Friday, July 31, 2009

Photo Folder

When you run out of things to blog about, a good option is to raid your photo folders and see what you can find. So here is a random smattering (good word) from July...

Here's Liberty Park, which, as it turns out, is a totally awesome place to take your kids on a mildly hot day. There is so much to do. The lake in the background, for instance, is full of ducks and geese that you can feed. If you're really lucky, you can sit in goose poop. On this outing, only I got that special honor.

There is a six hundred year old carousel at liberty park. I know that's how old it is because my mom said she rode it as a kid.

We went to the Tracy Aviary. Here birds of prey sit perfectly still and don't do anything interesting you can take pictures of like swoop down and rip apart the rabbits in the bottom of their cages into tiny bits in front of your small children. Dangit. So we just took a picture of this one in the fountain outside.

Liberty park also sports a small labrynth of leaf-filled streams that lead to a murky pond that you can let your kids wade in on a hot day. At least if giardia isn't a problem for you. Clearly it isn't for me. It's especially fun to let your kids go in if you have no bathing suits with you. It makes it super funny to watch them haul their soggy diapers around.

Here's Beck adding spit to the mix.

Splash me and you die, Kid.

Note, they also have super cheap popcorn and Icees at Liberty Park. I can't believe I haven't been sooner.

This is Daphne sporting her new pigtails. Show off. Just cause you're super adorable and perfect at all times doesn't mean I want to keep taking pictures of you. Ok, it does.

"Mommy, so help me, if you take one more picture of me I'm going to throw this green plastic spoon at you. Or this hairbrush. Or this cubed turkey. I mean it!"

We got a blow up pool when la familia came to town. It's about 12x6' and a foot deep. Warmed in the sun all day, it gets up to balmy 90 degrees. So I sit on the deck with a book and watch the kids drown each other. If someone would just serve me pina coladas all day, I'd say it was almost as good as being on the beach in Cancun. Um, not.
Practicing her beauty queen wave. (for the swim-suit competition.)
Why is it that neither of my kids can line up their teeth properly for a photo?

Just one step away from Ophelia...

The kids took swimming lessons this year at the local city pool. Daphne was in a preschool age class, and Beck was in a Mom and Tot class with me. The two classes met in different pools. And each child was convinced that the other one's pool was warmer. So every day I got to try to drag them into the appropriate pool, while the other one ran for the other pool. We followed that activity up with the daily ritual of fighting over who got to put the "nickels and diamonds" into the vending machine for our after-swim snack. I'm no sure if they learned to swim, but they both learned that J-34 gets you a bag of M&M cookies.

Nothing says male bonding like Daddy and Beck playing Ponyville together. As in "My Little PonyVille."

This is the kids' cousin Conner (on the left) and pseudo-cousin Tanner (in the middle). Conner is pretty much an exact replica of what Big Daddy looked like at that age. So if Beck takes after Big Daddy as much as people always tell me he does, here is a picture of Beck in 10 years (minus the nerdy expression.) (On second thought, Beck will be 12, so keep the nerdy expression).

This is what the kids live for at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Except Beck. he just holds on for dear life. Especially when Auntie Sarah is driving (how many cars have you totalled, Sarah? Wink;)

Part Deux on it's way....

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Question of Viewpoint

Does it make me a little demented that I get excited when I have the runs really bad because of the potential weight loss?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We Have a Winner

I have decided, after careful consideration, to go with this dress...

Thank you all for your votes. Most of you won. Some of you chose poorly. I'm sorry for your misguided taste in latin competition dance clothing.

Also, I've decided to stay with the gold, as pictured, rather than doing the hot pink as originally described. For one thing, the gold dress will go better with my shoes, which are gold. For another thing, the pink one is no longer listed. That swayed my vote just slightly in favor of the gold as well.

Now I have to find out if I can get it shipped to me all the way from Timbuktu (otherwise known as Hong Kong) in time. I only have slightly over 3 weeks. The shipping info says it takes 10-16 business days. That cuts it very close. If it doesn't come in time, well, I guess I'll be dancing in this, which I can whip up out of multi-colored garbage bags in about 4 minutes flat:

Do I risk it ordering it and hope it arrves?

