Archive for January, 2010

This year, Travis and I gave each other “date presents”.  While we didn’t plan to do this, I think we both realized how much crazier life has gotten with our two kids and the need to get out by ourselves and do something fun together.  He gave me tickets to White Christmas at the Fox, which we did a few days before Christmas.  I bought him tickets to the Oklahoma State vs. Mizzou basketball game, which just happened to be yesterday!

After leaving the kiddies in the very capable hands of my parents, we headed for Columbia.  We love getting back to Columbia.  Not only was it a great college town, it also was the place where we met and holds lots of fun memories of the time we spent there (although we were never dating while we were in college…we just spent a ton of time together with our group of mutual friends).  The game was a blast!  I was kind of worried about the seats I’d purchased…they were all the way at the top, second row to the back!  I know, I’m cheap.  But much to our surprise, they were great seats!  We had a great side-view of the court and were still close enough to read the names on the backs of the jerseys.  The game was very exciting.  OSU is a great team and kept the game exciting the whole time.  We had a blast watching the action of the game but also had some laughs thanks to our seat-neighbors.  The row in front of us contained three OSU fans who seemed to think that yelling “Learn the basics” was a very clever line, even though our team remained in the lead the entire time.  Behind us sat a man Travis and I named “Coach”.  You know the type.  He definitely felt that he should have been hired as the coach for Mizzou because he knew ALL the right plays.  At first it was annoying…then we found it downright funny.  Overall, the game was great.  And it helped that we managed to pull out a nice victory!

After the game, Trav and I hit up Shakespeare’s Pizza.  We love Shakespeare’s.  There’s really not a pizza that can beat it, in our opinion.  Here’s Trav getting ready to consume a slice and looking rather scary.

It was a wonderful date-day!  There’s something extremely refreshing about having a day away with your husband.  I missed the kids, but we enjoyed remembering what it was like to have a roadtrip with just the two of us.  Anyway, while we were gone the kids were having a blast with Mimi and Grandad at Build-a-Bear!  Owen had a great time, um, flashing the bear-stuffer.  Interesting.

The final product…Batbear.  Owen’s on a huge Batman kick so it didn’t surprise us in the least that he chose to have his bear dress as Batman.  My mom said that Owen had some very definite opinions about what color his bear should be (he chose a black bear), what sound his bear should make (it has a heartbeat), and what it should wear (he chose the Batman outfit over Star Wars and the Mizzou basketball player!).  Here he is holding onto Batbear:

Thanks for hanging out with our kids all day yesterday, Mom and Dad!  They had a blast.  We had a blast.  I hope you had a blast, too!

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we’re running out of toys…

In Owen’s “poop on the potty incentive bag”, that is.  This means that we have had SUCCESS quite a bit lately! 

Ever since Owen’s little 4o minute tantrum in the bathroom involving the changing of his own clothes after an “accident”, he’s been all about pooping in the potty. 

There are 5 toys left in the bag.  I’m curious to see how he responds when the toys are gone.  I’m brainstorming where to go next if he freaks out about this and wants to revert back to his “I’m too busy to bother with pooping on the potty” days. 

We shall see. 

And because I don’t like to do posts without pictures, here’s a cute one of Molly.  I know this post has nothing to do with her, but poor thing, she’s been somewhat ignored during this whole potty-training nightmare.

Anyway, there’s the potty training update.  That’s all for now!

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turning a corner?

Yesterday we reached an all-time low…that was followed by an all-time high.  This is more potty talk so if you’re not interested, tune out now.

We’d been going on for a while with Owen asking for a diaper when he had to poop.  This was fine.  Not great, but I was okay with this lasting for a while.  Then Owen decided that he didn’t want to trouble himself or me with having to put on a diaper…he’d rather just go in his big boy pants.  I have come to the conclusion that there are two reasons he was doing this.  One:  He didn’t want to have to stop playing to go ask for a diaper.  Two:  He often poops his pants when I am spending time with Molly because he knows this act gets my attention (and often my anger).  Yesterday, after a particularly rough morning, Owen pooped his big boy pants while I was feeding Molly.  Rather than getting upset with him like I have in the past (which is negative attention, but attention all the same…something Owen wants), I took him in the bathroom and told him that there’s a new plan.  If he’s choosing to poop his big boy pants instead of using the toilet or asking for a diaper, I will clean him up but he is responsible for putting on a new pair of underwear and pants.  For some kids this may not be a big deal.  But for Owen, this is HUGE.  He HATES getting himself dressed and undressed.  He avoids this at all costs and our attempts at getting him to do this have resulted in many tantrums.  Daily.  Anyway, after cleaning him up, I brought him some new underwear and pants and told him that he needed to get himself dressed and when he was done he could come out and we’d eat lunch together.

