Monday, March 30, 2009

A Helping Hand

I took my car in to the Ford dealer in Barstow today to be looked at. It was making a weird noise whenever I turned the fan on. Plus I needed an oil change. Since Chris had to work, it was up to me to deal with it. I had no idea how long I would be there, so I didn't want to put the kids in hourly care in case I wasn't back in time to pick them up. So...I had to take them with me. Surprisingly, they were fantastic.

During our wait at the shop something interesting happened with Aiden. We were sitting in the lobby, Aiden was playing with a bouncy ball, when the door opened and a woman walked in. She looked older, but it wasn't the years, it was the mileage. She was dirty, wearing ratty clothes and walked sort of hunched over, as if all of her troubles were literally weighing her down. She was obviously homeless. I wondered what she was doing in the dealership when an employee greeted her with a cheerful, "Hi Judy! How are you doing today?"

She gave a half smile and mumbled something in response. She wandered over to the coffee machine while a few other employees said hi to her. One mentioned that she had just stocked the coffee station, so Judy should have plenty of cream and sugar. I realized that this lady just came in for the coffee, and a place to sit down out of the wind. The employees all welcomed her with a smile and didn't mind at all.

While Judy got her coffee, Aiden stared intently at her. He watched her every move like a hawk. I was almost cringing, waiting for something embarrassing to come out of his mouth, like "Mommy she needs a bath," or "her coat is dirty". He didn't say anything though, he just watched her. At one point she accidentally dropped the little coffee stirrer on the ground, and Aiden spurred into action.

He ran over to her, saying, "I'll get it! I'll get it!" He picked up the stirrer and handed it to her. "Here you go, you dropped this!"

She looked at my little boy and I saw tears well up in her eyes, and for a second I thought she was going to cry. But then she just said, "thank you," and took the stirrer from his little fingers.

"You're welcome, very much!" Aiden answered happily and then ran back over to me, very proud of himself. Judy smiled at me and told me I had a sweet little boy, and I had to agree.

It occurred to me then how different children see things from adults. When we see homeless people, our first reaction is almost always to move away, sit on the other side, avoid eye contact, as if their homelessness were some disease that might rub off on us. Not so with children. Aiden didn't see her troubles or assume the worst about her and stay away. He saw someone who needed help and he rushed to give it to her, the same as he would for you or me.

How I wish that I hadn't been so jaded by this world, that I could still see things the way he does. As adults we try and teach our children, but sometimes our children end up teaching us.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jack and the Beanstalk

Some kids are climbers. They'll climb on anything and everything, just to do it and to see what's up there. Aiden wasn't one of those kids. Jack on the other hand...yeah, he's a climber. While we don't have any beanstalks around here (or trees of any kind), he's found plenty of other things to scale.

For instance...I had a small toy organizing bin under the window in the boys' playroom. You know the kind, with a wooden frame and canvas boxes that set in it to keep the toys organized. While the very concept of that has become somewhat of an exercise in futility, I have caught Jack many times using it as a stepping stone to climb onto the window sill and spy on the backyard. He has also used the oven door on the play kitchen to climb up and stand on the top of the play stove.

But the kicker happened yesterday. Keep in mind that Jack is only 11 months old, not that he's letting his lack of years or experience stop him. He likes to play the piano. I don't mind this, in fact I usually encourage it, as long as nobody is sleeping. Yesterday I went into the living room to put on a movie for Aiden when I hear the tinkling of the piano keys coming from the family room where Jack and I had been playing. No big deal, he plays the piano all the time. Only this time, he decided to do things a bit differently. In the 2 minutes that I was in the living room with Aiden, Jack pushed a box over to the piano, used it to climb onto the piano bench, and in turn used the piano bench to climb on top of the piano and started tapping the keys with his feet.

Yes, you read that correctly. I walked back into the family room and just about had a heart attack to see my little baby standing on the piano. Not only that, but he was only barely holding on with one hand. He smiled at me and gave me a look that said, "Look Ma! No hands!" He was so incredibly proud of his musical accomplishment that he didn't notice all of my hair turning gray in the span of about 4 seconds.

Of course, I had to call and tell my mother, since it's her piano. She laughed.

Jack's a sneaky little turd. Just because he's cute doesn't mean he's a little angel. Far from it, in fact. I have a feeling that he's going to give me 10 times more trouble than Aiden in the years to come. He has a face that screams, "but I'm innocent!", and he knows how to use it....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Movin' On Up

A big congratulations to my hubby for making the E-7 list!! Woohoo!! We are all pretty excited, we just found out today. Sergeant First Class Echevarria...has a nice ring to it, don't you think? :-)

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I came across this trailer for a movie/documentary that's coming out, and I thought it looked pretty good. Just wanted to share:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Aiden the Explorer

I'm just going to come out and say it. Aiden loves Dora. I realize it's "supposed" to be for girls, but I don't really care. He loves it, and he's learning so much from watching it. He's learned his shapes, and some of his colors, and all kinds of things.

So I shouldn't have been surprised today when we had this little conversation:

A: "Mommy, I want to go to Coney Island."

M: "Uhhh....Coney Island?" Isn't that in New York?

A: "Yeah, Coney Island. Come on, let's go!"

M: "Okay, well, what's in Coney Island?'

A: "The ice cream truck."

M: "Really? The ice cream truck is in Coney Island?" What is this kid talking about?

A: "Let's go! Hurry! And get 8 coins!"

M: "8 coins?" Huh? "I don't have 8 coins."

By this time I am totally confused.

A: "Get my piggy bank. I need 8 coins."

