Monday, July 31, 2006

The Car Dealership

While on our last car trip, my engine light went on. Being a nervous girl who doesn't really understand engines but does know enough to know what can go wrong when the engine light goes on, I found the nearest service station that had a mechanic on duty and he ran a diagnostic on my car. (Thanks, by the way, to the very nice mechanic who was fast with the car and kind to the kids.) Turns out some valve was stuck closed, but the car was safe to drive. Thankful prayers were sent heavenward and on we drove.

The light came back on last week, so I made an appointment for this morning. Of course, the light went back off over the weekend, but I dutifully kept the appointment, because you never know.

You would think, being 7:15 on a Monday morning, and knowing that these dealerships run on a first come, first served basis, that things would move pretty quickly. I mean, the guy at the service station in the middle of California did the check in about ten minutes. But, no. (I ended up getting home around 12:30. Yes, five hours later.) The kids and I checked out the customer waiting lounge, which was nice. Then we walked across the street to a restaurant and had a big breakfast. I flirted with the idea of taking the bus home, but I wasn't too crazy about that, since I have never been on a bus with my kids, and I don't know how long it would take to get to my neighborhood. The kids, however, were absolutely thrilled with the thought of a bus ride. Once we figured out which stop to wait at - there were stops at each of the four corners of the large intersection - I called over to the dealership to see what's the news on my car. Oh, the mechanic is starting on it now! Happy day.

The kids and I walked back to the dealership, this time for a longer stay. I found a magazine, we got some hot chocolate, I let the kids buy some m&m's from the vending machine, and we waited. I did some knitting (of course) and let the kids play with a ball of yarn. (By the way, a ball of yarn is a great distraction for young kids. I think I'll stash a small ball of yucky acrylic stuff in the car for this purpose.) And, after a long wait, the results came in: my car needs a new part, which must be ordered, and then I need to COME BACK and have it installed.

Adventure is not my middle name. This we know to be true.

However, I have a plan. There is a movie theater within walking distance from this dealership, so if I time things right, the kids and I could score lunch and a movie and then pick up the car. I could also ask my husband to drive with us and drop off the car, bring us home, and then come home and get us, and then get the car, but the dealership is between our home and his work, and all that driving would make anyone crazy.

The best part of the day? The kids were just great. They loved the waiting room, they held my hands crossing the street, they played together well, and they thought the whole thing was kinda fun. Of course, they did make a huge mess of the previously balled up yarn, but I think it was worth it.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Favorite Foto Friday

Sally and Samuel at the fair.
It was hot, but the cream puffs were totally worth it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Three Things Thursday

(1) Samuel has discovered computer games. "I play your puter, Mom?" is now a constant refrain. Now another thought, mulling around in my already crowded brain, is this: how much computer time is appropriate for a three year old? (This is a rhetorical question - please don't answer it for me, because I don't think I could handle the discrepency in our answers right now.)

(2) Sally has discovered photography. I loaned her my camera last night at the fair, and she took a whopping 155 pictures there, then 75 MORE pictures this morning around the house. (She almost got me in my nightgown. Almost.) Thankfully, they are digital.

(3) As I type this, they are both watching a very old Flipper movie on the classic movie station. They love it. After that, they will nap in the bed fort that they made this morning for their photo shoot. Aaah, summer.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Musings on Honesty

Our church has been focusing on the question of: "If you knew you were going to live forever, what kind of person would you like to become? What can you do now to cultivate those characteristics in yourself?" This last Sunday, the question was posed to us: "How do you want to be remembered? Work backwards from that." It's an interesting way to look at your life.

In church on Sunday, I took a moment to list the characteristics I want to be remembered for. Kindness (don't laugh, Stuart - it's not the same as mercy), honesty, wisdom, and "fun to be around" were on my list. It got me to thinking about honesty and my blog.

I have never lied on this blog. However, I don't tell everything. If you know me outside of this blog, you know that it is true to who I am. If you only know me from this blog, you don't really know me. Does that translate as dishonest? I don't think so, yet it makes me feel a little James Frey-ish. I don't want to represent some version of the truth, because I do believe that truth doesn't have versions. But there are some stories not for the blog, there are some situations that are too personal to share.

Which brings me to this conclusion: the blog is like a friendship. She is not your best friend, so you do not tell her your secrets. She is like your chatty friend - any story you tell her, you can bet that she will tell everyone you know.

