Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Disneyland Trip

I'm trying to get the girls to Disneyland once a month, and I just barely squeezed in the January trip! This was our 6th trip (my 8th trip because I went when I was 12 in 1977 and when the big girls were 8 and 6 in 1997). Hey! Stop doing the math! I'm still very young! The weather this month has been chilly and wet, not very conducive for having little ones out and about all day long and staying healthy. Finally we had a beautiful day, and it was absolutely gorgeous! Blue sky, sunny, and 76 degrees!

As usual, we try to see lots of the characters. Main Street was full of them! And we found a variety of characters all around Disneyland. We still have a bunch of characters that we've never seen but we'll keep trying. We saw some fresh faces this time including Donald Duck and Mary Poppins. Libby was a lot more interactive with the characters, she's getting used to this. Gracie really wanted to see Prince Phillip because she had to tell him something. I have no idea what was on her mind, but we did see Prince Phillip one time and she wouldn't go near him. We didn't run into him. Oh well.

We also explored areas of Disneyland that we've never seen before and made a quick run through California Adventure. We sure have lots of new things to discover in that Disney Park! We rode the Casey Jr. train and the Storybook Land boat ride for the first time. They were a lot of fun and the girls enjoyed them quite a bit! We also did the favorites: Sleeping Beauty's Story in the castle and the Tiki Room.

The Small World was still closed for Holiday Decor Removal. Try explaining that to a three year old who cannot get enough of Small World! She would ride that one ride all day long if I let her.

One of the most exciting new things Gracie did this time was.... drum roll please... she went potty at Disneyland! She never does, she holds it all day long. No matter how much juice I give her, I don't know how she does it, but she is a strong willed child. She does not like public toilets, they are big and scary. I always take her to the Baby Center on Main Street where they have little miniature flush toilets for young children, but she won't even go on those. I really prepped her for our trip and told her repeatedly for a couple of days that Disneyland is a Magical Place, even the toilets are magic: Nobody falls in! Ever! They are magic like that! She totally bought it. She went potty on a big toilet with an automatic flusher (scary!) not once, but twice during the day! I always bring along an extra outfit for her in case she wets herself in all the Disney excitement with her full bladder, but she's never had an accident. We always stay all day long too.

I do keep a potty chair in the back of the van for emergencies, and every trip to Disneyland she's used the van potty as soon as we find our parking spot. Then of course, I have a long drive home with a very full potty! I prevent spillage by sticking a diaper in the potty and sacking the whole thing up in a large plastic bag, then I have a lovely cleanup job to do at home, but hey, it works for the ride. Not anymore, I took the potty chair out of the van and make it very clear that the potty was staying home. We would use the magic toilets at Disneyland. It was risky, but the potty gamble paid off!

The most exciting part of the day for me was meeting up with a fellow online mama! I finally met Lori! I "met" her on a pregnancy forum back when I was pregnant with Gracie, roundabout 4 years ago. I was fortunate enough to "meet" some very nice ladies on the forum and have stayed in touch via instant messaging, facebook, email and a parenting forum. Sounds like I spend my every waking hour socializing online doesn't it? You're right, I do! My poor neglected children suffer for my online social life. Anyway, we spent the day together roaming Disneyland and California Adventure with our daughters and it was very very fun! I must say, having a buddy is much easier than doing Disney by myself with the girls. Gracie had someone to play with in every line - not that the lines were long, but some of them required some patience. Now we can say we are real life friends. Awwww!

It was another wonderful day at Disneyland for us! Can't wait for our February trip!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Little of This, Little of That

It's time for an update, but I don't have much of anything to report. Just tidbits of chaos. That's how we live out our days though, we do a little of this and a little of that and next thing you know, the day is done. And the days go so fast!

Katie broke her arm. Actually, she fractured her right radial head (elbow). My poor girl! I still don't know what happened; she fell. That doesn't explain much but I'm sure there is a story. Her husband just graduated from Powerschool (I think) and he starts his next phase of Navy school in the same location. For his graduation, his parents went to visit the kids. When Katie fell, her husband and her inlaws were there. Are you confused yet? Me too. Anyway, she's fine now, just a little bit broken.

Lexie didn't start college. She is still "taking a break". Guess she is turning into her mother! Katie too, for that matter. Anyway, Lexie got a job in the mall for the holidays and the store decided to keep her. She's busy juggling her two jobs and not making any money because it all goes into the gas tank to get to and from her jobs. Vicious circle.

