Saturday, March 29, 2008

Taxes

I just did my taxes and I am angry. Not for the reasons you would think with all the rhetoric we hear about taxes these days.

First a little background: We are a family of four. My husband has a good job and I stay home with the boys and go to school part time. We rent. We are not poor, we have no debts and we are doing OK.

We live in California. If you haven’t heard there is a huge budget crisis here. The Governator is calling for a 10% cut across the board to all state services. Teachers are being laid off in our city schools. Classes are being cut from the community college I attend. We already had big budget problems in the county where I live and library hours have been cut and we can’t keep firefighters and police around because we pay so much less than other areas. We borrow money from the future to repair our infrastructure but dare not speak of raising taxes.

So how much income tax do you think my family pays for all the state services we use? NOTHING. That’s right, the state has decided that we are too poor to pay taxes and are refunding all the money we gave them. This offends me. Apparently it is fine to have a huge budget deficit and fire teachers but it is not OK for the government to expect me to pay for the services I receive.

Don’t even get me started on my Federal tax bill, I am getting most of my money back from them too. All the benefits we have as Americans cost money. It costs a lot of money to do all the important things our government does. We need police, firefighters, teachers, janitors, doctors, soldiers, roads, bridges, city planners and garbage trucks. Paying for it all is our patriotic duty. Don’t tell me we need “tax relief” and don’t tell me I am too poor to do my part!

Easter

I made an effort this Easter. It was not much but better than nothing.

Here is Collin in his Easter clothes, I gave him a choice of three vests and he chose the pink one from my brother's wedding.
I couldn't find Peter's white shirt anywhere (it was on the floor by my bed after the boys had thrown the load of whites on the floor) so he is in normal church clothes. He is such a cute kid-who needs Easter clothes?
I bought one of those egg decorating kits and we painted some eggs. I actually did the decorating and the boys dictated the colors. I just hate paint messes.
Here are the results!
We did a little egg hunt in our backyard. It went really well.
Here are the boys baskets. Collin went for the big eggs and Peter got most of the shiny little ones. My holiday candy policy is that the boys get to eat as much as they want that day and overnight the rest disappears.
"Where is the Easter candy Mommy?" Collin says,
"It is all gone, Easter is over." Heh, heh. I hate candy.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Break

This year the planets aligned and all three of the schools we attend had spring break at the same time! I was thinking about going to visit my parents until they announced that they had rented a house on the beach here in California and that we would all be staying in it. I was happy to have such a short trip!
We went to the pier and got milkshakes. This is Collin being a cat on the pier, he did this a lot during our trip.
The cat stands up!




We also went to the Marina where the boys enjoyed looking at the boats.


We went to the Mormon Battalion monument and hiked up the hill to the statue


While we were there we stopped in Old Town and the boys got to be blacksmiths. Collin was hesitant at first but soon warmed up to hitting clay with a hammer.

The house was right on the beach. Collin had a great time splashing in the waves with some other kids. He is the one in the little blue shorts.

Bonnema and I sat on the beach and watched him.

But Peter showed no interest in going outside and stayed inside most of the time.

Des got a few days off work and came down too.

Happy Birthday Peter!!

Peter turned three last week! It just so happened that he shares his birthday with our friend Owen. Owen's mom Melissa and I agreed that since both of us were planning on having a birthday party on Saturday and that neither of us could handle two parties in one day we would do a joint party. We went to a local playground and apart from exceptionally strong winds it went well.

This is the cake Peter picked out. Unfortunately it was too windy for candles.
Here he is opening his presents. Notice the hair. I can't say enough about the wind- it almost blew Melissa's cooler away! We were really lucky that both my grandmothers could be at the party and since it was right before spring break my parents and my brother Gabe made it too!
After the party the boys had a great time playing with thier new presents.

New Rooms!

