Monday, November 26, 2007

No monitor

In case you've wondered what happened to me, nothing. It's the computer. All of a sudden it didn't like the monitor anymore. We have another monitor in the garage, but it's been cold outside. Today I actually brought in the Christmas boxes but forgot the monitor. So I'm borrowing Dominic's laptop. I've always been able to borrow it, but I don't think about it until he turns it on.

What you've missed: one Sunday morning we were rushing around like usual, when I noticed the degu cage was open and empty (I'm not a fan of scurrying animals). Dominic! Help!! He came rushing into the kids' room, found and caged the free-roaming rodents.

It's amazing Dominic came rushing in so quickly, because he was knocked out from taking pain meds for torticollis, or wry neck. It happened fairly suddenly and painfully. He wore a neck brace until he could see a doctor and start physical therapy. He is doing so much better now. But the effect is that now the boys put on the neck brace (or anything resembling a neck brace) and say, "I'm Daddy. Look at me! I'm Daddy."

And of course, Thanksgiving. Dominic's brother Devin came down from Idaho, and we all went to Emily and Troy's house. The Abbotts and the Pauls were there, too. The house is large enough that the kids can play while the adults talk, and they don't interfere with eachother. Very nice. The Smalleys and Abbotts helped me a lot when I was a student, so to return the favor we sent Devin back to school with a trunk full of food; I'm glad we could do that for him.

On Saturday we helped our downstairs neighbors move. They were great neighbors - the kids never bothered them, even when jumping off the furniture. They are moving into a house, so I'm happy for them and hope our new neighbors will also tolerate our noise.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Crazy day

It all started this morning when Benjamin woke me up by carrying an unopened bottle of root beer and asking if he could have some. I said no and rolled over. A little later I heard Sammy say, "Good job. You opened it all by yourself." Uh-oh. So I went to the kitchen and found that Sammy had gotten 2 cups and poured them both half full of milk. And since Benjamin opened the root beer (how? he can't even open doors!), I reached the kitchen just in time. I poured the root beer and made them brown cows, because I was so impressed with their determination.

After breakfast Dominic worked on breaking down a box spring mattress that someone gave us but didn't fit in the boys' room. The boys "helped" by hitting the bed frame with hammers. They kept saying they were building Noah's ark.

Then I started making grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, and I turned on the wrong burner. I melted a clock, which I had left on the stove. Dominic suggested that I turn on the burner to melt off the plastic stuck to the burner. It worked great until a glob of plastic, which had fallen onto the catch plate, caught on fire. Barely keeping my wits about me, I quickly placed a pot lid over the burner and put out the fire. Of course Sammy kept asking if a firetruck was going to come. Sorry, I didn't burn down the kitchen, just scorched the stove. I opened the front and side doors, but the smell lingered until I cooked dinner. While the doors were open, a big dog came in. Not a stray; it wore a collar. He left easily, but it was very strange.

After lunch I took a nap. I've needed one for awhile, and this morning's excitement cinched the fact. But I was good - I set the alarm. However, I slept through the alarm, taking a 3-hour nap. Wow, that was a long nap. Now it's past midnight and I'm still going strong. Fortunately nothing exciting happened for the rest of the day.

Movie review: Ocean's Thirteen. A lot of fun like the previous two. There were funny little side stories, and they brought back their targets from the last 2 films. I especially enjoyed the parts with Oprah. The movie also reminded me of how much I don't like Las Vegas. Walk into any casino, and it's an instant headache from the lights and noise.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cat in the garage

I feel so productive this weekend. On Friday I packed away all the kids' summer and out-grown clothes. Then on Saturday I put away the Halloween decorations. Fortunately we don't have any Thanksgiving decorations, because I don't have the motivation to put up anything for it. And I still need to sort through my clothes - all my winter, summer and pregnancy clothes are piled around the room, and I think the piles are merging. The best part about puttting the boxes in the garage is that I found our cat.

