Sam’s three

Posted in family matters,half pint,Uncategorized by littlemissmel on the April 18th, 2014

I think it’s come down to birthday updates and house renovation posts on this here blog. I look at my sidebar and the entire thing is out of date. Man, oh man.

Oh well. I’ll look back on this time of my life and remember how busy I was and completely understand why I didn’t stop every 24 hours to fill everybody in on the latest.

Plus, do you really want to know how one of Ryan’s 18 baseball games went? Or Hunter’s? I mean, yes there are certain moments that are super awesome, hilarious, irritating and FRUSTRATING, but I just don’t the UMPF to bring it here after all is said and done.

I don’t think I got to Sam last year on the birthday updates. I hit Ryan and Hunter, but Sam got left out. Poor pup. He is the only one this year who didn’t get a party. We celebrating on his actual birthday, the 2nd, but it only included the 5 of us with ice cream cake, pizza and presents. That’s all he needs.

We celebrated Ryan’s 9th birthday yesterday at a pizza/videogame/rides place, but stuck Sam in our drop-in kid care place because it is quite difficult to watch a 3 year old amongst 13, 9 year olds high on sugar.

So, SAM.

Let’s update.

He’s busy. I don’t think as busy as Hunter was, but being around 2 older brothers, his age and his spunk sure stand out. He’s a lover. He’s the cuddliest one of the bunch and I am so grateful this type of kid came last. I needed him to carry me through the baby/toddler years as bonded as possible as my last hurrah and all.

He’s been to the ER for potential kid medicine OD. (He didn’t) He’s been to the doctor to check for a concussion. (He didn’t have one.) He’s the only one that has drawn on the walls with crayon. (But, he’s the only one who has access to them at this age.)

I recently saw some washable marker on the duvet cover upstairs, a ring pop stuck in the carpet in the hallway and half-eaten yogurt tubes and pbj sandwiches in places they do not belong. He’s peed and pooped outside on a few occasions even though he has been potty trained for 6 months. He rides his bike in the front yard (dead end) and usually ends up at a neighbors house somewhat naked.

I’m humored that all that has come to mind are these typical situations, but in rereading above, it’s all me. Hunter is all me. I climbed into the attic before I could walk, I ran down to the neighbors house naked during a diaper change and I used to climb the shelves of the refrigerator.

I’m lucky I don’t have it worse?! I guess my mom made it through raising me since my brother was 5 years older and he had different ways to keep her on her toes.

Sam is always happy. He has a super smile and kills you with his eyes. He’s quite coordinated and is the biggest size at this age of all my boys. He has had big hands and feet since he was born, so who knows what that will bring.

I told him a story recently and now all he tells people is he peed on the doctor when he was born. It takes people quite by surprise.

He loves to watch Chuggington, followed by Team UmiZoomi, then Peppa Pig and Backyardigans. It’s funny what they love and continue to add to the rotation.

He’d rather play with his brothers, but finds himself playing with trains/tracks while alone most of the time. Did I ever score when I invested in Thomas wooden tracks and destinations. They have standed up to the test of time!

He likes to build legos, but gets frustrated when things fall apart with his magnatiles. He’s particular and wants a chocolate chip Clif bar at all times. His “chocolate bar” would be his entire diet if I let him. I could put anything in a smoothie and he’ll suck it down, but he doesn’t like to eat pears and most veggies. Although, I could hand him most pouches from the grocery store and they will be empty before I checkout.

The other two guys are still going strong with eating most anything I serve. Sam? Not so much. One day he’ll eat an entire banana and the next, he’ll have nothing to do with it. I guess I just need to feed him secret liquids until his texture issues subside. Inconvenient!!

He’s my last babe and luckily he loves to love me. I’m truly thankful he still shows his baby side and needs me. It will be very quiet here come August where he will be going to PRESCHOOL three days a week for 3 1/2 hours each day. I know I will miss him terribly. Once they start school, that’s it, it’s over. I am very certain and extremely pleased to know he is our last baby. If I were on my same three year path, I would have a newborn right now. I can’t tell you how difficult that would be for me. I’d break. I just know it.

This post has continued on to Friday of Spring Break where I sit in bed and type out this post at 10:40am. Ryan and Hunter are playing Minecraft on the XBox and I hear Sam in the freezer looking for frozen blueberries, BUT I am still in bed. Total score on having older, closer to efficient kids. I love it. Now I hear him washing his hands in the bathroom, then telling himself, “now, we are going to brush our teeth.” Sigh.

