Thursday, December 25, 2008
On to happier things. Kaia is using canned frosting to decorate a paper plate (my sneaky way of using it all up, she's not allowed to eat it) She was surprisingly fine with Santa leaving presents at my mom's house. She and Ben loved their gifts. Her favorites include a Bolt coloring book, new markers, and an art supply set from her aunt and uncle, and Ben's favorites include a broom and a jack-in-the-box. Mini boxes of cereal in their stocking also went over well with both of them!
It's the quietest Christmas I've ever had this year. We have no tree, no lights. A few gifts for each kid. The plan for the day is the same as the last few--packing, and more packing. We are getting close to done. The house looks a mess though, and it's hard to tell how much we've done until you go into the bedrooms or open the cupboards.
Mike and I went to bed at about 11:15 or so last night. About 15-30 minutes later, Kaia came running out of her room giggling hysterically -- she'd already ransacked her stocking (and the new stocking for the as-yet-ungotten dog). We sleepily told her she had to bring it all out to us so she wouldn't get distracted and GO BACK TO SLEEP. Luckily, she did pretty quickly. At 5am she climbed into bed with us and we all listened to Ben fuss for another 40 minutes. He slept fitfully, and I brought him out at 5:40--and our day began!
The cheesecake for breakfast was a big hit. Kaia was thrilled, though she was surprised how quickly she started to feel sick, and wasn't even able to finish her first piece, much less her anticipated second. Ben carefully tasted the new edible before grabbing handfuls and filling his mouth. He also got eggs for breakfast, but the unusual amount of sugar got to him and he went down for a nap early.
Granny and Grumpy will be coming up Saturday, bringing more gifts. Kaia's thrilled about her "second Christmas" and the visit. We also move on Saturday, wish us luck in this snow!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, or whichever holiday you celebrate, or not. Merry December 25th!
p.s. I'd post pictures, but since my laptop is on the fritz, I cannot upload any now. I do have some, and will share them when possible!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Step Two: Decide to have Grandma buy the gift from Santa, so that your kid doesn't see it packed in the car.
Step Three: Have the wonderful tradition of having grandma also get all the stocking stuffers. It saves you money, and she picks really cool things.
Step Four: Live in an area that never gets snow.
Step Five: Watch as a blizzard hits, making roads completely undrive-able.
Step Six: Wonder how to explain to child how Santa didn't know where you'd be, so he left all the presents at Grandma and Grandpa's.
Step Seven: Think about watching child wake up Christmas morning to no bike from Santa, and no stocking.
Step Eight: Cry, even though it's a totally materialistic thing to worry about, and there are millions of kids out there with no FOOD on Christmas, much less presents and stockings waiting at Grandma and Grandpas. Yes I KNOW it's a stupid thing to be upset about. BUT I AM.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Kaia: I hurt my elbow! It hurts like hell!
Me: (stifling a giggle) That's a word you don't use in public, okay?
Kaia: Okay...what about the other word?
Me: What other word?
Kaia: It's a bad word....
Me: It's okay, you can say it right now.
Me: Well, actually, that's a better word than hell to use in public.
Kaia: Oh...what about the "B" word?
Kaia: What does bitch mean?
Me: Well, two things, really, (I explain the two meanings)
Kaia: Do you know what the "F" word is? (she is excited to be discussing verboten things)
Kaia: Yes! and this means it too! (she flips me off)
Me: That means f*ck you.
Kaia: (eyes sparkling) I know the "h" word!
Me: (thinking we'd already gone over this one) What?
Kaia: Hate! and I know the "S" word!
Me: Oh yes?
Me: Yeah, those aren't very nice words.
Kaia: Dumb isn't either.
Me: Very true.
and yes, we talked about when and where these words shouldn't be said.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Anyway. But as my daughter began talking, I realized that if I didn't tell her Santa exists, I have to tell her he doesn't, since talk of Santa in any group of children is rampant near Christmas. And if you know your average 3 and 4 year old, you know what THAT would mean..."MY mom says Santa isn't real!" So that option was out.
Then I adopted a "less said the better" attitude. I didn't deny Santa his gift bringing myths, I just downplayed them. We didn't go see Santa at the mall (easier to do in Pullman, a small town with no malls. There is a mall in the nearby town, but it was easily avoided.) When questioned, I briefly mentioned how Santa brought stockings that he laid on the ends of childrens' beds at night. For the first couple of years this worked. Santa was in charge of the stockings, the presents under the tree were from mom, dad, and The Grandmas.
Then the year Kaia was 5, it all unravelled on me. We had gone to my mom's house for Christmas. All the presents were wrapped, under the tree, and had been intimately scrutinized by one very precocious 5 year old. As I tucked her into bed, it happened. "Mom," she said. "I can't wait to see what Santa brings me."
"Remember, Sweetie?" I told her, then kissed her forehead. "Santa will bring your stocking, all filled with fun things, and put it on your bed for you to find in the morning!"
