Thursday, September 26, 2013

They grow up so fast

Last night, I was enjoying a beer in the backyard with my Colorado cohort and my neighbor.  The neighbor's daughter and Alex were playing and were running in and out of the house gathering whatever toys they wanted.  One trip into the house took a little longer than the others.  I could hear some clunking around in the kitchen and then I heard something fall in the mudroom, so I got off my butt to see what was going on.

Not shockingly, the neighbor girl was innocently trying to reach a toy on the shelf in the mudroom and something fell off the shelf.  Mysterious sound #1:  solved.  Then I went into the kitchen.  And that's when I figured out what mysterious sound #2, aka the clunking, was.

Yeah...the clunking was coming from the last bottle of beer out of the six pack sitting on the kitchen counter.  It was clunking because the bottom kept slipping on the counter top while my 4 year old was using the BOTTLE OPENER TO OPEN THE BEER.  Yep.  So, just to recap, I walked in the kitchen to find Alex, with the bottle opener still in hand, wiping beer off of his chin.  Beer that he was drinking from the bottle HE OPENED.

You guys.  Seriously.  We are so screwed.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Little Things

The town was flushing out the fire hydrant closest to day care this morning and it was spraying across the street.  When I turned onto the street, I could see just a little haze/fog, but as I got closer, I got really excited because we had to drive right through it.  I cut Alex off mid-sentence and made him aware of what was up ahead.  He sat silent for a second, and then all I heard from him was, "Oh...oh hoh hoh hoh hoh HOH!"

The water velocity comin' out of this hydrant was somethin'.  The direction we were heading put the hydrant on the left side of the street and the water still hit my door at just below window height.  It was fantastic.  Alex laughed and laughed and laughed.  And when we were going inside, he immediately started telling every single person he saw about it.  

The windows in his room are high up on the wall, but they built a loft playhouse situation for the kids and they can see out of the high up windows up there.  And the loft playhouse is on the same side of the building as the purging fire hydrant.  I pointed out that little fun fact to Alex, and he and three of his friends scampered up there.  And then I let him know they could watch me drive through it again.  He was so excited, he didn't even say good-bye.

Now, I would like to end this post with something sweet about how it made me so happy to see something so simple but so cool with Alex, because it really did.  But I would totally be lying if I didn't admit driving through that water would have made my day with or without the beast in the car.  It was freaking awesome!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Workin' at the ranch

After camping yesterday, we drove across south central Wisconsin and went to my parents' house to celebrate my niece's birthday.  Part of her birthday present from my parents was a riding lesson scheduled to take place in the arena at my parents' house.

We were there a bit before the lesson started, so Alex was "helping" get the horse ready and clean up the barn.  Which always leads to him begging for a tractor ride.  My mom knew this was coming and asked him if he wanted to go with her on the tractor to get the drag and smooth out the arena for the lesson.

He came running up to me to let me know where he was going:

"MOM!  We're going to ride the tractor to go get the grader and go into the ballerina and make it smoove."


Alex and I went camping with some of Travis's family this weekend.  We were at Black Hawk Lake Campground, and the opening in the fence where a trail down to the beach area starts was right between the two campsites we had.  Alex asked me what the sign said and when I let him know it said "Trail to beach," he instantly informed me he wanted to go to the beach.

So, we headed out onto the trail.  This trail is not an easy trail to hike down.  Years ago, there was a staircase with a railing leading you down the side of this big ol' hill.  But the staircase wasn't exactly at all.  Which leaves a rather tricky trail with random steps here and there.  It's also quite steep and pretty long.  At the very beginning of our trek down, I told Alex he needed to understand it was going to be difficult climbing back up and that I was not going to be able to carry him.  He reassured me and let me know, "Mom, don't worry.  My legs are totally prepared for this."  Oh good; now I feel better.

About half way down, I got him to run off the trail so I could get this shot and it's currently my favorite.  (Aside from the fact that I really wish my phone had a better camera or that I would start carrying my freaking camera with me.)

After this shot, and picking off the burs acquired from running off the trail, we continued on down to the beach.  When we got down there, Alex's aunt found some snail shells that had washed up onto the sand from the lake.  She was wearing capri length pants so she waded in to find some more.  Not shockingly, Alex wanted to walk in the water too.
And this was all good and well until he started running in the water, which of course made enough splashing that his pants got wet.  So I let him take his pants off.  And that was all good and well until he was running and tripped and landed on his hands and knees.  He just looked up, completely pleased and said, "Noooowww my shirt's wet."  We took off his shirt, and I could see his next thought so I instantly told him he had to leave his underwear on.  

