Thursday, July 31

Wednesday, July 30

Me time

Actually, rarely is "Me Time", just about me. I was reading Marissa's blog the other day about her being an extrovert/introvert and it reminded me how much of an extrovert I am. Sure I enjoy a few hours shopping by myself every now and then, but mostly, I'd prefer to do it with friends.

Often, my inlaws, being the wonderful grandparents they are, will take both of my boys for a weekend. If Matt's working, that means I'm all alone most of the time. I will call everyone I know until I find someone to go shopping with, or go to a movie with, or just sit and talk to over coffee. And that's hard, because most of my friends have families and kids and schedules of their own. When I am alone running errands, I'm on the phone talking to my mom.

This weekend, will be that time. My parents are taking Payton for a week. Matt is driving the boys to Toledo for the exchange and I'll be here...alone. I'm going to get a haircut I think. Maybe even color it. Then, I've made plans for some Tiffisa time late on Saturday night. Knowing that I have time alone, while it's something to look forward to, I actually dread the time when I don't have anyone to be with and have fun with.

I'm sure as time goes on, I'll learn to appreciate the peace and time for self-reflection that comes when I'm alone. But for now, mostly, I'm more interested in building relationships and having a good time.

Tuesday, July 29

Meet Missy

We've been on the search for "the" dog for a few weeks now. Holding out until we found one we thought would meet all our requirements. Yesterday, we found her. Ok. She doesn't meet all our requirements, but she's trying. Geez. She's only 10 months old. She listens better than my 18 month old!!

We picked up "Prissy", now renamed Missy, last night around 7pm. Maxwell was with me, while Payton was at VBS. Maxwell couldn't have been more excited when I loaded her into the car. He was only happy when she was in the backseat with him.

She's a smooth fox terrier. She's a beautiful white with brown and black markings, much like a jack russell terrier, but she's a bigger size. She comes about to Payton's waist and is a fairly lean dog. She needs some training, but she knows when you're mad and when to stop. She's already learning not to get on the beds and furniture. We're working on not allowing her to jump up, something her previous owners did allow her to do.

She's young enough and seems smart enough, that I think she'll work out just fine if she can learn a few behavior modifications. The boys seem to really like her. Maxwell thinks she's a toy and Payton is a bit intimidated by her. We're working on teaching them how to be the boss and not allow her to run the house. Max is doing better than Payton. No surprise there.

Matt really likes her and feels she'll be a good fit too. He's already planning her trip to the Michigan Ren Fest in September.

Here are a few pictures of her.

Thursday, July 24

A lesson learned

For the last 6 weeks, Payton has been enrolled in swimming lessons. Every weekday morning, 9-10am. He's made great strides at his comfort level and abilities in the water. I've been really proud of him...most days. His instructor, Justin, has had to convince him a few times to complete the tasks at hand. I've even gone so far as to threaten to get in the water with him. It worked, short term.

Today was the last official swim day of the session. (Tomorrow is family swim time). Payton asked if his Daddy could take him today and it actually worked out just fine. They left on time and Maxwell and I went to hang laundry on the line and start some yard work. Around 9:40am, I heard the car door close. Surely they weren't home yet. It's way too early.

But no. There's Matt, grumpy and stern. While Payton changes into his clothes, Matt explains that everyone there tried to convince Payton to get into the water and do his swim test, but to no avail. Payton had fallen and scraped both knees this morning and he didn't want to do the test because his knees hurt. Rather than spend an hour arguing, Matt brought him home.

I had a talk with Payton and explained the consequences of quitting. He would require a nap today, as well as no Wii, no computer time and no treats or candy. I almost had him ready to go back and try again. What else was there to take away?? swim time.

Yep! That worked. Back into his swim clothes and back to the pool we went. He immediately apologized to Justin, got in the water quickly and passed his swim test in less than 10 minutes. That's it. We were home less than 30 minutes from when we left.

We talked on the way home about how "Kobylaks Don't Quit!" and how important it is to finish what you've set out and agreed to do. I told him how proud I was that he decided to go back and finish what he needed to do.

I think it sunk it. He's been repeating "Kobylaks Don't Quit!" since.

Tuesday, July 22

A few things to share

So I'm interested in sharing a few of my favorite websites with you guys. Why? Because I think that each, for their own reasons, is pretty cool and worth visiting. I'm not being paid by any of these sites, although I wish I were.

This is a project where people send postcards to each other. It's both national and international. We sent out 5 postcards already and are waiting to get our first one soon. I plan to plot each one for Payton to see on a map. I think it's a great, relatively cheap, way to have him see the world as people rather than just places. The cost is only the postcard and stamp; $.21 in the US, $.74 to Canada or Mexico and $.91 International.

