Friday, August 28, 2009

Just a glimpse

Today, I'm providing you gentle reader with a small peek into the life of the Mellon. As I'm sure you're aware, we've been working with Chase on potty training and reveling in all of the fun that that involves. He wears big boy underwear now everyday, and thankfully we've gone from changing his pants 12 times to changing his pants 3 or 4 times per day. Big improvement. Less laundry equals happier Mama--not happy mind you, but happier. Part of this process involves proper toilet paper use. Monkey likes to get a big ball of it and then just toss it right into the bowl without wiping anything. I've been working hard trying to remedy this particular habit the child has developed. Observe:

Mama: Just a small piece Chase.
Chase: No a BIG one! (as he pulls a fist sized wad off of the roll)
Mama: (hurrying before he throws it into the toilet unused) OK Chase wipe yourself with it.
Chase: Ok

And the kid does, he actually does. This would be the end of a triumphant story if it were the life of anyone else. But, it isn't. No, it's my life. So what do think happened next?

Chase: My arm is dirty. I'm going to wipe it.

And he does, with the same tissue he just used in his nether regions. Which is gross, but manageable. This is where the story might stop if I were a more together mom who had been just a hair closer to her potty sitting child. But, I'm the frazzled type of Mama who was a few steps away removing from the premises little sister Amaya who was hellbent on dropping Chase's Mickey Mouse phone into the commode. Meanwhile...

Chase: My mouth is dirty, too. Better clean it off.

And he does. With the same tissue. Why me? And that's just what I asked.

Mama: Why Chase? Why?
Chase: It's okay Mama. Try again.

Oh we will dear, we will. But not until after we disinfect you child.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

She will walk 500 miles

& she will walk 500 more...but she won't do it in a way that lets Mama get a good video of it. Out of 15 tries, this is the best shot I got. You'll hear Chase whining in the background which is a soundtrack that plays often in the Mellon house these days. I do love her smile at the end though, so despite the noise interference and less than ideal angle for capturing her toddling steps, I think it's a winner.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rubber ducky for the taggin'

You remember that Limp Biscuit lyric? You know the one that glamorized hood like behavior such as decorating public spaces with graffiti among rebelling teens? The one that went: "Keep a skateboard, a spray can for the taggin"? No? Guess it's just me then. Anyway, my own children are both raging against the mama machine with their own form of territorial tagging. I happened across this phenomenon yesterday after lunch when I went to retrieve my apple so that I could have myself a mid afternoon tasty treat. This is what I found:

Might as well take out a billboard with neon lights reading "Chase was here". And what does this little 2 foot tyke have to be revolting against? Toilet training. Yes, that's right. Yesterday was a diaper free day. After twelve--yes 12--wardrobe changes, I believe it was safe to declare the enterprise a complete and utter failure. Chase is back to diapers this morning. We'll try again another day. Until then, I expect to not find any more teeth marks in my apples. You hear me Chaseraser?

Not to be outdone, little sister had to engage in her own type of graffiti displays.

Yep, Amaya was here alright. And to what is she voicing her dissent? Well, that would be the introduction of the sippy cup my friends. Have you ever heard a litter of 6 week old puppies yapping all at once? Well, little miss thing can make that exact same sound all by herself. And that is her happy sound as in the sound she makes when she goes charging after her brother. Now just imagine what a racket the girl can make when she is not happy. That's what I hear when I have the gall to try to give her a sippy cup of milk instead of a bottle of formula. So can anyone really blame me for giving up after enduring 15 minutes of the ear splitting screams, throwing my hands in the air and sticking the bottle in her chubby little hands. Didn't think so. So, Miss Amaya, we'll try again another day. Until then, no more bath tub ducks stuck in odd spots around the house. Agreed?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Boogity! Boogity! Boogity! Let's Go Racing Mellon!

