September 28, 2010

If I Only Had a Cane!

The other day Nate came into my room and asked what I was doing. I was writing a new children's book. I love hearing his unfiltered critique so I typically ask him what he thinks. After he gave me his "honest" opinion he then said, "You know what Mom, you have a lot of jobs!" "You're a coach, you're a writer, and you take care of us." (I love how he forgot to mention my actual FT paying job.) But I said, "THANK YOU Nate for noticing." "You are so right. I do have a lot of jobs!"

My assortment of jobs, must be the reason I feel so squeezed for time lately; though the never ending juggle seems to take on a new pace come September. One thing that helps me remain sane, is working on the projects I love. The past few months I've been working with the illustrator, Deb Melmon on my children's book, "An Elephant in the Aisle Seat". 

I promised a while back I would post some of the early sketches of the book. Deb just sent me this sketch today. This is one of my favorites.

I love the Grandma in the background using her cane to fight off the Elephant, and the people protecting their peanuts. It's how I feel at dinner sometimes!. If only I had a cane to fend off the 37 year old, 5 year old and 2 year old vultures.  

More to come on the book front in a few weeks!

 ©  2010 Lori Willbanks and Deborah Melmon

September 23, 2010

I'm a Winner!

If somebody were to ask me yesterday when was the last time I won something, I would probably say never. (Unless you want to count the many goldfish we paid at least 10 dollars to win at the local fair.)


If that same somebody were to ask me today ......I would say I am the new proud owner of 24 bottles of Kahe Sparkling Nectar.

How did I get so lucky?

Well, I met a great Mom through Nate's preschool class last year, who writes a weekly blog that's delicious. Every week Jane posts yummy menus, and then ask the readers to share what we're eating. It's a great resource for me especially when I'm out of ideas on what to cook and need some simple recipes.

Each day last week Jane dedicated her blog posts to a local Menlo Park business and a giveaway. If we entered a comment about each post we would be eligible for that day's prize.

Well today was my lucky day!

By writing the simple sentence....."Well, thankfully another perk to living in Menlo Park!" I won a case of 24 drinks...oh and a very cool old fashioned straw dispenser. The best part is that I don't have to lift a finger. They will deliver to my door. It's almost as good as the milk man!

I can't wait to arrive home to my 24 new bottles of Sparkling Nectar. Now that I've got drinks covered for dinner, I have to figure out what to cook!

September 21, 2010

The Reason for Locks

Jack is the reason that locks were invented. Toilet locks, cabinet locks, front and back door locks, medicine cabinet locks, etc. etc. If the label reads, "Keep away from children," or "Not for Children Under 3", it's an open invitation for Jack to seek it out, and make it his own.

I've tried moving things to the highest cabinets, but no, that doesn't discourage Jack, it's now an opportunity. He'll drag a chair twice as big as him up five flights of stairs just to get to the Desitin lotion. Once he's there he'll proceed to open it, and smear it all over his hands. If you've ever tried to get diaper cream off your hands, you'll understand the issue.

If for two minutes, I turn my back and leave the craft box open, I later find Jack has glued his shirt to his belly, but not before stamping his body full of red and blue trains. 

I know the fun has just begun with Jack. He's just lucky he's so cute!

While I was writing this last night, I gave him an ice cream cone, and strapped him into his chair. Chocolate and Jack don't mix. He was quiet for 5 minutes, when I heard him say, "Mom, more ice cream pleeaase!" I had to laugh when I saw his face!

September 15, 2010

On the Merry Go Round

Some days my life feels like the book, "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie". Actually everyday! Try it. You can put any scenario to it, really.

If I open the garage door, Jack will want to go outside.
Once he's outside, he'll sit on the neighbors front step and refuse to move.
When you move him back in, he'll run outside again.
When you pick him up and move him in again, he'll strip off his clothes.
Once his clothes are off, you have to dress him, so as not to be late for swimming.
When you put him in the car, he'll take off his shoes.
When you say, "uggh.....he'll say, "Mommy why are you so fwustrated?"
You'll ask, "How old are you?" He'll say 2!