We surprised the boys and went to Disneyland this past Sunday. It was an amazing trip with true exhaustion written all over it. We got back on Wednesday, then I went to the doctor yesterday and was diagnosed with viral bronchitis! My long-standing, bothersome cough has a name! Seriously. No wonder I was spent at Disneyland. Inhaler and script for cough syrup with codeine. Here’s to better health, quickly.

It seems I was on Twitter on the right day yesterday when The Blathering for next Spring’s registration opened. I went ahead and signed up without hesitating and I am so glad I did. It sold out in 24 hours!! CRAZY pants. Now, I just have to wait a year…

Next up, Ryan.






Kitchen Reno. Done.

Posted in kitchen renovation by littlemissmel on the October 15th, 2013

A look at the final results…Specifics to come.

Kitchen Reno complete.

Kitchen Reno complete.

Kitchen Reno complete.

Kitchen Reno complete.

Kitchen Reno complete.

Kitchen Reno complete.

Kitchen Reno complete.

Kitchen Reno complete.

Kitchen Reno complete.

I am pleased as all get out.


And I’m going to be 40…someday!?!

Posted in family matters,ho ho holiday by littlemissmel on the September 20th, 2013

Well, it’s here. I’m 40. Today.

Definitely bizarre.

10 years ago, I was in San Diego, while J was working down there, and we stopped off at someone’s apartment on the way home from a friend’s house only to find 15 of my closest friends there for the weekend to surprise me for my 30th birthday! Man, was that cool.

What a crazy decade it’s been since!

After pizza and ice cream cake, J and I are headed to see Kathy Griffin live. It was a last minute decision, but I’m excited to do something fun and different for the big day. Tomorrow, we’ll head out for a celebratory dinner down in Sacramento.

As for the renovation, Day 5, we passed Permit Inspection on our electrical!! PHEW. The electrician finished up and we’ve got a hole in the roof for venting that was put in later last night.

We’ve got the weekend off only to move the gas line and dry wall the entire kitchen on Monday. Come Tuesday, cabinets start going in! CAN’T WAIT.


Kitchen Demo: Electrical. Day 3

Posted in Uncategorized by littlemissmel on the September 18th, 2013

Ok, you guys are full of no helpful information.

Just kidding. Who am I kidding? I’ve eaten out 3 out of 4 nights and had a Trader Joe’s chicken pot pie from the microwave for dinner last night. Mind you, I have been here with only two kids for the past 2-3 days, so I hope our menu will step it up a bit when J and Sam return tomorrow!

So, today, the electrician was scheduled to come. I worked with him for a bit while the kids were at school going over each and every outlet, recessed light, etc to get it right the first time and send him off to do what he does best. What I hadn’t planned on was having the tile come over and patch a tender section of the sub-floor that needed some major help before the cabinets are installed on Tuesday.

Kitchen Reno Day 3

While this was happening, I was off picking up cabinet glass for the hutch and my plumber shows up who I had called earlier asking him to change where the gas line comes up through the floor. We moved the range over a bit, so the gas line just won’t do where it is. Why were these things not on my mind prior to demo? NOW I KNOW.

I missed the plumber and haven’t heard from him since he’s been by to see if he can change the gas before Monday. Keep your fingers crossed he can get over here by Friday! Wheeee.

And the last issue I had was making a hole in my ceiling and roof to vent out our range hood. In the current kitchen, they had a downdraft vent going down and out the bottom of the house. We decided not to go in that direction for multiple reasons, so we need a hole. The guy who said he “had people” ended up not having available people, so I called a GM guy who I had totally ditched a month ago based on his pricing to help me out. He showed up, said he could do it tomorrow and all should be well. I also had a backup guy coming out this afternoon, but called and canceled when I had a solution in place. He, of course, did not get my message and I passed him in my neighborhood on our way out to a school meeting. Oh well.

So, that’s it for today. Tomorrow is the second day for the electrician, the hole in the roof and HOPEFULLY our gas line moved.

I can say this. Being a female on the front lines of an all-male profession, has been quite interesting. I will have to form some more conclusions over the next couple of weeks and return to state my findings. I can say, women have power. You just need to know when and how to use it, (properly, of course.)



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Kitchen Reno: Part 1. The Demo

Posted in Uncategorized by littlemissmel on the September 17th, 2013

Well, we are past the initial phase of our renovation. Wait, before we get to that part, J and I did have a little fun the night before we started and played dress up after a glass or two of wine.

