Monday, February 27, 2006

To all who come to this happy place....welcome!

Hello Blogworld!!

Did you notice that I was gone? We took another trip to Disneyland (yup, that is twice a year for the last two years....) because some family members were going and we wanted to see them.

My kids were shockingly good. Lauren is pretty much over the princess worship that has dominated the last few years and has moved on to being a dare devil. She rode ALL THE RIDES! 6 months ago she refused to go on Pirates of the Caribbean because it was too scary and this year she went on Matterhorn 12 times.

The person who had the most fun was Jacob. Here, see?

This picture was taken after Chip and Dale had the NERVE to come over and see us at the character breakfast. :-) Have you ever seen such terror in someone's eyes outside of an Al Jazera hostage video? Seriously, we may have traumatized him. We have similar pictures of the same face w/ many other characters. This one is my favorite. We are clearly sympathetic to his concerns.

Actually, he was dreamy. He just stayed snuggled in his stroller with his Lamby and his snacks. He sucked his thumb and slept. I wish he would do that at church!!!! He also spent a fair amount of time keeping up with his latest hobbies (the ones besides picking his nose that is ) "squeezing into small spaces" and "poking his head through things". Good times.

Lauren loved Minnie and was such a trooper. She figured out the whole pin trading thing and loved doing that. She also was able to go on more rides and really understand more of the shows. I only lost her twice and only cried once. That is doing pretty good for 4 days in Disneyland. She got to hang out with her Aunt Kate and do big kid things and that was the best part of all. She also got to boss around her cousin Sam and be spoiled by Aunt Cyndi and Aunt Kate. It was 5 year old heaven.

We also went whale watching. My poor child had NO IDEA what she was looking for. Much to the chagrin of the non English speaking Japanese tourists that were by us on the boat, every time a wave crashed on the rocks or the light sparkled on the water she could gasp and shout "look!! a whale". Poor Japanese tourists. Oh well, she had fun while she THOUGHT she was seeing whales so who cares. She got more out of it then the rest of us did.

We all had a ball and had plenty of Churro's. Enough to last us for at least another 6 months. More pictures tomorrow (for the grandparents).

Monday, February 13, 2006

Things that are better then flowers......

I want to start this out by saying that my husband is fabulous. He is really great at taking care of me and the kids. I don't want people to think that the topic of this post is a passive/aggressive way of complaining about him. He will do dishes, throw the kids in the tub, gets the diaper bag ready for church, take Lauren for bike rides and do the bedtime routine. All the things that help me get a break when I need it. He works really hard. He works in finance and drives to the city every day. He is on a daily call by 4:00 a.m. and doesn't get home until 6:00 or 7:00 pm. Because he works so early, bedtime is at 8:00' ish. When you only have one free hour at home and you spend it giving your wife a break, that is love. This has nothing to do with him.

Oh Valentines Day, you crazy holiday. We all know that it is a holiday that was made up by the greeting card industry. Who cares? I will always take an excuse to share the love (don't forget to vote....hint, hint). One of my dearest friends was lucky enough to have the last name of Valentine. How cool is that? When people would hear her name and say "Valentine?" she would answer "yes, like the holiday/saint/massacre" depending on her mood. Having a name like Valentine could create a little pressure for the significant other though. You CANNOT drop the ball when that is your wife's maiden name!! So far, he hasn't. Whew.

Speaking of dropping the ball (or not dropping the ball actually), the traditional Valentines gift is usually flowers (or those weird stuffed animal things that are holding hearts, does anyone older then 13 want one of those?), we all know that. In fact, I saw flowers for sale at Walmart yesterday. I know that we all appreciate flowers whenever we can get them, right? No argument there. I just thought it would be fun to make a list of all the things that would be better then (or I should say, as good as) flowers OR things that someone has done (Valentine's Day or not) that are the equivalent of "flowers for no reason".

Send me your list.....I will add them to this as I get them. Happy Valentines Day! (the person who contributed them is in brackets).

-- Some one to put away all the laundry.

-- The dollar equivalent of flowers at Baja Fresh.

--New jeans (and if they can shave off about 20 lbs, all the better).

--Someone to clean out all the Cherrio's and goo that is in the back seat of my car.

-- Those pesky last boxes to be finally unpacked and taken away.

-- Cheese. Any cheese.

--A sunny day at the beach.

-- A really good book and a bathtub........all the Dora bath toy's already removed.

--I big bowl of peanut satay

-- A pile of people magazines, and maybe a Vanity Fair and US Weekly thrown in.

