Sunday, August 30, 2009

Connect the dots

I am perplexed. Mystified. Befuddled.

Poor Baby Yibby (as her sister calls her), she has hives. They come and go and come and go and come and go. They started on Thursday, but weren't bad. At first I thought I was seeing some fresh bug bites and I cursed those creepy crawly things for biting my defenseless little one. But the little "bites" went away after a bit, so all was well. Then, more. Hmmmm. Those went away too. More? Whaaaaaaat?

Friday. More, but bigger and lingering longer. I deduce that these are hives and not bug bites. Saturday, more of the same, but much bigger. And More! Sunday, here we sit all polka dotty.

Some of the hives appear as dots, some as long welts. Some small, some large. Some run into each other and merge. Some are all alone.

I'm slathering her with hydrocortisone cream. It's not working, but I'm still giving it a good try. In the last three days, she's gone through nearly an entire tube. I think I can get one more squeeze out of it! I hate to resort to Benedryl, that stuff is evil in a bottle. When I take Benedryl, I feel loopy, foggy, exhausted. I sleep and wake up still spacey and tired. Since she isn't miserable enough to justify a Benedryl induced coma, I'm not going to give her the stuff.

I am trying to connect the dots. Hmm, what could be the source of this allergy? What is different? Hmmmm. I am coming up with nothing. What's a confused mama to do? Oh, I know! I'll look it up online!

This is what I find, over and over again: Hives may be caused by allergies, viral infections, stress or unknown factors. Treatment: Avoid the allergen causing the hives.

Really? Sigh.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Disneyland was Super Hot!


I took the little girls to Disneyland yesterday, we got there at noon and it was 102* when we got there. I'm sure that wasn't the high; I don't even want to know what the high was. Despite the heat, we had a good time. Lines weren't bad at all and there were plenty of characters everywhere we went!

We also found the Baby Care spot - was a nice break! In case you were wondering... It's behind the Photo Store on the end of Main Street, go around the corner and back behind the corn dog stand. It hides back there. In this air conditioned lovely place are two helpful ladies, stalls for nursing (but they looked really small) a play area (with no Mommy sized chairs, oh well) and a room in the back full of nice large sturdy and CLEAN diaper changing tables. There are also two toddler toilets - they were so cute! Not any bigger than a little plastic potty chair, but look just like a real public toilet and they flush and everything. Gracie refused to go potty. In fact, she didn't go potty all day long! She's got a bladder the size of a basketball and amazing control when she wants. They also had a high chair area.

Since I had the two girls by myself, any rides we went on had to be baby friendly. Even with this limitation, we had plenty of things we could do! And we did!

Gracie loved Main Street. We had to look in all the shop windows. They are great, full of fun things to see. We found City Hall and got my birthday button and my gift card. Since I have an annual pass and it was my birthday and I had the free admission ticket for that, I got my choice of a full day Fast Pass, a free pass for another day, or a merchandise gift card. The gift card was for $70! I got the girls a big lollipop and each of them got a doll. I still have $28 on my card.

Finally, she spotted the castle. And she was instantly the happiest little girl ever! She hopped out of the stroller and grabbed her Cinderella costume - she must wear it NOW! She wore it all day, in fact, she's wearing it now. She did take it off to sleep, but that's it.

We went inside the castle and toured through Sleeping Beauty's Story. Then we went to King Arthur's Carousel and rode the bench. Gracie tried to sit on a horse, but she thinks they are too scary. Then we went to the Tiki Room where the birds sang words and the flowers crooned. The Jungle Cruise was next. We rode in a boat and had a great time! Next we hopped aboard a honey pot and rode through the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Very fun for the littles! Then we set sail on a Pirate Ship, the little girls didn't especially like the little bang of the canon firing, but it wasn't too bad. They loved the cruise. Our last ride was It's a Small World. Riding these boats is a must!

We also wanted to ride the train around the park. It's a 20 minute ride but we were just out of time and energy. We'll do it next time!

In between all the rides, we saw lots of characters! Really, Lots of them! I felt bad for them in that heat, but I'm sure they were swapping 'em out every few minutes. We didn't have to stand in line to see most of them this time, we did spend about 45 mins in line to see the Princesses, but the normal wait time is 90 mins - 2 hours. First character we saw was Goofy. Gracie didn't really like him, she said she likes the other dog (Pluto) not that one. Next, we saw Mickey Mouse. We just waved at him because his security crew was moving him - I'm sure he'd been out in the heat long enough. Then we saw Chip and Dale. They are so cute! Again, we just waved. Gracie didn't want to get too close.

The next character we saw was Cinderella's Fairy Grandmother. Since Gracie was dressed like Cinderella, and she just loves the Fairy Grandmother (I know, she's really the Fairy Godmother, but we call her the Fairy Grandmother) Gracie was willing to go see her. There wasn't a line at all, she was ready for us! Gracie talked and talked to her. She showed the Grandmother her "pinkernails" and told her that Lexie painted them Cinderella Blue. The Grandmother loved her beautiful dress and manicure. They discussed magic and smiled at each other a bit. Gracie was truly having a Disney Moment! While we were there, Peter Pan came along. He was great! He also had a nice long visit with Gracie. They discussed the square trees and he told her Disneyland is a magic place and the trees can be square or other shapes. She liked his ballerina tights. And she introduced him to her little sister, Baby Yibby.

Our next real life Disney encounter was with Aladdin. Gracie was suddenly shy and coy. She did manage to muster up enough courage to ask Aladdin where the Genie was, but she spoke so quietly he didn't understand her. That's ok, she was very happy to see him.

The next couple of characters we saw were heading into the back area, I assume they were trading off with other characters. We saw a fox (I think) I really don't know who it was, and we saw a bear that looked a lot like Baloo, but was wearing a vest. I couldn't put a name to that one either. And that's also where we saw Rabbit. We didn't get to visit any of these characters, but they were friendly and gave us a friendly wave on their way in and out of their secret hideaway.

We saw Chip and Dale again. This time they were wearing scarves and western vests. Again, no visitors so they spent a good deal of time with Gracie. Libby just watched from the stroller. Gracie told the chipmunks that we have a gopher in our yard and Daddy is trying to catch it. It digs holes. She wasn't afraid of them at all this time. They blew her kisses and we were off to see the Princesses.

The Princesses are in a special place, and the line is long! But the payoff is HUGE! We saw Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and she asked Gracie if they've met before. Gracie got to twirl with Aurora and she got a nice hug. Aurora didn't want Libby to sit by her without me holding her, so I got my picture taken with Princess Libby and Princess Gracie too. Next, we saw Princess Mulan. Gracie didn't really know her; I guess we have another movie to see. But she was beautiful and friendly. She wouldn't let Libby sit by her either, so I got to squeeze in with another pretty princess for a photo. If only I had worn my tiara! Lastly, we saw Cinderella! And Gracie was wearing her Cinderella dress too! So precious! Cinderella let Libby sit by her and we took some pictures of the three of them. Cinderella and Gracie had such a nice time together, it was magic!

During the parade, we saw Woody and Jessie, Pooh and Tigger, Peter Pan and Wendy, Chip and Dale (again!), Mickey and Minnie, Donald and Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, and the others passed us by too quickly. The ones I just mentioned danced in front of us and we had a great view of the show. They pulled a few audience members to the street to dance with them and Gracie was one. She took a few steps out into the street and danced a bit. The parade was great and filled with characters - just the perfect way to end a magic day!

When the parade was over, we strolled down Main Street to the ice cream shop. Hit the spot! It was the only thing all day that Gracie would eat. She drank juice all day, but she wouldn't eat a thing. Same with me, it was just too hot. The ice cream was the best ever! I had a scoop of Mocha Almond Fudge and Gracie had Rainbow Sherbet. Yum!

Much to the disappointment of two little princesses, we headed for the parking lot tram. The trams took forever! It was 7:30 when we got in line to board and 8:30 by the time we go to our van.

If you ever go to Disneyland with little bitty kids, I now have a few tricks that will make your day easier: 1. Freeze juice boxes the night before and bring them in a cooler, they thaw and are nice cool yummy drinks! Just the right size too. 2. Bring plenty of water! 3. Bring snacks. This makes your day cheaper and easier to have munchies at hand when the hungries strike! 4. Use the Baby Care Center. Nice place to take a break for mom and the tots alike. 5. Bring Disney toys with you, you know they are already in your toybox, ease the urge to shop and bring 'em along!

My blog post is long enough, so if you want to see photos go to my picassa site.

It was a great trip to Disneyland! Can't wait to go back again. But, we'll wait for a cooler day. As I type this, the thermometer outside in the shade reads 107.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

All I need is Time in a Bottle

My sewing room is all set up!

This was a lot more work than I thought it would be to set this all up! First, I had to clean out the teenager's stuff. Lordy! What a chore that was! Once I got her disaster picked up and cleared out (mostly) I was ready to start making it my own.

I taped and painted. Taping is such a pain. And a lot of good it does me, I still manage to get squiggly lines at the corners. And how do I get blobs of paint on the ceiling? It's an amateur paint job but its all done. The color doesn't really show up well in the photo on my monitor, but it's a light sage green. It has a grayish hue more than a yellowish one. A good neutral color without being tan or white. Took me forever to paint the room too. I only did a little at a time because I had so much "help".

After the carpet had been vaccuumed really really really well (proving it needs to just get yanked out), I moved in a table and my little plastic storage bins. The room was ready for machines!

I unpacked and set up my Father-In-Law's machine in the corner on a little sewing table. I inherited these things from him when he passed away a couple of years ago. I'm sure they belonged to my Mother-In-Law. I'm glad he kept them. It's a Viking sewing machine circa 1950. It's in excellent condition and all the parts and accessories are in the case, including the instruction manual. Can't wait to give it a run.

Next I moved my Singer sewing machine into the room from the far corner of my bedroom. It was happy to move into the light. This is a great little machine and I've sewn a lot of miles of thread and fabric with this baby.

The Grand Finale! I took my new serger out of the box! First exposure to the great big world! It's a nice machine, Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 936. You can see it still has all of the initial thread cones on it with the nice bright colors. Once I learn how to use it, it's going to be my dream machine.

Last but not least, I put a baby gate in the doorway! Ta-Da! My sewing room is ready for me. Now, I just need to find time to get in there.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tested the Car Seats

Yesterday afternoon, we were on a street with heavy traffic; we had a green light but couldn't go because there wasn't room on the block in front of us so we sat stopped behind another car at the green light, then


Got rear-ended. Keith was driving, I was in the front passenger seat, Libby in the middle row left side, Gracie in the 3rd row right side.

Omg, I was instantly sent into a nervous tizzy, Keith just hit the hazard lights and said "Calm Down", Gracie and Libby were fine. The girls didn't seem to really even notice that we got hit. Of course, I was on the verge of total panic! The lady who hit us was all apologetic, like I cared to hear that, I gave her the stink-eye and turned away from her. I didn't care if she was sorry, sincere or otherwise.

Keith said his neck hurts, but he saw her coming in the mirror and tensed up. He said she was dicking around with either her cell phone or her ipod. I told him he needs to go see the chiropractor tomorrow and bill it to her insurance.

I think I should buy the girls new carseats too. I'm not sure, but I think you are supposed to. And I'm moving Gracie back up to the middle row instead of so close to the back bumper. I'm still a basket case.

The back plastic bumper got dinged, but nothing serious. The hatch door still works and everything seems fine. We are all ok, and most importantly:

The Girls are OK!

Evenflo Triumph Deluxe Convertible Carseats: Pass!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August Book Club

I joined a local book club. I miss the great discussions in class about the books; the discussions always added so much more to the book. Other readers had ideas and interpretations that I didn't think of, so I figured a book club would be fun. Literary discussion to enrich the text in a social grown-up setting! Wow!

I googled "book club Murrieta" and bingo, found one. From their website, which was awesome, I found out they were reading Wicked by Gregory Macguire for the August meeting. No problemo! I read it, Loved it, and saw the play. Then I read other books by the same author because I loved Wicked so much.

I read this book quite some time ago, two or three years maybe? I then lent it to my friend who saw the musical three times and was hungry for more. Every time I asked her if she liked it, or if she finished the book, she told me she hasn't finished it yet. I finally stopped asking. So, I never did get my copy of Wicked back. I called her last week for it and she didn't know where it was but she'd find it and bring it over "tomorrow". Uh huh. I checked around town for the book and didn't find it; I went to the public library and they didn't own a copy. How does the library not own a copy of this book? Anyway, I went to the book club without being able to refresh my memory on the nitty gritty details, but that's ok. I remember enough. I hope.

We met at this awesome little book store, Eclectic Books. I love it! I had no idea it was tucked back in the corner of the shopping center, maybe because I never go to that shopping center, but it was a gem of a find! Of course, the bookstore owners knew Katie and told me to wish her well. Katie played a show there before she moved to South Carolina.

There were eight ladies there including me. And three of us were named Mary!

