cement

I recently started reading a new blog, The Secret Life of Tova Darling. She has a fun recurring "Totally Awkward Tuesday" theme where she invites other bloggers to play along, so today I thought I would play! I have tons of totally awkward stories, so it was hard for me to decide which one to tell. Ultimately I decided on the story I have self-titled "Running Through Cement." Ready? Here goes.

Toward the end of my 8th grade year, some kids came over from the high school to recruit for the cross country team. My BFF Holly and I were bound and determined to be super involved in high school so we would magically go from totally uncool to massively popular over the course of the summer. Cross country practices started that summer so we thought it would be a good way to get "in" with the high school kids before school even started in the fall. Yeah. OK. Whatever. We signed right up (I think we were the only 8th graders who signed up, which probably should have told us something about how cool it was).

I convinced my mom I needed these ultra super dooper top-of-the-line cross country training shoes, because I was going to be a serious runner. So we went out and spent like $85 on these shoes, which at the time was unheard of. They were bright purple and green. I will never forget them.

So Holly and I showed up to our first practice (which was WAY too early in the morning for me, by the way) and we were feeling all cool in our coolest workout outfits and purple and green shoes. I had spent hours in the bathroom that morning trying to achieve that "I just threw my hair back this morning, I'm just naturally this beautiful while I work out" look. The team captain said, "Easy day today, guys.... We're going to run down to the Pump 'N Pour and back."

The Pump 'N Pour was a gas station/convenience store located about a mile away. Two miles was considered an "easy day?!?"

I'll admit it: I didn't really know what "cross country" was, and I didn't bother trying to find out. All I cared about was getting "in" with the high school kids.

Anyway, no problem! I was a dancer, I was in shape. I could do this!

I lasted one block. One block, before I thought I was having a heart attack. I motioned for Holly to go on without me. When I was almost half-way there (walking, of course) everyone else passed me on their way back.

These types of practices went on for about a week and a half before the run that ended it all for me. This was a much longer run, though I couldn't tell you how many miles. All I know is that once again I was "running" (and I use that term very loosely) by myself. I would run for a block and then spend the next three dragging my knuckles on the ground, falling over myself and gasping desperately for air.

I rounded a corner and said to myself, "OK, Christine. This is it. You are going to run, and run hard! You can do this!" I took off, blocking out the world around me. I was hitting the pavement hard and fast, when all of a sudden my run went slow motion, as I felt like I was running through quicksand.

I stopped, turned around and saw two huge footprints, at least 6" deep, in the sidewalk behind me.

I had just run through freshly laid cement (I was told later that the other runners had witnessed them actually working on the sidewalk... when they ran around it).

I looked at my footprints, then up at the house to see if there were any witnesses, and took off running faster than I had ever run in my life.

When I got back to the school Holly was waiting on the curb for me, and the team captain was with her. Most of the other runners had already gone home. When Holly saw me with dried cement shoes (yes, the $85 pair!), sporting the "splattered cement leg" look (bet ya didn't know that existed, huh?), she lost it. Thank goodness for her hysterical laughter. It was the only thing keeping me from bursting into tears. The team captain kept trying to tell me things would get easier, yadda yadda yadda. She did an amazing job of keeping her composure.

But I'm pretty sure she had a good time telling that story to all her cool high school friends afterwards, because wouldn't you know it? High school started a couple months later and I hadn't magically turned cool over the summer. In fact, I'm sure I was even less cool than I was before.

Running through cement will do that to a girl, I guess.

I hope you have enjoyed reading just one of my many life's totally awkward moments. If you want to play along, write your own "Totally Awkward Tuesday" blog post and then leave a comment on Tova's blog here with a link to yours!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Conversations With a 2-Year-Old: "I'm Going Out"

This may just be the start of a series. I seem to have a lot of hilarious conversations with Chase these days, so I think I'll start sharing them here.

Shortly after the cleaning session mentioned in the previous post, Chase grabbed the two parts of the vaccum cleaner hose and headed to the front door. To get the full effect of this conversation, picture Chase (a vaccum cleaner hose attachment in each hand) saying everything in a very serious tone, as if he were an adult.

Chase: (as he approaches the front door, very matter-of-fact) I'm going bye-bye now, OK?
Mom: OK.
Chase: (turning around, looking concerned) Why are you scared?
Mom: I don't want you to go bye-bye! I love you too much.
Chase: (heaving a deep sigh and heading back in) I have to find my purse.

My New Cleaning Service

I am so excited about my new cleaning service:

His attention to detail is unprecedented...

...and he's cute, too!