So what started like this:

Ended like this:

All of his clothes were soaked as were his shoes.  Luckily, Grandpa J grabbed a towel out of the camper and drove down to the beach to rescue us with a ride back up to the campsite.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Never gets old

I don't remember what I did to solicit this comment, but I will never ever ever tire of hearing, "You're the best mom, Mom."

Stranger Danger

Alex loves people.  Like every single person ever.  Which is great.  Except for when I have to try to explain to him that not everyone is nice.  And that unless I am with him, he really shouldn't be talking to any Tom, Dick, or Harry that walks by.  Especially given our neighborhood and the fact that we live right on a bike/walking path.  Lots 'o strangers walkin' past our yard.

Most of the people strollin' on by are perfectly nice people.  Including the guy that stopped and listened to a long, drawn out story from Alex about Aiden.  The guy made the mistake of saying "Hi!" to Alex.  Alex launched into a story and the guy just stopped and listened to the story while eating his box of popcorn he had with him for his walk.  Alex finished the story with a flourish and claimed Aiden jumped over the fence the previous day.  When I corrected him and said that the dog did not jump over the fence, popcorn dude just shrugged his shoulders and told Alex maybe it was a dream.  That guy?  Totally fine.  The guy that parked next to my house, and had his buddy wait in the car while he was picking something up from his "friend"?  That's decidedly not totally fine.

Any way, the other day, I wanted to go upstairs and change my clothes and he wanted to stay outside.  So I told him he could, but he had to stay inside the fence and he wasn't to talk to anyone.  He just looked at me all confused and asked why he shouldn't talk to people.  And as I explained that not all people are nice people, I watched a little sparkle in his eyes fade while sadness seeped in.  I understand that he needs to learn this fact of life, but it still sucks.

Part of the reason we are trying to move is our neighborhood.  95% of our neighbors are really nice people.  But the 5% that aren't nice, are really not nice people.  Who have really not nice acquaintances.  And unfortunately, the level of not nice outweighs the nice.  It didn't used to.  When it was just Travis, the dog and me, I could easily ignore the not nice.  But not anymore.  I don't want to live somewhere that makes me uncomfortable to leave my child outside in a completely fenced yard while I run inside to pee.

But then there's this:  We are moving from a very diverse community to a small town.  And the loss of diversity makes me sad.  I love the fact that we didn't have to actively teach Alex that being gay or black or in a wheelchair or having spiked purple hair is totally fine.  We didn't have to teach him that because he sees it everyday.  He sees different people and he sees that even though we don't all look the same or walk the same or talk the same or like the same things, it doesn't matter.  At all.  I love that.  But now we are planning a move to a town that doesn't have that.  And I got all freaked out and was positive Alex was going to end up a racist homophobic redneck that hated his left-wing nutjob parents.  But then I started thinking about where I grew up.  I grew up in a very rural area with pretty much zero diversity.  And I'm not a racist homophobic redneck.  Weird how when you have good people raising you, you don't turn out to be an asshat.

What it really comes down to for my little freaky brains is that I guess I would much rather Alex have to learn to stand up for what he believes in when confronted with someone with different beliefs, than have him have to learn to which gang signs mean what.  But then will that make him a naive easy target later?  Gaaaaahhhh!!!  Being an adult is hard.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Love Triangle

Alex's friend, Ryne, at day care was gone for the summer.  Her mom had a baby and kept the kids home with her while she was on maternity leave.  This little girl has been at daycare with Alex since he was an itty bitty baby.  He didn't say much about her not being there this summer, but she came back on Monday.

On the way home on Monday, I asked him if it was fun having her back.  He said it was, but then got kinda sad and said, "But she took my love away."  I was sufficiently confused and asked what he was talking about.  "I love her and Anna took her away from me."

He was all upset because one of the other kids played with Ryne without him.  I told her mom about it and she just laughed and told me not to worry because everyday, Ryne says that Alex is her boyfriend and they are going to get married.

They are only 4 and it's already gettin' all "Days of our Lives" up in there!  Like sands through the hourglass...

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Hair

Alex is holding steady in his opinion that his hair should not be cut.  The tufts that hang over his ears aaaaaaaalmost can be tucked behind his ears, and that helps a TON.  But this little battle is far from over.  And he has class pictures tomorrow.  I can't wait until he's 16 and tries to complain to me about how I cut his hair.  Nice try future kiddo.  This one's all you.

But it does make fun bath pictures!
Watch out; he'll get you with his helicopter..
 That is if a giggle fit doesn't take over his body.  He'll still try to get you, but it will be way cuter.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Alex's hair needs to be cut.  Like whoah.  He looks like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber.  Think I'm exaggerating?  You decide.  (Also, again please disregard the terrible photo quality; I'm having a chat with my phone camera post haste.)

It is not ok to just be walkin' around looking like a shaggy Lloyd Christmas.  He really really doesn't want to get his hair cut though.  Every time I bring it up, he says the sharp scissors at the salon hurt him.  I assure him the scissors won't hurt him.  He agrees to get his hair cut only to renege on the deal as soon as we are getting ready to head to the salon...."We should just cancel it, Mom."

And then there's the issue of Team UmiZoomi.  There is an episode all about getting your hair cut.  And the opening song refrains with, "It's your hair!  Do-do!  Wear it any way you like it!  It's your hair!"  Now, I realize I hold more power over my child's life than Milly, Geo, and Bot, but you try to argue against that logic.

Helpy Helperton

Please excuse the horrendous quality of this photo.  There was apparently some gunk on the lens, but that kid weighs 49lbs and I wasn't sure how long Bert's shoulders were going to hold out.

The play set was gettin' a little gangsta lean to it, so last night Travis pulled it back up straight and tightened all the bolts.  Obviously, Alex needed to help him. Problem is, there are about 3 bolts Alex can reach.  And since we weren't about to put a ladder out for our 4 year old, the neighbor's shoulders were the only option!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Snuggle bug

Last night, Alex really wanted to sleep in our bed.  It had been a really long evening including an hour long, yes you read that right, and hour long tantrum over the fact that we took a football away from him.  A football that he was throwing in the house.  A football whose ownership status was going to drastically change if it was thrown one more time.  I'm pretty sure I had lost patience when I blurted out, "Alex Thomas Julius, if you throw it one more time you will never see that football again.  Do you understand me?"  You could still hear the "s" of his yes when he threw it again.  Seriously dude?  I mean, really?!?  Were you not listening?  Or are you really stupid enough to test this and think it's going to end well?  So yeah, he threw it again, we took it away from him forever because I'm an idiot, and the hour long tantrum ensued.  I'm not exaggerating.  I know it was an hour because I was about to start dinner when this happened.

So, I just kept working on dinner with the soundtrack of "I want my football!  I want my football!  I miss my football!  I waaaaaaaant my foooooootbaaaaaaaaalllllllllll!"  Oh!  Before this little episode, Alex had said he wanted to go for a walk.  So I told him to go potty and put his shoes on so we could go.  And then about 7 minutes after that didn't happen, he told me he wanted to go for a walk.  So I repeated my instructions.  Nothin'.  This lovely cycle happened 4 times before I told him sternly that he knew what he had to do if he wanted to go for a walk and only he could make that happen.  We didn't go for a walk and the football thing happened.  So, during his tantrum, "I wanna go for a walk!" was also injected between requests for his beloved football.

Anyway, back to the point.  Alex really wanted to sleep in our bed.  He even promised to not wiggle around.  My energy was tapped, but I was not about to give in on this one, so I made a deal with him.  He had to go to sleep in his bed, but if he woke up during the night or when he woke up in the morning, he could come to our bed.  Deal!  He snuggled up, fell asleep, and stayed that way until about 5 minutes after I woke up this morning.

He came out of his room completely naked, because apparently his bedroom floor is where used UnderJams belong, and all sleepy eyed.  I said good morning and he said, "Mom.  Remember what we were gonna do?"  I couldn't for the life of me figure out what he was talking about so I told him I didn't remember.  "I was gonna come snuggle you."  It took every fiber of my being to not get back in bed.

Dr. Treehouse

Since I am totally on top of my shit and have my life completely together, Alex had his 4 year old check up appointment yesterday.  What's that?  He turned 4 exactly 72 days ago?  Yeah, I know, but I really wanted him to have a good grasp on being 4 before we answered a bunch of questions.  That and I was late getting him in for his 3 year old check up last year and you can only do one check up a year without having to pay for the office visit, soooooo....

The nurse led us to our room and asked a bunch of questions and then took him to get measured and weighed and check his vision and hearing.  I know this is shocking, but he's in the 93rd percentile for both height and weight.  This kid.  Anywho, after the measurements were taken she let me know we were doing shots.  And not the fun shots I like.  Alex's response?  "Iiiiii fink we should just skip the shots."  She giggled, told him to get undressed and left us to wait for his doctor.

After standing there for .4 seconds in his underwear, brilliance struck him.  "Gasp!  Mom!  We should surprise Dr. Treehouse with my Superman underwear!"  And with that he cupped his hands over the Superman logo on the front of his underwear and climbed up onto my lap.

(By the way, his doctor's name is not Dr. Treehouse, but due to the creative listening abilities of my child, that is what he is called.)

Let's just make sure we're all on the same page here.  I was sitting in a doctor's exam room, waiting for my son's doctor, while said son was sitting on my lap, covering his crotch with both hands while smiling like the cat that ate the canary.  Sounds about right.