She occasionally disappears for a few days at a time, so I wasn't worried about not seeing her since Tuesday (the day I brought out the winter clothes). Walking toward the garage I heard loud and pitiful mewing. When I opened the door, she ran out and immediately celebrated by rolling in the dirt. She followed me around like a puppy dog and even let the kids catch her. She has been sitting in my lap a lot more this weekend, even if Elisa is already in my arms (the cat usually doesn't like getting her fur pulled by a curious baby).

By the way, Elisa is turning over! She did it the first time last week. Then she turned over again today and started crying; I guess it scared her :)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Scared of the dark

There is a reason I stopped watching the crime dramas CSI and Without a Trace: their yuckiness outweighs their interesting science. Tonight was a special 2-hour event with a case beginning on CSI and concluding on Without a Trace. Dominic and I both thought it would be interesting, and the shows started after the kids were put to bed, so why not? Yes, the shows were interesting, and I watched them both to see the conclusion. However, I covered my eyes or looked away quite a bit, a habit I got from my dad, who routinely covers his face with a pillow during movies. Sometimes I just don't want to see that stuff (even if it is just make-up).

The shows' side-effect on me is an intense fear of the dark. I was in the middle of doing laundry, and there was one last load in the dryer. Normally I don't mind going outside and down the unlit back stairs to the laundry room. But tonight was tough, and Dominic needs his work clothes by 5 am tomorrow. I couldn't leave it until daylight. Oh, that was a tough trip. I kept thinking of horrible scenarios about me or my family until I was back inside my apartment with the doors locked. Those shows just aren't worth that kind of agony.

Movie review: The Pursuit of Happyness. I first became aware of this story when I read two essays, one by Chris Gardner and the other by Will Smith. I was impressed with how Gardner overcame the odds and found success. I was also interested to learn that Smith's son portrayed Gardner's son in the movie. But even knowing the end, it was a difficult movie to get through. His life went from bad to worse to unbelievable. The two main things going for him were his optimism and determination. This is the epitome of the "American dream," and I hope I never have to go through anything like it in my life.

Cute Benjamin story: On a humorous note, Benjamin is a climber. The other day we visited a car museum. I chatted politely with the tour guide as we entered. In my periphery I saw the kids vanish. When I looked behind me, Sammy was crawling on the floor (he's 4! when do they grow out of this?) and Benjamin was nowhere. I immediately began walking down the aisle and calling his name, when I heard a cheerful, "Here, Mommy!" He was happily perched in a 1911 Knox (for a picture: The donor had spent 20 years restoring it. He was so cute and happy I wanted to take a picture. But to be a good parent, I sternly made him get down.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Mexican food

Beware of ordering food in another language. Dominic sent me to get some food from an authentic Mexican restaurant. Since the menu was in Spanish, I was a little hesitant but thought I knew enough to understand a menu. However, when Dominic asked me what I got, I said, "Carne asada, a burrito, miso something-or-other, and something else I can't remember." He laughed and said he looked forward to a surprise meal. It turned out that I did in fact order carne asada, and a smothered green burrito. The miso was actually Mole, and finally soup, which I didn't realize I got at the time. But it was all delicious, so I think I did a good job despite the language barrier.

Movie review: Jackie Chan's The Myth. I really enjoyed this one. I liked how it blended the past and present, history and fantasy, and the various Asian cultures. The martial arts and stunts were fun to watch, of course. The cinematography was beautiful. The ending was very non-American; I appreciated it that way, because it felt more Chinese, like The House of Flying Daggers. Yes, I recommend The Myth.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sammy

Left to right:
Benjamin, Elisa and Sammy
Happy girl!
Elisa and Sammy playing
"I've got my toes. I'm good."

