Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't Cry for me Arizona...

Things we have learned here in Arizona:

1. Dry heat is still hot. In the shade, in the car, on the black asphalt street. I don't care if it's wet, dry, moist, or damp, it's freaking hot.
2. You can sweat off 7 pounds just walking 6 blocks to get your kids from school in 108 degree weather. You smell, but you're slimming down.
3. Having one kid at home all day is so easy. What was I complaining about all those years when it was just Logan?
4. Homework is just as big of a pain in the butt in Arizona as it is in California
5. You can still spend $250 at Costco and go home and think "what did I spend $250 on?"
6. They don't call soccer practices here when it is 100 degrees. If they did, the kids would never practice.
7. When they say drink lots of water - it's really not a recommendation, more a commandment.
8. Dehydration causes 4mm kidney stones. That's right, you heard me, 4mm equals 4 hours in the ER with a husband puking because he was so much pain. Then he passed out on the pain meds and told all of the nurses that they were "awesome" and kept telling me "you are so pretty"
9. Those 4 hours in the ER turned into 4 hours in a waiting room while I waited for him to get out of surgery. A failed surgery no less. So the 4 hours will now be extended while he goes through a more extensive surgery in two weeks. If kidney stones really are like giving birth, he will be in labor about a month. Don't be jealous!!
10. A cactus can be pretty to look at. Some even grow flowers, and the ones that are tall, and sometimes have arms growing off of them, take 50 years to grow one of those "arms." I guess I never appreciated the time things take to grow and cultivate. A good lesson to learn when you have just moved.

School House Rocks...

All summer long we have been preparing Caitlyn for school as Logan walks around the house repeating "kindergarten baby, stick your head in gravy." She thought she was pretty cool going to big kid school like her brother, she wasn't scared at all. So I thought, "sweet, no weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth for the first day of school." And that was all least for her. You would think with this being my second to go to kindergarten that it wouldn't be so hard to let her go. Especially after a summer of,

"Mmmmooommmm, Logan hit me"

Mom sighs and says "Logan, come here" (repeated three times before it needs to be screamed because he isn't listening)

Logan defensively and flippantly replies "What? She hit me first!"

To which mom spews, "Caitlyn, did you hit him"

Caitlyn finally responds in a puddle of tears "But he wasn't being nice to me."

You could easily interject Reagan into these exchanges using short, piercing screams instead of actual words.

Yes it was a summer full of these little scenes, and I was sooooo ready for school to start. That is until the moment I took the picture of the two of them, on the front steps, complete with backpacks, all ready to start school. That's the moment my eyes started to leak. Thinking that I could have complete control of my emotions, and refusing to cry, I instead focused on something that Nathan was doing to tick me off, so that I conjure the rage and not the tears. It didn't take long, he was filming me walking with the kids up the street and I HATE being on camera. Poor Nathan.

In the ten minutes it took to get to school in the flesh melting heat (yes it is already 90 degrees by 8:30 am) I pretty much had it under control. But in my need to keep it together, I neglected to focus on Logan's emotions for the day. After all, it was his first day at a new school, in a new state. The complaining of the bananas on the waffles for breakfast was starting to make sense. He was going to puke from the nerves, not my cooking.

While walking into the school, I opted to take Logan to his class. I couldn't handle the kindergarten corridor. Way to many tears, and far to much potential for me to mix my own tears into the sweat dripping from my nose. All Logan had to say was "I know where I am going, bye mom."

On my way back to meet up with Nathan, I peaked in on the kindergarten class that had more parents than students. I was strong, and brave, and I could take that picture of her in class without any tears. Chyeah right. I took the picture biting my bottom lip while Caitlyn humored me with a shot at her desk. I told her "Bye Caitlyn, have a great first day, I love you." A monster lump was in my throat, but I made it though. The last words I heard from her that morning were "Bye Mom." Said in a slight tone of disgust? Nice.

And so it is the blessing and the curse of independent children.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Taking You Home..

Home is where our story begins. It's a quote I have hanging in the kitchen. Home is where so many milestones occur, laughter is heard, and where kids discover their first best friends in siblings. That is until they venture out into the world and discover there are way cooler people to hang out with. In our home in Murrieta, I can remember so many milestones that occurred, like Logan starting kindergarten, learning to ride a bike, and discovering good friends. Caitlyn was born there, and had a best friend in Libby from the start. They were born three weeks apart, and Caitlyn always found comfort in knowing that whatever new thing she had to start, Libby would be there too. It was that way for sunbeams, a ward split, and pre-school. They did them all together. So I basically became the one eyed, one horned, giant purple people eater when I told her we were moving to a different state. Especially to one that is a raging inferno of heat.

We have been thinking about a move since Nathan began his new job last April which requires a significant amount of travel. As much as the man has the potential to make me crazy, we still want his around more than half the year. And because he works from home when he is not traveling, we could pretty much chose which part of his area we wanted to live in. The options were Oklahoma (fun song, not a fun place), Texas (ah, yeah no), New Mexico (does anyone really live there), Northern California (not yet a millionaire), Utah, and Arizona. So it all came down to either too hot, or too cold. Since the idea of shoveling snow to take the kids to school when Nathan traveled did not appeal to my saner self, we went with Arizona, because I just have to push the thermostat button a few times to cool off. I can do that even when he is traveling.

Anthem, Arizona to be exact. It is a little town in the mountains north of Phoenix on the way to Sedona, Prescott, and Flagstaff. The weather is a little cooler than Phoenix (so when it is 115 there, it is only 107 here) and much greener, with more...oh we will call it "wildlife." Yes the desert mountains are apparently full of scorpions, spiders, bats, little gross black bugs, rabbits, coyotes, rattlesnakes, and much to Nathan's delight, freakishly mean little boars that eat cactus and can be legally hunted.

The house is surrounded by these gross little black bugs, and we often see rabbits and squirrels running across the street, and bats flying at night. But the community center for the neighborhood is fantastic. If they put in the "lazy river" it would be it's very own Raging Waters, or Soak City. There are two giant water slides, and then two little water slides and a play area complete with the giant dumping bucket. There is also a lap pool and a diving area with a three meter board. The kids are in heaven. They don't even care that they have no friends yet. And yes, on the mother's guilt meter, that ranks very high. Almost as high as swiping a piece of ear off of your son while giving him a haircut for the first day of school (more on that later).

They seem to be adjusting ok. Logan made the soccer club team here; he is also in boy scouts, and has several boys in his class at church. Caitlyn has made friends with a few of the girls in church, although she came home this week and said that she got in trouble because she was too "lousy" (her word for loud) in class. She has also been over to a little girl's house for a play date and went to the chocolate factory with a bunch of other kids. Reagan, well she doesn't much care as long as she has things to destroy. It makes no difference to her where that occurs. So it will be a new home for us. One where Caitlyn will start school, learn how to ride a bike, and discover new friends. And Logan will discover the wonders of Santa Claus, the birds and the bees, and high school. Good times. As for Reagan, we just hope she will peel herself away from my leg long enough to discover that there are a lot of really cool things out there.

And because I am a twisted soul who can't resist, I guess there is just one thing left to say..."Welcome home Kroeger family, welcome home."

You've Had a Birthday Shout Hurray!

At five years old I'm as cute as can be

Pink is the color that's dearest to me

I paint and sing and play dress up

But right now my heart's set on my own "little" pup

I'll be starting at school where my big brother goes

What fun I will have there everyone knows

Kindergarden all day how scary is that

I hope I learn fast where everything's at

I am growing so fast from my head to my feet

In the "sweetest" department I have every kid beat

A sweet little princess is what they say

A little something learned each and every new day