"Yes," She said, and grinned. "But Elizabeth at school said Santa ALSO brings the BEST presents and puts them under the tree! I can't WAIT to see what he puts under the tree for me!"
I managed a weak smile. "Okay dear, see you in the morning! I love you, good night."
Shit. What was I supposed to do?! Tell her, well, yes, Santa brings ELIZABETH the best present under the tree AND her stocking, but for you? Just a stocking. Santa must not love you as much as he loves Elizabeth. At that moment, I couldn't think of anything good. So into my mom's room I ran. "Mom! Quick, is there anything you have that we could wrap up for Santa to give Kaia? She's already seen all the presents under the tree, so I can't change a label!" I related then story of Elizabeth and her materialistic Santa (no, I wasn't irritated at all) and she sprung to action, like she always has when I need help. She searched her closet for any little things she had put away for possible gifts later. She came up with a coffee mug that had an Indian horse on it, a matching book, and a chunk of amethyst. "Perfect!" I said. We wrapped them all up in different paper than any of the gifts already displayed, and put them under the tree, proudly displaying their "For Kaia! From Santa!" labels.
It worked. For Kaia at age 5, a mug, a book, and a purple rock could equal "the BESTEST presents" under the tree. She was thrilled with Santa and his strange habits.
So over the next couple of years, Santa put things under the tree. I still didn't mention him if I could help it, and we never went to a mall.
This year, Kaia is 7. And she is full of certain knowledges of what Santa can do. Which is anything he wants to. So this year? She asked for a Bolt bike. Bolt is the new animated movie from Disney, it came out on Thanksgiving, though we won tickets to an advance showing. And guess what? It's not in any way an important enough movie for them to design bicycles with a Bolt theme. There's a few shirts out there, and overpriced plush toys. I told her Santa may not be able to find a Bolt bike, if they haven't made them. She scornfully told me Santa is magic, and can do anything he wants, which most certainly includes the simple task of designing and bringing her a Bolt bike. (I mean, sheesh, her friend Liam? Believes wholeheartedly that Santa is bringing him a room-cleaning robot. Next to that, what's a Bolt bike or two?)
I have assured her that even if Santa does not bring a Bolt bike, he will find the very best bike for her. She remains unconvinced. Andrea (Liam's mom), suggested buying a plain bike and Bolt decals and decorating it myself. Excellent idea!!! Saved!! Or...not. No Bolt decals available.
Then we went to the mall to make gingerbread houses. And guess who was there? yep. In all his redsuited whitebearded glory. And since he had no idea what Kaia meant when she said "I want a bolt bike, okay? thanks!" he simply smiled, nodded, and looked for the next child. She was ecstatic. Santa confirmed her belief! I sighed, took her hand, and reiterated that though I was sure Santa would look high and low, IF he couldn't find a Bolt bike, he would bring her a wonderful bike nonetheless.
Thursday we went to another mall to ride the quarter rides while we waited to go pick up Mike before our doctor appointments. I breathed a sigh of relief as we walked by the empty set-up where Santa would later sit. Kaia wasn't worried, she'd already sat in the fat man's lap and been absentmindedly promised her dream bike.
Then a bit later, we walked by it again. And lo and behold, Santa was JUST THEN sitting down for his evening shift. There were no other kids in sight. The costumed man, at the beginning of his shift, was still jolly. I hadn't even noticed him, but Kaia of course stopped dead in the middle of the hall and grinned at him. Earlier she had found a fake poinsettia blossom on the floor, and was carrying it lovingly with her, grand plans of room decoration in mind. Santa twinkled at her, and crooked his finger... come here! She looked at me for permission (good girl!) and ran to him, the only child around, except for Ben, and plopped herself down. Santa had time to chat. "Have you been a good girl?"
She nodded enthusiastically. "Yep!" Then she had an idea. "Here, Santa, this is for you!" She handed him the bedraggled poinsettia flower.
Santa looked surprised. "Thank you!"
Kaia grinned at him. And he asked the Question. Her answer was the same. He looked a little perplexed, not knowing what a "boltbike" might be. I saw my chance. "I'm sure that Santa will bring you a wonderful bike, even if it's not a Disney's Bolt bike!" I smiled encouragingly at Santa. Being a bit more awake than the previous one, he smiled back. "That's right" he said, not really understanding but realizing I need help, and handed her a candy cane. Ben had climbed up onto the stage and stood about 2 feet from Santa, staring transfixed. Santa handed him a candy cane too, winning Ben over for life.
We walked away, the kids eating their canes, and Kaia talked about how much nicer this Santa was than the other one. The idea of multiple Santas is fine with her. Then I found out why.
"Now I'm getting TWO BOLT BIKES!!!!" She said, skipping happily toward the door. "I told TWO Santas!"
I quickly nixed that whole idea by explaining that Santas talked to each other through email, so ONE bike POSSIBLY NOT BOLT, would be waiting under the tree.