I decided recently that many of the problems I have been having with the boys could be solved by putting them in separate rooms. I used to fervently believe that I would always have my boys share a room and everything would be great. But lately they have been fighting like cats and dogs and I have been at my wits end. We live in a three bedroom house and the third room was our guest/computer room. Lately Des has accumulated so much junk in that room that it has been unusable so I felt that we could better use the room by putting one of the boys in it. In one crazy afternoon I had Des move out his computer and then I moved the big bed in to the boys room and the tall bed into the computer room. I had originally planned on Collin having the bigger room because he is older but he wanted to stay with his bed so he got the little room. So far it has been working really well and I am quite pleased!

This is Collin's new room:
And this is Peter's new room:
I still have a few things to do, like move the big bookshelf into the garage but I think it is working well.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Collin News

A few weeks ago the schools Audiology department called to schedule a hearing test for Collin. He had failed a few hearing tests last spring and we had spent the summer at the ENT office. Out doctor recommended that we wait for his ears to clear on their own and by September they had. It was amazing when it happened, all of a sudden Collin became much more verbal and he started his new school in good shape. I thought this hearing test was a formality until he failed it. That’s right, Collin’s ears are clogged up again and he isn’t hearing very well. I have an ENT appointment scheduled for tomorrow and this time we are not waiting. I want tubes and I want them now!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Stupid Vegetables

Last week when I started this post I was planning on confessing how badly I have been doing consuming my CSA vegetable. I planed to lament my own inability to consume half a box of produce in two weeks. I was going to post pictures of the ridiculous amount of uneaten, rotting vegetables I usually have in my fridge. Here is the thing: this week I have nothing to photograph! It might have something to do with the lack of kale, chard and beets in our last box but we managed to eat almost all of our order this week! The strawberries and oranges were easy but we even ate the turnips and the bok choy! The mustard greens rotted but they were composted so it isn’t really that bad, right? I have to pick up our next delivery tonight. I hope next week goes as well!

Peter loses his adenoids (and gets tubes)


We discovered in December that Peter had fluid in his ears and was not hearing so well. We got an appointment with our ENT doctor (the same one Collin had) and he gave us the choice of waiting, getting tubes in his ears, or getting tubes and taking out his adenoids. I decided that option number three was the best for Peter and we got an appointment in record time. He had his surgery last Wednesday and it went really well. He was a bit upset when he woke up but has had a good recovery. The doctor told me that the worst part of it would be his breath and I didn't take him seriously. Now I know better, who could ever think that such a little boy could have such horrible, horrible breath? It should be gone in a few days. Since he started feeling better he has become a little chatterbox.


In other Peter related news we also had his IEP meeting with the city schools last week. He has made tons of progress and we are fortunate that they will be putting him in speech therapy twice a week after spring break at a local elementary school. The program he is currently in will stop covering him when he turns three in the middle of this month and becomes eligible for public school services.

Creepy Bunny

I used to have this problem. Collin loves to play with my hair. More specifically he likes to take a clump of my hair and twist it round and round until it starts to rip out of my head. He does this whenever he can get access to my hair - first thing in the morning, whenever I sit down or stay in one place for too long. This was a problem for me because while he was pulling my hair out he was also giving me enormous headaches. For a while I thought I was going to have to shave my head and was almost ready to do it. Fortunately I found a better solution: Creepy Bunny.

I cut a small clump of my hair from the back of my head and super glued it to the head of a stuffed bunny. It is a little odd looking but Collin absolutely loves it. He holds Bunny and twists and twists. The best news is that he has stopped pulling my hair. Occasionally he will bring bunny over and compare our hair just to make sure that it is the same. It has definitely improved my quality of life!
Yes, that is Collin on the top shelf in his closet. We used to keep stuff up there before he figured out how to climb up there. Any suggestions for how we can keep him out of there are welcome. No, the closet doesn't lock.

Collin Climbs

Collin has entered the "watch me mommy!" stage. He has been climbing the door frames in the house for a while now, it is only recently that he wants me to watch him every single time he does it. Here is a video of him climbing so that you can watch him climb over and over and over...

video