Saturday, May 29, 2010

Solicitor Super Star

Today's Solicitor Super Star award goes to.... the kid who just knocked on my door!   He was selling newspapers and magazines.  I was saying, "No, Thank You... Good Luck...  Bye Now... No, really, No Thanks..." He was having none of that!

Finally, he made me an offer I couldn't believe.  He said, "If you don't have time to read newspapers, I could just put it in your recycle garbage bin when I deliver it to your house. Then you don't have to pick it up yourself."

Isn't that something?  I could subscribe and pay for the newspaper and he would deliver it and put it right in the trash for me!  How convenient!  I said "Thanks for offering, but NO." Then I hated to do this, but I shut the door. He was still jabbering away. 

Cute kid, he's got quite the entrepreneur spirit!  He'll go far.  I 'm pretty sure he'll get that college scholarship from his Alternative School for troubled youth and stay out of trouble on the streets, even though I didn't buy anything from him today.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Moms Night Out

Note: I wrote this on two days, the first part on Friday morning, and the second part on Saturday morning. Mom's Night Out was Friday night and here it is, Sunday, so you just have to play catch-up!


I'm going!!! The local moms group that I attend infrequently is having a Moms Night out tonight. We are all abandoning our husbands and children and going out to eat without wrestling a long-armed toddler, no taking a little kid to a public restroom mid-meal, no watching Daddy eat a good hot meal while I'm letting mine get cold cuz I don't have enough arms, no falling out of my chair while reaching into the depths of my diaper bag (I'll never forget that).

I don't know these moms very well, just as acquaintances. I would know them all better if I could actually stand still long enough to have a decent conversation, but I end up chasing my kids and running away from any adult conversation that actually is happening. Most of them (ok, all of them) are younger than me, but that is the nature of the beast that is my life anyway.

I'm so excited to go out. I haven't had 5 minutes alone for weeks and weeks. Except in the shower and even then, they are right there waiting for me, yelling for me, sure wish my bathroom had a door! I did take the trash out, alone, just the other day. I needed a minute. They were watching me out the window and crying the whole time I was "gone".

I'm going to leave early for the moms dinner and linger as long as I can. I'm going to be pissed off if our table is next to a table with a little kid. No offense, but really, I don't want to deal with it for just one meal. Everyone in Temecula who is going to the Macaroni Grill tonight.... get a sitter. Seriously, don't come near me with your runts. I'm a woman on the edge.

Had a great time!

Went out with "Nora's Mom", "Becca's Mom", "that drooling baby's mom", "cutest baby at the halloween party's mom" and some other mom I've never met before. It's hard to get to know them very well when you don't go to baby group very often anymore and when you do, you just chase your toddler around and never engage in any actual conversation. Last time I went I spent most of my time crawling under the tables that were shoved to the side of the room in a long row trying to rescue Libby who kept trying to stand up under there and bumping her head. They were all very nice and a couple of them looked fabulous! I should have brushed my hair.

I ate a whole meal without anyone grabbing my plate, food or my silverware. I drank a full glass of water that didn't have slobber in it. I had a glass of wine too! Party on!

When I got home, Keith looked ragged. Geez, dude, you had a nap before you had to watch the kids. I made them dinner and gave them a bath before I left. How hard could it have been? Well.... they wouldn't eat their dinner, they wanted bites of his bowl of chili. So he had to struggle to get any of his own food. Then Libby grabbed his full spoon and he spilled chili all down his shirt. He says "this explains why you have food on your shirt all the time". Yes, yes it does. Then Libby had TWO dirty diapers. This man does not do diapers. He had to change TWO poopy diapers! He wasn't happy about that at all. Gracie was all upset because I was gone and she wouldn't move more than 4 feet away from him so he kept running over her every time he turned around. Yup, sounds familiar. She's 4, but she doesn't let me out of her sight, she really freaks out about that. Then he said he understands now why I needed some time to myself because it probably has been a while and three hours was exhausting. I told him the last time was when I got a babysitter for one hour and got my hair cut - last month!

All in all.... it was a fabulous night! When I got home Libby was still up and she hugged me so tight it felt wonderful. Gracie was sound asleep and she was super happy to see me this morning. Big adorable smile! It's so nice to be appreciated by the little runts! And the big guy too.

Two New Blogs

In my spare time.... I'm writing two new blogs. I felt like I wanted a place to channel my thoughts in a more focused arena. This blog is all about everything - anything goes really.

