Monday, December 28, 2009

I need to Specify!

I haven't seen my yellow rose bush bloom in a long long long time. Got two pretty blossoms on it this week! What a nice Christmas present!

Today, my 3 yr old asked me if she could pick the flowers. Our conversation went like this:

Gracie: Can I pick da flowers?
Me: No
Gracie: OK


Me: AAAAA! You picked my roses!
Gracie: You said No, I juss picked the peddals.
Me: Ah, yes, yes you did.

She just picked the petals. Not the flowers. One of these days, I shall learn.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry GREEN Christmas!

Santa gave Gracie a Princess Tiana doll in a GREEN dress. She loves it! Whew!

She also got some other things: Prince Naveen, Louis the saxaphone playing alligator, chocolate and bubble wrap. It was a great GREEN Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you too!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Green or Blue? or, Green?

I am suffering from a bad case of doll dress stress.

Gracie asked Santa for a Tiana doll. Santa said "Ho Ho Ho", which of course means yes to a three year old material girl.

Tiana is the new Disney Princess from the movie Princess and the Frog. We have not yet seen the movie, just the trailers. We did catch the Disneyland Riverboat Show which was fantastic!

In the movie previews, and at Disneyland, Princess Tiana is wearing a green dress. A nice froggy shade of green. Prince Naveen is also wearing green, a darker shade of froggy green, but still green. There is a big poster at the Disney store and Tiana is wearing green. The girl wears green!

I was helping Santa with his quest to find a Princess Tiana doll for Gracie, so I ran to Super-Target and hit the Barbie aisle. There among the other Disney Princess Barbie dolls was the "Just One Kiss Princess Tiana" doll. This is the one that we've seen on the TV commercials. I think. Sure looks like it. On TV, the doll holds a frog and her dress lights up. I didn't notice on the commercials, but the doll in the package has on a blue dress. That can't be right. The girl is always wearing froggy green!
I walked around Target with Tiana in a blue dress trying to decide if I should put her back and keep looking or what to do. Christmas is closing in on us fast and Santa needs me to get a Tiana doll. I can't come up with a doll in the wrong dress. Arg, fine, I put her back. Back on the hunt for the right Tiana doll.

Got home and told my husband the doll dress dilemma. This all went right over his head and his expression just proved that men don't understand how important it is to have a doll dressed in just the right shade of whatever her Princess color is. He decided I am colorblind and cannot tell the difference between green and blue. That was helpful!

Off to the mall. I went to the Disney Store. No way I can go wrong in there! Santa will be proud of me! Sure enough, they had a huge display of Princess and the Frog characters. Oh gosh, there is Tiana in a green dress, a blue dress or a white dress with green ribbons. And another Tiana dressed in green but comes with 4 other dresses. Little plastic figurine Tiana dolls in green and blue. Hmmm, maybe she has more than one dress? I picked up a green dress Tiana doll that does not light up, a Prince Naveen doll and a Louis the alligator stuffed animal.

Still, I'm worried. The Princess Tiana doll that is currently hiding in my garage does not light up. She's not the one from the TV commercial. She is very pretty and matches the movie and merchandise ads. But maybe I should have gotten the blue one from the doll commercial? Or stick with the green one? Should I run out and get the blue one? Or keep the green one? If I get blue, will Gracie say, "Hey, Tiana wears a green dress!" but if I keep the green one will Gracie say, "I wanted the one that lights up!". Oh, why oh why doesn't the green dress light up?!?!!

I can't believe I am this worried over what a Barbie Doll is wearing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Magical Day

I took the runts to Disneyland again. It was another magical day in the Happiest Place on Earth!

After my last Pongo Parking lot experience, I decided to leave earlier and have a chance to get into the Mickey and Friends parking structure to start our day off right! We arrived at Disneyland at 10:25am and the parking structure was closed already. Rats! I quickly prayed to park in a better alternate lot than the Pongo lot and did lots of wishing that we could park soon. Last time it took over an hour to get from the closed Mickey and Friends lot to the Pongo lot. Not fun. I followed the signs and was routed to the Anaheim GardenWalk parking structure. It was nice and close and the parking structure was nice too! We were parked within ten minutes of reaching Disneyland, so my quick prayers that I said at the red light worked! Yay! We boarded a red trolly type bus and rode to Disneyland.

Boarding the shuttle trolley was a challenge with two little ones and a double stroller and a diaper bag, picnic bag, jackets and purse. First I have to unload and fold up the stroller so the Disneyland people can watch me load it into the shuttle, amazingly, this guy picked it up and loaded it for me. He must be new. I like him! While I'm doing that, the other people board the bus. Ok, what is it with people? Why do the first people in line sit in the front seats? Then everyone has to squeeze past the filled seats to get to the empty seats in the back! After loading my hummer of a stroller under the bus, I grab my kids and bags and get on only to find (happens every time) that the bus is full and the only empty spot is the last seat way in the back. To all of the nice people who don't have enough sense to take a back seat when they are first to get on, I apologize for boofing you in the head with my bag as I walked by. I got almost everyone!

We didn't have to buy any tickets today since I got Gracie her annual pass on our last trip, so we were able to just go through security and then go through the front gate. We were in by 11am! Wow! We were off to a great start!

My mission for the day was trifold: 1. Visit Santa 2. Catch the Princess Tiana Riverboat Show and 3. Ride through the Christmas Small World. Today was such a beautiful sunny day and the last day for SoCal Select Annual Passholders to visit until January, so I knew it would be crowded - very very crowded. The crowd actually wasn't too bad, seems like the crowd was mostly adults and teenagers, not so many little ones. That's fine though because they prefer the rides and attractions that we don't go to. For example: the haunted mansion had a line a mile long!

