Friday, August 31, 2007

Mommy's in College

I started college this past week. I've been attending Cal State University on a very part time basis for the past two years. With pregnancy and an infant, I haven't been a very good student. Time to jump back in and see if I can finish this quest for an education. So, here I am giving it a try.

First of all, enrollment has skyrocketed. It always took me an hour to get from here to there (including parking) but no.... both Monday and Wednesday it took me 35 minutes to get to the exit that I take (pretty dang good!) and then I was in a bumper to bumper line of cars that went from the exit all the way to the college parking lot. inching forward, inching forward, go a little bit, inch, inch, inch.... you know, like in the movie Office Space.... that took an hour. The line was 6 miles long!!! I'm not kidding. 5 miles from the exit to town, and a mile across to the campus.

I got a $2000 scholarship! I get $500 per semester for 2 yrs, so I'm hoping to finish my BA by then. I should be able to finish it up in 3 semesters if I have planned it well. Then I can begin the teacher credential program. Feels like I will be a student forever. It's a long road.

My classes are twice a week and they go something like this:

US Literature: This class focuses on early American literature up to the year 1750. Wow, that is early! This was a good class. I was terribly late though cuz I misjudged traffic. The professor seems like a decent guy. He is requiring the class to post to an online forum - ha! I can do that! Yippee!

British Literature, again the early period. Oh no. This teacher is a spaz. She's super loud and hyperactive. She was bouncing off the walls. Waving her arms around the whole time too. She tripped over her own feet and almost fell over and she spilled her coffee. She might drive me nuts. I went to another professor and asked if I could take this same class from her instead, but she doesn't teach it. Can I take it independent study? No. I'm stuck with the spaz.

Post-Fiction. This class is about post-colonial, post-modernism, post-feminism, post-whateverism. We have to read 9 books and watch 2 movies. This guy has a following of students who were all excited to see him again. That's a good sign. But he's Chinese and I had a really hard time figuring out what he was saying in English. His accent is going to take me some time to get used to. I hope I don't miss much while he's talking and I am trying to understand it. I sure didn't catch a whole lot this week. He's got a soft voice too. Polar opposite of Professor Spaz.

Western Literature: This class is in the evening and only on Wednesdays. The professor was hired on Monday. He's an art museum director with a PhD in Literature. He is going to assign movies to us. Cool. That's easier with a toddler who likes to rip books apart. Works for me! He seems like he's going to run a good class even though he didn't have time to prepare fully for the class, he seemed like he had a good idea of what we are going to do. Syllabus will be out next week.

So, I have four literature classes. That's 17 books total. Three are anthologies, two are textbook type books full of theory. The rest are just books.

Things I learned this week:

#1 - Leave Really EARLY

#2 - Gracie is fine without me (I keep having to relearn this, for some reason it never sticks in my head)

#3 - The college has a million stairs and I am super outa shape! (how did I forget that?)

#4 - My backpack is heavy. Books, laptop, laptop cooler, water, sandwich, apple, purse, etc. I feel like I'm packing up to move out when I leave the house.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My Birthday Today, Poop and Scary boys - What a day!

Today is my birthday. I'm not big on celebrating my birthday or anything, but I did hope to have a nice day. And I did. I'm on a diet, so no birthday cake or excess calories that will bring guilt to me tomorrow.

The teens took me out for the afternoon and we left Toddle-Pants and Daddy at home. The girls and I went to get pedicures! Ooooh, nice! It was really nice. So good to be pampered. Who knew spending $70 on your toes could make you feel so wonderful! So, the three of us have very pretty toes now. Woo hooo! Then we went shopping for some pretty sandals to show off my pretty toes. Found a couple of pairs of capri pants too. I always want more of those since I tend to get food, boogers, slobber, and other misc goo wiped or hugged onto my legs. It was a wonderful afternoon with my girls.

But just before we left for our nice afternoon, we had a little poop crisis. Warning: Stop reading this post now! The rest is just disgusting! I am not responsible for any reaction you might have while reading the rest of this post!

So.. I'm changing Gracie's diaper earlier today.... it was just a wet diaper, no big deal. Then the phone rang, so I let her "air out" while I chatted on the phone for a few minutes.

While she's running around with a nakid butt, Daddy let her and the dog out. He didn't know she was going commando. He's out there tinkering with the grill that isn't working today, Gracie is playing in her dirt spot under the orange tree with "balls" (oranges), and Sandy is taking a crap under the trampoline. Fine, I'm on the phone.

