Friday, December 28, 2007

at Grandma's

We made it here late last night! It took quite a bit longer than usual, since we hit some snow and The Hubby had to get out in the cold cold cold and put chains on so we could make it over the Pass.
But we're here and we're cozy and having fun.
We had a fantastic Christmas at Noni's. The kids were so happy to be with their cousins, and Santa treated them well. Christmas Eve was a big party, with an appearance by Santa that really surprised the kids (and Santa shocked Big Girl by saying that Mrs. N has been telling Santa about her). I was assigned to video duty for that event, so I hope I managed to squeeze into the right spots and get a good angle. Then back to Noni's for bed (Auntie S read "The Night Before Christmas") and they woke up at about 7:15 the next morning. We convinced Cousin L to go get his parents, but he was ready to start playing with his dinosaur toys! Everybody got what they were hoping for, and the kids stayed in jammies all day (playing with toys and watching new movies), so it was pretty much a perfect day!
As for The Hubby and I, we both got to go to the NFL game (with R and S; Noni was a hero and babysat all 5 kids) and sit in the amazing seats for the Christmas-themed final home game. Then we went to the city late with The Hubby's high school friends and had (literally) too much fun.
On the day after Christmas, we all went to see "Enchanted." It was cute. Everybody made it to the end except Middle Girl (so The Hubby and The Boy had to go to the lobby with her).
The Boy only made it half the first night in the "big kids' bedroom." The rest of the time, he had to sleep next to mommy and daddy's little bed in the loft.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

at Noni's

We're here! We got here at 4 or 5 or something. I'm sitting here wondering when the four kids will fall asleep. My three and Cousin L are all in one room. This is The Boy's first time for this. Daddy is lying in there to help him fall asleep (well, maybe THEM) so I don't know if they're asleep or not (often Hubby also falls asleep when he "lies with them."

The kids are very excited to be here together and Niece M is SO ADORABLE!

The big question right now is who is using the NFL tix tomorrow. I cannot handle the idea of being the one with the kids YET AGAIN, 1) I did for the SU-ND game last month, 2) I have done all the Christmas prep for this family and have exhausted myself and I am TOAST! So this won't be an easy one to figure out.

Well, that's it for now, we'll talk more later!

Enjoy your loved ones, we feel fortunate to be together right now!

Friday, December 21, 2007


Hi! Let's take a tour of some pretty scenery:

Here is our living room.


Console table

And the Christmas tree

This is my favorite -- the formal dining table looks really good.

This is in the den. Little toy Santa, Mrs. Claus and reindeer. Also, I covered all of the plants' pots with Christmas tissue and ribbon. Too much attention to detail?

As you walk down the hall from the den into the kitchen/breakfast area, you see this shelf unit:

In the bathroom, you find this:

Mr. Snowman (with Mrs. Snowman and their three little snowkids) is holding a sign that says "Count Your Blessings."

This is our "Christmas Countdown" hanging in the breakfast area. This year we also had a chain countdown made by Middle Girl at school:
Here is the rest of the breakfast area:

The kids' tree and gingerbread house are on the cabinet in the corner.

Now, this shows the lights on the front of our house: They are in the shape of two trees.

Remember when I told you about the "Haunted House?" Well, you could say that they went overboard for Christmas! The pictures are blurry but I hope you get the idea.

Yes, there are lights on their front lawn. Where aren't there lights?

Where do they store all this stuff?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Christmas Miracle

The videocamera is back!!! And they replaced the power fuse or something so it is working!!!! We needn't have stressed so much; Canon's customer service was very smooth. Panasonic's was awful and made us pay for the labor (parts were under warranty but not labor). Canon's just fixed the camera and sent it back by FedEx! Hallelujah!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Birthday recap!

What a third birthday we had here!

The Boy woke up on Friday morning, December 14, and climbed into mommy's bed for a snuggle. Mommy and Daddy said, "you are three now!" and The Boy said, "NO! I am two and a half!" Throughout the morning, he would throw a little fit whenever anyone told him he was three. So I said, "okay, you can still be two and a half if that's what you want." After all, if I can be 25 he can be 2.5, right? Big Girl figured that once he got to open presents he would be more excited about turning three! Does she know a thing or two about life?

Middle Girl was having her Christmas concert at preschool, so The Boy loaded up his Cars in his Cars lunchbag and took them with him to the concert. Middle Girl's class sang "Away in a Manger" in English and Spanish.

When Daddy got home from work, The Boy opened his birthday presents. Big Girl was right, The Boy liked this part a lot and got great stuff! Then we went out to dinner and a special birthday treat at Baskin Robbins.

That night, Mommy and Daddy stayed up late getting ready for the party (including cake baking, of course).

Saturday was his party. Normally he does not enjoy a lot of people, but since these were the people he had asked for, he loved having them over! He greeted them, and told them all about how this was HIS birthday! It was a real treat for me to see him showing his personality to other people. He played basketball outside with the other kids, and played on the train table that we had moved into the kitchen.

Then it was time for Music Together class. He was so into it! He knew what was coming next and even danced around the room (he never does that during the real class). He talked his teacher's ear off, which surprised her! He got to have the red and blue "egger shakes" that he had requested all those weeks ago. He also got to play the big gathering drum and even shared it with his friends! Right before the Goodbye Song, the teacher said, "we need to sing Happy Birthday." The Boy said, "to me?" and when she said "yes," his excited smile was delightful!

For cake time, he put on his own Mater party hat and climbed up into a chair to be the center of attention some more. We lit the candles and he blew them out while we were singing "Ha-" Guess he knew what he was supposed to do with this cake business!

All in all, it was a magical day. Everything went just the way he had wanted it to, and he rewarded us with his most charming personality, on display even for people he hardly ever sees! A lot of these people had never met the "real" Boy, so I was really tickled about it all. Now that he's tasted the spotlight, he may be hooked!

Friday, December 14, 2007

36 months

Dear Boy,

You are now three years old. You are a quiet little guy, preferring to play alone or with your sisters. You are getting noisier, though, and have started running around in circles burning off energy and (as always) you love to put on a show to try to make mommy laugh. You do not like it when we call you a "big boy." You always tell us that you are a "little boy" or a "baby."