Of course, I could also pay for expedited shipping, which pretty much doubles the price of the dress.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Strictly Ballroom

I've been taking ballroom dance lessons for a couple of months now. It's a blast. My teacher, Martin, is very good. And I, as it turns out, am not entirely untalented at it. So last week when Martin asked me if I wanted to compete, I nearly vomited from fear... and then agreed. So I've signed up for my first competition. It's in Vegas. In a month. I'm going to compete in Rumba and Cha Cha since those are the ones I know best. I have a lot of polishing up to do. My technique still needs some work. But more importantly, I need to find a costume! So here are some of the (affordable) options I've found so far. And keep in mind that some of them are in their rough state and will have to have a LOT of sequins and beads glued on. This is ballroom dance, after all.

Please to vote? I've even given them helpful names to make it easier for you.

1) The Blue Cold Shoulder

2) The Red V-V (needs 8-10 lbs of beads, sequins, and rhinestones added, of course)

3) The Black Bea Arthur (Classy or matronly?)

4) Red Hot Chili Peppers

5.) Burgundy Halter (needs beading)
6) Black BYU

7) Yellow Barbie (the description says the dress is mint green?)

8) Caribbean Blue

9) New Jersey Crips (I would actually get this in red, though. Don't tell the Bloods.)

10) Hot Hot Hot Pink (I know this is gold, the picture of it in pink disappeared. but I want it in hot pink)

11) Double D Delight (I would need to add beading, obviously. And a boob job.)

12) Black Built In Necklace

Ok, so tell me what you think!

I'll be off practicing how to glue rhinestones to my eyebrows.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Leave The Markers Out

There must be something in the air in July. Because this time last year this happened:

Only last year the artist was Daphne. Beck has never really been one for drawing, thank goodness...

Until now:

He even remembered to get the back of his neck. Lovely.
And although I can appreciate the more complex design and use of color compared to last year's masterpiece, I think the markers are all going to be sentenced to marker jail for a few more months.


Friday, July 24, 2009

The Fam '09

While my family was here, we took some pics of all of us and some of us and more of us. For your viewing pleasure....

Jennie (my sister) and Mister Jennie (her man)

The Boys (Jasper, Big Daddy, York, Mister, Ben, James, Beck and Finn)

India and Boppie (whose progeny this is)

The Boys (James, Finn, York) in "Aren't We Artsy."

The Whole FamDamily

(Adelaide, Avery, Daphne, Big Daddy, Finn, Jennie, Arabella, Mister, York, Nicki, India, Ben, Moi, Boppie, Beck, James, Jasper)

Siblings (Me, Ben, Jennie)

The other, slightly less attractive picture of us

My Nucleus

Us (and the top of Daphne's head)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Still Slightly P.O.'ed, 17 Years Later

My senior year of high school, I was pursued. He was a boy I didn't know. A year younger than me, went to a different school, was in a different grade, went to a different church. I wasn't looking for a boyfriend. But he liked me. A lot. He played basketball in our church gym with my best friend's boyfriend. It was Wednesday night, mutual night (church youth group), so we girls were around. And he was always checking me out from a distance. At first I dismissed the idea of dating a younger guy. But he didn't let it go. I started hearing reports through the grape-vine of how much he liked me. So eventually I let it leak back through the grape-vine that I might entertain the idea of him taking me out. So he did. And what do you know? We fell in love. Fast. Hard. It was awesome. He was tall, handsome, athletic, spiritual, sensitive, generous. He treated me like a queen. He called me, wrote me letters, bought me trinkets, invited me to dinner with his parents. When I got my tonsils out for my 18th birthday, he took good care of me, brought me soup. I went to his baseball games and practices (he was an amazing pitcher), he came to my school plays. Then school ended. And all that summer before I went to college, we spent in bliss with each other. We were together every single day.

The weeks before I left for the West were rough. We cried a lot. HE cried a lot. We clung to each other more and planned how to stay together until Christmas break, and then a few more months until I would be home for the summer again. We were going to make it, we knew it.

The week before I left, he bought me a necklace: black beads with painted roses on them on a black leather band. And he made me a mix tape. It was a mixture of songs we'd listened to together, and a few he thought I would like. He talked in between the songs of what each one meant to him and how it made him think of me. He wept about how much he would miss me. How I was everything to him. We were so in love.

