Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kiya's 1st Haircut...sort of

When I thought about getting Kiya's first haircut (yes she is almost 2 years old and I am JUST now discussing a FIRST haircut), I picture a Norman Rockwell-eqse moment with Kiya in the chair, smiling as little pieces of hair fall gently to the ground, while I stand around the proud mama that I am taking pictures. Very serene, gentle music playing in the background.

More or less this is how the big event unraveled with Caiden, so I naively assumed that it would be the same with Kiya. Although truth be told my children have VERY different personalities. I should have known that the above mentioned dream was not in the cards as it pertains to this particular experience. This was a spur of the moment haircut, and it was also close to the end of the day (my first mistake). I DID come prepared with snacks and a drink for her, however when she had her fill she began flinging them around (laughing) and they spilled on the floor. I quickly picked them up and threw them in the trash....ohhhhh that is where it all went wrong.

Kiya was apparently SOO attached to her cheese its that she had a meltdown which she never quite recovered from. Of course it was just at that time that Kiya's name was called. Sigh. I did my best to try and make her smile, but there was nothing (short of the cheese its that were now in the trash) that was going to bring her back. We tried a variety of tactics including her sitting on my lap, and me getting my hair cut so she can see it was fine. We even gave her a lollipop (which she has never had before). When I finally put her down on the ground, she just put her hands over her eyes, bent over and then just cried. It was so sad, however quite funny at the same time. FINALLY I was able to calm her down long enough for them to trim her bangs, but they look awful. I could have done that :(

This was Kiya AFTER we calmed her down. She was very squirmy though so they had to cut fast
Trying to distract her with a lollipop
Her final cut...just the bangs...they are SOOO straight across :(

Since I was trying to calm down Kiya with my bum back, Caiden played photographer so I could have SOME pictures of Kiya getting a haircut. Caiden did a great job...I mean, he DID get Kiya in the picture. :p Oh well, better luck next time maybe.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

We HAVE a Yard!!!

So I know we have always HAD a yard, but at least now you can see it, and you might even want to hang out in it. Dave and I (mostly Dave as he has been busting his hump on his off days) have been working hard to turn our weed infested dirt ridden back yard into something that the kids could play in, and frankly we wouldn't be embarrassed about.

Caiden on the patio
Pool slide
Chairs by the pool

I should have taken pictures of the TRUE before...the ones where the weeds are taller than me, but for some reason I didn't. I guess you have to just trust me on this one. For those of you who have been here and have seen the out of control weeds, you can vouch for me. :)

The first step was to clear the weeds. That took quite a bit of time, as I promise you, you could barely walk in our backyard it was so overridden.

The dirt was so hard, and there were TONS of rocks in it

Free and clear of weeds
Shoveling the dirt out
Ok so here is the before of the side gate in the front (but I didn't take an after) :p

The next step was to break up all of the dirt and level it. This actually sucked because we had to shovel the dirt into wheelbarrows and then haul it away. When you haul it away you had to just shovel it out too. :( Then came the forms (I had no part in that...that was ALL Dave and Lance).

Forms being formed (you know that made you chuckle, admit it) :P

After the forms were in, Lance came over to help Dave with the concrete. That was really nice to see because after a hard day's work you see so much progress. You have something (ready for it) concrete :P After the concrete came the jackhammer, and breaking up the hard dirt that we had in the yard.
Manly man work :P
Quick Progress with the jackhammer
Now this is a decent size yard so we needed all hands on deck. Kiya was happy to help!