You have a deep affection for balls and vehicles, particularly the characters from the Cars movie. You like to shoot baskets and play catch, and everything else you can do with a ball as well. You listen for helicopters and big trucks and always spot motorcycles when they are farther away than mommy can even see. You like to play pretend, whether it's as the dog in your sister's games, or when you make your cars talk to each other.

You can count to 20 (although you skip some of the teens). You have pretty much entirely switched to regular words from the "The Boy words" you made up (although you still know the old "The Boy words": if I ask you who Bida is, you answer "Middle Girl!"). One of your words that you still use is "stink" (a noun used in place of #2, as in "I need to go stink"). Another is "you're a funky lady" (which has now been shortened to just "funk"). When you are upset with a person, you tell them this. "Mommy, can I have fruit snacks for breakfast?" "No, my Boy." "Awww, you funky lady!" This would be funnier to me if you didn't say it with such an angry tone. I wonder where you came up with that one. When you ask for water, you ask for "coldwaterfromrefrigeratordumptrucks." The "dumptrucks" part refers to the sippy cup with dumptrucks on it.

You like to sit on my lap for a snuggle, and when we hug you tenderly pat my back. You tell me to give you "fast kisses" or "slooowww kisses."

You have mommy wrapped around your little finger.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

there's a birthday coming up

The Boy is turning three in TWO DAYS.

He "can NOT beLIEVE it."
Neither can I, man, neither can I.

Last year we went to an NBA game and then had cake on McQueen plates.

This year, he has asked for a party. He has chosen McQueen partyware again.

We sent invitations out to his party list. He really did give me names of people to invite, I am not kidding. He really wants people to come over. We'll see what he thinks when they are actually here.

His Music Together teacher is coming to teach a class. He asked her to please bring egg shakers to use during the class, and he would like a red one and a blue one.

Other than that, the kids will be playing with cars, trains, bikes and balls.
Oh, and having cake on McQueen plates.

I need to start assembling the favor bags! Each child gets a die-cast Cars car and an egg shaker!

Monday, December 10, 2007

O Christmas Tree

Things are looking good here. Last week I was very busy (aren't we all this time of year) getting the decorations up, enjoying Big Girl's Christmas performance (she sang her heart out and we could hear her!), and dragging The Boy all over town running errands. Today when we dropped Middle Girl off at school, he said "where are we going now?" and I said "hmmm... Target?" to which he replied, "No! We're just going home!" So he has had it with errands!

Unfortunately our videocamera is not functioning and we have to send it in to see if it can be fixed. The Hubby gave it to me for Christmas last year and bought it 12/17, so it should be under warranty except that we don't have the receipt. Which they are saying is required. We'll see what happens, but having no videocamera for The Boy's birthday and Christmas with the cousins is a total bummer.

The Boy is getting very excited about his birthday! Every day we talk about how many days are left and he can hardly believe it! Tonight the girls and I went to the store and got the birthday gifts they had in mind for him. They can't wait for him to open them! Big Girl says she loves to give presents as well as get.

Yesterday we got our tree! We always play Christmas music as we hang ornaments. The Boy was very involved in the decorating this year, so we were five hard workers! The girls ooh-ed and ah-ed and reminisced as we unpacked the ornaments. This all really feels like a tradition now! But no video of it this year ... gah!

Ornaments are out and ready to go

The Boy's favorite is a train (the first one he put up), which he seems to remember from last year (it's one of Hubby's from his Grandma. Big Girl has a lot of favorites.

I just taught the girls "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and Middle Girl and I found a set of "12 Days" ornaments. She enjoyed hanging them on our tree!

The finished product looks terrific!

Friday, November 30, 2007

reasons why today's rainstorm is not good

1. because yesterday I overfilled the pool again (remember when I had a brain? I don't. Because my brain has left the building.)

2. because yesterday I bought TONS of flowers for both front and back so the gardener could plant them when he came today

3. my hair! and I have a gig tonight that I will be walking to!

4. three kids, two umbrellas. (Santa knows we need more umbrellas. But today is Nov. 30.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

on the second day after Thanksgiving...

Noni decided curly hair would be fun.

The Hubby and Uncle Bill went to the Stanford-Notre Dame game (ugly game, pretty new stadium).

We went to the cute retro Sweet Shoppe and played hide-and-seek at the park.

We drove home and finally tried the Apricot Tree restaurant (pretty good for along the highway!). Also The Hubby is a genius because he found a way to bypass that damn Pacheco turn where the cars line up. On Monday, my friend Karen who was in Los Altos for the weekend and also drove home Saturday night, told me that they waited an HOUR in that lineup. Woo hoo Hubby!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

some news about me

Eight weeks ago, I finally did something I've been meaning to do for a long time. When my 30th birthday came along, I decided that could be the impetus to get me to finally do it. But I had a new baby and thought it wouldn't be a good idea while I had little hands grabbing at me all the time. Then another new baby came along. Then ... well... this is not a big deal for most people, but I was self-conscious about being 34 and going in to get it done. So I was stalling and dragging my feet...

Then my friend Annette passed away of leukemia. She was a jewelry designer and I had purchased quite a bit of her pieces over the past few years. I wear some of them a lot, but there are some things I was still unable to wear. I was determined to finally just GO DO IT.

Here are just a few samples of her work, worn by ME!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Uncle D's visit

We all enjoyed having Uncle D here. He set up a little bowling alley in the den for The Boy (D tries to adhere more to the way you are supposed to bowl, while I am just happy when the kids are occupied - I hadn't fixed their pin set-ups or shown them how far away to stand when they roll the ball). The Boy loves having Uncle D to bowl, throw the baseball, and shoot baskets with. Unfortunately for D, The Boy has a very long attention span for these activities.

I hope D enjoyed it here. I know his work project was not so smooth, but I hope he had some good walks and some good food. I like having him here!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

For Nephew C

Dear Nephew C,
Auntie Barbra thought you might enjoy looking at these pictures. They are from the first day Big Girl was home from school with chicken pox. I found a huge mess in the girls' room, including the whole Calico Critters house and all the little things (The Boy and Big Girl had been playing with it but as usual did not clean up before moving on to other toys). I looked at all the messes all over the room, and then somehow found myself carefully placing everything just so in the Calico Critters house (I think I was trying to pretend the other messes weren't there).
Anyway, I heard you like the Calico Critters, so I thought you might like to see how I arranged everything while I was in mess denial that day:

This is the living room, where mom is coming home after her "away time."

Dad is busy in the kitchen!

The rabbit friend is going to wash her hands.

This is the play room. Also, mama dog is going to sit at the vanity and get ready to go out.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

a science and art lesson

Got some new pictures of niece M! Here is my favorite one:

Hello, little smiley! Can't WAIT to see you!

It was fun to see the kids in Big Girl's class so excited to see her again on Tuesday morning. I think she enjoyed that very much!

Here are some photos from the last time we went to the Gardens (Nov. 1):

Surprisingly enough, we found something there we had never noticed before:

You drop rocks through this thing, and they bounce off all the metal nails and it makes a beautiful chiming sound. The Boy spent lots of time on this. What could be better than picking up a handful of rocks and dumping them, then being rewarded with a beautiful, musical sound?!

We had to go do the experiments again, which we so enjoyed last time:

First, you put a drop of nectar (from one of three types of flowers) on the sensor plate of the refractometer.

Then, you look through the eyepiece, and read the number corresponding to the boundary between blue and white zones. This tells you the concentration of sugar. (Doesn't this look like a lovely museum? It really is.)

Lantana = 20%, Salvia = 25%, Lavender = 30%.
Butterflies prefer nectar with 15-25%, hummingbirds prefer 20-25%, bees prefer 30-50%.

Here are some of our favorite artworks from that visit:

Pinkie and Blue Boy, mounted across from one another
Blue Boy is by Thomas Gainsborough, c. 1770. The outfit is a costume of 1630's style dress, as Gainsborough painted this as an homage to the works of Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck (1559-1641).
Pinkie is by Thomas Lawrence, c. 1794. Sarah Barrett Moulton (called "Pinkie" by her grandmother) was 11 at the time of the painting. Her younger brother, Edward, was the father of poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Children playing (there was another one of two sisters that we liked as well)
This is Clavering Children by George Romney, c. 1777.

I have always loved this one by Mary Cassatt of a mom and her toddler daughter.
Breakfast in Bed, c. 1897
Mary Cassatt was an American expat living in Paris, and was a close friend of Edgar Degas. She often depicted women and children.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

we left the house!

Oh, boy, did it feel good to get out of the house Friday evening! What a week.

After dinner, we walked over to look at the football game through the fence. We saw the last three minutes of the first half, and then the marching band well, marched onto the field. Suddenly, three high school boys wearing black g-strings hopped the fence on the other side of the field (home side) and ran through the band and across to the away side fence, where we were. The first two hopped over the fence and were standing right next to my bewildered children while the third had some trouble getting over the fence (!). This caused the "away" students to razz boy #3, which caused boys #1 and #2 to yell the "f" bomb at them a few times. Teen boy #3 got over the fence on his third try, and they ran off (almost bowling over my children) down the street. Big Girl said, "mom, that was so, so, so, so, ... weird." Yes. So glad we brought our kids over to see the good, clean fun of a high school football game ... and some butts and foul language! Oh, how I wished I had my camera with me so I could put an image of it on the blog for you!

We watched the band for a while, and headed back home to see the fireworks from our back porch! No helicopter, though. We were wondering what happened to that plan!

Saturday, the girls got to play all day with E&S and go see their soccer games. The Boy got to come to my band rehearsal and play with the drummer's kids' old Hot Wheels. When we left, he said, "mommy, that was a good house." Hee hee!

(The Hubby was at the college football game)

For dinner, we were at "Tall Katie's" housewarming party. My kids love being honorary members of her family! We had a lot of fun.

Now Uncle D is here! Everyone is happy. The Cat won't leave him alone, as is the norm. So maybe everyone but D is happy. J/K He is taking me to dinner tonight!!!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

homecoming game

Big Girl is better, but we played it safe and did not go to school today. So that's a full week missed and Monday is a holiday. The Boy has a cold now. I am losing my marbles.

Yesterday there was a note on our doorstep saying this:

"Attention Neighbors: This Friday's football game will be starting 7:00 PM and ending at about 9:30. As part of our half-time ceremony, there will be a jubilant display of fireworks along with a helicopter hovering over the field between 8-9 PM. Due to the loud noise, you may want to keep dogs, and other pets indoors..."

Well, this should be interesting!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

how Big Girl is feeling

It's been a very uncomfortable few days. Being so itchy has been difficult both day and night. Finally, this morning I see that a few of them are scabbing, so I hope she starts feeling better. She has been doing some schoolwork her teacher sent home, which is taking her mind off the discomfort somewhat. She enjoys working on it. She also has spent a lot of time in front of the TV!

The Boy has two microscopic-sized spots that look like scabbed-over pox. I don't know.

Monday, November 5, 2007

here we go again

Big Girl is home from school today with chickenpox. Found the spots yesterday morning. So we are stuck at home for a few days AGAIN.

She actually had both the vaccine and the booster. This breakout of chickenpox is strange -- more vaccinated kids are getting it than the statistics would predict, and I know of a family in which even the child who had already had the disease got it again. It makes me wonder if this is some kind of different strain? I didn't think that happened with chickenpox... My scientific mind wants to solve this puzzle.

The Boy has a couple of red bumps, but it actually doesn't look like it did on the girls yet. We'll see what happens through today.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween recap

So, all in all, the kids had a wonderful day and everyone enjoyed going up to the houses and saying "trick or treat!" The Boy too! They were all delighted with their costumes and proud of themselves. Time was spent with best friends, and apparently, for at least one person, fears were conquered.

Our doorbell was ringing nonstop. Hubby and I took turns being the "trick or treat" chaperone and the door-answerer. There were lots of times when I didn't go back inside after handing out treats, because more groups were on the driveway and sidewalk. Group after group after group! Nice kids. We did have enough candy! Just barely. It was fun and festive and I enjoyed it very much.

The weirdest part was that the high school's marching band was practicing on the football field. So the music accompanying everyone's trick-or-treating was the halftime show music! That band has been very busy this week. They practiced all day Saturday and Sunday, as well as Mon, Tues, and Wed nights. We were so surprised they had asked the high schoolers to practice exactly during trick-or-treat time.

The Boy did not want Halloween to be over! He is looking forward to next year, and we are preparing him for the fact that the frog costume will not fit him any more. Just planting that seed now.

Our street's trick-or-treaters were done by 9:00. Very good. There are a couple of other neighborhoods in our town that get even more trick-or-treaters. We saw the edge of one of them when we checked out the "haunted house." It was insane. Minivans were pulling up to busy corners (not parking) and kids of all ages were piling out and heading down the sidewalk. I don't know if ours is one of those "destination" areas that people drive to, since we're not on the end of the street. But this practice can't be safe. And I will quote another writer, "CANDY IS NOT THAT IMPORTANT!"

But I want to stress that we had a wonderful night, and everything seemed "just right" to us!!

Do you recognize this person?

There is a house a couple of blocks from us, by the library. All month we've been watching their decorating progress. "All out" is an understatement. They wrap the front of their house in stone backdrop stuff, put stone gargoyles on the pillars, hang witches, skeletons and monsters from every tree, put monsters all over the porches and windows, including the attic window, and put cobwebs all over the porch. One of the monster things moves and has light up eyes and creepy music. It seemed that every time we went by, there were more decorations. One day there was a fenced-in graveyard in the front yard, with skulls on the fenceposts, creepy bones crawling out around the gravestones, and grim reapers standing guard. Another day there was a huge ghoul flying over the front yard (they rigged wire from their roof to the tree between the sidewalk & street and suspended the ghoul from the line, but also rigged the flowing robes from the line so that it looked like it was flying and not just hanging there). Most recently there was a 10-foot tall ghost in shackles hanging from the tree between the sidewalk and street.

In our family, we have taken to referring to this house as "the haunted house." Somebody in the family said, "on Halloween, I want to come to this house!"

So after trick-or-treating in our neighborhood, mom was reminded about "the haunted house," so we set off to walk over there. There was creepy music and somebody was talking eerily into a microphone that was set on echo. Everything was dark except lit up by blacklights. There were lots of pumpkins and people in costume everywhere. It was very very creepy! Somebody in our family wanted to go up to the porch to trick-or-treat there. Somebody else did not want to get any closer, in fact wanted to head home.

Can you guess who it was that went on up to the dark, monster-covered porch to say "trick or treat?"

I think you'll be surprised!

It was my Big Girl!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween day

Off Little Red Riding Hood went to school today! Coming home at noon (half day), her basket was full of treats. I let her share them with her little sister and brother even before they ate lunch. Middle Girl said, "mom, you're spoiling us!"

At school, the Big Bad Wolf was sitting at Little Red's table. (Coincidence.)

There were many characters from Star Wars, including Princess Leia in her pants outfit. There were many characters from Hannah Montana as well. We do not know about these things at our house.

Pippi Longstocking won a prize and so did the Hot Dog. I don't know about his pal Mustard. Wolf won too. I liked Baseball Card and Flamenco Dancer.

Unfortunately I did not get to see the Halloween Parade and so I didn't see many kids from other grades. The Hubby enjoyed the Parade, although it is always hot on the blacktop!

At The Boy's Parent Ed class, we covered cardboard with flannel to make storyboards. We each got a gate (that's why I cut out 18 yesterday), five pumpkins, and five ghosts that volunteer moms had cut out of felt. We learned a couple of Halloween stories and The Boy just loves to carefully place the felt pieces on the board and move them around with the story. He demonstrated for his sisters and I wish I had caught it on video!

"Five Little Pumpkins"
Five little pumpkins, sitting on a gate
The first one said, "it's getting late!"
The second one said, "there are witches in the air!"
The third one said, "but I don't care!"
The fourth one said, "ooooo, let's run!"
The fifth one said, "it's only Halloween fun!"
Then "ooooooo" went the wind, and (clap) out went the light,
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

"Five Little Ghosts"
Five little ghosts all dressed in white
Were scaring each other on Halloween Night
The first one said, "I'll scare everyone I see"
The second one said, "You can't scare me!"
The third one said, "Let's hide behind a tree"
The fourth one said, "It's time to disappear"
The fifth one said, "See you on Halloween next year!"

Middle Girl had Orange and Black Day at school. We left Parent Ed early to go see the kids sing Halloween songs. Darling! Each child got to pick out a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch room!

MG's friend "Red" had chickenpox too, but was all scabbed over today so she got to come for the festivities. Surprising that this family had mild cases that only took a few days since they do not vaccinate their children.

It's naptime! Rest up for costume-bonanza-trick-or-treating-in-the-new-neighborhood-with-our-friends-hope-Boy-wears-a-costume-how-many-people-will-come-do-we-have-enough-candy?!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween tasks completed today

Actually, I carved the middle one (cat face) last night so it would be ready for today's contest. Big Girl designed it. This morning we walked over with pumpkin and diorama (apparently we forgot crazy hat day and library books due), and took a look at the other creations:

Votes were placed in the cups at recess. Big Girl said her cup was overflowing with votes!

Back at home, we created the other two jack o' lanterns. Middle Girl chose to use a pattern for her cat with moon, and punched the holes along the pattern lines herself. The Boy found a complicated pattern of Elmo. His pumpkin is small, so I could only fit the face.

What is wrong with jack o' lantern-looking jack o' lanterns? I like those. But I don't have my own pumpkin. If I got one for myself, I would have to do the goop thing again (no thanks). Maybe The Hubby would scoop out goop for me. I'm sure he would, but not on such short notice. Oh, well.

So my list of Halloween tasks completed today:

  • Jack o' lanterns

  • Get a basket for Little Red Riding Hood (Dorothy costume came with one, thanks mom!)