After a bit, here comes Gracie running in. She has dog poop all over her foot! Ewwww! She stepped in it!!! And she has a muddy hand. Mud? Where would she find mud to play in? Ewww, that's poop too!!! GROSS!!! Then I realize... I never finished diapering her. oh no, please no!

Oh Yes! it's HER poop! She pooped in her dirt spot and then picked it up and gave it a good squeeze! Ewww! Yuck, I'll scoop up the yard later she needs a bath now! I yelled at the dog cuz the dog was sniffing her poo. Ok, that's just gross.

I hauled her upstairs for a bath. She had poop on her legs and her foot and hand were totally disgusting! After a nice bath with lots of soap and water and scrubbing, I have a clean girl again! Lets get that diaper on, shall we?

Clean diaper, clean clothes, yippee! Now I just need to go clean up the yard. It's time anyway, I haven't scooped up dog turds for a couple of days. Bad, I know. So, I went out to scoop, and Whaaah? Where are Gracie's turds? They're gone!

I ask the grill master... did you go out and scoop up her turds? Thinking, he should have scooped up the dog schite too! Why would he only clean up her poop and not the dog poop? Men are weird. He says "No, I didn't". Me: "What? Please tell me you did, cuz they're gone! Gracie's poop is missing!" Keith: "Oh, No! Oh, Gross! That stupid dog!"

The dog ate Gracie's poop!!!!

While I'm carrying out the sack of dog crap that I picked up... since the dog doesn't eat her own schite, just Gracie's. You should know that we have the zero lot lines which is how I met Lexie's scary friend. I have to come in the house with my sack of dog turds and go out the front door to take it out. So, I open the front door and some ugly teenage kid is standing right there with his hand up to knock!

I screamed!
I jumped!
I yellled!! Oh My God!!!

The poor kid was here to see Lexie, and I screamed in his face. I didn't know he was there and he really startled me! My ever so easily amused husband starts laughing so hard he just might pee his pants and the kid looks frightened, very frightened. I said to him... "You scared Me!"

So then I yelled to Lexie, since I'd already made a fool of myself, "your scary friend is here!" The whole time, I'm holding a bag of poop.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Her First Taste of Tuna

Awww... another memorable first!

I am on a diet, which means Princess Babycakes is on a diet too. She eats what everyone else eats (the famous See-Food diet), and so it goes. Today's lunch menu item: Tuna.

At 17 mths old, she is about to embark on a new journey of the tastebuds!

I made my unsalted light tuna on cucumber slices lunch for myself and put half the can in a plastic dish for her. Gave her half of my rice cake too. And I gave her a handful of grapes. She wanted "BALL", so grapes it is. And my cherry tomatoes. Fine, they look like balls, she gets those too. Yummy!

As always, she grabs her spoon and digs into her food with her other hand. The first fistful always is thrown over the side of the high chair tray to the dog. Gotta make sure the fat dog doesn't starve to death. Second fistful in the mouth. Ewwww! What a face!!! Blech! She tries again. Same taste! A couple of pieces thrown to the dog and then - Wham! It all goes overboard. The dog is now covered in tuna. As is the wall and the floor. Looks like a tuna exploded in here!

On to the rice cake. She licks. She tosses. It crumbles on impact.

Back to real life. I got her out of the tuna bomb area and let her run free. Here, honey, have a chocolate chip cookie and a cup of juice.

I have a wall, floor, high chair, and dog to scrub. More later!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Family Road Trip!

We are back from our family road trip!

Imagine this... a long roadtrip with your husband, two teenage girls with guitars, a golden retriever who is shedding like crazy, and an active toddler. Got all that? Ok, now add luggage, one more guitar for the hubby, a stroller, toys, food, dog supplies, movies, books, blankets and of course - a big cooler of ice and drinks. Got all that in your mental picture? Ok, now on the way home, add some wall hangings, an endtable, sewing machine, rocks, dishes and little boxes of jewelry and trinkets. Got it now? Oh, wait, add a cardboard box to the load - for some reason it was important to bring home an old cardboard box. Does your mental image of us have it all now cuz - That's us on vacation!!!

It was a LONG trip. Thank the Lord for the dvd player and the movie "Cars". I know the movie dialogue by heart now for the entire movie. Add that to my list of Mom-Talents. I am pretty sure the whole family, including the dog, has it memorized too.

We drove there in two segments. First run was just over 1000 miles and took us 17 hours. Second segment of the trip was 630 miles and took us 10 hours. Then home, 1650 miles and 30 hours.