#2: Matt, Liz and Madeline
Many of you already read this blog. The link has been in my favorites since Tiffany introduced it to me back in May. The blog is the daily going-ons of a single dad. What makes this one special is that he is single because the day after lil' Madeline was born, his wife, Madeline's mother, past away very unexpectedly. He talks about raising Maddy thus far, traveling, living and mourning. He has a huge support of strangers/friends. His blog is real, emotional, funny and artsy. (warning: contains adult language)

My father-in-law turned me on to this one. It's a free place to download some of your favorite songs or movie lines for your cell phone. You set up an account, including your cell number, and then pick the ones you like. Click "send to my phone" and then when it comes through as a text message, you save the sound and place it as a ringtone. Many of you now have brand new ringtones that fit your personality or our relationship. You'll have to ask me next time we get together what yours is!

That's all I have for now. Hopefully a few of you found something of interest out of this!

Sunday, July 20

Tea Hangover

I, FINALLY, had another much needed Tiffisa night last night.

We met at our favorite tea house and spent 2 hours crying, laughing and people watching over six pots of tea. We each picked a tea and it's funny how well they complimented each other. Much like our personalities compliment each other; except where we're slamming each other's personalities and talking smack. Another great part of the night!

We spent another hour and a half wandering around downtown Royal Oak eating and doing more people watching. Seeing as we did nothing special, on an average Saturday night, in bachelorette party territory, I had an amazing time. It's exactly what Tiffisa needed.

Thursday, July 17

Delighted, yet depressed

While on vacation, I took a long walk for almost an hour by myself. I walked down to the pier and back to our beach site and I've never been more confident in a swimsuit in my life. I knew that I looked better than I have in seven years! It was huge for me.

I've lost about 15 lbs since the first of the year. Only 8 more to go. You'd think I'd be happy about that. And I am.

Yet I couldn't stop feeling a bit of disappointment. My thighs touched when I walked and I wasn't happy about my arms. Why is it that us women can never be happy even when we get to a good place with ourselves? There's always something else screaming at you to "LOSE MORE!" or "TONE THIS!" or "LOOK LIKE HER!" I understand why girls develop eating disorders.

After seeing literally hundreds of women in bikinis, I decided I was just going to have to work harder. I'll never be bikini worthy, but at least I can be even more confident next year, right?

Wednesday, July 16

Blog Visitors

I have gotten a lot of hits from places I don't recognize lately! Not that I mind at all, trust me! I'm curious to see who you all are. There's a new poll on the left side of the page here where you can answer your relationship to me. If you'd leave a comment with who you are, that'd be great too. Thanks!!!!

More on Max

Maxwell. Oh Maxwell. This child is constantly testing his boundaries and my patience. While on vacation, he reached the highest end of both.

He has started throwing fits. Now, Payton threw "fits". Just a scream and a kick. Maybe even falling on the ground. But now, I realize, that was nothing. Just a testing of the moment and it would pass.

Max's fits start out small. Just a screaming noise. Then it progresses to throwing himself on the ground. Followed by beating his fists into the floor and kicking his feet. During all this, the screaming continues and even increases in volume and intensity sometimes. They usually end if he's ignored and no one's laughing (grandparents!!).

One day, while relaxing on the beach, for a reason I don't remember, Maxwell threw a fit. His "best" yet. It didn't stop with being ignored. He realized that he had an audience in the sand around him. He crawled his way down the beach shore towards to ocean with each movement screaming "Ow!!!" at the top of his lungs. I'm not sure if our neighbors thought he was in pain and I was a bad mom, or if he was just crazy. Turns out, he's just crazy.

I've talked to a few friends and family members about this event. It's funny now (and it was kind of funny then), but I'm not sure what to do about it. The things that worked with Payton surely do NOT cut it with Maxwell. I used to think that wild children were the product of lazy or bad parenting in some cases. I can assure you that is NOT the case with Maxwell.

I'm afraid, literally terrified, that I've exhausted my options and he's not even 18 months. You can tell him "no" 1,000 times and he'll do it anyway. You can take him away for something and divert his attention, but within minutes, it's back to the thing you just took him away from (namely the stove). We've started putting him in "time outs" in his crib at the suggestion of his pediatrician, but that does nothing but make him scream and get more mad at us.

On the way home from vacation, with him screaming for no reason in the backseat, I had the realization that the ages 2 and 3 were much harder with Payton than 1. I cried thinking about what the next 2 years of raising Maxwell will be like. I've been praying for months that God grant me the patience and understanding to deal with him. I just hope he does it before Maxwell's antics put me in a padded room.

Tuesday, July 15

Vacation Summary

Every year, my parents, my inlaws, and my family of four travel to North Carolina where we rent this house on the island. We're only across the street from the boardwalk to the beach and it's just perfect for our family. My brother and his wife come down from Delaware mid week and stay through Saturday when we all begin our journey home.

