Saturday, June 30, 2007

Mission Accomplished

There. I've survived my first "kid" birthday party. Yay, me! This is the first year that Camden has had an actual birthday party - - I figured he was old enough this year, where as before I'm not sure he really grasped what was going on, so we waited. He had such a fun day today. He had five of his little friends come over for lunch, cake, ice cream, and a pinata. Everyone did great, and went home strung out on sugar.

I think I'd mentioned in an earlier post that Camden was wanting me to make a Lightening McQueen cake again this year, and I wasn't exactly thrilled! It is a Wilton cake pan and is one of the more difficult ones I've ever tried, probably because of all the different colors you have to use. After everyone went to bed last night, I started working on it. At one point, Camden appeared from the basement and asked if he could watch. He proceeded to talk without coming up for air, for about 15 minutes, until I reminded him he was supposed to be in bed! I forgot to take a picture of the cake (sorry, Mum!) until after I'd already poked candle holes in it, but here it is:

My nemesis...the Lightening McQueen cake

I had some fun making sugar cookies to give as party favors. By the time I went to bed last night, I was feeling rather Martha Stewart-y, I must say. I love making these particular sugar cookies - - they are so yummy, and it is a great recipe to use with cookie cutters.

I made some tags on the computer with Camden's picture on them, and I like how they came out. Here are a couple of neat products that you can find at your local WalMart:

The cookie icing on the left is something I just discovered recently - - it is really great when you don't want to go to the trouble (and mess) of making Royal icing from scratch (Royal icing is used for decorating cookies because it dries hard to the touch). The FoodWriter edible color markers are really fun because you can then draw on the dried Royal icing. I used them to draw the number 4 on Camden's cookies. WalMart carries a lot of Wilton products, and Wilton has recently come out with so many fun things for making and decorating cookies and cupcakes.

Camden, taking a whack at his pinata

left to right: Joy, Paco, Camden, Hayden, Josie, Javier's legs, and Brendon (unfortunately, Camden's friend Hailey was on the other side of the table!)

Griffin, Cameron, and Brendon

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Steve and I seem to be passing some sort of Mystery Illness back and forth, or some such craziness. It all started last week sometime, when Steve wasn't feeling so great. Nothing he could really put his finger on - - just a squirrely stomach. By last Thursday, he felt bad enough that he called in sick to work, which is something that he NEVER does. Never. Ever. I got into bed that Thursday evening and suddenly felt horrid. Really awful. I woke up the next morning and didn't feel great, but I got on with my life. So then we went to Oregon. All was well for the weekend. Things took a turn for the worse Tuesday night, again, after we'd gone to bed. I'll spare you the gory details, but will share that at one point in the night, I woke up on the floor in the bathroom. It wasn't pretty. It was the closest I've ever come to breaking my "no barfing streak" (think: the Seinfeld "black and white cookie" episode), but instead of Jerry's eight-year streak, I've been going strong since age 8 - - yes, 27 years. I'm convinced this streak has unfortunately contributed to my completely irrational fear of vomit (you may recall me mentioning this during Camden's Barf-o-Rama last year). Oh well. I made it through the night in one piece, but have felt sub-par ever since. Steve called this afternoon and now he feels sick again. Thank goodness the kiddos are fine (knock wood). I'm determined to wake up tomorrow and feel normal - - mind over matter, I am telling myself. Earlier today I was thinking, "Darn it, I don't get 'sick days' anymore", but at this point I am happy to have these boys to distract me!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Road Trip

We are back, and we had a great time in Hood River, Oregon. The purpose of our trip was to take Camden to the Mt. Hood Railroad for "Day Out With Thomas". It was great! I've been saying that the best part of the trip was hearing preschooler after preschooler, gasping as they came through the gates, when they would first see Thomas sitting on the tracks. It really was a great event for little kids. The first thing we did was take a 30-minute train ride, and then after that, there were various activities set up for the kids, from playing with Thomas trains, to blowing bubbles, to live music, etc. Camden really enjoyed himself and we're so glad we were able to do this for him.

Now I'll tell you about the rest of the trip! It took us about 7 hours to get there on Friday, with driving and stops combined. The boys did really well, being in the car that long. When we arrived, we checked into our hotel, and then headed off for dinner at the Full Sail Brewery. The food was wonderful. At this point, Steve and I had already decided we LOVED Hood River. It is an absolutely beautiful little town, full of people enjoying the outdoors - - biking, windsurfing, kite boarding, etc. Lots of steep hills, great restaurants, quaint coffee shops, and much more. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel for some sleep. The next morning we headed right to the Mt. Hood Railroad for assorted Thomas activities. Then it was back to the hotel for Griffin and myself, so that Griffin could nap, and Steve and Camden went exploring in town. Later that afternoon, we all went into town and had a nice time walking around. We had dinner that evening at a place called The Mesquitery, and Steve's good friend Don came from Portland to meet us. Unfortunately, I spent the entire time consoling one tired child or the other, pacing the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. Finally, I gave up, boxed up my virtually untouched dinner, gathered up the boys, and headed back to the hotel, leaving Steve and Don in peace to visit. My consolation prize was a piece of Lemon Drop Cheesecake that Steve brought back for me...delish.

