Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Santa Claus is coming to town

I debated dragging Thanksgiving out for the entire weekend, but after taking the kids to the Christmas parade and tree lighting downtown, I got into the spirit.

So, we got our tree and commenced the holiday decorating. What used to take me a day to accomplish BC (before kids) is clearly going to take me all week. At least we got the tree done.

I'll also be dragging this whole "you better watch out, you better not shout, you better not cry, I'm telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town!" out all month.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

We've hosted Thanksgiving since before we were married. Yes folks, my husband and I lived together before we were married. Oops, my kids will be reading this someday... I mean, my husband and I did not live together and were in fact both virgins when we got married. Yes, that's it. I almost forgot.

Every year, we've had a "Thanksgiving Disaster". Ok, that's an exaggeration. Most of them haven't really been disasters, except for the time that we caught the oven on fire and the fire department had to come and put it out. Of course, having a bunch of hot firemen in your house is never a disaster. Then there was the time that my sister forgot the turkey at her house, and had to turn around halfway through their two hour drive to my house to go back and get it. I think we broke the disposal in the sink by cramming potato peels down it on two different occasions. We had to buy a new stove and oven the year we let a pot overflow and drowned the electronic components. There was the year that we decided not to let our Mom cook anything anymore when she used beef broth for the gravy, forgot the sugar in the pecan pie and the stuffing was so dry the guys ended up making some "Stove Top" just so they'd have something to eat.

This year's official Thanksgiving Disaster was just as we were going to serve our amazing meal, we discovered there was no gravy. I thought my sister was bringing it, and she thought I was responsible for it. She's got some kind of email proving her innocence, but hey - how easy is that to come up with after the fact. (hee, hee. Just kidding Kir. It was my fault everyone!)

Anyway, this ended up being the best Thanksgiving Disaster ever! My sister-in-law and her new husband ran out to Safeway to get some gravy, but the kids were starving. We decided to go ahead and serve them while we waited. By the time they were back with the gravy, the kids were long done and off playing. All the adults then served up our meal and sat down to eat. To the most relaxing Thanksgiving meal since my sister and I have had kids! It was pure heaven. Why didn't we think of this before? We didn't have to get up once to fetch anything for anyone but ourselves.

Notice my sister in this picture in the background, bringing food to the kid's table during Thanksgiving dinner, part one.

The thing I am most thankful for this day of giving thanks is family. We were able to spend such a wonderful day with my sister's family, listening to all the cousins laugh and play. The best part was at the end of the night, after we'd bathed all the kids and they were in their jammies reading bedtime stories. I remembered that my Mom wanted a picture of her with all her Grand kids, who were at that point tired and in no mood for pictures, but you'd never guess that based on this great picture! That's because, she ran behind my couch and yelled "where's Mommy?", then popped up making googly faces at the kids. Apparently, my sister could have a career in kid's comedy, because they thought that was the most hilarious thing ever. Can you please come over every time I want to get a picture of my kids smiling?

Thanksgiving has also inspired me to think a lot about gratitude. I'm going to start a regular post topic about things I'm grateful for. I think it's good to remember those things. Now, I'm just trying to come up with a good title... Thankful Thursday? Ideas welcome.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

That's right folks, I am married to the Sexiest Man Alive

Whenever I add a celebrity to my "list", you know the one. Famous people you have a hall pass to sleep with if the opportunity ever presented itself - which it never will, because they are celebrities and you are not, but it's fun to think about it anyway. So, anytime someone is on my "list", it spells certain death for said celebrity's career or for themselves. Case in point: Val Kilmer, Orlando Bloom, Matthew McConaughey, Ethan from Survivor, Heath Ledger - need I say more?

Not so with the latest addition to "the list", Hugh Jackman. He just won People magazine's prestigious Sexiest Man Alive award. Maybe it's because I haven't laminated my new list yet.

My husband bought me a copy of People with Hugh on the cover while we were visiting the in-laws, for me to peruse while watching the kids swim. I think he was just trying to distract me from reading blogs incessantly, but whatever. It worked. I showed my husband the above picture, which was featured in the People shoot, and commented "doesn't that look painful? fully clothed with ocean water splashing all over you? I bet it was freezing!".