Then the fun began.  He spent 40 minutes in the bathroom screaming, throwing himself on the floor, into walls, and yelling NO!!  I kept going back to check on him, each time seeing that he was still sitting on the floor of the bathroom pants-less.  Each time I’d see this, I would simply say in a very nonchalant sort of way, “Oh man, it looks like you still have some work to do.  Let me know when you’re finished.”  Finally he must have gotten tired of screaming and decided that the only way out was to try to get himself dressed.  Once he got dressed I explained again that this would happen each time he decided to poop his big boy pants instead of using his diaper or the toilet. 

Fast forward 5 hours when Travis got home.  Owen became obsessed with looking in the bag of goodies that we promised he could choose from when he finally decided to poop on the potty.  He talked about these toys for about an hour and then finally told Travis that he needed to go.  After a couple of minutes…SUCCESS!  Thomas the train’s friend, Diesel, became the first toy chosen out of the bag.  Then 3o minutes later, SUCCESS!  And then we realized that our child, at the age of 2, had discovered how to work the system.  He was holding it in and going little bits at a time so that he could get a toy each time he went.  Smart kid.  We quickly explained that he doesn’t need to try to poop every time he sits on the toilet.  We explained to him that most likely he would only get one, maybe two, toys a day.  This is slowly sinking in, but he sure is motivated by those toys all of a sudden.

I was a bit scared that this was only going to be something that he wanted to do when Daddy was around, but this morning he told me he had to go and SUCCESS!  He is now the proud owner of Percy the train.  Here he is with his proudest smile and his awesome new trains clutched in his hands:

I know Owen well enough to realize that this battle is most likely not over.  Hopefully we’ve stocked the bag full enough of toys that he’ll be so used to pooping in the potty when the toys run out that he won’t want to go back.  That’s the goal.  Kids are unpredicatable…especially this one.  Only time will tell.  For now, I’ll enjoy only changing one child’s diapers!

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quick trip to columbia

Last Thursday, the kids and I hopped in the car and drove to Columbia to hang out with Abbey and her boys.  We always have a great time when we’re together, but sometimes it’s funny to me to think how long Abbey and I have been friends and how much things have changed.  We’ve been friends since 7th grade and our conversations have drastically shifted from your run-of-the-mill school gossip to discussing baby schedules and potty training.  We’ve gone from just the two of us hanging out to husbands and 2 kids each.  Crazy.  Anyway…

Molly and Henry had a great time getting to know each other.  She was very interested in his hair and tried to grab it whenever she got close enough to him.  Maybe some day she’ll have some of her own to play with…but not any time soon.

Owen and Harrison had a great time playing, too.  They are both very into trains and spent hours playing with Harrison’s train table and learning to share Percy, Thomas, Toby, Emily, Rosie, etc…  (if you’re a boy mom, you know what I’m talking about)

This next picture cracks me up.  We tried to get a good pic of all four together.  Maybe Abbey got a better picture than I did, but this one looks like they’re conspiring about how to gang up on the moms.  Harrison and Owen look like they’re deep in conversation, and Molly looks like she’s up for whatever.  Nothing like a toddler pow-wow. 

We had fun visiting Abbey and her kids, but I hope she’ll invite us back…Molly decided that screaming for 2 hours straight at bedtime was way more fun than sleeping, and Owen discovered the fun of playing with the contents of his diaper when he was supposed to be sleeping (that’s all the detail I’ll go into…it was horrible and Abbey is a VERY good friend).  I’m continuing to learn that you should never say never in regards to your child…

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Of course you do! But first, an I’m-not-really-an-irresponsible-parent-when-it-comes-to-what-I-let-my-kids-watch note: I haven’t let Owen see all of any of the Indiana Jones movies yet. He’s got quite a few years before we’re there. However, there are a few scenes that are so full of action-packed goodness that I simply haven’t been able to resist showing them to him. And like all boys between the ages of 2-95, he can’t get enough. Literally. The boy is like a broken record asking to watch one specific scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark – the one where Indiana Jones is holding on to the front of a truck for dear life, and to avoid being smashed into another car actually goes UNDERNEATH the truck while it drives on. It’s easily one of if not the best stunt in film history. In case you’ve forgotten this scene or by some cultural injustice not ever seen it, I’ve embedded the clip at the end of the post.

So, without further adieu, here’s a little taste of what Emily and I have been hearing almost non-stop the past few months.

And here’s the scene. It even starts with the “Truck? What truck!” line Owen referenced in the above video. I gotta say, almost 30 years later, this scene holds up as good as any action sequence ever. Forget special effects. It’s all real-life stunts. Sorry James Cameron & Avatar, you’ve got nothing on Spielberg and the real thing.