We then got some planting soil, so that we could mix that into the dirt in preparation for sod. Rototilled the new dirt in, and then began the part I HATED!!!
Caiden built his muscles by shoveling dirt with Dave
New dirt...how pretty
Mmm...smells good :P
Time to rototill the yard

Trenching for sprinklers. Now after a day of digging trenches, my back in so much pain I could barely move, Dave tells me we could have rented a machine that would have done this in 20 minutes. Yea...good call Dave :P But then again, we can literally say we slaved on the backyard with blood, sweat and tears. After the trenches were in Dave installed the sprinklers.
Measuring for sprinkler heads
and of course we had to mark them
This part sucked. For all of you that may trench eventually all I have to say is...
Rent the stinkin machine...TRENCHING SUCKS!
Kiya taking a much needed break
Along with Dave. He worked SOO hard.
Sprinklers in!!

The forms for the play set and the play set itself went in along with the rubber mulch. After that sod, and viola!! We have a backyard!!!!!!

Dave put in the play set form and rubber mulch
Grass starts to go in
Still going in

It was hard work, but well worth it :)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Father's Day 2009

Dave's Father's Day started with a home cooked breakfast (using his new place mat), we went shopping for things on the yard. But of course we had to stop at Whimsical Yogurt, our new favorite Gelato place. It has wonderful Gelato (and I had not had it before a few weeks ago) with fresh toppings, but they also have yogurt that you can serve yourself.

Yummy...it just opened!!!
And they make fresh Gelato daily

Kiya and I shared Strawberry and Birthday Cake

Dave got Lemon Sorbet, and Caiden got Birthday Cake

Kiya was all smiles

At the new marketplace out by our house they have a wonderful little area where we like to sit, and lately feed the two fish they have in the pond there. Kiya also became fast friends with a dog that she met there. She kept hugging the dog, it was so cute.

After Gelato, we took a stroll over where we can feed the fish

Here are the fish we are feeding :)

And then Kiya met her furry friend

She kept hugging the dog :)

And then we headed home to nap and swim :)

The rest of the day we just hung out. We went swimming at the house and watched movies and just had a relaxing day :)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Father's Day Gifts

Every year for Father's Day I try to think of something creative to do that showcases how special the men in our lives are. This year was no exception. I thought and thought of something to do on a shoestring budget, but still heartfelt. Then lo and behold it hit me!!!

A placement...I mean, ya gotta eat, right? And who doesn't want to eat and look at pictures of their kids, or grandkids???? I know I don't :P So the kids and I set off hard at work to find the perfect memories to showcase their love. Caiden even drew a personalized picture for each Grandpa and for Dave...I didn't even prompt him what to draw :)

This is the other side of Dave's place mat. Each one has two sides (duh...but what I mean is that we decorated both sides).

Sounds simple enough right? Get something to put pictures on, secure pictures and then take it somewhere to have it laminated...yea...that's what I thought to. But when has my life EVER been simple?? (The answer is never...it has NEVER been simple - just in case you didn't catch the sarcasm dripping from my words).

Grandpa Lance's place mat: side A

Grandpa Lance's placemat: side B

Ok, I will take part of the blame here, but only part. I DID wait until the day BEFORE Father's day to put this whole plan together, thinking it wouldn't take THAT long. I thought about it way before, but I thought that I would actually MAKE the place mats the day before. That was my first, and only error that I will accept in this whole debacle. It took ALL day to organize and put the pictures the exact way I wanted them, and then add Caiden's work of art as well. By 6pm, I was done, and excited that the project was complete. All I had left to do was go to Kinkos and have them laminated.

Papa Jim's Place mat: Side A

Papa Jim's place mat: Side B

Katie and I walked into Kinkos and I proceeded to explain (in very specific detail) exactly how I wanted my placemat to look. During this whole explanation, I am thinking in my head "why am I bothering...they don't need to know all of this...they just need to push my placement through the lamination machine...very simple"...yet I continued to recite war and peace in the form of "How Mel wants her placement to look". I even explained the importance and significance of the placemats...Father's Day gifts, etc... The five year old behind the counter in the Kinkos uniform (ok slight exaggeration, but frankly my 5 year old would have taken more pride in his work and probably would have done a better job, and I KNOW he would have been more courteous) nodded his head and even regurgitated my instructions back to me. In fact, he even asked me a question I HADN'T thought of. I was excited. I thought...this kid HAS IT!! He KNOWS!!! He asked me to write down my name and phone number and told me that he would call me if it was completed before the timeframe of 30 minutes that he had given me. Satisfied, Katie and I left Kinkos and retreated to her house for the remainder of the time.

