29 March 2010

2 Down. 998 To Go.

After talking with a neighbor we heard we have voles. No, not moles, voles. We looked it up on You Tube and these are essentially just field mice. We watched a video of an exterminator setting traps. If you set one at a hole then you put the traps facing in around the hole, if you set one in a track then you put the traps facing out so they run right into it.

The guy in the video said a small garden could have 100 voles. We have over an acre so we must have thousands. Kevin said this gives him "something to do."

Kevin and Carter set the traps yesterday so today we went vole hunting to see if we caught anything.

Vole Hunting from Cara on Vimeo.

We have field mice. Lots of them. Today is our first day catching voles in the yard.

27 March 2010

Rock the Parkway


post-race, completely soaked and freezing!

Candi ran her FIRST RACE EVER with me!! We did the 10K (~6 miles) IN THE RAIN!! We did awesome, followed our run one mile walk one minute plan including running up all hills and finishing strong. So proud of my BFF!!

Tassie was really mad at me for not getting to go with.

25 March 2010

To St. Louis and Back

Yesterday I flew to St. Louis and back for work with two of my coworkers Megan and Jeff. When we got there we took the shuttle to Enterprise Rent A Car. I just have to share this experience with you.

The driver offered us water and a map at least five times during our 10 minute ride. Whitney Houston's "I will always love you" blared loudly over the speakers. And no, it wasn't a love-rock station, it was an album because another Whitney song came on after that one was over. Jeff and I commented on the lovely music.

When we arrived to get the car we were greeted by a women in a skirt (slightly too tight) standing at the doors to the bus with a clipboard and nextel-push-to-talk-looking-walkie-talkie which she held by her mouth at all times even though she wasn't talking to anyone. She was directing each guest as they got off the bus and calling them by name, Mr. so and so, Mr. so and so...

Jeff went inside to get the keys and Megan and I waited on a bench outside. The woman continued to do this as each shuttle arrived and people got on and people got off. A lot of people coming and going. She was wearing panty hose and all of the guys were in suits and ties. Megan and I commented that everyone seemed over dressed.

After 15 minutes Jeff came out and commented that it was taking forever. He asked the woman if we could go on over to our car. Please wait and so-and-so will take you over. There are just two guests in front of you. Jeff asked if he could just go on. No, she said, you have to sign some paperwork at the car. Can I sign the paperwork with you? No she said. One of the guys "in front of us" was gracious and offered for us to go ahead of him. He could tell we were anxious to get going for a meeting (we were all dressed in suits and flipping threw our bound power point deck to review our slides as we waited).

Finally our Enterprise Guy comes to take us to our car. We have to walk around and note all the scratches. Jeff signs. I mention it smells like smoke too, as they were being very particular about all of the details as we take the car. We finally get in. Jeff comments "We don't want to buy the car, we just want to borrow it."

At the exit, even the guy in the little box who checked our papers was in a suit and tie and talking on his iPhone. He's asking too many questions and we're like yes, yes, and then as we're pulling away even he yells "How was your customer service!?"

"Too much" I joked.

Fast forward through meeting and lunch and we drive the car back to Enterprise. We pull up and realize it's 2:30 and our flight doesn't leave until 6:30. We realize we may want to keep the car and go somewhere. We completely confuse the suited man with the hand held printer who wants to check our car in. We get back in and sit in the car trying to decide what to do and calling to see if we can get on an earlier flight.

We watch all of the young twenty somethings over dressed in suits walking around and the shuttles coming and going and a different woman now greeting the guests as they get on and off. I start to get the giggles.

I remember a few weeks ago at the birthday bowling party I took Carter to that I met another mom. I asked her "Where do you work?" "Well" she said "I worked at Enterprise Rent A Car. I was only supposed to be there for a year because we were going to be moving and it was interim, but we didn't move and I ended up being there 10 years." She has just gotten a different job. I share this story with Megan and Jeff.

We all start laughing. Megan starts quoting Step Brothers (except we couldn't remember the exact words at the time) "I might just have to get a job at Enterprise Rent A Car. They have great opportunities for advancement."

Hysterical laughter. We decide to just go to the airport so we get out. They are having trouble with their printer to get us our receipt. Jeff finally says "I don't need a receipt" and as we walk away to board the shuttle she is calling after us "You can go online and print your receipt at any time!"

We could not stop laughing about the whole experience. Maybe you had to be there but the whole thing was a riot.

21 March 2010

Tunnel Voyage Video

We got 8 more inches of snow on the first day of spring. The day after it was warm enough that it was melting on the roads so I took the kids to Tunnel Voyage to burn some energy.

Tunnel Voyage from Cara on Vimeo.

Tunnel Voyage in Lee's Summit MO. Entry fee is about $7 for the tunnels only. About $10 for each child also includes your choice of two rides. There is also an infant section not shown here. Ages of children in video are five and three.