M: "Yeah...sure...okay. 8 coins. By the way, where is Coney Island?"

A: "Gate, Lake, CONEY ISLAND!!"

AHHH, the light bulb came on.

M: "Are you watching Dora? Is Dora going to Coney Island?"

A: "Yeah, and I'm going too! I need 8 coins. Where's the keys?"

You would be amazed at the level of understanding that a three year-old truly possesses. He may not be able to use the toilet, but he knows you need money and keys if you want to go somewhere. The way of the world, right?

The kid cracks me up. And he really needs to get out more (as evidenced by his trip to Coney Island), so I signed him up for preschool 2 days a week. He starts next week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I honestly can't tell you who's more excited, Aiden or Mommy. I'm going to try to put Jack in hourly care those days also, so I can have two mornings of time to myself.

I'm trying to get involved in some grown-up things. There's the gym for starters, and also some of the women in our team are starting up a book club. We are going to read books that don't rhyme or have pictures of the Cat in the Hat on the cover! Imagine that!

Although...Dr. Suess is full of political statements...just go read Yertle the Turtle.

Yeah, I really need to get out more.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I went down yesterday to register the kids with CYS. For those non-Army folks, CYS is Child and Youth Services, they handle all the daycare, school, youth sports and activities on post, and if you want your kids to participate in any of it, they have to be registered. No big deal, except that you have to have so much paperwork and stuff it's nearly impossible. I wanted to sign the boys up for hourly care at the daycare so that I have a place to take them during appointments and so that I can have a break sometimes, and also to sign Aiden up for PRESCHOOL!!!

Anyway, I called ahead of time, made an appointment and got a list of all the crap I needed to bring with me. Shot records, health assessments signed by their doctor proving they don't have ebola or something, another health screening form, birth certificates, pay stubs, social security cards, 2 emergency contacts in the Fort Irwin area (not that easy when you are new and don't really know that many people yet), not to mention the huge application form you have to fill out. Are you kidding me??? I managed to get it all together and go down there. Chris was going to try to come home and watch the kids for me, but at the last minute he couldn't make it so they had to come too.

After it was all said and done, I got the kids registered and signed up for hourly care, and Aiden is on the waiting list for part-day preschool. YAY!! I have to go to an orientation at 8AM Friday morning, whoever thought THAT was a good time to impart vital information?? Next week, I'm taking the kids to the daycare for a couple hours, and who knows what I'll do. The gym? Scrapbook? Clean house?

Maybe I'll just sit and listen to the silence.....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Working Out

I used to work out a lot, back when we were in Germany and Chris was deployed to Kosovo and Iraq. I went almost every day. No kids, and not much else to do, I ended up in pretty good shape by the time he came back! Then along came the babies, and all of that went away. Now I have decided that it's high time I get back into the gym. SO, I have started running. Which is pretty crazy, since I have never run before in my life. Even when I was working out, I always did the elliptical machine, I never had any desire to run. But for some reason, I just felt like giving it a try. So I loaded up the iPod and walked across the street to the gym. That's right - it's ACROSS THE STREET! No excuses, right? The only problem is those darn kids of mine. I have to wait until Chris gets home from work before I can go. No big deal - when he's here. But he does go to the field 2 weeks out of every month. Sometimes he comes in a lot, sometimes not, so on the evenings he is home, I can still go. But I wanted to make sure that I could still work out on days I can't get to the gym, so I bought the Wii Fit. My plan is to work out 6 days a week - 3 at the gym, 3 at home. On my gym days I do cardio and weights, at home it's cardio and yoga.

So that's my grand plan. I actually do enjoy working out - once I force myself to get in the habit of it. I'm hoping I can get up when Chris goes to PT and use the Wii Fit, since both the boys are usually still sleeping then. I REALLY want to get back in shape, so I think the motivation is there. Plus - once I get to where I want to be, I plan to go shopping. And nothing motivates me like shopping!!

Wish me luck!

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Car

Well, actually, that's not true. It's actually pretty old. Chris' uncle has a 1946 Jeep Willy that he is selling to us for really cheap, and we are going to pick it up this weekend in Lemoore. It needs a little work done to make it run, some wiring stuff and new break lines...or something...I don't really know. Several of the guys on Chris' team now do this kind of thing, so hopefully we won't have to actually pay for any of the labor, since these guys are happy with a case of beer and some brownies. But we - make that Chris - is super excited about this old Jeep. Apparently it's already set up to go off-road and everything. Chris wants to get it painted OD green to make it look like the vintage World War II-era jeep that it is. I think it'll be pretty cool, not to mention that he won't be taking my car to work every day anymore! So we are going over to Lemoore on Thursday, get it ready to be towed on Friday, then Chris and his cousin will tow it up here on Saturday, drive back to Lemoore, and we will all come home on Sunday. No Disneyland for us this 4-day weekend, but I guess it's worth it!

But NEXT month is when the fun starts for us. We have a battalion ball in Primm, Nevada which is not far from Las Vegas. So we are going up to Primm, and my parents are going to join us to watch the kids for the night. Then we are all going to Las Vegas for a couple of days, and have a little fun! Chris has never been to Vegas, and I haven't been in almost 10 years, so it should be fun. We haven't been to a ball since Aiden was a baby, and when I went to try on my ballgown (well, one of them), it didn't fit. Rather than fork out the money for a new gown, I'm going to attempt to lose 10 pounds before then! I'm going to go to the gym at least 3 times a week when Chris gets home from work, and I'm trying to talk him into buying me the Wii Fit, so that way I can work out at home too. This dress WILL fit me by the middle of April!!

Yeah...we'll see! :-)