Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Caiden and Dave Made Me Dinner :)

Caiden stayed home with Dave today, as he wasn't feeling well still, and frankly he hasn't really spent much time with Dave lately because of Dave's work schedule and the LA Fair last weekend, where Caiden went with my father-in-law.

Anyway, work has been particularly hard and stressful this week, even crazier than usual, so Caiden and Dave went to the store, bought supplies and made one of my favorite dishes...Chicken Marsala!!!

Caiden doing his part
Dave checks to see how Caiden is doing
Cooking really makes a young man thirsty...Caiden takes a smoothie break

Dave, of course, prepared the chicken, but Caiden was a whiz on by cooking the marsala topping which includes green onions and mushrooms. He really enjoyed helping, and it was so cute to watch them cook. Plus, if Caiden wants to be a firefighter like his daddy, he will need to start working on those culinary skills of his. :)

This was the chicken marsala and then some strawberries. He also made little red potatoes which I LOVE!!

Of course, I pitched in too, and did the dishes, but it was nice to have a nice home cooked meal prepared :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Nice Neighbor

Dave and I are very fortunate to live around very nice neighbors. I think that we are so fortunate because we all bought our houses at the same time, as they were being built, so we all bonded together over the newness of our neighborhood. We instantly had things in common. Also, our neighbors just appear to be very nice people.

Well our direct next door neighbor (the Marine), he has been mowing our lawn, along with his for the past few months, and I do mean months. Now, it's not like we don't want to mow our own lawn, but it seems that every time we plan to do it, the Marine, Chris, beats us to it.

I work on weekdays, so weekends are it for me. That is really the only time I can mow the lawn. Every time I plan to do it on a Saturday, he mows it on Thursday or Friday. If Dave is home during the week, and he hears the lawn mower going, he will run outside and tell Chris that he will mow the lawn and not to worry about it. Chris always says that it's not a problem and he enjoys doing it.

Still, I feel guilty. On Monday, I stayed home with Caiden because he has not been feeling well. I finally work up the energy to go outside and mow the lawn and do the yard work. The problem is the lawnmower. It is a great lawnmower, and it is only 1 year old. It has an electric starter, or so I'm told which allows me to push a button and theoretically it is supposed to start. Again, I said THEORETICALLY.

Like all mechanical things that completely flabbergast me, the lawnmower is temperamental about when it chooses to start with the electric starter. Unfortunately, if I get it on a day that it choose NOT to start, I am at the mercy of a nice neighbor to help me start the lawnmower as I can't seem to pull hard enough and fast enough to make the darn thing start. So frustrating as I consider myself a rather strong girl.

My neighbor Paul came to my rescue on Monday and pulled the rope hard and fast and up started the lawnmower. I was able to mow mine and Chris's yard quickly enough to do ALL of the yard work and clean up before he got home. Caiden and I then went to the store, and as we were pulling in Chris walks up, smiles and says "tell your husband I said thank you for mowing the lawn".

I looked at him proudly and said "Dave's working, he won't be home until tomorrow. I mowed it". Chris just looked at me like I was crazy. I could sense that he was trying to phrase what he wanted to say in a polite, PC manner, and then he looked at my stomach, which I have to say is rather large and getting in my way, and said..."Why? Are you trying to get some exercise". I just looked at him, smiled and said, "Nope. I was trying to beat you to doing it. Every time I am about to mow the lawn I come home and you have already done it." Chris started laughing and said that that was funny because he had planned to come home tonight and mow the lawn. "I KNEW it"...I said. "See, now you don't have to."

I even tried to impress him by mowing criss cross lines (very professional), but I got a bit hot and tired, so I didn't do the cross part of the criss if you know what I mean. I have posted pictures as you can see, so you can revel in my mowing only if I could keep those darn plants alive :P

As you can see there is Criss, but no Cross :)

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Family Of One :(

I was dropping off Caiden yesterday, rather in a hurry as I had a meeting scheduled with my Director and I was a bit late for it - it was a last minute meeting) when I noticed the latest and greatest artwork on the wall.