  • Cut out 18 Gates from brown felt (for the craft in N's Parent Ed class tomorrow morning)

  • Charge videocamera

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween is coming

Middle Girl was back at school today, and in fact was back at Sunday School yesterday for the costume parade. Chickenpox was so much better for her than it was for me way back when! Just a few spots, just a few days, and that's it! Hooray for vaccines. We'll see in about two weeks if Big Girl or The Boy come down with it. Also the neighbor girl, who managed to slip into our house on Friday afternoon. I suddenly realized, "V is upstairs playing with Middle Girl. Do her parents know this? .... Do her parents know Middle Girl has the chickenpox?" Well, the neighbor parents did know she was at our house but did not know about the chickenpox. Oops! Parental faux pas -- I felt like an idiot. "Should I send her back home?" "Probably too late now, don't you think?" said neighbor mom. Time will tell!
Middle Girl had gone out front to swing on the swing while I was just inside in the living room on the phone. Neighbor girl saw Middle Girl outside, ran out to play with her, and next thing you know they're in the house and playing upstairs. Neighbor girl has a talent for this sort of thing!

Big Girl has some Halloween goings-on at school tomorrow: Pumpkin Carving Contest and 2nd Grade Spooky Scenes (aka dioramas). So I was up to my elbows in pumpkin goop this evening. Good thing the diorama was already done. Then on Wednesday Big Girl has the Halloween parade at 11 am and Middle Girl has the Orange-and-Black-Day singalong at ... 11 am. I have called in backup (The Hubby will come over from work to be in one place while I am in the other).

A couple weekends ago, we chose our pumpkins. Tonight we scooped out the goop. Each child reacted differently to this job. Let's analyze (this could be fun):

Middle Girl got right in there, and worked hard, enjoyed the squishy goopiness, and was the first to get it cleaned out.

The Boy was very serious about his job. He used his little scooper to take the seeds out but needed mommy's help with the scraping. He worked quietly.

Big Girl got a little dot of goop on her cheek. She went in the house to get a paper towel for herself.


She did not work quietly, but made sure we all knew her opinions of this job. "Eeew! Gross!" "Mom, can you scoop mine out?" (Mom: "put your hands in there and pull out the goop.") "I don't want to! It makes my hands messy!"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

dr. visit update

Yep, she's got chicken pox. Two of the "lesions" now look like the chicken pox, rather than little bug bites. Once the dr. found those two, she said, "yep." Should be quicker and milder due to the vaccine. Bought some calamine lotion and oatmeal bath. We'll watch Big Girl and The Boy but hopefully the vaccine "took" in both of them (Big Girl did have two doses). I'll be interested to see if other kids we know get it as well.


Well, her fever is gone and she has a few more red bumps. She slept fine last night.
We are staying home, of course.

I still think it's chicken pox that just looks different because she had received the vaccine.* In fact, here is something I found on
"About 15 percent of varicella-vaccinated children fail to have an optimal response to vaccination and, if exposed to varicella later in life, can develop a very mild form of varicella. Usually this disease looks like bug bites; often, the child has no fever and doesn't seem sick at all."
That's exactly what it looks like! (Although she was feverish yesterday...)

We are going into the ped's office at 4:30 this afternoon so the professionals can look at it and I can stopping guessing and wondering!

*she was vaccinated at 12 months, but hasn't had the booster. Big Girl got that at 5 years. My point being that this is not caused by the vaccine itself; she must have been exposed to the virus recently. If this even is chicken pox.

I don't know who she got it from. I guess that's another thing about the vaccine -- now the virus can be passed around without showing any symptoms in some kids, while causing a mild case in others.

Although we have a few friends who don't vaccinate their kids. I am not going to get into it here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

'til tomorrow

I guess I shouldn't have called them "wildfires" yesterday. It appears that most of them were set by arsonists. Can you believe that?

My eyes felt better today, although the schools still didn't let the kids outside because there is a lot of particulate matter (ash) in the air.

You know, we don't get the SA winds here. We get other kinds of winds (the colder ones), but not usually the SAs and this week was no exception. Absolutely no wind here. We must be shielded from them. They come from the east and our mountains are on the north, so I don't know what the shield is, but there must be something. Growing up, we sure got the winds. I remember there were times in elementary school when I thought the wind was going to pick me up off the ground. Going outside was so difficult; walking was tough against the wind and with all the dust flying so hard, you had to keep your eyes closed. I HATED those winds. But it is still weird even after 16 years hearing that they are happening and not actually experiencing any wind.

I titled this "til tomorrow..." because it looks like Middle Girl might have chicken pox. The spots that she's got (more every hour this evening) don't look like pox, but the nurse at the ped's office said that's because she had the vaccine. She has a fever and the spots, although she's not complaining about itchiness (two of the spots look like they've been scratched, though). The nurse said to monitor her tonight and call them with the status in the morning. We'll see what tomorrow brings...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


You might be wondering about us when you hear about all the fires going on. We are doing fine, but the air quality is really terrible. The sky is orange and smells like smoke. I can't actually see any smoke, though. Big Girl's school isn't letting the kids go outside, people are cancelling playgroups, and my eyes are so itchy that it's a glasses day for me.

Things are much worse for a LOT of people so we are not complaining.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

they're close

The Boy told me that Thomas and James (the trains) are friends.

I said, "who are The Boy's friends?"

He said, "Middle Girl!"

