Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Love finding old voice memos

New Year's Resolutions: 2013
So we sit down together as a family every year and record our family's resolutions. I record them but never actually write them down. I came across the recording on my phone today and had to smile as I listened to their little voices say the follow...

Caden: "I don't want anything to be different in 2013, my life is pretty much perfect...making a resolution is kind of like making a goal. There are no goals because this is me and I'm pretty much happy with me."

Ella: "In 2013, I want to stop having to clean up. I also want to start taking horseback riding lessons. Never mind, I'm too scared. I don't want to ride a horse. Well, there's one thing I want to do, I really want to learn how to roller skate. Because they say if you can't roller skate, you can't go roller skating."

Danali: "I want Danika and go to Jackie's house. I want to play with Danika at Danika's house"

What do you want to do as a family in 2013?

Caden: I think we should play board games together and go to skate land...that would be a good one for you Ella.

Ella: I want to go roller skating and go to the aquarium.  I would like to go to more movies together.

Danali-I want to go to Danika and Nana house.

Mom: I want to do more outdoor things together and I definitely want to go camping together. (Ella-Oh, me! me! Me!)

Is there anything you want from Mom and Dad?

Caden: Stop involving us in all the cleaning stuff.

Ella: Stop yelling at us!!

Danali: I just like playing with you guys.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Is there a rehabilitation center for my addiction???

Pintrest has exploded in my life. It is like crack. It sucks you into a land where time doesn't exist, a land where you are queen of all things crafty, a place where you have the ability to make your own eco friendly and cost effective cleaning products in a home organized into stream lined bliss. A wonderful world where you cook healthy innovative family friendly meals and look fabulous doing it because you're wearing the apron you whipped up using the scrapes from all the adorable craft projects you've just finished. Plus your hair is twisted and braided into into the latest trend and your make up is applied so that you appear refreshed and glowy and your eternity scarf is wrapped around you in stylish perfection. You live in this dream world until you look up and realize that somehow four hours have gone by and the kids are going to be home from school in less than an hour, you haven't showered, done your hair, or even put on a bra. The house is a mess, the baby has been watching TV and who knows what else most of the day, and you have a thousand errands to run because you are out of everything. So you jump in the shower, throw your hair in a bun, wipe everything down with expensive Clorox wipes, order a pizza for dinner and dump all the clutter into a laundry basket to be sorted later. When you look in the mirror all you see is a frazzled, hair still dripping wet, mess, in a house so unorganized you just decide to wear your husband's Army socks and rain boots because you can't find a matching pair of shoes (to be fair, the baby decided to play dress up with all of mommies shoes to pass the time while mommy was off in Pintrist land, and there are now random shoes all over the house) and your hope of putting on a bit of make up is dashed when you see your baby's arms and legs covered in red and black streaks, oh, not to mention all the dog hair now caked in the lash brush (but the dog has never looked so fetching, that lash define really does its job!). The sad thing is, now that I've wasted half my day, I think the solution is to get on Pintrest tomorrow and start a board on time management because I know that I'm just a few boards away from becoming the domestic goddess I am in my mind. 
I need help. 

Monday, August 1, 2011


I am currently hiding on the floor of my bedroom in the space between my side of the bed and the wall. I was in the middle of stripping all the beds and throwing sheets in one pile to be washed and blankets in another when I noticed how inviting all the blankets and pillows looked laying there all comfy and lumpy on the floor. So I snuggled down because my day started like this. The kids woke up this morning at an unhealthy 6:30am. I say unhealthy because their well being is certainly endangered by waking momma bear up that early. I sent them back to their rooms and told them that our day was not going to start until 8am and if they woke the baby (which is my 5 year old's favorite ploy to get the house up because once the baby is awake she knows that our day has to start) there would be NO FRIENDS, NO ACTIVITIES, NO FUN for the whole day!! So I go stomping off back to bed but my blood is already pumping with irritation and I was on high alert listening for any russell, any thump, any singsongy voice that might indicate that my children had the gull to enjoy being awake at this unholy hour instead of contritely laying in their beds as I had commanded. Needless to say, I didn't go back to sleep and the day started only 30 mins later with a "Mommy where are you?" shouted from the crib down the hall,  followed by an, "I didn't wake her up!!! She woke up all by her self!" also shouted from down the hall. So fine, its nearly 7:30am and our day has started. Breakfast, laundry, and wo be it unto the child who disobeys me because I am in a foul temper....until I stop vigorously ripping sheets from beds and notice the quite cushy space on my bedroom floor. I noticed it well over an hour ago. I closed the curtains, turned on the fan, and told the kids they could watch TV. I snuggled down and I napped, oh yes, I indulged in the glory of a mid morning nap and it was bliss.   For over 60 minuets I turned the world off and totally forgot my lengthy "to do" list and how messy the house will be with three unsupervised children running rampant and just decided that I wanted a do over to my day. The only problem is that I enjoy the little cave I've created for myself a little too much. I hear Caden and Ella fighting. I hear what sounds like a pan hitting the kitchen floor. I hear my little Nali calling for me, not because she's in need, just because I belong to her and she wants my whereabouts accounted for. Yet here I hide. I don't want to referee, I don't want to clean up, I don't want to be accounted for. I am giving myself 10 more minuets to not exists, to just disappear as a part of the lumpy pile of blankets waiting for some responsible adult to come along and finish the laundry.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Time to settle

Okay, so I've got many more Alaska posts (three weeks worth) I just need to find a moment to get caught up on life so I can get to them. We got home from the great North and less then a week later I went to Georgia for a week for some much needed R&R and girl time. I got home a few days ago and immediately needed to do some deep cleaning and yard work. Today is cleaning out the refrigerator and some major grocery shopping along with addressing the piles of laundry that are threatening to over take the entire laundry room. Its nuts. I try to activities with the kids during the day so that they can enjoy what's left of their summer vacation, we try to squeeze in school time, I'm working on teaching them about the value of chores and allowances (they aren't totally convinced its a good system), all the while trying to make some headway in a home and yard that has been completely neglected for over a month while we've been enjoying the benefits of hotel living and being the guest to a great hostess. UGGGG....If only I could clone myself a couple of times over...or suddenly have super mom powers...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Alaska Adventure Day #8

 Today was awesome. We headed north to the Chena Hot Springs. It is a 40 acre stretch that is privately owned and has been turned into a wonderful little resort. There are all these buildings build like rustic log cabins but house a rec center, restaurant, a swimming pool, gift shop, and hotel. But the main attraction in this little town/resort is the ice museum. It was incredible. We arrived in 80 degree weather and threw on parkas to enter the 20 degree zone. The outside of the building looks kind of small and I was a little dubious as to what we would find inside, my doubts were soon put to rest.
There is almost a cathedral feel to the building. The minute the doors close you feel like you are stepping into a different realm. The ice dampens the sound and reflects the light in a way that makes everything feel dream like. They start off the tour in the ice sculptor's work shop and explain how the artist takes a block of ice and transforms it into all of this....  The walls are made of ice blocks and every few feet you are dazzeled by the detailed carvings that punctuate the room.
In the center of the space there is an ice bar complete with stools made of ice (the tops covered in Caribou hide for your comfort), glasses made of ice, and an intricate pattern inlade in the bar top. 

 The most breath taking piece in the room is this larger than life sculptor of two knights jousting. The photo doesn't properly capture how incredible this piece is. Where the lance of the blue knight makes contact with the breast plate of the red knight there are ice shards jutting out representing the splintering of the wood. The reins of the saddle are these delicate long strings of ice. The detailing was simply amazing.
And all through out the museum there were these ice balls on stands. I thought it was amazing how the artist was able to carve and light an image inside a ball of ice.
There are themed rooms with beds for rent (only $600 to be cold and uncomfortable for a night), an igloo room with perfect acoustics complete with a xylophone made of ice so you can put the acoustics to the test (Jon tried out his vocal instrument by singing the National Anthem while Ella accompanied him on the xylophone), a sitting area with seating around an ice fireplace, and the whole room was lit by ice chandeliers.
 It will be an outing we will be talking about for a long time. Jon and I thought that we should toast to another great Bartlett family adventure...with ice glasses melting in the 80 degree heat.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Alaska Adventure Day 6

It was pouring rain again today and after spending most of yesterday sedentary (engrossed in our finds at the library) I knew that we needed to take action or the kid's untapped energy would bounce loudly and repeatedly off the small space all 6 of us share. The weather here is so crazy. It will pour one minute and then be beautiful and sunny the next. I check the forecast every morning when Jon leaves for work and usually it changes by the end of breakfast. It makes the days hard to plan and I tell you what, there is such pressure when the kids start off each day with, "what are we going to do today?" I truly never appreciated the energy and creativity it takes to make everyday a noteworthy adventure when you are with your little ones 24/7-so a special shout out to my mom, "thanks for so many years of noteworthy adventurous summer days!!" Today's adventure was swimming. The pool here isn't noteworthy in anyway, but the kids came home ready for lunch and a nap so I was happy. Bringing along a mother's helper also made me happy today because while the kids recharged their energy stores I was able to go to the store alone and get done some grocery shopping. All you mother's out there know the joy that comes from entering a store without your children, free to browse, or be alone with your thoughts, or even pop in your ear buds for some quality e-books time (at least that's what I do). 
The rain finally let up in the early evening so after feeding the hungry masses dinner we headed to the park. These are some of my favorite times with my family. Nothing manufactured, no ticket required, just playing together. I get to remember how it felt to be spun on a tire swing, recall the joy in an intense game of freeze tag, and let my kids glimpse the kids their parent's once were. I have to say, having Ally here to take photos has been great because I am usually totally undocumented in our family outings. 

We decided to end our evening by trying out a local ice cream parlor. Home made ice cream, heavy on the cream and by the wonderful taste and texture of the treat, heavy on the calories...but we're on vacation so who's counting, right? Danali fell asleep on the way over from the park. Its hard work keeping up with her family of big kids.
And that, my friends was day number 6.

