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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Potty Training - Take One

Before I got the kids out of bed yesterday, I got everything ready to go. Taking the advice from several sources, I was armed with a plan.

Marcus got up and went pee pee on the potty like he does every morning. The plan was that he would get an M&M every time he successfully used the potty. I threw his diaper in the trash and told him that we were done with those things! I asked him if he was ready and he said, "Okay."

After we got Will out of bed we headed to breakfast with nothing between Marcus's buns and his chair but his pj's. I put a towel down for him to sit on in case of an accident. When breakfast was over, his chair was still dry.

We got dressed, I put nothing on Marcus but a sweatshirt. He insisted that he wear socks and his slippers which just made him look even more funny.

I put Marcus's potty in the family room and we were ready to roll. Everything was going great... mostly. Outwardly, you might think that things couldn't be going better. Between the hours of 7:30 and 12:30, he only had two little accidents! However, I have to wonder how in the world he even managed to have two accidents. The kid was literally peeing on the potty (and gulping down M&Ms) approximately every 2-5 minutes. He was great at telling me he had to go potty, lifting the lid to his potty, sitting, and peeing. The bad part of it was that then I had to get his hands washed (and Will wanted his hands washed too). Then I had to give him an M&M (and give Will a Cheerio), empty and clean out the potty down the hall, return the potty, and get my own hands washed. I honestly wasn't sure I was going to be able to get lunch made because it was just constant attention on my part giving out rewards and resetting things for his business. Really, no human being should be able to keep the waterworks flowing for that long! (Greg told me I was practicing communist parenting. One kid would use the potty and both kids got a reward.)

I started to wonder if maybe he just couldn't hold it, maybe his little bladder just isn't ready. Emotionally he is ready, he gets it, he wants to do it. I just wasn't sure he was physically ready. I didn't know if I was physically ready to keep doing it! He did sit all through breakfast, snack, and lunch and didn't have an accident so I know he can hold it. Maybe he just isn't emptying his bladder fully. Who knows.

I put a pull-up on him for nap. He went to sleep and I collapsed on the couch for a break.

I thought I was ready to go for the afternoon after nap. The pull-up came off and snack was served. The household remained dry. Soon after snack the potty marathon continued. My endurance was faultering. I asked Marcus if he wanted to try out his big boy underwear since he was doing such a great job. He agreed at first. As I was sliding them on I told him that he had to make sure he put all his pee pee and poopy in the potty because we didn't want to get it on his new big boy underwear. His underwear were up to his knees at this point and he decided, "Off!" That was the end of that. Back to naked Marcus.

Will decided to sit on my lap so I could read him a book and I was glad that for the first time all day I could take a chance to be a parent to my youngest child. Despite the fact that Marcus had my attention the entire day, he was not the least bit pleased that I was taking a minute to read to his brother. The solution to this anger was to throw a book at my face. So I yelled. This scared the pee out of him for accident number three. Even though I was exhausted and just plain tired of using all my attention on one child, I felt like I was still in the game. A few minutes later, after we all had recovered, Marcus crouched down to get something and dribbled a bit. Really, it wasn't bad at all, just a dime-sized mark on my already dirty carpet. Somehow though, it was what finally made me throw in the towel. I asked Marcus if he wanted a diaper on. He said no. I waited... about 30 seconds. Then I went to get a diaper and just happened to put it in plain sight. Marcus spotted it and started cheering, "DIAPER!!" Then he lay on the floor and waited for application. I couldn't get that thing on fast enough.

Marcus still asked to go to the potty several times last night and I took him some of those times. I want him to think that he can go to the potty when he has to, but at the same time, my sanity must remain in tact.

Today I went for plan B, a plan that was made up on the spot. This is called the slow motion potty training where I don't pay any attention to what anyone has told me about potty training. Everyone I have talked to has told me not to use the pull-ups because they give kids a sense of security. Marcus is wearing a pull-up today. I am allowing him to go to the potty every half hour or so. He is still asking me to go, about every 15 minutes. Like the mean mom that I am, I tell him that he is going to have to hold it for a few more minutes. I haven't noticed much wetness in the pull-up so he must be doing a pretty good job! He isn't nearly as hopped up on M&Ms today which is an added bonus.




