Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's award time again

A coveted Gold Star award goes to Lisa P over at Team Pologeorgis for the funniest post I've read in a long time. She's a Super Star Soccer Mom!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

reaching into the past

So I've been having a blast on Facebook these past few weeks. Stuart is wondering why he encouraged me to get online there, as it's a time sucker for sure. I've been finding friends from college that I haven't heard from in, well, let's just say "a long while". I had a friend from high school find me (Christy - remember Theresa Setzer? She be-friended me and we had a chat! I was actually surprised she remembered me.) I've been checking out some of my former students, seeing what they have done with their life and where they are now. (One is in congress. Seriously.) Super fun.

Yesterday, after I went down to the school district to sign a dozen forms so that I can be the recess duty lady for Samuel's kindergarten class, I ran into a former student at Walmart. At first I didn't remember her - she looked at me and said "Hey, you used to be my math teacher! Right?" and I said, "Ah, yeah. Hi! What was your name again?" (I'm smooth all right.) Amelia. Yes, now I remember you. Amelia N, smart and quiet girl, excellent handwriting, always did your homework. Now she's all grown up and a mommy herself. Amelia's mom was with her and we had a nice chat, too - she was very kind.

Anyway, it seems like my past is catching up with me, and it's a strange timing as I have been talking with Stuart about when I will start looking for a teaching position. (Maybe next year. Or the next. We need to see how Samuel does at school first.) And just when my thoughts are turning to my future, all these people from my past are coming back to me. It feels like I've come full circle, although to be honest I thought I was on a straight path all this time.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

and the fun continues . . . .

The Girl has raised some serious questions about the tooth fairy.

As in, "Tell me Mom, are you the tooth fairy?"

It's turning out to be quite a day.

. . . pants on fire . . . .

The Boy has begun to lie.

As I think about telling you this latest episode of parenting triumph and failure, I am keenly aware that my days are numbered. He'll learn to read this year, and then I'll have two editors, two little sets of eyes peeking over my shoulder and checking what I am writing. Even now, the fuel for "Conversations with Samuel" is dwindling down. He's growing up fast.

Yesterday was quite a day. The first lie was so obvious that it made me angry. He lost gaming privileges for the day. The second was of this variety: "Did you do this?"
"No. I don't know who did that."
(long stare) "Samuel . . . . "
"Ok, it was me." (pouts)
And then, dear reader, I made the gravest of parental mistakes. So help me, I started to laugh. I disguised it as a coughing fit and ran for the bathroom, and Stuart took over the stern lecture bit. Then I had to go back to collect all his scissors (yes, he's been naughty) and asked him for the newest pair. "Where are they? Give them to me."
(he goes over to the small spiderman couch, lifts it up, and grabs the scissors)
"You hid them under the couch?"
"I don't know how they got there!"
(another long stare) "Samuel . . . "
"Ok, I hid them." (cue the tears - darn, that kid has my number)

I'm trying to see this latest act of defiance as proof of progress - my compliant boy is growing up. And I know that the lies are a very normal thing for this age - a normal stage all children go through. This does not bother me. He will learn that this is not acceptable behavior (a week without video games will help get that lesson across) and will move on.

What alarms me is that I am so amused by his very lame lies. I can see right through him, and I find it so funny. I've got to get my Mom Game Face back, but I'm not sure where I left it. Perhaps this is proof of my progress as a parent - back in the day, Sally's lying stage enraged me. I've passed through anger into amusement. I'm handing out punishments without feeling that righteous thrill of justice, but with a feeling of sympathetic companionship. Yep, I've lied too. It's a hard lesson to learn, but we'll get through this.

Cripes! What has motherhood done to me?

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Stuff on the Side

Welcome to my friend Beth, who just started her very own blog! Confessions of a College Student should be a good read.

Shouts out to my friend Kathie, who has started her own business. Ohana Faith Boutique has some great things - I esp. love the bracelets. I have one that says "believe" and have given them as gifts and they are beautiful and affordable. Go check out her stuff. (Hi Kathie!)