Over the course of the day we managed to accomplish all of our visit goals and then some.

Visiting Santa was great! The little girls first saw Mrs. Claus. They both really liked her! She was great! Then we waited in line to see Mr. Santa Claus. He was great too! Libby didn't have the same opinion, so Gracie got to visit him without any competition for attention. Then we saw Pluto who was wearing Reindeer antlers. So cute! Libby woofed at him and he blew Gracie some puppy kisses. We also got to see all of Santa's reindeer. They were loitering in the hay, just taking it easy while Mr. and Mrs. Claus were at Disneyland.

We walked over to the Riverfront to see Princess Tiana. Not sure how this riverboat show will go, I wanted to get a great viewing spot so that the short ones could see. I took a spot on the edge of the crowd right next to the water. Turns out, it was a poor spot because the boat moved in front of us and then stopped, we could only see the back of the boat and cough in the fumes. I quickly ran the kids to a better spot even though we weren't right up against the fence, we could see just fine. The girls were mesmerized! At the end of the show, they shot confetti into the crowd; Libby caught quite a bit of it! For the remainder of the day, I picked confetti out of the stroller wheels.

Not even 2 o'clock and I've almost got my mission completed for the day. We have plenty of time to do lots of extras! We went to the Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, rode the Winnie the Pooh ride, caught the last half of the Tiana show again, watched the Christmas parade, and... oh let me stop here and tell you about the prelude to the parade.

Libby is 14 mths old, not exactly the age of patience. She walks fast and in any direction except where I want her to go. That's why I put her on a leash, so that when she does get out of the stroller to walk a bit, she won't get lost. This wasn't her idea of fun at all.

We arrived to the parade viewing area ten minutes before start time and there was a spot open right along the curb! How that happened, I do not know! Magic! So, I parked the stroller and we went to sit and wait for the parade. Most people claim their spots and sit for an hour at least for the parade. Libby decided one minute was long enough, two was too many and she wasn't going to sit still for TEN! She pitched a sreaming crying kicking fit that made all the people around me groan in agony. Two different people offered me food for her. I gave her a cracker but she just used it as a weapon. The screaming was loud and I thought she was going to clear the whole area of people. We might get to watch the parade all by ourselves! That didn't happen, but I imagine some people, or hundreds of people, were wishing I'd take little Miss Screamer and leave. As soon as the parade started, she flipped a switch and instantly sat up and waved saying 'Hi" in her sweet little voice. She was so happy! Waving her little hand off and dancing to the music, smiling and being cute! The parade was great! And Libby was too! Gracie was very well behaved and she waved her little hand like mad too. So cute!

We managed to see quite a few characters this trip. In addition to Santa and Tiana, we saw Woody and Sally from Toy Story, Pooh and Tigger, and... well, it seemed like more. They were all in the parade, maybe that's why it seems like we saw them all. We didn't go see the princesses this trip. First time!

Another first, Gracie rode a horse on the carousel! She was brave enough to get on it while it was stopped, but as soon as the ride started, she changed her mind. You can't get off in mid-ride though so she had to tough it out. When the horse was on its way down, she was all smiles and having fun, but when the horse started to climb up, she wanted off. My little bench rider is growing up!

The days are so short now, I knew it would be dark soon so we headed on over to the Small World. Wow, that was crowded! We might only ride it one time. First I had to find parking for the stroller. Found a sea of strollers and right in the middle them were two signs that said "Please No Stroller Parking". I found a lot of humor in the irony of the sight, so I snapped a quick photo of one of the signs, couldn't even see the other one as it was on the other side of the stroller sea. I kept moving and parked where strollers are supposed to park, you know, a long long long way from the Small World attraction.

The line for The Small World was super long. It wound around and around and across the path around over that'a way and back, we must have walked five miles before loading in the boat. I was glad that the line was always walking though, that's so much better than standing still. As expected, the ride through the Christmas Small World was amazing! Well worth the wait and the long walk! We only rode once, the line was way too long to do it twice. But I ran the video camera all the way through the ride. Hopefully I have some video worthy of watching. Knowing Gracie, we'll watch it a million times.

After the ride, the attraction wasn't lit up yet. It was getting dark and we did everything we set out to do, and I was wiped out. So, I headed for the front gate. Now that it was 5pm, the crowd was thick as pea soup! This is when all the annual pass-holders fill the park! Right after work! It was way too crowded, I could barely push the stroller through the crowd. Ugh! And now I could see that behind me, they lit up the Small World. I had a little argument with myself about turning around and going back to see it lit or continuing on toward the gate. The Good mommy won and I twirled around and went back so Gracie could see it all lit up.

I am so glad that I did. We walked toward it and she was so happy and excited! Next thing I know, I' m up against a rope and the crowd it so dense that I couldn't go anywhere at all. Stuck. Turns out the rope was set up because there was a light show and "Snow" on the Small World frontage. Cool! We had a front row spot for viewing! That was Disneyland Magic! The light show and foam soap bubbles snow were awesome! I'm very happy that I went back! What a wonderful way to end the day!

But, I was stuck in that crowd. It was nearly impossible to pass through and it took me 45 minutes to get from the Small World to the front gate. People were everywhere! Shoulder to shoulder! And on Main Street, they were lined up for the 6:30 pm parade. Fireworks were scheduled for 9:30 and I wasn't sticking around that long, crowd or no crowd. By the time I got to the end of Main Street both kids were asleep in the stroller, so I knew it was really time to end our fun and head out. I wasn't the only tired girl.