13 March 2010

Some good sleep

Carter and the birthday girl

Carter really enjoyed bowling. Here he is checking everything out before we got started. This was the first time (that he remembers) bowling.

After taking Carter to Olivia's three year old (I think. she might have been four) birthday party at the bowling alley today I came home, put Carter down for a nap (aka left him crying in his bed and went downstairs to my room where I couldn't hear him) and laid down in my own bed for a nap.

It was some really good sleep. Kevin said he came in and I rolled over so he thought I was awake and said "Hi baby" and I mumbled something and then said "alphabet.... Giraffe!" I think I slept for a good two hours.

Don't remember that at all. Kevin woke me up 15 minutes before the babysitter arrived. Anna and Carter were both sleeping too. Then we left to go see The Green Zone at Fork and Screen. It was predictable but good to have a date night. The kids had a good time with their babysitter too cause they were still up at 9:15 when we got home. She had french braided Anna's hair and they had drawn quite a few pictures and were playing with the chalkboard.

11 March 2010

Kaleidoscope Video

We went to Kaleidoscope last Saturday. Today Anna was on spring break and I was off so I asked the kids what they wanted to do for fun today, the three of us, which doesn't happen very often anymore on Thursdays now that Anna is in school. So nice to do activities during the week when it's less busy. They wanted to go back to Kaleidoscope. Okay. Took the Flip and captured some video.

Kaleidoscope from Cara on Vimeo.

Video blog of a Family Art Session at Kaleidoscope (http://www.hallmarkkaleidoscope.com/). Children here are ages 3 and 5.

07 March 2010

The tradeoffs of a working mom

On Saturday I ran six miles and started the day with my BFF.

Then Candi and I took all three kids to Crown Center. We ate lunch and went over to Kaleidscope to get our tickets. We then had 40 minutes to kill and thought we could go over to Union Station and watch the trains for a little bit.

We were overly ambitious. After weaving through The Link, navigating to functional elevators and pushing three kids in a stroller while wearing high heels we immediately had to turn around and walk back after we got there. We let them look at a train in a glass case, lol.

We were a little late getting into Kaleidescope but it worked out just fine. I lost Carter for about a minute in the craziness but other than that all was good.

We came home and I took a cat nap while the kids watched Polar Express and kept trying to wake me up to make them hot chocolate. Then we went over to Sam and Candi's and the boys grilled burgers and hot dogs to take advantage of the warmer weather.

I got up this morning and before I could even make coffee Carter begged me to play trains. So after one cup of coffee I helped him build a completely new track from scratch.

After a shower I took both of them to Target to pick out gifts for birthday parties. Carter's party is next weekend.

Today I took Anna to a birthday party at the community center (a pool party) where luckily I didn't have to show myself in a swimsuit. She got some good girl time in there and then I took Carter to the grocery store so then she got some alone time which I also think she needed.

Tonight she read me a new book we got at the bookfair called Spring Surprises. It's labeled a 2 for "Reading with Help." Now why would they put this on here? She can read but now thinks she should need help with this. What a horrible label. I told her she doesn't need my help. And she didn't. She read the entire book by herself. She did say bath instead of bathe so I corrected that one but she got everything else. Even the words "discover" "hollyhocks" and "pollywogs." No kidding. She really amazes me with her reading. Especially after today at the birthday party - the six year old could not read her cards she was getting. But Anna and a few of the other kids were reading them to her.

So while I spent this time with my kids I completely neglected my house. I haven't sorted mail or done laundry in a week. It's bad. Luckily Kevin did the dishes all weekend or it would be worse.

I did manage to dig through the backpacks and make Anna's lunch and fill out the necessary forms she needs returned for field trips and such. But I feel really behind and am dreading going to work because I'd really rather stay home and get my house in order. Oh the tradeoffs of being a working mom.

05 March 2010

No Balloon For You

Anna had a nightmare at 3:30 am that left me up until almost 5:00 because I couldn't go back to sleep. She was really traumatized from that safe spot issue at lunch yesterday. She was so heartbroken that it made me really sad. And a little angry because now I'm losing sleep over this.

I called her teacher on my way to work this morning but she was in a meeting so I left a message. I almost couldn't get through the message without crying. I am just so sad for her. This morning she asked me to come to lunch with her but I told her I couldn't because I have to work.

Her teacher called me back while I was then in a meeting and said neither she nor the student teacher knew she had been in the safe spot (sounded like it was something they were supposed to know) and she could tell I was upset and said I could call and have her paged and she would talk to me. I had meetings all day though and didn't get her called back until school was out and she wasn't there.

Then I remembered that the book fair was tonight and Anna has been asking to go all week so I thought I might see her there. So I picked up the kids and we headed to the book fair. We bought 7 books and I paid. Then I asked where the balloon guy was and they pointed and I asked if it costs money and they said you have to buy a book for the classroom and then you get a ticket. Then they gave me a raffle ticket where we actually won a ticket to see the balloon guy. But that was only one ticket and I have two kids. Dilemma. The line was so long to checkout I didn't want to wait to buy another book just for that.

