July 30, 2008

fish update

Sorry I have nothing new to write about, but my life pretty much revolves around swim lessons these days! I so dreaded the thought of "organized activity", that I bargained with John to take the boys to swim lessons the first week. So this was my first week doing it on my own. And by golly, I am absolutely surprised that I actually like this organized activity stuff after all. It's been so nice getting the kids out of the house every morning, feeling like I am doing something fun for them(except that it's not really fun for them). The point is, I feel like a normal member of society, hauling my kids off to lessons, and I'm enjoying it. Who knew? I guess being normal is not so dreadful after all.

Monday was a real kicker. Finn was trying his darndest to swim. I have never seen a little person exert such effort. It was actually kind of alarming. Like how a jack-russel terrior will literally run itself to death unless it's owner makes it stop. Finn was so proactive this time, jumping off the wall before Miss Bailey was even ready for him. However hard he was trying though, he wasn't quite moving his arms and legs hard enough. So after a few seconds of swimming, he'd inevitabley end up in a vertical position, like a pencil bobbing up and down. And then sink to the bottom. And my heart would sink right along with him. Miss Bailey even labled him a "sinker" much to my dismay. She said "he needs more fat to help him float!"

So the next morning on the way to practice, I explained to Finn to kick his legs real hard, and I showed him how to move his arms more effectively. To which he responded "I do my strokers much better than you mommy".

When we arrived, I sat perched in the bleachers, on the look-out. And I totally despised myself for feeling like a lamo stage-mom, or whatever. So I tried to sit calmy, watching quietly from a distance. After all, they were the professionals. Once again, Finn was giving his 100% all-in-all effort. Even Miss Bailey said "he's trying sooo hard". This time, Finn started moving his arms more steadily and was kicking much more assertively. And he stayed in the proper horizontal position. And was moving forward! He was really swimming folks!! When he got out of the water he said "I beat the water and made it cry".

And Calvin barely cried at all. He jumped off the wall a bazillion times for Miss Bre. They are just so cute together. They have this sweet little relationship. She is always hugging him and holding him. Encouraging him.

As we got into the car, I barely heard Calvin's little whisper.

"I love my teacher"

sno shack

Yesterday I arranged to meet up with one of my customers to deliver some tees I made for her kids. This was my first time doing shirts for school-aged kids, and it was really fun.

We decided to meet at Rite Aid and as we pulled into the parking lot, Finn pointed his finger and inquired, "Does she live in that tiny, little house?"

In this raging heat wave, I kinda wish I lived there myself!

July 26, 2008

my little fish

For the past few days, John has been taking Finn and Calvin to swim lessons. After just 2 days, a pattern was developing: Finn would wake up *sick* every morning saying "Sorry mommy, I can't go to swim lessons today". And then Calvin starts piping in "I'm sick too, I can't swim". I could not believe my boys were already learning to play hooky. In the car ride over, they tell John they are going to empty the pool of water and fill it with wood instead.

They have to be pried off the bleachers to get in the pool.

And surprisingly, Calvin, my carefree adventure boy, was doing worse than Finn. I'm told that he pretty much cries the whole 30 minutes, while Miss Bre just carries him around. And Finn? That boy is something else, with his excuses and complaints.

"I can't jump off the wall. I'm stuck", Finn insisted, not budging from the wall. Crying and trembling like a drenched Chihuahua.
But his instructor, Miss Bailey, takes no nonsense and makes him comply with her orders. So although he was a most resistant participant, at least he was making some progress. Back at home, the boys are smiling and exaggerating about how well they did. Finn tells me he jumps off the wall and is just like one of those crazy kids, jumping off the blob at Hume. All this talk. Unbelievable, John says.

