Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Half Birthday, Libby!

Libby is six months old!

She's had a busy six months for a brand new little princess. She's been to the beach, the casino (twice!), Disneyland, Seaport Village, the Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, San Juan Capistrano, the pumpkin patch, several parks, playgrounds, restaurants and shopping malls. She celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day and been to quite a few holiday and birthday parties. She's also been attending college since she was 3 weeks old.

She's almost tripled her birth weight, she's up to date on her shots and battled a few colds and bouts of congestion. She's outgrown lots of baby clothes and moved out of her bassinet too. Libby rides in a toddler carseat now just like her big sister. She doesn't have any teeth yet, but her hair is coming in!

Libby was born September 30th after a quick dash through the labor and delivery room, she arrived in a hurry! For six months we have been a family of six and we're thrilled to have Libby as our littlest one! Glad you joined the family, little Libby. Here's to more fun and adventures as you grow and blossom!
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Friday, March 27, 2009

The Girls: Katie & Lexie

The Girls. When I say “the girls” I really only mean Katie & Lexie. I guess I still haven’t completely figured out how many daughters I have. These two were always “the girls” and they always will be.

Lexie is always busy and now there are only 9 weeks left of her senior year. She has to finish her classes, complete her required community service (students are required to do 40 hrs), do her time in Saturday school, and then there is Prom, Sr. Trip, Sr. day at Knotts Berry Farm, Sr. Cruise, Grad Night, etc. And then we have to get her Sr. pictures done, make and mail announcements, finish planning her party, buy her tassel and dresses for all these occasions, etc. Her birthday is coming up too!

She still works at Shakey’s. In fact, she’s the game-room leader. She’s not as enchanted with her job as she was in the beginning. A few of the other employees have jerks and she’s had to handle some sticky situations. One guy, while working, cracks open a can of beer that he had in his apron pocket and is drinking while working – Right in front of Lexie! What’s she supposed to do? She let the management know, hey, doofus over there is drinking a beer… that ended up being quite a mess because there are 50 managers and each and every one of them was eager to show their newly acquired management skills! So, they all wanted to talk to Lexie and get the story first hand. She was sick to death of it before very long. The guy was fired.

Then another night one employee threatened another employee. Right in front of Lexie! Here we go again, and sure enough the entire management team had to talk to her one at a time. She was irritated. She said “I work in the game room! I’m secluded in a little room in the back! Why do they come in there and do stupid crap!” Luckily, she’s not afraid to say what she sees, even to the corporate big cheese. The Big Cheese happens to be our next door neighbor, so she has a familiar face which helps in these crazy situations.

Even so, Lexie is applying at a new pizza place that is opening a lot closer to our house, it’s called “The Big Cheese”. She’d rather drive 3 miles to work instead of 10. Apparently she’s figuring out gas isn’t cheap when you need plenty of it. And with her pizza experience she has a good chance of getting in there she thinks.

She is still loving her car! She is getting better at parking. It’s so nice that I can just send her on errands, or say goodbye to her when she is ready for school, and she can go do her own thing instead of having me haul her around. She's picked up a friend and gone to the beach a couple of times too. I’m loving it! I do worry though, of course. I make her call me a lot, just because I need to know she didn’t get creamed by some red light runner. One day I saw a car just like hers had been in a 3 car accident, that white car was the one squished in the middle. I had to pull over and catch my breath and look at the accident and make sure it wasn’t her. Then I called her. She was fine, but the mom warning bells were going off just because I saw the aftermath of that accident.

We still have to get her some California license plates! I keep putting off spending hours at the DMV. Blech! I’d better go do it next week.

Katie is planning her wedding for June. Less than a week after Lexie’s graduation. She bought her dress and we are venue hunting. We also need to make and mail invitations, book motel rooms, register for gifts, get her packed up to move out, and her list of things to do is endless. In fact, I don’t even know what all we need to do. Good thing she has a little wedding planner booklet that has a list. I know we need to find an officiate.