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my first etsy purchase


I had heard of Etsy but had never been there until one night when Travis was working late.  It’s a dangerous place.  I now LOVE Etsy.  I found this hat and fell in love.  Molly HAD to have it.  Turns out Christmas was right around the corner and I had an excuse.  Christmas morning came and now Molly is the proud owner of this adorable little number.  I kinda want one for myself.

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dress up

Playing dress up normally consists of costume jewelry, mommy’s high heels, and an oversized purse.  Except when you have a big brother. 

Meet Daniel Boone Molly:

And don’t forget about Indiana Jones Molly:

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our take on up in the air

Em and I don’t make it to the movies as much as we used to. Pre-kids, we tried to see every film getting award buzz. We were lucky enough to steal a night away recently and catch Up In The Air, directed by Jason Reitman and starring the Cloon-Dog. We both thought it was a fantastic movie. It was one of those that kept us talking from the instant we left the theater to the minute we got home, and then on into the night. At its core a character study of a man whose long-standing approach to life is being threatened, it still managed to be an incredibly timely and relevant depiction of the recent plague of job loss, weaving the two themes seamlessly to deliver a powerfully poignant message. 

But we’ve talked to a lot of people who have seen it and left not really knowing what to feel. If you’re interested, here’s our take. I’ll try to stay vague for those of you who haven’t seen the movie. But if you haven’t seen it and don’t  want any spoilers whatsoever, you may not want to read on. 

So our takeaways start with the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. Trust me – I’ll get back to Up In The Air very soon. From the first time we see Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, he wants “…to see the world!” Time after time he gets opportunities to do just that – and time after time something keeps him from it. He’s stuck in Bedford Falls. You know the rest. George finds out through what’s possibly the most famous happy ending of all time that every single person in Bedford Falls loves him (well, except for Mr. Potter), and while he may have never gotten to see the world, he’s lived a far richer life than he could’ve ever dreamed of. He has a beautiful family and so many close friends. The message is clear: it’s the relationships in life that matter.

Now we have Up In The Air. George Clooney’s Ryan Bingham is the anti-George Bailey. He’s seen the world. He constantly travels as a company man whose sole responsibility is to lay people off. Despite his dreadful job, Ryan’s likeable and charming. Yet he keeps everyone – his coworkers, friends (what he would consider friends), even his sisters – at a very safe distance. He even delivers “motivational” speeches about not letting all of your possessions and relationships hold you down. Ryan’s the personification of American individualism. And, especially at the beginning of the film, aspects of his approach to life are tempting. And you gotta hand it to him, he practices what he preaches, and has for 20 years of his professional life.

And then he meets someone. A woman who defies everything he’s ever expected from relationships to the point that he may actually want a relationship with her. At the same time, a new, fresh-out-of-school coworker challenges his outlook on life. All of a sudden, life starts to look a little bit different. As the movie really hits its climax, Ryan’s ready for a change. He realizes he may have been missing the point of it all. Whereas George Bailey recognized that he really has it all, Ryan Bingham discovers he doesn’t – to the point that his own sister turns down his offer to walk her down the aisle at her wedding because she’s closer to her fiancee’s uncle. How many people do you know who are that close to their fiancee’s uncle?! 

I’ve heard a lot of people call the ending of this movie “a downer” or “too ambiguous.” True, just as Ryan is the opposite of George Bailey, the ending of Up In The Air is opposite of It’s a Wonderful Life. And yet, the message is the same. As Ryan’s final monologue says, it’s the people and moments we take for granted – coming home to a family, feeding the dog, talking to someone about your day – that bring us happiness in life. This film just took a different route to this very valuable message. A route, I would argue, that is much more appropriate and relevant to the film, the Ryan Bingham character, and the timely issue of job loss that served as an underlying theme throughout the film.

The sub-theme of the corporate world’s dramatic down-sizing over the past years, specifically the montage interviews of people after they’ve lost their jobs and what they’ve learned through their experiences since, was powerful. I doubt any other movie this year will even touch a topical issue that’s effecting so many lives in such a real way. 

Back to the ending: while Ryan’s life may literally and figuratively remain up in the air at the end of the film, I found hope in it. The moment we see him walk into the terminal, the close up of his hand briefly letting go of the suitcase, we see a different Ryan. He’s obviously considering walking away from it all and finding the connections he needs in life. For the first time, he’s conflicted. The fact that he may not necessarily make the decision we as an audience may want him to make right then and there doesn’t mean that he won’t. The Bedford Falls ending – while happier – isn’t realistic for Ryan. As Emily put it, “He needs to take baby steps.”  I felt hope because now we know Ryan’s tasted more in life. He’s back doing what he’s always done professionally, but after the profound experiences we witness in this movie, it’s fair to believe he may yet make his connection at a later date. 

