Saturday, July 30, 2011

Because once a year is often enough for haircuts, right?

So, I have a cousin who knows how to cut hair (remember when she chopped my hair off for me in Hawaii?) and I'm lazy, so family reunions are pretty much when I get my hair cut.  And I did get my hair cut in Estes Park, but I have no before and after pictures.  I DO however, have pictures of Kalena getting her hair cut.

This?  Is her Very First Haircut.  And I refused to give her bangs because that's too much maintenance for me.

Before:  Getting long.  Also?  Getting to the point that every time I had to brush or do anything to it she would complain, "Mommy, you hurting my hair!"  And that gets old in a hurry.

Action shot.

Loving the finished product.  Mostly it looks the same, just with nice even ends instead of the scraggly ones that existed before.

Big thanks to my cousin Jule, who puts up with my and my never-cutting-my-hair ways!

Friday, July 29, 2011

My issues with Allegiant

So.  Let me just tell you a little story about getting to LA.  The flight was fine.  The kids were a little whiney from being tired, and both refused to nap, but overall they were pretty good.  Will was quite sad when he realized he didn't get his own seat but he settled down once he realized he could look out the windows.  No, our trouble didn't start until we got to LAX.

We got off the plane and Will's car seat wasn't there.  We had gate checked it SPECIFICALLY so we could avoid dealing with baggage claim.  (You can check a car seat for free.)  I asked an employee about it and she went and double checked and informed us that it must have been put with the checked baggage and we would have to go to baggage claim and there would be someone there to help me.  Annoying.  So we hauled our stuff and both kids down to baggage claim.  There, we were informed that Allegiant's baggage claim was actually one terminal over.  So we walked some more, got to the Allegiant baggage area and checked the luggage that was circling.  No car seats.  Then I get to the far end and see the car seat.  In a locked case.

I figured we were set.  I mean, I could see the seat!  It was Right! There!  There was a lady standing near the case so I asked her to open it.  She tells me I need an Allegiant employee and she'll go check for one.  She walks around the area, but no one from Allegiant is there.  She tells me I can go up to the ticket counter and get someone to come down and open it.  Alright, obnoxious, since the girl who checked for the car seat at the plane told me there would be someone AT baggage claim.  But whatever.  We are SO ready to leave.  Up at ticketing there is no one at the Allegiant counter.  Awesome.  The guys at the counter next to it inform me (when I ask whether someone is in the back) that there are rarely employees at the Allegiant counter.  Extra awesome.

I go back downstairs and do a lap hoping someone is there no.  No luck.  I ask the lounging security guard if he can open it.  He directs me to an office.  The employees there inform me that A) they work for another airline B) only an Allegiant agent can open the case C) there is no paging system in place at LAX D) they have no way to contact Allegiant employees and E) there are almost never Allegiant employees in the baggage area.  SUPER DUPER.  I'm pretty pissed at this point.  They suggest the ticket counter may list a customer service number.  I go back up.  No employees (no surprise) and no number.

I'm wishing I had a hammer so I could just break into the damn case.  No employees in the baggage area.  No employees at the ticket counter.  No listed numbers anywhere.  And a car seat LOCKED IN A CASE.  Also?  We were at baggage claim within like 30 minutes of landing.  How in the world did they get all the baggage down there, on the baggage carousel, picked up by other people on the flight, leftovers off the carousel, locked up, and all employees gone by the time we got down there?!

We're considering leaving (since we apparently have no way to contact anyone) when I realized I had the reservation customer service number still in my phone from the other day.  (I had to call to confirm we had a lap child.)  I figure it's worth a shot to call.