So, Dr. Treehouse comes in, greets us and asks Alex how his summer was.  With his hands still firmly covering his "S", and while grinning like a maniac, he quickly answered that his summer was good.  At this point, I am just about dying and trying to figure out how to tactfully explain that Alex wants to show his doctor his underwear.  But while I was worrying about tact, my darling dear flung his hands open releasing the suffocated logo and yelled, "Surprise!"  The good doctor's confusion was palpable, so I did my best to stifle my laughter and quickly told him what was going on.  Being the awesome doctor he is, he laughed, told Alex how cool his underwear was and that he had a pair just like those when he was a kid.  Alex just beamed.

I wish I could say this was the only hilarious/awkward thing to occur during this appointment, but what fun would that be.  Dr. Treehouse always asks if Alex is "poopin' and peein' alright."  And with that question, Alex grabbed my head and whispered, "Tell him sometimes my poops are really big and they hurt my bottom."  I nodded and tried to skim over that since we have talked about the fact that that's life sometimes.  But when that wasn't immediately being relayed, my head was beckoned again and this time I was told to tell him in no uncertain terms.  So, to appease my little beast, I said, "Yes, sometimes his poops are very big."  Without letting me take a breath, Alex chimed in, "And tell him they hurt my bottom."  Done and done kiddo; Dr. Treehouse can hear you.

All was good, Alex got a sticker, and we were left to wait once again for the nurse to come back with the shots.  Alex was super brave and squeezed my hands as hard as he could for all three shots.  When it was all over, he sat up and looked at me with an unmistakable expression of WTF.  I just apologized, told him it was ok to cry, and squeezed him tight.  The nurse asked if he already got a sticker.  He said that he had, paused and then said, "But I fink I need another one."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

When do I get to win the lottery?  I'm preeeeeeetty much feelin' over this work thang.

Monday, September 9, 2013


I'm back!  I took a little hiatus to go visit with some wonderful ladies in Denver.  And I realized my entire family needs to be down with moving to Denver.  Beautiful doesn't begin to describe it.

Sunrise from my bedroom window:
Don't you worry, I wasn't up that early.  I woke up, saw the sun rising, thought, "Oh that's pretty, I'll take a quick picture."  I leaned off of the side of my bed, hit the shutter, and immediately went back to sleep.

But, after I woke up, I got to sit on the front porch with my coffee and take in this view:
My gracious host swears up and down she constantly has wild life hanging out in her backyard.  Elk, deer, fancy birds.  I saw two birds.  Two.  Birds.  But I also saw this dashing fellow which made me believe her that there actually is wildlife in that area.  I mean, who would make such an amazing Tom Selleck-esque mountain lion if mountain lions hadn't at least once been spotted in the area?
We drove up up up a mountain, got to something absurd like 10,500 ft above sea level, and got to walk around Echo Lake.  Ummm...yeah, beautiful.
I wasn't the only one having fun this weekend though.  Mr. Alex got to spend Thursday night at Gramma and Grandpa Z's, Friday night at Aunt Nicki's house, Saturday night in Platteville, and Sunday afternoon with Bert. Travis had to work at his normal job that makes it impossible for him to drop off and pick up at daycare and then he also had to work at his new second job on Saturday and Sunday.  (A friend of ours bought a bar and Travis is working some shifts here and there.  Can't keep that man out of the bar for long!)  I'm pretty sure Alex didn't mind his little Tour of Wisconsin weekend vacation.

He got to perfect his racer's dive and just hang in the pool after beating the competition to the finish line:

And it just happened to be Dairy Days in Platteville.  Apparently he rode every single ride his height allowed...multiple times.  Like enough times an all ride pass bracelet was warranted.  No, he's not spoiled at all.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Star of the Week

Alex gets to be the Star of the Week this week at daycare.  His teacher was very sympathetic to the not getting on the bus thing, so she thought if he was the Star of the Week it would be a good distraction.  Part of being the Star is filling out a big poster about yourself.  He dictated his answers for me and I wrote as fast and I legibly could.  Not shockingly, he came up with more favorite foods than there were lines to fill out in that section.  And then there was the "Favorite Things About Myself" section.  His first answer?  "My feet."  And that was quickly followed by his dune car and that he's funny.

On the way to daycare yesterday I asked if he remembered about the bus.  In a very matter of fact tone, he let me know that he remembered and he will get to ride the bus once we move.  He is being more understanding than I could have ever expected or requested of a 4 year old.  When I told him I was really sorry that he didn't get to ride the bus, he just said, "It's ok Mom...but...can you find someone to buy our house at zip speed?"

You heard the boy people!  Get on it!  We need the house sold like yesterday!

My heart just can't take seeing the disappointment in his eyes every time I have to tell him I haven't found anyone yet.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013