Sammy is 4 today! Wow, that was a fast four years. He's really funny. Observant, too. Dominic was sick and someone asked Sammy if he was going to take care of his Dad. Sammy said, "No, I don't do that. I'm just a kid. Mommy takes care of Daddy." He can make his brother and sister laugh like no one else can, especially when they're feeling upset. He is a good big brother (as long as no one takes his toys). In church they often talk about who is influencing our children the most and that it should be us, the parents. My goal is to teach him how to be happy, even through life's difficulties. I love that boy so much. His smile brightens my day. Happy birthday, son.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Today was miserable, but tonight was fun. We've had a leak in our fridge, so Dominic and I worked on it all day. We have no food in the fridge, and the kids ran around unchecked and wild. The frustrating thing is that I think it's still leaking. Arg!

But like I said, tonight was a lot of fun. Sammy borrowed his cousin's Batman Beyond costume, Benjamin wore Dominic's dragon outfit (the one he wore at 2-years-old), and Elisa was a pink butterfly. Elisa actually held her bag most of the time, only dropping it twice. And of course Dominic was the Highlander, wearing all black, including the trenchcoat and a claymore sword; he loves an excuse to show off his sword. I dressed as a Mom. What can I say? It's Halloween, so I went all out. We got a lot of comments (cute kids! cool sword!) I'm very proud to say that I didn't take any of the boys' candy, though I did eat all of Elisa's - she won't eat it :)

Yesterday we went to a Halloween party at my sister Emily's house. Dominic was stuck at home sick, but he's feeling much better today. I love watching all the cousins playing together. For one thing, I notice how normal my children are in their development and behavior; it's a good reassurance.

Ok, I should go to sleep now. Between the late hour and lots of candy, I'm laughing at stupid things I see on t.v. I'm just very grateful that the day ended well.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Super Hero

Well, folks, it's official. There is a new super hero in town. When Benjamin was getting dressed this morning, he strutted around in just his diaper and announced, "I naked boy!" He was very proud of himself. I put clothes on him, only to have him strip a minute later to become Naked Boy again. I know children constantly practice new-found skills. I just didn't anticipate how often they practice undressing. For instance, a couple weeks ago in Sunday school, people behind me starting chuckling. Looking around I discovered a topless Benjamin. I'm glad I caught him before his pants came off, too. Years from now Benjamin will be horrified to hear this story, which will only make it funnier. There's nothing like a 2-year-old in a diaper, sticking out his belly, running around declaring, "I naked boy!" with a huge grin.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

5:20 am

That's right. Benjamin woke up at 5:20 am. He had already woken up 3 times before, but this time he had a legitimate reason: messy diaper, and this time he did not go back to sleep. Elisa had also woken up twice in the night. So at 5:40 am, I turned on a bible story video, gave him a gogurt and cup of water, then went back to bed. All I could think about was sleep. On the plus side he was asleep by 8 pm (bedtime is at 7:30 pm, but he usually plays for an hour before falling asleep).

The other day Dominic surprised me with movie tickets. He used to do it a lot when we were dating and first married, but it became more difficult to come up with ways to fool me. So it's been a couple of years. This time I thought we were going to the Halloween store in the mall. He "forgot" something in the car, so I volunteered to go back and get it. By the time I caught up with him, we decided to get something to eat and happened to pass the movie theater. To my surprise he walked right in and handed the guy our tickets! We were still hungry, so we bought concessions, which is an even rarer occurrence. What a fun night.

Movie Review: Seeker: the Dark is Rising. A fun film, though it's a bit scary for just a PG rating. I'm definitely interested enough to read the books it is based on, by Susan Cooper. I do regret taking the kids, who said they were scared, but I had to see the end. So I held them in my lap and told them everything would be ok.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I hate cleaning. I love a clean house, but the energy required for cleaning is ridiculous. Ok, here's the deal: our landlord is selling this place. Someone almost bought it but backed out at the last minute. And I have to try to keep the apartment clean again. It is extremely frustrating when I get a room looking good, and the boys are there 5 minutes later undoing all I did. So I usually keep the place clean enough for mine and the boys' energy, which is not quite show quality. Luckily the realtor gives us plenty of notice. Yesterday I had all morning to get it done. I skipped my exercise workout, but the house looked good in time. We even ate a picnic lunch (so as not to get peanut butter and honey everywhere). The weather was fantastic, too. Hmm ... clean house, picnic, beautiful weather ... ok, it was worth it. By the way, the realtor's website is for anyone interested.