After 10 or so minutes on hold an agent asks how she can help.  Our conversation goes like this:
Me: I need a phone number to get ahold of someone who works for Allegiant baggage claim at LAX
Her: Those numbers aren't public
Me: Well, I gate checked a car seat which then ended up with the checked baggage and now it's locked up.  There are no agents in baggage or at the ticket counter and no other airline knows how to get ahold of Allegiant employees.
Her: Let me put you on hold.
Me: Sure.
Her: It looks like no one will be back in until Monday
Me in my head: Are you %&$*#&@ kidding me right now?
Me out loud: It's a CAR SEAT.  How am I supposed to get home?
Her: Let me put you on hold.
Me: Sure
Her: We're trying to get ahold of the person in charge there to see if they can reach someone at the airport.
Me: Thanks
Her: They're sending someone down.

So finally.  FINALLY.  A girl comes in and opens the case.  And you know what?  It's one of the girls who was STANDING RIGHT THERE when they told me there would be someone AT BAGGAGE to help me.  The whole ordeal took an hour and a half.  Including a half hour on the phone with the customer service girl.

Right now the only person at Allegiant I don't hate is the girl on the phone who (eventually) got someone to help.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm not ready!

Well, tomorrow is the day.  My mom and I board a plane for LAX with both kids in tow.  Brian thinks he'll be lonely without us here (and he probably will be, a little) but all I can think is how relaxing it would be to spend a whole week without the kids.  Anyway, here's a little pre-flight list of thoughts:

Things in our favor:
The flight is non-stop.  No layovers, no changing planes.  Thank heaven.
One adult per child.  You parents who fly by yourself with more than one child?  I applaud you.  I would be having a nervous breakdown right now if I were going without my mom.
Backpacks ready with snacks and new dollar store toys and entertainment.  Enough to keep these kids busy for the whole flight?  Let's hope so.
Kids who (as yet) have shown no tendency toward motion sickness.

Things not in our favor:
Open seating.  We're flying Allegiant and you have to pay extra (per person each way) if you want to pick seats.  Or if you want priority boarding.  We opted not to pay for that and now we're just crossing our fingers that we can all sit together.
No checked bags.  Again, you have to pay for checked bags.  While normally I think doing only carry-on is a pro, we'll have 2 carry-on bags, 3 "personal items" (Kalena has her own backpack), a car seat to gate check, and two kids to wrangle.  I'm not sure we'll have enough hands.  (Thankfully my mom's family has a booster seat for Kalena so we didn't have to bring that too.)

And lastly, one big UNKNOWN:
The flight is during the kids normal afternoon nap.  This could mean both kids fall asleep and sleep the whole way (please, Please, PLEASE!)  Or it could mean non-stop meltdowns in the middle of a plane full of people who spend the entire flight hating me.  Could also turn out to be completely irrelevant.  I'll be sure to update you.  I know you're excited.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This doctor is going to start thinking we abuse these kids

At lunch today Brian came home and was dancing with Kalena.  Afterward she started to complain that her hand hurt.  But as far as we could tell nothing had happened that would actually make her hand hurt, so we figured she was being dramatic.  She kept crying about it, but it was almost nap time, so I chalked it up to her being tired and therefore prone to meltdowns.  I put her down for her nap and figured if she was still saying it hurt when she got up I'd call the doctor.

Well.  After about 45 minutes of sleep she woke up crying and telling me her hand hurt.  I called the pediatrician and the receptionist set us up with another doctor since our regular doctor wasn't in today.  I was a little torn about taking her in.  On the one hand, nothing looked wrong.  No bruising, no swelling, no deformation of her wrist, and nothing had happened that we thought would cause an injury.  On the other hand, she was totally favoring her right side (the non hurt side) even though she tends to be a lefty, and crying anytime I bumped her left hand (and she's usually got a pretty high tolerance for pain.)  So in we went.

And who did we see?  Oh yes, the same doctor we saw when Will got his finger chopped off.  It turned out Kalena had a dislocated elbow.  She was better immediately after the doctor put it back in place.  Brian and I still aren't sure how it happened, since he wasn't pulling her up by her arms or swinging her, or any of the things listed as probable causes.  However it happened, it happened and I'm glad I took her in.  Let's hope for no more injuries this year, shall we?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Estes Park

So, I've been on vacation.  (I know!  I was actually on top of things enough to schedule posts to publish while I was gone!)  We had our annual Gustavson family reunion in Estes Park this year.  Despite having lived in Colorado most of my life, I've only been in Estes once before and we didn't actually do anything in town.  This time we did some fun stuff.  Like Trout Haven!