My daughter Seesa, heard me and said "Lemme see!". I showed her the picture, and she shouted "THAT'S DADDY!".

My husband got a huge smile on his face, said something like "that's right honey" to her and, "did you know you were married to the sexiest man alive?" to me, and then said something about me laughing a little too much over the whole thing. Ok, maybe if your hair was longer, you didn't shave for a few days, you worked out a lot, and you liked to swim in the ocean fully clothed and then walk onto the beach looking like you were going to take me right there in the sand. Then, maybe.

Seesa sweetheart, I hope you always think your Daddy is the most handsome man alive.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Visiting Norwindia

I'm visiting my sister over at the Norwindians today with a guest post. Check it out...

Oh, and funny story about my guest post. My sister has been posting lately about "Sunday's Simple Pleasures", and that's what she asked me to write about. I wrote it on my Blackberry during my drive down to Santa Maria on Thursday night, then emailed it to her. Only thing is, I sent it to the wrong email address. My sister's email address is last name dot first name, and for some reason I accidentally emailed her using first name dot last name.

So, it will be Sunday's Simple Pleasures on a Tuesday. Oh well.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A little slice of heaven...and a slice of pie, or two!

We spent this weekend visiting my in-laws in Santa Maria (which if you know California, is south of San Luis Obispo and north of Santa Barbara). It's been a long time since we went down to Grammie and Grampy's house. We actually figured out that it's been about a year since our last visit. It's been a busy year... They live about five hours away, so we're normally able to visit every few months for a long weekend, and I feel pretty lucky about that.

Being down there reminded me of one of the reasons that I fell in love with my husband - his amazing family. Grammie and Grampy's house is a little slice of heaven for all of us. My husband grew up in this great neighborhood where a number of the families were really tight. The kids would go from house to house, and all the parents treated them like their own. I know this is true because every time we are there and we visit some of his family's friends - many of whom still live in the same houses, in that same neighborhood - they all treat us like family. My husband feels like he grew up with 23 brothers and sisters, and 6 sets of parents.

Here are the highlights of the weekend...

The garden.

Grammie and Grampy live in a beautiful home (that my husband grew up in), with an incredible yard. It's not palatial, but it's a good sized lot. Big enough that they actually had a sand volleyball court in the backyard when my husband was a kid. Now, it's a garden. Both Grandparents love to plant, so fresh fruit and veggies are plentiful. There is nothing better than going out into the yard, and picking an apple for lunch or some avocados to put in the dinner salad. Before I met my husband, I hated raw tomatoes. I grew up in "the city", so to me, they always tasted like cardboard. When I saw him eating one raw one time, I almost threw up. When he finally got me to try it, I was in tomato heaven. After that, I ate raw tomatoes like they were apples whenever I could get them home grown. In that second picture, my girls are picking sunflower seeds out of dried sunflowers. I think I'm going to try planting some in my yard next year.

The pie.

Grammie is an incredible cook. Really. Martha Stewart good. She made two pies this weekend. The one pictured is Olallieberry, and she also made an apple crisp - both from fruit they grew. The dinners we had both nights there were to die for. The kind where you keep eating past the point of being full just because it's so good. I regularly gain 5 pounds after a visit, and it's worth it!

The "pool".

They have a hot tub in their yard, which is like the perfect sized pool for my kids. They were in heaven. I barely got them out of the "pool" long enough to eat all weekend. The best part was that the weather was so warm (I heart California), that I even got a little sunbathing in while watching them swim. Seesa told Grampy that he needed to get a bigger pool, to which he mumbled something about the economy and before going back to his gardening.

The family time.

Good conversation around the dinner table. Great wine. Happy kids playing with all the fun toys they only see when they visit the Grandparents. Warm fire (again, California... you gotta love being in your swimsuit during the day and having enough of a chill in the air at night for a fire). Card and tile games after the kids have gone to bed. The laughter, the hugs, the kisses, the love.

Memories. Precious memories that I know we'll all cherish for a lifetime. After this horrible (ok, I said it) year, it was a timely reminder that this is what life is all about after all.

Friday, November 21, 2008

You're not the boss of me

A little while ago, my husband decided to tell our daughter Seesa, that we were in fact not the bosses of her. This was of course during some altercation where Seesa proclaimed, "you are not the boss of me!", and my husband told her that no, we aren't - in an attempt to teach her that she's the boss of herself, in the hopes that she would learn about taking responsibility for her own actions.

She's five. As probably goes without saying, I've been living with the wrath of this new found knowledge of hers ever since. And I'm running out of coming up with rational reasons that she should listen to me and do what I say, even though, I am not the boss of her.

I believe that as parents, we should try to give consistent messages to our children, so I tried to back him up on this one. However, the other day, I finally broke down. I told her that maybe Daddy isn't the boss of her, but I AM! I think I may have even said something about "as long as you live under this roof...". Oh well. Go big or go home.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Got mail?

Lish strikes again...
HAP has created herself a monster. Now I am walking around with blogs in my head and only one place to put them. I apologize to those of you who want me to step aside and get my own damn blog, but I like guesting instead. All the joys of blogging and none of the responsibility. My personal motto.

It’s only fair of me to give you hardworking and stressed out moms a break by bringing you into the crazy-sexy-cool life of the cougar in the making. What I should be doing is telling you all about the sex (with young prey), drugs (caffeine pills mostly), drinking (no wait, that’s reserved for you guys), and Top 40 radio in the life of a hip divorcee so you can feel both envy and pity. And I want to tell you all about it SO BADLY! But I have learned my blogging lesson. I once had a top secret blog detailing my wild exploits with young foreign men but discovered that when most people type the words ‘Per__n boy’ in their blog and then google it, cats, rugs and even the current political state of Ir_n comes up. When I personally type those same words, my blog would come up FIRST on both Yahoo and Google. (If you can’t understand the words with blanks, get a map of the Mid__ E__t.) And let me tell you a secret. Those kinds of boys do NOT like their privacy exposed. Most American men will be angry, they will yell, they will threaten, they will give you the silent treatment but in the end, they know you will do what you want more or less as that is your God given right as an American woman. These other boys are much scarier than the average American dude. Luckily when I discovered my error in judgment, I pulled that blog so fast that I didn’t even get a chance to say buh bye to my readers. No one ended up being the wiser, and more importantly, no one got hurt.

So, today I’m going to tell you a little story about a credit card (boo hiss everyone has a credit card story). One day, I had the bright idea to go on a shopping spree at JCPenney’s. (Now before you judge me about shopping at Penney’s, EVERYONE at work told me how much they loved my new clothes before I told them where I purchased them. I enjoyed every gasp of surprise and admiration at my cost savings in these dire economic times). You need to understand that I do not ever use credit cards. I have one emergency Visa that I never use. I couldn’t even tell you where it is. But I had so many clothes hangers balancing off my arms and legs that I opened the immediate credit solely for the discount.

I also need to explain that I live in an apartment building built in 1933 that has four cute precious old mailboxes that do not lock. And I hate picking up my mail. I admit there are times the post office has picked up my mail and kept it because they couldn’t fit any more flyers into my box. I’ll rummage through it for anything important (ie; birthday cards with checks) and leave the rest behind. My mailbox is my personal filing system as it’s more convenient than my coffee table. The day the JCPenney credit card arrived, I noted it for pick up at a later date. When that later date came, there was not one stitch of mail left in my mailbox, not even the two dozen political flyers I planned on reading in the bathroom. I did not panic yet as this was not unusual. But imagine my surprise when the Post Office told me – nope, we have nothing for you. Shee-it.

I called JCPenney’s, and they informed me that my card had been maxed out at – wait for it – Rite-Aid. Did you know you could use a JCPenney’s card at Rite-Aid? I didn’t either. Penney’s generously told me they would try to take care of the extra charges and would immediately send out a new card with a new account number for my convenience. I roared – I don’t WANT another card. The last one was STOLEN out of my MAILBOX! WHY would you guys mail me ANOTHER one? I don’t want a NEW account! Had the world gone crazy?

The young girl on the line got huffy and defensive, I don’t know why. Just because some JCPenney’s executives making three figures a year sat around in a conference room one day and decided that if a customer had a credit card lost or stolen that in order to save potential business, they would immediately send out a new one no matter what the customer actually wanted and then they would put young people on the phones to be yelled out with no recourse while paying them nothing per hour. Or that’s how I imagine it, because the young girl told me she could put in a special request to not have a card sent out and someone would make a decision on it.

In the meantime, I put my mail on vacation hold which can be from a couple days all the way up to a month. Absolute bliss and celebration. I forgot I even get mail. Since all my bills are paid automatically, I’m not even thinking about mail. This mail vacation thing has been a little slice of heaven, and I’ve already been one or two weeks without mail. Except, if you can believe this, I did get mail on one particular day. And guess what was in it. That’s right. The new f’ing credit card that by the grace of God, I got to before it could be maxed out again.

As a good citizen, I called the police department to report the theft. The automated message went something like this (and I’m not kidding) – If you are calling to report a murder with a baseball bat or an ice pick or a stabbing or a wounding or an armed robbery or an armed robbery with a machete or a rape or a rape with a weapon or a rape with two or more men or a kidnapping or a kidnapping with a van or a kidnapping with a rope, crime, crime, crime, endless crime in progress, please press one now. (At this point, I locked all my doors and shut all my windows.) If you are calling to report your mail stolen, you are small potatoes and need to go onto our website to report it. (I was never so happy to have had just my mail stolen).

I also reported it to United States Postal Service. There are also a number of possible complaints to be filed with our US postal service but my absolute favorite, the one that makes me laugh out loud and email to friends is:

Medical quackery. And just a tip. Do not try to explain why this is funny to new immigrants. They will look at you blankly and ask you to explain “quackery” which is nearly impossible and you will end up just saying – “Trust me. It’s funny”.

As I only have a month of vacation from my mail, I decided I would need to break down and get a PO Box. I always thought only businesses and people having affairs had PO Boxes, but I was wrong. Victims also get them. So yesterday, I stood in a long line at my local Post Office (for some reason, there are a lot of very tiny people visiting the post office) to rent a PO Box. In the PO Box literature they threaten that if you do not pick up your mail from your PO Box, you may be forced to rent a bigger one. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I turned in my application, handed over my debit card and asked the clerk – The PO Box area is open 24 hours, right? She looks at me and says cheerfully – Oh we used to be but I think we’re going to start closing at 9:30 pm. The PO Boxes are being broken into.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Mixing things up... with a guest post!

I've been in sort of a post funk lately, so I decided to pull in some reinforcements. My friend, known as "Lish" in her comments, is an amazing writer and should totally have her own blog. I think she even had a secret blog at one point, until she realized that the person she most frequently blogged about could easily discover her blog through a few quick google searches on key - and apparently frequently searched - words. She is going to be a writer in New York someday. I can't wait. I am going to brag about my friend, the writer in New York, when that happens.

One more note before we begin, Lish uses my real name - which I haven't yet revealed on my blog, so I will replace it with HAP - heart at preschool. For now. I'd like to do something more dramatic for the "big reveal"!

Oh, and THANKS for the post Lish! YOU ROCK!

HAP has asked me to guest post on her blog. I wish I had more time to come up with something titillating, but I know HAP, and she will want it done immediately. Like right now. This reminds me of a funny HAP story that I want to tell before I get into the meat of this blog. Those of you who know her can relate.

Back in the early, early 90s (stretch your imagination back to leggings and sweatshirts tied around your waist to hide your butt) HAP and I were both in colleges that were a twenty minute drive from each other, and we would often visit each other in our respective college towns. One day she drove down to my neck of the woods, and we decided to rent a movie at Blockbuster (damn! I didn’t realize how old Blockbuster is getting). I didn’t have a membership at that particular store so I attempted to open one at the desk. I don’t remember what the issue was – I probably didn’t have an ID or something or maybe the ID didn’t match my address, but the clerk was telling us I couldn’t open the account. The entire time this was going on, HAP was her normal, friendly, charming, easy-going self. So the clerk didn’t know what hit her when HAP lost her patience, pointed her nail at the application and said ferociously to the girl – JUST DO IT!! (I should add that I think the Just Do It Nike commercials may have been big at that time).

The clerk and I were both stunned into complete silence. The clerk recovered quicker, quietly and efficiently processed the application and we and our VHS tape were on our way. Of course HAP gave the clerk her most beatific blonde, blue-eyed girl smile and a sincere thank you on the way out. The clerk is probably still wondering if she had only imagined seeing the Aries Ram that lurked below the surface.

Whenever HAP and I get frustrated with anyone or anything these days and we happen to be together, we like to tell them – JUST DO IT!

Oh shoot! I was going to write a whole blog about my experience trying to apply for holiday work at Barnes and Noble the other day, but now my lunchtime is running out. You’ll have to just trust me that if I was a pretty gay boi, I would probably have been hired on the spot.

Thanks for having me!! Good times.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pony Party

We had a "pony party" for Seesa's birthday this year. She is so into animals (or maybe that's me), that I thought it would be fun to create a whole animal-loving theme for her party this year. Or maybe I thought it would be fun for me. Hey, I'm the one throwing it. She can choose her own theme when she's old enough to kick down some cash for the party.

The party was the weekend before Halloween (yes, I am totally behind on my posts...). It was a super warm weekend and the party was all outside, in a little apple orchard at a horse boarding farm. There was a jump house and a little petting zoo. I had a Halloween mask making craft, a unicorn pinata and I made pony cupcakes. Thank you
anymommy for the cupcake idea from your post about your son's birthday. I just looked at your pictures, and tried to copy the cupcakes. Not bad, eh?

And then there were the pony rides. SO fun for all the kids. I had told Seesa that she could ride as many times as she wanted, since she was the birthday girl. I could barely get her off the ponies. Little sister Milly rode too.

After Seesa blew out her birthday candles, she told me what she wished for... her own pony.

Hmmm...wonder how long I'll be able to appease her with bunnies.

Happy Birthday my Halloween baby!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Interesting times

I'll never forget this fortune cookie I opened once that read "May you live in interesting times".

It's been over a week since my husband and I had a big argument. We had a long discussion about it this weekend, and I'm at a loss for words. I'm not even sure why I'm writing this post, except that maybe I just wanted to get down in writing how I'm feeling right now.

Sometimes the simplest thing can be more complicated than I can even wrap my mind around, all at the same time.

And as Forrest Gump (it was on HBO this weekend) would say, that's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Seesa!

My oldest daughter turned 5 years old on October 31st. I love that my first was born on Halloween, my favorite "holiday". Here is our birth story...

My due date was October 29th, and we did not find out what I was having while I was pregnant - although I was pretty confident that it wasn't puppies. Sorry, had to say it. I had visions of myself pushing through labor being so excited to find out the sex of our baby. I looked forward to hearing the words, "It's a ___!"

For a couple weeks before my due date, I was supposed to be taking it easy and monitoring my blood pressure, which had been high. I also had to go to the hospital every few days for a "stress test". As part of these tests, they would do an ultrasound. During one of the ultrasounds, the nurse commented that my baby had big feet. This didn't surprise me, because my husband is tall.

October 29th came and went, and I had to go in for a stress test on October 30th. I hadn't slept all night, and really hadn't slept well for the few nights leading up to that because I had such horrible heart burn that I couldn't even lay down comfortably. I tried to sleep sitting up, and even that was tough. I was too tired to take a shower before I left for my appointment that morning. I had planned on coming home, and take a nice warm shower and trying to rest. Well, I didn't make it home, because at the stress test they told me that I had to check in because my blood pressure wasn't good. I called my husband, and told him to meet me at the hospital.

They proceeded to induce me, and labor started quickly. I didn't have a lot of break between contractions. Bring on the pain meds. I started with Fentanyl. It didn't really take away the pain, it just made it oh so much more bearable. Fentanyl got me through an episode of my favorite show, Survivor. My contractions continued, but I had only dilated to 2 centimeters. That's when the tall, bald, Russian anesthesiologist (the best in the hospital) came in to talk to me about an epidural. I asked if he thought it was too early for an epidural. He simply said "You have pain. You have epidural." I realized then why he was the best in the hospital.

My blood pressure continued to be a problem and they had to put me on magnesium sulfate. At one point, I was hooked up to what we lovingly called "the Christmas tree" of drip lines. My OB - whom I loved - came in and asked if there was any orifice they hadn't stuck something in yet. Nice.
Finally, around 11pm, my OB told me that I had to have a c-section. It actually turns out that I had HELLP syndrome - hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count. Basically, I could die. Nice. It turned out that the "heart burn" I thought I was feeling, was actually my liver. Distending. I was perfectly fine having a c-section, because I really wasn't set on a specific birth plan. I knew enough to know that anything can happen, and every birth is different and most likely not what anyone expects. All I wanted was my baby to be born healthy. Oh, and also to live to be my baby's Mother!

Thing was, we were so close to midnight at that point, that we really wanted to hold out so that our baby would be born on Halloween. As luck would have it, my OB had another patient right next door who also needed to have a c-section, but she was desperate to not have her baby born on Halloween. I heard my OB telling the nurses - ok, we need to get this one born before midnight, and this one out after midnight.

At 1:46am on October 31st, we welcomed our beautiful daughter into the world. I sort of remember the doctors saying "It's a girl!", but apparently I was so hopped up on the mag, and whatever other medications they had me on, all I said was "Does she have big feet?". I do distinctly remember my husband bringing her over to me and just touching her cheek in disbelief. She was amazing.

She still is.

Happy Birthday my little pumpkin! You are my heart, my joy, my muse, my hope. I love you with all my heart!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hope Won

Yes it did.

After hearing Obama's victory speech - I'm not sure I've ever been so moved, or filled with so much hope for the future.

Hope did indeed win tonight.

God Bless America.

The only thing that tainted my feelings about the progress America has made, was the choice California made on Prop 8. Thanks to my sister for leading me to this great post on the subject, that expresses better than I could - or maybe am willing to at this point - how I feel.

Election Day

This was a weighty election day for me. I found myself in tears as I left the voting booth. I guess it just hit me how historical this is. Also, though I have not written about it, I have some very strong feelings about a couple of the propositions on the ballot. (NO on 8, by the way!)

I was wishing that I'd brought my oldest daughter to the voting booths with me. I had visions of imparting the importance of this day, and of having the right to vote, and speaking your mind in general. Then I realized that, at 5 years old, the most she'd probably get out of it would be the "I voted!" sticker.

I'll just tell both of my daughters about the experience someday when they are older, in some "I remember when..." speech. They'll both yawn and say, "Yah, yah - you already told us that Mom. Shut your pie hole."


Monday, November 3, 2008


My friend SJ and I have a little saying that we like to use. Clearly, we didn't invent the saying, but it just makes me giggle every time we say it. Today, SJ even made up an acronym for it - SYPH = Shut Your Pie Hole.

SJ and I work together, and we find that we have the opportunity to use this line frequently, especially lately. Whenever we are in a meeting and someone is droning on and on about something irrelevant, or just plain boring. Shut Your Pie Hole. Whenever someone writes an email to someone else congratulating them for basically doing their job. Shut Your Pie Hole. Whenever someone says something that we don't agree with, or is just annoying. SYPH!

Now, we can increase our email response speed or even write a little note to each other in a meeting using our new acronym. Of course, we don't actually say Shut Your Pie Hole to people's faces. At least not unless we know them well enough to have a good idea of how they'll take it.

SYPH makes me happy. For some reason, it just seems to make the hardest times more bearable.

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