I left for college. I spent two weeks on a road trip with relatives before arriving in Happy Valley for school. I was the first to move in to the student apartment my mother had picked out. The next day roommates began arriving. Just as the one who was to share my room started moving in her stuff, the phone rang. It was HIM. And he had bad news. During the two weeks that I was gone, he had met someone else. They were in love. It was over. To say that the timing was bad to hear something like this is an understatement. I was completely alone at school. I didn't know a soul within 1200 miles. My new roommate and all her family were traipsing in and out with baskets of clothes and linens and school books. I had no privacy in which to interrogate him on where all his tears had gone and what all the promises on the tape had meant. All I could do was clutch the necklace at my throat and sob.

I never saw him again. Don't worry. I got over him. Fortunately, college has a way of occupying you so that you don't think of home too much. But I still pulled out that tape once in a while and rubbed the smooth rosy beads of the necklace and let a tear fall. Especially right before I went home for the summer.

Flash forward 17 years. Somehow a jewelry box of old and discarded items fell into the hands of my toddler, Daphne. Among the items she wore around the house, a black leather band with black and red beads. I rarely thought about the necklace and its significance. It was dress up for her. And it meant nothing to me.

Then yesterday when I was vacuuming the playroom, I accidentally sucked that necklace up into the vacuum's spinning chamber. And out the pieces rattled, broken, twisted, pulverized.

I just stared at them for a moment.

And smiled.

It was extremely satisfying.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Daphne - Top 10


10. I love how you have always walked around with your hands full of small toys. As long as you’ve been able to hold toys, you’ve never had your hands empty. There’s always at least one tiny toy, if not a dozen, clutched in each hand.
9. I love that you never give up on the cat. No matter how many times she scratches you or runs away from you, you still want her to be your best friend.
8. I love that you’re a baked goods girl, just like your mommy. You don’t bother with ice cream, and you eat your cake frosting first, just as it should be.
7. I love that you are fearless. I can’t think of a time that you’ve ever shied away from anything new. You ran into nursery the first day and never looked back. You ran into Sunbeams the first day and only looked back to tell me I could go now. You ran into your first day of preschool. You run into every new thing, arms open wide.
6. You’re a talker. Though sometimes your hypothetical, unanswerable questions drive me batty, I love that you are able to express yourself so well.
5. I love your super bubble butt. It is so fat and round and fabulous.
4. I love that you have let me convince you that your eyes are hazel. OK, they may be only golden brown with a slight ring of grey on the outside. But you know it makes me happy to call them hazel, so hazel they are to you.
3. I love that it is physically impossible for you to tell people only your first name. It’s the whole thing, first middle and last, or nothing at all.
2. I love that you run everywhere you go. You never walk. I can hear the pitter patter of your feet in the hallway upstairs when I lay in bed---full speed every time.
1. I love how friendly you are. You love people (just like me) . And every time you meet someone new, you give them a big hug without being told. It’s so endearing (and maybe a little startling to some people, but who cares!) As a baby, you would hold out your arms to complete strangers at the store. They loved you! You got a charge out of making people fall in love with you, and you still do. (And it still works!)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beck - Top Ten


10. I love the way you enunciate every word really clearly, syllable by syllable. “Hell-eee-cop-ter”
9. I love the way your eye lids crinkle up when you close your eyes.
8. I love the way you run—swiveling at the hips rather than bending your knees. It’s to die for.
7. I love that you are such a boy. You love trucks and tools and all things mechanical. You love figuring out how things work. You take after your Grandpa Jim and your Grandpa Tom and your daddy in that. You'll be an excellent husband some day.
6. I love when you cry and you stick out that gigantic bottom lip until it forms a horizontal shelf from your chin. (You get that from your Uncle Ben, by the way)
5. I love that you’ve always been such a good eater. You love rice and beans, Indian food, Thai…you’ll try just about anything. Especially if it’s on Mommy or Daddy’s plate.
4. I love it that you can sing so well. You have nearly perfect pitch. If I stop a song half way through the line, you’ll finish it right on key. And you remember the words to every song. You’re such a musical boy and I love it.
3. I love that you can hear an engine of any kind, as far away as it can be, through any kind of noise. When the rest of us don’t even notice it yet, you hear it, “Helicopter!” “Train!” “Motorcycle!” And then a few seconds later, it is audible to the rest of us.
2. I love how you remember everything. You are so smart! Once you hear the words to a song, or a book, or are told what something is called, it’s cemented in your head.
1. I love that you are a cuddle bug. It’s like you recharge your batteries with physical contact. You can only be away from me for a few minutes, and then you have to crawl back in my lap for a few seconds or lay your head on my arm. Then you’re off again. You might like toys or movies or play-dough, but you love being on your mommy’s lap more than anything. It’s so precious to me.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Smile Pain