Kitchen Reno '13

It was J’s idea, but we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to pull it off due to his annual guys trip this past weekend. Luckily, it only took 2 minutes to prepare for, so we went for it.

Kitchen Reno '13

We gave the demo guy two days for his job, but he stated he only needed one. Things were going just fine until they started trying to pull up the floor. It seems two layers of linoleum and particle board and 500 extra nails are quite difficult to remove. All in all, it took 1 1/2 days to complete and an additional $500 from original quote. Hey, I am all for being a stickler, but if you were hear listening and seeing what they had to do, you’d throw money at them out of pity. Seriously. (J would say otherwise, of course. Men!)

Kitchen Reno '13

There is an area on the sub-floor that needs some tending to. Our tile guy will be replacing some boards to make them more sturdy. He’ll also add some extra thin boarding to the entire floor before adding the Hardy Backer and tile in a week and a half. More money for parts and labor. You never know what’s underneath a 1964 year old floor! No wonder there were two layers of flooring. No one wanted to deal with it. THANKS.

The electrician starts tomorrow, so we won’t have any good updated photos until Monday when the dry wall and the paint (courtesy of J and me) goes up.

I can say that having Sam stay at my in-laws since demo morning yesterday has been PRICELESS. I can’t imagine getting used to this with a small kid in tow. We are keeping up the tarps in the kitchen for the entire project to keep the dust and stuff in the kitchen and little children out of the mess.

If you could, would you give me your favorite, easy crock pot recipe, please. I need creative help in my make-shift kitchen in the living room. Day 2, 17 to go!


Kitchens and milestones

Posted in blah blah by littlemissmel on the September 6th, 2013

Sweet Jesus. That was a long break. What the hell?

Oh, well. Moving on.

We’re renovating our kitchen! In 10 days!!

And I’m going to be FOURTY…in 14 days!!

GAH to all of the above.

We decided to hire and run the renovations ourselves. Due to J having a job outside of the house, a lot of decisions have been left up to me, which is totally fine, but researching, deciding, finding the best price, ordering/booking and scheduling makes my head spin. Oh, and I have three kids to manage.


I’m going to be taking some before pictures soon and posting them here.

Glad to be back.


A License to FIVE

Posted in family matters,hola the alligator,Uncategorized by littlemissmel on the May 17th, 2013

And now it’s Hunter’s turn.

As I’ve told many people, he’s my busy one. That doesn’t apply much to him anymore. I think as a small tot, he was REALLY BUSY, but now that he is FIVE, he’s more creative, imaginative and an inquisitive little boy. He’s still very tactile and can remind me of a bull in a china shop, but luckily for him, his younger brother is taking over the busy beaver crown.

He can play by himself for hours, although he’d rather play with his older brother. He and Ryan have this thing that I don’t see often. Hunter has the WANT and Ryan has the patience (for the most part.) They spent over an hour outside yesterday swinging each other on a tree swing in their underwear. They have their very own club and speak their own language.

He enjoys playing with Sam too, but he likes to get in his way, pester him a little bit, which makes said tot scream louder than anything ever heard. Real enjoyable! I think he probably believes it’s his turn to rouse the younger sibling. Rite of passage, you know? He does love his little SAUM. For some reason, he says Sam, SAUM. I see the hugs and the kisses given even if they aren’t well-received. He still persists to show his love.

He’s a sweet boy. He offers anyone who comes over a diet coke, water or beer. He sets plates and napkins out hours before a meal. He tries SO HARD at what he does and wears his heart on his sleeve all at the same time. He’s sensitive, like me. That’s going to be the one difficulty raising him. Seeing so much of myself in him, knowing what he needs, but being too close to his emotion will make it hard to be his yang to his ying.

He does try so hard. You should see him play baseball. He’s got the stance, he practices what he should look like at the plate and hits the home base over and over with the bat like some of the professionals do. He’s a mimic and it’s served him well. I’ll be interested to see down the line how he does in sports. He’s still a dreamer, but has this talent that could really be something. Until then, I will enjoy watching him run from 2nd to 3rd base with a huge smile on his face with his eyes closed.

I tell ya. He’s a hoot. He’s been a really good student as well. I was surprised at how well behaved he is in class. Now, he’s nowhere near perfect, not that he should be, but since he was a busy one entering preschool, I wasn’t sure how that would translate into the structure of class. He sees other kids get in trouble and shys away from what got them there in the first place. He’s no saint, but he’s more in the lines than out of them. Whatever it is, I’ll take it! We’ll see how he fairs in full-day Kindergarten in August. GAH.