We boarded the bus to the Gardenwalk Parking structure, this time we had a seasoned bus driver - he watched me juggle two sleepy kids, bags and load the stroller myself, then he asked if he could help. Ay, ay, ay... I can only shake my head and wonder what ever happened to the morning gentleman driver. Wonder why they don't hire more like him.

We got to the van and loaded up, Gracie finally decided she would go potty in her van potty chair. Ugh. Why won't she go potty till we get to the van? I can't figure out how to force her to go potty during the day. I sit her on the toilet and she doesn't go, we get to the van and she finally goes for the first time since we left the house. I'm baffled. I couldn't just dump it on the ground because we were in a nicely lit parking structure with security guards driving golf carts around, so I stuck one of Libby's diapers in the potty chair and put the whole thing in a plastic sack for the ride home.

We left the parking structure at 7pm, Crazy, we left the Small World at 6:00pm. Got home shortly after 9pm. The 91 freeway was a jam packed slow going river of cars. Luckily, I went East on the 91 rather than West like I did last time. I had a hard time finding the East exit off the 5 North. All kinds of signs pointing you West, no wonder I took the wrong exit last time! The East 91 exit had one little sign and it was behind something. I nearly missed it!

Another magical day at Disneyland is done. The kids are making wonderful memories and once again, the hassle, the lines, juggling two little kids in the crowds, diapering and nursing in public, its all worth the hard work and the hours on my feet.... the smiles and amazed looks in their eyes, it's magical!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pumpkin Bread for everyone!

My house smells SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooo Good! Today I baked 23 mini-loaves of pumpkin bread, and 3 muffins. Some of the little loaves got chocolate chips, I didn't think of adding those till I was half-way through the baking process.

I'm not really a domestic goddess, which is why I feel like I need to celebrate the days when I have a kitchen Goddess moment. And who knows, these pumpkin bread loaves might not be all that great. I'm hoping they are all done in the middle and didn't catch any floating dog hair in the mix.

What is it about dog hair? It just floats around in the air. No matter how much I clean, the dog leaves her hair all over the place. I"ll never get used to it.

As long as we are off on a tangent, I may as well take this time to inform you that I flunked out of my 9th grade home-ec class. The teacher had no hope that I would ever manage to stir things together and bake them successfully. Eh, what did she know?

The reason I was baking so darn many loaves of pumpkin bread is because my husband wants to give Christmas gifts to a few of his co-workers. They never cease to think of him. He counted on his hand the people he would like to give something to, then he counted on his other hand, then he continued to count off wonderful people. He looked at me and said, "Can you help me put 12 gift bags together?" Knowing how that goes, I figured he will think of at least two more before he's done. It might be nice to give a small gift bag to our neighbors, add two more.

I went to the dollar store and bought gift bags, boxes of candy, photo frames, and some adorable snowman figurines. But the bags are still more empty space than anything else. We decided baking pumpkin bread mini-loaves would finish off the gift bags nicely. And a couple of hot chocolate packets and a mint or two.

Today was the big baking day to complete these gift bags. In my tiny chaotic kitchen with too many little helping hands, I managed to accomplish what sounded impossible. I baked! I didn't wear a dress and pearls; I'm not June Cleaver. It was a comfy jammie day in the kitchen.

Something I just learned.... When it says to whisk the wet ingredients together (eggs, water, oil) that does not mean to use your cool electric whisk that you've never had a chance to try out before. No.... because that is much too whisky fast! And eggs will go flying all over you, the counter, cupboards, and anything in the way. And, when you call your neighbors to borrow more eggs because your very last eggs went flying in all directions, they will come over and laugh at you. None of that is on the box! All I'm saying is... I highly recommend using a hand whisk.

I'm out of eggs now. I had a package of 18, and two were breakfast. At least 3 or 4 coated my kitchen after the electric whisk incident, and two had huge cracks in them when I opened the carton so they went straight to the trash.

Despite the challenges, I managed to bake up a bunch of yummy pumpkin bread! Some of the loaves have chocolate chips in the middle. I thought of adding them about half-way through the baking day. It's anyone's guess as to which loaves have chocolate chip goodness inside. I've since mixed them up and forgot.

I wrapped them all in plastic wrap after they cooled and they are now ready for the gift bags! The plastic wrap was another trying experience because Libby was loudly insisting on being held, so I wrapped them one handed. A couple of them have a little baby finger poke. Gives them character! My gigantic roll of saran wrap doesn't have a cutting edge. The package says it is hassle-free with this new plastic zipper thing. That thing fell off and never worked from the start. I use a knife to slice off the plastic along the edge of the cardboard box, avoiding little helping hands that try to get in my way.

What a day! I do not envy anyone who bakes for a living! Especially if they have a couple of little overzealous helpers!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Grandma Came and Went - Next!

Oh, gosh, we had fun! Grandma wore me out! The weather put a damper on some of our fun, couldn't go to Disneyland in the pouring rain, but otherwise we got out and about a lot and stayed busy while my mom was here.

The main purpose of her visit was to attend a wedding in San Diego. That was a very nice wedding! We had a great time, even took the kids along. We also did a ton of shopping, ate out as much as we could, and took the little girls to a movie. Lots of fun and interesting experiences!

Ever since she left, Gracie has been asking for her to come back. Or, when can we go to Grandma's house? And she wants to see Great Grandma too! We're going at the end of July, so let's hope Gracie can hold out that long. Only 7 months away!

Next up... Uncle Eddy. My little baby bro, who is almost 31. He's coming for a visit and hopefully will stay through Christmas. I don't think Uncle Ed is the Disneyland type, but he might enjoy walking the paths at the zoo. The zoo is a good outing and I have a pass plus a free pass for a guest, it'll be a cheap outing! Gotta love that!

