Oh Christmas! I am so done with you!

December 23, 2009 at 1:52 pm (Bored, Holidays)

For the first time, in my entire life, I am done with Christmas shopping early! I’ve been done for a couple of weeks and I couldn’t be more proud! I’m going to be able to enjoy Christmas Eve rather than fight the crowds at the mall! Beerita’s here I come!  I’ve decided egg nog is not worth the calorie intake – so I’m switching my Christmas drink to Margarita’s with half beer (hence beerita).

Brody really cracks me up sometimes… he didn’t want to go see Santa at the mall this year, because “he’s not the real Santa – so what’s the point?” Which led to “Well, he’s a representative of the real Santa and it’s nice to have a picture with him.” Which then progressed into, “Nah… I just don’t want to go.” Ok fine.  I’m ok with NOT paying $54 for a Christmas photo with Santa – I’d rather take my own photos anyway!

Over the weekend we watched The Grinch with Jim Carrey (a tradition in my house) and will probably watch A Christmas Story on Friday. Last night the boys and I made paper snowflakes and had 2 video skype calls. I love SKYPE!!  It was really cool to be able to see my mom, my neice and nephew with hints of my brother! Although the kids did spend an enormous time calling each other names and sticking their tongues out it turned out to be an awesome call!

Everyone at the house has been sick. I’m just starting to feel better (aka less snotty) and the boys are still dealing with mucous and coughing. Evan is the worst child when he is sick. I told my mom it was like having my dad, my brother and Michael (when they are sick) wrapped up into one little body. I know he doesn’t mean to be cranky, but yesterday he cried for 30 minutes over a piece of paper I threw in the garbage. I finally told him he wasn’t allowed to talk to me about the paper. Then… 20 minutes later he said “I really cared about that paper!” and started to cry again. sigh… It’s times like this when I really appreciate children’s cold medicine! I feel bad for him. As a side note… Evan’s bottom tooth has been hurting and Brody said “you know what’s coming right? it’s gonna fall out!” which made Evan very excited! I told him he’s on his way to becoming a toothless wonder!

Needless to say, the boys are super excited about Christmas. I can’t wait to see their smiling little faces when they open their presents! Happy Holidays everyone!


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Evan and his amazing Christmas list

December 8, 2009 at 10:27 pm (Evan)

Evan is your typical five year old. He loves the Toys R Us catalog and always calls “dibs” on it when it arrives in October. He’s really got a knack for picking out items he wants. As you can see in this photo, Evan has circled almost everything – including the props.

He circled the ball! It's a prop...

He circled items he already owns:

And this:

He’s even managed to circle (and want more than anything else in the word, including chocolate milk and smooches from his mommy) the absolute impossible gifts – the items we could never own (one item won’t fit in our shoebox and the other item would kill him):

Really? Because, we live in a shoebox - where would we put it?

and the ever attainable:

Really? We just took his training wheels off the NON-rocket powered bike.

I love this kid so much.

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December 7, 2009 at 2:10 pm (Melodie, Weekend)

A very large group of friends spent this past weekend in South Lake Tahoe. I had such a good weekend and I think I know why. Don’t laugh, but I believe it was the weather! While I do love the sun and sand, I am a winter girl. Always have been.  Even on the coldest days, I am still a happy camper.

I remember when Bob and I were kids, we’d spend hours building snow forts or skating. We also spent hours and hours on the crazy carpet (apparently, this is a Canadian item, because most Americans have no clue what a crazy carpet is) behind the skidoo. We were typical Canadian kids, winter was 8-9 months long so you learned how to enjoy it. This past weekend was cold and while others were freezing, I knew exactly how to block out the cold so I wouldn’t shiver.

I think I’ll be spending more time in Tahoe… might be time to start looking for a timeshare.

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Decency… where did it go?

November 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm (Ranting, Shit)

I think if you call someone, they should have the decency to return the call. It seems people have lost their decency these days and as the holidays get closer, the decency level has dropped. Just last week, a woman walked right in front of me and her shoulder clipped mine as she kept walking without even saying a word. I tried to merge on the freeway and almost got sideswiped because the car in the merge lane wasn’t going to let me in.

What is wrong with people? Is it me? I always ask this question first, it’s natural for me to think this thought first. Maybe my expectations for people are too high? Maybe I have unrealistic views of how humans should treat one another? I’m the type of person who will say “bless you” when you sneeze. I’ll ask you if you’d like something to eat or drink when you come to my house. I will let you merge onto the freeway without trying to kill you or your passengers. But I will not put up with rude people who do not have the decency to return phone calls.

You know society has hit an all time low when the mall posts signs in the doorways titled “Common rules of courtesy.”

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The weather

November 4, 2009 at 3:45 pm (Bored, Parents)

Because, you know, that’s what people talk about when they don’t have anything else to say. Oh I’m sure I can drum up some conversations – but I’ve been so darn busy!

The other day, my friend Amanda was complaining how it was cold and rainy where she is – so I took this picture outside of my office.

Beautiful day

It was as warm and gorgeous as it looks.

This is the view outside of my window. When people think of Oakland, I am very sure this is not the image that comes to mind. It was about 75 F and look at that gorgeous skyline!


I finished school last week, actually earned a degree. Not a fake one either! It’s a recognized degree from an accredited school. I have four more years left of school and should be starting my Bachelor program the week of the 22nd (of November). There are no classes listed on the website yet, so maybe I’m starting later? Who knows, all I know is I am so happy to have some real time away from school. When I told the boys I wouldn’t have homework for the next couple of weeks, you’d have thought I told them we won the lottery! In a way, I guess we did.


Mom and Dad are visiting next week – they will be here for one whole week! Dad has requested a list of chores to do and mom is going to help me pickle beets and make perogies (YUM). May not sound like much to an American, but to a Canadian… those two foods are sent from heaven! I’m hoping they will help me with the inside and outside of the house, I’m hoping they can help motivate me to get rid of all the clutter and old crap hanging around. Mom said she wants to go shopping (and is even bringing an extra suitcase for all the loot). Good thing I like to shop!

The boys are super excited to be able to host their grandparents in California! I’ll have the boys with me the entire week so they can spend extra time with g’ma and g’pa. Luckily, I have a good enough relationship with their dad – so switching like this is easy.  The best part about the visit, is the entire week I am taking off from work! YAHOO!!


Michael has the boys for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. I don’t really care about Thanksgiving – but I think Christmas might find me under the tree with a case of wine. If anyone is looking to send a present… you know what to send! My cousin Michael and his new wife are going to be in San Francisco sometime during the Christmas season – so hopefully I’ll get to see them and meet the new girl! It sucks to live so far away from family, but I am happy they are visiting. Michael wants to see Alcatraz – you can tell he’s never been to SF before because he will freeze his willies off. However, Mikey is a big Canadian guy (who I have personally seen eat half of a 26 lb turkey, plus all the fixin’s AND dessert) so I’m sure he can handle it. It’s his wife I am concerned about. I told them to expect cold – but Mikey just laughed it off. Laugh it up chuckles!

Other news

In the beginning of December, a whole gaggle of us are headed up to Tahoe for some snow fun. I was asked (I shall not name names) if I would be bringing my snow pants for the occasion and I replied “I’m not going skiing or snowboarding.” Which was met with “what about for just walking around?” I, again, replied “Nope.” Then I thought… geez am I missing something here? Should I bring my snow pants?  Luckily, the internet was created for questions exactly like this. I was able to see the weather forecasts for the past year and after converting the F’s to C’s determined that the weather in Tahoe is short sleeve weather for all Canadians (-6 to +10 C on average). I am thinking about going tubing – so I’ll bring my pants if the tubing thing pans out. Otherwise, look for me at the outdoor pool! I’ll be the one sunning myself on a chaise lounge chair!

The trip should be really good – except everyone has high expectations. You all know what happens when expectations are really high…. the trip usually sucks! Hopefully, between the free shuttles to the casinos and night life AND the large Costco sized bottles of tequila, we’ll have a good time.

Oh and it’s my birthday next week… so look for birthday celebration shenanigans.

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October 23, 2009 at 8:58 am (Brody)

We had our first parent-teacher conference with Brody’s teacher yesterday.  As parents I am not sure what we were expecting. We’ve had conferences with teachers before, but kindergarten is very different than Grade One (oh sorry, First Grade). Miss Delmy (kindergarten teacher) and Brody had a very close relationship, Brody adored her and vice versa. She knew she could count on Brody to help with the other students or to refill the stapler – pretty much anything in the classroom.  In Brody’s school right now, he is in a class with Second and Third grade students and is low man on the totem pole (so to speak). Academically, Miss Sharon says he’s doing great but he’s having some adjustment issues.

Brody… the boy who was made for the montessori system of learning is having adjustment issues. Apparently he wanders around the classroom like he’s lost and doesn’t know how to focus. Miss Sharon says he loves to make announcements in the class, loves to be the helper – so then why doesn’t she facilitate more opportunities for him to be the helper? Because there are 39 students and 2 teachers. He is used to 1 teacher and 8-10 students. He’s the little fish in the big pond and I get understand where he’s coming from.  I know he’s adjusting to a new situation and I’ve got to give the kid a break… he’s had to deal with a lot of change this past year.  His dad and I no longer live in the same house, his grandfather died, he started in first grade in a new school with new people… That is a lot for anyone, let alone a 6 year old. I have to remind myself that he is only 6 years old.