Another scenario

If you open the door to the backyard, Jack will want to go outside.
Once he's outside, he'll want to play with the water.
Once he's flooded the yard, he'll want to change his clothes.
While you're getting new clothes for Jack, Nathan will want to wash his hands, upstairs.
When Nathan trys to turn on the sink, he yells to you that the water isn't working.
When you run upstairs, you realize he's right.
When you go to check on Jack, you realize he's shut the water main off.
When you go to tell Nate, Jack turns the main back on.
When Nate turns the sink back on, the faucet with explode causing Nate to lose it.
You will run upstairs to help Nate, and Jack will turn off the water main off again.

And so it goes. Like the title of this blog...On the Merry Go Round!

September 12, 2010

Season Opener

Menlo Park, CA - It's ironic that we had one of the coldest Summer's on record, but when it's time to play the Soccer season opener, temperatures rose to the high 90's. Water breaks were frequent, for fear we may lose a player or two! Thankfully no one was lost to heat exhaustion, only to the jungle gym adjacent to the field.

Coach Bill gave some encouraging words for the first timers, "The most important thing to remember today is to have fun!" When he asked the team if they had anything to say, his son replied, "Let's cwush them!" To which Coach Bill said, "That's not funny! We're here to play a good game."

The Under 6 format has changed a bit since 1980. The days of 22 players running toward the same goal are long gone. The field is broken into quadrants, and each team is divided into 4 teams of 3 players. The games are 30 minutes, with 3 vs. 3, and one fresh sub.

No score is officially recorded, only by the 5 year olds. I won't lie, it's competitive out there. On one field the Sharks did indeed "CRUSH" the other team. The score was 10 to 1. (According to the official score keeper, Nathan Willbanks) It may have been higher, but the score keeper can't count that high!

It was an encouraging start to the season. No laces were left untied, all uniforms were found, (in the nick of time), and only one person showed up at the wrong field! When questioned about the field mix up, Nathan Willbanks said, "Mom, you're the coach, aren't you supposed to know that?" To which his mother replied, "Hey, who remembered your water jug?"

A special thank you to the photgrapher. It's understood that the photos aren't award winning, but you did manage to convince your two year old that he wasn't one of the offical players.

September 9, 2010

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

Lately I've been resorting to bribery! I'm not proud, but it works! And I stretch it out for as long as possible.

Nate is notorious for asking to buy a toy. Any toy will do,  literally. It doesn't matter that he has 3000 toys, he constantly wants a new one. The old trick, "Put it on your list" apparently only works on the 4 and under crowd. Now that he's the big 5, I had to step up my game.
He no longer just "gets" a toy, he has to "EARN" a toy!

Our nights usually sound like this.
"You can't ride on your brother's back in the bathtub, you'll drown him!"
"But MOOOOM, he likes it!"
"Do you still want a toy?"
(Instantly he jumps off of Jack's back.)


"Nate, please put your pajamas on."
"Why can't I walk around naked all the time, Daddy does?"
"Nate, just put them on. You're going to bed."
"Mom, I'm too tired to put my clothes on!"
"Remember you wanted to buy a toy, right?"
(Hmm somehow the energy was jolted back into his tiny body just long enough to put his PJ's on. And by the way, Doug doesn't walk around naked!)

So today, Nathan and I went to a Rosh Hashana service at the temple. It was a children's service that only lasted an hour. The rabbi told the children a story about a sheep that always wanted what he didn't have. He wanted peacock feathers, a turtle's shell, and horse's mane.  The sheep realized after he got everything, that nobody recognized him, his family and friends no longer spoke to him, and he was lonely and sad.

So when the service was over, and we were walking to the car I thanked Nathan for being so good, and sitting still the entire time.