You know when you smile so long and so hard that your cheeks hurt? Well, enjoy 5 wonderful minutes of excruciatingly awesome smile pain....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seriously Rambling

I sure hope my husband doesn't read this.

It's 1:54 pm and I haven't showered yet. I haven't gotten dressed yet (unless you count trading out my pajama pants for work-out shorts). I'm not wearing a bra. I haven't applied deodorant. I haven't brushed my hair. I AM, however, wearing lipstick and under-eye cover up. I do have some standards, after all.

There is a reason for this. I'm not usually an afternoon dresser/get-ready-er. But I got woken up out of a very deep sleep this morning. I was dreaming. Dreaming that my husband had paid a friend of mine to convince me that I shouldn't wear my favorite coat (which he didn't like. In my dream). And it took me a good hour to fully reach consciousness after I got woken up. Then I got my kids dressed and breakfasted. And I realized that I haven't worked out in a while. And that I gained several pounds while my relatives were visiting. So I thought maybe I'd just ride the kids around the block on my bike. So there was no point getting showered and dressed first and then getting sweaty. So I waited. And I biked. And then when that was done, I was exhausted and my legs were wobbly, like wet fettuccine. So I sat on the porch for a few minutes to let them settle. And while sitting there, I noticed parts of my grass that were dry. So I got out the sprinkler and put it on a dry spot. Then I started picking up yard toys. And I noticed that the kids' water and sand table needed refilling. Etc. Etc. Before I knew it, it was 11am. So I came inside and put a movie on for the kids so I could get ready for the day. I intended to get right in the shower, but then Daphne had a little accident. She's getting over a stomach bug. Monday she barfed all afternoon. Yesterday she had the runs. Then Beck had the runs--like the kind that got all over his bed, pillow, pants, shirt and hair. EW. I had to throw away two pillows this week. He had a bloody nose a few hours later. Then today, Daphne, with the more runs. So before I could shower, I had to clean her up and get her more underwear. And when I went upstairs to her room, I realized that I still haven't cleaned up the craziness of having 11 relatives stay in my house over the last 10 days. So I started deflating blow up beds, picking up towels, noticing spots on the carpet, which turned out to be from Daphne not quite making it to the toilet today. UGH. I can't believe how many sorts of bodily fluids I've had to deal with in the last 36 hours!

ANYWAY, I finally got some cleaning and organizing done upstairs and, poof!, it was lunch time. Got the kids fed, got Beck down for a nap, got Daphne a show for quiet time, and then I just needed to sit down and rest. WITH my laptop, of course.'s now 2:o2pm and I still haven't showered.

Make that 2:07 pm. (Proof reading).

Am I a bad person? Or just a smelly, bra-less, scraggly-haired, half-dressed, normal stay-at-home-mother?

Please say the second one. 'Cause I've got 8 loads of laundry sitting on various surfaces in my room that need to be folded (I swear, it's VERY next on my list! After the shower, of course. And a snack. And doing my hair. But next after that....if the kids don't wake up), and if you say I'm a bad mother, I just might pull out a pair of Daphne's tights and strangle myself with them. If I can find them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Have An Exciting Announcement!

I have some BIG news.
Something very exciting.
Something I've been waiting over 2 1/2 years to say.
It will change our family. Mostly me. Cause it will affect me the most.
Of course, this big announcement won't come to full fruition for months. For now, it's just the promise of what is to come.
Who wants to know my secret?
Ok, enough with the suspense....
BECK POOPED IN THE TOILET! (What were you thinking I was going to say?)

It's thrilling. But it has only happened twice. Mostly he doesn't want to go in the big potty. But if he's done it twice, we're on the right track. Hopefully I'll have him out of diapers in a few months. Yeah!

Sorry if you were expecting an announcement of a more maternal nature. Not yet!