Archive for the ‘Undeniable Cuteness’ Category

The Starving Rabbit

27 Sep

I typically drop the kids off at home in between picking them up from school and heading to the gym for my weekly training session.  Yesterday, both kids decided they really wanted to come to the gym with me.

So I called Jens and let him know that they wouldn’t be home yet, but that in the meantime he was in charge of getting dinner prepared because once we got out of the gym I was going to have a couple of rabid starving animals on my hands.

“Mama, what’s a rabbit starving animal?”
“It means you get very grumpy when you’re hungry.”
“I won’t get grumpy.”

I took Koren’s word with a grain of salt because we typically have approximately 30 minutes from the time he comes home after school to get some food in him, or else he turns into an unstable atomic bomb.  I hadn’t brought a snack for him, and he had declined to grab one from the cracker bucket on the way out of school.  So despite their sudden enthusiasm for going to the gym’s play area, I was pretty sure this was a recipe for disaster when it was over.

After my training session, I retrieved my children, with smiles on their faces.  I asked Koren if he was hungry.  He said yes, but also offered to hold my purse for me (my little helper).  I specifically noticed the complete lack of whining and complaining and sheer desperation that has been a part of the (few) other times we have tried the “gym after school” routine.

“See Mama, I’m not a rabbit.”
“That’s true.  You’re doing very well.”
“But Mama, I’m so hungry.  I’m hungrier than you think I am.  My tummy is so squishy and it needs food in it RIGHT NOW.”
“I know bub.  We’re going to take care of that right now.”

Fortunately, Jens had been true to his word, and dinner was served up immediately as we walked in the door.

Sometimes a lack of drama in a day can be a great surprise.

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Posted in Kid Quotes, Koren, Parenting, Undeniable Cuteness


Captain Underpants, Master of Intimidation

01 Jun

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

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Posted in Koren, Photos, Undeniable Cuteness


Future Teacher?

14 May

I love going into Kaelin’s room after she’s gone to sleep because I’m never exactly sure what I’ll find.  This scene was meticulously set up in preparation for each of her 14 Vitamin Kitties to have their own book to read while she was at school the next day.  In the morning, she placed each one in front of his book before coming down to breakfast.


Bed Time

08 Apr

I walked into Kaelin’s room after she had gone to sleep to be sure her light was turned off.  I discovered to my surprise that I was unable to navigate through a menagerie of stuffed animals that had been carefully and meticulously put to bed.

She has been particularly interested in her collection of Vitamin Kitties lately.  She requested that all the “spare” kitties be taken down from the box in her closet so that she could play with them all.  She has since done everything with her entire litter of kitties, including sharing her breakfast with them and brushing their teeth before bed.

And of course, putting them to bed appropriately:

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Posted in Kaelin, Mischief, Undeniable Cuteness


Two No More

12 Jun

Dear Korenpants,

Well, here it is.  The day we bid the term “toddler” farewell.  You are officially a preschooler.

You have become very selective about the adjectives used to describe you.  For instance, the other day I told you that you were “awesome sauce.”

“Mama.  I am NOT a SAUCE.”
“Then what are you?”
“I’m just Awesome Koren.  No, actually, I’m Handsome Koren.”

I couldn’t help but agree.

You have turned into quite the little ham, full of mischief and fun, but also very loving.  You’re a cuddler and I can never get enough of the little hugs you dish out at random.

You are Mama’s little helper and always eager to accompany me on a shopping trip… though I suspect that has a lot to do with the fact that you often get rewarded for good behavior.  A couple of weeks ago, you earned a stuffed dog after a long morning at Ikea.  You named him Precious Pie and he is always by your side while you sleep, and often during the day as well.

Last week we started gymnastics.  You are thrilled with gymnastics, which is not surprising.  Jumping on a trampoline, climbing, swinging from bars, running through obstacle courses – these are all favorite activities of yours, and all a part of gymnastics.  Your class is small, with only two other kids, so you get lots of attention – that’s a good thing because Coach Olivia has to work to keep you on task during the obstacle courses.  You would much rather skip some of the obstacles to repeat your favorite parts over and over, and occasionally wander into a neighboring course to pursue some activity that looks interesting.  Every day that I ask you what you think we should do today, your reply without hesitation is, “Gymnastics!”

Swimming, on the other hand, is not your favorite activity.  You had actually made quite a bit of progress and by your 3rd lesson you were beginning to show some interest instead of crying through the entire 30 minutes.  But then your teacher quit and you had a new teacher.  A new teacher is unsettling enough at your age, but apparently nobody told this teacher that you had not had as many lessons as the other kids in the class.

Unaware that you had never put your face into the water, she immediately dunked you in the water.  And let go.

It was pretty traumatic after that.  Copious amounts of tears.  You were heavily rewarded with M&Ms once I intervened and she realized her mistake, but you have cried through every lesson since.  Here’s hoping you can get a little more comfortable with swimming over the next several weeks.

