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


Another Update of Sorts

10 Jun

So those of you who have been keeping up with me on Facebook know that we have finally moved back into our house.  Things are still kind of chaotic, but BOY IT’S GOOD TO BE HOME.  I’ve found that my house contributes greatly to my quality of life and I missed this house fiercely.  Sometimes it’s the little things, you know?  For instance, I’m currently really enjoying:

  • A dishwasher that makes dishes cleaner instead of dirtier
  • A stove that turns on when you tell it to
  • An oven that not only HEATS, but heats to the correct temperature (not that I’ve done much cooking recently, but just knowing it’s there brings me a great deal of pleasure)
  • A floor plan that makes sense and includes things like CLOSETS!  With DOORS!
  • A garage
  • Neighbors
  • The size of the rooms
  • Having our room more than 2 feet away from the kids’ rooms
  • A washer/dryer with more than one button
  • Cleaning service by my awesome housekeepers
  • A color scheme that makes sense and doesn’t try to combine  orange, teal, cobalt blue and forest green in the same room
  • Watching the NBA finals in the media room (GO MAVS!)
  • A single flight of stairs

A year in Alaska was a great experience for the kids and I have no regrets about going there… but home is wonderful.

In other news, I injured my knee jogging the day after we arrived in Texas (go figure – I can run a 10K in 35° weather in Alaska, but can’t jog around the block in Texas without hurting myself).  It still hasn’t healed and the doctor wants me to have an MRI because he suspects that I’ve torn my meniscus.  I’ve been stalling on the MRI because it’s going to cost me $400 with insurance, but I think I’m going to have to suck it up and have it done.  Because I’m beginning to think that otherwise, I’ll never be able to walk up a flight of stairs normally again.

(insert change of subject)

The kids start several weeks of summer camp next week.  I’m excited about this because a) it’s a performing arts camp and I think they’re going to LOVE it, and b) I’ll finally get some time to myself.  Maybe I’ll have the chance to do something about all those boxes that are still stacked in the dining room.  Ooh, and maybe I’ll get around to blogging more than once a month.


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Posted in Health...or Lack Thereof, Moving


Cube Dog 3D

10 Jun

Thank you to Cube Dog for sponsoring this review. For more information about Cube Dog please visit the Facebook page or download it on iTunes.

Earlier this week, we were given the opportunity to try and review the new Cube Dog 3D app. Kaelin had previously been a big fan of Foo pets (until the website eliminated the option for free membership) so I thought this app might be right up her alley.

It was.

She spent quite a while “creating” her own Cube Dog by selecting the facial and body features.  And the color … which was, of course, PINK.

“This is how it works, Mama.  If you raise a kid without pink, they’ll love pink.”
“So what you’re saying is that it’s really my fault that your favorite color is pink.”


When you’re finished creating your Cube Dog, you can rotate and zoom it to get the full 3D view.  You can also pet, tap or swipe it and it will do little tricks.  Kaelin’s favorite is when it turns into a Ninja.  She also really likes the one where it calls your phone, but we both thought it was odd that regardless of whether you “answer” or “decline” the call, the dog just hangs up and puts the phone away.  I think it would be cool if he carried on a little mini conversation or at least said “hi.”

Kaelin has asked to play with the app several times over the last few days, which tells me that it has some staying power for a 5-year-old.  She also figured out how to work the features mostly by herself (including filling my photo album with snapshots of her dogs), which tells me it’s pretty intuitive.

Overall, it’s an app I’d willingly pay the standard $0.99 for.  At the moment, it’s FREE (not sure if they’re planning to keep it that way), so I think that’s a great value.

While Cube Dog provided me with the app to review, the opinions I’ve expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint. Cube Dog, Clever Girls Collective and I promote Blog With Integrity.

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Posted in Sponsored, Thumbs Up



05 Jun

Kaelin received a butterfly garden and ladybug habitat for her birthday, but the company refused to send us the larvae in Alaska until it warmed up quite a bit.  We finally received them in late March and Kaelin had an absolute blast watching her caterpillars turn into butterflies and her crawly bugs turn into ladybugs. By the middle of April, we had a full menagerie of insects residing in our house (in cages… mostly.  One or two ladybugs managed to escape).

She learned a good lesson about playing with them too much when her butterflies started dying.  There was one sole survivor and she was very careful not to touch it for the rest of the time we had the butterflies.

It was too cold to release them when we left for Texas, so she donated the remaining insects to her preschool so the kids could release them into the garden when it warmed up.

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Posted in Growth, Kaelin, Koren, Pets/Animals, Photos


Korenisms: Wiggle Down Edition

31 May

“Daddo, we need some music.”

(Daddo turns on the car radio.  Koren puts on his sunglasses and starts to boogie with his arms up.)

“Daddo, this music makes me wiggle down!”

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Posted in Kid Quotes, Koren



18 May

We went to Kindergarten orientation last night (KINDERGARTEN.  MAH BAYBEEE IS ALL DUN GROWED UUUUUUUP…) and they very adamantly advised the parents to dress the children warmly in the winter because if it’s above 40°F, they will be playing outside IN THE COLD.

40 degrees???

In Homer, the kids were playing on the school playground at 12°F.

But at least I don’t have to worry about buying snow pants this year.