Cute Sammy story: Sammy said, " Come here, Mommy. I need to do something." When I arrived, he reached out his finger, tapped me on the nose and said, "beep!"

Cute Benjamin story: After getting hurt and crying, or after getting what he wants, Benjamin smiles and says, "I'm happy now."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Diaper cream - Don't touch - Dishwasher

Yesterday morning Benjamin said that he is diaper cream. I didn't understand what he said at first; Sammy had to translate. Diaper cream? That's unusual. Sammy piped up with: "I'm diaper powder!" Then I must be the wipes. They decided Elisa is a diaper, so Dominic is the diaper changer. Who knew our family was so... um... useful? The boys were quite amused with themselves.

Last Friday we visited the Dinosaur Park, which is decorated for Halloween. We saw a skeleton in a wheelchair. It had a sign saying "Don't touch me. I bite." Now the boys are going around saying, "Don't touch me. I bite." Whoever says it gets poked, so he bites his brother. They think this is very funny and take turns poking and biting. Unfortunately, the biter is sometimes too enthusiastic and the poker starts crying. And yet they keep playing this game.

Good news: we got a dishwasher! Bad news: my friend is moving. I've grown close to MaryAnn over the last few months, but she is moving to another state tomorrow. In her generosity she gave me her portable dishwasher. I've grown to hate hand-washing dishes. Honestly, I would rather spend time reading to or playing with the kids. Whenever I use the dishwasher, I will remember MaryAnn.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Babies are funny

Babies do such funny things! Elisa has started knocking the box of wipes off the couch. You see, we have a small apartment and never had an actual changing table. So I change diapers wherever I put down the changing pad: top of dresser, bed, couch or floor. If she is not on the floor, Elisa immediately reaches for the wipes and starts hitting the box. She enjoys hearing it crash on the floor. She even smiles when I talk to her about it; well, maybe she's smiling because I'm talking to her.

Today I gave Elisa a toy hammer to play with while I write this blog. She was very excited to see it and grabbed it out of my hands. All too soon she felt frustrated when it wouldn't fit in her mouth. So sad. Now she has to endure tummy time. As soon as she learns how to roll over, she won't have to endure it anymore, but how do you explain that to a 4-month-old?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why Boo?

So why did I choose "Boo?" It is a strange name and has a long and simple explanation.

My childhood nickname was Boofy. I even remember saying, "Don't call me MaryRuth. Call me Boofy!" But once I started school, I opted for my more mature sounding given name. My mantra then changed to "Don't call me Boofy. I'm MaryRuth!" Some siblings had a hard time stopping the Boofy habit, so they shortened it to Boo. In a sense Boo is a more grown-up version of that childhood nickname.

When new aquaintances complain about the length of my name, I suggest they call me Boo, but no one has taken up the offer. One reason I enjoy Halloween is that I see my nickname in all the stores. I still think of myself as Boo. Thus this blog is about me and life from my perspective: simple pleasures of life, the things I do, and the amusing things my children do.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today is my 30th birthday! Unlike the people who are forever 29, I am happy to be 30. I finally feel like an adult. For instance, I didn't have a big party, because I realize it's not my style. Instead I went to the park for lunch with my sister, sister-in-law, and our children. Tonight I went to Book Club. Thursday, his day off, Dominic and I are planning a date. This was a good birthday, with more fun on the way.

Book review: tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
It's a quick read, yet thought provoking. One of my favorite themes is love. Morrie's life is about the love he shows to those around him. In turn the people he affected reciprocate that love at the end of his life. I think that holds true with everyone. When you are honest and sincere in the love you share with others, they feel it and respond in kind.