Flash forward to what seems like years later. I sit back and think "Hmm...what time is it?" I look at my phone. No calls... Crap! It's been one hour!!! No Call!!! Katie and I climb back into the car and drive over to Kinkos. This is where the story gets interesting (to me anyway). I walk up to the counter (in a good mood at this point), and explain why I'm there. The kid behind the counter (different kid) looks unimpressed, and annoyed that I have bothered him to do his job. That's when I look past him and see it! My masterpiece...ruined!!!! Lying all jumbled and gooey, and poorly put together. He hands it to me and proceeds to ring me up. I stare at him. "Seriously??" I say..."You're kidding me". I am genuinely perplexed at this point how someone could screw up laminating something. I mean, I used to be a teacher. I know how to laminate. It's NOT HARD!!!!!!

Me...on the WRONG side of the counter, trying to fix the place mat. I got tired of the 5 years olds telling my my ideas on how to fix them were wrong, and then they would sneak into the back and do exactly what I said.

Smiling cuz it's late, I'm tired, and I don't know what else to do :)

Still working hard, still smiling :p

Now I won't get into the specifics here mostly because I can feel myself getting heated just thinking about it, but I do want to assure you I TRIED to keep my cool. I spoke in a very quiet, even tone...it was the words that I said that were...um...strong. :P The kid behind the counter just stands there trying to say words to get me out of the store. I am NOT budging. I worked on this ALL day, and Father's Day is tomorrow. The 5 year old that originally took my order retreated, and wouldn't even come look at me or talk to me. I think he was afraid, or maybe he didn't care either way. However, later I watched him sit on the computer for hours on MY SPACE!!!! Great example of an employee...Kinkos should be so proud.

I was beginning to be a pro at their machines and tools

Katie hanging out at Kinkos with me. Her husband was a doll and was watching my kids.

After a lengthy discussion, some brainstorming about how they WERE going to fix this for me, and forcing him to provide me the numbers to not only his manager, but his corporate headquarters as well, I felt we were on our way to attempting to fix my masterpiece. Patiently I waited for him to "fix" it. Finally, I could not wait any longer. I walked back behind the counter and started fixing it myself. I think that the kid didn't know what else to do, so he gave me a staff card so that I could work all of the machines at no cost and just let me at it. Four and half hours later, I walked out of there with my product, the way I had envisioned the FIRST time. Of course, I did ask if I got benefits for my shift, and whether or not I got a ten minute break (they didn't seem amused). By the end of the night, the 5 year old, his friend who stopped by (Soooo professional) and Katie and I we were laughing like old pals.

With my place mats in hand, he tells me he will meet me at the cash register. I give him a look. He then says. I'm not going to charge you for these. I look back at him with a very straight face and stated "Ya think?? I just worked 4.5 hours myself to correct an error on your part that with a slight sense of dedication and work ethic would never have happened in the first place!" Of course I said it with a smile on my face and a lilt in my voice. After all, we are old friends now. I don't think that was the reply he was expecting. I thanked him anyway, and stated I appreciated his time. He then handed me a parting gift for my time there at Kinkos. Katie and I refer to this gift as the "Golden Squeegee" (the thing that pushes the pictures down and smoothes them out".

Katie and I signed the Golden Squeegee

Anyway, Dave seems to love his. Although I haven't had a chance to give Lance and Jim their place mats yet. (So Sue, if you are reading this DON'T SHOW JIM YET PLEASE!!!!). Hopefully they will be put to good use. I'm even tempted to make one for myself. After all, I DO have the professional experience AND the Golden Squeegee :P