This was probably the highlight for Kalena.  She was super excited to go fishing, more excited to catch fish, and was thrilled to actually get to eat them.  And maybe the best part was that the dads took the kids fishing while the ladies went to downtown Estes to shop.

Here she is, ready to fish!

Checking out her first catch.

Not so thrilled to take pictures with the fish.

Then she asked to eat fish every meal until my dad finally cooked some for her.  The girl knows what she wants.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The dentist was good for more than just teeth cleaning

While I was checking in at the dentist, (which took like a year because they couldn't figure out how to get my insurance information entered) I noticed a flyer for the PBS Fun Fest.  And it was going on the next day!  And, AND!  The Cat in the Hat was going to be there!  (I don't know if I've mentioned this here, but Kalena LOVES the Cat in the Hat.)

So the next morning my mom and I hauled the kids over to the park to check it out.  (My mom teaches so she's on summer vacation.  That's why she's free to help me schlep my kids around to all this stuff.)  Anyway, we did some fun stuff.

Played some drums at the symphony booth.  (See her Cat in the Hat shirt?  She couldn't wait to meet him.)

She bounced in the bump-n-jump

Met Clifford (who she doesn't know but apparently thought looked friendly enough.)

And we met the Cat in the Hat.  Kalena?  Was TERRIFIED.  This was as close as she would get.  After we saw him Kalena insisted that we need to go home.  And that the Cat needed to stay there.  Like we might decide to take him home with us.  Then all the way home she told us, "Dat cat a wittle scawy."  I asked her about it later and apparently he was bigger than she thought.  She thought he would be her size.

Anyway, it was still pretty fun.  Plus there were lots of freebies-- books (given out by our pediatrician's office, who also gives out books at well visits as part of a program to encourage kids to read) more new toothbrushes (WOOHOO!) from the dentist, suckers, coloring sheets, and free kids meal coupons for a few different places.

Will spent the whole time being carried around by my mom.  But at the station where they were giving out bubbles my mom asked for one for him so there wouldn't be a fight.  And it's a good thing she did, because he latched on to those bubbles and wouldn't give them up until nap time.

Love those bubbles.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dentist time

The pediatrician has been asking if the kids have been to the dentist yet.  And then reminding me that the recommended age for a first visit is ONE.  So I figured I probably ought to at least set up an appointment before I took them in for their well checks last week.  Especially because I think 3 is PLENTY old enough to see a dentist.  And if I was going to take Kalena I might as well take Will too.

Anyway, it worked out that the dentist had appointments available for the same day as their well checks, so I figured, why not?  Who doesn't want shots and teeth cleanings all in the same day?  Plus I already knew my mom was free to come with me.  Because as much as I didn't want to wrangle both my kids through two well checks, I REALLY didn't want to wrangle them both through two first dentist visits.

I've heard horror stories about first visits-- crying, screaming, biting.  All kinds of good stuff.  So I was braced for the worst.  Instead, it was all pretty anticlimactic.  The kids did great.  The hygienist even commented on how well Kalena was doing for her age and opted to use the actual cleaning brush instead of just a regular toothbrush.  Kalena was THRILLED to have her teeth cleaned.  I'm totally serious, she loves to brush her teeth and she was super excited about the whole dentist thing.  Will was a little wiggly, but still pretty cooperative.  The dentist declared everything was good.  No cavities and we all went home happy.  Although, probably none of us were as happy as Kalena who got a New! Toothbrush!  YAY!  (Guess I know what she wants in her stocking for Christmas this year.)

And now I just have to find out how often our insurance will pay for cleanings so I know whether to set up their next appointments for 6 months from now or a year from now.  Exciting!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pictures! From May, because they were on my mom's camera and not mine.