This place is a very busy house! People coming and going like there is a holiday coming up or something! I love it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Here Comes Grandma!

Happy December!

I promised in November I would blog more, and I did. Whew! Now you don't have to come looking for me and force me to sit down and type out a blog post! I was afraid that would happen.

My sister did the novel writing thing and she "won". Meaning she wrote the required number of words and submitted them to the novel writing challenge site, she earned a little graphic saying she's a winner. Hopefully, her book will really be something and she can get it published. Now that would be very cool! She wrote a travel book about a place she visited in Mexico, so she really might have something there.

We're in full on Christmas prep around here. I brought the Christmas tree and decor tubs into the house out from the garage. Gracie wants everything she sees on TV and then some. She was so upset when I told her that Christmas is for everyone, not just her. Oh, the tears! She thought it was all for her. She's getting used to the idea now. Good that she's moving on. I ordered photo cards and got the tree half-way put together. I found the stockings too! I was thinking I need to make the family new stockings since the family has changed so much these past few years, but I've realized I only need to change the names on the stockings from Katie and Lexie to Gracie and Libby. We went from 2 kids to 4 to 5 and back down to 2. Ta-Da!

We got an advent calendar to help count down the days. I look at it and think, "OMG it's coming so soon!" She looks at it and says, "there are too many numbers on the calendar, can we turn more than one today?"

We are doing something very nontraditional this year. My mother is coming to visit! Yay! Grandma is coming! Normally, we don't travel in the winter. We're a midwestern family who understands that snow, bitter cold, and wind are not good travel companions. My mom is flying through Denver, we're all hoping that her stop there goes well. We're going to a wedding and will surround that event with shopping, having our Thanksgiving, decorating the tree, and listening to Gracie say "I want that!" to every tv commercial. It'll be fun! I'm hoping to sneak in a trip to Disneyland with Grandma, but we'll see what Grandma thinks about that.

Speaking of Grandma coming... she arrives this afternoon and my house is a total disaster. I should get busy cleaning. I dumped out my purses, diaper bag, every toy box, the kitchen cupboards, the magazine rack, and a few other junk containers looking for my lost cell phone. The battery was dead so calling it wasn't helping. After a full week of it being lost, my husband found it in the back yard last night. Wet. It rained a couple of times. Yikes! So now my house is a disaster (except behind and under all the furniture where I cleaned since I was doing the big search). It charged up and it works! Anyway, I should refill the toy boxes and repack my diaper bag, get some decluttering done before Grandma shows up and wonders if I've gone bonkers.

Happy December!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

No Turkey or Stuffing - A Day At Disney Instead!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! We are not having the big traditional dinner today, we are holding off until later because my husband does all the holiday cooking and he is out hunting today. I'm not going to knock myself out cooking a feast for just me and the little girls, and they don't know the difference. Gotta get away with sliding by while I can! Won't be long and they'll catch me breaking the rules like this!

Can't let the holiday go without some fun though. So I took the girls to Disneyland on Tuesday. We had a blast! The looks on their faces when we are there is so precious, it is worth all the money and all the hassle. It's just pure happiness!

That kind of happiness is more expensive, again. I noticed the parking and the entrance prices all went up. Funny, I noticed that last month too. I went ahead and got Gracie an annual pass so that I don't end up in Mickey Mouse jail for sneaking her in as a child under the age of 3. She doesn't look under 3, and I'm not going to risk it.

Parking was a nightmare! The Mickey and Friends parking structure was closed so once you got there you were rerouted all around Anaheim in circles until you got to the Pongo Parking Lot, which didn't look like it was anywhere near Disneyland. And since it took over an hour to get from the parking structure to this temporary parking lot, I assumed we were nearly home again. Then we boarded a bus to Disneyland which took another 15 mins. The bus was overcrowded and I had to squeeze me and Gracie and Libby all into one seat, plus the diaper bag, my purse and the snack bag. My double stroller was underneath the bus in the storage bin, but they wouldn't let me toss my bags in there too.

Finally we got to the Happiest Place on Earth! Stood in line for the security check, then stood in line for Gracie's ticket, then stood in line to show the tickets and get inside the park. Lordy. I was so thankful that Gracie didn't have to go potty! That could have really thrown a wrench into all this patience we were practicing. We did really well with patience, I must say.

I only had a temporary pass for Gracie, had to go get her picture taken and get her plastic card at "The Pavilion" on Main Street. Getting a pass isn't as easy as it sounds. I didn't see this place and was sick of standing in line for no big thrill, so decided to come back to Main Street and do it later.

My camera was flashing low battery in red. Which usually means I have 2 or 3 pictures left and that's all that I'm gonna get. Darn it. I managed to get quite a few pictures and we got the Photo Pass card.

We made our way down Main Street slowly. It was so crowded it was unbelievable! Today was going to be a day to be very very patient. Very patient. It was 2pm and people were claiming their spaces on the curb for the parade at 3:30. Yikes. Here we are on Main Street, look at the stroller in the background on the left. There are two kids in it! One is getting squished.

Got to the castle and we went up inside to see the story of Sleeping Beauty. This is always our first attraction. Gracie loves most of it. We don't look in the windows that have scary parts of the story. At the end, the princess is dancing with the prince and her dress turns from pink to blue over and over again. We never leave until it is pink. Then we boarded King Arthur's carousel. Libby rode a horse and Gracie ran straight for her favorite spot: the bench.

We moseyed along and found ourselves a great spot for the parade that was to start in 20 minutes. Great spot right on the curb and great timing! We sat next to a family with several kids who had bubbles and bubble guns, so they entertained Gracie and Libby as well as a few other children who were all right there. Note to self: bring bubbles next time. Great idea!