Thing of beauty, isn't she? I have to say that I'm surprised that I liked my NASCAR adventure as much as I did. I really loved it. I might just become a die hard that drives her RV around the country from race to race. Probably not, but the possibility is greater now than it was a week ago.
We flew from the Atlantic City airport to Jackson, Michigan. The Jackson airport is tiny and old, but the people are friendly. My favorite part was a sign in the little, 70's paneled front room that said "No Autographs in the Lobby." I wish I would have gotten a picture of it, but I was too busy waiting for someone to request my signature. Never happened. From there, we drove to the track. Or rather Drew drove. Too fast as usual.

Uh oh Drew. You're not a Nationwide driver, you're just sponsoring one silly. Now slow down! Luckily the cop let him off with just a warning. Nice folk, those Michiganers.

We made it to the track in one piece! Now we have to wait for our ride to take us to the credentials area. For those who don't know, the credentials station is where for the privilege of being allowed in pit row and the garage area, you sign away your right to sue NASCAR if a blistering hot lug nut flies off and hits you in the face. They also respectfully request your first born and a cow. No problem, where do I put my name?

Here's the Big Spot #20 car being pushed down Pit Road waiting for its turn for the qualifying run. I guess they push it to conserve gas and the engine? Not sure. Regardless, Brad did really well and finished 5th in qualifying.

After qualifying, we toured the garage area and the trailer that hauls the cars with Brad's dad Brandon. (Lots of B's there, confusing. I know) There are two identical #20 cars at the race track just in case something happens to one during the practice. Never knew this. We saw lots of famous drivers walking around and even more crazed fans snapping photos and stalking the drivers. It was really hot, and the heels that I had to wear to go with the "slacks" (who says slacks anymore? Drew that's who)that Andy insisted I don for the event caused a horrendously awful blister to form on my foot bed beneath my toe. So, we escaped to the air conditioned suite to watch the Sprint Cup drivers practice for their race the next day. I tried to get a picture, but they move so fast that all of the shots were of empty asphalt. Bummer.
Before we knew it, it was time to head back into the stifling heat for the race start. Brad's PR guy does a great job of getting him exposure. Check him out being interviewed here:
That's his mug on the big screen there. I never realized how much schmoozing goes on in NASCAR. It really seems to be 15% about racing and 85% about product placement. Things you learn.
More schmoozing. Have to be nice to your sponsors. I'm sure he'd be nice anyway. Andy spent more time with him in Iowa, and he says that Brad is a stand up guy. Actually, he said Brad reminds him of my brother Rob. Guess we have to like him then.
B-17 Flying Fortress buzz over after the anthem. Which by the way, my face was on ESPN during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. Even with this taste of fame, no one asked me for my autograph. What's a girl got to do?

My most favorite part--sitting behind the crew chief in the pit box! It was so awesome, that I didn't even mind the scorching sun beating down on my grey slack clad legs. Thanks again for that wardrobe choice Drew. I would attend every race if I could sit there to watch it.
Rogers is the crew chief even though he didn't do a lot of talking. Most of the talk comes from the spotter that sits up high telling Brad where all the other cars are and if he has room to get around someone. My very official data had the spotter doing 90% of the talking, the crew chief 9.5% and Brad .5%. He's a quiet kid. If it were me, I'd be babbling away like an idiot the entire time. Of course, they don't have AC in the car, so it probably dries his mouth out to talk. Probably wouldn't stop me though. I tend to ramble when nervous. And if I had 40+ cars flying around me at 185mph, you better believe I'd be one big ball of quivering nerves.
Pit Crew Mellon. It only took about 20 minutes before I realized my head set was on upside down. Not a good way to start my job interview to be a permanent fixture at the races. Do you think anyone noticed?
Another thing I never knew--how high tech it all was. Computer screens, excel sheets, numbers, overwhelming.
Here he comes for a pit stop! So cool. Blows my mind how precise everything has to be.

Brad was running a great race staying in the top 10 for most of it. Until a final caution with under 7 laps to go where he got pushed into the wall at the restart. Ended up cutting a tire. By the time he got back into the race, there were only 3 laps to go--no time to fight back to the front. Still he finished 23--which when you factor in the 16 Sprint cuppers who were racing that day is still a decent finish. At least I think so. And really, my opinion is the only one that matters. Anyone want my autograph yet? I'm just glad that we didn't need these guys.