Sunday, April 27, 2008

The M&M Curse

Monday is supposed to be the day to start potty training. Marcus just didn't get the memo. We went out on Friday to get some supplies. We came home armed with lots of big boy underwear that Marcus is really excited about. We also made it home with a giant bag of M&Ms. I have heard from various sources that these little candies that melt in your mouth but not in your hand have worked wonders for lots of potty training children. (Just and FYI, if you drop them in the toilet, they melt in there too, at least the outer candy coating does.) The plan was to give Marcus one of these tasty morsels for every successful pee pee on the potty and give him two for every successful poopy on the potty. Greg asked if I was going to start the M&Ms prior to Monday. I decided to just do everything at once on Monday. But somehow it didn't work out like that.

I put the M&Ms in a clear canister and put it in the bathroom. Marcus was on one of his scheduled trips to the potty, maybe before or after nap, when he spotted them there. I told him that he could have one if he went pee pee on the potty. About a minute later he was eating his first M&M. It was so good that he couldn't even eat it with his mouth closed because his face was stuck in a smile. One more successful potty and one more M&M later and his little two-year-old mind had completely caught on. I could hear him thinking, "So if I just go pee pee, I get one of those pieces of yumminess... Just watch how awesome I am."

During the next hour, Marcus went pee pee in his potty a minimum of 14 times. (Not sure of the exact count because I wasn't counting at first.) He peed more times than my dog does when I take her for long walks and she stops at every yard. In attempt to spend some time in a place other than the bathroom, I moved his little potty into the kitchen. For an hour things around here went like this:
1 - Marcus says he has to go potty.
2 - I tell Marcus to start the process.
3 - He lifts the lid on his potty.
4 - He starts to try to get his pants down and I have to help. (I got wise after about 5 times on the potty and put a pull-up on him because then he needed less help than he did with the diaper.)
5 - He sits on the potty.
6 - He cheers.
7 - We look in the potty and see there is a teeny tiny little puddle.
8 - We all cheer.
9 - Marcus starts pulling up his pants and needs a little help.
10 - I squirt a little hand sanitizer on his hands.
11 - I give him an M&M and he smiles for about 30 seconds before eating it.
12 - While he is smiling I head down the hall with the potty bowl.
13 - I empty the contents of the potty into the toilet.
14 - I clean the potty bowl.
15 - I return the potty bowl to the potty in the kitchen.
16 - I wash my hands.
17 - As I am washing my hands Marcus starts telling me he has to go potty again which puts us back to step one.

I didn't want to tell him no because the point was to encourage him to go to the potty. I figured that eventually he would run dry. I really have no idea how he kept going. The only thing that stopped it was that my mother-in-law showed up to babysit while Greg and I went out to celebrate our anniversary. The kids sat down with their grandma to eat and I moved the potty back to the bathroom and hid the M&Ms. Hopefully we have about half as much interest in M&Ms - I mean, in potty training - tomorrow when we actually start this process. Otherwise I am going to be completely exhausted.

(Greg and I had a great anniversary celebration. We went out to dinner at the place where we got married. He didn't tell me what we were doing to celebrate but I assumed that we were going there. I didn't have a clue though that he had booked us a room at a hotel not far from our house and had arranged for his mom to take care of the kids all night and into the morning too. He even packed a rather well equipped bag for our overnight stay. We had breakfast out this morning too but I was itching to get back to my kids. I just wasn't emotionally prepared to leave them overnight! It was a great time though to just hang out with each other and not have to wake up in the morning and make breakfasts and change diapers and wipe noses.)


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Taking the Plunge... I think... Maybe...

I think I am going to try to potty train Marcus. I'm completely anxious about this for two reasons. First, I don't want him to fail. He is my little boy and I want to protect him from all failure forever, even though I know this is completely unrealistic. Second of all, I really don't want pee and poo all over my house. My sister already warned me that the first few days of potty training my nephew was like having a puppy. I haven't had a puppy for 9 years. I am going to try to borrow my sister's steam cleaner this weekend so hopefully that will help the situation.

As of now, Marcus sits on the potty at four distinct times throughout the day. He almost always goes pee pee while there, but wasn't quite that successful this past week with being sick and all. He concentrates really hard and really gets it that he can control it. Then of course we cheer like crazy, give high fives, and he shouts out for the dog to come in so she can celebrate his victory too. He is also learning how to dress and undress himself and pretty much has the whole pulling up and down of pants thing under control. He hasn't discovered going #2 on the potty yet although Greg and I do cheer when he toots on the potty.

