Monday, August 29, 2005

The weeks stinks..

Gas just went to $3.09. Whaaaaaaaa? Is it because of the hurricane in New Orleans? Unbelievable.

No baby yet. Her latest due date is in a few days from now--she has a Dr. appointment tomorrow. Maybe that will get things going. Things are very up in the air right now and life is pretty chaotic. With any luck we will be in Chicago in the next few days. Either way, I won't be blogging for a while but check back in a few weeks because I will have a really, really good story for you (even if this thing works out there are lots of dramatic details).


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Our time now belongs to the man...

Today is the first day of kindergarten, sniff, sniff. Yesterday at the "meet the teacher" event my daughter had exactly three temper tantrums. That is one every 15 minutes. Not a great start.

I know Lulu is having a hard time adjusting to all this new stuff. That would explain the crying, hair twirling, finger sucking, asking for a bottle behavior. I swear if she asks me for a diaper I might cry. I just hope that she is able to have good school experience. She was so excited today to go on the bus. By the time I saw her waving from the window we were both crying.

"Please, please, please let her have a good time and make a new friend" is my mantra.

We have a first day of school tradition. The child is allowed to have whatever he/she wants for breakfast. Anything. This is what my parents did and it was pretty fun. I always wanted biscuits and gravy. Lauren wanted steak and blueberry muffins w/ pink frosting and pixie dust. Alberstons was out of pixie dust, so I just put parsley on it. She totally ate it so I guess frosting and parsley isn't too bad. :-)

I still can't believe that I have a child old enough for school. It is the beginning of standardized tests, planning vacations around school breaks, parent teacher conferences, etc. I feel ready and not ready at the same time. When she was 2 1/2 I used to dream about the day she would go to school. ...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

My little sponge..

Lauren's "drop of golden honey" remark from the cereal post got me thinking. She has always had a really amazing memory. Maybe every kid does this, but since she is my first I wouldn't know. Her memory is freakishly good. She knew how to get to Costco at our new house before my husband did (she was only 2). It is still not uncommon for my husband to ask her how to get places. He is what you might call, navigationally challenged. At one and a half she could drive down the El Camino (our version of Main Street) and point out locations and tell me what was coming next.

"Look mamma, the movie store" (Blockbuster)

"Look mamma, the chicken nugget store" (Jack in the Box).

"Look mamma, the hold the baby store". (Goodwill--I let her hold the baby dolls while we are there, then she has to put them back).

"Look mamma, the macaroni and cheese store" (Boston Market).

As you can see, the had her own names for things, and most of the places she knew involved some kind of food. I guess I didn't cook much then either. The point is, she was and still is a very perceptive child. She has a really, really good memory. I do too so I guess she gets it from me. Unfortunately for me, I only remember really silly things like the name of the sister of my grocery checker, or what I was wearing (or eating) on a memorable event. I hope that we can teach her to use her power for something that actually adds value to the world, like being a mathematician or a gossip columnist.

I have also noticed that she is a marketers dream. She remembers commercials. Seriously. She will remember the songs, the catchphrases and pull them out at a moments notice. She used to call the grocery store the Red store (Safeway) and the Blue store (Albertsons). One day we were in Albertsons, checking out and she shouted "Mom, this is Albertson's because there is a picture of that lady". Sure enough, hanging from the ceiling was an ad with Patricia Heaton on it. Huh? Do they even advertise Albertsons on the Disney Channel? Another time we were sitting down to watch a movie and she said "oh goody, now for the featured presentation".

By the time she was 2 1/2 she could sing the entire song "We belong" by Pat Bennetar, most of the Beetles White Album and several Spice Girls songs (not my fault). One time I was driving down the road and heard from the back seat "What's the best tuna? Chicken of the Sea". Last week we were driving down the road and she saw a Best Western sign "Mom, wherever life takes you Best Western is there".

Maybe every kid does this and I just never knew. She is my first after all. I just wish that there would be commercials that said things like "Barbie loves to clear her plate from the table" or "Elmo never leaves his clothes on the floor". Her head must be so full of catchy jingles that she forgets to do the things that I ask her to do EVERY DAY. This child can remember the preschool that she went to when she was one, outfits she had from when she was two, and the time she got a million splinters in her finger whe she was 21 months old. Can she remember not to sass me? No. Can she remember to speak quietly when the baby is napping. Of course not because there isn't a commercial about that yet (here is a free business idea for all you actor/producers out there. Kind of like the "More You Know" series but for kids).