I walked into the book store and found a group of ladies sitting around and walked up to them and said, "Hi. Is this the book club?" and one of them said "That's us" so I introduced myself and sat down between two Marys. Someone said, "Did you like the book?" Of course I responded enthusiastically, "I loved it!"

There was a collective groan. They went around and said how they all hated it. Most of them didn't even read to the half-way point. What? Seriously? My big balloon of enthusiasm deflated.

The bookstore owner, Tess, came to the group and handed out bookmarkers and explained the store specials and offered her help to the group. She was nice. She also started to read Wicked and didn't get very far. Ugh. Another one.

At this point, I was very disappointed. I got up to get a cup of coffee that Tess made for the group and I needed to take a moment and shake off the shock. How on earth could anyone not love this book, let alone a group of people! Shock and dismay!

Back to the group. Fine, lets talk about why they didn't like it. I gotta figure this out!

[Gracie wants some attention... this post will be continued... stay tuned!]

Part II...

I got my coffee and sat back down, then another gal showed up. She was perky and happy. She said she liked the book! Yes! I was so outnumbered! Still outnumbered, but not alone now.

We went around and discussed the novel. Mrs. Laid-Back, she said she didn't understand it. Too much politics and religion and ah phooey, so boring. Miss Quiet said she finished it but struggled to the end, just hated it. She gave no reasons why and she never spoke again. Another speechless one said she didn't finish it, it was boring. One of the Marys said she didn't like the tone. The other Mary said it wasn't her genre. (Finally, one of them gives a reason!) On the other side of that Mary, she said she was bored, she almost got halfway through, she just didn't get it.

There were comments about how the book lacked romance, it had too many adult elements, politics was boring, it was hard to follow, the characters weren't like they were in the Wizard of Oz movie, and there were too many big words.

This conversation was just killing me! The group was throwing out all these excuses but they weren't giving examples and they weren't backing up their statements with anything specific. They didn't seem to want to discuss it.

The other lady who liked the book talked about why she liked it. I agreed with her and we talked a bit about how great it was that it is an adult book, had deep characters, involved politics and religion, included geographic imagery, and was complicated and twisted. We talked about the characters, some of the events that took place in the story and some of the characters' traits. We compared the story to the movie Wizard of Oz.

A couple of ladies mentioned they saw the play. I saw the play too, a year ago. It was an amazing musical! So, were these ladies thinking they would be reading a musical? The lady who liked the book hadn't seen the musical. Hmmm....

Conversation quickly turned to Stephanie Myers' Twilight series. They all perked up and got excited, even the two quiet ladies sat up a little taller. I guess they read two of the books in previous months, and the third book they read on their own. Now it was my turn to lose interest. I haven't read any of the Twilight books; I think I'm the only one on the face of the Earth who hasn't.

The next book for the book club is The Time Traveler's Wife. The ladies all decided to go see the movie. Really? Is this a book club or a movie club? Are they all going to like books for young teens and books that are current box office hits? I'm not too sure about this book club. I picked up the book, and I hope it is a good story, but I don't really have my hopes up about this book club. I left the bookstore feeling disappointed.

Does this mean I miss college? Ah, Shucks.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cleaning and clearing

"Gifts are not given in with the expectation that they will hence forth be forever strapped to your person and household and hauled around like a ball and chain. Gifts are about love and that's what we are supposed to carry." ~ Charity Beasley, aka Vegbee

I was cruising through random blogs, and I found this quote. I love it! After reading and contemplating that thought, I am ready to go through the stack of rubbermaid totes in the garage marked "misc stuff".

In recent years, we've seen the passing of several of our elder relatives. And the one thing they all leave behind: A house full of stuff. Gosh, if I have this much stuff now, I'll be leaving behind hoards of junk for my family to sort through! I'm only in my 40s, another 50 or 60 years of birthdays, mother's days, Christmases, Valentine Days, etc. and I'll be so buried in stuff that I wont' be able to move.

But it is so hard to give away gifts! If someone gives me a gift, I keep it! I just hate taking gifts back to the store too. I will say, gifts are a hard thing to part with since they were Gifts! I also have a hard time giving away baby things. And old toys. And anything the kids or I made. And Halloween costumes. Sigh. I'm a packrat!

I had best take advantage of my sudden urge to purge before the feeling escapes me. I'm off to fill up donation bags for the Salvation Army! That's better than throwing anything away, I can't go that far! At least if I'm not going to keep it, someone else might find a use for it and my stuff will live on.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lookout Soccer Moms - I'm a Ballerina Mom!