She is still firmly convinced she will get a Bolt bike. I hope this doesn't ruin Christmas for her. Since we're not religious, Christmas is, unfortunately, still about presents to her. Yes, she's excited to see family. Yes, she's excited to GIVE gifts. But, mostly? She's excited about her Bolt bike.
Santa? God? Flying Spaghetti Monster? Any deity or mythical characters out there want to help? There's cookies and milk in it for you....
Friday, December 12, 2008
She paused in her wails. "What?! What super fun thing?" I didn't even look at her. "I'm not going to talk about it." I shut Ben's door and walked to mine. After I got in, the new fit started. "Give me a second CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANCE, I'll beHAAAAAAAAAAAAVE!!" I ignored her. Finally she calmed down. "Mom? Can I have another chance? I didn't know we were going to do something fun."
"No," I said. "You don't behave because you get to do fun things. You behave well because you are supposed to. And you are certainly not rewarded for acting the way you are."
She begged me to tell her what the fun thing was. I said no. I said maybe next week, or the week after, we would do it. I said if she bothered me about it, that would add days onto the wait. I said we'd see how she behaved when I pick her up from school, and that I would THINK about MAYBE taking her in a week or two.
Now I just have to think of a fun thing. I had nothing planned at all.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
2. salted sunflower seeds
3. hearing the dishwasher running and knowing that in 30 minutes or so I'll have clean bowls!
4. heat on a cold day. standing in front of the heater getting roasted
5. being able to IM my husband at work!
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
1. the yummy smell of the gingerbread house on my table
2. watching my son giggle while vacuuming
3. my husband bringing my son to be fed in the morning so I don't have to get out of bed for 5 more minutes
4. my daughter finally getting ready on time this morning
5. today being the last day of the school quarter, and not having to do anything in class tonight
Friday, December 05, 2008
Kaia: Mom, is there a full moon tonight?
Me: I'm not sure, I haven't paid attention to it.
Kaia: Dad, is there a full moon tonight?
Mike: I'm not sure either...can you see the moon?
Kaia: Yes, it's right up there.
Mike: Well, is it full?
Kaia: No, not yet.
Me: Well, whatever the moon looks like right now, it will look like tonight.
Kaia: How do you know?
Me: Umm..I just do. That's how the moon works. Whatever it looks like in the afternoon, it will look like that at night.
Kaia: You never know, Mom. It could fill up more by tonight, and be full.
Me: No, that's not how it works. If it's not full now, it won't be full tonight.
Kaia: You don't know that Mom, it might change!
This morning, on the way to school:
Kaia: We should go in that car wash sometime, Mom.
Me: Sounds fun, we will soon.
Kaia: It's right there, next to that store....eleven...seven!
Kaia: It could be a eleven-seven.
Me: No, it's a 7-Eleven.
Kaia: How do you know that? You aren't the owner, whoever owns it might have named it eleven-seven.
Me: No, there are lots of 7-elevens around. I do know that it's 7-11, not 11-7.
Kaia: You never know Mom, maybe THAT store is a 11-7!
Me: NO, I DO know, that's not an 11-7, it's a 7-11. All 7-11 stores have the same sign.
Kaia: But HOW do you know?
Me: Well, you know that 2 plus 2 is 4, right? What if someone said they thought 2 plus 2 is 5? You would just KNOW that's it's not, it's 4, right?
Kaia: (grudgingly) yes...
Me: Well, you just have to realize that I have a bit more life experience than you, and I KNOW that is a 7-11, not an 11-7.
Kaia: Maybe it is...we don't know.
I can only hope this incessant questioning and disbelief will help her become a world famous scientist who discovers amazing things because she NEVER accepts someone else's answer for her truth.
Monday, November 24, 2008
My friend Della wanted me to tell her my green bean casserole recipe and since I don't cook by recipe, I decided to do a virtual walk through of how I make green bean casserole.
First, try to figure out how many cans of green beans you will need. And yes, they have to be canned green beans. Frozen or fresh won't work for a number of reasons. I think a can of green beans will feed 2 people. I also smoke crack.
Next, go to the store and get green beans, durkee french fried onions in a can (usually near the green beans), milk, butter, check and see if they have any new beers, go through the international foods section to look for new ideas, check and see what new kinds of Ice Creams Dryers, Ben & Jerry's, and the rest have come up with. I like to browse around a lot when shopping. Don't forget to check the lottery totals when you check out, because what's a buck for a chance at anything over 100 million bucks? DO NOT look at any scratch tickets if they have them. Those things are freaking evil. So enticing and playful looking, but all they do is take your money and don't clean up afterwards, kind of like Bush/Cheney. Man, I hope that McCain can help clean up the Republican party. They should first perform an exorcism, which will hopefully get rid of Karl Rove and his acolytes. If the exorcism doesn't work, and big can of raid might just do the trick.
But, as usual, I digress...