Obviously she gets this stuff from TV. I am sure that the people who do focus groups and write the is stuff would be proud to know that a 4 year old in California is soaking up every manipulated image and word. Do you know what would make this even better for the test marketers? If she had money.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Grandma's and Birthdays...

Lauren's great grandma died Sunday night. We knew she was sick and didn't have much time left, but it was still a bit of a surprise when she went. Instead of taking a few weeks to go downhill--she took exactly two days.

This is the woman that Lauren calls Grandma. Her actual grandma is called Sweetie and looks way too young to be a grandma, so she is just sweetie. Grandma Thora was the white haired lady that baked cookies w/ her, made mac and cheese whenever she wanted it, spent hours playing puzzles and Barbies. Grandma stuff. When I would ask Lulu who she wanted over for a play date, her first request was always Grandma Thora. When we moved this year, we ended up just down the road from her. Lauren and Grandma had a connection that we all wish we had with our grandparents.

I knew that it would be hard to tell her. We had been easing her into the situation for awhile. We had talked to her about how Grandma Thora's body was getting old and broken. When we knew it would just be a matter of hours, we decided to just break it to her. We had originally planned to go over to visit that day (before we knew she was so sick), but instead had to tell her essentially there would be no more visits--ever. She was understandably upset. She worried that Grandma would be scared and would be sad because her "Lulu girl" didn't come to say goodbye. She really, really wanted to say goodbye and to see her one last time. Grandma requested that just a small group of people come. That was the hardest part for Lu, knowing that she wouldn't get to see her just one more time. My husband was about to head over to grandma's, so Lulu drew her a picture. It said "I love you Grandma Thora, you are sweet". That alone made me cry.

After she passed, my husband took Lauren over to her house to visit w/ my inlaws ( I stayed home w/ the baby--it was really late). She cried a bit, and played w/ all her toys and kept asking and asking to see Grandma. My MIL and FIL, in their wisdom, let her. I would have been much more reluctant to let my 4 year old see a dead person. They don't look the same and I would have worried about it making her more worried and scared. Sweetie fixed Grandma up and let Lulu go in to say goodbye. She saw the picture that she had drawn on the bedside table and that made her cry. She got to kiss her and hold Grandma's hand. Derek said she was pretty shaken up but doing ok. She was able to express how sad she was and how much she would miss her.

After a while it was time to leave Grandma's house. Lulu went around to all the people there and gave them each a kiss and a hug. She always does this before we leave. She asked if she could give Grandma a kiss goodbye. When her dad told her no, she got so upset they finally just let her do it. When she went in to the bedroom, she climbed on the bed, put her head on Thora's chest and hugged her and sobbed for a really long time. She then gave her a kiss on the cheek and told her goodbye. She was very, very upset in the car coming home and that night she couldn't sleep. It took her three hours to calm down. She had lots of questions--most of them with the purpose of being reassured that WE wouldn't die. It broke my heart to see my little girl so sad. Thora really was her best friend. This will leave an enormous hole in her life. As she was sobbing in bed and asking me "why do we all have to die?" I could see how scared she was. I have a feeling I will be seeing this look more and more as she gets older. As our kids grow they have to deal with lots of things that are scary and we usually can't do anything to help them. I was so grateful last night that I was able to make it a little bit better. She kept telling me she wanted me to stay with her until she fell asleep. I as able to do something to make it better. I know that is not going to be the case for much longer.

In retrospect, I am still not sure if it was the right thing to let her see Grandma. I don't think I would have wanted to, but she was SO INSISTENT. As a mother I know that she usually doesn't know what she is talking about. Lauren insists she can fly, doesn't need to eat and is the REAL Annie as well. 4 year olds don't always know what they want. I am glad that she got to have that kind of closure. She kept telling me--"if I hadn't seen her I wouldn't be this sad" and
"If we didn't have pictures of Grandma at our house I wouldn't be this sad"..... maybe that is true. It is also true that sometimes life gives us things that are hard. I wish she didn't have to learn that at such a young age, but we all have to learn it sometime. As far as bad things go, it could have been so much worse. Ultimately she is lucky to have had a grandmother like that. A person who really, really cherished her, never made her do things she didn't want to do and was completely engaged w/ her. Don't get me wrong, her other grandmothers really love her too. They still have young kids at home and one lives far away. They don't have the time to devote to a little person because they are still very much in mom mode.