Gracie and Libby are quite the duo! Constantly busy! Gracie is learning her letters and numbers, so we are reading everything! Ever read a book letter by letter? Libby is funny because now she points at letters and says E E E I I E O E E... She gets them right once in a while. Gracie is catching on fast! I took the little girls to the library in the next town over and they have a little used bookstore around the corner with library discards (our library does the same thing). I let the littles pick out a few books and I grabbed a couple of paperbacks for Lexie and me. The prices ranged from 25 cents to a dollar, pretty good price for some quality entertainment! Libby grabbed up a book with Mickey Mouse on the cover and she's been loving Minnie Mouse a lot lately so that seemed like a great one. Sure enough, that book is awesome! It's all about Mickey and Minnie walking around Disneyland going on the rides and seeing the attractions. Very fun for us to read!

It's been raining so much lately. We got pretty soggy, but we didn't wash away. We have been going a little crazy from being cooped up too long. Things are still pretty wet. The girls went out to play yesterday and they were so busy having a grand ol' time making "Hot Soup". It was a bucket of very cold rain water, dirt, rocks, leaves. They were stirring like mad and they just kept making their "Hot Soup" for a long time! I got a lot done while they played. I just went ahead and let them get wet and muddy and cold, it was worth it. They're washable.

Tomorrow, I'm taking them to Disneyland. I'm a bit worried because the Small World ride is closed according to the website. I can't imagine skipping the Small World ride. Wish us luck! But they have Princess Tiana in the princess meet and greet lineup, so I'm hoping we get lucky and get to see her. Gracie would be thrilled! The real excitement will be meeting an online friend of mine. I've never met her in real life but I have been talking to her online quite frequently since we met on a pregnancy forum over 4 yrs ago. Our little girls are almost the same age, both coming up on turning 4! Libby wants to see Minnie Mouse. We all have our favorite character we're hoping to see tomorrow. Wonder if my online buddy realizes she's a Disneyland character now. Hmmm. Hey! I wonder if she is referring to me as a Disneyland character! I am more of a Goofy type character than a Princess, hahaha!

Looks like the sun is about to break through the clouds. Time to go out and find more puddles and mud!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Awesome Taco Salad Recipe

Well, here's a first: A recipe from ME! Not to brag or anything, but.... no wait, I totally mean to brag about it! My taco salad is the best! Unless you are my red-headed niece who very sweetly told me her mom doesn't make it like that, good thing she's cute. On to the recipe that'll leave the whole family so full they can't get up to do the dishes.

Mary's Taco Salad

1.5 lbs of hamburger
1 can of Refried Beans
Grated cheese
Lettuce and other taco toppings

Brown the burger. Mash it up while it's browning with a potato masher, this is really what a potato masher is for. Potatoes, ha!

Drain and place back on the stove. Stir in one can of refried beans and a couple of glugs of salsa. Reach into the spice rack and give the meat a shake or two of cumin if you are looking for that taste in your taco. It doesn't need cumin; I usually forget. You can also add onions and green peppers to the meat, or serve them freshly diced as toppings. Your choice.

Heat and stir until the meat and beans become a wonderful mix of meaty beany goodness.

To Plate: Crumble chips onto your plate, add a layer of taco meat, then the fresh diced onions. Onions should go on the meat or in the meat, they are just better that way. Cheese on top of the meat, it should melt because the meat is nice and hot! Yumm! Next layer on the lettuce, tomatoes, olives, avocado, cilantro or whatever you put on your tacos. Top with a couple spoonfuls of salsa.

At this point, your plate should be piled about 5" high in the center. Grab a fork and enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I did not fall off the face of the Earth

We've been busy and we aren't sleeping a whole lot, so I haven't been blogging much. Lame excuses, I know.

In January, we've been to three birthday parties and our Baby Play Group met at a place that qualifies that day as a party too. It was party-esque. I thought about taking the kids to Disneyland last week, but they had (and still have) sniffly snotty noses so we scrapped the outing.

I'm glad we didn't go - can you believe I just said I'm glad we didn't go to Disneyland! Gasp! Shocking, I know! I love going! But, I've been just exhausted lately. Neither one of the girls has been sleeping well. When one goes to sleep, the other one wakes up. Usually by morning, I wake up smothered under two kids and a dog. Sleepless nights are getting old very fast. I'm thinking about putting everyone to bed, and then I'll go camp out in the van in the driveway. I won't hear them and they won't find me. Hmmm... I might be onto something.

We got a Wii for Christmas and I'm trying to play that as much as I can. Which is to say, I'm trying to play Wii without kids clinging to my legs, jumping around in circles around me, singing and whining for attention... I've logged in 5 hours so far this month. It's not as easy as it sounds! I love the exercise and the games are fun, but the biggest challenge is getting some time to play!