There are about 10 other themes I could’ve written about that made Emily and I both really appreciate this film (and yet all of those themes didn’t compete – proof of how deep and layered of a movie it was). But I felt the “moral of the story” was the natural place to start. Thanks for humoring me. I’ll be curious to hear what those of you who saw it thought.

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it’s been a rough month

It’s time for the monthly update, and getting a picture of the kiddies this month was particularly difficult.  After MANY photo attempts, I decided just to go with it.  This picture pretty much describes Owen’s last month.

Owen at 32 months:

Between potty training and the frigid cold temperatures that are keeping us cooped up at home, Owen’s face sums it all up.  He would love to get out of the house, but there’s just really not that much to do when it’s this cold.  And he would love to go back to wearing diapers, but that’s just not going to happen.  Thinking positive, here are some things Owen DOES like to do:

* Indiana Jones.  He’s obsessed with the one scene that Travis has let him watch.  It’s the one where Indiana Jones is in the car chase and goes underneath the truck.  All that Owen will talk about is when Indiana Jones “goes underneath the truck!”.  I can’t tell you how many times he tells me this each day. 

* Going peepee in the potty seat.  He is doing great at this, and we are now to the point that he can just tell us when he needs to go.  We went to Kansas City this weekend and decided to see how he’d do wearing underwear while in the car.  He stayed dry the whole time!  On the other hand, he still refuses to poop in the potty.  I asked him today why he doesn’t want to do this and he replied, “Mama, I just don’t like it that much.”

*Identifying whether people are boys or girls.  He’ll go through all his friends and family and say whether they’re boys (like Owie) or girls.

*Playing with Play-doh and coloring pictures.  He has a Star Wars coloring book and loves to go through it page by page identifying the characters and coloring on them with his markers.

Owen’s 32nd month was rough and rocky.  He’s had a HUGE transition and transitions are not Owen’s forte.  Hopefully we’ve gotten through the most difficult part and things will get better from here.  Onto Molly…

Molly at 9 months:

Our normally smiley, happy girl has been rather fussy this month.  As I mentioned in a previous post, she cut her first tooth a week ago.  Because of this tooth, she’s done a lot of this for the last few weeks:

The last couple of days have been a little better.  The tooth is finally through so we’re starting to see our sweet girl again.  Besides teething, here are some other things she’s been doing this month:

* Rocking on her hands and knees.  She’s not crawling yet, but she’s getting close.  I’m just waiting for her to figure out that she can move herself forward.  She rolls around like crazy (both ways now…finally!) and she pivots her body all over the place to get what she wants.  She also scoots herself backwards all over the room.  She often ends up underneath the furniture!

* She’s developed this goofy little laugh.  She does it whenever she gets excited about things.  She gets very excited about dolls, food, and Max. 

*Max.  She LOVES Max.  She has discovered that he”ll lick the goop off her hands if he puts them over the side of her highchair.  Because of this, Max loves Molly.  Here’s a picture of her protector:

* We’re also starting into the world of separation anxiety.  Hopefully we’ll get through this quickly, but I have to admit that I do love that she has started reaching out her hands for us when she wants us to hold her. 

And finally, one more picture of my little blue-eyed cutie:

Hopefully next month I’ll be able to report that Owen is pooping on the potty, Molly’s teeth have popped through her gums, and the temperature is above freezing.  That’s all for this month!

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i need jesus!!!!!!

Owen loves to read his Bible lately.  It’s the first thing he wants to do when he gets up from his nap, and he carries his Bible around the house with him wherever he goes.  I love that this is the book he’s chosen as his favorite, and I love that Jesus is his favorite good guy.  He loves to get out all his Bibles and line them up on the floor of his room like this:

His favorite Bible story is about Bartemaeus…the blind man that Jesus healed.  I’m not totally sure why he’s chosen that one as his favorite, but there’s nothing cuter than hearing his little voice asking me to read about Bartemaeus. 

He carries around his Bible so much that there have been times when we have to take it away from him.  I know, I know.  You’re thinking, “Why would they ever need to take his Bible away from him??”  Well…bath time for one.  And it’s important to eat dinner.  Oh yeah, and it’s helpful to be able to have your hands free when you’re trying to balance yourself on a potty seat.  At these times when the Bible is temporarily removed, Owen immediately starts yelling, “I NEEEEEEDDDDDD  JESUS!!!!!”. 

Child, you have no idea how much you need Jesus!  We pray that someday soon you understand this need and accept Christ as your Savior.  Until then…read on!!

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