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Posted in Culture Shock, Homer, School



16 May

We keep Koren on a pretty good vitamin regiment most of the time.  Multivitamin, Immunity complex, Vitamin D.  However, over the last few weeks with the chaos of moving, his supplements have been somewhat overlooked.

You know where this is going, right?

He woke up from his nap with the same asthmatic-sounding-labored-breathing-that-isn’t-actually-asthma that we’ve been dealing with for the last year.  He gets it every time he comes down with a bug, and he comes down with a bug every time we lapse on his vitamins.  It did, however, come without the croupy cough this time.

The good news is that we are now in Dallas, where we have things like Pediatricians!  and After-Hours Urgent Care Facilities! and Pharmacies That Are Open Until 10pm!

And specialists.  We were referred to a pediatric pulminologist to figure out what’s really going on, since it seems to be such a chronic occurrence.  I’d completely forgotten that there were actually doctors in the big cities who could do more than just scratch their heads after the breathing treatments don’t work.

He also tested positive for strep, so we came home with steroids and antibiotics.  Hopefully we can nip the strep in the bud before he starts showing any actual symptoms of it.




16 May

I LOVE PAVEMENT. That’s one of the first things that hit me when we moved back. The roads? PAVED. The parking lots? PAVED. And it’s clean pavement, not covered in layers and layers of dirt and sand left over from the winter’s ice treatment.

I haven’t seen – much less driven on – a single dirt road since we left Homer. And I’m totally cool with that. My car is clean. A clean car – inside and out – is one of the things in life that just makes me smile.

Today we went to a bank. A real, live, actual BRANCH of Capital One and talked to a real, live, actual banker face-to-face.

I also took the kids to get haircuts at their favorite little “get a toy when you’re done” place. They both look pretty sharp, if I do say so myself. I was even able to keep Koren from getting scalped on top.

My skin is begrudgingly adjusting to the added humidity in the air. And makeup. See, I actually have to groom myself when I live in Texas. As in, daily showers and everything. And this is a place where makeup is not just reserved for evening dresses. Women here will actually apologize if they’re in your presence without their make up on. As evidenced by, pants may be optional, but makeup is not.

It still shocks me (and admittedly, makes me a little giddy) how many stores there are here. I drive around just soaking them in. Container Store, Ikea, Home Depot, Best Buy, Target, Costco, Whole Foods, Toys R Us, DSW, malls, and any other store or service you could want – all within 15 minutes. I’m exercising restraint to keep myself from heading over to Allen for designer handbags.

I cannot wait to go to Costco. I have already visited Ikea, but just to window shop. Also, I really want to go to Container Store, but I can’t leave there without spending $100. There’s also the little matter that I don’t actually have a house to accessorize yet. So that one will have to wait.

Even when I do shop online now, I have more options.  While Bluefly and Amazon are great, it’s nice to be able to choose from more than two sites on the internet.  If they don’t flat out refuse shipping to Alaska (that’s a foreign country, right?), most stores would agree to ship to the Last Frontier only in exchange for my life’s savings, first child and perhaps my right arm.

I’ve fallen madly in love with Cragislist, and am knocking things off my “Things We Have to Buy” list left and right.  Washer – BOOM.  Dryer – BOOM.  Bed for Koren – BOOM.  Car Seat – BOOM.

Also, I’m seriously crushing on, ever since I got a dental exam, cleaning, x-rays, and teeth whitening treatment for $70.  I really need an exam and x-rays and was wondering how I would fit that into our budget.

* * * (insert random change of subject) * * *

The kids get worn out a lot easier here. Perhaps it’s the lack of an actual routine. Perhaps it’s the heat (which isn’t really hot, it’s just that we’re not really used to anything above 38 degrees anymore). But whatever the reason, once we hit about 3 in the afternoon, they’re pretty much done for a while. Today I’m making them take naps because they couldn’t seem to do “quiet time” without erupting into conflict every 5 minutes. I sent them to their rooms and 15 minutes later they were both out cold. Kaelin hasn’t napped in two years, and Koren had given up his naps a couple of months before we moved. Or so I thought…

He also fell asleep during dinner the other night. We went to On the Border (real! Mexican! Food! *) and he fell asleep on my shoulder while we waited for a table. He slept through the entire meal – we were fortunate to get a booth – and went straight to bed when he got home. Kaelin made it through dinner, but put herself to bed as soon as we got home, requesting that we do a bedtime story some other night because she was just too tired to get through one tonight.

We’re enjoying seeing family and friends again. We had the opportunity to see some friends at a graduation party the other night, and that was lots of fun. Madelyn is one of Kaelin’s favorite friends and her family came to visit us in Alaska, so we enjoyed getting to see them in person again.

I need to get on the ball with scheduling some play times for Kaelin and her friends before the kids start full-time summer camp programs in mid-June. Actually, there are a lot of things I need to get on the ball with, and I’m trying to knock a few off the list every day.

But seriously, after being bored out of my mind for 6 days in a car, I’m pleased as punch to be busy right now.

*Well ok, I know that among the purists of ethnic cuisine, the term “real” is debatable when applied to a chain restaurant, but what I mean by that is “Mexican Food” that’s worth paying for, and tortillas that weren’t purchased at Costco.

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Posted in Culture Shock, Food, Kids, Makes Me Happy, Moving, Sponsored

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