I thought about doing this a couple weeks ago. I even bought him some big boy underwear, a pack of 3. Three pairs? I am thinking those would be soaked through in about 2 hours. Today when we were out at Target I decided to start to stock up. Unfortunately, Target was completely out of the XS size. Even the XS size say they fit a minimum of 33 lbs of kid. Marcus is just barely over the 29 lb mark. We do have a couple gift cards for Toys 'R Us so I think we are going to hit that up tomorrow. I also picked up a cheap package of pull-up type training pants because I know that I won't be brave enough for quite awhile to go out in public with nothing between his bum and the rest of the world but a couple of plies of cotton.

Today I showed off the new big boy underwear to Marcus. He was sooooo excited! I'm not sure he really gets what they are for but I kept talking about how he will get to wear those really soon, as soon as he starts putting all his pee pee and poo poo in the potty. Then he can have this super cool big boy underwear to put on like his cousin Scott wears. I expected absolutely no reaction from him but he kept smiling. When I put them away he was yelling, "More! More!" I am taking this as a good sign.

If any of my blog readers have any advice on the potty training or words of encouragement (for me of course to do this), fire away!


Spring AK Concert Tour - Fourth Stop

I almost forgot to post this at all, but it appears my spring concert tour has come to an end. I went to see Bill Deasey last Saturday night with some girl friends. Really only one girl friend and two of her girl friends who I had met once. I had a great time, but paid very little attention to the concert. I am not a Bill Deasey fan. Nothing against him or his music, just not something I really listen to that often. I knew two of the songs he played but that was it. However, had a great time just hanging out with some girls and not being a mom for a few hours. Umm... I guess that is about it.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Endless Cycle of Snot

Round 2 around here. In sickness that is. Marcus has slowly been recovering. Finally today he is pretty much his old self. The last couple of days he has been feeling well enough to get off the couch but bad enough to be completely cranky. It wasn't even really being cranky. It was more like he had suddenly felt that it was his life's purpose to be worse than the 2 year olds as seen on Supernanny. But, all that is in the past. YYYAAAAAYYYY!!!

Round 2 has begun with Will being sick. The cold that Marcus had, finally found it's way to Will. The last two days he had a low grade fever on and off. Today he was just a grumpy mess. I went in this morning to find (warning: this is gross) him saying, "Oh no!" while having a string of snot hanging from his nostril that reached all the way to his waist. When I went to remove this monstrosity, I got a little sample of what I was about to experience the rest of the day. It turns out that getting a snotty nose wiped is all the reason Will needs to have a complete temper tantrum. When he has temper tantrums, he likes to stand right in front of me while screaming and crying. All the screaming and crying of course makes his nose run. Then I have to wipe his nose. When I wipe his nose, the screaming and crying starts again. You get the point. This was pretty much how I spent my morning. Will pretty much screamed the whole four and a half hours he was up this morning based completely on the fact that I was wiping his nose. Well, that and that he didn't feel that great.

After nap time, I finally reached my breaking point. There was still running of a nose and still complete freak out at every attempt to fix it. I was really tired of having a screaming, crying, snotty kid standing in my face all day long. I decided he could just as easily have his temper tantrum while sitting in the designated timeout chair on the other side of the room. I still feel that he is a bit young for timeout but it was either he sit in that chair and scream or I was going to have to sit there and scream. And believe me, my behind is way too big to fit in that child sized chair. He pretty much stayed there too. I did have to return him twice and explain that he had to stay there until he was done with his temper tantrum. I didn't think he understood one bit but it helped me keep my sanity. Much to my surprise, after he was done with his screaming I wiped his nose and he was fine with it! Even more to my surprise, every other time I have wiped his nose from that point on - probably about 10 more times - he didn't even put up the least bit of fuss. Either he is suddenly feeling a whole lot better or he did get something out of throwing a temper tantrum while sitting in the timeout chair.

Here's to a health reversal in this house.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Road to Recovery

Marcus has now been on antibiotics for 23 hours. I could tell this morning that things were already starting to look up. You might not think so based on his expression in this picture, but I assure you, he was feeling better.
See, his eyes were open... a little. And he is sitting up, even though he is being fully supported by pillows. He somehow managed to sleep all night long probably made a little easier by the vaporizer. He got up at 7:30 and shortly after I took this picture, around 10:00, he fell asleep in that position. He slept until 11:30 and then took a nap in his bed from 12:30 until 2:00. We have watched Curious George, Clifford, two episodes of Super Why, Happy Feet, and currently Teletubbies is on. We usually don't watch much TV and I must say, I am SICK of cartoons at this point. Marcus has managed to eat some canned fruit and one slice of banana.

Things are looking up. At exactly 3:30 today, a little bit of life returned to him. His eyes are fully open now. He is talking a little bit. Most importantly, he isn't adhered to my lap but is sitting alone on the floor, not even propped up by pillows. Thank goodness too. Seeing him so sick and knowing that I couldn't immediately fix it, only make it a little more bearable by providing hugs and kisses, was just breaking my heart.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Bad Mom

Maybe you are thinking that I have been a bad mom because I have been posting about my cars but have had nothing to say about my kids. Well, I'm back! What an week.

Monday we all just kinda hung out. The kids were thinking they were pretty cool with their hats and backpacks.

Things took a turn for the worse on Tuesday. Marcus started getting the sickness that Greg was nice enough to share with him. By the evening, his fever was up to 104.5 but some Tylenol helped that out. It still couldn't keep him from wanting to sleep the entire night. I must confess, I really wasn't too upset about it.

We had plans to go to the zoo on Wednesday with Cara and Jen. I thought that we might have to cancel but Marcus woke up completely cured. He didn't have a fever. He wasn't congested. It was like he was never sick. So, off to the zoo we went. We got there a little early and I let the kids run around. Will went straight for those little riding things that suck parents dry of quarters. Thankfully, my kids don't realize that those things move and were quite content just climbing around and using the steering wheels.

It was a great day at the zoo. Marcus and Will both were enjoying the animals and were looking at them more than at the people. They were both completely impressed by the monkeys and also by the penguins. The aquarium wasn't even that crowded. Will was mesmerized by watching a very large fish tank.

I thought for sure that both kids would pass out before we got through the whole zoo but somehow they made it. Of course they were off to dreamland as soon as we hit the road.

Wednesday evening we did lots of outdoor playing. Greg was on duty to make sure that no one ate any leaves or bugs while I did a little yard work. It was oddly quite enjoyable to be pulling weeds.

I thought things were going well on Thursday until after nap time when Marcus woke up delirious with a fever of 103.5. After the Tylenol took effect, he was back to normal again, just coughing up a storm. We headed out in the yard for more playing and yard work.

Then there was today. I woke all itchy from something that apparently was hiding in the masses of weeds in our yard. My arms are a nice spotted mess of itchiness. I didn't have much time to even scratch today because Marcus has been a wreck. I called the doctor this morning and had to leave a message with the nurse. She didn't call back soon enough for my liking and I was on the verge of tears because Marcus was so miserable. I ended up calling back. At last we had an appointment. Marcus laid down on the couch around 10:00 and said, "Night night," and went to sleep.

Will and I were rather lost with what to do. He and I don't really have any chance to just be the two of us. I didn't know what to do with him! He showed off all his new words (ball, bib, book, and bubble - he apparently has a fondness for B words) and we played peek-a-boo. Finally it was time to go.

Poor guy. He has lost 2 lbs because he didn't eat anything on Tuesday (he stuffed his face on Wednesday), his appetite was spotty yesterday, and he didn't really eat today. He has pneumonia but the doctor said that we caught it in the very early stages and it should be cleared up in no time. He also has a pretty bad ear infection in one ear and an ear infection starting up in the other ear.

Marcus is now all pumped full of antibiotic. His moods go from rather miserable to completely miserable. I am feeling probably twice as miserable as I would normally because I am sad that I can't fix Marcus right away other than holding him, but I can't hold him all the time because Will sometimes needs me too, and I hold Marcus so much that poor Will is getting far less attention than he deserves. Thankfully tomorrow is Saturday so Greg will be home. I predict that Marcus will start feeling a whole lot better too.