Now that you have the ingredients (plus some lottery scratch tickets because GOD DAMMIT those marketing people for the lottery are good), let's get a cooking. First, if you are a woman, you need to start by taking off your clothes, put on an apron, take a very revealing picture, and then email it to me. Once you have that VERY IMPORTANT step completed, I'll email you the rest of this recipe.
I wasn't kidding...
All right, I was kidding.
I am in my head making a green bean casserole for 4-6 people, with hopefully some leftovers. First I take 3-4 tablespoons of better and melt it in a 12 inch or so skillet on medium heat. Once the butter starts to darken a bit, add in enough flour to make a wet paste of flour and butter. In my imaginary reconstruction, that is a couple of tablespoons of flour. The amounts aren't a big deal, the consistency of it is, and we are going for really wet paste. Now crank up the heat to medium high, and with a whisk, whisk it often to keep it from burning and or forming lumps.
This by the way is a roux, and is a basis for a lot of things, the most important is white sauce which is what we are making here for the green bean casserole.
Once you cook the roux to a golden/toasty/beige-ish brown, crank up the heat again to high for a minute, then start pouring in milk. I don't know if it matters what kind of milk you put in, but I'm guessing that like most things, the higher the fat content, the better the taste. I use skim because that's all we get and it still tastes good.
Anywho, this part is kind of tricky. You don't want the pan to cool down too much, so pour in a cup or two of milk then whisk everything around for 30-60 seconds. At first the roux will immediately soak up the milk and turn into a hard paste. Never fear my friends, it is not a radical religious extremist trap, it is the correct and natural process in transforming the roux into a white sauce. So pour in some milk, whisk for a bit, wait for things to heat back up, then repeat. Do this until you have a thin sauce. I kind of look for a consistency of malt-o-meal/cream of wheat. And like those two fine breakfast products, the sauce will set thicker as it cools.
That's the hard part of the green bean casserole. The biggest thing I have had to learn over the years with making it is "don't be a pussy with the heat". Most mistakes are made by not heating the pan enough at the end, or not keeping everything nice and hot, or not browning the roux sufficiently.
Now you have some room timing wise for how you put this together and what not. I usually layer in some green beans, then white sauce, then Durkee fried onions. Do that again, and if you are near the top of the pan stop just before you put the last layer of fried onions. You want to put that last layer of fried onion on right before you heat it up to serve. So, if you are doing this the next day, you would pop the casserole in the fridge till the next day. Then pop it out again when you are ready to heat it up, put on the fired onions, and throw it in the oven forceful so the casserole knows who exactly is boss. Then cook it (covered if possible, but it's not that big of a deal) at any temperature above 300 degrees, but less than 600 degrees. Keep checking it until it is warm in the center. If you were cooking it covered, uncover it and finish it off until the fried onions on top start to brown a bit.
And there you go, green bean casserole. So, some variations are to crisp up some bacon in the skillet and use the bacon grease instead of butter for the roux. This tastes good, but is really heavy. And I find that my taste buds overload on bacon pretty fast nowadays.
Another variation that I haven't tried, but I think would be awesome is to brown some onion in butter before you add the flour to the roux. That way you would get some more infusion of onion into the casserole and that can't be a bad thing right? I'm totally doing that this year.
See every year I have two dishes to make for Thanksgiving. Green bean casserole and pecan pie. Well, the last two years I've made Macadamia nut pie which is pecan pie with macadamia nuts instead of pecans.
Oh! I thought of another dish for my restaurant that I'll never open. Spaghetti and meat balls. I'll probably do something like ziti and meat balls, but you get the idea. I got a menu going now.
(John wanted me to add that if you feel inclined to send pictures in thanks for the recipe, please send them here: firstname.lastname@example.org. And yes, he's serious. and kidding. but serious.)
Friday, November 21, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
sorry it's not in pretty hyperlink form. I had a kidney stone this morning and I am tired. But do go read the poems.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Both kids had a great time, though Yoda took a dive into a table and bumped the bridge of his nose, and yes, there was a bit of blood. He's fine now. Some candy was consumed, some laughter heard, some tears shed - by both kids. Halloween is fun, but I am happy to be done for this year. Except for the next few days of course....more candy to be eaten, argued about, and gleefully sorted through over and over...and over.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Last week we went to a local art museum where they were having a crafts day - Halloween themed, of course. Wrote about it earlier...
So at the front desk, they had a plastic witch's cauldron with a sign that read "Reach in if you dare!" It took Kaia several minutes and many promises on my part before she reached in....and took out a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. She was delighted with the whole idea.
This morning she told me her plan. She wanted to make her own container of candy, with the same sign, and carry it with her while she went trick-or-treating. She decided that she wanted the people who were giving out candy to reach in (if they dared!) and get a treat of their own! So this Halloween, she'll be walking around trading treats with everyone. The candy she chose for her scary bucket is gummy body parts - fingers, toes, tongues, and other such horrible things. Perfect for a Reach In If You Dare bucket!