So, there it is. The thoughts that have been running around in my head this week - at least the thoughts that I want you to know about. :)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Conversations with Samuel

As promised, the conversations worse than torture.

(In the car)
Samuel: "Mommy?"
Me: "Yes son?"
Samuel: "mummm mumble mummm blah mumble mnmnmnm"
Me: "I can't hear you. You must talk louder. Say it again."
Samuel: "MOM-MEEEE! Mumm mublem blah blah blah . . . . . ."
Me: "Samuel, I am driving on the freeway. It is VERY LOUD. I cannot hear you. You must talk LOUD."
Samuel: "MMOOMM! EEEEE! Blah mummble mummnnn blah blah GRANDPA."
Me: "Stop. Talking. To. Me."

(Still in the car)
Samuel: "I want that."
Me: "What is that?"
Samuel: "THAT. I want that."
Me: "I don't know what that is."
Samuel: "I want that PLEASE."
Me: "Son, I'm driving. I cannot see what you are pointing at. I will not turn around while I am driving, so you need to tell me what "that" is. What do you want?"
Samuel: "That thing right DERE!"
Me: (bashes head into steering wheel)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Friday, July 21, 2006

Favorite Fotos Friday

Yeah, I know, I know, more pictures.

This is my brother-in-law and Samuel talking at the rehearsal dinner. My cousin and her fiancee were gracious and invited all of us to crash their party. (The sausage cheese bread was fantastic!)

This is my sister and her youngest son. They are two of a kind, that's for sure. He looks so much like her. (I'm always fascinated by how much sons look like their moms and daughters look like their dads.)

This is my dad and my mom. We had such a fun time together. (And would you get a load of all the glasses on that table? Two kinds of wine, champagne, and coffee! Somewhere in the midwest, Jaymarie is beaming with pride.)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Three Things Thursday

(1) This is me and my nephew. Because we have similar hair and eye color, my mom says he looks like my son :) He's his dad's boy, though - they have the same sweet disposition and strong work ethic.

(2) This is my sister and Sally. Although they do not look alike, they are very similar. They both twirl a lock of hair around their finger in the exact manner. Sometimes Sally will do something and all I can think is, that is just like my sister.

(3) This is Samuel and his cousin. They hit it off right away and had a blast together. I just love this picture of them. I want to hug and kiss them!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Here they are: my kids and my nephews.
Sally is 6 (almost 7), E is 5, J is 3, and Samuel just turned 3.
Here they are waiting for the train:
And on the train:

Some Pictures

This is my sister, my dad, my mom, and me at my cousin's wedding. The great thing about this picture is that we have one taken about, oh, some thirty-odd years ago, at my uncle's and aunt's wedding. Aaawww . . .
Here is Samuel with my mom.
And this is Sally with her sand crab.
That was the biggest sand crab I've ever seen.
They chased it around the beach for about an hour.
As soon as I get permission from my sister, I'll dazzle you all with the cuteness that is my nephews. I got so many great pictures of them. I love seeing the mix of my sister, her husband, my parents, and me in their faces, and watching the four cousins playing together was just the best times.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


"Do you know the way to San Jose?
La la la la la la la la la

That is what ran through my head during the long car ride up to my cousin's wedding this weekend. We had a blast with my sister and her family and my parents, seeing my aunt and uncle and cousins that we have not seen for probably twenty years. We exchanged fond memories, they met my kids and my nephews, and my cousin had a wonderful wedding and fantastic reception.

Some highlights:
~ My sister and I both like our coffee with cream and no sugar. Neither of us knew the other one liked it that way.
~ My aunt promised my daughter a puppy if we came to visit her.
~ My son fell asleep sitting up in a restaurant.
~ I hate LA traffic.
~ I like public transportation.
~ Chocolate dipped wine glasses is the absolute best way to serve champagne.
~ My sister likes Neil Diamond. I do not.
~ My family danced together and it was a blast.

More to come:
~ Photos!
~ Conversations more painful than torture
~ Sally's beach crab

But for now, several loads of laundry and a few hours of putting things away. Oh, the joys of vacation!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Favorite Fotos Friday

Red cherries.
Would you look at these colors?
Sleeping babies.
They are the cutest kids ever.

Knit Bit: FO

Knitting blogs abound on the internet, and they have their own shorthand codes. FO is "Finished Object". It is also referred to as an FP, for "Finished Project". LYS is "Local Yarn Shop", which I have to say, I haven't found one that I really love. Oh sure, I've got the Michaels and the Joanns, but not a nice, homey, all about yarn, LYS. But I digress.