So, back in May my mom decided that they needed some sort of little swing set for the grandkids.  We opted to set it while the kids were there.  You might think having the kids there would be a distraction, but they didn't need it to be finished to play with it.

Checking out the landscape.

Slide which way now?

Alright, that works better.

Who needs to be buckled in to a swing?  Just hang on tight!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


So, I'm not sure when I moved to the ghetto, but apparently I have because last night?  There was a shooting across the street from my house.  Yes.  A shooting.  One man killed, two others injured.  ACROSS THE STREET FROM MY HOUSE.

I think we need to move.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Well visits for the little ones

Since Kalena turned 3 in May and Will turned 18 months in June, I opted to schedule their well visits back to back.  And then I made my mom promise to come with me so that I wouldn't have to deal with both kids for a visit twice as long as normal.  Luckily for me, my kids are my mom's favorite so she was happy to come.  Alright, she never said my kids are her favorite.  But I'm sure they're in the top 10.

Anyway, here's what we learned.  Kalena is still quite big for her age.  At 40 inches tall and 36 lbs 2 oz she is in the 93% for height and the 86% for weight.  Still no idea where she's getting those tall genes from.  Will, on the other hand, is my little guy.  At 30 1/2 inches tall and 24 lbs 3/4 oz he is in the 5% for height and the 21% for weight.  I guess it's a good thing he's the younger sibling, because Kalena would still be the bigger one!  Also, Will still has a big head.  But it's stayed the same size, so hopefully he'll grow into it sooner or later.

They're on track developmentally, which is good.  Of course, there are some stages of development I wish would go a little faster.  For instance, Will is going through a phase of not wanting to have his diaper changed.  If you ask if he needs changed he'll yell, "Naaaooooo!" and run away.  (Well, his version of running.  Those short little legs don't go very fast.)  And Kalena's getting a little bossy these days, but I suppose that's to be expected with an oldest child.  Right?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Questions for you

Some things I've been pondering and want opinions on.  Particularly from those of you with older kids.

1) What is a good age to give up sippy cups altogether?
2) When do you quit letting your kids ride in a stroller (or cart at a store) and make them walk?
3) When (and oh my gosh HOW) do you nighttime potty train?
4) Is introducing a third child to the mix easier or harder than introducing a second?  CURIOSITY.
5) When do your kids start having their own chores?

I'm ready for your thoughts, lovely readers.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I guess I need to pay closer attention when we're picking up

Because we have swamp coolers, our windows are open most of the time.  The kids love to look out the windows-- they watch for dogs, or bikes, or wait for daddy to come home.

So when I opened one of the windows the other morning and found a tiny skateboard sitting inside the window frame my only thought was, "Well that explains why I couldn't get the window to latch closed last night."

P.S.  I'm posting about sugar cookies over at Food Lush today.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

He knows what he's afraid of

My mom and I had a lunch thing today, so I asked my brother and sister in law to watch the kids.  We dropped them off, and as I was walking out the door Will realized I was leaving so he turned to run after me crying and saying, "Mama!"  (And then he fell down right as I left.  Pretty pathetic.)  Then, approximately 37 seconds later (seriously, we were only like a block from the house) my brother sends me a text message that reads:

Sorry to say, but you are apparently easily replaced by an inflatable t-rex.

That's right, as soon as the dinosaurs came out all thoughts of Mama were gone.  Apparently he carried the dinosaur around for most of the time.

Then when we picked the kids up my sister in law informed me that Will was terrified of their dog, Petri.  Like, trembling when Petri came too close.  She said she ended up putting Petri in the kennel.  Petri?  Is a miniature pinscher.  He weighs like 10 lbs.  He is TINY.  So let's get this straight: man-eating dinosaur = something to cuddle and teeny tiny dog = time to be terrified.  Well, as long as we're clear.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Waiting for daddy to come home:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Toddler Talk

On of my favorite speech mistakes Kalena makes right now is that she pronounces "knife" "wife."  It just makes for hilarious sentences.

"I need a fork and a wife."
"Mommy have a wife and daddy have a wife and I have a wife!"
"Be careful, that a shawp wife."