(Can't beat that!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Two Rooms Down!

OK, folks! Here is our "formal living room," which we use as a study with a sitting area.

Before:

After:

I think all we need now are some accessories/wall decorations.

Next up: Front Entry! That one is going to be a monumental task, as I have to wind up the stairs, too. I will start tomorrow and try to finish by the end of next week. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Again?!?

I seem to have a knack for this "running out of paint" thing.

Luckily, I was prepared this time. Still, it hurt to open an entirely new can of paint for this little bit!

I guess I'll have touch-ups to do with it, too....

(Just trying to make myself feel better here!)

Well, here's a sneak preview of our living room/office color, anyway! Stay tuned for before & after pics in the next day or two!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Door Wars Update

Apparently I have generated a lot of interest in how we are tackling the new challenge of Chase staying in bed now that he can open his door, so I thought I'd give a quick update.

I am pleased (and relieved) to announce that it seems as if we have nipped this problem in the bud (*knock on wood*). We gave up on the "take him back to bed repeatedly" tactic after doing it for three hours one night, resulting in a complete meltdown for all of us. Chase was throwing hysterical tantrums, I was crying, Brian was frustrated. It was just not working for us. Every night Chase got less sleep, and the more sleep deprived he got the more impossible he became. And he started asking to sleep in timeout (!) so we had to throw that out as well.

I was really fighting the idea of locking him in his room. The ideas were thrown out there to put up a baby gate, install a lock on his door, put childproof doorknob contraptions on, etc. But for some reason I just felt like we would be trapping him in there. I thought, "What if there was a fire in his room and he was trapped and couldn't get out?" Brian pointed out that he has slept in that room with the door closed, unable to open a door at all, for over two years of his life... but it still freaked me out. Maybe because I know he would be in there knowing HOW to escape, but unable to. I don't know. Anyway, my wonderful husband came to the rescue with a brilliant idea.

We bought a child-proof doorknob contraption. When we got it home we sat down with Chase to show him how it worked, and let him try it out. He learned quickly that when it was on the doorknob he couldn't open the door (and he didn't like that). We told him he would be given three chances when we put him to bed... that if he came out of his room three times we would put the lock on his door.

The first couple nights he used up all three chances. After the third time he came out we put the lock on the door. He screamed for five minutes and went to sleep. We thought, "at least he is finally sleeping!" The third night he came out twice. I said to him, "OK, Chase. This is your last chance. If you come out one more time I'm putting the lock on." I shut the door and stood at my usual spot, waiting for him to come out before I walked all the way downstairs... and he never did.

YAY!

Next night: he didn't come out once. Night after that: he came out one time.

Every night when we put him to bed he says, "Stay in bed, Chase! Don't put the lock on!" We all win. He has learned the consequence for leaving his room (which he hates, because then he can't come out when he wakes up in the morning), and I can sleep knowing that he isn't trapped in his room.

Ahhhhhh....

For those of you who have not gone through this yet, I hope this idea helps you! One thing I have grown to appreciate in my measly 2 1/2 years of parenthood is that every child is different, and what works well for one kid may not work at all for another. You just have to figure out what works for them. Chase is relentless. He has a strong will and he just does not give up. This way we don't have to fight him.

(And that feels gooooooood....)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Chase and I were so excited to give Daddy his gifts this morning that he was barely awake before we forced them upon him! I gave him a wok, and Chase painted a lovely bowl to go along with it. Here is a photo of Brian opening his gift:

And here is a close-up of the masterpiece:

(Yes, Chase painted 95% of this by himself!)

And you can't have an Asian food themed Father's Day without a good chopstick battle!

More photos coming soon to our Photo Album if you're interested. Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

One Room Down!

I think this is going to be the summer for before & after pics. Let's see how far our home has come along since we moved in almost a year ago. First room up: the dining room!

Before:

After:

We still need some curtains, a table runner, and something to put in that vase... but I'd say it's pretty darn close to being done!

Next up: The living room. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Let the Painting Begin!

Yesterday I started my big summer project of painting the house. First room up: Dining Room.

Don't you hate it when you run out of paint this close to finishing?!?

I'll post before/after pictures when it's finished!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Our Little Superhero

Does this tune ring a bell?

Need a refresher? Click here!

(And yes, that was his attempt at flight!)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A New Method

First of all, the answer to last night's question of how many times we put Chase back in bed:

29.

But at least those 29 times were all before we went to bed! Thankfully he did not pull an all-nighter like he had the night before. Phew!

So nap time today was another adventure. I chased him around for about 3 1/2 hours. I will admit I was not as calm, cool and collected this time around... which is probably why he thought it was so fun. Lord help me, I tried. I really did. But the last time he walked out that door I snapped. I picked him up, grabbed his pillow and blanket and put him in time-out (which is a playpen we have set up in the spare bedroom). I walked away and he flipped out. I had no idea what my plan was, but I decided to figure it out after his 2 minute time-out allowance was up. In two minutes it was silent. I went up there and found this:


Hmmmmmm.... A new tactic? We'll see how tonight goes first. Wish us luck!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Open Doors

Well, he finally figured it out. Chase can open doors on his own now. And that's all fine... except when it comes to bed time. Keeping him in his room was beginning to be a challenge. So I asked my mom what she used to do with us and she said to just pick him up... no eye contact, no communication whatsoever... and carry him back to bed. She said eventually he would get tired of it. So we tried that last night. Three times was all it took. I looked at Brian and said, "I can't believe it was that easy!"

I spoke too soon.

At midnight something startled me awake and I heard a HOWL in my ear. I opened my eyes and Chase was staring me right in the face, screaming. Talk about a scene from a horror movie! I can honestly say it may have been the most freaked out I have ever felt.

Wait, scratch that. It doesn't beat the time an unexpected, uninvited guest decided it would be a good idea to scratch on my bedroom window in the middle of the night in high school. But I digress.

Anyway, I swear all my hair stood up on end. I carried him back up to bed but after that I couldn't sleep. Every little sound I heard made me jump.

Chase came back downstairs every half hour from midnight to 2:30am.

God help me if I have to do that again tonight. I have already put him back in bed seven times. I am getting quite the workout walking up and down the stairs! The last time I started making him hike the stairs instead of carrying him. Maybe all that work will make him think twice the next time he wants to sneak out!

Oh, lord.... There's the squeak of his door again. This makes eight!

OK, I just returned and I didn't even get my butt in the chair again before I heard the door creak. Nine! Let's make a contest out of my misery. How many times will Brian and I take Chase back to bed tonight? I will report back tomorrow. The winner gets.... I don't know.... The satisfaction of knowing they are probably sleeping better than we are.

Ten!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Birthday Swim

I celebrated my 32nd birthday in the pool with Chase today. It was our third day of "Mommy and Me" swim lessons. Brian was there to take some photos, which didn't turn out great with the lighting in the place. But I'll share a couple anyway.

When we first get in the pool we're supposed to pour water all over the kids to get them all wet. Not Chase's favorite part. In this photo it looks like I'm pouring water over his head with a vengance. I promise I wasn't mad at him! I was probably saying a prayer he wouldn't throw a temper tantrum.

To be fair, I always let him get me back:

Here's a photo of him concentrating on his kicks:

And this is his favorite thing to do.... Throw a ball and swim to go get it:

Now today was a special day because it was the first time we dunked them under the water. I had no idea how this was going to go so I asked Brian to get a video of it. OK, wait.... Let me revise that statement. I was almost positive Chase would come back up with crazed vengance and curse me for trying to drown him... so I asked Brian to get it on video for the sole purpose of posting a funny video on the blog tonight.

Am I so wrong for hoping my son's torture would make for some good entertainment?

Anyway, I won't tell you what happened. You can see for yourself:

OK, so it isn't as entertaining as I thought it would be. But I am glad. I promise I'm not disappointed my kid wasn't traumatized!

Then some of the kids started jumping off the side of the pool into the water. I was sure my scaredy-cat kid (I say that with the deepest affection) wouldn't want any part of that, but I was mistaken! Ah, the power of peer pressure.

We did that for the rest of the class. He just couldn't get enough of it!

Anyway, when we got home I got to open my presents and eat cake (Chase's favorite part)! Brian and Chase spoiled me, as usual (good boys)!

Since we couldn't really work a date night around Chase's swim lesson, Brian and I are going to do something fun for my birthday when we're both off on Friday. I see DSW in my future!

(I'm not sure that's Brian's idea of "something fun for my birthday," but it is my day!)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It's Summer!

So I guess summer doesn't officially begin for a couple more weeks, according to the calendar. But my summer starts now, because I am done teaching for the year! I am so excited to have a couple months off I can't even begin to describe it. After all the work I have done this year, I feel like I have earned this break!

We started the summer with a good old fashioned run through the sprinklers today. We got wet!


Chase helped Brian water the trees:

And then he learned a cool new trick:

Chase just had to try it....


He did get better....

Happy Summer!

There are more photos in our Photo Album if you're interested!