So at times she will say "Oh for the world of heaven's snakes, dude!" yes, snakes, not sakes. I love it. It cracks me up every time I hear it. Sometimes I'll remember, and say it too. Cracks me up then, too.
Also, the other day she came out with "Oh, for the love of god!" I know I should probably teach her that out of respect for others' beliefs she shouldn't say it...but I didn't say anything. I'll have to confess it on Sunday.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
2. Eat as much of the first bits she gives you as you can, encouraging her to give you more. This fills you up, and gives you ammunition at the same time.
3. Don't forget to drop several choice bits on the floor for a snack later.
4. Grab as much egg, broccoli, and cheese quiche in each hand as you can possible hold. Don't worry if some squishes out, this allows for more fun later on.
5. With each hand, grab a handful of hair. Slowly pull upwards, as if you are combing your hair with the egg mixture.
6. You may want to do this a few times, as there will be enough egg mixture stuck to your hands to last, and you don't want to waste any.
7. Remember the stuff that squished out? If you have been allowed to stay in your highchair instead of shrieked at and pulled out (as I am the second child, my mother's opinion is that if it's entertaining me, she's okay with it for a few more minutes), place your hands flat on top of the food. Briskly brush them from side to side, making sure to go off at least one table edge, allowing the food to cover your hands, then fall to the floor (see step 3) and your lap.
8. Step 7 is easier if you are able to drip your milk on the table first, making the food more slippery, and therefore more likely fall off the table rather than stick to the edge.
9. Enjoy your bath, and be sure to read "How To Avoid Getting Re-Dressed After An Impromptu Bath", coming soon!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
If you live in California, please vote NO on Proposition 8. There's enough hate in this world. Let's help there be more love.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Kaia made a paper ghost, and played pass-the-witch's-hat which was eerily similar to hot potato! She also made a couple of Halloween cards. A couple of kids she knows from my moms' group were there, so she had fun socializing with them.
At one point, there was a belly dancing show. Kaia asked if she could go sit and watch. I told her yes, but couldn't go with her at that moment. About 5 minutes later I walked over and looked for her in the group of people sitting in folding chairs. At first I couldn't see her, then I noticed her in the second to the front row, sitting with a family, chatting happily with the daughter and mom.
I let her know I was there, then stood Ben on a chair a little further back so he could see the dancers. He LOVED them! After each act, he would join everyone in clapping, then started clapping during the acts. After it was over, we wandered away to watch Kaia work on her cards. He ran back to the stage, clapped and laughed, then watched the empty stage expectantly. When nothing happened, he indicated he wanted up on a chair, where he repeated his clapping and gazing, as if to say "Okay! You have an audience now, you can come dance!" It was so cute!
Andrea and John sent the kids' birthday gifts. (Before you say "wait, their birthdays are long past!" be aware I still haven't sent her kids their gifts either!) They gave Kaia a Star Wars version of Monopoly, which made her almost giddy with excitement when she saw. She of course has claimed Luke Skywalker as her own. She and Mike are in the middle of their first game. Ben got one of those little ducks on a stick with flappy feet. This one has a clown hat and a bell. We've unoriginally named it "Ducky" and he has spent VERY little time without it. Sometimes Ducky is out in front, sometimes he trails behind, but almost all day, if Ben came in to the room, Ducky was with him!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Though I give Kathy a hard time about still living where she does, I do understand her (many!) reasons. But it would be so cool to see her more often, and more so, to have all four kids grow up together.
I left there at 7:30 or so, and stopped by the store to get coffee and snacks, then headed out of town. I got home at 10:30pm, and headed to bed. As usual, Ben woke up before 5, then again before 6. I think I may miss class tonight, since it goes until 10, and she is reviewing things I know. Going to bed early would be so marvelous.
I decided to keep up with the 3 days a week work out, and not worry about increasing yet. There is a class that does weights, step, and yoga on Mondays and Wednesdays (which I've done twice. yes, it is brutal), then a spinning class on Fridays (which I have not tried yet. I am sure it, too, is brutal). Ben is getting used to child care there, and likes all but one of the girls who watch over them. He doesn't dislike the one, but she's not as snuggly as the others, so he doesn't calm down as fast (though it still only takes a few minutes).
I am really cold too. We can't have the heat on in the living room during the day because of the type of heater it is (it's on the wall and gets VERY hot). I turn it on at night, but it's definitely getting colder as winter nears.
All right. That's enough mindless chatter for now. I think coffee is in order, both for the exhaustion and the cold.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Kaia's still working on her joke telling skills:
Kaia: What do you have if you have 3 pairs of shoes?
Kaia: EIGHT SHOES!!! HA HA HA!!! Get it?!!?
Me: ummm...honestly, no...
Kaia: Because, you have 3 pairs, so you have 6 shoes, but then someone comes and secretly puts two more shoes there! So you have eight shoes now! Get it?!!?