I gotta say, I have a pretty good traveling toddler! And her carseat must be super comfy because it wasn't too hard to keep her happy. It wasn't always easy though. I did see a vehicle traveling down the highway in the lane next to us, going 80, baby in the front seat on Mom's lap. That just made us all sick to see that.

Here are the highlights:
Our first day we drove to north-central Wyoming to see my Grandma and my Mom. We left at 8:45pm on Sunday night and arrived at 3:00pm on Monday. Along the way, we pulled over on the side of the road in Arizona so I could nurse Gracie. I think it was 2 or 3am. The girls and the dog got out to stretch. When we were ready to go again, we all piled in, buckled up and put the van in drive.... OOOPS! Where's the dog? Oh Lordy, we almost forgot our dog in the Virgin Gorge in Arizona. Yikes! In the afternoon before we got to Grandma's house, we stopped in Shoshone for a milkshake. If you are ever passing through Wyoming you just have to take the road that passes through Shoshone and stop for a milkshake! Awesome!

While in Wyoming, we stayed at the Vision Quest Motel. These fine accommodations included two full size beds . Did I mention that there are 4 adult sized people in our family and one toddler who flops around at night? And a big lovable dog? Did I mention that? Sleep was fleeting.

The highlight of our Wyoming visit for the girls was their "playdate" that Grandma set up for them. They were a little worried about this "playdate" wondering what they were in for. They figured it'd be boring or involved horseback riding or something equally awful. Turns out, a couple of teenage girls came for the "playdate" and said "wanna go swimming?". The girls said "sure!" They soon learned that "swimming" meant going 35 miles up the road to the dam and jumping off a cliff into the reservoir. Lexie said "It felt weird cuz after you jump you fall for such a long time". Ok, there are just some things a mother does NOT need to know! That little tidbit is one of them.

On Wednesday, we loaded up and left for the far side of South Dakota. I think there are 2 towns between my Gma's house and my inlaws. Very boring drive. Around 7pm we heard the radio news about the 35W bridge in Minneapolis. The bridge collapsed. Immediately, I called my sister and she is fine she wasn’t on the bridge and neither were any of her in-laws. Whew!

We got to the in-laws late in the evening and the place soon filled up with Aunts, Uncles and cousins. Gracie was a little overwhelmed, but the girls and the dog were super excited to see everyone! I was super excited knowing I would sleep on a double bed in a quiet dark basement! Whooo Hoooo! I'm gonna get more than 4 hours of sleep tonight! I really miss having a quiet dark basement. Such a wonderful place to sleep and sleep and sleep! Ah!

On Friday, I took one teen and one toddler to the new waterpark in town. For those of you familiar with the town, it's at the Southside swimming pool site. Very cool aquatic park! One of my kids enjoyed it very much! My little one did not enjoy the water. She looked very cute in her swim suit though and isn't that what is important to a girl at the pool? She did enjoy running around on the sidewalk and her cousins took her to the sandbox area.

Saturday we
went to Aunt Gert’s estate give away. This is how we ended up bringing home a sewing machine, dishes, some framed art and an end table. We learned that Aunt Gertrude donated her body to science and is currently attending medical school in Vermillion. She'll be there for 2 years. She passed away a month ago. Her and I share a birthday which gave us a sort of a bond. Also, my daughters all looked just like her baby picture. But, she was 14 pounds when she was born! Thankfully, my girls were all between 7 and 8 pounds. Her baby picture looks amazingly like my girls as babies and she just loved that. She gave me her one and only baby picture last summer.

Sunday, we left all the girls with their cousins and my husband and I got away together for the afternoon. Only one of his brothers tagged along, so it was as alone as we were ever going to get on this trip. We went to the Terry Redlin Art Center. So nice! The paintings are so beautiful and a wonderful peaceful feeling overtakes you as you get sucked into the artwork. I could have stayed there for a few more hours. We bought a small framed print. Then we went out for some mediocre Mexican food with very bad wait service. Made me laugh, South Dakota is just not known for good restaurants. Oh to be back home again!

We packed up and left Monday evening at 8pm Central Time and got home 30 hours later at midnight our time. This was a 1650 mile drive from there to here, but we did it in one shot to get it done.

We've been home for a whole day now so I guess I should unpack and clean up the vacation mess. My new mini-van did really well! It is so full of dog hair now though. We put 3831 miles on it and drove for 69 hours from our house back to our house again. I'd say it's maiden voyage was a wonderful success! We'll do it again in 11 months!

Here are some more vacation pictures, there is a nice collection in the photo gallery of our family web site if you want to see them all: