Monday, March 29, 2010

Winter is Officially Over! as evidenced by my sunburn

When you make your first trip to the beach for the summer season, then Winter is officially over! We went yesterday and the weather was perfect for beach bumming! Sunny and warm and beautiful! There were sailboats on the horizon, kites in the air, kids in the water and sandcastles on the beach. What a wonderful way to start off the summer! Er, Spring. Whatever, they're all kind of the same around here.

Apparently, I have to relearn how to apply sunscreen. How do I forget this every year? Maybe the level of difficulty in this task is just something I have yet to master.
1. Remember to bring sunscreen along
2. Squeeze lotion into hand
3. Rub it around to all exposed spots.

Sure sounds easy enough. Surprisingly, it's a complicated process. First of all, where is the sunscreen from last year? Didn't we have 8 bottles of it? I found one and brought it along, it was SPF 60. No sun can penetrate this stuff! Till the teen says, "60?! Maaaaawwwwmmmmm!" Ok, you got me, she's not a teen anymore, she's 21. But I still call the big girls "the teens". I'll figure it out someday. So, we stopped at Target for sunscreen with a more reasonable SPF number so that some sunrays could get through and tan up the pale tall one. Besides that, she needed new flip flops. Now! Ok, so now we've accomplished step number 1. We have sunscreen!

Step two. We're figuring this part out as we sit in the sand with the breeze blowing and the runts kicking up more sand. Why do lotions and everything have that really tough little piece of foil on the top of the bottle under the lid? It's so hard to get off! By the time we get a dollop of lotion in our palms, we also have it mixed with sand. On to step 3.

Rub it around. Easy! I rubbed the 60 lotion on the little fair one, all over. Then the sand stuck to her. All over. She was trying so hard not to get a single grain of sand on her. She wasn't complaining much, but she wasn't thrilled with the beach either. Then I smother her with sticky lotion making her a sand magnet. I tell her, "Sorry honey, it's the beach, there's sand." My 4 yr old can't stop running long enough to get much lotion on. She got a mix of my super sun guard and Katie's light protection. And she just got the spots we could swipe as she ran by. She was already covered with sand, the lotion just made her sand stick to my hands. Blech! Now Katie wants me to put sunscreen on her back, sans sand. I manage. Let's see.... I sunscreened the baby, the kid and the string bean. That's everyone!

Three hours later.... Hey! Did I sunscreen me? Ah, man! I burned the part in my hair, my face and neck. Everything else got some color with just a hint of pink. Today, the pink is faded, I'm just smiling with a tomato face is all. Gracie was pink in spots. Mostly her back because the kid spent a lot of time bent over playing in the sand or looking for seashells and that type of thing. You can see where I actually did get some lotion on her. She isn't burnt enough to notice though. The other two are still pale as can be.

Next time we go to the beach.... I will lotion up the kids from head to toe before I put their swimsuits on them. Then I get the edges that I always miss once they have their suits on. The lotion will sink in and not be all sticky once we get into the sand. And, any extra I put on them while we're at the beach is just extra. I should try to remember me too!

Hopefully, I'll get it right next time. We sure had fun!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Disneyland with Princess Jasmine x2

This was such a fun trip to Disneyland! One of the best! Katie and Andrew came with us and we loved having them along to share our day.

When we were approaching Disneyland and sitting at the red light on the corner of Harbor Blvd and Ball Road (you can't really see Disneyland yet because an overpass is in the way), Libby starts pointing and squealing and waving her arms in excitement. She knew! She knew where we were! She is 18 months old and she knows the approach to the Happiest Place on Earth - How cool is that!

We ended up parking in the Jesse Parking Lot, not the best, but it wasn't too bad. There were plenty of buses shuttling people from the Toy Story parking lots as opposed to the minimal number of buses that transported people from the Pongo parking lot last November. I don't like having to park in the overflow parking lots because that just means the whole day will be nothing but crowds and long lines. This was true in some parts of the park, but in other areas it really wasn't bad at all.

We got in the ticket line because I needed a new annual pass. There wasn't anyone in the lines for tickets! We were at the window swiping my credit card in no time. This time I added the parking pass to it. It was expensive, but taking these little princesses to the Happiest Place on Earth is well worth it when they are this enchanted by the Disney magic. And, we made Walt happy, right?