Miss Sharon is confident that she and the other teacher can help Brody move towards positive behaviour and she is encouraging us to focus on his positive behaviours rather than negative. The thing is, Brody is very smart and knows exactly what he’s doing – he doesn’t need to act out at home because he gets a lot of attention from me and his dad. At school… well, I think he feels he’s lost in the shuffle of children.

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The weekend yo

September 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm (Brody, Friends, Melodie, Weekend)

I had a dinner party this past weekend. It turned out really good and I think everyone had a great time. The best part? I was the only woman! Way to increase my odds!  heh heh

Seriously, everyone knows I have some really great girlfriends (most of them live somewhere else, but I have a few who live close) – but I tend to make friends with guys (they are way easier and take less time to get ready). It’s been that way my entire life and I haven’t quite yet figured it out. I’m sure some of my girlfriends know the answer. Anyway, I’m not complaining, in fact, I like that I can hang with guys and be comfortable and relaxed.

Brody loves to entertain. That kid is going to be an event planner! He loves the idea of people coming over and loves to help. He doesn’t like to help with actual work, but he will “help” with entertaining. On Saturday night he made everyone sit in their chairs so he could show them rocks he’d collected. A big hit with the guys!

It’s been hard adjusting to single life – there are parts that are very easy. Then there are parts that totally suck. Preparing for a dinner party on your own is one of the sucky parts.  Fortunately for me, one of my friends ROCKS in the kitchen and he whipped up some amazing appy’s. We had delicious fresh oysters with some concoction Louisiana Joe whipped up as a topping to the oysters (a BIG shout out to Joe for shuckin em too!), Bryan made some delicious cheesy garlic bread (fortunately he made too much so I had it for lunch the next day) and the best salad I have ever eaten. I made ricotta stuffed manicotti and a pork roast. Oh and did I mention the margaritas? Yowzers!!  I did a bottle count the next day and those boys could drink some beers!

Seriously, one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time. It was great to sit around the firepit in the backyard and talk shit. I’m still trying to convince Jason to learn this (NSFW) so he can teach me and we can be the oldest white people on the planet doing the crip walk.

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I tried something new!

September 20, 2009 at 10:25 pm (Melodie)

I know, I know – y’all think I’m lying. But I swear to all things chocolate that I tried something new this weekend. I am normally not a risk taker or an adrenaline junkie – so agreeing to go white water rafting was something out of my comfort level. Over the past 10 months or so, I have been working really hard on creating friendships with good people. You’d be surprised at all the duds (not good friends) that I’ve met along the way.

My friend Joey is the organizer extraordinaire. He planned a white water rafting trip and I agreed to accompany him and his girl Brooke on the trip.  We had some other friends lined up but I hadn’t spent any significant amount of time with them – so it would include new(ish) people as well (except Keith, he and I go waaaaay back). This week has been craptastic and I was not looking forward to getting up at 6:30 am on a Saturday morning so I could help Joey cross another “must-do” off his list.

After finishing homework on Friday night, my girl Jenn and I went to the Rellik for a beer. We had a great time flirting shamelessly with the bartender and bar back (don’t you just love that name?).  Jenn showed Ed (the bartender) and I some amazing photos and we had a really great time. In fact, it was 2:00 am before we left the bar! By the time I got home and got ready for bed, it was close to 3:00 am. (gasp). A mere 3.5 hours later and I was up – getting ready for the 2 hour drive up to the south fork of the American River. 

Can I just say, the lack of sleep and long drive was worth every single minute! Every anxiety or period of bitchiness I had was worth it! I had one of the best days EVER! Not only was the rafting amazing, but the people I connected with have confirmed that I am finally on the right path with friends!

We ran the river! EXTREME!  We were on the “slow” part of the river so that means, Class 2 and 3 rapids. But the experience and memories we created as a group of friends made up for the slower parts of the river. We had an amazing time and are planning another trip. Who’s in?

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Recent goings on…

September 12, 2009 at 5:28 pm (Bored, Friends, Shit, Work)

Does anyone say that anymore? Goings on… huh

It rained last night, it was raining this morning when I woke up. I had big plans for the day – the boys and I were going to get out of dodge. We were going to go sea shell searching (say that 5 times fast). When I heard the rain, I knew our plans were done for. You see, where we live, you need a parka at the beach in August. Add rain to that mess and you’ll have a better time in the arctic – it’d be warmer too.

Both boys have settled into school. I wish I could say I’ve settled into the commute but I have not been able to get this together. I drop Brody off at Michael’s house in the morning and then I take Evan to school. The ride home is brutal. I get off the train, go get Evan and then drive 20-25 minutes to get Brody. Then I get to drive 35 minutes home. It’s a nightmare.  By the time we get home we are usually famished. With this comes grumpy and horrible and unruly behavior. Not to mention what the boys are experiencing.

They are growing like WEEDS! Brody lost another tooth and he said there is another one loose. I don’t think the tooth fairy can keep up!

School has been going well, I am at the end of Week 2 – only 7 more to go! These are the last two classes until I receive my associate’s degree. I’ll start my bachelor program in November and tuck in for another two years of intensive classes.

My mom and dad are going to come down in November and help me with the house. Home ownership is overrated! I feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of work that goes into keeping a house and especially keeping a yard. I think it will be different when I am finished with school, but in the meantime, I am struggling. I thought about a landscaping company to come in and keep the yard clean for me, but they wanted $80 a month and I just can’t swing that right now.  Plus, I’m going to ask my dad to help me get quotes for eaves (gutters). Michael, as he does, ripped them down but never replaced them. Quotes to women are famous for being over priced and I don’t have the first clue of what to look for in eavestroughs.  They are also going to help me plan the backyard. It’s sort of ok right now, but there are some areas that I am stuck with.  My mom has a lot of vision when it comes to landscaping and knows tons about plants. She’s got green thumbs, fingers and toes. I’ll post before/after photos.

I’ve been spending most of my free time cultivating relationships with new friends. Suzanne and I have been spending every Wednesday together – it’s been an absolute joy getting to know her better. Together, we have been meeting a lot of people and have formed new friendships with other people in Benicia. They are a group of people who I trust and truly enjoy spending time with. We laugh, we talk, we give advice, we take advice and most importantly – we have fun!  So much fun!  Ever since the shenanigans with Michael, I have had a hard time trusting people. Especially men. I don’t trust their intentions, I don’t trust what they say. It is definitely something I am working on – but I realize it’s going to take time. In the meantime, I have a great group of friends to help me figure things out. I have a great group of friends to bounce ideas off of. I have a great group of friends to play beer pong (Wii style).

Work has been difficult (to say the least). I thought I was getting more comfortable in my position, understanding more and more about the work I am supposed to – and then I’ll get thrown a fastball. All of a sudden, I’m right back at square one.  I like the challenge, I love my boss, I love my company – so I guess it’s not a bad thing. I would just like to be able to participate in meetings and not feel like an idiot. 🙂

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The day the universe was against me…

August 31, 2009 at 9:44 pm (Brody, Evan, Melodie, School)

Today was the first day of school for everyone in this house.

Brody started first grade.

A first grader!

Evan started kindergarten.

A kindergartener!

Mommy started the last two classes of her associate’s degree.

No picture

We woke up late. Well, really, who wouldn’t? With all the partying we do up in here. I think the entire household was asleep by 9:20 last night.

Evan and Brody didn’t want to wake up. It took 4 trips to their bedroom before either of them stirred. It was a gorgeous morning – boiling hot this entire weekend, but the morning was cool. The kind of morning where you didn’t want to get out of bed because you are so cozy in your blankie.

For the love of god, no one could comb their own hair!

Breakfast… whatev… no one needed it!  Until it was the last minute and I’m shoving a bagel down their throats.

Lunches… usually made the night before. Made with love and thought to nutrition and the energy they’d be expending. The fuel to feed their bodies … neglected in favor of sleep. Rushed the morning of the first day of school (how could I be so silly to think I could wake them, dress them, feed them AND make lunches all in the same morning?)

The route to school is new. And long. And full of traffic. Including Rafael’s Landscaping, the driver of this vehicle was so safe and doing exactly 4 miles less than the speed limit. On any other day, I would have remarked on his thoughtfulness and safe driving. Today, as the minutes ticked closer to 8:15 – I cursed as he muddled his way through the neighborhood streets. I’m sorry I called you an idiot under my breath so the children wouldn’t hear. I only wanted to get my son to school on time and not have to do the walk of shame THROUGH the office to retrieve a tardy slip. How horrible is it that my son was late for his FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL??

I had the entire route planned out. I wanted to drop Evan off first – then make my way over to Brody’s school. I wanted to hug them both and assure them their day would be wonderful. Instead, Evan and I walked Brody to his classroom – through the office (walk of shame) and got lectured by the principal about parents walking kids to their classrooms on the first day of school. bah.

I cried on the way to Evan’s school for several reasons. It was emotional leaving Brody at the school for first grade (NOT Grade one, as I was taught). I was embarassed for getting him to school late. I was frustrated over the length of the drive!  And finally, let’s not forget how sorry I feel for myself when I am homesick.

Eventually, all boys were dropped off at school and I made my way back home. During the drive, I didn’t even want to sing to the radio … I listened and reflected on how quickly time passes. I don’t regret any of the past events that brought my children to me. I love them. I’m a lucky momma and I will never forget it. All of the emotions were worth it.

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