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!