We went up Main Street, through the castle, up and inside the castle to see the Sleeping Beauty story, rode the carousel, went through the Small World, saw the Princesses, toured Toon Town, rode Winnie the Pooh, and went to the Tiki Room. All of those things were very very fun. But the highlights of the day were the Celebration Street Party Parade where Gracie got to dance with Pooh Bear and the Princess Tiana Show where Gracie got to go up and dance with Tiana and play a tambourine! We also tried two rides for the first time: The Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice in Wonderland caterpillar ride.

The Pirate ride was pretty dark and scary, but we made it through without any crying. A wee bit of screaming, but that was just me. You ride a boat through this ride, very similar to Small World. But as you go into a dark tunnel, your boat takes a dive down a steep slope. Not far, but far enough that you sploosh at the bottom of the slope and get splashed. Then, it happens again. This is right where Libby woke up from her nap. In the dark pirate cove in a boat, splashed with cold water while falling down a river. She was wide-eyed and clung to me fast and hard through the whole ride. Gracie clung to Katie for dear life through the first half of the ride, then when we finally got to the cute puppets, she was fine and had fun. When we left the ride, Gracie was singing "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me", so I think she had a good time on that ride.

The Alice in Wonderland ride is one I've never been brave enough to try. The reason is: back in June of 1997 when Katie was 8 and Lexie was 6, we stood in line for this ride. It was a hot day and the shade of the two big trees was refreshing while standing in that long line. We worked our way back and forth toward the front of the line when the unthinkable happened. Directly overhead, a big fat bird in the tree released all of his pent up poop and it landed ON MY HEAD! This must have been a 5 gallon bird. It was all over my head, down my neck, on my shoulder and down my front and my back and on my arm. I screamed under the white slime and the crowd parted like I was Moses. I ran screaming and people pointed the way to the bathroom as I ran by looking like a horror film character. The ladies room had a line, but everyone backed away and let me through and I stuck my head in the sink and tried to wash up as best I could. Of course, nobody helped me, ewww, yuck. Luckily, my long hair was pulled back tight, gelled and braided, so it didn't penetrate much through my helmet hair. I was able to wash off pretty good but now my shirt was poopy and wet too, so I ran over to the nearest gift shop and bought a new shirt. When I got back to the Alice in Wonderland ride to meet up with my husband and daughters (pre-cell phone era, I was just hoping they'd be there), I saw them emerging from the ride on a caterpillar. The girls were all smiles. Since that day, I haven't been brave enough to stand under those trees in the Alice in Wonderland ride again.

Today, we did it. We waited till it was dark to avoid birds. It worked! We successfully made it to the caterpiller cars and boarded a pink caterpillar! Poop Free! The little car went into the ride and just as we entered the "rabbit hole" and went over the little peak for the gentle drop into the rabbit hole and Alice's Wonderland when our caterpillar car jerked to a complete stop. We were maybe 3 or 4 feet into the ride. All the lights came on and an announcement that the ride was broken, stay put and a Disney cast member would come help us soon. 20 minutes later, they found us in the rabbit hole and let us out of our caterpillar. We had to walk through part of the ride and they opened an emergency exit door and let us out.

Score: Alice 2, Mary 0.

Oh, by the way, the Princess Jasmine costumes were a big hit! The girls were comfortable, the costumes held together and they were just adorable! We heard comments from people all day long about how cute the little Jasmines were. Here is a pic of both of them. Libby didn't get beads, but now that I had to spend a day man-handling her all day, I'm glad I skipped the beads on her outfit. Here are both the girls in all their Princess Jasmine Glory.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Finished the Jasmine Costumes

Yippeee! I just finished sewing the Princess Jasmine costumes. Two pair of pants, two hoochie belly showing shirts, two headbands. Everything is glittery and gold.

Gracie is so excited to wear her costume! She asked me sixteen times today at least if she could wear her Jasmine outfit. Every time, the answer was the same. Yes, tomorrow!

Libby's costume didn't get any beads. Sewing them was difficult and frustrating. Besides, she's a baby, she doesn't need beads on her outfit. Her costume is still pretty cute.

I'm taking the kids to Disneyland tomorrow in their Princess Jasmine outfits. They will be so cute! I'll take loads of pictures. I'm going to leave you in suspense; you will have to wait for Disneyland pictures to see the end result of all that sewing! It'll be worth the wait because you'll get to see the girls modeling them at Disneyland. Hopefully, we'll see the real Jasmine too!