It's official. I am the mommy of a ballerina!

I signed Gracie up for Ballet class. I'm sure she'll be graceful! Today I went to the recreation office, paid $52, and signed my name a few times on various fine print waivers. Next stop was Target where we became the proud owners of a ballerina leotard, tights and ballerina slippers. That makes it official! She's a ballerina!

I then went to the library to find out about storytime. Dates, times, etc. Of course, the librarian on duty didn't know anything about it and said the information should be out any day now. I should come back soon. I left thinking I will just check the website. Gracie is going to attend "Library School" once a week for storytime.

Ballet classes and Library storytime are my ploy to prepare the tot for the world of organized instruction. Let's call it "Pre-Preschool". My goals for her Pre-Preschool education are for her to learn how to listen, follow instructions, understand that someone other than Mom and Dad can be in charge, and behave appropriately in a group setting. I'm not out to make her a champion reader at age three or a land the role of Clara in the local Nutcracker performance; I am just hoping for some understanding of how to be a part of an organized social activity. I think this year of Pre-Preschool will help Gracie conduct herself in real school and make her education experience a better one by avoiding time-out on the very first day of school!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jimmy Wooten

In the town where my family is from, there is a legendary tale about a man named Jimmy Wooten. I hear the story every summer and someday I hope to go visit his gravestone.

Briefly, here is how the story goes: One Hundred Years Ago... A mail carrier was on his route in the middle of nowhere Wyoming. It was blizzarding cold, he was drunk on "Four Roses" Whiskey. He died. El Fin.

Now, there are a few details I may have glossed over, but really, that's the meat of the story. A mailman froze to death in Wyoming a hundred years ago. I am amazed by this story, totally astonished! Why? Because it's a local legend! It's a story that is being passed down the generations. The grave site is protected and cared for by several people who never knew him. Stories have been written about him. The local historian can talk for hours about his life and death.

Really, it's amazing that this man became a legend. That is what astounds me. I am not saying he didn't deserve the attention. I'm just saying that the story of this man could have very easily been lost under the snow that winter. He very easily could have been nobody. Very easily just a "Hmm, where's my mail?" and that would have been all. I venture to guess that a lot of people froze to death in the bitter Wyoming winters in the 1800s. The 1900s too. And the 2000s.

I think the story is significant though. As simple as it is, it tells the truth about the harsh life and hard times that we've all come from. It's a story about Mother Nature vs Man and she wins. But mostly, it's a story about the wonderful caring people of Wyoming who refuse to forget, who respected a man they barely knew, who do what's right instead of what's easy. The story is more about the people who tell the story than it is about Jimmy Wooten. He's a legend, but the real story is in the people he left behind.

The local historian, Big Jim, wrote a book about Jimmy Wooten after my grandfather told him the tale. My grandpa used to care for the secretly located grave site, then Big Jim, now he's passed it on too. If you like a good story, with all the details, rather than my one sentence summary, you can order the book from Big Jim. It is worth owning.

After sitting with Big Jim for a few hours and discussing the legend of Jimmy Wooten, my husband was inspired to write a song. You can hear the tune HERE.

Rest in Peace, Jimmy Wooten.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Home Sweet Home Again!

My poor neglected blog! I've missed you! But, I can't blog from the backseat of the mini-van on a lonely old road in the middle of nowhere. And, that's where I was.

We drove 3800+ miles. The baby is thoroughly sick of her carseat! I don't think she ever wants to be strapped down again! But, Gracie did great and made up for the fussing from the little protester.

One of my tricks for Gracie is the Bordom Buster bag. I fill it full of surprises and get one out every now and again. It really does the trick! This trip, she got new cars and trucks (Thank you to whoever invented Hot Wheels cars!) and new books. The books I got for her this trip are awesome! A lot like Where's Waldo, but themed with Disney fairies and princesses. I picked up a book on the road for her that was locally published, so I can't find a link for you but it's a great book! It is an alphabet book with pictures from Storybook Land in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Each letter of the alphabet highlights a feature of the park.

For Libby, I brought baby board books that she's never seen and baby rattles and toys that she hasn't discovered yet. Nothing beats boredom like old toys coming out for rediscovery! This trick didn't work as well on her. She proved to be a challenge.

Here are a few pictures from the vacation... I'll blog more stories from the road later, you don't want to hear 3800 miles worth of road stories all in one post!

Big Horn Mountains,Wyoming


Missouri River, South Dakota

Southern Utah