His reply - "Now can I buy a toy?"

On the way home, we discussed charity, and what it means to donate. We're going to a birthday party this weekend, and they have asked that we select a charity in lieu of gifts. I asked Nathan what seems important to him. I gave him a few options, between feeding the poor, curing cancer, etc.

He replied, "How about we give money to people to buy medicine for kids who can't afford to buy any!"

(Ahh) He does have a soul!

September 3, 2010

Another Round of Ice

It's just so fitting that when I logged into Yahoo, the cover page was titled, "A Warning About Baseball's Head Injuries."

After what I thought would be a peaceful walk around the park, it ended yet another time with a trip home to grab ice. I should really just pack the ice ahead of the trip, and save us all some time, and tears.

Jack was the recipient this time. It was a scene straight out of Humpty Dumpty. Before I had a chance to scream, "NO don't throw that!" or better yet, "Jack get off that wall!" no sooner was Nate throwing a line drive at the tennis racket Jack was holding while standing on a wall. The problem was the ball didn't come close to the racket, it smacked Jack in the eye, and knocked him clear off the retaining wall.

I felt like I was at a Carnival watching the pins go down in a ball toss game. Of course it really wasn't funny at the time. I was incredibly angry, and upset I didn't catch the disaster waiting to happen.

So I dusted Jack off and wiped his tears, then asked Nate what in the world he was thinking. His reply, "I'm not a very good thrower MOM!" (It's important to mention this was not a tennis ball. That would have made too much sense. This was a softball.)  At that moment in time, I decided we should call it a night!

So back to the Yahoo title I referenced at the beginning of this story. The story was about how Major League Baseball should craft a stonger policy to protect players who suffer concussions. They say players shouldn't be expected to shake it off and return to the game.

I'm happy to announce this policy does exist in my rule book. Whether it was to protect the 2 year old player, or to protect the mother from losing her mind, we definitely know when to take our OWN timeouts!

September 1, 2010

Big Day

Well, I bent time in space again today, and I'm thankful not everyday looks like this. Some better, some worse.
It was the first day of school. Nate reminded me the night before that tomorrow would be a "Big Day" It certainly measured up to his prediction. The morning was filled with a lot of nerves, looking for lost shoes, and remembering things like extra underwear.

The underwear was for Nate, not me.

This is what my/our day looked like.

6:30 AM - Kids woke demanding food - (Wish I had a kid snooze button.)
7:30 AM - Serve breakfast and get kids dressed
7:30 AM - Jack leaves with Mari, and I get ready for work
8:30 AM - Drop Nate off at school
9:00 AM - Drove to the office
10:00 AM - Boring meeting#1
11:00 AM - Boring meeting#2
11:30 AM - Took a coworker to a goodbye lunch
12:30 PM - Drove back down to preschool to see how Nate's day went
1:00PM - Drove back to the office
2:00PM -Boring meeting #3
3:00PM - Boring meeting#4
4:45PM - Head home
5:30PM - Feed kids dinner and attempt to put everyone in bathing suits, including me.
6:30PM- Meet Doug at the club to swim for an hour.
8:00PM- Realize that I haven't picked up the 3x5 photos that Nate's school wants - Head to Walgreens
8:30PM - Pack lunch, then fill out the "about your child" form sent home from school.

I think I lost 5 lbs just by getting in and out of my car today. (Although I did eat at In and Out burger for lunch, so it might only be -3lbs.)

Thankfully this day went incredibly smooth. The only real glitch was my bone headed lunch move. I packed Nate steak, and later found out that it was a meat free school, which I knew but totally forgot. It's also peanut free, so I'm not sure what Nate will be eating for the next 10 months. It appears that bagels and cream cheese will become the new staple in the lunch box. It all worked out in the end though.

He didn't give me a hard time about dinner, infact he ate extra chicken.

Here is the prince getting acclimated in his new classroom.