The parade was amazing! We saw several characters, the dancers were better than great, all of the Princes and Princesses were in it and it ended with Santa. Couldn't have been better! Libby really wanted to get out there and join in with the dancers, but I held her back. Gracie would like to be a roller skating snowflake when she grows up, but she needs to practice. I think she will be a very pretty snowflake someday.

Next stop, another long line of course! This time we were waiting to see the Princesses. This is a terrible line to stand in because you cannot use your stroller, there is nothing to lean on, and it takes an hour at least. Again, I had to nurse Libby standing up in line. Gosh, I'm good! There are three princesses to see, and you never know who you will get to visit with, it's a triple surprise! And well worth the wait. Each princess spends a little time with each kid and they get a little visit, a hug and maybe even a twirl around. You can look down the line and see total amazement and awe in little faces as they visit the princesses! So cute! Libby didn't want anything to do with any of them, she still thinks her mom is the best! Awww, thanks Libby! We saw Mulan, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

We then made our way toward Toon Town. I was only going to concentrate on touring this one section of the park today, since I have never gone to this part of it before. Oh gosh, it was so crowded you could barely get around. Gracie recognized Minnie Mouse's house and wanted to go in, so we parked the stroller and got in line. Only one family got in line behind us and then the line closed down. Minnie would be making an appearance on Main Street and so they closed down the line to visit her. Another family showed up to get in line and they had a little girl about 2 or 3 years old dressed like Minnie Mouse and the guard didn't let them in line. I just about cried when I saw that little girl's disappointed face! I sure hope she got to see Minnie Mouse sometime during the day.

Minnie was cute! I handed my dying camera to the Disney worker to take a photo and hoped it would fire off a shot. It did. Just one. And it's blurry. Her house was adorable! Just a few rooms. Gracie and Libby had fun making the dishwasher go. Next door was Mickey's house and no line, I think you just go from one to the next, so we already stood in line and were just following. I had no idea Mickey's house was a mile long maze with no escape. We were in there for an hour at least, nudging our way forward. I ended up having to nurse Libby while standing in line inching forward and keeping Gracie near me with my foot. I didn't kick her, I just used my foot to reach to her and get her attention. Yes, that's me, the mom who is in line at Disneyland, standing on one leg while breastfeeding a toddler. I think I'll write that on my next resume.

We finally got to see Mickey Mouse! He was great! Libby wanted nothing to do with him, but Gracie gave him some love. The Disney photographer took some photos. These photos never did make it to the Disney Photo Pass web page, so I haven't seen them. Hopefully they will show up soon. Usually only takes an hour and your photos are there. The princess photos showed up a few at a time over the past couple of days. I'll check again tomorrow for Mickey photos.

By the time we got out of there it was dark! We left Toon Town for Small World. It was lit up with a billion lights! We parked the stroller and got in line for the Small World boat ride. The line was encroaching on the entrance to Toon Town. Wow! This line moves though because they are constantly loading and unloading boatloads of people, so at least you don't just stand there. Once again, I found myself battling a wiggle monster in my tired arms, and ended up nursing in line again. This time she fell asleep.

Gracie could have stared at the Christmas lights all night, they were beautiful and this was her first sighting of any lights this holiday season. We rode the boat through and Libby missed it all because she was fast asleep. It was great! The entire ride was decorated for Christmas, so many pretty details! The puppets sang bits of Christmas songs intermixed with the Small World song. It was so sweet to see Gracie's big eyes trying to absorb it all. At the end of the ride, she asked to go again, so we got back in line. This time the line was a lot shorter, it ended at the gate where you are supposed to enter to line up. And as we walked along the line, the parade went past. This time it was all lit up and since we were in line, we were on an elevated platform! Score! Gracie got to yell and wave to Santa again! Of course he winked at her and waved back. Libby slept through this and the second ride. We called Katie from inside the ride and left her a message, Gracie said "Katie! I'm at the Small World!" The music is pretty loud, so I'm sure she got an earful of that too.

Now it was 7:30 and I was worn out. Gracie seemed to have forgotten about the fireworks, so I was going to let her. They start at 9:30 and then its mass exodus from the parking lots. I thought sneaking out early might be a great idea, especially considering getting out might not be so easy, getting in was sure difficult! I strolled the kids across the park, down Main Street, and where is this Pavilion? Up and down Main street, and I asked, finally found it. Got there for Gracie's pass and she was sound asleep in the front seat of the stroller. Libby was wide awake, but Gracie was not waking up for anything. I held her head up and they took her picture like that. Her pass looks pretty funny! The lady said "Next time come when she's awake". Sure, great idea.

We went out and headed for the bus pick up area. Had to wait quite a while there. Wasn't too sure how I was going to get on the bus holding a baby, carrying a sleeping kid and fold up my stroller too. Somehow, I managed. I had to wake up Gracie and she was so groggy she wasn't sure what was going on, but I got her on the bus. This time we got 2 seats. yay! Found the Pongo parking lot, and I asked the bus driver how to get to the freeway. She said to Take a left, go a block to Harbor Blvd, take a right and it's a couple of minutes to the freeway, stay in the right lane. Really? It took me just a couple of minutes to get from Pongo to the freeway! Why did it take over an hour to get from Mickey and friends parking structure to Pongo! A Disney mystery.

Anyway, when I got to the van, Gracie finally had to go potty. This is the first time she said she had to go since we left the house! I asked her a bunch of times all day, but no, she won't go on big toilets. Good thing I keep a little potty chair in the van. The girl has a bladder of steel!