Her little hubby-to-be is in the Navy and stationed in South Carolina. While she’s wedding planning, he’s doing his Navy thing and lining up housing for them after the wedding. He only gets ten days off to fly across the country, walk down the aisle, fly back. It’ll be a whirlwind wedding for him!

She is still going to college (on occasion) and working as a bridal consultant at David’s Bridal. She’s hoping to get transferred to the store near where she will be living once she is an old married woman.

In her spare time, she listens to me nag at her to clean her room. I gotta do my mom thing while I still can. She’s also spending time with the littles lately. I think she’s realizing that moving away means exactly that, moving away. Leaving the littles will be hard for her.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Continuing with a full update on the six of us… today we have Princess Grace Margaret:

Gracie is potty trained! She was bribed and took the bait, the prizes were good, then they were fair, now they are gone. The diapers are gone too. Except for “Jammie diapers” at night. She really wanted to sleep in her panties one night and I let her. She’s not ready. I did a lot of laundry! We took her to Disneyland for her birthday – super fun! Even though she was excited beyond belief, she didn’t have any potty accidents during the outing. A couple of days before our Disneyland adventure, I had to make an alteration to her carseat cover when she had an accident riding in the carseat. Her carseat cover is washable, if you can get it off. I solved that problem with a pair of scissors. I’ve taken it off before and washed it. This is a complicated process that requires uninstalling the seat, taking screws out, removing the back plastic panel, remove the straps, ta-da! I’ve had enough of that and with potty training; I decided to make a design improvement to the seat cover. Evenflo should thank me.

She got a Dora talking tricycle for her birthday too. With pedals! She doesn’t understand how to ride with pedals though, they are just in the way as she pushes her trike Fred Flintsone style. She really loves her trike, one of these days she’ll push the pedals and take off like a rocket.

She talks and talks and talks! I understand most of it, not all, but I catch a good deal. Daddy and her sisters catch a lot of what she says. But, most people just have to guess half of it. She is saying more and more all the time, and the amount of speech that comes out clear is also gaining. Pretty soon we’ll all be able to understand every word she says. Till then, you have to settle for about half.

She has a great memory even if she can’t always get her point across. Last week she told the neighbors that the spider on their house was gone, and she was glad. It was big and ugly. It was a Halloween decoration! And she always wants to know why the lights are off. What lights? Christmas lights! When we drive at night she gets so disappointed, “Ahhh, lights is off”.

Gracie wants to be a “weena”. Translation: Ballerina. She makes up her own moves and practices lifting one leg, twirling and now she’s added a new move to her dancing. The splits! She puts one leg straight out front, and one leg bent at the knee out front; her toes are pointing back with that leg. Shoot, I can even do the splits like that!

Our little ballerina princess is gearing up to be a flower girl too. Can a girl be more girly? Well, not to worry, there is still lots of time for cars, trucks, and tractors! She’s still a tom-boy at heart!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


It’s time for a full update on the Chaotic Six – us. One at a time though, otherwise this would be a very very very long blog post. Not that there is anything wrong with that…

Let’s start with Princess Elizabeth:

Libby is creeping up on being 6 mths old! Wish pregnancy would go this fast! Holy cow, it has just whipped on by! I haven’t been posting often for a variety of reasons, but mostly because the time is flying faster than I am.

Libby seems to be finally over her bronchitis. She only had it for months! She is 18 pounds and I moved her to a convertible carseat. She is much happier in the car now. Yay! She’s still not a fan of red lights, but neither am I. Gracie has taken 3 or 4 trips halfway across the country and back in her carseat (gosh, how many?), so I decided to get the same one for Libby. It's obviously very comfortable.

She is rolling, but not rolling all over the house, she just does one flip at a time. She scoots backward while on her belly, and twirls too, so she is getting around a wee bit. Gracie has been banned from dragging her across the floor, although she didn’t get rug-burn, her bald spot is growing back in nicely. Her hair is coming in; she’s very fuzzy! Love it! She can sit on her own until she looks up or someone walks by and she follows their movement with her eyes, then she tips over.