I will still write here about what it is like to be the mom of a 21 yr old married daughter who wants a tattoo, an 18 yr old pregnant daughter, a 4 yr old stick of dynamite daughter, and a nearly two year old cheesy grinning daughter. I will still write about my life as a breast-feeding soon to be grandma. I'll still tell you about life as a college grad with no job prospects. I'll write about life as a teacher's wife. This is where you get to find out about bad haircuts, trips to Disneyland, funny things my kids say and do, crazy ideas my husband comes up with, and the antics that make me laugh and thank God that I didn't get to plan my own life. It's my kind of craziness that you all keep coming back for, right?

I continue to get a lot of hits on my one post where I reviewed a diet and exercise product. It amazes me how many people stop by to see what I had to say, every day! Well, I'm a consumer and I have an opinion about everything I buy. So, I decided to start a blog to review products. It'll be limited to products I actually purchase, so don't be looking for too many more diet products! Mostly toys and books and movies and that sort of thing. I'm calling it "Mama's Big Bunch of Opinions".

I also want to put together my little adventures in a blog. People have taken notice that I venture out with the kids and we go a lot of places. We try to play in lots of different parks. We have a pass to the Zoo, Wild Animal Park and Disneyland. We've been here and there and places in between. I am writing a blog about the places we go, an outing blog. Hopefully, it will be handy for other local families. I actually get questions from others such as, "Do you know of a good park for a two-yr old? What kind of playground fill does that park have? Are there bathrooms at this other park? Have you ever been to ?" We are blessed with so many places to go for a day trip or a little park outing. It'll be fun to keep track! This blog is called "Oh The Places We Go".

Neither blog has very many posts yet. They are both a work in progress! I have a ton of catching up to do if I'm going to do either blog any justice. This blog will still be devoted to randomness.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Disneyland in Mismatched Shoes

Last week: Wyoming and Montana. This week: Disneyland. Next week: Catalina Island. May is a busy month for outings!

Going to Disneyland is a physically demanding day and I wasn't really feeling like taking the plunge into the pool of exhaustion that follows a day at Disneyland. But, if I was going to get the kids to the Happiest Place on Earth at least once per month, I figured I would just ignore my laziness and get going. I had another cup of coffee and mustered up some energy.

The kids slept great the night before, they woke up happy, ate a great breakfast of sausage and eggs. Libby filled up a diaper (always good before an outing!). They were clean and wearing matching dresses that they picked out themselves. My husband had to work late, so if we come home late they won't miss any Daddy time. My gas tank was full. The weather was perfect too! All signs pointed to a great day at Disneyland. How could I argue with that?

I didn't tell the kids where we were going; I just asked them if they wanted to go out and do something. They ran to the door! Guess they were done resting from our roadtrip and ready to go again. I insisted we all wear shoes, and the hunt for footwear ensued. I could not find matching shoes for Libby anywhere! I found one white, one red and one blue shoe. Three mismatched shoes. Oh well, I stuck a red and a blue on her - they were the same style and there was one for each foot. Good 'nuff! I put on the Minnie Mouse ear hat and took them out to buckle them up. Finally, Gracie said, "Are we going to Disneyland?" The ears were the big tip-off.

We parked in the Woody parking lot at 11:30am and we hit the freeway to head for home at 7:30pm. It was an 8 hour day and I'm sure feeling it today!

We managed to do quite a bit. Even found some new things we've never done before! I love discovering new attractions (new to us). Of course the first thing we did was walk up Main Street to the Castle and tour Sleeping Beauty's story. This is one of our favorite attractions and we never leave until Princess Aurora's dress is pink.

Then we made our way to the Princess Fantasy Faire to see the princesses. The line was as long as it gets! Gracie actually told me "Lets come back later". Fine with me! We walked right onto the Small World without waiting. As always, the puppets were awesome and the song never gets old. Both girls were singing along this time - I love that Libby sings now! She knows the tune and mimics the sounds well enough.

Then we went to Toon Town to visit Minnie Mouse. She was beautiful and sweet as ever. She even gave Libby some kisses.We checked on the Princess line again and it was just too long. Looked to be over an hour wait. Gracie was not excited about it one bit. I was shocked, but I'm not going to argue. We've met all of the princesses except Pocahontas and she is rare. Plus, the girls were not wearing princess costumes, so it was ok to miss the princess line-up. We made our way over to Pixie Hollow to meet Tinkerbell.