I finished the baby blanket for Baby Girl D, who is set to arrive in about one month. This turned out so so so cute and I just love it. I was sad to discover, after I cast off and was weaving in all the ends, that I made a small mistake. I dropped a stitch. I took some scrap yarn, picked it up as best I could, and sewed some duplicate stitches above it. Then I made a small knot and wove in the ends. Can you find it here? (Jenni, I know you'll spot it!) All in all, I'm happy with it. I learned the intarsia technique, I did some different seed stitches, and I think Baby Girl D's mommy liked it. Also, I've fallen in love with cotton yarn.

I also finished my sarong, but do I really want photos of myself in a swim suit on the internet? I have to think about that one.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Three Things Thursday

(1) I learned to swim when I was very young. I must have been very young, because I cannot remember not knowing how to swim. However, I am sometimes still afraid of water, especially large lakes and the ocean.

(2) I learned to like mushrooms when I was working in a pizza place during high school. Before that, I hated mushrooms. Now I really like them. I still don't like black olives.

(3) I learned to sleep alone when I was pregant with Sally and my husband was working on a project that required him to be gone during the week. I still don't like to sleep alone, though, and sometimes I sleep with the lights on all night.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Conversations with the kids

Me: "Hey Sally, what time is it?"
Sally: "I don't know."
Samuel: "Wait a minute. Be right back."
(Samuel runs to the kitchen)
Me: "Where is he going? He doesn't know his numbers!"
Sally: giggles
(Samuel returns)
Samuel: "It's five five five, one one one."
Me: (suppressing laughter) "Um, thanks."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Over The Hedge - We saw this one on Saturday with the kids, and it was very cute. I don't know if it was funnier than Shrek, because I do like the fairy tale creatures better than the possums, but the porcupines were the best. The kids loved it.

Must Love Dogs - This movie is running on HBO now, so I watched it, and it's so sweet. I think it's as good as You've Got Mail and 50 First Dates, two of my favorite romantic comedies.

Dinner With Friends - I watched this one yesterday during our mandatory daily quiet time (kids must leave me alone for at least an hour, usually two) and while it wasn't the flashiest movie or one that I would want to watch again, I thought it was pretty real when it comes to the struggles a marriage goes through and what happens to the couple friends when one of the couples divorces. It is very worth seeing. Great actors, too. (Loved Toni Colette in Muriel's Wedding.)

Monday, July 10, 2006

God is a knitter

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
Psalm 139:13-14

Quote for the Day

"If you knew you were going to live forever, what kind of person would you like to become?"
~ from Pastor Michael's sermon last Sunday

Friday, July 07, 2006

Everybody loves cake!

It's recipe time again! The summer months are too hot to do any real baking, but the need for cake doesn't go away. To save the day, here is my mom's Easy Chocolate Cake - made in the microwave! Yes, it's true. It cooks in the microwave in under ten minutes, AND there is no bowl to wash because you mix it in the pan that it cooks in. The perfect dessert, no? (Doncha wish my mom was your mom?) Excellent for last minute company and also excellent with ice cream.

Oh yes, it does work with a yellow cake mix, but the chocolate turns out much, much tastier.

Easy Chocolate Cake

1/2 package fuge cake mix
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup cooking oil
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup chocolate chips

In the bottom of an ungreased 8" or 9" round glass pie plate, place dry cake mix. Add other wet ingredients and mix with a fork until smooth. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Microwave 7-9 minutes (depending on your microwave). Turn after 4 minutes. This cake is done when the edges are dry and spongy and the top looks mostly done. Let it set for 4-5 minutes for the center to finish cooking.

Favorite Fotos Friday

Here are several pics from this last week.

First, frozen watermelon in the evening sun.

Next, Samuel falling asleep before dinner on the Fourth of July. He didn't take a nap, and was in the pool for about five hours straight. He fell asleep while reading People magazine with Jessica.

Finally, I give you the two cutest guys in the whole world.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Three Things Thursday

Three things I do every morning:

(1) Wash my face. I've been using Dove foaming face wash. I don't like the smell so much, but I like how my face feels after I'm done.

(2) Put the dog outside and give him a treat. He'll do anything for a treat.

(3) Make myself a cup of coffee, usually Melitta One:One "Love At First Sip" with Coffeemate Vanilla Chai Spice creamer.