One more plug for my sister's business, AceQuality. If you are looking for camping gear, camping food, or the popular CamelBak hydration backpacks, go check out her site. You won't get better customer service anywhere!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Stuart and I have taken the Meyers-Briggs personality test several times over the years. I have gotton more set in my INTJ ways, while Stuart has become more balanced over time. I just took another test on facebook, and guess what?

I came out as ISTJ.

Wow. Quite a shocker.

from Facebook:
The Duty Fulfiller
Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging
Serious and quiet, interested in security and peaceful living. Extremely thorough, responsible, and dependable. Well-developed powers of concentration. Usually interested in supporting and promoting traditions and establishments. Well-organized and hard working, they work steadily towards identified goals. They can usually accomplish any task once they have set their mind to it.

More Trip Stuff

Our whirlwind weekend drive to Northern California (a total of 16 hours in the car, and I only had to drive about 3 of them - thanks, Stu!) was to celebrate the birthdays of our nieces, K and M. My sister-in-law invited the whole fam, so since we missed everyone earlier this summer due to being sick, we were able to make up for it. We saw lots of people. That, coupled with the fact that I got four hours of sleep the night before, accounts for the shocking lack of proper photos. Ah well. Go on over to facebook and check out the pics there - Kristy has lots of good ones. Uncle Cliff sent me a great shot of Samuel: Later, after everyone left, we busted open Samuel's birthday gift from his GrandBaa and Grandma El:
Aerosmith Guitar Hero (Stuart did that to his sleeves)

Sally tried it out:
(that's her cousin K with her)

and cousin M thought she was playing, too:
Yeah, baby.

Thoughtfully, they gave me a set of earplugs. (Little do they realize that I'll be making the kids' bedtime a wee bit earlier so that I can get a turn . . . . )

We were able to stop by my sister's house and have lunch with her and her boys, then check out the baby kittys - her cat had four babies last month. Waaaayyy cute. The little black and white one they named Cow is so cute (and the name is perfect!), and they have two black ones and one grey tiger striped one. Sally was quite charmed. (I guess I was, too, because again, no pictures. Cripes - this is a terrible theme I have going here.)
On the drive home, I watched the moon rise. I realized that I haven't done this in a long time. I think that's because the moon usually rises right as the kids are going to bed, and that's when I get quite a bit of work done. I was driving home, and it was very very dark, and then as the moon rose the darkness became not so dark, and the moon became brighter and brighter. It was very peaceful and beautiful. Also, we had stopped at Borders and picked up a book on cd - Elizabeth Peter's Crocodile on the Sandbank. Both Stuart and I have read it, but listening to it is pretty delightful. The story coupled with the moon turned out to be a perfect match. I'm going to have to remember to watch the moon rise again. (It's full on September 15th - I'm going to mark my calendar)
Thanks to everyone who made our trip a fun time, and especially to Grandma Tina and Grandpa Ken for their wonderful hospitality. Thanks to the kids, too, for not throwing up and for being great little travelers. You two are troopers!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Trip Pics

What Samuel did at Grandma and Grandpa's house: What Sally did and Grandma and Grandpa's house:
What I did:
and check out the view - beautiful!(The first picture is Samuel with his cousin Matthew playing with the sand toys. The second is Sally, taking pictures and videos of the hummingbirds. Dozens of the loudest hummingbirds that I've ever seen (heard?) before. The third is the beginnings of the red scarf that I'm knitting for The Red Scarf Project. The view is northern California beauty.)
(There was lots of other stuff we did, but I have to make dinner and then there's soccer practice and bathtime and reading and bedtime . . . more tomorrow!)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Knit Bit: New Charity Project

There's no shortage of the knitting over here, but as I'm working on a Harry Potter scarf (Ravenclaw colors) it's pretty boring stuff. Endless stockenette in the round - yesterday as I was knitting, I actually was thinking about how I could easily calculate the exact number of stitches I put into this scarf (19 stripes, each 19 rounds, with how many stitches in a round . . . . ). I've been trailing for a new project, but really I have things to finish up first . . . . Hasn't stopped me before, right?