As for Will, he is as cute as ever. Cuter probably. His language is really taking off. He has always been quite the talker and now he is just starting to use words that the rest of us understand. In addition to the words mentioned above he also says Hi, Bye, Pay (for our dog), uh oh, vroom vroom (for cars and trucks), and no. His favorite of all these words in Hi. He says it ALL THE TIME and to EVERYBODY. The kids and I went out to lunch with my mom earlier this week and we had the pleasure of being seated right by the entrance to the restaurant. Will said Hi repeatedly until he got a response from every single person that walked in the door. This is also his normal behavior anytime we go to the grocery store. He was getting very angry with a man in the produce section the other day because the man was not responding as he was on the phone. Eventually Will's Hi's got so persistent that the man was forced to wave just so he could hear whoever was on the other end of his phone call.

Sorry this entry was all over the place. I started it several hours ago and kept needing to stop to hold one kid or the other and then completely had to stop when Marcus fell asleep on me again. But there it is. I'll try to be a better poster in the future.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Costco Socks

There is a great song called "Costco Socks" by Johnny Hickman (guitarist of the group Cracker). The song is about how everyone in America drives these huge cars and goes to warehouse-type stores to buy everything in bulk and just basically how things are becoming so BIG. Since we don't have a membership to Costco but we do have one to Sam's Club, we went off this morning to become exactly who the song was describing.

We have trouble shopping sometimes now that we have two kids. When we all go as a family, Greg and I usually each take a cart with a kid in it and we start getting what we need. This doesn't just happen at Sam's Club but also has been known to happen at Target too. The issue is that we often forget that just because we have two carts that we can fill up, it doesn't mean that we can fit two carts worth of stuff in our car. We always take the Matrix on these shopping trips. (The Matrix is Greg's car, a car that he likes to call a "sport wagon" only because that sounds cooler than calling it a station wagon even though that is what it really is.) We end up packing the back of the Matrix from floor to ceiling and still have to put stuff on the floor in the back seat where the kids are sitting. During our last trip to Sam's Club, we had to open the giant package of paper towels and stuff the individual rolls all over the car so we could fit everything.

Because we were inspired by "Costco Socks" and I had a great desire to drive my new car today, we all piled into our SUV and headed off to Sam's Club. After going up and down every aisle in that place, we had everything on our list and threw in a few more things just because we wanted to see if we could get it all to fit. We got the kids loaded into the car and we started piling our stuff in the back. I think we should have picked up a couple more boxes of diapers and another case of paper towels just because they would have fit in there.

When we got home we decided to see if the thing would fit in our garage. I have at least a half inch on both sides of the mirrors and another full inch on the top of the thing. And just for clarification, I should state that this is MY car. Sure, I don't have a job and Greg is the one paying for the thing, but it is MY car and I am going to make sure that Greg doesn't even drive it much at all. I think this is only fair since he has a tendency to... I don't know, like run my car into the mailbox and knock off mirrors and hubcaps...

Just wanted to talk a little about our car-buying experience because I was too exhausted last night to really go into it. We went to Blue Knob Auto, a place my brother-in-law had told me about. They sell used cars but all newer used cars. I think the oldest ones I saw there were '05's. Most of their cars were previous rentals, leases, or fleet vehicles. I don't think I saw a car on the whole lot that had more than 30,000 miles on it and most have considerably less than that. There is no bargaining of prices (you pay what is on the sticker and the prices are incredibly reasonable) and you don't even really deal with salesmen.

Saturdays are insane there and we were even told that it was slow for a Saturday. A friend emailed me and said that she was told they sell an average of about 70 cars on Saturdays! All their cars are on their website so you can pre-shop and get vehicle history reports on the VIN numbers. Or once you get there you can just look around their lot for whatever you want to test drive. Then you tell a salesman what you want to test drive and they hand over the keys. You are really left to check out whatever and how many cars you want and no one bothers you or even really tries to sell you anything. Greg and I were climbing all around the cars and just being silly and having a good time because there was absolutely no pressure or any strange salesman looking at us.

We were trading in my car so while we looked around they worked up a trade-in value for it, which we thought was a good price. Once we decided what we wanted, we sat down, did some paperwork, and then just waited. That was the only bad part. We had to wait for over an hour between doing two parts of the paperwork. The place was really busy though so that was probably a big part of it. Before we knew it we were handed the keys to the Commander and were passing over the keys to my old faithful Cavalier. In conclusion, if you live anywhere near this place, go there. Enough said.

Okay, this is the last post about my car. I do realize that there are much bigger cars and trucks out there and people have been owning them and driving them and packing them full of Costco socks for many years now. But this is MY car and MY blog and I can write about it if I want to.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

The American Dream

I recall talking to a friend of mine back either my senior year of high school or freshman year in college about what our dreams for the future were. We agreed that although we might not be completely conventional people, our dreams were rather conventional. We wanted a spouse, a house with a white picket fence, a dog, and 2.3 kids. I've been doing pretty good on achieving that dream. I have a spouse, a dog, a picket fence that just needs a little white paint, and I guess I still have to figure out where to get .3 of a kid.

Back when my friend and I were dreaming away, we did leave out one important detail in order to have conventional lives of the average suburbanite - a big old gas guzzling SUV. Rest assured. We now have one.

Greg and I spent the day car shopping. It was a very long day. We were very close to not even coming home with a car and needing to return next week. The place we went was 2 hours away and I was not the least bit interested in making a return trip. In the end, we are now the proud owners of a Jeep Commander.

I totally love this car. My other car was a Chevy Cavalier, a car so small that Greg had been driving it. It was hard enough to fit me and two kids in there, but there was not a chance I could fit my stroller in there or more than a couple bags of groceries. Greg said my car was like driving a scooter. Now I feel like I am driving a semi. I got a case of the giggles on the way home. I was trying to adjust my sun visor and couldn't even reach the thing! I love the space. I love feeling like I am queen of the road. I am not crazy about the color but it is just a color. The car still gets me from here to there and back again, all the while getting about half as many miles per gallon as the old Cavalier. It still has yet to be determined if we can fit the thing in our garage too.

So, where should we go tomorrow? I just want to drive it some more.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ode to Nice Weather

Oh spring time
How I love thee so
The sun is so warm
And the shade so refreshing
You make me want to kick soccer balls around the yard
And blow bubbles
And run in circles and pretend to fall down
(Marcus insisted I write that last line)

Oh nice weather
You are such a treat
A treat that I long will last forever
You make me forget all things
Like to come inside and blog
Springtime, oh wonderful springtime
This is my time
The springtime

The End


Monday, April 07, 2008

2 Year Appointment

Just a quick update. Last week Marcus had his 2 year checkup. He is now up to 34 inches tall and weighs 27 lbs and 9 oz. Sure, you might think he is little but he had quite the growth spurt. He has been hanging out in the 10-15th percentile for height and weight. All that littleness has been supporting a head that was in the 50th percentile. Over the course of 6 months, his height has moved up to the upper 50th percentile and his weight is creeping up on the 50th percentile. I guess the fact that he routinely eats more than I do is starting to show.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

In Summary...


Thursday, April 03, 2008

My Boys are Famous!!

I mentioned in an earlier entry that my friend Jen came over to take some photos of Marcus and Will. Jen decided to tease me with just two pictures of my kids for the time being. I can't stop looking at them. My kids are just so cute. Check it out for yourself on Jen's blog located by clicking here.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Spring AK Concert Tour - Third Stop

DISCLAIMER: If you want to continue to think of me as a mom who knits and sews and cooks and thinks of sunshine and rainbows and my dog, please do not read this. However, if you are willing to plunge ahead and see the other side, the side of me who has tattoos and stays out late and sometimes might not even be a good role model for young children, read on!

Yesterday was Marcus's second birthday. Being the great parents that we are, we called in a baby sitter for the kids and let him celebrate the evening with his grandmother. We went out to the most anticipated evening of the entire concert tour. We were going to see Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. (You know the theme song from King of the Hill? They wrote that.)

The show was at Altar, a venue that neither Greg nor I have been to yet. It is one of the many churches turned bars that Pittsburgh has to offer. (Is this a statement to what is happening to religion in this fine city?) Quite a cool place. The entire one wall of the room is that bar with huge screens showing anything from movies to silhouettes of dancing naked women. There are even two screens that show a shot of the stage just in case you can't see from where you are. It has a nice sized stage and the nicest bathrooms that I have been in since... I don't know when. They were really nice bathrooms! There are also lots of stained glass mirrors and cool crosses everywhere.

We got there just after the first opener came on stage. It was a band called Georgia which I really liked. They had a lot of really great harmony and strayed from the typical song format and layout. While they played, the crowd hung back along the seating against the walls or at the bar, not a single person stepped foot into the center of the floor. Greg and I merely crossed the center of the floor and found a spot at the bar. I had to order up a Corona. I just couldn't head out see the Peacemakers without a Corona... or four. We started up a conversation with a couple sitting by us at the bar. They were an "older" couple, meaning older than us, probably in their 40's.

The second opener was a trio called Jason Kendall. They were also a groovy little group although I felt they would be more suitable for background music, perhaps something to listen to as you are wandering around a rib festival. As they played, we soon became aware of some looming doom. There was Hola Lola. We had never seen Hola Lola before. We would have remembered her if we had. She was wearing a bright pink shirt that said, "Hola" on it, a shirt that was clearly made to be worn by someone around the age of 15, not someone who would have legally been able to attend the 21+ show that we were at. Hola Lola would not have surprised us the least had she been the personification of that old Kinks song "Lola" where a certain individual that was thought to be a woman turned out to be a man. We didn't have a camera on us to capture this train wreck of a human being, but to give you a better idea of what we were dealing with here, Hola Lola looked almost exactly like this:

As Jason Kendall was clearing the stage, I ordered up my third Corona and got ready to move towards the stage. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Hola Lola and her gang trying to not so slyly inch their way towards the front of the room, too scared to make a real move. I grabbed up Greg and we walked right in front of her and claimed the first spot on the floor, front and about a foot to the right of center. Unfortunately, the stage was big enough that Hola Lola was also able to follow my lead of claiming a spot at the front and ended up right next to me. The couple that we had been talking to at the bar sauntered up to us on the other side and we continued to chat with them quite a bit. It turns out that we have been at several concerts (both Peacemaker concerts and other artists) with them. Meanwhile, some old guy who was trying to pretend he was way past his prime by being a member of the Altar security team, informed us that we had to step back, that we could not be right up on the stage. He then proceeded to rope off an area across the front of the stage about 4 feet wide, explaining that he had to provide room for the waitress to walk through. Umm... bullshit. We weren't the only ones thinking that. The Peacemaker's roadie was on stage setting up and had a few choice words with Mr. Security explaining that Roger (as in Roger Clyne) was not going to be happy with that arrangement. After about 10 minutes, Mr. Security must have lost because he returned to dismantle the velvet rope barrier and all us happy people returned to our posts against the stage. Determined not to lose all his power and masculinity, he pointed at me and said, "If I see your beer up on the stage, it's mine!" As soon as he turned his back Greg said, "Okay dad!"

A couple more minutes passed and Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers were taking the stage.

(picture taken by me at Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH 3-26-06)

They kicked off the show with Wanted and instantly the band and the crowd was on fire. This band is just incredible. Their CD's are great but their concerts are just a whole different entity. The crowd is really part of the show. I am really at loss on even attempting to try to explain what one of their concerts is like. You just have to go.

Recently the band set out to write eight songs in eight days. At the end of the eight days they put on a show and performed their newest songs. Being that this took place down in Mexico, it wasn't something that I was able to just run down and be a part of. In fact, I had completely forgotten about it until they started playing a few songs I didn't recognize and Roger said something about Turbo Ocho. They played seven songs off of Turbo Ocho. It was my understanding that the album wasn't out yet but when we left the show Greg had one in his hand that he picked up at the merch stand.

At some point during the course of the concert while they were playing a song from Turbo Ocho that I didn't know, I got the wise idea to buy the band a round of shots of tequila. Since I am really somewhat shy, I didn't want to be singled out so I kinda sneaked the shots onto the stage by Roger's feet while they were in the middle of the song. You know, because giving isn't about being recognized for your actions. This of course completely backfired. Roger ended up drinking two of the shots himself. He gave one shot to the horn player that was on stage for a few songs. Then he just pissed me off. He picked up a shot and handed it to none other than Hola Lola. Bitch. This was even before Roger got the wise idea that Hola Lola should come up on stage and "throw her hair around". And to think, it was almost a perfect night. My whole outlook on giving has now been altered. From now on anytime I give something, I am going to jump up and down and scream, "Look at me! I am a giver!!"

Last show I went to was right after "No More Beautiful World" came out and he played all but one song on the entire album that night. The more I have listened to the album, the more I liked it, but I was still sour that during that particular concert he didn't play a single song from "Americano". Thankfully this show he played a pretty good mix from both Peacemakers albums and Refreshments albums. (The Refreshments were his old band. I know you know the song Banditos. ) After playing several songs that they wanted to play, they took some requests, although paid no attention to Greg yelling out his song. Then they were back into Mekong for a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Roger partly made up for irritating me with that little stunt he pulled with that shot of tequila by reaching out and taking my hand during the song. He sang and looked deep into my eyes like I was a super model. Uh huh. When they went off the stage at the end of their set, everyone started chanting "Uno más! Uno más! Uno más!" Despite the fact that a lot of their lyrics are in Spanish and I sing along, I don't know Spanish and don't know what I am singing. I also did not know what I was chanting for but it surely sounded like something I wanted! (Greg informed me that I was yelling out, "One more! One more! One more!") They came back on stage and treated us with tres más. They probably could have picked a little bit better of a show stopper for their final song than Nada, but I'll take it.

When they finished their last song I reached up and got a handshake from Roger. Then the band started leaving the stage so I jumped my little 5'2 self onto the edge of the stage and took a set list that was taped to the speaker. With the help of the set list, this is pretty much how the night went down:

I Know You Know(from Turbo Ocho)
Hello New Day
I Speak Your Language
Maybe We Should Fall in Love
Mercy (from Turbo Ocho)
I Can Drink the Water (from Turbo Ocho)
Mañana (from Turbo Ocho)
Beautiful Disaster (on the set list but they didn't play it)
Noisy Head
Tell Your Momma (on the set list but they didn't play it)
State of the Art (from Turbo Ocho)
Your Name on a Grain of Rice (on the set list but they didn't play it)
No More Beautiful World
Jack vs. Jose (by request)
Wake Up Call (by request)
Broken Record (by request)
I Don't Need Another Thrill (by request)
Mexican Moonshine (by request)
Green and Dumb (by request)
Counterclockwise (on the set list by they didn't play it)
I Do (from Turbo Ocho)

This morning while my kids beat each other up, I laid on the floor pretty worn out and listened to Turbo Ocho. I really love this album. I don't normally love any album the first listen through but for some reason, this one just really did it for me. There are actually 11 songs on the album and it includes some sort of DVD of making the album too which I'll have to watch.

In conclusion, damn good times and damn good music all around. It isn't that often that I am able to really live in the moment but when hanging out with Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers on stage, being right there in that moment is really the only place to be.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Obligatory Picture Sequence

Marcus at 2 days old

Marcus at 1 year old

Marcus at 2 years old


Look Who's Two!

Whoa. I can't believe that Marcus is two! I think every mom probably says that on every birthday their kid has. Last year at this time he still hadn't figured out the walking thing, was months away from figuring it out. He still doesn't walk. He RUNS!

We had a party for him over the weekend, just a smallish shindig with family. As far as I could tell everyone had fun. Marcus was very well behaved and after I showed him, he even opened the cards to his presents before digging into the presents.

We got Marcus a really cool workbench so Marcus can help with the home improvements.

We had cake and ice cream (although I couldn't convince Marcus to blow out his own candle). Last year we stripped Marcus down to his diaper and let him shovel the cake in by the fistful. This year we set him down and he promptly asked for a fork, and carefully picked away at his cake. Then he asked for more.

It was a little chilly outside but not cold enough to stop the birthday boy. Will got Marcus a turbo bubble blower which was definitely an outside toy. We took that out and Greg set up Marcus's new basketball hoop.

Perhaps it is inevitable that adoptive parents also think about their child's birthmom on their child's birthday. Two years ago, I didnt even know that Marcus existed. Two years ago his birthmom was laboring to have this child that she wanted a life bigger and better than she could provide. I wish that Marcus's birthmom could see him now. I wish there was some way that I could tell her how much we love Marcus. I wish that she could see how much energy he has and how when he does anything he does it with so much passion. I wish that she could share in the tight hugs that Marcus loves to give to me and the spontaneous kisses that he plants on my cheeks. I wish that there was some way for her to know that her son is okay, that he has a warm bed and plenty of food and lots of love. I wish that she could be sure that we think about her all the time.