Alaska Adventure Day 5

Woke up this morning to lightening and gray skies. YEAH! That means we're spending the morning in the library. The library here is awesome! It is super close to our hotel and offers reading areas for adults as well as the best kid's room I'ver ever seen. Its funny because we've only been here a little while but already we have our library routine. We walk in the door, the girls sprint to the kids room to play and see if there are other kids to play with, Caden starts combing the junior section for the next book in what ever series he's reading, and I gravitate to the three large round abouts with dozens of books on display. I keep meaning to ask who chooses the books that make the cut or what criteria frees a book from the obscurity of being one of thousands of titles stacked in the rows upon rows of books, but I am so caught up in reading jacket covers I always forget. I think that if I meet the display genius we would be fast friends. I am always drawn to at least half the eclectic collection of books and out of the 9 books I've read thanks to the mystery display person, only one wasn't worthy of finishing.  
This is the kids play room. There are these great murals on the walls, blocks, balls, dinosaurs, stuffed animals, books, and all sorts of activities for kids. 

 Ella tells me every time we go into the kid's room that she wants her play room just like this and can we please please buy some wall paints so that I can paint the walls like this room. She would be so disappointed in the stick figures the balloon animals that would result if I put my artistic prowess to the test.

This is the door leading into the kid's room. It certainly is my magic kingdom when I need a reprieve from providing entertainment and activities. I LOVE reading and so do the kids. I seriously go into bliss overdrive when I go into a many books, so little time, and the smell, ahh, the almost musty but comforting smell of settling in with a well loved book. It gives me such a thrill to see mine and Jon's passion for reading passing into the next generation. Caden especially will devour books. On library days,  Ella and Danali play while he and I each pick a spot on one of the couches or find one of the bean bags spread around the kids room and curl up for reading time. 
We are a family of nerds and I don't mind owning that. 

After Jon got off work we decided to check out the family fun center here on base, scratch that, they call it post. Whatever, but people love correcting me about it. Anyway, the family fun center has a downstairs area with a kids play gym, arcade style games, and LASER TAG! Jon and Caden were thrilled by this discovery. We decided to gear up and fight a light beam battle in a pretty sophisticated laser tag arena against another family and some random off duty soldiers who split themselves amongst the family groupings. At first Ella and Danali joined the fray but after the section we were in pretend blew up and the lights started flashing, the jackets started buzzing, and the sirens started blaring they were DONE. The director of the fun center took them out and offered to look after them while we finished our 20 min round. I told Ella to just play on the play gym with her sister and that we would do games and stuff when  we were done. So after we emerged as the victorious blue team (woot woot-we were really working hard at it-can you tell by the flush of my face?) I was surprised to see Ella playing one of the arcade games. I thought at first that maybe the director had given her money to play a game until I noticed my purse at her feet and the 50 credits she had yet to play on the game!! I asked her where she got the money for the game and with a deer in the head lights look she spun around and said, "mom I only took three moneys from your wallet!". Yup, just three moneys, two Andrew Jacksons and one Alexander Hamilton. She had fed $50 into the LAMEST arcade game but boy was she proud of all the little trinkets she'd won. And boy was she mad when I made her give them all away to the other kids in room who didn't steal from their mom's wallet.
On a little side note, we explained to her what stealing was (being disrespectful of other's property isn't new territory with my sweet little Bella but I wanted her to understand the concept and consequence of stealing) and tried to impress upon her that she should be upset about doing something wrong, not the loss of some jelly bracelets and gum ball machine toys, but her heartache was all about losing her bling. She had a right little fit that lasted the entire 45 mins it took to play out the 50 credits on her machine and continued in the car on the way home. I told her to take a breath, a drink of water, whatever she needed to do to get her self under control or we would have to pull over and she would have to sit out side until she was done sobbing. I was seriously close to losing it by this point. I had kept myself in check and tried to use the experience as a teaching moment, tried to calm her down so she would understand her punishment, but the loss of $50 bucks and then the tantrum of my 5 year old because I made her give away her ill gotten gains was almost too much. In step my almost 8 year old peacemaker, Caden. Man is he a great kid. Out of all the little toys that came tumbling out of that machine Caden only wanted to keep these three little dinosaurs. For some reason he really loved them so it kind of made up for the fact that Ella's little sticky fingers robbed him of playing any of the arcade games he wanted to play (because we were out of money!) or win any of the prizes that he had originally coveted. Anyway, she was balling and wailing about wanting her stuff back and Caden says, "Ella, you can have one of my dinosaurs".  Not only that, but he let her pick which one, and she picked his favorite, and even though he had been super annoyed with her only a half hour before he gave it to her so she wouldn't be empty handed. Her tears dried up immediately and they set to playing dinosaurs in the back of the van. I don't know if the stealing lesson sank in for Ella, but the mercy lesson from my son will forever be with me.