Whenever Caiden does art work, or when I pick him up from school I always talk to him about what he learned that day, what he did and then we look at his artwork. Again, I was in a hurry and noticed the latest addition to the wall. The kids were tasked to draw a portrait of their family. I searched for Caiden's portrait and the above is what I found.

This stopped me DEAD in my tracks. He was the ONLY student to have a family of one. All the other students drew pictures of a parent and siblings, some even had grandparents. Caiden, however drew a picture with no mama, no daddy, no grandparents...just him. It broke my heart. I asked him why he was the only one in his portrait and he just said "I don't know". It ate at me all day.

This affected me so much that I actually broke down and cried in front of my director, as I had JUST left the school and headed to my meeting with my director - it was still fresh in my mind. My point for saying that I cried was that I am NOT a crier, and I DEFINATLEY would not cry in front of another person!

Thankfully, I happen to work for an amazing director who is a strong family man, and a very understanding person to boot. I had planned to work the full day, as my boss is in town just for this week, but this picture brought me back to reality. I left work early, took Caiden to the park where we played and talked and then we went out for some Sherbet.

When I spoke with the teachers, they stated that they had JUST finished doing their self portraits, so he possibly felt that he was still doing his self portrait. When I arrived to pick him up at the school, I asked him who is family is and he said "Mama, Daddy and Caiden". I asked him again why he drew just him, and explained that I was not angry, but I was hurt as I love him very much. He said he was sorry and gave me a hug. I asked him if he felt that I didn't spend enough time with him and he said he didn't feel that way.

The teachers also mentioned that out of all of the students, no one mentioned Daddys, except for Caiden. She said even when the dad drops them off, they always omitted that dads, even when questioned as to "who dropped you off this morning". Caiden was the only student that when asked said he had a dad. I thought that was a bit interesting.

I may be overreacting, or reading too much into it, but it was a wake-up call to me. I try my best to balance work and my home life, but I do find myself working (on conference calls and such) all the way to and from work. I get sucked into the void that can become my job sometimes, but I always try to talk to Caiden on our commute and sing songs as well. When I am home, I have made it a point to NOT turn on my computer to work until Caiden is in bed and asleep, but maybe I need to work more at balancing my work life and home life. After spending time with Caiden and speaking to him about it, I don't think Caiden feels neglected, but it is always important to be reminded of your priorities.

I happen to have a very empathetic, sensitive little boy, who works hard to be a good boy and make me happy. He told me the other day as we were driving home and I was stressed and emotional that he was going to take care of me and "scratch my back" (aka massage my back). He said, "when I scratch your back it makes you happy". He told me this morning that he was going to take care of me, and I need to let him. This from my 3-year-old. So sweet, but not his job.

So, the moral of this rather lengthy story is to take a moment and hug your munchkins. They are amazing blessing, and sometimes it's nice to take a moment to acknowledge that and celebrate it. I tell Caiden every day how much I love him, and how important he is to me, but I don't often blow off work to hang out at the park. I think everyone needs a day at the park with their kid and a orange sherbet with confetti. :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sunday at the Pacheco's

So Sunday, Caiden and I drove down to the OC to see a few people. We first dropped off some of Caiden's (three 30 gallon trash bags to be exact) old clothes and stuff at my sister's for my nephew Kyle.

Then we moseyed on over to Katie and Bryan's house. Katie is in training for her Sherrif's department test, so when we arrived, so was practicing scaling a 6 foot wall. I have to say, I am quite impressed with Katie's success so far. I mean, she DID run track and field when she was in high school, but hasn't really done that in years. One of the requirements to get into the police academy is that you have to run the mile in under 9 minutes. Katie did it in 7 min 48 sec. I was impressed. She came in 8th out of the 40 people that were their for the practice day they had. She was able to do the required 30 push-ups, shoot a gun well (although she has never shot one before) and score well in the high 90's on the written exam.