Happy 4th Birthday!

My little girl turned 4! (A few days ago) This year, she figured out that kids have birthday parties when their turn a year older. A birthday party involves friends, family, cake, and presents. And she wants all of that! She was never too thrilled by the pinata; she didn't make that a requirement. Since she discovered birthday parties, she had to have one too.
Four years sure went by fast. But, I made sure to lay down the rules for being four. Even though it snuck up on me, I had to make sure she understood her more mature status.

When you are four, you don't use the potty chair anymore; toilet only. And you will learn how to wipe your own butt.

When you are four, you don't cry over silly things every day. Cry if you are bleeding, not if we run out of apple juice.

When you are four, you sleep in your own bed. All night long.

When you are four, you brush your teeth. No, I mean you brush them, not suck the toothpaste off and tell me you are all done. Brush. Scrub. Get 'em clean!

Any questions?

No, you cannot get married when you are four. You have to be older. Sixteen? No. Yeah, well, Ariel was too young. Mermaids do things differently. You can have a boyfriend when you are 16, but you can't kiss him or marry him till you are 20. Well, maybe 30. We'll see.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Glasses Arrived!

Yay! I can see! I ordered three pair of prescription glasses online at for nothing more than chump change. They arrived a few days ago and I'm so excited!

Of course, now that I have them, EyeBuyDirect is having a buy one get one free sale. My timing is always wonderful like that. You can still take advantage of it, but I feel kind of weird ordering two more pair. I think. Well, maybe I should. Would two more pair be too many? Hmmmm....

Here are my new glasses. As you can see, I'm favoring the small squarish style frame lately. I just cannot get into the big giant round googley eyed sunglasses that are popular right now. They are so froggy looking on me.

If my head was shaped like a pretzel, I could wear my old pair. These are only a year old but they did not survive a recent tangle with a toddler. My sunglasses met the same fate on the same day. Sigh.

Yay! I can see!!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's Free or $17, your choice

With Gracie's first ever birthday party coming up for the big number 4, I went to the grocery store bakery to order a cake. Seemed like the thing to do.

I ordered one small doll cake like she had last year for her to blow candles on. I don't want her to spit all over the cake we will then cut and serve to everyone at the party. For some reason, I've never thought of that before but one day I did and got creeped out. I think I was watching America's Funniest Home Videos and it occurred to me that the blowing of the candles is kinda gross. Anyway... I ordered her one little doll cake. That'll be $7.99. Kind of pricey for an oversized cupcake with a plastic doll head jabbed into the top, but whatever.

Next I needed to order the sheet cake. I decided to go with the larger 1/2 sheet size (so I can have cake for breakfast the next day). The cakes in the display bin are $19.99. Well... fine. Sheesh. I'm either a tightwad or cakes have gotten more expensive recently.

I talked to the cake decorator lady and we decided on the flavor, what kind of frosting, colors, what it should say, how to spell Gracie... all that good stuff. I repeated that I want the $19.99 size cake and she said "Ok, that'll be $37.00" Um... What? No, the $19.99 size. "Yes, the $19.99 cake is $37.00 when you pre-order it but it's 19.99 if you just come pick one up". Really?

Anyone else confused yet?

So, I said to the lady... "Will you have cakes on Saturday?" Yes, yes they will. And she says "You can pick out a cake and we'll write on it for you free".

Wait, now a minute ago, that cost an extra $17... "So I can come and pick up a decorated cake and get her name on it for $19.99 and piping 'Happy Birthday Gracie' on it is free or an extra $17?"

Free. Free writing with frosting. Whatever I want it to say. Even in pink. But the cake will cost $19.99. It's only $37 when you pre-order it.

Ok, well that must make sense to someone. See you Saturday when I pick up the little doll cake and a random cake from the bin.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Making Jasmine costumes

I've realized that my sewing skills are pretty rusty. My stitching lines are a little crooked here and there. Ok, fine. They are crooked everywhere. Oh well. It's still fun!

I am using a variety of patterns. The pattern for the pants is a sweatpants pattern, and it is unbelievably high waisted! I'm annoyed about the waste of fabric, I've had to cut both pair of pants down several inches. Princess Jasmine does not wear her pants up around her rib cage. She should, but that's another story.