I barely said four words to Brad, but I already feel very Mama hen about the whole thing. Can't even imagine how his real Mother feels watching him fly around the track. Must be why she doesn't come to the races.

It was spectacular day, and I can't wait to do it all again in Montreal in two weeks. Yes, it's safe to say that the sport has found one new fan. Let's go racing, boys!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Did we have a good time?

We shore did!
When we first arrived at the beach, neither child was especially happy to be there. They both found the Atlantic Ocean a bit intimidating which is understandable given the large, crashing waves against their tiny, little bodies.

So, we decided to gradually reintroduce the whole salt water splashing into them aspect of the trip. First, we decided that it would be best to acquire a safety coating for our bodies that was composed of a thin veneer of sand.

Once completely coated in grainy goodness, Chase ventured back out with Daddy and PopPop. It wasn't long before he gained back his surfer dude persona. He raced up and down the shoreline chasing wave after wave.

I think he was doing the hula dance here?

Amaya found that she preferred sitting and letting the waves come to her. Here she's working on her Body Combat side sweep. She'll be taking classes with Mama soon. Should probably get her walking first though.

When Chase realized that the waves would never grow tired and thus always win the race, he gave up and headed back for some digging exercises. Worky work busy bee.
Notice his hat in preparation for the race the next day. He really stresses the .com part making him a perfect pint sized ambassador of the company. Go BigSpot #20.
And that was our day: sun, sand, a couple of tears and a lot of fun. Shore hope you enjoyed our pictures!
Coming soon to a blog near you: Mellon does NASCAR.

Stay tuned

for a post on our busy weekend sometime later today or tomorrow. I'll have beach pictures of the kids in case you need to bribed.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rain, at last!

Chase has been dying to use his monkey umbrella since the day we bought it. He finally got his wish last Thursday when we met Allie at the farm. He dutifully carried the umbrella around in the misty weather for a full five minutes.
However, shortly thereafter, he grew weary of the cumbersome contraption and passed it off to Mama to carry. Then we entered ourselves in a game of Try to Get a Picture of Chase and Allie Both Looking at the Camera. You get three tries. Are you ready? Ok, let's see round one...

Nope, try again. How about round two?

Round three? If only Chase had his eyes open, we'd have a winner. But close only counts in horseshoes, so thanks for playing, & better luck next time folks. Please move along or insert another quarter to play again.

Here's a hint for those just learning the game: this little poser will give you a smirk any day of the week.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Stats are where it's at

Amaya had her one year well baby visit on Wednesday. Little Petunia weighed 24.5 lbs and was 30.5 inches tall. Those numbers put her right in the 90th percentile for height and weight. I guess she isn't such a little Petunia, is she?

Little princess says Mama, Daddy, and What's this? as she points to every object under the sun. She seems to have no fear when it comes to climbing and then hurling herself off of various pieces of furniture with her most favorite being Chase's bed. She squiggles like a worm on a hook when it's diaper changing time. There are currently 6 teeth in her mouth with at least 2 more getting ready to break through. She pretty much only uses her pacifier in the crib and in the car although I've given it to her more recently during the day because of her teething crabbies. We're working on the sippy cup filled with milk as a means of nourishment idea--you may remember that it's a struggle making that particular transition.

Hmmm what else? Oh yes, she has a bit of a Mommy attachment thing going on.

She loves to watch her brother and then imitate whatever he does. Chase will be using his TAG reader while Amaya looks on with great interest. As soon as he puts it down and walks away, she'll grab it and try to make it work using the same motions she saw big brother doing.

Then we repeat the process with Chase's tools, cars, puzzles etc. etc. etc.