Your new love is baseball, and I wish it was cooler outside so you could hit wiffle balls with your big red bat for as long as you like.  I swear, you could do it all day.  And you’ve gotten pretty good at making contact.  I love the way you jump into position when I remind you to turn sideways before I pitch the ball.

Potty training is going well.  I was beginning to get worried when several attempts proved failures a few months ago.  You start Summer Camp tomorrow and they won’t take you unless you are fully potty trained.  While we do have the occasional accident when you’re fully involved in some really interesting task, for the most part you manage to keep your pants dry during the day.  Honestly, there was a time when I fully expected to still be changing your diaper when you turned 5, but we seem to have overcome that obstacle, hallelujah.

You have taken well to moving back to Texas, and really love having your old room back.  Whenever anyone comes to visit, you insist on giving them a tour of your room because it’s “So Cute!”  Sometimes you get sent there for Time Out but that doesn’t stop your mischief.  A couple of days ago, you were in “solitary confinement” for rest time and I was sitting at my desk.  You kept opening your door to whisper sweet nothings to me as I sat at my desk, which completely anything solitary or restful on your part.  But it’s hard to get angry or mete out consequences for such things when someone is whispering things like, “Mama, I love you.”  “Mama, I love building towers with you and knocking them down.”  “Mama, I love playing downstairs with you.”  “Mama, I love reading stories with you.”  “See you in a little while, Mama.”  “Mama, I love you.

While you are often a Mama’s boy, you love doing things with Daddo too, especially if they involve helping with the grownup stuff.  Today the girls went shopping and while we were gone, you and Daddo fixed Kaelin’s bedroom door.  You were SO VERY proud of yourself and wanted to take each one of us upstairs to show us your handiwork when we got back.

Your 3-Year doctor appointment went really well, except for a surprise shot and blood drawing that none of us were expecting.  Then when it was all over they had to come back and squeeze more blood out of your finger because your iron test came back low.  You were not a fan.  Fortunately, it came back normal the second time.  WARNING:  Proud Mama Bragging is About to Commence. The doctor was impressed by your abilities, both verbally and physically.  When I filled out the developmental progress questionnaire, I was well into the expectations for 5-year-olds before I had to stop.

The doctor was curious about your toes though, and I was a bit embarrassed at the condition of your feet.  You are uncannily prone to injuring your feet and I should just put shoes on you every hour of the day, including when you’re swimming.  Your big toenails are brown because you dropped my 3-lb hand weight on them (two separate times) a couple of months ago.  You have open blisters on the bottoms of your big toes and scrapes on the tops of your feet from monkeying your way around the pool wall.  You have a myriad of other cuts and bruises and scrapes on your feet from random slips, falls, collisions, door accidents, and any other injury you could possibly impose on your feet.  You are a little trooper though, and rarely complain.

Little guy, you are so full of life and love and joy that watching you grow up is entirely bittersweet.  I have informed you, as I have done with Kaelin, that you are not allowed to grow any more and must always remain small and two.  You kindly tell me that isn’t going to happen and that you’re going to grow up no matter what I say, but you’re sure to remind me that you’ll always be my little boy, no matter how big you get.

Love you Bub.


Daddo was informed this morning that 3 is old enough to shave.

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Posted in Birthdays, Kid Quotes, Koren, Milestones, Newsletters, Undeniable Cuteness



27 Feb

Look, I’ll be honest.  30 was a tough year.

At 30, I packed up my family and everything I owned and moved from a house and life I loved to a place thousands of miles away, where I had never spent more than 24 hours.  I have seen some amazing things, but also wrestled with culture shock, isolation, loneliness, frustration and boredom.

At 30, I broke my toe, threw out my back, slammed my shin into the wooden steps, slipped on the ice numerous times and nearly broke my hand.  I developed a (perhaps justified) phobia of losing my footing.  For the first time, I experienced tangible effects of my body getting older.  My hair is noticeably thinner (to me, anyway).  I can’t sit in the same position for long without getting stiff, and when I move around my joints creak noisily.

At 30, I suffered illness at an unprecedented frequency and nursed my family through sicknesses and physical challenges more serious and more often than ever before, and without the support of extra hands around.  As a family, we have collectively been to the ER entirely too many times in the last year.

At 30, I was fat, out of shape, too broke to go to a gym, and trapped inside by the weather.  I quit bothering with things like makeup, haircuts, and washing my hair every day.  Much to my mother’s dismay, I refused to replace my hole-riddled jeans with a nicer pair because, what was the point?  I consoled myself with peanut butter sandwiches and glasses of milk (comfort foods from childhood) while wishing that when I stepped into the occasional sunlight that it would warm my skin, just a little.

At 30, I had the rug pulled out from under my feet on two separate occasions.  I wrestled with anger, betrayal, shock, and being unable to talk about any of it.

At 30, I dealt with failure and guilt.  Inadequacy and self-doubt plagued me and made me feel foolish and small.  I made some realizations about myself that were painful.