-- A Costco churro. Or seven.

-- A Law and Order marathon

-- Peanuts and M&M's mixed together.

--a pre-packed diaper bag that has everything that I need

--a good soccer game, whether I'm playing or someone else is, it doesn't matter. It just has to be a good game (Kate)

--when my husband makes the bed in the just makes my day (~J~)

--Someone detailing the baby's high chair (Oh, Judy)

--Someone detailing my carSomeone organizing the storage room (with pretty labels and bins) (Oh, Judy)

--Someone writing me original poetry and/or music (Oh, Judy)

--Someone sending me out the door with a wad of cash to spend on something frivilous (Oh, Judy)

--Someone scraping the cottage cheese off the ceiling in my family room (Oh Judy)

--Two hours at a day spa. (More Caffine Please)

--Two hours asleep in my bed. At 2:00 in the afternoon. (More Caffine Please)

--A Diet Pepsi, bag of Twizzlers and the newspaper. (More Caffine Please)

--9:00 p.m. dinner reservations at Ichiban with my girlfriends. (More Caffine Please)

--A no-spending limit session at Target to buy a bunch of crap I don't need. (More Caffine Please)

--clean the toilet (Wendy Sue)

--decide what's for dinner (Wendy Sue)

--bring me pudding pops (Wendy Sue)

--I second Judy's wad of cash. (Wendy Sue)

--a bouquet of Reeses peanut butter cups (Wendy Sue)

--Giving me a gift certificate and making me spend it on MYSELF!! (Wendy Sue)

--accidentally getting your neighbors Elle magazine, and reading it before you give it back!

--My sister (aka..the live in slave) taking my girl out to dinner once a week for "girl time"

--A new book every time my husband comes home from a business trip. You know, the chic lit kind that they sell in airports.

--A new bathroom floor (mom)

--brushing the kids teeth every night

--taking the kiddo's to the dentist and appointments when they need shots because I just can't stand it

-- cleaning out the laundry room while I was away so I could move my quilting mess down there (Compulsive Writer)

--bringing me home leftover lettuce wraps from PF Changs (Compulsive Writer)

--brought my 5th grader a rose in the middle of class on Valentines Day (Compulsive Writer)

-a trip to Italy in the late summerwith just me and the hubby (Dandelion Mama)

--someone painting the baby's room anything but pink (Dandelion Mama)

--a pedicure, oh heaven...(Dandelion Mama)

--someone I trust unexpectedly taking my kids for the day, leaving me all ALONE... oh, joy! (Dandelion Mama)

--still, even though Im past thirty, the smell of a box of 64 new crayons. Happy....(Dandelion Mama)

--A box of cheese trumps a box of chocolate ANY day; why don't they make Godiva-like heart shaped boxes of specialty cheese?? (Dandelion Mama)

--the smell of night jasmine in Northern California; if you are there, go outside at night and take a deep breath, and know that I cry sometimes because I miss it so much. (Dandelion Mama)

..............more coming all the time...............

Share the Love....

As you can see from the little banner on the side, I have been nominated for a "Share the Love" blog award. Thank you to the person that nominated me! If you want to vote for me, I will post the link to the blog at the bottom of this entry and you can check it out. There are lots of other interesting blogs there too. Our very own "Oh Judy" has been nominated for Humor. I have been nominated for Learn Something New Every Day (no kidding) and Makes Me Want to Have Kids (huh? I thought that my story would have people running for the hills....well for adopting anyway) . I am suspiciously absent from the Happiest category. Hmmmm. I think that you can nominate a blog that you like until midnight tonight. :-)

It seems that there is a link to my blog from the nominee list so I am trying to come up with something really clever and witty to have the next blog entry be about. If people are going to visit and they haven't read the back posts, I don't want the amazing swan table to be the first thing they see!

I will have an excellent post up soon, I am sure......

Here is the nominee list. I think that the voting starts tomorrow!

Friday, February 10, 2006

For all you procrastinators...

Hello everybody,

I am going to put up a post really soon about Lulu, with funny stories and pictures and everything. I have been accused of having a Jacob-centric blog lately. It isn't that, it is just that currently we pretty much get only whining, crying and sassy talk from Lulu and that just doesn't make good blog fodder. It is MUCH more entertaining to take pictures of a human origami project.

Anyway, Valentines Day is creeping up on us and I know that a few of you are still out there looking for gifts for your special someone. I found something that just might fit the bill. I already tried to get Derek to buy it for me, but he said that he already has it covered. I just want to share the love. You don't have to thank me..............