So basically, she's your average, smiling, ornery, adorable little 12 month old wonder child.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Decline of 2009

Here we are more than half way through this year already. Sometimes I feel like someone has DVR'd my life and has it on a constant 4x fast forward. I remember when I was a kid my mom would tell me to stop trying to grow up so fast because once your childhood is over time moves way too quickly. Being the clueless lass that I was at the time, I was all "Sure lady. You try sitting through Mr. Shaver's WV history class and then tell me how quickly time moves." Now, I know how right the Mama was. Unfortunately, I don't think my kids will listen to me either as I believe it is one of those life lessons that can only be learned after the fact.

So with the year on the decline, I decided that it might be a good time to revisit this year's resolutions. All of those self help books tell you that you need to evaluate your successes and failures if you truly want to make a go of new changes. So since thoroughness is my middle name, here we go:

I resolve to update the blog frequently enough that I keep my loyal readers (that means you mom) happy. Or if not happy, at least content enough that I don't get prank calls and strongly worded emails regarding my lack of new content.

Dude, I have totally rocked this one. I set a goal of at least 10 entries per month, and I've so far met it. Hopefully, I'll continue along this same path. If I get really desperate, I'll just have a "Best of the Blog" day where I republish one of my older posts. So, if sometime in the future you find yourself reading something that sounds eerily familiar, just shake your head and know that I have fallen from my rock star status.

I resolve to keep the unread and/or unanswered emails in my inbox to a manageable number i.e. somewhere between 0 & 125. Similarly, I will attempt to answer emails within a reasonable time frame--reasonable being within a month. (or two)

You all have to admit that I have been making great strides in this arena. I try to clean out the mess at least once a week. While this may still sound like I am not making any progress, it is actually a huge leap forward when you compare it to my prior habit of only dealing with my inbox once a month. The problem is that by the time I finish replying to the last of my piled up emails, ten new electronic tidings have arrived in answer to my hastily written notes. It seems that some people like to respond to emails as soon as they arrive so that they don't accumulate. Show offs.

I resolve to attempt to keep the clutter on my night table to a minimum. Minimum is defined as no more than three items hitting the floor when I reach over to look at the clock.

Meh. This one is about 50/50. I have decreased the massive pile of books and magazines that made up the balk of the decor on my night table. However, this is mainly due to the kindle and not to any conscious effort on my part. Now if I could just find an all-in-one lamp, monitor, clock, remote and chapstick, I'll be well on my way to a minimalistic existence.

I resolve to eat one vegetable for every six desserts. Lofty goal, I know. But if you're going to go at all, you might as well go all the way, right?

You can't win them all people, you just can't.

Monday, August 03, 2009

It's my party, & I'll cry if I want to...

After our birthday lunch at Cheddar's, we returned to the lake and had a mini-party for the little princess. This was one of the few times that she actually cried during the entire weekend. And it was for a good reason--she pulled her cupcake up to her face when the candle was still in it burning her poor little pouty mouth. She recovered quite quickly once the medicinal chocolate hit her taste buds.

On Saturday, everyone came to the lake to celebrate with us. We started with lunch. Uncle Rob was on grill duty until a minor catastrophe had him handing the spatula to Grandpa. Don't be fooled by all of the smoke--those burgers were tasty!

She might look sweet...
but don't mess with Aunt Danielle cause she'll tackle and tickle you.

Here is the cake that was supposed to be a Mickey cake, but somehow ended up a Sesame cake. No worries, Amaya didn't care.

Oh, the pressure of everyone staring while I cut the cake. This was the first party that I didn't hand the job off to Nana.

Once that ordeal was over, I rewarded myself with a sizable slice.

Amaya did too.

Time to go down to the lake and burn off all of those calories. Hmmm, it would seem that the family is a bit confused as to what "burn off calories" looks like.

After we got our fill of sun, we headed in to watch the race. Amaya tested out her new toys.

Get out of the picture Grandpa: you're blocking my ride.

And where was Daddy during all of this excitement?

Getting the star treatment at the inaugural Nationwide Iowa Speedway race. Rough life.
Standing by Brad Coleman and the ESPN dude who just interviewed him. Oh, and Rob. Can't forget Rob--not to be confused with Uncle Rob. I'll draw you a flow chart.
Prime seating for the race. Pretty sure there was not much crying going on at Daddy's party either.