Ben slept last night from 7:30pm to 5:10am!! From what I can remember, this is the FIRST TIME EVER!!!! WHOO HOOO!!!! (do it again tonight Ben!)
We ordered the kids' costumes today. Yoda for Ben, and Luke Skywalker for Kaia. Spent more than I really should have for costumes, but I really don't have the energy to make a Luke Skywalker costume.
I have worked out 3 days a week for the last 2 weeks. Not a long time, I know, but a very good start!
Saturday, October 04, 2008
On Sundays I work at the hospital for 4 hours.
On Mondays and Wednesdays I have Math class.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have Spanish.
On Wednesdays I go to the farm to get veggies. (only 4 more weeks of that I think)
Three to five days a week I go work out at the gym.
When I can, I do homework.
Monday through Friday I take Kaia to school, then pick her up in the afternoon.
Monday through Friday mornings I take Mike to work.
Tuesdays and Thursdays I pick Mike up from work after picking up Kaia from school.
Every night I cook dinner, usually from scratch.
I make bread 2-4 times a week (sometime I make the dough in the bread machine).
I try to do at least one mom's group event a week, though it usually works out to about two a month.
Add to this cleaning the house, cooking other meals, grocery shopping, and taking care of Ben every day!
We also just got our new really cool health insurance, so I am busily making and going to chiropractor, doctor, and dentist appointments for all four of us.
Now, I am by no means saying I am busier than most people. On the contrary, I know I am not. However, I am much busier than I used to be! And you know what I found out?! I like it! I am happier and far more content now than I was just a few weeks ago! I am looking forward to changes in the next year, but I am okay (for the first time in years) with exactly where I am now. This pleases me.
What plans, you ask? I'll tell you! (even if you didn't ask!)
This January our lease will be up. We are all looking forward to renting a house closer to Kaia's school and Mike's work. Here are our requirements in a house -
- 4 bedrooms, or 3 bedrooms and a close-off-able den/office
- I'd prefer only one story, but it's not necessary
- A big back yard!! Room for: a garden, a kids' play area, AND!! fully fenced, because...we are going to get a dog! We're going to search the shelters until we find the perfect one - small or medium-ish, good with kids, young enough to grow up with the kids, good with cats, and hopefully not too yappy.
I will continue with school, and will be ready to apply for the Ultrasound Tech program starting in the fall of 2010. Mike is working with a couple different people on games. Kaia is still LOVING school, her teacher, and her friends. Ben is getting bigger and more interactive every day!
Life is good.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
He also requested I blog more. I know I haven't written much, I have just been really busy, and I'm about to get much more so. School starts again this week (for me) and so any time I have will be dedicated to family or homework. With an occasional frenzy of house cleaning. I do apologize to the 5 readers I have. I will try to at least post a picture or two from time to time.
be back when I can.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
"I think there must be a god. If not, how was the first person made? Because the first person couldn't have been BORN, or the MOTHER would have been the first person! I think the first person ever must have been a woman, because if it was a man there wouldn't be as many people that exist today, 'cause men can't have babies!"
Monday, September 08, 2008
- Kaia started school, so that means 2 trips a day into Bellevue for me. She ADORES her teacher, LOVES school ("More than anything, mom, even....Star Wars!!") and begged to be able to stay for Aftercare, which is free this year only, so she is there from 8:15 to 3:15, except on Thursdays, when it's 8:15-2:30
- We remembered the tags on my car have been expired, and it had to be taken through emissions, so I did that. It failed. Bad catalytic converter!! nasty, but at least we had Mike's unused vacation pay from his last job, which just covered it!
- I am working on Tania's pregnancy scrapbook nightly....she is due TOMORROW!!!! and will be going in to be induced tonight if she doesn't go into labor today.
- Ben is walking everywhere. He's getting his balance, which means he can walk FAST. Keeping up with him takes up most of my day! I'm putting him into a play group at a kids' gym - they have a big ball pit, and swings, and lots of balls, which he loves!
- I start my second semester of school in a week. I am taking math and Spanish.
- I began volunteering at the hospital on Sunday mornings. I work in the emergency department, and it's going really well. Not only will it help when I apply for the ultrasound tech program, but it really is helping to make a difference, and I need that weekly dose of reality!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
"Look how long she's getting...." I say in awe as she strides up the hill.
"Yeah...." Mike answers. "Seven years old!"
I grin at him.
"How did we know?" He asks me. "How did we know after so little time together 7 years ago what we wanted so definitely?" He's referring to how I got pregnant (planned) only 3 months after we met again. (We knew each other in high school, met again 7 years after graduation)
"Cause we're that damn smart," I say flippantly. He grins at me.
All self-professed intelligence aside, how did we know? How could we be so confident in our brand new relationship that we were so willing to bring a child into it? That we immediately started planning our wedding and life together?