Seriously. Who doesn't want a beautiful swan table? The description says that this was COMMISSIONED by someone that wanted to create the effect of "peace and serenity". Have these people ever SEEN swans? They are the ones that are always chasing my kids at the duck pond. Nothing says serenity to me more then a glass table top. Not only does this require that I keep all the mac and cheese covered fingers, markers and general children generated goo away from it, but I have to keep it clean UNDERNEATH? Isn't that the one place that it is socially acceptable to have food on the floor for more then a day? :-)

Don't forget the etching. That is a great detail, just in case you didn't get the whole "swan effect" the first time. All this can be yours for the low, low price of $3,000. That is right, 3 grand. :-)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

An open letter...

Dear Bono and Mary J. Blige,

I know that you are both amazingly talented people that have sold more records and made more money then I can ever hope to see in my lifetime. I know that you, Bono, are busy saving the lives of African children and making the US forgive loans to small third world countries. Bravo. Mary, I don't exactly know what you do, but I do know that Elton John once gave you a white piano on the Rosie O Donnell show, so you must be doing something right.

I just want to address the TINY issue of the performance at the Grammy's last night. I am still trying to understand how two people who are such good singers and such seasoned performers can turn out a version of the song "One Love" that makes the O Town performance of "Liquid Dreams" at the Miss American pageant look like La Triviata. I am sure that it was supposed to be a match of two different "worlds"; like Eminem and Elton or Gwen Steffani and Moby or Gwen Steffani and Lil Kim. The difference is that theirs worked and yours SO SO SO didn't. I haven't been that uncomfortable at a musical performance since Jennifer Lopez tried to sing that Spanish song with Marc Anthony. It might be because they actually tried it out BEFORE they were on stage.

Bono, sure you were just trying to sing the song as it normally goes and get on with it. That I didn't object to. It was all the flat notes, not being in tempo w/ the music and the general off key performance that I objected to. I think that I saw The Edge wince, TWICE. There is just no excuse for that since you WROTE the song and also have been performing it for the last 20 years. Maybe that was the problem. You figured that you knew it so well there was no need to practice. You might try to justify it by saying "it is hard to hear the music when you are ont he stage" Well, the rest of the bands managed to do it and isn't what those little ear thingy's are for? Maybe it is like when I was a missionary and I had to give so many impromptu talks that I didn't think I needed to prepare. Then I got up on the stand once and totally blanked. That happens, sure, but I am not being paid 30 kajillion dollars for doing it. NO EXCUSE.

And Mary. Mary, Mary, Mary. I am a huge fan of all the scat and improv, gospel-y additional stuff you were trying to do, but again, NOT ON KEY, NOT IN RHYTHM and NOT GOOD. I get the distinct impression that you all didn't practice before this performance. If I didn't know better, I would say that Mary had never actually heard the song before. You had your heart into it though. You were just off in the corner w/ your capri's and Heidi braids just singing and scatting your little heart out. I wanted to like it, but you just gave me NOTHING to work with.

The most disturbing part is that I read a ton of reviews today and it seemed that everyone else LOVED it. Huh? Did any of them actually hear it? Was it so loud in the auditorium that no one could actually hear it and they just assumed that it was good? I don't understand. I guess this really doesn't deserve the attention that I am giving it, but it just makes me so mad. There are so many bands that are trying SO HARD to make it and it is unforgivable to me when such veterans turn out crap on the biggest night of music. It is kind of like giving the finger to your fans. I just wanted to get that out of my system. Now I can focus on more important things like WHAT THE HECK was Charlie doing on Lost last night and if Brittany is going to get arrested for driving down the road w/ her baby on her lap. You know what they say...they can take the girl out of the trailer park.......don't get me started, don't even get me started.

Oh, and Bono, most women don't like being touched on the tummy when they are pregnant. I am not sure how Gwen felt about you bending down and basically LICKING her stomach in front of the entire world. You might save African Children and raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims, but you need to remember one word.....BOUNDARIES!

One Love,

I realize that in the grand scheme of things this topic is not very important, but it sure made me laugh and then cry. :-) Did anyone else see that last night? I only turned it on during the crapola and didn't watch the rest. How did Uncle James do? Are we HAPPY that Kelly Clarkson won for best female performance, and gasp, didn't thank American Idol? What about Mariah being shut out? Has anyone actually heard her album? Just checking.......I love the Grammy's for the great fashion choices that come out of it too...

Monday, February 06, 2006

My son, the contortionist

My son has an amazing talent, well two really, but I am only going to address one here. He can fit into the SMALLEST spaces and sit perfectly still. Fun, huh? He also will sit silent and still just long enough for me to think that he has somehow gotten out the door, out the gate and is on his way to Safeway. Unfortunately, that has happened more then once. I swear that I am a very attentive mother, but he is FAST and CUNNING. He actually ripped a hole in my screen door to escape once. We have 6 screen doors on the bottom floor and I really can't watch them all at the same time. Luckily, Lauren broke me in on all this stuff. Our old house was across the street from a Walgreens. We would walk over and get ice cream sometimes or play with the toys. The SECOND Lulu could get the door open she was off to Walgreens. Once I was sitting in my front room while she played on our back porch. I glanced out the window to see my 20 month old child running across the parking lot as fast as she could. She had wiggled under the fence to freedom. That was when the "30 second rule" was instituted in our home. More then 30 seconds of silence always meant trouble so I would call out "Lauren, what are you doing?". Even now she will just announce to me out of nowhere "I am ok mom!". Old habits die hard.

In the last 48 hours I have found my son in the following places:

1. Under my mother in law's sink--behind the boxes of detergent--with the door closed.

2. Behind my mother in law's big family room drapes.

3. Under MY sink, with the door closed

4. Under the wing chair in the kitchen. There is approximately 4 inches of space. I still don't know how he got in there.

5. Under my keyboard tray in the computer armoire, again with the door closed. There is so little space in there that I have to move the CPU just to get the door closed.

6. Between the back of the toilet and the wall. You know the little space between the floor and the tank. Perfect.

7. Under my bed. Again, 4 inches of space and in between all the dust bunnies and old clothes that I store under there.

8. In my chimney, sitting on the fake logs with the chain mail curtain thingy pulled shut, oh--he also had his little cow tricycle with him, on his lap.

9. In the refrigerator of the toy kitchen.

10. In the hall closet behind the shoe basket, with the door closed and the light off.

11. In Derek's closet. We have lots of boxes stored in his closet (the kind with the sliding doors). Jacob loves to wedge himself between the boxes and the door and pull the door closed. There is so little space that he has to turn his head sideways.

I am amazed that he can get into these places and has enough awareness to be still and quiet-- until he can't stand it any more and starts to laugh. I am also learning that he isn't afraid of the dark. It is clear that this is a fabulous game to him and he is winning. He has also figured out how to get out of his Britax 5 point harness car seat..arms AND legs. He has been escaping from his high chair since the age of 8 months old. I still can't figure out how he can get the doors closed. The very best part of all though is that he does it all with his Batman mask on. I know that at 16 months old he can't possibly understand what he is doing, can he?

The thing that makes me feel better is that I have a friend that has been through all this before. Oh Judy has a son that makes JJ look like Pollyanna. I can't remember all the things that he has done (there is another blog for you Judy--or did you already do that?) but I know that some of his greatest hits include; hacking at a newly painted wall with the claw side of the hammer and climbing up a pole onto the roof (at 2) both scaring and impressing the neighbor kids. I guess this is just par for the course with little ones. More Caffeine also has quite a list of things that her wee man does, so I know that this is nothing yet. Elpasorepresent's daughter seems to be right on track too. All too soon we will move from funny things to destructive things. As long as no one tells me this is a sign of some rare and terrible disease, I can live with it. If you wanna make me feel better you can tell me about your kids greatest hits.

P.S. The second talent that he has is that he can whistle. Honest to goodness whistling, both sucking in and blowing out. And he does it ALL DAY LONG!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I have a dream..

Last week for school, Lauren brought home some interesting homework. In preparation for Black History Month, we were to talk to our children about Martin Luther King, Jr. It wasn't hard to guess where this topic was headed. This is another one of those times that as a parent, we have to teach our children, and try to explain, about the terrible things that people do to one another. LDS kids (and other children of Christian faiths) get a little bit of practice, because, lets face it..the scriptures are FULL of people doing bad things. The Christmas story alone is enough to send my Sunbeams quaking in their loafers and patent leather Mary Jane's.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

Ouch. It is amazing to me that my mom was a teenager when this speech was given and how right he was. Not drinking from the same fountain? Not going to the same schools? Not eating in the same restaurants? Can you even IMAGINE that? I have felt tiny little licks of prejudice as a mother by people who don't like children or choose to understand the difficulties that come with taking a child on a plane or to a restaurant. But, I have a group of people to back me up and say that I am right and valid. Did the people who were involved in the Civil Rights movement have ANYONE that told them that what society said wasn't true? I am thinking not. For the past several hundreds years, society told these folks in every possible way that they were NOT equal. They were NOT to mix. What kind of bravery and courage did it take to decide that it was time the world realized that was just not true? I get huffy when I have to confront someone about my children, I can't imagine doing what they did. I would like to believe that I would have been one of the ones who would have stood up but I am not sure what I would have done.