The line for Tinkerbell was pretty long too. But the waiting area is fun and you have some elbow room. The line is a bridge over a little pond complete with ducks and ferns and fairy statues hiding around the foliage. Today they had water shooting from one side of the sidewalk to the other over the top of the people. The girls just loved it! When it was our turn, Gracie got super excited because she saw *gasp* The Blue Fairy! She was beautiful! We rounded the corner and visited with Tinkerbell herself. She blew kisses back and forth with Libby and gave Gracie several very nice hugs.

Gracie wanted to go see Winnie the Pooh next. He's a long walk away from Pixie Hollow, so off we went. On the way, we stopped at the Tiki Room. I thought I knew where the Tiki Room was and headed for it, but Gracie was pointing and telling me to "go that way!". Sure enough, she led me right to the Tiki Room. Who needs a map when you've got a 4 yr old Disneyland enthusiast?

Singing with the birds and flowers and drumming with the totem poles is a highlight! The girls sing and whistle and pat their knees. They love the Tiki Room! Gracie is getting good - she covered her ears right before the clap of thunder. She is still amazed that it stopped raining when we go outside. One of these days, she'll figure that out too.

Right next to the Tiki Room is a meet-and-greet area for Aladdin and Jasmine. Today, Jasmine was there and the line was exceptionally short! We hopped in and got to visit Jasmine. She's been the favorite princess around here lately. Gracie loved seeing her and Libby loved, well, herself. Libby stood right in front of the Disney Photopass photographer and said "Cheese!" He ignored her for a bit, focusing on his job to take photos of the princess. The people in line behind us were Ooohing and Awwwing over Libby's antics.

As we passed by New Orleans Square, Gracie searched the area for Princess Tiana. No sign of her, but wait! Who is that! Singing pirates! We stopped to watch them play music and sing pirate songs, they were great! The girls watched with caution, just in case. They were pirates, after all.

By the time we got to Critter Country, Pooh and his friends were gone. Aw, pooey. We just flipped around and headed back the way we came. On Main Street we saw a quartet of singers, they were fun to watch. Then we headed over to California Adventure.

In California Adventure Park, we found some new things to do. We went to the Muppet 3D Movie where Gracie laughed her head off! And we went to the Disney Playhouse show which was awesome in so many ways. Mickey and friends puppets, singing, and bubbles fell from the ceiling - the girls were beyond thrilled! When we came out of there, it was time to find a spot to sit and watch the parade. We had a great spot for viewing, but Libby fell asleep in the back of the stroller so she missed the whole parade. Gracie sat in the front seat of the stroller and I parked it so she was right on the front line and I sat on the sidewalk next to her. We had a little picnic while we waited for the parade to start.

The parade was the best! It was the Pixar Play Parade. Characters from some of Gracie's favorite Pixar movies marched right past us. Boo from Monsters, Inc. came right up to Gracie and a dancer gave Gracie a high five. We saw characters from Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Bug's Life, Toy Story and Cars. When Gracie saw Lightning McQueen from Cars, the real Lightning McQueen, she got super excited!

After the parade, California Adventure was closing and the entire mob of visitors headed out. Most went back to Disneyland. I suggested we go home now and Gracie was having none of that! So I took them back to Disneyland. Rather than fight the crowds on Main Street where the California Adventure visitors were entering and the Disneyland visitors were gathering for the Celebration Parade, I parked the stroller at the train station and we hopped on the train. We rode it all the way around the park. Gracie lit up with excitement when we traveled through the Small World! After the train ride, the girls were ready to head for home. Perfect timing since the crowds were staying for the parade (same one we've seen three or four times now).

Both girls slept all the way home. When we got home, Daddy pulled in the driveway before I even had the doors open to get the girls out. Gracie never did wake up, she slept all night long too! Love that! Libby just had a nap in California Adventure, followed by a nap all the way home, so she was ready to rock and roll when she got out of the van.

It was a really fun and wonderful day! So glad I didn't give in to laziness and just stay home today. The weather was perfect all day long and the girls were so well behaved and happy! Can't beat that!

One of the funniest things about the whole day was Gracie telling everyone we met (attraction workers, bus drivers, people in line, anyone who could hear her voice!) something new. Rather than her daily declaration that it's her birthday today, she changed it up a bit. She told people, "This is my new dress I got for my Grandma's birthday. It has stripes." I'm so glad she found something new to say instead of "Today is my birthday, I'm turning 4" and I was really glad she didn't whine about not wearing a princess costume! Double bonus!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Great Grandma is 102

In my previous post, I said that we went to Grandma's birthday party. She turned 102 on Mother's Day. What a great day for a birthday!