She still refuses any pacifiers, bottles (warm, cold, bmilk, water, juice, empty), spoons, baby cereal, baby food, everything. Funny how she clamps her jaw tight and you can’t even get her pinched lips open for a taste. And then, she shoves every toy, shoe, the dog’s paw, fistful of sand, books and blankets in her mouth and explores her world orally. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but I believe I have trouble ahead if this pickiness is any indication.

She is sleeping well. She wakes twice a night now rather than just once. But, she rarely thinks it is playtime when she wakes, she is just hungry and wants to nurse. Last night was of course an exception and she blew raspberries and kicked in her bed for a good long 20 minutes, after I tried for an hour to get her to sleep. After she had her playtime, I rocked her again and she did decide to sleep even though dawn was breaking. Gracie is only waking once during the night now, they swapped. So I’m up three times per night usually, which is just fine. I’m functioning well enough and taking care of them as they need me. Luckily, they rarely both need mommy at the same moment during the night. Again, except for last night when Gracie’s crying woke Libby and Libby’s raspberries kept Gracie awake… I need a nap! zzzzz

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Week Long Weekend

Oh my goodness, we had FUN! What a great weekend! I'm so glad my mom came out here to goof off with me. She didn't object too much to her escape from the remnants of Wyoming Winter. They still have snow and cold temps, so the weekend was extra fun since we had beautiful weather here. In fact, she took home a souvenir sunburn!

It all started on Friday afternoon when Gracie, Libby and I went to the airport to pick up Grandma. Just as we were approaching the airport, we were sitting at a red light and a plane flew very low right over us as it came in for a landing. Gracie said "Grandpa is here!" Grandma was "Grandpa" all weekend. We just couldn't shake that and get it right, but it was close enough and Grandma didn't seem to mind. As soon as Gracie announced Grandma's landing, she also declared that it was time for French Fries.

We picked up Grandma and decided to toodle around the corner and go to Seaport Village. I had never been there, but I'd heard that it was cute and I ought to go sometime. So, we went! It is a cute little place, full of little gift shops and eateries, a couple of fountains, live music, and.... seagulls. Those darn sky rats! One of those big flying pests swooped down and stole Gracie's hamburger! Right in front of her nose! In fact, he hit her head with his wing. Mom and I were so shocked we couldn't react fast enough. Gracie was so mad at that bird; she really gave him a cussing in her own words, but I'm sure he knew she meant business. After we ate, we wandered to stretch and enjoy the scenery, then we rode the carousel and came on home.

Saturday was a full day. More than full, it was overflowing! We got up and had a leisurely start to the day; drank coffee and waited for the fog to lift. It didn't. Mom and I piled in the baby gear and the little girls and off we went. This time we went in a Northwesterly direction over the mountain to San Juan Capistrano. I've wanted to visit the old mission for years and thought it was a lot further away. It only took us a little over an hour to get there, and we drove up and over the fog into a beautiful sunny day. The mission was just as I expected, old and beautiful and full of more history than I could absorb in one visit. Gracie had a great time! Libby soaked it all in with wide eyes. She really seemed to enjoy the day too. We took our time, but still managed to get in a full tour within a few hours.

We had a nice little break at home, caught our breath and regrouped. Then on to the next activity! The Great Family Scatter! Gracie went next door to hang out with the neighbors, Keith and Katie went to San Dimas to the FAWM show where they both performed, Lexie went to work, and Mom, Libby and I dressed up fancy and went to San Diego. Mom and I dropped Libby off with my cousin-in-laws. Then we went to a wedding reception at a nice hotel. Dinner was amazing and then we danced it off! I think Mom and I taught everyone how to do the Chicken Dance, the dance floor was full of wanna-be Chicken Dancers, but we were the rockstars of that one! We didn't know how to do anything else, but hey, it's the Chicken Dance that matters most!