I found this charity project today: The Red Scarf Project. I've been wanting to do more baby hats, but the Caps for the Capital project is over and I would really like to find a local group to donate to, but I've been unable to find a contact person for the hospitals by my house. I haven't given up, but I think this scarf thing is perfect in the meantime. If you are a knitter or crocheter, check it out. One red scarf, sent in by Oct. 31, 2008. We can do that!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yummy Frozen Dessert

It's been awhile since I posted a new recipe here, but this one will be worth the wait. Promise. My mom made this when we were there for my aunt's wedding, and it was so good Sally wanted it for her birthday. (Yes, in lieu of a normal birthday cake. It's that good.) I think my mom got it from one of those free recipe brochures from the grocery store.

Frosty Orange Dream Squares

40 Nilla wafers, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups cold milk
2 pkg vanilla instant pudding (the 4 servings box)
one 8 oz. tub Cool Whip
2 cups orange sherbet, softened

Line 9" x 13" pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. (Sheila's helpful tip: make room for the pan in your freezer, clearning a level shelf and putting the pan inside to verify that it fits) Mix wafers and butter. Press into bottom of pan. Mix milk and pudding with a wire whisk until smooth. Add half of the cool whip and whisk until smooth. Spoon over crust and smooth. Put in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Mix sherbet and the rest of the cool whip until smooth. Spoon over pudding layer and cover. Freeze three hours or overnight. Use foil to remove the entire thing from pan and cut into squares. Makes 24 servings.

Sally and I got to thinking that this recipe would be good with different flavors. Today I made another batch, using chocolate pudding, vanilla ice cream, and then I had some leftover chocolate frosting (don't ask) that I heated up and drizzled on the top. Pretty, and pretty tasty, too.

On Her Birthday

What Sally did on her birthday:Sally held our friend's darling baby girl at the concerts at the park. Such a sweet baby, too. When she is Sally's age, Sally will be (gulp) in college.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

from the road

I kept my eyes on the road the whole time - I just aimed the camera and hoped for the best!
McFlurries make the road trip seem shorter. Everybody knows that.
(I had one of the iced coffees - I like the vanilla one.)

Finally . . . .

some pictures from the Harry Potter night ~
Samuel with the pumpkin tarts:
Sally with her magic wand (a knitting needle, of course!):
Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans and the makings of ButterBeer:
The kids dressed themselves. Sally is Hermonie at the Yule Ball, and Samuel is of course Harry (Sally put a small lightening bolt scar on his forehead with some eyeliner - too bad you can't see it in these pictures because it was great). I put on a knit beret and a crocheted poncho and yelled "Where HAVE you been?" at everyone (that's Molly Weasley, if you haven't seen the movies). It was a fun night.

doing a little happy dance

I think I fixed the pool.

The acid rinse through the cell worked like a charm.

The ChlorBright shock powder brought up the chlorine levels and wiped out the bad smell (and most of the green gunk - the creepy cleaner is getting the rest).

Thanks to the guy at Leslie's Pool Supply who answered all my questions and was nice to boot. Leslie's Pool Supply never lets me down.

PS - you should have seen me in all my safety goggle/safety mask/rubber gloved glory. I'm pretty sure I was an impressive sight. Ask the kids and my friend Beth. They watched my mad pool skills in amazement :)


Sorry there are no new pictures up here yet - the whole week is flying right past me. VBS is super fun for the kids, but somehow I'm getting very little done while they are gone. I did go to the store, and visited some people. Today I'm troubleshooting the pool, as the thing has decided to not make chlorine anymore. This makes the water "bad" - in our case, it's slightly smelly and slightly green. I've cleaned out the cell (that's the thing that turns the salt into chlorine) and now I need to clean it with a muratic acid solution - and I'm all out of acid. And the pool store was out of acid. So I fetched the kids from VBS, fed them lunch, and now we are off to the library and then to home depot for some acid. Then I have a date with a large bucket and some rubber gloves. My job rocks.

Maybe if I get the pool all sorted out I can keep my promise to you all and finally post some more pictures. Believe me, I'd rather do that than take the entire cell off to the pool store to have them test it to see if it's ok. It's not that large, but still. Going to the pool store with two kids is like getting your teeth cleaned. (except no comfy chair)

Monday, August 11, 2008


Sally's birthday was this weekend - she's nine. This is the last year of single digits for her. (makes me kinda sad) She had a great weekend, celebrating with a few friends on Friday night, and then yesterday we all went to see the movie, Mamma Mia (very funny - we all liked it except Samuel got a little bored and was restless). Then we went to our local concerts in the park - we've been doing that this summer and it's very fun and a nice way to end the weekend. (And free. That's always a plus.)

We start VBS this week, so I've got to make this quick, but I have lots of pictures to share so come back tomorrow :)

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Sally with my dad's cousin:They were dancing by the pool. Way fun.

Trip Pics

Samuel and me at the wedding: Sally (with my cousin's daughter):
Me and the kids:

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

"It's A Dry Heat"

Yes, but it still feels like you are trapped inside an oven. (The temperature reading is 113 - that was on the drive home, and that was COOLER than the temp at my parent's house!)

For those of you not blessed to drive between Los Angeles and Las Vegas/Arizona, here is what it looks like:
for the entire drive. I'm not kidding.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Lots to Report

Since I last posted (the fab pool slide picture), we've had a Harry Potter dinner party (why are you surprised at the depth of my geekiness?) with our family, then the kids and I went to my parent's house in Lake Havasu for my aunt's wedding. I have a slew of pictures to share, but no time right now as we are getting ready for Sally's first day of soccer camp. (She's nervous - send a few prayers her way.) It was a super fun weekend, introducing my kids to some of my dad's cousins who came out from Iowa (which Sally keeps confusing with Idaho) for the wedding. I was much younger the last time I saw them (I think I was in grade school or junior high) so I only remember that they are the tallest and loudest women I had ever seen, and they were always laughing and joking with each other. Imagine my delight to find that my people are My People - they are all crafty, two of them are teachers, and we all like the same kind of music and movies. We talked and laughed and danced to Abba in the pool and the kids had a ball. The only downside was that it was 125 degrees when I arrived - yes, 125 degrees outside. I don't care if it's a dry heat - that's just too hot for me. It's like being inside an oven. I came home to 91 degrees and it felt mild and refreshing.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, Uncle Paul, Aunt Delores, Aunt Rona, Aunt Peggy, Aunt Nancy - great fun. Congrats Aunt Kathy and welcome to the family Uncle Jimmy!

For Aunt Peggy

I've been cheated by you since I dont know when
So I made up my mind, it must come to an end
Look at me now, will I ever learn?
I don't know how but I suddenly lose control
There's a fire within my soul
Just one look and I can hear a bell ring
One more look and I forget everything, o-o-o-oh

Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I've missed you
Yes, I've been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, now I really know,
My my, I could never let you go.

I've been angry and sad about the things that you do
I can't count all the times that I've told you we're through
And when you go, when you slam the door
I think you know that you won't be away too long
You know that I'm not that strong.
Just one look and I can hear a bell ring
One more look and I forget everything, o-o-o-oh

Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I've missed you
Yes, I've been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, even if I say
Bye bye, leave me now or never
Mamma mia, it's a game we play
Bye bye doesn't mean forever

Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I've missed you
Yes, I've been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go
Mamma mia, now I really know
My my, I could never let you go

Mamma Mia by Abba; lyrics from