After breakfast on Sunday, we loaded up and headed back to Idaho. I think at that point, we were all a little burned out on being in the car (some of us more than others...yes, I mean me!), so it felt extra good to arrive home last night. It was a wonderful weekend, and it was so great to get out of town and see something new.
A picnic on the way to Oregon

Griffin, getting in some driving time

Camden and Steve, relaxing on the train ride

Camden, enjoying the trains

A random shot to prove that I was there, too!

A couple of tuckered-out boys

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Baby is Four

I'm not quite sure where the time is going - - I can't believe my sweet Camden turned four years old today. It is very hard for me to believe. We actually celebrated his birthday yesterday, since Steve had the day off. Just a small gathering with Steve's parents and Auntie Kasey and Banzer. Camden will have his first "real" birthday party on June 30th, and he's very excited about that. He'll have a few of his little friends over for sandwiches and cake. He wanted to make sure I invited Miss Paula, his former preschool teacher, who was also his daycare provider from the time he was 13 weeks old, up until I stopped working last August. I really hope she will be able to come - - Camden still talks about her nearly every day.

This past weekend was one big blur, with the Cherry Festival, Father's Day, and then Camden's family party yesterday. It was evident that my brain was a bit fried, when the boys and I drove all the way to Boise this afternoon to run errands, only to find when we got there, that I'd left my wallet at home. That was the pits. Luckily, Steve's office wasn't far from where we were, and he had his debit card with him...crisis averted!

Griffin has been teething like a champ these past three weeks. He has four teeth through, with one more on the way. It is so odd to see teeth in his little mouth now! I can't believe how quickly he has been changing over the past month. I have a feeling he will be crawling before too long. I don't know that I am ready for that, but I suppose I don't have a choice!

Story Time seems to be going really well at the library. Our audience seems to get bigger each week, and Terri and I are really having fun with it. Today our theme was "picnics", and next week we will be doing "gardening".

Suddenly, Riley has taken quite an interest in Griffin. I've mentioned in previous posts how attached he has always been to Camden, and now he seems to be taking Griffin "under his paw" as well. We spent some time outside today, and Riley made sure to stay right near Griffin, where he could keep a watchful eye on him. Griffin thinks Riley is a hoot, and for some reason he squints his little eyes up when Riley gets close to him, and then giggles like crazy. Riley sure does love his boys.

I'm really looking forward to this coming weekend, because we are going on a little adventure. We are heading to Hood River, Oregon, to take Camden here. It is something we have always wanted to do with him, and I really cannot wait to see the look on his face when he sees the "real" Thomas the Tank Engine. The drive to Hood River sounds as though it is going to be absolutely gorgeous, the weather is suppose to be great, and there are all kinds of other great things to see in the area, too. Can't wait!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Cherries, Cherries, and More Cherries

It has been a busy, busy few days around here! I just returned from the Cherry Festival parade -- Griffin fell asleep as soon as his Uncle Rex passed by (he was in the parade with the Idaho Army National Guard). Steve and Camden are still at the festival, riding on a few more rides before it all ends tonight. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of going to the Topsham fair with Mum, Dad, and Kevin when I was little, so I am really happy that we have the Cherry Festival each year, right on our front steps. Camden loved it this year, and I have a feeling he is going to be one tired boy when his head hits the pillow tonight.

So I was up until after 11:00 p.m. last night, furiously baking my heart out for the Cherry Bake-Off today. It turns out there was a total of 30 entrants, and some of those ladies weren't messing around, let me tell you. I will certainly be changing my strategy a little, next year. However, I'm happy to report that I came in 3rd place with my Fresh Cherry Tart, pictured below:The best part was, there was a tie for 3rd place, and I tied with my girlfriend Terri! She made cherry salsa, which I will have to get the recipe for - - it looked so good. We thought it was fitting, since we had both spent quite a bit of time together, going over recipes and talking incessantly about the Bake-Off. We agreed that coming in 3rd was pretty good, since this was just our first attempt. Next up is the Gem County Fair in August, and rumor has it there is a salsa competition. Here we are with our winning dishes. Terri is holding her son Brendon, and Terri's husband Stevan is holding our certificate:

I feel so lucky that I met Terri. She is such a good friend to me, and it seems we have endless interests in common. We are constantly chuckling about how funny it is that we met, because we are so "perfect" for each other. It is funny how things work out sometimes.