We picked up Libby and left San Diego shortly after 11pm. We started home at a pretty good clip, and then.... the freeway turned into a parking lot. All lanes were stopped. Yes, in the middle of the night, billions of cars were at a stand still. Who are all these people and where are they going? After talking to my husband, we found out that all the lanes were closed about 10 miles ahead for road construction. Keith had us exit, turn around and go around. It may or may not have saved us any time, but driving 70 is much more fun than inching forward. We got home at 2am. We were all dressed up and exhausted!

Sunday was Princess Gracie's 3rd Birthday (one day late, but we didn't tell her that). Gracie was edgy all day long and she cried a lot. Little things set her off. She enjoyed her birthday, but her trigger was easily tripped. She did enjoy her cake and her presents. She didn't want pie. We wanted pie for her birthday, so we got one anyway, but she wanted cake. What kind of cake? Pwincess Birf-day cake. Of course! We like to have pie on her birthday because she was born on Pi day. You know, Pi. 3.14.... March 14th.... get it? We had a nice day with Grandma celebrating Gracie's birthday and just hanging out at home.

Rested up and ready to rock and roll again, we got up Monday morning and headed for the Happiest Place on Earth. Keith was more than happy to call in sick to work and join us. Shhh! Don't tell! The three of us took the little princesses to Disneyland! It was so much fun! I don't think I stopped grinning all day long! We had a great time, but Gracie had the best day of her whole life! That little girl was in awe. Her eyes were as big as the moon, trying to absorb it all. I thought she'd be overwhelmed and we might have some meltdowns, but she only had one because she didn't want to wait in line. She's just like her father. Her favorite part of the day was her visit with the Disney Princesses. Libby loved the Tiki Room and It's a Small World. She was a wide-eyed baby all day long. She was so happy to be there and loved all the sights! She even rode a few of the rides! Both of the girls were sacked out on the way home. Libby fell asleep on the tram to the parking structure and Gracie konked out as soon as we hit the freeway. We got home in record time, the 91 was free and clear and we rocketed home in the mini-van!

No rest for the weary, Tuesday we were out the door by 7:30am. Normally Gracie and Libby go to their sitters on Tuesdays, but today we were changing things up a bit. Gracie stayed home with her big sisters and they took her to the beach as soon as Lexie got done with school at noon. And Libby came with me. First we drove down to San Diego to drop Grandma off at the airport. Libby gave her a special goodbye and made her a stinky squishy present, Grandma didn't want it so I had to change the poop explosion right there in the airport. She needed an entire clothing change. Ewww! Once she was clean again, Grandma got some very nice hugs from Libby! Once Grandma was through the security gate, I hit the road again and went to school. Libby came to college with me and enjoyed another day in the life of academia. She had enough of class and exploded again, so we just snuck out and didn't return to class. Another baby wipe bath was necessary and another entire outfit. We decided to just head to the beach to meet up with the rest of the girls. The beach was nice! Libby was enjoying digging her feet into the sand. Gracie loved the beach! She had so much fun with all of her sisters in the sand and water. She was driving Lexie crazy because she was kicking sand up everywhere, but, it's the beach! I had to cut the afternoon short in order to get the little ones home and turn around and get back to school for my evening class.

Got home at 4:30 which is exactly when I should be hitting the road to get to my evening class. Ugh. Gonna be late. And I still had to change and feed the baby. I sat down to do that and wow, sitting down felt so good! That's when it hit me, the wall of fatigue. I suddenly had no energy, none. So I skipped my evening class and stayed home with everyone. Katie and I discussed wedding venues. Gracie asked me "Where Grandpa go?" about 50 times. Libby napped.

My mom wore me out! We had so much fun! Three trips to San Diego including visits with family, a wedding dinner, Seaport Village, an encounter with a thieving seagull and a ride on the carousel. Two trips northward to San Juan Capistrano and Disneyland. Miles and miles of walking and all of it lots of fun! Our weekend was just shy of a week long, and it was great! Loved having you here, Mom! Come back soon!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Time for Lots of Fun!

Fun! Fun! Fun!!!

For starters, Baby Libby is having lots of fun! Thanks to Jessica at Duck Duck Cow, I won a gift card on her blog's birthday give away and I combined it with another gift card I had and bought this uber-pink exersaucer for her babysitter's baby, and of course for Libby to play in while she's there.