So we headed to check out the balloon guy but the line was kind of long and we needed to go eat dinner. I told them we could come back after dinner.

So we did. And we started by buying another book (much shorter line) to get another ticket to see the balloon guy.

Then we started waiting for the balloon guy. He was there until 8 and it was 7:30 but we were told that he wasn't taking any more kids because he wouldn't have time. I hoped that the line would move quickly and maybe we could still get in by 8. But it didn't work out that way. The lady in charge of the balloon guy kept telling me that the kid directy in front of my kids was the last kid who would get a balloon. That kid was her kid. How convenient for her. I told her we drove all the way back up here AND bought a book JUST for this. Of course she had no idea my daughter had a traumatic day at school yesterday and cried for 30 minutes and had a nightmare and I'm just trying to have a positive school experience for her here.

I noticed the lady in charge of the balloon guy was standing by the teacher who put Anna in the safe spot yesterday. I asked her kid if that was his dad because I thought well maybe the two mean people are married to each other. But he said no.

We didn't get a balloon after waiting 30 minutes. I picked up a business card for the balloon guy and told her maybe he could come to her birthday party or maybe our company picnic this summer. The kids impressively did not cry like the others who were turned away. I really thought Carter would have one of his meltdowns like he did at the dentist's office and things would really get scary. But we all left holding hands and no tears. My BFF was kind enough to sit at an elementary book fair with me for 30 minutes while my kids waited to not get a balloon :)

They watched Mary Poppins in the car on the way home and we all sang Super-Cali-Fragil-istic on the way home.

I did get to see her teacher and we chatted briefly that Anna had a really good day yesterday and today. I let her know that she was really affected by whatever happened and I could tell she really cared. She asked me how her reading was going and said she has her reading some really advanced books. That all sounded good!

It is the weekend and I'm hoping to spend some good quality time with Anna (and Carter). And I think I need some more sleep to make me less emotional so I'm pretty sure a nap is in my future.

04 March 2010

Mean Lunch Man

Anna is a little emotional. Tonight I told her "just cry it out. sometimes you feel better if you just cry." and she did. hopefully it is all out and tomorrow is a new day.

Here's the story...

Anna is selling major saver cards for a school fundraiser. Last weekend she and I went to two neighbor houses and they bought cards but I did most of the talking. I was telling her she should do the talking since it is her fundraiser but she said she was really nervous.

Yesterday she got up the courage to try another neighbor all by herself. I watched her from the window run next door. She came back tears welled in her eyes. Jean didn't buy one. Anna was devastated. I felt like I witnessed a moment she'll remember forever. You know the ones where you always remember how you felt at that moment.

She has been asking me to come eat lunch with her at school. I guess a lot of stay at home parents do this and the kid and parent can sit at a different table and the parent can bring a cooler lunch. So today I didn't have any meetings and I said I would come. I was just a few minutes late getting there and couldn't find her.

She was sitting in the "safe spot" which is basically a nicer way of saying timeout. I walked over and she immediately started crying. We went to the parent-kid table and she said she was in there because she was talking when the red cup was up. WTF I am thinking. I quickly learned there is a stick at each table with two cups on it. If the black one is up you can talk. If the red one is up you cannot.

I got her calmed down and we ate. A teacher came over while we were eating and said he needed to talk to Anna about being in the safe spot. He said she shouldn't talk to his class when the red cup is up and could she work on that. She nodded and again I thought she would have a complete meltdown.

There was also this guy who looked like a janitor but seemed to be running the lunch room. He was barking orders at all the kids "silverware in here" "puts your tops on" (lids on milk containers) "be quiet" "turn around" "young man you are too loud" no pleases or smiles or happiness in the air at all.

I was a little scared and intimidated and wasn't sure if I could talk and what happens if I don't do something in the right order. It seemed like a miserable sad lunch. When the kids got slightly loud he went down the line and put red cups on all the sticks and made them all be quiet. Anna said he is kind of "mean" and I thought that was an understatement. No one else seemed phased by this and there were a few other parents there. Even the principal came in for awhile and didn't say anything.

I thought it was awful.

Is it like this every day? I asked her. And she nodded.

So tonight after bath she just started crying and I told her just cry it out. She doesn't want to go to school because I guess this teacher who put her in the safe spot sits at the table next to her every day. She said she will be the quietest kid at lunch tomorrow. I feel so bad for her. She just wants to talk to her friends. They can't talk in class so for god's sake let them chat at lunch. It's one of the only times they see kids from other classes. I mean you expect a five year old to not talk all day and only at recess?

So tomorrow is a new day I told her. She asked me to make her a lunch. Now I know why she says the best part of her day is reading the note I write in her lunch box.