I was so glad to get into the van. My arms were ready to fall off! I had to carry Libby a lot because you can't use your stroller in line, and we spent more time standing in lines than we did strolling. Libby is definitely leash-ready! Next time, I'm bring a leash for her so I can put her down a bit here and there. Save us both some frustration. She is 22 pounds of pure wiggle!

I followed the bus driver's instructions to get out of the Pongo Parking lot, and she was right - I was on the 5 North in no time! She said the 5 goes to the 91 in only a couple of minutes, and that's the freeway I needed and sure enough, I found it! I merged and hopped onto the 91 West. Drove and drove, Gracie was wide awake now and Libby was fast asleep. After a while I thought, hmmm, these exits don't have familiar names, I must have a long way to go yet. Then I started to drive right into some fog and I saw a sign that said Long Beach Blvd. Oh no! The Beach! I drove WEST! I needed to go EAST! Oh Lordy!

I pulled off on the next exit, and in a panic I called Keith who was in South Dakota, he pulled up a map and said I could flip around easily there and head back. Then he said, "Wow, you drove a long way in the wrong direction". I made it to the edge of Compton. Went about 12 miles west rather than east. Ugh!

So I got turned around and got home just fine. I really need to learn the difference between East and West! Someday... someday...

We got home at 11pm. We left the house at 11am, making this a 12 hour outing. I was beat! And of course, the girls were wide awake now and ready to play! They'd been strapped down too long and needed to wiggle and be free of constraints. Guess we could have stayed for the fireworks after all. We were up till 1am when I finally declared an end to this long exciting day. It was great, but Disneyland was tougher than I was that day.

Watch out, Disneyland, the parking nightmare, crowds, long lines without use of a stroller, lollipops that shatter on the sidewalk, and trapping me in Mickey's house didn't do me in! I'm coming back for more! And I'm bringing a fully charged camera battery and a toddler leash!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quilt Progress Report

Fifteen 9-patch blocks done. Here they are laid out on my bed. Kind of looks funny - a quilt on a quilt. But, you can get the idea anyway. Next time I'll plan it out better and actually measure correctly. Oh well. This one is turning out good enough and it's much better than that old pile of useless jeans that I once had!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I took Gracie to get her hair cut the other day. As soon as the stylist twirled her around toward the mirror, Gracie lit up like the 4th of July and exclaimed, "I Look GREAT!" And she does!

Here is the haircut and "mini-mani" in photos: Remember if you cannot see a full photo, click on it and you will be able to see the whole thing. Then just use the back button to return here and look at the next one.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Salamander Crossing

Only in California!

They've shut down a section of road to make a safe path for a salamander crossing. Yes. For a salamander to cross the road.

Here is a link
to a news report explaining why the salamanders needed to shut down a road. It's so obvious! They are endangered! Save the Salamanders!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ballerina Booger

The last ballet class was very entertaining. You get what you get with a three-year old! Next Monday we don't have class since it will be Thanksgiving week; I am glad we don't go back for two weeks!

Since there are 20 three and four year old ballerinas and class is only 30 minutes long, all the parents stay. The class is in a gym and there are folding chairs along the wall for the parental audience. There are usually about 30 parents and people who stay and watch, most with cameras. The teacher can then have the parents help a bit if their child needs it. Sometimes a shoe comes untied or someone has to go potty, things like that happen.

Monday, Libby was fussing and crying and wanting to go with all the ballerinas. So the teacher asks me to leave. Is that embarrassing enough? No.

Gracie gets a bloody nose! The teacher announces, "Who is the mom for this ballerina?" I have to deal with that in front of everyone. I grabbed kleenex and baby wipes and my hand sanitizer, and I make sure to get her super clean and germ free cuz they have to hold hands.

This happens three times cuz it just wouldn't quit bleeding. It wasn't bad, just bad enough. And Libby continues to throw fits which causes the teacher to once again say, "Whoever has the unhappy baby, could you step out? Thank you!" Of course, I can't because I have a bloody ballerina to deal with.

And then Gracie sneezed and used her hand to wipe her nose and then yells to the crowd, "MOM! I got a booger!" She has to scan the line of parents because she knows I was jostling Libby on my hip and pacing behind the row of seated quiet parents trying to quiet little sis. Gracie is holding up this HUGE booger blood clot for the world to see. And Libby is still crying.

The teacher is getting so annoyed with my kids but she laughs along with everyone else. She wants me to hover over Gracie and take the baby out. I can't do both! Every time I left with Libby I left Gracie's kleenex and purell for her hands just sitting near her on the table that held the cd player, then the teacher would say "you left all your stuff here". Yes, in case Gracie needs it!

I was never so happy to see ballet class end! That was a very long 30 minute ballet class!

How to get straight As!

It's easy. Go to the college where my husband works. They dish 'em out like candy. I'm so annoyed.

I try not to vent a lot and turn my blog into a stomping ground of things that frustrate me, but seriously, this university "policy" is on my nerves. They don't really have a "policy" its more of a "the way things are" type of thing. Unwritten, non verbalized way of how it works.

And this is how I understand that it works: The University has an excellent graduate program for excellent students who excel in everything they do. Excellent!

Except that excellence is just code for "we give them all As". Key word: Give.

My husband teaches students who already have been through middle school, high school, junior college, university undergrad school; they have Bachelor's degrees, job experience and proved themselves worthy of being admitted to the Master's program. Impressive, eh? Yeah, I thought so too. Until... I saw some of their work. And I saw my husband making squishy faces while reading their papers they turned in to him. And I realized that their written academic presentations were not much better than the essays he brings home from his middle school. These people are in the masters program? How did they get there? Shoot, how did they get out of the 8th grade?