I took another step toward "Being Green". I bought some reusable grocery sacks for my daughter for Christmas to stuff in her package, and found out that they really are kinda handy! So I went out and got some for myself too. Now I have a sack of sacks to use and reuse for groceries. Tricky part will be remembering to take them along when I go to the store. I'm not giving up on plastic and paper grocery sacks, but I do tend to accumulate a ton of them in a short amount of time. I do reuse them, I need them for sacking up stinky diapers and lining the bathroom trash cans and scooping up dog doo-doo. I usually pick through my giant sack of plastic sacks for the Target bags - those are the best! I always seem to have a lot more plastic sacks than I need, so I'll try to be trendy and use these green bags once in a while. I didn't get them in green though, I got them at the Disney store and they are all pink with princesses! Of course! If I'm going to turn into a hippy, I'm going to do it carrying pink princess bags!

Gosh, I thought I didn't have anything to blog about!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stroller Fleet: Down By One

Stroller parking in my garage just got easier. I sold my Peg Perego Twin Aria side by side stroller this morning. Ah, I shall miss it dearly! The fleet only has four strollers now, which hardly qualifies it as a fleet of strollers. Now it's just a collection, a small collection.

I bought it for $75 on Craigslist and sold it on Craigslist too. It was funny when I bought it because when I showed up to the seller's home to get it, the seller turned out to be one of the baby group mommies! Funny to meet up with your friends like that.

As much as I liked it, I didn't really use that stroller much anyway. I used it sometimes, but I prefer the bigger Graco Quatro Duo which seats the kids one in front of the other. I actually like having them side by side, but the Graco has better storage and lots of cupholders. It's much sturdier too. I only used the side by side for quick trips; for that type of use, I can use a single stroller and make the big kid walk.

Gracie is almost four years old and her legs go all the way up to her neck! The days of pushing two kids in a stroller are coming to a close. Together they weigh 60 pounds! I'm sure I won't keep the Graco much longer either.

I got $50 for my stroller and I turned it around and bought something else for the kids. I didn't come out even, eh, close enough. I think we'll get a lot more use out of this thing than the stroller! This was a Craigslist bargain at $100!

PS - yes, it's January and my kids are barefoot!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I could have written this book!

I've been told a few times that I should write a book. Now I found one that I could have written! Really, I could have penned this thing in no time flat!

Amazon gives a review of the book as this, "Tackling everything from the peer pressure to have children to resisting the siren call of suburbia". Doesn't that sound like me? Except of course, I'm a forty-something woman so I'd have to add ten years worth of wisdom to the piece. I haven't actually read this book, but it says the author "mouths off" about being older, pregnant, raising kids, peer pressure, marriage, dieting, etc. That sounds like me! I can mouth off about all kinds of things! Have you read my blog?

My sister, the NaNoWriMo writer, really pesters encourages me to write a book. I just couldn't think of anything to write about, but shoot, I can rant till the cows come home! Could I rant a book? That sounds pretty easy!

I think I shall declare "rant" a verb! Maybe I'll rant a book! Right in between changing diapers, tripping over toys, plucking gray hairs and helping my husband grade papers (He hands me the essays students write in Spanish so I can roughly translate. Not like it matters, they can't spell in Spanish either.) In fact, I might be able to rant a whole series. Wouldn't that be fun! A full set of published PMS!

It's a nice idea; in the meantime, I have other things to do that tear me away from typing. Chasing my children! Currently, one is standing on her bounce and spin riding zebra and one is reporting a dead rat in the glue trap out by the garage door. Who has time to rant a book?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Moving Again, but not going anywhere

Another bedroom shuffle is in the works. We are preparing to move Baby Libby out of our room and into a shared room with her big sister. Problem is, Gracie's pink room is too small for two beds. We've had two beds in that room before and it just didn't work very well. So, Libby and Gracie will move into my sewing room (which is bigger than the pink bedroom).

When I was moving Gracie out of our room I wanted to put her into the room where she and Libby are now going. This room is the biggest of the two bedrooms and it is a straight shot from my room making it easy to check on Gracie. Plus, the larger room has a very nice window and catches the morning sun. But, I was outvoted. Not sure how my vote counts less than my husband's vote but it always does. He wanted her in the smaller room around the corner. He won the location; I won the color. Much to his disgust, I painted the room pink!

Gracie loves her pink room. She always calls it "My Pink Room". She's not going to be happy to have to give up her pink walls. I have a feeling I will be buying pink paint again before too long.

The little girls will share the pale dull green room. The pink room will become a reading library/guest room, and my sewing area is going back into the far corner of the master bedroom again.

The moving begins!