Here are the babies and the saucer:

Remind me to blog about Libby's babysitter someday. She's a great kid and she's turning out to be a great mommy. Libby is doing well in her care, although she is still on hunger strike when I'm away.

More fun! My mom is coming! Tomorrow!!! I'm so glad! I always have such a great time with my mom. And last summer, we barely saw her because she was super busy as the coordinator of the biggest best birthday party ever. She did come out for a week after Libby was born but I was too tired to do much. But this visit, we are going to have a blast!

We are going to a wedding reception in San Diego. It promises to be a fancy party. So we will dress up, have cocktails and dinner and mingle with some awesome people.

We also plan a trip to the old mission at San Juan Capistrano. I've been wanting to go there for a long time and haven't made the time to just go there and see it. My mom has been there before and she said its beautiful. I'm looking forward to it!

We are also planning a trip to Disneyland. The happiest place on Earth! That will be FUN! We want to see the Princesses, Tinkerbell and her sisters in Fairyland, ride the teacups, and sing along in the Tiki Room. We'll also do whatever we can, depending on the crowd and the lines. Hopefully, we'll squeeze in quite a bit because we only have one day.

The one day of her visit that we don't have planned, we'll celebrate Princess Gracie's 3rd Birthday, which is actually on the 14th but we have to bump it around a bit. We're going to have Pie of course, since her birthday is on Pi Day. She can open presents and we'll just have fun playing with her.

Sometime between our fun activities, we will do a little bit of wedding planning. I'm not sure what we'll have time for, but we'd like to see the dress Katie is dreaming of and go visit the venue that she wants.

It's going to be a jam packed fun weekend!

Monday, March 9, 2009

It's Paper-Writing Monday!

So why did my browser find its way to the blog? I don't know how that happens!

I have a couple of papers due tomorrow. Waiting till the last minute and writing under pressure, yup, that's me!

First paper I'm going to knock out is a short 3 page analysis of The Oval Portrait by Poe. There are 4 characters in it, and they are coupled up in these very strange relationships. Poe is pretty twisted. So, I'm comparing those relationships and trying to say how they each have struck a balance - as sick and twisted as they are, they are still balanced. First there is the narrator and his valet, I think they are gay. Gay servant boyfriend - well, hey it works for them. I think the servant part actually bugs me more than the gay part. And then there's the artist and his wife, seriously, I'd rather be a gay servant than this guy's wife! But she seems to think its a good enough life and she goes along with it.

I sound really intolerant. I'm not normally like that, I swear! Gay people don't bother me, except for the eccentric ones. For some reason, they make me feel kinda creepy. You know there are normal gay men and then there are the ones who exude gayness. I don't feel comfortable with that because I think there is more to a person than what you do behind closed doors. Please, close the doors! There's just more to a person than one aspect of life. I think some people need to branch out and add more to their identity. How about, occupation, hobbies, interests... there is an endless list of other identifiable things about a person. Ok, I admit it, I'm not 100% tolerant.

For my next paper, I'm writing about the woman's role in a pagen marriage in Old Norway. Those women were tough old broads. They did everything in the bitter cold while their Viking husbands were sailing off to Iceland in their giant rowboats. And the women were just property, bought and paid for. Do this, do that, woman! Life as an Old Norse wife, again, I think I'd rather be the gay servant in Poe's story.

It's another short paper, 3 or 4 pages is all. The short papers can be harder to write because you have to say something and back it up but you are so limited on space, it's hard to get it all out and keep it so short too. I always get teacher comments with things like "you should develop this further", really? where? on the back?

Anyway, that's the plan for today, write these little papers. Then I can do my homework too. I have to write a couple of paragraphs every Monday for my Theory class. Nothing major, but it takes some thinking to answer the questions and come up with something other than "huh?".