This year, when we arrived, we found a surprise! My father-in-law had been in contact with Matt's younger brother who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He'd made the almost 7 hour drive with his girlfriend, Karolina, to see us. We haven't seen him since Christmas, and we'd never met Karolina, although we'd heard a lot about her. It was really a great visit and I'm glad they made the trip.

The rest of the week went like this:
8:30am breakfast
9:30am beach
noonish lunch on the beach
3-4pm back to the house, shower
6pm dinner
then games, read or walk the beach

That was typical really. I read three great books on vacation. Matt played a lot of video games on his PSP. Payton and Maxwell are naturals at the ocean and did really well.

Payton went on a pirate tour that I talked about before. They arrived on an island and there was a "pirate" there who gave them a map and Payton had to follow the clues to find the treasure. When they arrived at the X, they had to dig up the treasure that was buried for him; coins, a pouch, necklaces, and more fun kids stuff. He had a great time. I forgot to send the camera with Matt though, so I don't have any pictures.

Payton also did really well in the ocean. With his life jacket, he learned to ride the waves into shore. He spent a lot of time jumping the waves as they crashed and also just sitting in them and letting them bowl him over.

Maxwell's best beach story is of a fit he threw...but I'll save this discussion for another day. It deserves it's own entry. My highlight was falling down the front stair case with two beers in my hands, but not yet drinking anything. I bruised my back and my leg, got a bad case of stairburn but I managed to save the beers!

We had a great time with family. Eating, playing games, shopping and of course a few beers here and there. I look forward to this time on the beach all year long and I can't wait until it happens again. There is talk of going for two weeks next year. I hope we can really do it!

Monday, July 14

Vacation 2008: Pictures and Videos

My Mom and Maxwell yelling at each other
My mom and my oldest brother, Loren
Matt & me...the only picture of me on our camera. :(Matt and Payton

Payton challenging the ocean

The boys (with our group in the background)
Silly Maxwell
Max and his tongue
Payton and a few new friends

Our section of beach
Our boardwalk
The boys

(Tiffany, recognize that outfit on Max?)
Matt and Max on a night walk
Silly Max...again

I recorded 45 seconds of the ocean just for you guys.

And because everyone needs to see this; Maxwell's Beach Dance

We're home!!!

After a long trip home, involving a ugly stay at an Days Inn in West Virginia, we rolled into our house last night around 6pm.

It's been a wonderful vacation with lots of sunburn, sandburn, bruises and thunderstorms, but I would go back in a heartbeat! It never fails that I cry like a baby when we leave the beach each year. I'm sure the first time, my inlaws thought I was crazy. But now everyone knows that Ellisa has to visit the beach and have a good cry before we can get on the road. Someday I'll live on the coast. Someday...

Until then I have pictures! Some great ones too!! I'll be posting them in another post here in a bit. And I'll update on vacation, the boys and everything else throughout the week. Enjoy the pics!!

Wednesday, July 9

On Vacation

My father decided to point out that this week, there have been no updates on our vacation. So I'm taking five minutes before heading out to the beach to let you all know that we are alive and well in North Carolina.

I guess "well" applies to everyone but me. I got a serious burn on Sunday that is still very sensitive, but I'm not letting that stop me from enjoying the beach. I've just worn my t-shirt and board shorts over my suit each day.

The boys are really enjoying the beach too. Payton has really grown in the last year and is much more confident in his swimming and beach activities. Maxwell is warming to the waves, but still runs off if they come too near his little toes. Matt hasn't spent too much time at the beach, but is enjoying the peace and quiet of Topsail Island and not having to work!

Today, Payton and Matt are out with my father, my brother and my sister-in-law are out on a ferry ride to collect shells and do a "pirate tour" about the shipwrecks around the Outerbanks.

I hope you're all having a great week! I may update this once more while we're here. And I'll be sure to post the "best of vacation" pictures when we get home early next week.

Sending you sun & sand....

Tuesday, July 1

"It's the end of the world as we know it..."

"It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it."

But ya know, I don't feel fine. Tiffany got her first real lawyer job. She got the official stuff today and she starts the 14th. Yes, I'm THRILLED for her. Of course I want the best for her and her family.

But I'm sad. I'm not sure why really even. I mean, we only talk to each other's voicemail every few days and we try to connect once a week. We don't even get a lot of time together anymore it seems. So I should be just fine with this right? I mean, it's not like a whole lot will change.

So why am I so sad? Maybe because she will be unreachable during the day when we normally talk. Maybe because what little time we do have together tends to be planned on the fly and also during the day or early evening hours.

I feel like part of her will be gone from me. Gosh, that sounds selfish and like our friendship is ending. I know it's not and that we will both continue to make every effort to get together when our schedules allow.

I just hope it's more often than not. Maybe we should set up a bi-weekly date. LOL Like married couples who work opposite hours.

(Yes, I'm sadhopping. Deal with it.)