I have no clue. But what I DO know is that now, 8 years later, with two kids, two cats, a few dreams come true and lots of dreams as yet unrealized, is that there is no one I would rather be with. Mike, you bring out the best in me, and you balance out the worst. You love me unreservedly. You are the best Da Da ever. I love this life we've made.
I love you. Hugely, loudly, unreservedly. Happy, happy, happy 7th Anniversary, darlin'. I'll get the steak and 'tots, you download the movie! ;-)
Friday, August 01, 2008
-pay off debt! We owe to credit cards, relatives, car loan....
-401k! This company matches 50% for up to 6% of his salary...so that means that we'll be putting about $400 a month into it, and they'll put $200. Adds up fast.
-birthdays, holidays, just because days. We are going to be able to buy things for other people now!
-buy land, and build a house, or buy a house on land. We finally decided that an acre or two is the right size for us, and we want a small-ish, one story 4 bedroom house. Since most 4 bedroom houses are big, we will probably be building. I found the plans online for one that I love that is less than 2000 sq feet. After we pay off all our debt we can start seriously looking into this.
-after we buy the land and build the house, I can get a new car! I am really loving the Mazda5. We are waiting until after buying the house so that can be our financial priority.
okay, I guess those plans encompass more than a year...more like 2 or 3. Also, in January, we are going to move to a different apartment closer to Kaia's school to save on gas money. Mike's new job has its own bus system, and they will pick Mike up, and he gets a free bus pass, so we still aren't going to get a second car for awhile. If we can find an apartment close enough to her school, I can walk her to and from school every day!
Another HUGE benefit to this new job is their medical benefits. We pay NOTHING. No paycheck deduction, no co-pay, no percentage. ALL our medical comes at no cost to us!! I'm sure you know how awesome that is without me having to go into details.
Add in a year raise, yearly bonus, discounts on more things than I can imagine, and you get one happy Michael, and one happy me!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Anyway. It was a LONG game, but Kaia had fun - and she won! She did have help, but she played well. The hotels - I mean, the offices - you see below are hers, and the one right before Free Parking is the one that helped her win. Mike landed on it and didn't have the $950 to pay her rent, so he went bankrupt (almost all of his properties were already mortgaged).
Friday, July 25, 2008
The first recipe will be made tomorrow night, when we attempt home made tortillas for our burritos! Posts will include recipes, pictures, and a little bit from each of us about the experience and meal. We're both really excited to both be cooking together, and writing about it together! Stop by and tell us what you think!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Kaia: I'm calling you on the phone...
Me: Okay. Hello?
Kaia: Hello! Would you like to come over for a visit tomorrow?
Me: Sure! What time?
Kaia: Umm....how about....4 in the morning.
Me: That's a little early for me.
Kaia: Okay, how about 4:30?
Me: I'm still asleep then! How about 9?
Kaia: Come over at 10.
Me: Okay. Can I bring anything?
Kaia: Bring whatever you like!
Kaia: I will tell you what I am allergic to.
Kaia: Ummm...I am allergic to.....seeds...and nuts.
Me: Okay, I will not bring any seeds or nuts.
Kaia: And I should tell you, I am allergic to sugar carrots too. It says on the package if they are sugar carrots.
Me: Got it. No sugar carrots.
intermission while Kaia gathers up various foods to be cookies and I gather up a few fruits to bring.
Me: Okay, I am coming over!
Kaia: We haven't even gone to bed yet!
Me: I am so tired! I'm going to bed so I can be wide awake to visit Kaia tomorrow!
Me: Yawn! I slept well! Now I'll get ready to visit Kaia!
Kaia: Ring Ring!
Kaia: It'a a party now, not just a visit!
Me: Oh, okay! I'm coming over now!
Me: Hello! I am here for the party!
Kaia: Oh! Hello!
Me: I brought a watermelon, a peach, and a banana.
Kaia: What else?
Me: Nothing else...
Kaia: hmmm....(said quite disapprovingly)
Kaia: My son has wrecked the floor. Why don't we clean up before the party?
Me: Oh, okay.
Kaia: Or wait, why don't you leave and come back later. Come back at....umm....2!
Me: Oh, okay....I'll just leave the fruit I brought here then.
Kaia: Yeah, that's what I was thinking.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
They are HILARIOUS.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
Nope. Nope. and sadly, Nope.
We aren't doing anything. We are enjoying our family time, gonna hang out together doing nothing, spending no money, taking no trips.
Mike has the day off today, and we have decided to make this weekend a weekend of no plans. No commitments, no hurry-and-get-ready moments.
Yep. We are planning to be supremely lazy. All four of us, all weekend.
I am so looking forward to it!
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
I said that we didn't have a TV, so I am not caught up on current kids' shows. There was a minute of silence, then all three women said some variation of "I couldn't do that! I'd go crazy!"