For example, Here is today's question, always in two parts we have to answer both:

1) Analyze the language of the text. To what extent do you see evidence of the Lacanian claim that subjects are SUBJECTED to language, and therefore language is always alienating and never quite allows someone to capture or represent their experiences in the Real via the Symbolic? Look for passages where the character or narrator expresses the difficult of achieving identity through language.

2) Analyze the functioning of the Lacanian concepts of "metonymy" and "metaphor" (i.e, metonymy--unconscious force constantly expanding from one idea to the next to the next to the next; metaphor--unconscious force constantly condensing more than one idea into one, creating a new idea by layering concepts on top of each other) To what extent do you see the operation of these 2 forces in the short story? In other words, where do you see metonymic connections happening? Where do you see metaphoric connections happening? How do those connections impact the meaning of the short story?

Yeah, I'm not intimidated or anything. I do hope I can say something more than "Huh?" or "This is gay!". But so far, that's all I've got!

I better get to it, the kids will be disrupting me since I'm the mom even on homework days. "Mom, will you check out this place for my wedding?"; "Mom, I need lunch money and can you find my French book from last year - the school wants it back now"; "Mommy, I did pee-pee on the floor, sowwy, I spill"; "Mommy! I need a boob!" (ok, that last one was translated). Can't forget, "Mommy, my dog food dish is empty and I need my pink pill wrapped up in cheese today" (another translation, although quite accurate). See, I am pretty tolerant.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Adding one more to the family!

We're going to finally get a boy! A Son-In-Law! Our oldest daughter, Katie is engaged!

Last weekend was Andrew's boot camp graduation in Chicago. Katie flew to Illinois with Andrew's parents and his sister. They met up with Andrew's grandparents who flew up from Tennessee. They all went to the Navy boot camp graduation on Friday, then Saturday the guys wanted some "Man Time" and they went out to breakfast.

Ha! They were sneaking off to the jewelry store! After their "man breakfast" they reunited with the ladies and all went to do some sight seeing. They went to the Sears Tower but the ladies all started to act funny and said they were afraid of heights so they wanted to stay on the lower level and check out the gift shops, Andrew's dad and grandpa weren't interested in going to the top either. Katie and Andrew went up to the top by themselves.

At the top of Sears Tower, Andrew got down on one knee and asked Katie to marry him. Right there in front of a bunch of tourists! He put the ring on her finger and she said "Yes!".

So, that's it! We're getting that son we've never had! We look forward to officially calling him a family member. Here are some pics from Katie's camera from her Chicago weekend. And here is one of the happy couple and a pic of her ring (which is at the jeweler right now being resized, so you get a stock photo)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Toddlers and Teens - Always an interesting mix

To potty train Gracie, we've resorted to bribery. She's getting presents for doing her business!

Today, she comes out of the bathroom with a wrapped tampon.

"Mom, Mom, Mom. Gwacie want it."
"Want what?"
"Tampon. Gwacie want it. Open it"
"No, that's not for you"
"Gwacie did pee-pee. Gwacie want tampon. Gwacie hung-wee!"
"Gracie, tampons are not candy. Let's have lunch"
"No Wunch! Candy! Gwacie want tampon candy!"
"Sorry honey, tampons are not candy."
"Ohhhhhh" (sad droopy face)

Funny how she knows that the thing is called a tampon. That's what living with teenagers will do to a little tot!

I gave her some spaghettios and told her she could play with her "poop trucks" after she eats. "Poop trucks" are her presents she got one at a time for doing the big stuff in the potty! She has a police truck, fire truck, dump truck and a cherry picker. Very cool!

Bribery totally worked. She's been out of diapers for over a week now. She is only wearing "Jammie Diapers" at night (same exact thing as diapers, just added the word "jammie" to emphasize the night time use only).

After lunch, I gave Gracie some candy. I gave her some gummy candies shaped like soda-pop bottles. They are cola flavored. Mmmmmm! Gracie thinks it is beer. "Yummy, Beer!" ::eyeroll:: The candies do look a lot more like Daddy's beer bottles than the teens' cans of Dr. Pepper. The powers of observation are strong. Too strong!