Hey TTT Players! I'm looking for new ideas for themes. Please send me some in the comments. Thanks!!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Best Compliment Ever

A few months ago, my best friend gave me a great compliment. She told me that since we have been friends, she's becoming better at being ok with things that are unresolved. This is because sometimes, I'll see a problem area in my life, I'll talk to her about it, and she'll say to me, "What are you going to do about that?" And I'll tell her, I'm just going to pray and think about it and wait a bit. Sometimes, problems resolve themselves. Sometimes, a problem is just something that you need some perspective on. And sometimes, a problem needs action. I was very happy that she saw this in me, and told me how it was changing her. It was a great compliment.

But yesterday I got the best one ever. My friend overheard my husband say that he got me locked into a long term investment before I realized my true market value. Aw, thanks honey!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Fourth of July!

(This picture was taken last year.)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Monday Musings

I slept for eleven hours last night. The weekend did me in. Our friends had a block party on Saturday, and then we came home and did some swimming here, and then Sunday was our church's VBS Celebration Sunday, complete with bounce house, hot dog on a stick, cotton candy, shaved ice, a magic show, and the possum lady. Yes, you can imagine that last one went over well with me. I sat back as far as possible, claiming I needed to be in the shade, but really I just wanted to be away from that rodent. The kids loved it all. We came home and crashed.

Today I've already spent an hour cleaning the kids rooms, and we are going to run some errands and then come home to the lovely coolness of air conditioning. I've got six rows of my sarong to knit and then I'm done! Sally has to do some reading for the library summer reading club, and Samuel got a baby einstein movie to watch (he's a little old for it, but he still loves them). Big news on the potty training scene - he's doing so well! He does most of the poops on the potty (we had an incident on Saturday that I am still not ready to talk about), and he has worn real underwear three times. Two of those had a pee accident, but we were home both times and I know he's got to have those accidents to learn. All in all, I'm pretty happy about his progress. He can go by himself and he can put on a new pullup by himself. He's very proud of himself, too, which is good because the gum/candy rewards have been totally forgotten. I'm pretty proud of myself, too, because potty training Sally made me a total mess. This time around, I'm keeping my standards low, my praise high, and just waiting for him to do it on his own. It's so much better this way.

Well, we are off to the post office and the grocery. Somebody's cousins are going to get a package this week!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Knit Bit: Intarsia

I've been wanting to try new things with my knitting, so I've picked a few small projects to knit. I'm working on a little something with dpns (double pointed needles), and I'm still at work on the illusions card suits scarf (but that one is getting boring because I don't like to follow the chart, so I need some other projects to balance out that one). My friend is having her first baby next month, so I thought, I should knit her up a baby blanket. For fun, I'm doing an intarsia nine-square blanket. Intarsia is a technique of knitting where you switch colors, and you are knitting large areas of the same color, as a square, circle, or pattern. I could have knit nine squares and sewn them together, but I thought this may be faster, and better for a new baby - less ends to weave in. (Yes, that's five strands of yarn going at the same time!) I've also got a light purple border going on that I love. I'm doing a K3 P1 seed stitch in the light pink, and a K1 P1 seed on the purple border. The yarn is 100% cotton, so it's light and soft and I don't know if I'll be able to give this away because I love it so much! (This is a pattern I made up, by the way, and the yarn is Bernat Cotton Tots.)

Knit Bit: Lace

More new things with my knitting: Since we are going to Hawaii in September (didn't I tell you?), I thought I should make myself a lacy sarong to match my swimsuits! Oh, it's too too fun. I don't think I'll ever go for those light, thin, spiderweb-like lace yarns, but this is a cotton blend and feels like butter. Although the pattern was tricky for me at first, I'm finding my groove. After only a few rows, the lace starts to emerge, and it is highly satisfying. Oh, yes, those ARE beads! Little purple beads throughtout the bottom of the piece. Love it. This is the Knitty Gritty Beach Sarong pattern, but I couldn't find the yarn they recommend (found it on ebay but was outbid at the last) so I'm using Berroco Touche, in a 50% cotton 50% rayon blend. I found two bloggers that have knitted this, and one of them (thanks, leah977) did a different pattern for the top, which I am going to try because I like the look of it.

Also, these pictures are are from my new camera that my wonderful husband gave to me on my birthday. Yeah, he's great. He takes good care of me. Shout out to you, honey!