Bryan showing Katie his technique
Katie getting a running start to showcase HER technique

The ONLY hitch was the 6 foot wall. Well, I can tell you that she will be over it in NO time. She has been practicing with Bryan and working exercise into everything she does...INCLUDING going to the park.

Caiden and Christy weren't the only kids playing on the playground this time.

Christy and Emma swinging
Caiden and Katie playing the sand
Christy and Caiden love to slide

Caiden's turn to swing!

Katie was doing the monkey bars, trying to do pull ups and chin ups, and doing strength exercises for her arms and shoulders. I tried to cross the monkey bars and was successful, but Katie said I probably shouldn't be doing that so I decided to sit down and swing instead.

Crossing the monkey bars
Reverse push ups
Regular push ups

Of course she DID make time for a little fun. Including teaching Caiden to be an airplane while on the swings.

Christy shows Caiden how to keep his feet up when he flies
Caiden plays airplane while Katie takes a picture
The view from below
Katie and I resting
Katie and I

Notice the firefighter boots. Their like Caiden's American Express Card...he won't leave home without them.

Caiden and his fire boots...even though you can't see them very well.

After we walked back home, Caiden was a little tired, but never too tired to play the guitar and put on a show. Of course, we got to hear the ABC songs, Itsy Bitsy spider and the ever-popular Wheels on the Bus. :)

Caiden got a smidgen tired on the way home
My little guitar man
Rockin' out to his ABC's!
Caiden loves to play the guitar at Katie's

It was a fun day!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Goodbye Chevy, Goodbye Nissan...HELLLOOOO Mazda

So I have finally come to grips with the fact that I am NOT a car person. I mean, I have never owned a car prior to the Sentra and I hated EVERY minute of it. It was low to the ground, uncomfortable, small, hard to travel long distances with a 3-year old. It just was horrible.

Although I LOVE trucks and SUV's - hmm...two thing that do not mix with commuters such as myself, the gas was KILLING me when I drove the Tahoe and the Truck. PLUS, the Tahoe was up in years 115,000 miles and we had already dumped over 2K in it for needed repairs this year alone. We still needed to fix the fan clutch that was going as well, not to mention the registration and smog check that was due in a month.

With all of these things in mind, I began thinking about trading in the Tahoe and the Sentra for a commuter car that was more practical, newer (so less problems), still fuel efficient and didn't make me run for the hills at the thought of getting into it (I would dread getting into the Sentra). I called up Dave and asked him his thoughts. He promptly told me that he didn't really care as long as he didn't have to do the leg work to sell the cars, or find the new one.

That's where my stepfather comes into the picture. Between Michael Chapman, Phil (my stepfather) and myself, we researched the heck out of the potential cars as well as what I could get to trade in the Tahoe and Sentra vs. selling them privately. For those of you who know me, selling them privately was not an option for me as I can't sell ANYTHING, and my knowledge of cars is about as good as my sense of direction. *interpretation - non-existent*. Since Dave didn't want to be involved, trading seemed the better option.

I finally decided on the Mazda 5. On Saturday, I took Dave down and low and behold we bought one! We traded in the Tahoe and Sentra and came out with a crossover's like a cross between a car and a minivan.

The dealership even delivered it to our house, and picked up our two vehicles that we were trading in. I have to say, I became a bit emotional when watching the guy get into the Tahoe and drive away. I didn't cry or anything, but I felt like running after the guy and telling him to get out of my Tahoe. I really did love that truck. :( It just was falling apart after having it for so long and putting so many miles on it.

The Sentra, on the other hand, could have been burned and I wouldn't have shed a tear.

So now I am the proud owner of a 2007 Mazda 5. I like it SO MUCH BETTER! It is comfortable, has lumbar support so it doesn't hurt my back (since we commute at least 4 hours a day), has more room for Caiden and storage places for his toys and such. We are going to get DVD players put in the headrest (I didn't want the one that folds down from the roof as it obstructs your view when looking in the rear view mirror), although I am not a huge proponent of kids watching TV, at least I have the option. Plus I can always put signing times on or something educational.