I don't know if I should think of that as good or bad...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Today Middle Girl, The Boy and I walked over to the fire station to meet her preschool class there. We had been there for field trips before, but this time there were a few things that really stood out. One, they got a medical call while we were there, so we got to watch some firefighters hurry into one of the engines and head out, lights flashing, and then the siren after they were out on the street. That was exciting. Also, the firefighter who stayed with us demonstrated all of the gear they wear, talking through it as he put each piece on. When he put on the mask and air, and then hat, the kids were kind of scared but it was good to hear the sound of his breathing with the tank and see that it was the same nice firefighter who had been with us all along under that mask. Hopefully the kids will never need to use the information, but it's good for them to know what a firefighter would look and sound like in a fire. And one more thing, he showed them how to test a door to see if it's safe to open it if they hear the smoke detector. I don't think they will remember that, but it was good for me to see and learn. Now I will have to remember to have family emergency drills on a regular basis.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fancy Art Museum

We didn't go to the Gardens on Friday after all. The weather was fine, but I had a different idea: the Fancy Art Museum. We had never been there. So we picked up Big Girl from school at noon after Music Together and helping a little with Fair set-up, ate lunch, and sat down to have a discussion. I asked the kids if they wanted to go to an art museum, and suggested that we make ourselves a scavenger hunt. They were enthusiastic about the idea, so we named things we thought we might see in the art and BG made a list with check boxes. On it were things like dog, cat, elephant, monkey, penguin, cow, whale, dragon, ostrich, robin, apple, hat, pillow, tree, boat, car, train, ocean, beach, clouds, moon, stars, vase of flowers, person sitting, person running, Jesus, fork, church, party, pumpkin, bat... When we got to the museum, we looked out for things on our list and BG checked them off.

It is not a kid-friendly museum. It is a real, serious, art museum. There were guards everywhere, and we were talked to four or five times! I thought the kids really behaved very well, but the guards were very quick to say something at any inkling of anything. Some of the things they said to us were no running, no touching the walls, no touching the nameplates, no touching the barriers... Despite all that, I thought it was great to take the kids to someplace that felt so grown-up and cultured. They were very interested in looking at the paintings and spotting things in our hunt. We also looked for colors and had fun with the abstracts. It was really handy that they have a beautiful Monet-style garden to walk around in and be a little louder! There are statues to look at out there (in addition to the Rodins out front, before you come inside).

Here are some of our favorite paintings from the visit:

This portrait of a dog in the 17th-18th Century gallery was a hit with the kids!

There were so many we liked in the 19th Century gallery! They have an extensive Degas collection. But Middle Girl really veered towards this portrait of a peasant by Van Gogh.

In the 20th Century gallery, we liked this one by Rousseau with the monkeys and oranges. We also enjoyed examining the Kandinsky (below) for colors and shapes.

Saturday and Sunday was the Fair (Hoedown). We spent most of the two days there and ate lunch and dinner there both days. The kids did rides, crafts, games, watched the entertainment... Big Girl played with her friends and her sibs and was very into the whole fair experience. I baked cakes for the cake walk and goodies for the Sweet Shack. I also performed with my band on Sunday evening, to close out the fair. My voice made it all the way through, which was a relief since I had sung Saturday night at a gig with my other band! That was a fun one too -- it was the polytechnic school's 100th anniversary gala dinner dance, and the dance floor was packed for the whole two hours (we decided not to take a break).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

At the Gardens

Last Thursday we went to the Gardens for the "free day." It is still free, but you have to get tickets in advance now. That worked in our favor, since the place was not crowded. It was a good, though short, visit. Middle Girl and The Boy now want to go back, and we got tickets for next month, so next time I'll be able to get them out the door sooner and we can stay longer.

MG's favorite thing was the lab stations in the kids' conservatory. They have these sugar probes, and you put some nectar on there and get a readout of which plant has more sugar. Bees prefer one percentage, hummingbirds another, and butterflies another. There was also a pH probe to compare the acidity of carnivorous plants to that of regular water. And there were microscopes attached to monitors all over the place, and we all enjoyed those. I was very proud of my inquisitive kid! (While trying to be patient with her wanting to do the tests over and over and over... and asking myself why am I getting antsy anyway? isn't this what I want kids to do, as a science teacher? what's up with this?)

We had only a few minutes to play in the outdoor part of the children's garden. Of course, we spent them at the fountains. The highlight of every kid's visit!

Tomorrow Big Girl has a half day. I might take all three to the Gardens after school, so BG can see it too. There is a rumor of rain, though, so we'll play it by ear, as usual! They have much-needed haircut appointments in the afternoon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Were you thinking I had forgotten about the football this weekend? Wasn't that something. We did not watch the [Our-Alma-Mater vs. BCS-Title-Game-Worthy-School] game, because someone gave us tickets to the [Local Stadium's Game Between Two Storied Programs] game and we thought The Boy would enjoy it. So The Hubby and I took him to the [Local Stadium] while the girls played at their friends' house.

Our neighbors were going to the [BCS-Title-Game-Worthy-School] game and asked us if we were going. "No way," we said, "it doesn't sound fun to watch our team get blown out. We'll be at the [Local Stadium] instead."

We were crammed into the [Local Stadium] surrounded by some drunk Away-Team fans. The bleacher seats are not big enough if everyone shows up. We had four tickets for two adults and a two-year-old, which was good because it sort of made up for the problem. The rows in front of and behind us both were unable to accommodate everyone who had tickets for the row. The Boy was interested, but it was hard to follow the football. He liked seeing the "instruments" and the blimp and helicopters. He liked watching field goals. We were on the corner, pretty close, but still it's a big field.

So there we were, making the best of the discomfort and still having fun with The Boy, when the crowd started cheering for no apparent reason. The Hubby figured it must be the [Our-Alma-Mater] game. We came to find out that [Our-Alma-Mater] had taken the lead, 24-23, late in the 4th. We craned to see the TVs in the press box, but they were too far away to really get any information. The cell and blackberry had no reception. What were we doing in that cramped stadium with the drunk guys, not able to see what [Our-Alma-Mater] was doing? When the stadium PA announced the final score, the place went wild with cheering. I was dumbfounded. How were we not watching? Unbelievable.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Boy Humor

The Boy is very interested in traffic lights these days. "Red means stop, green means go." There is a little song to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and when out, he is always telling us "that light is red, that means stop."

This morning, walking home from Big Girl's school, he said, "The red light is on the top. The yellow light is in the middle. The green light is on the bottom." "Yes, honey," I said. Then he said, "Ha ha ha, the DIAPER is on the bottom!! Ha ha ha ha!"

I guess that begins the boy humor.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

goofballs all around

I am surrounded by goofballs. Being one myself, I guess it is unavoidable! And I like goofballs, anyway. Look at this one:

Coming into his own with moments of ham-itude.