Just going through my pictures from the trip and wanted to share these two. This is my Grandma's place. She lives on her ranch, which used to be a cattle ranch back in the day. Now it's just a tumbleweed ranch, but still a great place. Tumbleweeds don't smell anywhere near as bad as cows, so I'm not complaining one bit! In this photo, Grandma's house is horizontally center, vertically, it's about 1/3 across the photo from the left. The other place further to the left in the photo is across the road.

And here is my Grandma Gracie.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Destination: Wyotana

Just took the little girls on an 8 day outing. We drove 2746 miles (approximately) through 7 states. I picked up a pretty good travel buddy when I hit Las Vegas, my brother who shall be referred to as "Wubby" forever more. Libby renamed him and it just might stick! Together, the four of us covered a lot of ground.

The trip was for Mother's Day and my Grandma's 102nd birthday was the same day. There was a nice little lunch party for her. My husband woke me up in the middle of the night a few days before the trip with this crazy idea: "You should go! Take the girls and go. You can do it! It'll be fun." Really? Go on this super long roadtrip without the husband? Ugh, the thought of going it alone was not appealing in any way. My husband says, "pick up your brother on the way". Hmmm....

After a sleepless night of thinking and scheming and planning and mapping out the trip in my head, I decided it was a good idea and I would go. I called my brother and he said he was game. I called my mom and she stammered around a bit before giving me the unfortunate news that my crazy idea to just pop on over and crash the exclusive birthday party was not a good idea. She suggested I stay home and come another time. As usual, I did not listen to my mother. After 44 years of that, you'd think she would know that I never listen. Wonder where my kids get that?

The trip was a good one. The birthday party was great! Being home was a lot of fun and very refreshing. The girls had a wonderful time, and they loved seeing their Grandmas! They also got to play in the snow - so much fun! The road was good to us, the weather was just fine. All in all, the whole trip was nice and we got lucky in many ways making it one of the best vacations home we've ever had.

Now I'm road weary and having fun trying to catch up on sleep with two little girls who don't need roadtrip recovery time. Oh, how I wish I had their energy level!

Once we got home, I quickly discovered the reason why my husband sent me off on a long trip by myself. He hired a crew to demolish my ugly kitchen counter, and replace it with granite! I hated that counter. It was 4" white tiles and hundreds of grout lines. Blech, cleaning that counter was awful and it never looked clean. I hated it every day we've lived in this house. Also, the beat-up-scratched-stained sink has been replaced with a wonderful deep new sink! Love it! It's topped off with a new beautiful tall functional faucet! I'm so excited to have a squirty thing that works! And the faucet doesn't leak! These little things don't seem important but they really are. He also replaced the stove cook top. New stove! It's one of those kind that just goes on the counter, the oven is separate. This new stove is nice! The burners work! All of them! I love that - it's handy and pretty!

This is why my husband convinced me to get out of the house for a week. He wanted me out of the way. Didn't want my input or my stressing out over what was being done. Honestly, this is the best way to remodel - just come home to it all being done. Love it! He knows me well.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Trip for Two! (and me too)

I won a trip for two to Catalina Island! The ticket is for two people to ride on the Catalina Flyer, which I learned from google is a boat.

"Our Catalina Flyer, the largest passenger-carrying catamaran on the West Coast, features a richly appointed interior, sweeping sun decks, full-service cocktail lounges, stately viewing windows and Ride Control. So if you want comfort, service, a friendly crew, or just want to work on your tan, the Catalina Flyer is your choice. The Catalina Flyer is not only the FASTEST boat, but the BEST way to the island."

The boat ride takes an hour and 15 mins so it should be long enough to be lots of fun! I think the little girls will enjoy it. There are two set times of day when the boat goes and comes back, so we'll have to be sure to be prompt so we don't miss the boat. Literally!

Of course, I'm taking my two little outing buddies to Catalina instead of my husband or a friend. I have more fun with these two than I ever thought possible. I just know they'll love going for a nice boat ride, spend the day at the beach, do a bit of walking around the shops and then another boat ride back. We'll just go for a day. The time between boat rides is about 6 hours, which is long enough for us. It would be nice to camp out or get a hotel and stay overnight, but I was looking at the websites for lodging and it's very expensive! Plus, everything you do is very expensive too. The girls and I don't need to go snorkeling or horseback riding or journey to the middle of the island to see the buffalo. We'll just beach it!

I can stake out the place for a future date with my husband. Wink Wink!

We have to go soon. The free tickets expire on May 28th. I'm really looking forward to the Catalina outing with the little girls! Now, I just have to decide which stroller to bring.