The end of this term, my husband sat with a huge stack of final projects in front of him and he was scowling. He looked over and said to me, "these are all crap!" All but two got an A. I don't get it. I don't know how or why, but it happens that way. It just irritates me so much. I worked so hard for my grades and they weren't As all the time.

Not all students come out of class with an A. Some get an A-. OOooooOOOOooo, poor students! Apparently, A- is cause for academic review or something, and a B is just insultingly bad, and I'm sure the university doesn't want to waste a lot of time with those "bad" students. Just nudge them over the line. I wish I knew how they decide that everyone gets an A and how an A- is cause for review. I know if the teacher gives out too many "bad grades" he gets his ass chewed. Then his boss does.

Now that I know all this, I know where I'm going to get my master's degree. Yes, to the excellent school for excellent students who do nothing but excel in every excellent class. Then they go on to get excellent jobs with excellent salaries because they are so excellently excellent and win the job with that excellent transcript. And if I don't get a masters at this excellent school, I might end up working for one of these jerks who just purchased their degree. So, that's what I'll do. Can't beat 'em, join 'em! Buy a degree! Who has time to earn one?

Boy, I'm gonna catch hell for writing this, but I'm gonna hit publish post anyway.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Hello, Mary's Blog Fans. Mary's husband here. I'm taking over the keys to the blog today. I noticed this new TV show "V" is a remake of an 80s show by the same name. Remember that one? This one seems the same with updates. Here are my thoughts on the new V show and my predictions:

It is all pretty predictable--and that Nazi-like allegory is still there. The son of the main character is signed up to be part of the "Hitler Youth" and I'm sure will eventually sell out his own mother to the "V's"

In fact, Here's how the rest of the series will go:

* The son will develop a romantic (albeit one-sided) relationship with the hot little blonde V as he continues to lie to his mom about being involved.

* As she leads him on, he begins to rise up in the ranks and gains more V trust.

* Eventually, the hot little blonde V will start to show some feelings for him, and reveal the truth of her reptilian heart, OR, she will go all psycho on his arse and reveal how she used him like the tool he is--THEN reveal her reptilian side. Either way, THAT is when this tool will realize Mom was right all along.

* Meanwhile, the younger priest will become more involved in the underground resistance--helping to lead it and gaining intel from the FBI agent. Also-- The priest will at some point end up killing his older Priest mentor--who is actually a V himself.

* The turning point will be when a large portion of the population realizes the true intent of the V's (to turn us into soylent green), and a V revolt erupts. That revolt willl involve the internet and hackers (because using the internet can solve anything) taking over tv stations for a worlwide broadcast of some video evidence that the V's are lying about who and what they are and why they are here. That might be the black guy ripping the human skin off his reptilian arm live on camera.

* By now, the jilted son has switched sides and provides valuable intel about the V embassy so the resistance can blow it up, which they do almost simultaneous to the "Here is the Real V" tv broadcast. Result: chaos and mass anti-V sentiment ending with multiple attacks against V's, (with lots of scenes of 15 year old cars getting blown up) and prompting the V's to use their superior weaponry in defense.

* Season-ending cliff-hanger scene will be of the cute bitch V leader with a nasty pissed off Nancy-Pelosi looking expression (or maybe Hillary) telling the weaselly reporter that if the humans want war, the V's will bring it.

...and there will be no season 2

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chicken Nuts

That's what we just had for dinner. Rice, Sauce and Chicken Nuts.

I told Gracie that we are having Chicken Nuggets and she replied, "Chicken Nuts! I don't like Chicken Nuts!". She ate plenty of them though, so she does like Chicken Nuts!

Actually, I served up some General Tso's Heat and Eat Chicken Nuggets. It comes with some spicy sauce and says right on the box: "Just Add Rice". Coupled with Minute Rice, it's a quick and easy convenient dinner. Not gourmet, but we don't eat it very often. Not that we eat gourmet very often either... I think we should have General Tso's Chicken Nuts more often now that Gracie is a big fan.

Of course, now, I will always think of them as Chicken Nuts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Work in Progress

I cut up piles of jeans! Old jeans that didn't fit anyone, worn out jeans, stained jeans, maternity jeans, baby denim dresses, you name it, I chopped it into squares 6"x6". I couldn't really make the squares bigger because the girls are too skinny to wear jeans that have legs wide enough to cut larger than 6" across. Took me about a month to cut all the denim that we had that was worthy of going into a quilt (meaning it was not worthy to wear!).

Here is a 9-patch block laid out. Dark, light, dark, light, dark, light... and so it goes. Square #7 is where I will lay and "interesting" square in the block. Plenty of those!

So far I have four 9-patch blocks done. I am identifying them by the shade of the center square and as you can see I have one dark and three light. I will alternate the dark, light, dark, light so that the pattern is consistent. But, for today, I just laid out the blocks that I have done to show you, and it happens to be that I have one more light than dark so the pattern is a bit off in this layout. No worries, I won't sew them together like that! I am happy with almost all of my corners!

I have a king size red flannel bedsheet that I will use for the backing, and I will put jeans pockets in the bordering blocks. My husband has been asking me to make a denim jeans quilt for years; it isn't my favorite fabric and I've always thought a jeans quilt would be too bulky, boring and ugly. I'm happy to say, it's a fun project and I look forward to taking this quilt camping!

It's coming along! A big warm denim quilt for the hubby will soon be a reality! And since it will be made out of the family's old jeans, it will have some extra coziness to it!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cluck! Cluck! Cluck! Ribbit!

Here I was worrying about swine when I should have been worrying about fowl! Turns out, Libby's illness this week was not swine flu, it was Chicken Pox.