So I just had to see for myself what was really going on. However, the next day swim lessons are cancelled for the day due to "contamination". Bummer! In the meanwhile, I got a preview, when we took them to our bible study/pool party the next night. Calvin was crying so hysterically at the idea of swimming, there was absolutely no reasoning with him. And Finn was acting a little spooked. At one point, he was in the shallow end, on the gently sloped "beach front" entry. His stomach was lying on the slope and he was kicking his legs and flapping his arms like a beached whale. Insisting that he was swimming. Oh dear. At least he was trying, so I clapped for his attempts. When Calvin saw this, he dipped his foot in the water and started kicking it, claiming that he was swimming too. He looked quite pleased that he solved the mystery of how to swim from dry land.

Yesterday I finally got to witness the real deal at swim lessons. While John was taking Calvin potty, Miss Bailey called Finn into the water. He backed away from us onto the bleachers like a caged animal. Things were getting ugly. With Ollie on my hip, I yanked Finn off the bleachers and gave him to Miss Bailey. And much to my horror, he started screaming for the entire pool to hear "I have to go poop! I have to go poop!". The parents were probably worried that the pool was going to get contaminated again. I could have died. And he was totally bluffing. Thankfully, Miss Bailey bargained with Finn and let him go potty if he jumped under water first. Smart, smart girl, she is.

A few minutes later, both boys were back in the water, crying and shaking. Swimming is definitely not our strong suit.

Since we were already a spectacle, I grabbed my camera and started documenting this oh-so-glamorous phase of our life. So there I am, with my big ole' camera, obnoxiously cheering the boys on in a high-pitched voice.

And guess what? It worked.

Calvin, the never-ending crier/clinger bravely jumped off the wall, all by himself, for the very first time.

As soon as his head bobbed above water, he searched frantically for his cheering audience of one. I felt like I finally came in handy. I informed John that I was a crucial part of this family after all:)

And when Finn saw all the positive attention Calvin was getting, he too started jumping off the wall, trying to swim around. And like Calvin, he looked around desperately for my applause. The rest of the lesson went fairly well, with the boys crying a little here and there, but nothing like before. Calvin finally made a little progress and Finn made some major progress. I actually saw, with my own 2 eyes, a sight I thought I'd never see. His whole body was submerged, with arms and legs moving toward the wall.

WAS THIS SWIMMING????? I'm not 100% sure, but it's definitely a start. Afterwards they had suckers and were happy as clams.

And John had to drag me and my camera away from pool area, which was decked out in festive Christmas garb. I could have stayed another hour.

I'll be back Monday. It's my turn to take the boys next week. I'm sure it will be ground hogs day again, with the boys faking sick. Hopefully it will go well!

July 23, 2008

drum lessons

It was going to be a most exciting day for my Finn boy. Probably the biggest day he'd ever had in his whole 5 years of existence--or 1,825 days round the sun as cousin Emily would say:)

I could hardly contain my joy as I sent Finn off for his very first....drum roll please...

!Drum lesson!
As John carted Finn off to his first lesson with Mr. J, I sat at home, anticipating how marvelous the first session would be. I just couldn't wait for them to get home and tell me all about it.

When they arrived at home, I pounced on them, begging for all the details. Finn happily chirped away, saying how much he liked his lesson,
while John just kind of shook his head in dismay and disappointment at Finn's unprepared instructor, the tiny sweltering hot practice room and the chinzy sounding drum set. Mr. J had no game plan. No official notepad or clipboard. No goals or homework assignments. He just kind of winged the whole session.

We had already paid for 3 sessions upfront, and John was determined to finish them off. Hoping things would get better.

But we both knew better. Which is why John already contacted another drum instructor by the name of Mr. Canaan. He came highly recommended by two different friends. He talked to John on the phone for a while, and seems really great. He was even willing to come to our home. I initially wanted Finn to have his lessons at a music room, but considering the stamp-sized practice rooms, I thought home might be best. Besides, it's very hard to find a drum set to accommodate my small boy.
In the meanwhile, drum lesson 2 with Mr. J rolled around on monday. And once again, Finn came home singing his praises. However, John had already called me from Vons, telling me what a disaster the lesson had been.

For almost the entire lesson, Mr. J read to Finn straight out of a drum theory book(which Finn loves by the way).
So Mr. J was going on and on about time signature and such--you know, everything that fascinates a 5 year old boy. He only had Finn play the drum set for a few minutes. John was going out of his mind watching all this and tried to hint that most of the information was way over Finn's head. But Mr. J just didn't get it. He said, "oh, it's ok if Finn doesn't get it. You'd be surprised at how much kids pick up".

Yes, we are aware of what kids pick up. Like how Finn somehow picked up on the word "butt" that someone kept saying. Ok, that someone was me, but I no longer use that word. So we finally eradicated the word "butt" from Finn's vocabulary.

And what do you know. Mr J just had to point out the different parts of the drum stick. He could have used the word "end"(a totally viable alternative). But no, Mr. J called it the "butt".

So, we are back to square one. No drum homework, no new grooves. Just the word butt.
I'm guessing John is going to suffer through lesson 3 with Mr. J. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have high hopes for Mr. Canaan! I just want a fun instructor that is into drumming and has some sort of agenda.

July 21, 2008

catch me if you can!

Have you ever seen the movie "Catch Me If You Can", starring Leonardo DeCaprio? In this flick, Leo's character, Frank Abagnale Jr., is a major con-artist and pretends to be a pilot, lawyer and even a doctor. And everyone believes him, because he acts with such confidence.

On Saturday, I got to act the part as Loriloo's assistant photographer.

The day before, I searched the mall endlessly for some comfy black flats--but alas, they only came in sizes 6 or 8, nothing in beween. So I had to settle for some black converse sneakers. My sister Lindsay thought I looked like Johnny Knoxville, so we fancied them up with some satin ribbon.

Before I left for the wedding, I had a little case of the jitters, mainly because I had NO idea what to expect--like the first day of a new job. I told myself to act confidently, just like Frank Abagnale. These people had no idea it was my first wedding. And sure enough, it wasn't long before members of the wedding party were grabbing my arm, requesting this picture or that. "Sure", I smiled. Click. Click. Tee hee. They so think I'm pro:)

When I first arrived at the church though, things were a little crazy because the bride was stressed over her dress tearing, and the fact that some stranger just crashed a car into her parent's house. The bride needed hot coffee and fast. In a 100 degree weather? I was not going to argue with the bride. So my first task was Starbucks duty.

I can handle that. Right up my ally.

My second task was to get some shots of their fabulous feather-clad flowers. Can you believe those roses were real? Drool.

Before long, we were driving to an off-site location for photos. I scurried back and forth, grabbing lenses from the car, and attempting to help Lorie in whatever way I could. She was absolutely amazing to watch in action. This was a kind of wild crowd...a tattoo branded, skull lovin' bunch...

And Lorie whipped them into shape with her pinky finger. She was 100% in charge. She could have handled them with one eye tied behind her back;)

My favorite task of the day was hiding in the elevator, holding the door open, while Lorie took some fast shots of the couple smooching as the doors were closing. "Don't mind me", I snickered to the couple,"I'm not even here!". It was quite hilarious. I felt like Buster from Arrested Development.

And when Lorie didn't need me in the elevator, I snapped a few shots of my own.

On our down time, Lorie and I horsed around with our cameras, shamelessly snapping goofy shots of ourselves, as is our custom.

Or I stalked one of my favorite bridesmaids. She had quite the "stamp" collection:)

The actual ceremony was held in an old church and the lighting...oh my...was dismal at best. And gharish at worst. Afterwards, Lorie whisked the couple off to a playground for some fun casual shots. A breath of fresh air, I tell you!

I took a few other playground shots I wish I could show you, but they are at Lorie's house.

The reception was also pretty entertaining. We got to wear some party-favor tattoos. Here is a picture that Mr. superfun DJ(who also happens to be a drummer) took of us.

Thanks so much Lorie, for letting me be your sidekick!!! It was such an incredible experience!

July 17, 2008


What struck me most about being at Hume Lake, was how many hours there are in one day.

There are a LOT of them.

I just don't notice at home, because I have way to much going on with raising 3 boys, chores, emails, random responsibilities, and yes, even blogging (Shh. You didn't just hear that).

By 6:30 pm on Sunday evening, John and I glanced at each other nervously as our natives grew increasingly restless. We had just gotten back to the cabin after a harrowing experience on the disk golf course, where poor Calvin got pelted in the shoulder with a wayward disk.

Have you ever chucked one of those hefty disks? They are waaay heavier than regular Frisbees. I've never been hit by one, but I accidentally hit our friend Todd once and he dropped to the ground in agony like a sack of potatoes.

In my expert opinion, we should not have taken 3 small boys on the course to begin with. Period. But, John wanted the boys to have some experience throwing disks into the baskets. Or at logs. It's in his blood. His brother Mark is quite the champion. Paula(my SIL) and I even entered the Hume Disk Golf Tournament summer of 97. Our early days of marriage were spent hanging out at local disk golf parks.

And I do think the boys should learn this all-important-sport. But not on the treacherous course at Hume Lake. I begged John to go elsewhere.

It was sprinkling lightly on and off. Thunder rolled in the distance. I have a somewhat irrational fear of lightening. I watched a special once on lightening victims--statistics show that once you have been hit by lightening once, you are more likely to be hit again, because your body chemistry is altered. How awful to be one of those statistics, huddled in fear with curtains drawn during a storm, fearing strike 2. And I did not want to huddle in fear in my Odyssey for strike 1(No, I've never been struck). So, I braved the elements...and the disk golf course. I glanced around nervously for a stray bolt of lightening, or disk. And then we heard the all too familiar "heads up". But I was no match for the plummeting disk and it nailed poor unsuspecting Calvin right in the shoulder. It was an awful moment.

And then Calvin began shrieking and wailing. I immediately scooped him up and started running off the course, yelling at John to get the boys out of there. Between the weather and Calvin's shoulder, I had ENOUGH.

After our visit to the infirmary, Nurse "Stitches" determined that Calvin's shoulder had a ghastly bruise, but otherwise had full range of motion. John conceded that I was right--the course was no place for small boys. Sometimes I hate being right. For the rest of our trip, every time we passed the course Calvin would say "we not go on disk golf course anymore."


Other than that, Calvin was quite the trooper and did not make one peep or complaint regarding his shoulder. An hour later at the dock, you would never know his shoulder was striated purple, red, black and blue.

Seriously, Calvin is one tough little cookie.

And then you have brother Finn, who was crying and fussing non-stop when he stubbed his little toes when we took the boats out to "the rock".

He was causing such a ruckus, the entire Lake of Hume was wallowing in his misery. As John and I were racking our brains trying to figure out some course of disciplinary action to STOP this nonsense,

he bends over and yacks into our boat.

Maybe Finn has inherited his Grandma Del's propensity for motion sickness??Hm?

Growing up, we could not even rock in the rocking chair or spin in her presence.

We did have some highlights to the trip though. We got to stay at Pete and Kristin's cabin(Pete is John's older brother) and they got to stay with us part of the time. They have 4 darling girls, who spoiled us rotten--feeding us the yummiest chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. And pleading and begging to hold/play with Ollie the whole time. And they even threw all 3 boys a surprise birthday party. Here are two of their girls I managed to capture with my camera.

Is there anything cuter than a girl in glasses and braids??

And my personal favorite part about Hume??

the gobs and gobs of time I got to spend reading my camera manual.

and fiddling with the camera settings.

and playing non-stop with little boys all day.

And I think I am having withdrawals from cookie-dough ice scream served with piping hot fries from the snack shop. MMMmm. Anyone up for a trip to Denny's?

We miss you Hume!