Black history has taken a new meaning in our house for obvious reasons, but also because Lauren is in school now and is being taught things that it never occurred to me to explain to her. In our family, we had already had a few discussions in this vein.

"Mom, were there black pilgrims?"

"No, the pilgrims were all white".


"Because they came from a place called Europe, and all the people there were white".

"Then how did black people get here?"

"They came on a different kind of boat sweetie".


Does my 5 year old need to understand the complexities of the slave trade? Right now, no. Is it important that she understand how and why black people came here. Absolutely........when she is 6 or 8 or 12 or whenever we feel like she can have a discussion about it. I have bought a few children's books about slavery and we will crack them out when the time comes. They even come with discussion questions in the back. Bless those authors!

The combination of February (all the lovey dovey stuff in the air) and the fact that I am an insomniac and tend to get pretty cheesy when I am up late has gotten me thinking. As I get older and pass in and out of various stages in my life I am increasingly grateful for those that have come before me. It is finally sinking in that our entire generation is the recipient of many, many privileges that the people who came before us had to work very hard to achieve. I am so grateful to be a woman, in this country and in this decade. I am grateful for the women who stood up so that I could vote and own property. I am grateful for the women who insisted on attending university, law school and medical school when it wasn't an acceptable thing. I am grateful for them and for the people who hired them; they paved the way to give me so many options when deciding what I wanted to do with myself. I am grateful for all the women who worked so hard to ensure that women could be treated equally in the workplace, that we could have things like maternity leave and company daycare. I am also grateful for all the women who stayed home and raised their children and showed me and the rest of the world that educated, capable and intelligent women really DO have a choice and that choice is not always the workplace. I am thankful for the doctors that took the time and the companies that took the money to research cancer and it's treatments. I am grateful for the people who took experimental drugs that allowed us to figure out how this disease works. It is one of these drugs that is saving the life of my mother-in-law right now. I have realized that I am actually living the end result of what most of these early crusaders hoped that their actions would lead to. We all are.

In honor of Black History month, I am also thankful for the people that decided 40 years ago that enough was enough. That they decided to "cash the check" that America wrote them when they emancipated the slaves that told them they were entitled to the same rights and liberties. The direct impact it had in my life was that I was able to grow up and know that it didn't matter if my kids were black, white or green. When it came time to decide how my husband and I would create our family we didn't have to worry if we would be ostracized by our family for adopting our son or worry that our life or his life would be endangered. What a gift.

"I have a dream that one day...little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. "

When I was telling Lauren about how brown people couldn't sit at the front of the bus or go to school with white kids or eat at the same restaurants she was having a hard time believing it. "just because their skin is different, mom? That is it?" How amazing that the thought of these things are viewed as so outlandish today that even a 5 year old is incredulous. She followed up with "does that mean white people couldn't adopt brown people?" When I told her yes, that was true too, she got really teary eyed. She walked over to Jacob and kissed his head and said "that is just not fair! What would we do without our Jacob?" That is the literal fulfillment of Dr. King's vision. Not only do they walk together as brothers and sisters, but the fight together, tease each other and cause trouble together as brothers and sisters too.

I know that the world is not perfect, that there are still many forms of racism today. I know that even though the message MLK preached was a worthy one, the man himself struggled with his own demons. I know all this, but I still believe that the world is a better place today then it was. I still believe that my children are benefiting from all the people that came before them and saw a need for change and weren't afraid to stand up and do it. I hope that I am able to teach them to be those kinds of people too. I hope that if I see an opportunity to do the same, I will not be afraid to stand up and lend my time and energy to a cause that I believe in. Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I still really do believe that one person can make a difference. I believe that the world in 40 years will be a better place for my grandkids then it is today. I have faith in human beings and their ability to do the right thing. History is full of times when humankind has back stepped a little bit. My own life is full of time when individuals have made me question if humans really are much better then animals. As far as the big picture goes, I am still a believer.

So, thank you to all that came before, and thank you to all that are trying right now to make a difference in this world. I may not agree with what you are fighting for, but I think that as long as our world has people in it that care enough to fight for something, we will end up leaving this place better then we found it. Today, that is an encouraging thought.