Since I'm using a light satin and organza, the raw edges are a constant battle to deal with. At first, I just sewed up a quick seam. Oh no, that won't work. I went back and trimmed and tucked the seam in and made a french seam out of it, well, sort of. It's all tucked in and neat now, even if it isn't done correctly. I don't think this backward french seam would win me a ribbon at the county fair.

After I spent some quality time tucking in my seams, I went with french seams the rest of the way through. They look much better, even if the stitching lines look like I was drunk when I was sewing along. I wasn't, I swear!

Honest, Ossifer, I'm not drinking while sewing! Did I do that?

The tops either need a lining or facing. I just hate to use satin facing since it just adds to the fraying problem and doesn't solve anything. I ran out of fabric to cut out linings though, and didn't find a matching color at the store. hmm. I came up with a solution! I zigzagged the seam, tucked it french style, used Fray-Check where I clipped the seams, and top-stitched it all down. Now, you can see the seam right through the organza. No problem! I thought of that!

Princess Jasmine has a lot of gold bling on her outfit, Disneyland Jasmine does, not movie Jasmine. I got some gold trim and will be trimming right over the visible seams. Poof, they are out of sight! I used a loopy decorative ribbon on the armholes and will use the same on the neckline, and I used a pretty beaded ribbon trim on the waist. I did not realize the ribbon was beaded too. I thought it would be quick and easy, just sew the ribbon and the beads will hang. Oh, not so easy! The ribbon is beaded too. I did a "stitch in the ditch" trick that I learned from quilting, worked great.

Well.... it worked great most of the time. Didn't work so well when I missed the ditch.

This is Gracie's top. It isn't done yet, but it's close. I forgot that my child has a big head, and didn't make an allowance for that little problem. I had her try it on and I managed to sqeeze her big melon through the head hole, but just barely. Otherwise, it fit just fine. I will be making a faced placket in the back so she can get her head in and out. Might come in handy. Then I'll finish it off with gold trim around the neckline to cover the visible interior seams.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Joining the Grandma Club

I am going to start growing gray hair, get me some of those deep wrinkles and learn how to bake cookies because I'm going to be a Grandma! And, I want to do it right!

My daughter, Lexie is having a baby boy. He is due to arrive August 5th, give or take a few days. She is feeling great, she looks great and she is happy. Gracie has been asking me for months for a baby brudder; she is pretty happy that Lexie is giving her a baby nephew. Close enough!

Lexie isn't quitting her job, so I get to be chief babysitter! And why not, my house is filled with toys and fun kid stuff. I'm hoping I get to take the little guy to Disneyland! And the zoo! And the park and all sorts of fun places. We are going to have fun.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sew All Night

Gracie commanded me to "Sew all night, Mom". I've got my orders! Her plan was this, "Sew all night and tomorrow we can go to Disneyland!" She must think I've got more energy than a firecracker. I'm not exactly that vivacious.

Last spring I bought some fabric to make Gracie a flower girl dress for her big sister's wedding. Got home with it and the bride informed me that the fabric was not mermaid blue, it was pool blue! Duh! So, this lovely pool blue fabric has been sitting around hoping for a future as something pretty. I finally decided what I could make with it. And I sifted through my patterns to find pieces of this or that and get the project started. The fabric will become:

Princess Jasmine! She wears pool blue pants and skimpy little top with beads. Frankly, I'm really tired of her Sleeping Beauty dress. Gracie could use a new princess costume.

Gracie got so excited when I told her what I was making that she demanded I work hard and sew it right now. Sew all night! Then, she can wear it in the morning and we'll go to Disneyland.

I let her watch me smooth out the fabric, lay out the pattern and cut out the pieces. I have enough fabric so that both girls get a Princess Jasmine outfit. The fabric is a light satin and I have some matching sheer beaded organza. Should be very pretty when the costumes are done, but these aren't my favorite fabrics to work with. In fact, they might be frustrating in the machine. Two Jasmine pants, two Jasmine tops, two fabrics... cutting took me over an hour. Gracie fell asleep supervising the cutting process.

She also needs the headband and necklace with a big blue jewel on it.

I hope I'm not in big trouble when she wakes up (which should be any minute now) and the Princess Jasmine outfit isn't done yet. It's just a pile of funny cut pieces! Guess what my little slave-driver will be demanding that I do today; I'll bet she will make sure I get in a lot of good sewing time this afternoon.