At 30, my ideologies were challenged, broken down, and reconstructed.  I learned that sometimes the answers are difficult and not ideal.  Sometimes they’re just not there, no matter how much I would like for them to be. I learned that I don’t need to be afraid to question, or to say “I don’t know.”  It’s better than pretending.

At 30, I solo-parented for the first time without the support of family nearby.  I know, big deal.  But it’s a big deal for me.  The isolation of this house in the woods led to irrational night terrors that I haven’t experienced since after Kaelin’s birth when my hormones were all wonky and I was convinced I would be responsible for her death.  It seems I am uncomfortable with the idea of having someone depend on me.  However, it was this unavoidable reality that forced me to take control of this pessimistic imagination that seems determined to torment me.  The night terrors subsided.  Nothing tragic happened.  We even had some fun.  Though I’m really thankful to have Jens back again.

At 30, I had no idea what to do with my kids for an entire day.  Parenting does not come naturally to me.  We would go to the beach sometimes and get out and do stuff, but it was EXHAUSTING.  Frankly, I dreaded the days they were not in school (which was every day when we first moved here).  Now they are in school 4 mornings per week and on Wednesdays I have them all day.  We have weekly dates to the library and McDonald’s, then we come home to take naps and read books together.  Wednesday is my favorite day of the week.

At 30, I watched my kids grow into friends.  They play with each other and invent games with crazy rules.  A few days ago, they were spontaneously acting out a game in which a mother and son went shopping.  It was an opera.  Kaelin sang to Koren that he could not have the stuffed seal he wanted to buy because it was too expensive.  Their cognitive development over the last year has amazed me and gives me hope that I haven’t royally screwed them up too much.

At 30, after battling a period of boredom, lethargy and feeling a lack of purpose, I rediscovered my love of crafting.  I embarked on a card-making project that led to hand-making the kids’ valentines. I found out later that other parents thought I was some kind of a professional baker or something.  HA!  Also, I have passed my love of crafting on to my daughter, who now enjoys making all sorts of projects with paper, glue and scissors.

At 30, I discovered one day – much to my surprise – that I was broke.  I hated it.  It was depressing.  Infuriating.  Embarrassing.  For the first time in my life, I truly wished we could just avoid the entire Christmas Season. As I wrapped presents for my kids that other people had sent, it was a painful reminder of my empty bank account and inability to provide.  I wished to sleep through the whole month of December.  I sat down and spent hours – DAYS – mapping out a plan, making the numbers work, cutting this and that.  Accounting for every single expenditure, every single day.

There is no extra, but we are not broke anymore.  Somehow, we even scraped enough together to buy last-minute Christmas presents.  And, barring the unexpected catastrophe, we will never be broke again.

At 30, I pursued my joy of photography.  I documented our summer experiences in this Last Frontier and I am proud of these photos.  I overcame my fear of ineptitude and entered a local photo contest.  I won and my photos are now in print.

At 30, I decided enough was enough and ordered a workout DVD that I could do in my living room.  Twice daily, I pushed through it and it was hard.  REALLY HARD.  Physical activity has never been easy for me.  I wheezed, I groaned, I panted and gasped.  But I refused to allow myself to settle for the “beginner” moves.  Three weeks later, I have definition in my arms that I have never seen there before. I can do harder activities for longer periods of time.  My body is getting stronger.

I’ve started a diet plan to improve my nutrition.  I’ve never been good at diets – ever.  Abstaining from stuff that tastes good has always been a challenge that was out of my league.  It’s only been a few days, but I’ve been faithful.  Between the exercise and diet plan, I have lost 6 pounds.  I have a long way to go, but it’s definitely a start.

I’m not sad to say goodbye to 30.  It brought a lot of challenges, a lot of battles that I don’t wish to revisit.  But it never brought defeat.  I have a friend whose motto is “Be hard to kill.”  This sounds a bit dramatic, but I kind of feel like I can relate to that over the past year.  And now, I’m putting that year behind me because what’s done is done and I’M STILL HERE.

…Ok, 31.  I’m ready.  BRING IT.


Pep Talk

14 Dec

I love eavesdropping on my kids when they have no idea that anybody is listening.

Well, sometimes.  There have been times when I have witnessed things that got them both sent to their rooms, but this particular occasion just made me smile.

The sound is a little quiet because Kaelin was facing away from me, so in case you can’t actually hear what’s being said:

“Koren, you did something awesome! This is AMAZING for a little brother like you.  You are the best brother ever! ”
“In the whole world?”
“Of course!  You’ve done something that I NEVER… Koren, you’re a good brother.”

So are you totally curious about the amazing feat that Koren had just performed?


Things I learn from my 2-year-old

19 Nov

“I wanna show Mama! I wanna show Mama!”

“Show Mama what?”

“My cough.”

“You want to show me your cough? Where is your cough?”

(Sticks finger in her mouth) “In here.”

“What does your cough sound like?”

“A monster.”

“Your cough sounds like a monster?”

“Yeah. The monster is a BIG GUY.”

Apparently the Big Cough Monster is green and lives in our backyard and hides in the trees and likes to eat nuggets for lunch.

Who knew?