I grabbed the camera when I saw a box walking through the house. By the time I took the picture, the box had slipped back, but when he was walking around he was pretty much totally covered except for two little legs. Usually, he is a quiet ham. But sometimes, he is a really noisy one. He reminds me of Big Girl more and more every day.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Puddles! and Noot Nacks! (and HB Ryan!)

My kids, SoCal kids that they are, think puddles are quite a novelty. Puddles are another manifestation of how great it is living in our new neighborhood. We walk Big Girl to school and one of the houses must have its sprinklers on shortly before our walk, because there are always a couple of puddles on the sidewalk in front of it. My kids always stop and walk slowly through them, or jump, and say "my shoes are wet!" and then we do the same when Middle Girl and The Boy and I walk back home.

It makes me so grateful for this lovely walk we get to do together, since we didn't really have time or opportunity to tiptoe through puddles when we spent so much time in the car. I think about how everybody used to walk to school (before my time) and how nice it must have been to live then, when kids would stop and visit with neighbors and their gardens and dogs on their way home from school. But there are lots of things about the present that I wouldn't want to go back and live without, like oh, say, LIFE CHOICES (!) and a husband who's an equal partner (!).

I guess you can't keep yourself in the past in some areas and in the present/future in others, but I sure try hard to achieve just that. I wish we could pick and choose exactly the society we want to live in. When you're an adult out on your own, or a young couple, you kind of can do that. But as your kids become older it's hard because they start demanding a say in the choices of modern trappings they want to take on, and their peers have an influence as well! Now that I think about it, the period of life when you have control over your existence is really short!

Yes, I got all of this from watching my kids fascinated by puddles this morning. The human brain, it is a marvel!

If there is anyone out there who doesn't turn into a pile of mush hearing the adorable Boy ask for some "noot nacks," well I just don't know how you hold yourself together. This boy has absolutely got me under his spell. (If you need a translation, that is "fruit snacks.")

Today is Ryan's birthday! Happy day to him. In his honor, I say: Hooray for the grownups!

Oh, and I would just like to add that I am not enjoying this job of coordinating Sunday Preschool music that was thrust upon me against my will. I don't mind setting up the volunteer schedule, but listening to kids' religious ditties (to choose songs for the teachers' CD) is really not my cup of tea. Procrastination, my old friend, is back and we are hangin' out! If you and procrastination are well-acquainted too, I suggest

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Front Loading Washers

Do you have a front-loading washing machine? Our new house came with one - A Whirlpool Duet. We were pretty happy about that until we recently noticed that our clothes don't smell so fresh. Well, after a short time on the Internet (hooray for that technology), we read that people were finding their kids' funky old socks stuck under the "rubber gasket." And that mold and mildew were collecting on them and ... yuck. One message board even had a European person chastising us lazy Americans for not leaving our washer doors open and cleaning out the workings of our machines. What did we think would happen in that wet environment?

Anyway, The Hubby went right up to see what this "rubber gasket" might be and just bent back some rubber and voila, seven of the girls' socks. Two mysteries solved. In fact, I had just bought a ton of new socks for the girls because somehow they were always out of white socks after only two days (this is a problem when your schoolkid has a uniform!).

So now that these gnarly socks are out, we have to wipe out all this vile sludge from under our friend the rubber gasket. And we are going to run an empty load with hot water and bleach. And maybe then we will not be so stinky!

Leaving the door open after washes will kind of be a pain due to the closet that the washer is in, but we'll plan to try that too. At least for a half day or so to dry out the drum.

Aren't you glad you tuned in to my life today?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Blah, blah, blah, I know, this stuff about the house sorting is boring to me as well but I am on the task of CD Storage right now and pthpthpthpth. (that is a raspberry.) Is it feasible to put everything on the computer and get rid of all the CDs? If not, how do you decide which ones to upload and chuck? And which ones to upload and keep? And which ones to just play on CD? Is there a point at which the computer will be full? Note to self: whenever you see The Hubby again and he is awake enough to talk, remember to talk this over with him. Note to everyone: KT Tunstall's new CD "Drastic Fantastic" ("Eye to the Telescope" is on my best-album list) came out yesterday!

The Boy and Middle Girl are wearing swimsuits right now (just for fun - it's cold out), and I asked The Boy "do you want to wear underwear under your swimsuit?" His answer was "No. Just penis."

Did you know that the blogosphere is full of moms writing to keep from forgetting?

Long Story:
In my Parent Ed class today, our instructor brought in all of these everyday objects and asked us each to pick one that symbolizes "what it means to be a parent" and then we went around the circle and explained our choice. When she gave us the task, I knew it would be tough for me because there are so many aspects to my job, and I feel so differently about it at any given moment. Literally, "what it means to me to be a parent" is like flowing water, always moving, covering up some things and revealing others.

So I stared at the pile for a long time hoping something would jump out at me but finally settled on a paperclip because it's something that "holds on" or "keeps" things. It was a very interesting discussion. The instructor picked an adapter because she is a Grandma and is adapting from her parenting days to learning about the way her kids parent today. One of the moms picked a deck of cards not only because growing up, her family played cards a lot, but also because cards are a random assortment of numbers just like her day feels like a random list of tasks (get child 1 here, take child 2 there, etc) and she has to somehow put it all together in a way that pays off for everyone. Another mom had a measuring tape and said she's always measuring time: how long until her husband gets home, how long until they go down for a nap, and conversely, how long until she will have to go back to work and the stay-at-home mom days will be over (which makes her sad to think about).

I said that I picked the paperclip because I am always holding on to my kids and trying to keep them little. This works for the toddler/preschool years because I don't push them into things like walking, talking, and pottying but let them go at their own pace. However, I have started to notice that Big Girl is older than she is in my head. I can't believe it, but she is ready for sleepovers and phone calls and stuff, and I guess that now I have to let her grow up at her own pace and resist my urge to keep her small. Oh, within reason, you'd better believe it. I'm not talking about the teenager-at-age-eight that you see so often. I'm just talking about not treating her like a preschooler anymore! And then there was my friend Christa, who cried at everything everybody said! She is so great -- I am such a sap, too, for all that mommy sentimentality, so she's feeling what I'm feeling but (as usual for me) it just doesn't show on the outside. I feel like we're on the same wavelength so often.