There are three rows of seats, and each row has bucket seats, so the kids won't be able to hit each other until they get a little older and their arms get longer. :) We even have a moonroof :) I've never had one of those before.

This is the driver's side view...ok, so it was sunny and I couldn't see what I was really taking the picture of, so it's not the best picture.
The side doors open like a minivan. This will make it VERY easy to get Kiya in and out of a car seat, and Caiden LOVES it.
Here, I am trying to show you the 3 rows of seats. I couldn't figure out the best way to do that, and it was sunny, so that prevented some this is the best I could do. The third row folds down for more storage options. Actually, they all fold down.

There are MANY cupholders, so one will not go thirsty in this car - as long as you bring your own drinks, and there are little storage areas that are unique. For instance, you know how when you ride an airplane and they get to the part of the spiel where they talk about picking up your seat cushion and using it as a flotation device if you were to crash in water? Well, if you did that in my new Mazda 5, you would have extra storage space under the seat. Also, there is another cup holder and net for toys and what not that extends out into the middle of the bucket seats.

At the best part, besides that Caiden and I are more comfortable is that we are actually SAVING money by doing this!! This morning alone I saved $500 by taking off the Tahoe and Sentra and putting the Mazda5 on my car insurance! Yeah, me!!! :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Trevor and the Pool Table

Dave and Trevor

Trevor, one of our friends, came over to hang out. While I walked back and forth to get the cars detailed, the boys played a game of pool. I came home in time to take a few pictures.

Dave talks about the felt
Dave lines up the balls
Trevor shoots

Caiden REALLY likes to play, but plays more like he is playing hockey than pool. He takes the pool stick and swipes it across the felt like he is playing hockey. Although we are trying to teach him the "right" way to hold the cue stick and hit the balls, Caiden is having a grand ol' time playing it HIS way.

Caiden's Technique

First, Caiden has learned that one must properly chalk the end of their pool stick
Caiden then tries the "dig" method...patented by him of course :)
He then goes for the reach and tap method
Followed by the Swipe Method
Finally, Caiden concludes with the proper angle of the pool stick to ball :)

Caiden had a blast!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Forgetfulness - A Pregnancy Effect or Just Old Age?

I have heard that pregnant women tend to forget things, or have moments of memory loss, but this is getting RIDICULOUS. Last week, I was in a team meeting, and trailed off in mid sentence. I completely forgot what I was going to say. I was so embarrassed. I just looked at my team and apologized and said, "I'm sure it will come to me sooner or later".

The worst was today. I have a carabiner that I keep all of my keys on. I am trying to be responsible and I heard that if you have a lot of weight hanging on your ignition starter it isn't good for your car. So of course, being the responsible person that I am I take the specific key (in this case to the car) and use just that. I haven't had a problem until recently, but today was ESPECIALLY bad.

I picked up Caiden from school, and I was urging him to hurry so we could get home before it became too dark for him to ride his jeep (he LOVES to ride his jeep and asks everyday to ride it). Caiden, being the perfect child that he is, complies and gets in the car. All would have been fine and we would be driving merrily down the freeway towards our house except for the fact that when I sit down to get in the driver's seat I discover that I don't have any car keys. Oh, I have the keys to the other vehicles, and to work...yes they are safe on my carabiner. But the keys to the car that I am driving...nope...gone. Now comes the bad part...I can't for the LIFE OF ME remember what I did with them, or when I even had them last.

I will walk you through the steps I took to get to this stage. I get out of the car, walk into Caiden's school. Pay his tuition. See the keys on the counter. Pick up the keys. Sign Caiden out. Go to his class. Pick up Caiden. Go to the car. (and here is where it all gets fuzzy and blank).

And when I mean blank I mean like black-out blank. I mean, If I were a drinker I could see this being a problem, but seriously I don't even LIKE the taste of alcohol, let alone the fact that I am pregnant. It was like I had an attack of amnesia. Now I am starting to panic a bit. With furrowed brow, I look around the car, I look in the car, under the car. Finally resign myself to getting Caiden back out of the car seat to go inside and look for the keys inside. Sigh. *Maybe I dropped them and I didn't hear them fall - I think to myself*. Caiden and I go back inside to look for the keys. The car is now unlocked (I can't lock it because I won't be able to get back in). My computer and all important things are in my unlocked car. So in addition to being frustrated and completely and utterly confused, I am nervous that some unknown person is going to use this lapse of judgment to steal my valuables, including but not limited to my car. After all, and effective criminal doesn't need keys.

I wander into Caiden's school dazed and confused. The remaining teachers are kind, but they want to go home too. They all help me look (including opening the slot where we put the tuition - which is like a slit large enough to put a check, but who knows...maybe I unknowingly shoved the stinking keys in the slot as a donation for their hard work). No one can find it. They want to go home. I FEEL it. Their eyes burning into the back of my head as they shake their heads and whisper "Poor thing".

Now I am a "poor thing" pathetic I am. I try and run the day's events over in my head starting with when I arrived at the school to when I picked up Caiden (literally 10 minutes) and it's gone. My brain cannot process it. It's like it never happened. Now I am COMPLETELY confused and frustrated. I don't know when the last time I had the keys; other than when I wrote the check for his tuition, and I have no idea how I unlocked the car to get us to the point where I was putting Caiden IN the car seat, or did I never lock the car in the first place. What is the extent of my irresponsibility. I am second guessing myself at every move.

45 minutes later, I am STILL looking for the keys. I have now cleaned out my purse not one, not two, but three times with witnesses (each person didn't trust that I did a thorough job and they want to go home, so they stood before me like a guard in a prison). Frankly, I don't blame them...I can't remember what happened in the last 10 minutes, how can I be trusted to have looked through my purse.

My car is now clean (except for the crumbs of crackers on the floor of the car), still no keys. Finally the last teacher has locked up and is going home. She comes out to look through my car with me. I am beyond frustrated and trying not to think about having to call Dave to come and rescue me by getting in the car and driving the 2 hours to come pick Caiden and I up. I finally break down and call Dave. Dave sighs and says to call him when I find them because he doesn't feel like driving out to get us. I don't blame him.

I search and search. FINALLY, I FIND THEM!!!! They are underneath the driver's seat. I have NO idea how they got there because I had towels and two jackets in the back which would prevent entry of the keys under the seat. I ponder this for a moment and then sigh. Forget's not worth thinking about it anymore. I happily call up Dave to report that I found the keys and we are on our way home.

I turn on the car, feeling somewhat good as I now have a way to get back home, and all is right with the world again. Then a small voice echoes from the back seat.

" it dark yet". Sadness engulfs me as I realize that by the time we get home it will be too dark for Caiden to ride his jeep, and this is his way of asking if he can still ride it. I sadly look into the back seat and humbly say "Yes, Caiden it is. Mama is SO sorry". He sighs and says in the most pathetic, sad and resigned, but simultaneously cute voice "Ohhhh".

And there it is...the guilt that I believe I will feel forever that I let down my child.

*Nah...I'm not overly dramatic...I'm just pregnant* :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Churn Immunity Challenge

So I am doing this Churn Immunity Challenge at my work. Without boring you with the details, churn is a wireless industry term for when a customer leaves the company and deactivates their unit (phone). Clearly this is something that we in the wireless industry want to avoid.

In an effort to do so I have come up with the Churn Immunity Challenge. I will spare you the details, but each team (Team Bonney and Team Chapman - Michael's team) have made immunity necklaces.
This is the immunity necklace made by my team - they actually handmade the clay pieces. Very creative

This is the immunity necklace made by Michael's team.

There are winners (one from each team) that have the lowest churn; as well as losers (also one from each team) which are sent to exile island and have to do a presentation for the team.

Josh bestowing the Immunity Necklace on Jim. Yes, we even have tiki torches!

The winners get their names painted on coconut shells (courtesy of me) - see the bra below with their information. This gets posted in the office for all to see.

These were our first winners. Jim is from my team, and Julena is from Michael's

These were our 2nd winners (month of July) Ronnie is from my team, Brenda is from Michael's. It seems that there is a trend here (and I'm not just talking about the girls holding the bras up to the guys. My team the men are reigning supreme, and Michael's team has the girl power thing going on.)

Our thinking: people will pass by another award, but who wouldn't stop to look at a coconut bra with paint on it hanging in the office. I mean, wouldn't you?

Monday, September 10, 2007

It Took Me One Week!

It took me only ONE week ( I waited a while to post in hopes of it making a miraclous recovery), but I have done it again. I have killed yet another plant. Although the rosemary looks like it may make it, the daisy type flowers have seen better days.

I have watered it again, and I have not replaced the daisy looking flowers yet because if you look really close there is still some green there. Maybe they WILL make a know like Britney Spears, but more successful :) *I couldn't resist*

ANY SUGGESTIONS would be helpful! Caiden keeps asking me why I am killing the plant. I want to have a good answer for him.

Monday, September 10, 2007

He Finally DID IT!!

Remember the post I had a few months ago about the trying to hang pictures but failing miserably? Well, since that time I had the pictures out and ready to be hung. I keep asking Dave to do it, but he didn't want to.

I finally got him to do it. How you ask? I bribed him. I told him that if he hung the pictures for me he could play the WOW the rest of the night, uninterrupted. He jumped at the chance.

It was a little upsetting that he hung the pictures with so much ease. He did it in a matter of maybe 30 minutes, while I struggled for at least an hour and had 2 pictures to show for it. Of course I took the picture when the mirrors were dirty, but I told you I waited for MONTHS for him to put these up.

They are a bunch of pictures of Caiden and Dave at his fire station when a professional photographer came out to document the families of the San Bernardino Firefighters. There is one of all three of us in the has a bit of a glare, so you can't see it very well.

I tried to get him to hang the pool sticks up, but he wouldn't go for that. I figured it wouldn't take him so long since I saw how efficient he was. Very skilled! :) Made me feel stupid (he didn't, but the ease at which he did it did).

Anyway, I am glad that they are up. It only took about 1.5 years to hang up some family pictures! :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Steph And My Birthday Celebration

My sister and I are 3 years and 4 days apart. I guess I was supposed to be born on my sister's birthday, but my mom felt it important to give me my own. Since I was a C-Section baby, she had the luxury to do so.

In honor of our birthdays this year, we went over to my sister's house and celebrated with a few family members. It was nice, but TOO HOT. It was 109 degrees in Yorba Linda!!! Needless to say, we all stayed inside in the air conditioning.

I didn't take many pictures, but here are a few. Caiden and my mom Gigi were doing connect the dots. I bought a few educational books from Target at the dollar bin (great deal) and Caiden has been doing really well with them. Caiden is just learning to connect the dots, so Gigi was very patient with him.
Gigi patiently teaching Caiden to connect the dots
Caiden showing Gigi where the next line should be drawn
Caiden drawing the line that he pre-visualized
Cute pic of grandma and grandson

Dave worked hard trying to recruit people over to the dark side...that is to the world of WOW (World of Warcraft). Interesting though. Notice, how it starts with Dave and Phil (my stepfather), then my sister comes into the picture. Then they get even closer. Like bugs to light...then zap!!! Completely entranced...drawn into the light, and the zap! Life as you know it is gone (or in the bug's case...they are dead). A rather good analogy, right? :)

Here is how it starts. Phil looks on from a distance
Steph and Phil look on from a distance as Dave plays WOW
Steph and Phil move Dave lures them in like moths to a flame.