Love it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Raising a rule follower

Yesterday while running errands I ended up downtown, parked a half a block from a little (free) splash pad.  It was the last errand and we still had about an hour to kill before naptime, so I figured- why not let the kids play?  We walked over and I told Kalena she could go play.  (Well, I told Will too, but he's not really old enough to, you know, take direction.)  She watched for a minute and then asked, "I play?"  And I told her sure, she could play.  So she watched for another minute and asked, "Think I play?"  And I told her yes, definitely, go play, get wet!  So she splashed a little bit and came back to me and said, "My shorts get wet."  It took several minutes of questions and reassurances before she finally enjoyed herself (and got soaking wet.)

It made me laugh a little that she was so hesitant.  She is pretty fearless, so I knew she wasn't nervous about playing with the other kids (unlike Will, who stood off to the side and just held his hand in the water.)  She just didn't want to do something that would get her in trouble.  She's not a big fan of being in trouble.  I guess that's a good thing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

From zero to obnoxious in 1.6 seconds

A few days ago things were normal.  Nothing new to report, nothing particularly exciting going on.  But now?  Now Kalena has entered the "why" phase.  Every single answer I give her is followed by: "But why?  But why, mama?"  It's been like 3 days and I am already SO over it.  I don't even want to know how many times I've had to resort to saying, "Because I said so."  I even end up saying it in situations where it doesn't make sense because at least then she's stops asking!  Other than that, about the only thing that stops the questions is answering with, "I don't know, why do you think?"

So any helpful tips to make it through all the why-ing?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I suppose that's a good reason

So, we were discussing the diving board with Kalena, and Brian asked her why she wouldn't jump.  She said, "I saw a big T-Rex in the water."  I guess I wouldn't jump either if I thought a dinosaur was waiting in the pool.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Last lesson

Kalena had her last swim lesson yesterday, which in GJ means diving board time!  (All the kids get to go off the diving board at least once during a session.)  She didn't actually jump which was a big surprise to me.  I thought for sure she'd be throwing herself off at the first opportunity.  For the kids that don't want to jump, the lifeguard lowers them off the board and then drops them into the water.  Here she is, ready to go!

I'm throwing these next couple pictures in here for a little side story.  When I was in Midland I was surprised that there was no huge public pool that everyone went to.  It surprised me because this is the public pool I grew up going to.  Here's the kids pool (it's like 2 feet at the shallow end and 3 or 4 at the deep end):

And here's the big pool (5 feet deep to the lap lanes, then 12 feet under the diving boards):

The diving boards are at the far end, it's kind of hard to see in this picture.  Also there's a splash pad to the west of the kids pool and a waterslide (like 3 stories high enclosed tube slide) to the west of the big pool.  And this is the public pool.  Unless you belong to the country club you swim here.  ALSO, every Wednesday kids under 18 are free.  Wednesdays are creatively known as "free day."  Apparently the guy who donated the money to build the pool wanted a safe place for kids to swim to help prevent drownings in the canals and rivers.  (Those drownings still happen every summer by the way, but hopefully not as many.)

Back to the swim lessons!  Here's Kalena with her class playing some swim game.

And I can't resist Buster in his little superman swim suit.  (A birthday gift from Kari & Jonathan.)

And there you have it.  No more swim lessons this summer.  Although, I am a big fan of the 8 lesson 2 week session set up.  It's pretty easy to find a two week period over the summer without other big things going on.  

So, what's up with you?

Friday, July 1, 2011


Kalena came in from the yard a few minutes ago to inform me that Will was "stuck in the tunnel."  We don't actually have a tunnel in our yard, but she tends to call hallways tunnels, so I figured she meant he was out behind the shed.  (There's a narrow space between the shed and the fence.)  I also figured he wasn't actually stuck since a) I didn't hear him crying and b) there is plenty of room for me to walk behind the shed so how would a much smaller person get stuck?

Here's how:

He was a little disgruntled about the whole thing.