Here is to a wonderful woman, who lived a long and wonderful life. She left behind a family that loved her. You really can't do better then that.

P.S. Lauren's birthday is Sunday. Not only did she loose her grandma, but her birthday is getting switched too.....

Monday, August 15, 2005


Gas just went over $3.00 a gallon at the station across the street. It now costs me $75 dollars to fill my car.

I am going to put my name down on the list for the hybrid minivan. I swore I would never drive one but.....

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Meshugine Neighbors

(For an explination of this word--go here )

I have a neighbor story for you (see and for some GREAT neighbor stories) . At the time I thought, "Hmmm, I don't have any funny stories". Thankfully that was quickly remedied.

My sister and her son live with me. Her husband has a job in Utah and a marketing company that has business out here in California during the summer. She lives w/ me because 1) I like her and love having her live with me 2) She was supposed to be my live in help w/ the new baby--who decided not to show up until at least three weeks after she goes home. Her husband is here when he is in town. It is a good solution because it keeps both of us from being lonely all summer. She also spoils my kids and cleans my house. Enough said.

From my previous posts you know I live in an area full of creepy old people. I need to adjust that to MEAN SPIRITED , creepy old people. There are all kinds of crazy parking rules here--no parking in driveways, no parking on the street, don't have your garage door open--ever. I guess we can add--no parking in the visitor spot to the list.

My sister parks her car in a visitor spot, because it is for visitors. I had this pre-approved w/ the company that does property management here. I knew I would have a third car for the summer and with all the other rules, I decided to ask what I was going to do w/ her car. Many of my neighbors have live in help and I know for a fact that many of these people park in the visitor parking. No big deal. The spots are never full.

On Sunday, someone soaped her windows, but just the driver's side of the windshield and window. They also did it to the other car in the other visitor spot. Hmmm. Today we woke up to a note on her windshield that said "PLEASE OBEY THE "insert condo complex name here" PARKING RULES" in shaky, old lady handwriting. ohhhkayyyy. What should I do? I haven't had anyone soap a car since I was in seventh grade. By the way, don't you think it is strange that they soaped the windows BEFORE they left a note? Like soaping was the obvious first option. Seeing how I am not 12 anymore--soaping and note leaving are not really my style. I prefer to do things on a professional or at least adult manner.

One thing I do know is that I cannot allow this to go unchecked. It is NOT ok for people to treat my guests like this. She was parked in a VISITOR spot for heaven's sake. What should I do? Do I leave a note that says "I am not sure what parking rules you are referring to, please identify yourself or call my cell and lets discuss why you have a problem w/ my guests parking in the guest spot". Do I ignore it? Do I go into the whole song and dance about how I had permission, how she is live in help, etc..... I love a good neighbor war as much as the next guy--but I do still have to live here.

For some reason this has me really worked up. I am having a hard enough time trying to like it here as it is. Maybe this is just the excuse I am looking for to not like it here...Maybe I just need more Diet Coke.... Maybe I just don't like condescending (crazy) old people. The good news is that this person will either die or go into a nursing home really soon, I hope.

Any advice or better ways to handle this?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Ebony and Ivory....

I wanted to get professional pictures of the kids taken before the next one shows up. I envisioned my little white haired girl in black and my dark haired boy in white. I thought that in black and white, these pictures would cute--but would also highlight the contrast that makes them so physically different (even though they are very similar in personality).

What I didn't count on (and couldn't tell at the time) was that my son would MATCH THE BACK GROUND PAPER!! The pictures still look cute in black and white. Unfortunately, the kids didn't really cooperate. Instead of the posed and serene pictures I wanted, they just wanted to be silly and roll around on the floor. Lauren would only give us her "fake smile" and Jacob kept tipping over. His little outfit was also too small (I dried it on accident). He kept climbing on Lulu, pulling her hair, and drooling on the floor. In the end, I think that the pictures we got were a pretty accurate representation of my family. One more lesson in the difference between what I THINK something is going to be versus what IT ACTUALLY is.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Goodbye Peter Jennings...