Libby had her 12 mth vaccinations last month. 15 days later (last Sunday) she developed a fever and began her fever and flu-like symptoms. Friday she was splotchy and polka dotty. Saturday was more of the same. Her irritability increased, separation anxiety heightened and she wasn't happy. Saturday her skin looked a lot better, clingy as velcro with static. Now it's Sunday morning, we shall see how she is today. Hopefully, her skin will be cleared up and back to normal, but it could still take a day or two.

Not to be left out of all the attention, Gracie says she has a frog in her throat. Ribbit!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Bed Saga

*Click on photos to see the whole photo, my blog layout isn't allowing the entire photo to display in the skinny main column. I am trying to find a new template; in the meantime, click the photo then hit the back button to return.

We bought a new bed 4 years ago. We really needed it, our Queen sized bed had body dents and we wanted to get a King size. We had that Queen for ten years.

We kept the Queen and gave it to Katie; she had it in her room upstairs for a couple of years and then moved it downstairs. Now it's in South Carolina. I think it's been moved and shaken around so much, it shook out some of the dents. I'm sure it's forming new ones now. But, it'll do till the kids can buy a new bed of their own.

So, we got a new King bed four years ago. Sept 16, 2005 to be exact. I remember because that is also the same day that we found out Gracie was going to join us. Big Exciting Day!

Turned out that the bed wasn't so great. It was thick with memory foam and I always felt like I was drowning in it. I couldn't roll over so I"d wake up and fight my way out of my memory foam hole to readjust myself. Ick! Then, it started to sink almost immediately and we exchanged it for another one with no memory foam pillow top, but had the same result. At least it didn't suck us down like the pillow top did. After three years, it felt worse than our Queen did. We were both waking up sore and weren't sleeping well. It took us a full year of looking, actually a bit more, but we finally just bought a new King size bed.

Two weeks ago, we plunked down a fortune at Ortho Mattress for a new box spring and mattress. It's supposed to be amazing and hold up perfectly. After the first night on it, we both felt pretty good. Neither one of us thought it was amazing though. We decided to give it some time.

Well, I still don't love it. It's been two weeks. The thing has a hard as a rock raised middle. I think that's because of the box springs coming together in the center, but still. I have to stick to my own side. The mattress people don't realize that "my side" is 3/4 of the bed! I can't have this hard line limiting my space to only 50%.

And it has "Memory Foam" on the top layer over the springs. Springs, I like! Memory Foam, ugh, I do not like that stuff! Especially since it doesn't remember. It's a rubbery foam that doesn't bounce back, it slowly oozes back to shape. But it squishes under your body so that when you roll over, now the bed is lumpy from your previous shape. At least the foam isn't deep. And it's rubbery, which makes me sweaty. Gross. Why can't a person get a bed without memory foam in it these days? The memory foam people are taking over the world! And I seem to be the only one who isn't thrilled about that.

So here we are, in another expensive uncomfortable bed. I tell ya, I'm ready to just put a pad on the floor and camp out!

I also got Libby a new bed. She refused to sleep in her pack-and-play any longer. Every time I would bend over to lay her down, she woke right up. There must have been a magnetic force in there that jolted her awake. And it started to sag under her weight anyway, so it's time for her to get a real bed.

When Gracie reached this age, we gave her the twin bed and moved it into our room putting it up against the wall and using a bed rail for the other side. Our bedroom is crazy big and our King bed plus the Twin bed next to it lengthwise fit just fine. It's an odd room.

So I thought about buying Libby a twin and doing that again, but I also had a crazy idea that maybe a toddler bed would do. This is nuts because I've always thought toddler beds are silly. They look like a toy. But trying to fit two twin beds into Grace's pink room someday might prove to be a challenge, so I considered how a toddler bed in Gracie's bedroom would be a better fit someday. After we move it out of our room. It was food for thought anyway.

I checked prices online. A Toddler bed costs as much as a Twin! Plus you still have to buy a crib mattress for it. Ah-ha! I'll check Craigslist! It's very active in our area. Sure enough, there was a pink princess toddler bed with a mattress for $35. Well, for that much it's worth trying to see if Libby will sleep in it and to see if I like it as opposed to a "real bed".

We picked it up and it's the cutest thing! She sleeps great in it for half the night, then she gets up and comes to bed with us. That's better than she was doing in her little playpen during the last month. She slept all night in her new little bed a few times too, and it is so much easier to lay her down because I don't have to stoop. I'm surprised! I like this cute little bed!

The dog likes it too. If the baby isn't sleeping in the toddler bed, the dog is. She fits very nicely on it too. I guess if it doesn't work out for Libby, then Sandy has a new princess bed just the right size. It seems to be working out just fine for Libby and once she starts to sleep through the night consistently, we can move her little bed to the Pink Room and the girls can share. I'm looking forward to that!

So, that's the saga of the beds as it is now. We have a new King that we are not in love with and Libby has a new Toddler bed that she likes well enough. Gracie got new sheets, we can't leave her out!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Overdose of Cute!

I mentioned the Baby Halloween Party that I took the kids to last Friday, but I didn't tell you about it!

It was fun! There were aprox 40 mommies there and 50 babies. Some moms have two or three babies, so there are always more little ones than big ones. This baby play group is under the guise of being a breastfeeding support group, but really, we're just a bunch of mommies having fun. The group meets at the hospital twice a week and there is a Lactinazi Lactation Consultant (she is also a Doula) who is employed to lead the group and help women with any breastfeeding issues they might have. The moms start off coming for breastfeeding support and end up coming for fun. We chitter-chatter, show off our babies, brag about the latest milestone, plan playdates and outings, trade coupons and recipes, and we had a Halloween Party.

Here are some of the uber-cute babies in their costumes: