Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Cows and Tractors and Horses...NAY!"

Earlier this year, C's daycare provider moved into a different house.  Now, instead of a 6 block commute, we have to travel almost five miles to her house.  Fortunately, it's on my way to work and a blacktop behind our house makes it a nearly direct route.  Along the way, we have an amazing view of Iowa cornfields (and bean fields too).  We pass two houses with cattle, and one with horses.  We pass a bridge, a stream, two trails, and a park.

While these landmarks may seem insignificant, they sure are conversation starters for an almost 20-month old.  During the morning ride, the sun streams in through C's window--sometimes this bothers him and he shouts, "No-No Sun!"  (a trick Daddy taught him instead of crying about it).  Other times, he points to it and excitedly shouts, "Sunny!  Sunny!  Up!"  When we pass the fields with combines already harvesting the crop, he says, "Big tractor!"  He points out the "Wad-ow" when we see the stream and loves looking for "Moos" in the field.   During the afternoon drive, he points out the park and the fact that there is a tiny little "nay" to ride there.  He always looks for the real horses on the way home, but sometimes they are not in the field.  Then he tells me, "Nay. nigh-night".  I will usually say, "Yep, and Charlie is going to go nigh-night when we get home."  Lately, the answer to this has been "nope."

On Tuesdays and Thursdays we take one of C's daycare friends to her preschool class.  She tells me what they ate for lunch and whether or not C was good at daycare.  She explains the games they played at the park (usually "Mr. Bear" or "Mr. Fox"--where they have to wake up the bear or fox and he chases them. --but not the babies because they're too little) and tells me whether or not she had a happy, sad, or mad morning.  She likes it when I quiz her about what baby animals are called (baby cats are called kittens, baby hedgehogs are called hoglets, etc.)

Yesterday, as I was driving, I realized how much I love these "car conversations".  When C's friend was chattering on about the noodles at lunch, and C was looking at her and parroting her words, I couldn't help but fast forward a few years.  What will it be like when C is in preschool?  Will he have a little sibling that he adores like his friends adore him?  Will he excitedly point out horses to a little sibling like Kaden does to him?  I love the idea of happy car conversations and chatty little voices in the backseat.  (Don't get me wrong, I understand there is a reason parents use the phrase "Don't make me stop this car!"-- but for the most part, I think travel time is usually a content time) And while that day hasn't come yet, I'm definitely enjoying our little fragmented conversations about the world that zips past us on the way to daycare.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Catching Up

You may have noticed that I posted a few blogs all at once.  My confession is that I have lots of blog ideas but seldom act upon them.  Sometimes I even go so far as to type them out and then they sit buried in my computer until I'm motivated enough to post them.  I try to avoid posting all of the negative ones--thus making it appear that I'm a happy-go-lucky and positive person.  Fortunately, most of you know me and have probably heard me vent about these things that are not posted--so are probably not fooled.  Anyway, my goal is to try to post a blog more frequently-- maybe not every week, but at least once monthly.  And I'd really like to write about something other than my kid, but he just consumes my thoughts and energy.  Someday, I promise I'll post something not related to parenting!  But you just might need to give me a few years. 

Professional Party Goers!

Our past two weekends have been incredibly busy--especially for the Spahns, who usually prefer staying home in comfy clothes and watching reality TV.  But now that C is a little older and more portable, we've been venturing out, skipping a nap here and there, occasionally eating dinner 2 hours later than normal, and...... the world has kept spinning!!  (Last year at this time we really did believe we would not survive if we deviated 2 minutes from our schedule--and I'm still not convinced that we would have)

But here's a little glimpse at our busy October weekends:

Friday, September 30   
Cedar Falls Oktoberfest --chilly night but fun to get out and about!

Saturday, October 1     
Iowa State Tailgate with Keninger Family--so so much fun!  Even though they will never get me to wear ISU gear, it's still great to see everyone. Next year we will have to come early because the time went way too fast (didn't help that the only thing I did was chase C around). 
Grandpa & his grandkids--I love this pic!

Sunday, October 2       
Nora's Baptism in Waukee-- Such a sweet baby!
Congrats Nora!  
C thought the water was pretty cool.  I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to let toddlers swim in the Holy water but I don't really remember all the Catholic rules. 