The truth is, I never miss TV. In the beginning, it wasn't our idea not to watch TV. In Pullman, where we used to live, you had to pay for cable to even get basic channels, and we couldn't afford that. So our TV sat in the living room and waited for us to occasionally watch movies on it. I realized that without even the option of vegging on the couch in front of the TV, I didn't miss it. I was pretty busy anyway, with working full time and taking care of my family. If I had had the TV to watch, I would have stayed up way too late anyway, and not for anything worthwhile.
However, Mike and I watched movies and, every once in a while a TV show (Heroes!), online. And after a trip to the school Kaia goes to now, we talked about getting rid of the TV itself. We'd already made the rule of no movies on weekdays, simply because I didn't want to have the homework vs. TV arguments later. After very little discussion, we decided to remove the TV. Kaia could watch her weekend movies on the laptop. The amount of room the TV took up wasn't worth the small amount of use it got.
So out it went. And again, we didn't miss it. We had a lot more room in the living room, and it actually felt much more peaceful without the looming gray screen.
After we moved, we didn't get a TV even though we'd have access to local channels now. We can watch any shows we want to online, though that's rare.
After dinner, we put Ben to bed, then Mike and Kaia spend time together, or we all three do something together. I don't have to listen to my daughter whine about wanting to watch one more show, nor do I have to hear about what new toys she wants, after watching one inane commercial after another. I never think "I wish I could watch TV, I am so bored."
In the spirit of being truthful, if I am at someone's house, and they have the TV on, I am just as likely as the next guy to get lost in it. But I am amazed when commercials come on and I see what advertising people actually expect us to believe. I am shocked at what is considered normal for kids to watch. And when I see Kaia's glazed eyes, and know the same look is in mine when I watch the screen, I thank the stars above we don't have a TV. I'd go crazy!
Sunday, June 29, 2008
But this morning, he looked up, saw Suzie, grinned and yelled "CAT!" Then after we got all excited, he started saying "kitty cat! kitty cat!" over and over. Mike calls the cats "kitties" when talking to Ben, I call them "cats".
So he is now up to three words. "Mama", "Da Da", and "Kitty Cat". Or four, depending how you look at it!
Saturday, June 28, 2008
After we got home, we were all hot and sweaty, so we got into bathing suits and went to the pool. It made all four of us feel much better. Kaia swam over 5 laps lengthwise!! I don't know where she got the energy! We came home after an hour or so, put Ben to bed, and are now just relaxing a bit.
Friday, June 27, 2008
She got a few more starts to book series - Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, The Boxcar Children, Ramona Quimby. She also got some more books for younger kids, which she still enjoys and can be easier to read.
Tomorrow should be a blast. I have to go get all the supplies -planters, flowers, cake, ice cream, etc. - tonight when Mike gets home. The party is in the afternoon so I'll have plenty of time to prepare...thinking about it, I should maybe get the flowers tomorrow morning....
Will post pictures from today a little later, and several from tomorrow I'm sure. This morning we're off to a park play date with my mom's group.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
So yesterday we're in the car on the way home. Ben is fussy because he's tired, and Kaia is grumpy because she had to leave her friend's house.
Kaia: Mom, Ben calms down when I pay attention to him. I think he just wants attention. (said in an exasperated tone)
Me: Okay, well, you could sing him a little song.
Kaia: I don't want to.
Me: Okay, you don't have to entertain him.
Kaia: (after a pause) Mom, can I tell him it's not all about HIM?
So, as I said in my whiny post, it could just be me taking things personally. And after a VERY nice email from the friend in question here is my conclusion.
I am extremely self-absorbed. Not all the time of course, but in situations like this. Because in the email she mentioned all the reasons -and almost all of them I was already aware of -that she has been busy: she's pregnant, has a 5 year old, her husband has been almost living at work (not willingly), she has a big over-seas trip coming up, she's had to plan and go to multiple doctor appointments for her and her family and her pets, and, not mentioned in her email, she has been helping out a neighbor whose back went out.
Yeah. Am I taking things too personally much? sheesh. Sometimes, I really just need to ask my daughter to tell me...
"Mom! It's not all about YOU!"
Monday, June 23, 2008
That's only taking 2 classes per quarter, which is awesome, since I need to take night classes until I am in the program. Night classes are either Monday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Thursday, meaning if I work it right I can be taking a class all four days. I'm starting with only one class though, since it's Summer quarter, meaning less time to do the same amount of work, and to get back into the School Groove.
Of course, I decided this last Friday, and today was the beginning of the quarter - though the class I signed up for doesn't start until tomorrow night. I signed up for Algebra 097, a class I've taken before, but ten years ago, so I don't remember much. Since Math is my weak point, I don't want to take any chances about keeping my GPA high, so I'd rather start fresh and keep up. I only have to take 3 math classes for the program - 097, 098, and 099. I'll write another post later about the other classes I'll be taking, as well as the volunteering I need, and want, to do.
I'm really excited to start, despite the fact it's math. I am confident I'll do fine in the class since it's all just reminders, and Mike is super supportive and excited about me going to school too.