I am starting to see what it’s like for him to be the middle kid. It’s hard to remember what it was like having him be Sam’s age. I was busy having a miscarriage and acupuncture and getting pregnant again. I know I just need to get my video tapes transferred to dvd (I have a groupon!) and spend an afternoon going back over that time period. It was special and I’m sad I feel a little foggy on the matter. Now, I’m feeling all the FEELINGSSSS.


We’re headed to Disneyland here soon and I can’t WAIT for this little boy to experience it truly for the first time. He was two the last time we went, so he has no obviously memories of our trip. We’re leaving the littlest one behind, so we’ll have a few days to just focus on Ryan and Hunter. We haven’t been able to do that since Sam was born. We need it. They need it. I’m happy we can do that for them. Plus, I can’t wait to ride Space Mountain again too!

Oh, Hunter. You make me a better mom just looking into your sweet face. You may be the one that mostly looks like your father, but you’re all me inside. May I keep that special kinship close to my heart and put it to go use to raise you the way you need to be raised. You’ll be an exemplary man, a passionate husband and a caring father. (Oh, the tears!) You do need a little more, like I did. You’ll need to know how special you are and how much we love having you in our lives. Our love, it’s unconditional. It always will be.

You are good enough.

And all I need.

(Thank you for bringing tears to my eyes while sitting in the waiting room at the car dealership.)










I’m so proud of you, my little Hunty. Here’s to FIVE!


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eight is great

Posted in family matters,half pint,Uncategorized by littlemissmel on the April 25th, 2013

I looked at J a couple of weeks ago and said, “I can’t believe we’ve been parents for eight years.” We discussed how eight feels like a long time and then doesn’t all in the same thought.

Knowing that our journey into parenthood began with our little boy was such a blessing. I spent most of that first year trying to figure myself out. How on earth was this gig not natural? Why isn’t this coming easy for me? Oh ya, I had never babysat alone a day in my life, including changing a diaper. WHAT WAS I THINKING? How was this to be easy?

Such a naive gal I was. Luckily, I think we both made it out ok and have been chugging along ever since. I will always strive for better, but I’m thankful to know I always get a chance at a re-do. As I said, “good enough” is good enough. (And if I can just be ok with that 100% of the time, I’d be a lot more relaxed.)

Ryan was my sickest infant, which only means he was the one that got the ear infections and had to have tubes put in before he was 2. Man, were those things sleep suckers. No WONDER IT WAS HARD. He couldn’t actually sleep if he was in pain half the time! 5 infections, with 3 of them being doubles, took a toll on all of us. Those things never cleared up. Thankfully, he’s never had one since his tubes and has been quite a healthy kid since.

The natural confidence he exudes is amazing. His laid back attitude along with the “I can do all things” swagger has helped him in so many ways. Switching schools this last year, I’m sure, wasn’t easy, but he took his time and made friends the way he needed to make them. (I, of course, was fretting at every school pickup hoping he wasn’t eating his lunch alone again.)

He still shows his vulnerability. He is only 8. I took him to school late this morning after his well-visit and he had to enter his classroom alone with everyone in their seats. He came back and found me on campus after I had taken Hunter to his room and was all disheveled and nervous. I gave him a big pep talk and hid behind the door as he went inside. (HE STILL NEEDS MEEEEEE.)

He’s willing and enjoys playing most sports. He’s nowhere near the tallest kid, but his determination and his blasé attitude has served him well. He still likes to do a dance he just learned in the outfield sometimes, but his heart is pure. Being a natural performer, he tends to be dramatic, but it has led him to some great opportunities like school plays, so I’m assuming it will only help him in his journey. Plus, seeing him reenact a scene from Wipeout, his favorite show of all time, is quite hilarious.

He’s a big brother through and through. I don’t know how many kids his age have the patience for a sibling 3 years younger. His best friend is his brother and he’ll tell anyone who asks. They play and play and bicker and fight and play and play some more. Kids his age have already had play dates for a few years, but we’ve never really needed anyone else here. They’ve got each other. (Of course, that can and will change tomorrow, so I’ll take that they just need each other, for now.)

He’s a smart cookie. He looks to be one of the smartest kids in his class. He tends to rush his work so he can go off and read, but I’m just glad he enjoys reading so much. I’ll take a little rushing. We’ve been reading Charlotte’s Web at night together. His class is reading it at school, but he still puts his head on my shoulder and intently follows along. It’s something I know I am going to miss sooner than later. WAAAAAH.