Must finish getting the house picked up, and get some gifts wrapped for Father's Day tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Movie Night

Camden and I decided to shake things up a bit tonight, and have a little slumber party in my room. We rented, "Flushed Away", put Griffin to bed, popped some popcorn, and set up the portable DVD player in my bed. Camden thought this was a great idea, to say the least. We had so much fun snuggling up. He informed me that he was going to sleep with me tonight, so when the movie was over with, I tucked him in, and I'll head to bed shortly. It isn't often that Camden and I get to share special "alone" time anymore. When I say that, I don't mean anything against poor little Griffin. It's just that Camden and I spent so much of his early life being "just the two of us" that I think sometimes we both miss having special time together. I must make more of an effort to make that happen for us.

Today was Camden's little friend Brendon's 3rd birthday, so we stopped by his house this afternoon to take a whack at Brendon's pinata.
After repeated attempts to break it open failed, we finally let the boys attack it on the ground and rip it apart. That was one tough pinata!

Earlier today, I treated myself to a new haircut and color. It is amazing what some peroxide and losing a few inches of hair can do for a girl's self esteem! I feel like a new woman. The haircut isn't exactly what I had in mind, but I really like what my hairdresser did with it. It is just the change I needed.

My mom called tonight to let me know that yesterday, she and my father attended a health fair at Bowdoin College, and after having his pulse checked at one of the little info booths, my dad was sent right to the hospital with an irregular heartbeat. He ended up staying the night, and his heartbeat corrected itself, which is great. They did all kinds of tests on him and he is fine, thank goodness. Although it distresses me to know that he was in the hospital, I'm actually glad that it happened because he has now had many tests that show his heart is fine, and that he is fine.

Must get to bed. I'm sure you are all aware that the Cherry Bake-Off is on Saturday, so I will be a busy girl these next few days!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Late Night Ponderings

Okay, so it is only 9:30 p.m., but I've been up since approximately 4:12 a.m., so it feels pretty late right now. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about how unhappy I was, when I was in college. Let me first say that I will never regret the fact that I have a college education. I think the experience itself, however painful it might have been, taught me a lot. That being said, I had no idea what I wanted "to do" with my life when I was 18, therefore, I felt pretty under qualified at choosing a major, which is probably why I have a Bachelor of Arts in English. After I graduated, I still didn't know what to do with myself, so I spent the next few years in various jobs that weren't exactly challenging. When I moved to Idaho, I had a boss that asked me more than once, why I wasn't doing something "better". I'm pretty sure he was referring to something more challenging, or something with a little more status. I don't really know. Maybe I didn't have the ambition to do anything "better". I guess I've always felt a little like I was lost and really didn't know what I wanted for myself. The thing is, lately I feel like I've finally found a place where I fit in, and where I feel fulfilled and happy. I love being a mom. I love being at home with my kids, and yes, I like making dinner every night and sitting down with my family. When we first decided that I wouldn't go back to work, I struggled with wondering who I would "be", or, what I tell people I did, when someone asked, "And what do you do?" I must admit, the first few times, I found myself spurting out what I "use to do" before I was a stay at home mom, like somehow that would make me worthy of being around people who work outside the home, or that it would make me more interesting. I really struggled with that. I lost some sleep over it. It depressed me. Now, I find myself in this delightful place where I cannot believe how lucky I am. I go to bed at night feeling like I accomplished a million things, even though half the time I couldn't tell you what those things were. Don't get me wrong - - this is by far the most difficult thing I've ever done. It is exhausting. I don't get quarterly performance appraisals as a means of measuring my success or failure. I don't get a lot of sleep. Some days (like today, for example) I have massive kid burn-out. Somehow, though, it all seems to balance out, and at the end of the day, there is nothing else I'd rather be doing.

Friday, June 08, 2007

A Tale of Two Spatulas

Recently, my dear friend in Maine, Jen, commented on Griffin's affinity for his blue spatula. She told me that her son, Alex, (born about one month before Griffin), also had a spatula. It seems he loves his spatula in the same way that Griffin loves his. So much, in fact, that he recently brought it with him when he had to go to the hospital. Then, pictures were exchanged. It seems they love the same spatula:


I'm starting to think when I need to buy a baby gift from now on, I'll just buy a spatula or two.

Steve has been gone for a week, with a little over a week left to go, and I'm happy to say we are all doing just fine. I must admit, I was a little burned out around mid-week, but I believe Griffin took pity on me last night and decided to sleep, so I feel like a new woman today. My story time debut went very well, and was a lot of fun. Next week's topic will be "bugs", and I think it will be a hit. I've already selected some books, and there is one in particular that Camden has been having me read over and over. I also got a bunch of plastic bugs to pass out to the kiddos. It is fun and satisfying to suddenly have a creative outlet.