Monday, September 17, 2007


What is it with Mondays? I almost forgot to post.

We had a nice weekend, with more house sorting and cleanup, as well as walking to dinner with the kids, watching them ride bikes, and another short theme park visit. Weekends are short!

I also discovered that it costs an arm and a leg to have something framed, so if anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them. I've got a couple of art posters but of course they are odd sizes, and how do you get big mats in choice colors? The framing looks like it'll cost at least 14 times as much as the "art"! Help me!

Another thing I learned is that when you turn the faucet that fills the pool, remember to turn it off.

We didn't end up having family game night, because we had our friends over for dinner instead (well, it was at our house, but they brought the food -- good deal, huh?). All of the girls have too many other things to play when they get together! Always involving dress-up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Middle Girl's first day of preschool (her third year of preschool) was Monday. I could just eat her up, that peanut!

I don't know how she is feeling about school so far this year. She seems to be in a funk all the time. Nothing is ever good; she never likes anything. This actually started this summer, on our Oregon trip with "I don't WANT to look at this Crater Lake!!" and I've been hearing it from her about almost everything ever since. She was so excited about Hairspray before it started, and sang along, and then on the drive home said "I didn't like that movie." Then the conversation went:

Me: Did you like "Good Morning Baltimore?"

MG: Yes

Me: Did you like "Welcome to the 60's?"

MG: Yes

Me: Did you like "You Can't Stop the Beat?"

MG: Yes

Me: Did you like "Ladies' Choice?"

MG: Yes

Me: Did you like "I Can Hear the Bells?"

MG: Yes

Me: Did you like "The Nicest Kids in Town?"

MG: Yes

She just didn't like the part when the police and Mrs. Von Tussle were looking for Tracy.

What is with the focusing on the negative? I would say "that's not like Middle Girl," but she's been like this so much lately (including her first gymnastics class the other day, her favorite activity by far last year) and "who" a kid is changes all the time, so maybe I can't really say that. Maybe all I can say is "that's who she is right now" and wait to see who she becomes next.

As far as preschool goes this year, after the two days she has had so far, all she has said is "Elise didn't play with me" and "Scarlett didn't play with me." Followed by my asking "who did you play with?" and her answering "Scarlett." Classic Middle Girl reasoning there. "I like apples but I don't like apples." We hear this kind of sentence all the time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I am so tired today! All of a sudden summer ended and the school year started up and my calendar exploded. I am never home at night right now and Big Girl is giving me what-for about it. I am sure the others feel similarly (BG is the one who lets me have it about everything - is it BG or is it age 7?). I've been teaching Safeguard the Children classes for our church, as well as rehearsing for all of the various gigs coming up in the next month. I've been saying that singing in a band is a good substitute for doing musicals because it gives me a chance to sing but I'm not taken away from the family as much. I guess that is negated when you are singing with 4 or 5 different groups! Also, Hubby and I went on a couple of dates while my mom was here so when you add it all up, I am out every night. This Friday I should be able to stay home.

We had a special outing last Sunday. My mom took all of us to see "Hairspray." It was the first time the five of us have been to the movies together, and it was only Big Girl's 3rd (or so) movie in a theater. Hubby and I (and my Mom) had already seen it, and Hubs bought the soundtrack and the girls have been listening to it obsessively. We surprised them by taking them to see it! They were so excited. Middle Girl sang along with the opening number, it was so cute. Big Girl sat there the whole time with her wide eyes taking it all in. The Boy enjoyed it too, as he's been listening to the songs with the girls, although he did have to walk up and down our row for part of the time. Even though there were a few times when I was thinking "oh, boy, I hope that lyric went over their heads," it was a fun time. Afterwards, Big Girl was still floating on air that she actually got to see the movie in the theater. The next morning, she said "I still can't believe it! I was dreaming that I would see Hairspray in the movie theater but I thought I would have to wait for the DVD! But my dream came true!"

Thursday, September 6, 2007


September is always a time of transition, but this year it's really out of control. Oh, I've probably had more major transitions, June 2000 being the biggest of course with the birth of my first baby, but nonetheless I am really feeling it now.

I am experiencing a weird feeling -- it seems that we are really done with the baby phase. The Boy will always be my baby, but I guess he's not a baby anymore. I've been sorting through the boxes we still hadn't unpacked after our November 2006 move, and finding baby blankets that we just don't need anymore. I've packed them away for our church's Giving Bank, but it was actually really hard. They're just baby blankets, but they seemed to symbolize a period of my life that really defined me. It's jarring to realize I'm not in that phase anymore. I've got friends and family who are just entering that phase, or haven't entered it yet, and here I am done with it! Congratulations to Shannon, who is embarking on this momentous time, which shakes you to your foundations and through a series of imperceptible shifts, you redefine yourself completely. Kind of like that age-18 phase when you are master and re-creator of your identity. This makes me realize there will be more of these phases, which is uplifting. But still, it sure is a big transition for me. My kids are preschool- and school-age kids now! I'm a go-here-go-there school mom now.

My first-ever niece was born yesterday morning. S & C are parents now, which is wonderful. Niece M is absolutely gorgeous. What an earth-shattering thing it is to become parents. Nothing will ever be the same. I'm overjoyed that I now have two nephews and a niece, and I feel that our family is so blessed. It's tough being far away from them, though. I am jealous of my sister-in-law (whom I adore) because she got to hold her yesterday! So welcome, M, you have really made my day. You were the one who inspired your Auntie Barbra to start the blog she's been contemplating! Little darling!

Big Girl's in second grade. Yesterday was her first day of school. All of the parents tell me that Mrs. N is wonderful and we're in for a terrific year. I am really looking forward to it and the possibility of the parents being more relaxed than they were in first grade. I'm all for relaxing and supporting the kids in their enjoyment of childhood!