Eight. What do I think of eight? Eight is good. It comes with some exploratory attitude. It’s as if his mind is saying, “let’s try this on for size.” Once he gets some negative feedback on his commentary, he tends to change his tune.

He’s getting to not need the extra doting I’ve been giving him especially when we’re around some other kids. The “I’ve got this” wave off is a sign of the future. I hate that sign, but after experiences like today, I am going to keep offering my help no matter the reaction. I know he needs it whether he knows it or not.

Rt and his best school friend

Rt, Six

Rt's Preschool Graduation Proofs

Rt and me

He’s a gem. And he’s ours. I’m proud, I’m tickled, I’m honored to be his mom.

I’m glad he’s first.




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last days of April

Posted in family matters by littlemissmel on the April 25th, 2013

We’re on the last days of April and all of my babies have turned a year older. I had great plans of posting each evening before each birthday something special about each boy, but surprising everyone with birthday balloons on their ceilings (excluding Peppa, that would scare the crap out of him) and having presents wrapped and ready to go for the birthday boy, left little time to get all sentimental on paper.

It reminds me of how often I tell myself I am doing “good enough.” I have high hopes of doing all of the things on my imaginary checklist, but some things just go by the wayside. They have to. Besides the times when J is home, I run this ship by myself. None of my family live in the state and J’s parents are nearby, but aren’t able to stop by to help with the kids on a weekly basis.

If I want to get something done, I have to do it myself. Well, I could wait for J’s help on the weekends or at night, but I’m too impatient. I sometimes miss the slower days of hanging out at home, watching some child crawl across the floor while the other one attends school for a few hours a week. Not anymore! We are moving and a shaking around here. (I secretly love it,) but find myself spent when the day is done. People ask me if I am excited for this or that going on sometime next week, but I have no clue about next week. I work week to week and sometimes just day to day.

Sometimes my tunnel vision gets me into trouble. I spent all day yesterday putting the house away for the cleaners to come. (Doesn’t it blow to do 75% of the work only to pay someone else to make it look pretty? Where’s my cut?!) Once they had come and gone and we had returned, I began making myself some soup for dinner. I didn’t have an immersion blender, so I thought I’d pour the soup into a blender, then return it to the pot once I was finished. Only, I didn’t get out the blender…I got out the food processor, poured all of the soup and bits into it and watched 1/3 of my liquid seep out the sides and bottom at a decent rate. Not until I watched every inch of my clean counter top turn to a puddle of Thai brown stock did I realize what I had done. HELLOOOOOO. Talk about distracted. Thinking about the next thing can bite you in the ass.

Ok, off to write that post about the boys…


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Bathroom Reno Reveal

Posted in Uncategorized,Who me? by littlemissmel on the April 1st, 2013

Ok, so here’s the thing.

I redid our bathroom.

Bathroom Reno

Which basically means I painted the cabinets, drawers and the walls. I replaced our towels, bath mat and “splurged” on fancy hand towels. I purchased black hardware to use on the cabinets, but have yet to install them. wah wah.

We left the tile and all the other basic fixtures as is, for now. Actually, all the towel racks work perfectly with our darker wall paint, so they may stay up for the duration. The light fixture will be replaced at some point.

This bathroom is actually not our biggest worry, but it seemed doable to update this one out of the gates ourselves and save up to update the others down the road. (Soon, I hope!)

I spent money on primer, paint, spray paint, nails, brushes, hardware, shelf paper and towels. I purchased all the paints and accessories at Ace Hardware, the bath towels (Ralph Lauren) and bathmat (Tommy Hilfiger) at TJ Maxx, the yellow and white shelf paper at Home Goods and West Elm for the fancier Initial hand towels. I got the “not on there yet” cabinet hardware at Home Depot.

Bathroom Reno

Bathroom Reno

Bathroom reno

Bathroom Reno

Bathroom Reno

I originally had just a gray and yellow theme in mind, but when I was putting the bathroom back together, I had a few green accessories left over (ceramic water cup, vase, ceramic trash can and basket.) I decided instead of replacing all of them, the green was a perfect accent to my yellow and gray theme. I think it adds a nice balance.

It’s not the ideal/final makeover for this bathroom, but it sure makes it clean and cohesive. I’m quite pleased with my efforts and I definitely have more knowledge under my belt for my next effort!


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