When I heard that Peter Jennings had died, I was actually quite sad. He always struck me as more calm and gentle then the others. I also remember that he did some shows for children. He was my favorite anchorman.

When I was little I remember seeing on the evening news the reports of famous people who had died. At first, I didn't know who any of them were. At some point, I knew who they were, but didn't remember them being a part of my daily life (ie...actors or singers that I had heard of, but never went to their movies or remembered their songs). Then I hit the late high school and college years. The years that I was pretty much immersed in pop culture; media, radio, TV and movies. Not too long ago I realized that some of the people that I remember from "when I was a kid" have died. Yikes. These are people that I was familiar with for at least a decade, and now they are passing. Hmmm. One more milestone that makes me remember that I am moving on to a new phase in my life.

Derek's grandma is really sick, dying actually. She tells us that if you are lucky enough to live a long and healthy life--by the end many of your friends and family have died. She tells us that she expects to have a HUGE welcoming committee when she finally shows up. That is a better way of looking at it , I think.

Friday, August 05, 2005

For all you cereal lovers out there...

Ok, so I actually cooked a meal today. It has been a long time since I have done this. I really love to cook, but I don't plan ahead enough to do it as often as I should. Plus, in the summer it is just too hot. Anyway, tonight I decided to cook dinner. Besides making a meal for my family, I also proved a theory that I have always suspected. If you do something good, you will pay for it eventually. I say this half in jest, of course, but have you ever noticed how one day your kid will be charming and take a really long nap--allowing you to get a lot done. The next day they will be cranky and just want to sit on your lap all day. It is just the price you pay for the good day. At least with my kids it is pretty black and white. Maybe some day I will teach them to just be gray everyday.

Back to the I am grilling chicken (with the yummiest marinade EVER--and no points if you are a Weight Watchers person). I also made a summer squash couscous casserole. YUMMMY. Everything tasted good and the kids even ate. I spent some time talking to my sister while I cleaned the kitchen. The kids were in the family room which is totally babyproofed so I can usually leave them alone in there........
Apparently, 10 seconds after dinner, my daughter decided that she was hungry and needed a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Who doesn't need an enormous bowl of cereal after a yummy dinner? She isn't entirely to blame, my husband does the same thing. He gets RIGHT UP from dinner and pours a bowl of cereal. I guess she also decided that she didn't need to use a bowl, she would just use the floor. When the babies started bugging her for cereal, she gave them some too. Also on the floor. Before long an entire box of Honey Nut Cheerios was on the floor and the children in all its sticky glory.

This is the sight that greeted me. My nephew had Cheerio's stuck all over his body, an especially cute one in his little bum crack above his saggy diaper. Jacob was sitting in the middle of the biggest pile shoving them into his mouth as fast as he can (I might add that he is teething so all that drool provided a wonderful adhesive for yet more cereal). Lauren was trying to see how many she could make stick to the bottom of her feet, she then threw herself backwards and shook her legs so that they would rain down all around her. The boys were sitting under her legs trying to catch them in their mouths.


We got the kids wiped off and the cereal vacuumed up (after clogging the vacuum more then once). Of course I grumbled at them. When I asked my daughter WHY she did this she just looked at me and said "I don't know" and not in a snotty way, it sounded like she really didn't know. She did however manage to tell me that "a drop of golden honey is what makes them sweet". How mad can you be when your child is quoting the commercial verbatim? Ironically, if I hadn't actually cooked dinner for them, they would have been fed cereal.

The moral of this story is that instead of spending time cooking, I should have taken the kids to the pool!!! I could have sat on the couch and just thrown cereal at THEM. It would have been much more satisfying to clean it up if I had some fun making the mess.

P.S. We are well on our way to Fairy-Lou 5. For those who don't know, Fairy-Lou is Lauren's fish. They keep dying and we keep replacing them. The fish are winning (or loosing depending on how you look at it).