The other day, I was planning to take the boys to the zoo, but we woke up to a chilly, rainy day. I asked Camden what he would like to do instead of going to the zoo, and my boy responded, "Go to Target, and then to Starbucks!" My, I have him trained well! While at Target, I fell madly in love with these shoes. The reviews for the shoe are pretty funny, especially the person who says something about making sure you pair them with the right clothing, so as not to look like a stripper. Someone else said, "They are not very comfortable, but beauty hurts, doesn't it, girls?" Considering the fact that my "work" clothes consist of jeans, a t-shirt, and Merrell sandals, I'm not sure what I was thinking. I guess a girl can dream about losing those last few pregnancy pounds, finding a really great pair of jeans, and wearing them with red-patent-hoochie-mama-peep-toe-pumps.

My folks bought tickets to come out to Idaho in August, and I can hardly wait. I don't think anyone is more excited than Camden though, who has already announced that he will be sleeping in "Nana and Papa's room" while they are here. He also told me that we need to take them to the cupcake store, one of our new favorite places to go (the mocha cupcake is to die for, by the way). I'm already counting the days until they get here (58!). Then, it will only be a couple of months later, when we all go to Maine. Yippee!

Last night, Griffin decided that it was really fun to pull himself up to standing, after grabbing onto my hands. I'm not sure that I am ready for the pre-walking phase (much less, the walking!) - - this boy is growing way too fast for me. Of course, now that he has learned this new trick, he wants to do it over, and over, and over...

I just tried Steve's cell phone on the off chance that he would be free. I lucked out and he answered, but I could hear all kinds of commotion in the background, and he said he would have to call me back later, as they were getting ready to "blow things up". That's Army training for you!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Hotter'n Blazes

It was 102 degrees today as we left Camden's friend Antonio's birthday party. Yes, I said 102. Luckily, we are in the desert, so we don't have the humidity to contend with, like everyone does back east. That being said, it is still sticky, sweltering, and uncomfortable. The only thing I am really missing about our old house is the fact that it had central air. This house has just one window air conditioning unit, circa 1970-ish, so it is a wee bit toasty inside. Luckily, the forecast for the week is showing the temperatures dropping into the low 70's, which is just about where I like it.

The weekend was busy, starting yesterday with Terri and I letting ourselves into the library to prepare our "room" for story time, which begins on Tuesday. We cranked the local "80's Rock" station (yes, plenty of Ozzy, Skid Row, Poison, etc.) and raided the supply closet, finding all kinds of decorations and props that should make for a successful story time. Today, the boys and I headed out to Caldwell for my girlfriend Joy's son Antonio's 3rd birthday party. We had a really nice time, and it was wonderful to finally meet Joy and Roy's newest addition, Javier. When we returned home, we had time enough for a diaper change and a little rest, before heading over to Kasey's for some fabulous hamburgers. All in all, a wonderful weekend!

The boys had breakfast in their skivvies this morning - - too hot for clothes!

Antonio and Camden, waiting for Roy to hang the pinata in the tree

Banzer, Camden, and Griffin

My little "Story Time" corner at the library. I've just noticed that one of the posters came off the wall and is sitting on top of the fake plant!

Poor Griffin. I caught him sleeping in this position again last night. I have no clue how he does that. It doesn't look comfortable to me!

Friday, June 01, 2007

No Such Luck...

The original title to this post was, "Silence", because I thought that was how my evening was going to be. Alas, I was wrong. We dropped Steve off at the armory this afternoon for the beginning of Annual Training, and won't see him for approximately 16 days. When we got home, Camden announced that he wanted to spend the night with his grandparents, so off he went. About ten minutes later, I hopped on the treadmill, thinking I'd better exercise while I had the chance. Griffin was happy to watch, and promptly fell asleep doing so. Not long after, I put him to bed for the night, but since then, he's been up twice, crying hysterically. Not sure what's eating at him, but he did the same thing last night. I'm really keeping my fingers crossed that he'll sleep through the night, but we shall see. Poor little guy. Just when I think I have him figured out, he goes and enters another new phase!

So have you tried the new Orange Mocha at Starbucks? WHAT?!?? You HAVEN'T? You must try it. It is soooooo good. I love orange and chocolate together, and you know much I love Starbucks, so really, there is nothing better than the Orange Mocha.

Must wrap this up and finish watering the yard. It is supposed to reach 100 degrees on Sunday. Yikes!

(p.s. - you'll notice Griffin's two favorite "toys" in his lap - - the remote control, and my blue and white spatula. I swear, either of those items keep the boy entertained and happy, when nothing else will).
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