After getting kicked out of the Holy water, being chased by Daddy was another fun option.

Family Photo taken outside of Brett & Marlene's House
All American Family of 8

Wednesday, October 5        
Family walk out on the Nature Trail-- gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous night to be out and about.  In a previous life, Mase, Maddy & I would have walked the mile stretch before turning around and coming back.  Now, with C leading the way and exploring everything in site, we only made it about 100 meters before running out of daylight and having to turn around.
Three of my favorite heartbeats....

Thursday, October 6
Leaf Raking!  C had his first "lesson" in raking leaves.  He is Mr. Serious when it comes to this task. I thought he'd be smiling like crazy but he was very determined with his job.  It was pretty dang cute.

Friday, October 7
Field Trip with Nicole's Daycare kiddos to the Barn Stahl Petting zoo.  Two hours was NOT enough time for all the things we needed to do.  Highlights included: huge swingset/ tree house (omg, makes me so nervous that C can climb a ladder!!), playing in the box filled with corn, feeding goats, playing basketball in the hayloft, and jumping in an inflatable castle.
C likes looking at the animals.....from a distance.  He is not thrilled with them possibly touching him.  I've got to get this kid on a farm more often.   

Saturday, October 8
UNI HOMECOMING!  Yay!  Now, I am biased but purple & gold is WAY cooler than red & gold!  (that jab is for all of my ISU family members) The weather was super warm and C couldn't get enough walking, football, and Doritos. 
Football, sippy cup, Doritos, crackers, cheese....what could be better? 

Playing in the leaves.  There couldn't have been a better day for playing in the leaves.  It was warm with a cool breeze--perfect for tossing leaves in the air. 

Sunday, October 9
C's new playset!  We've been talking about looking for a playset in the spring and we happened to talk with a neighbor about buying theirs.  Mase drove the forklift over & brought it back in 2 or 3 loads.  (This is a benefit of living in a small town where you can just drive a forklift with a swingset on it down the road, and a benefit of being married to the manager of the lumberyard) They loved the idea of us taking it away for them and we got a "new to us" playset.  C was thrilled-- I can't wait to have something entertaining for him in the yard.

C tests out the swing while Daddy tries to make it level. 

What a busy weekend!  Maybe things will slow down in the future....somehow I doubt it though. 

A Little Vent about the USPS

If you know me, you probably are aware that I am NOT a fan of the United States Postal Service.  I think I may have been at one time, but in the past few years, I really have not found any reason to love this so-called “service”. 

Now, I love receiving snail mail as much as any other person, but I also pretty much rely on e-mail for the majority of my correspondence.  I understand that the post office is in financial dire straights but quite frankly, I’m not really surprised. 

Here are a few of my thoughts: 
  1. I am no logistical analysyist, but to me, it does not make financial sense to ship packages halfway around the country “in route” to the destination.  I would like to note the following package tracking that I recently received.
    • Shipped from Oklahoma City, OK
    • First scan in TX
    • Second scan in AL
    • Third scan in LA
    • Fourth scan in (honestly) CO
    • Fifth scan in IA (yay!)
    • Oh wait….. Sixth scan in  (again, honestly) ME
    • Seventh scan in IL
    • Eighth scan in IA

So I probably could have driven down to OK to pick up this package faster than it arrived.  It was sent on the 8th of September and received on the 3rd of October.  Hmmm.  I’m shocked that people choose UPS or FedEx. 

  1. Now I am not a marketing major and don’t really get that sort of thing but usually, when a company has a monopoly on an entire industry….say, stamps for example, they usually come out on top.  You might argue, “Nobody uses stamps anymore—except for junk mail”.  You’re telling me that stamps are the only way that the PO was ever in the black?  If so, that’s a pretty risky strategy. My point is that here we have a company that offers similar services as UPS and FedEx AND they are the only ones that have stamps!  And they are broke? 

  1. Perhaps some of the reason that people would rather not deal with USPS is because of their stupid rules.  If you mail something in a Priority envelope (even recycled) it MUST be sent priority.  If you bring in a package and ask to borrow some tape, you BUY your own conveniently located on the “supplies for sale” wall.  If you pay with your credit card, it MUST be signed.  It cannot say “please see ID”.  Even if the person working is your neighbor and has your house key—hypothetically speaking here. 

For those of you whom work for the USPS or have loved ones that do, I am not suggesting that I don’t appreciate and like the workers!  In fact, they are the only good thing I can think of about this place.  I just wish the USPS would hire someone with a bit of marketing sense and make this totally potentially profitable organization a little better.  In the meantime, I’ll keep "supporting" and using our GC PO--- just complaining under my breath at the same time.  

A Little Bit of Nostalgia--

(Originally written Aug 23, 2011)

It never ceases to amaze me how a scent can bring back such vivid, strong memories.  Combine that with a song and wow, it’s like being transported back in time.  This morning, the air was cool and crisp without a drop of humidity.  There was also a sound in the air--we Midwesterners could instantly pinpoint the time of year based on the sounds alone—the combined chirping of birds as well as Cicades—both noisily buzzing away.  Summer is ending. Fall is coming.  Today was the first day of school.

As I dressed C for daycare, it dawned on me that in four years, I’ll be dressing him for his very first day of school as he heads off to kindergarten.  We’ll take pictures of him in his shiny new clothes and super fast tennis shoes holding a backpack filled with spanking new school supplies.  If he’s anything like his momma, he’ll be thrilled to get to school, see his friends and get down to business.  If he’s anything like his daddy, he’ll be thrilled to get to school, see his friends, and get outside for recess.  

Before having a baby, I assumed all of my childhood memories belonged only to me.  I remember posing for our photos on the first days of school, and walking off to Fairview Elementary School.  I remember holding hands with my friends and eagerly sharing the details of my day with our family.  But now, I’m realizing that I actually share many of those memories with my parents—and they must look back on those years gone by with a pang in their stomachs too.  

As I was listening to “the oldies” station on my morning drive, I felt transported to the past as Dave Matthews easily sang through my speakers.  I think the combination of the perfect fall atmosphere, laid back music, and Chanel Allure perfume made it impossible for my brain to ignore:

 The year was 1996.  I was a freshman at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.  I had arrived on Coe’s campus with more self-assurance and eagerness than anyone should ever be allowed.  I thought I had an adorable decorating sense (if you think bohemian chic is cool), a fine literary palate (having read all of the books by Christopher Pike, Danielle Steel, and Mary Higgins Clark), and an easy-going way of making friends (my last friend issue had been in middle school).  Little did I know that that first year at Coe would be such a rich learning experience—and I’m not talking about academics.

I had such a difficult roommate situation, which lead to a really difficult transition to school.  Luckily, one of my best friends in the whole world was at school with me—but he was busy playing on the football team and transitioning easily into the college scene.  I, on the other hand, was learning just how sickening homesickness could make a person feel.  I missed my family and my high school boyfriend more than I though possible.   Of course, this was before cell phones (wow, was there ever a time?) and long distance calling was expensive—which made conversations rare and sometimes even more heartbreaking. 

Eventually, I found some amazing people at Coe, and latched onto them!  They helped me realize that perhaps things weren’t as terrible as I thought.  They introduced me to other great people and by the spring semester, I think I actually felt happy. 

While that fall was definitely one of the most difficult transitions I’ve ever experienced, I had no idea what was ahead of me.  Looking back on my 18 year old self, I realize how naieve I was—in so many ways.  I think I took myself way too seriously—and the important stuff way to casually.  I had no concept of “bad”— missing my boyfriend was the worst thing I had endured. I had no concept of money—but I will admit that writing a $4,500 check to cover one semester struck a little chord with me.

And as I look back on that 18 year old “self”, I realize that my parents were there—watching that 18 year old person transform right before their eyes.  I’m sure that they also have a memory of this moment in my life—but of course, it’s through such different lenses—those very special “parent lenses” that you can’t really understand until you become one. 

I think about all of the changes that happen with C on a daily basis—and sometimes I get a little sad when I think about progressing to the next phase.  I honestly try to stay “in the moment” as much as possible (which is why I’m probably so tired!) and capture this time before it slips away.  And while we begin to create childhood memories for little C, I realize how cool it is to put on my “parent lenses” and file away my version of those same memories in my head.