Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

Another year dead and gone, another year of memories made, struggles endured, milestones reached. Another year older, another year of celebrations, activities, school, work, another year of life. Another year older, and another year wiser.

My personal highlights of 2008:

-Patrick and I took the kids sledding for the first time ever

-Damien learned to ride a two wheeler

-Gas prices shot to the sky and then plummeted

-Patrick and I took a romantic trip to snowy Salt Lake City

-Emily's hip hop dance recital

-Damien rode his first upside down roller coaster

-Caliana became a full blown talker


-I flew a plane

-Damien got his "big" front teeth

-Cali celebrated 2 yrs old with a luau

-I jumped off a rope swing into the river

-Patrick and I went to Vegas and had a blast

-O.J. finally got his

-Patrick and I and the kids took our first full family vacation

-I lost my Caliana baby weight.....finally

-I hosted Christmas dinner

-Guitar Hero

Have a great New years, Stay safe tonight. I hope you all have a fabulous year in 2009. May a lot of love, laughter and money! find it's way to your doorstep. And May you not take any of it for granted. Now Take the new year and live it. Live it well. Live it fully.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I think I have a problem

See, just the fact that I'm not in complete denial is a good sign that I'm not too far gone....but the addiction is new, so I'm still wary. If I go missing for 3 weeks or better, that's your sign that you may need to organize an intervention.

It'll be hard to convince me though, that it's for my own good and the good of my family, and that you're not just all jealous because I'm a total rock star. What? I am. I'm like already a Rank 11, and only have 2 gigs left. What the hell am I talking about? Guitar Hero. Geez. Guitar Hero is my drug of choice, and lucky me, there are like 4 other Guitar Hero games! And I could totally get the drums and the microphone and be a complete and total rock star.

I started realizing I had a problem on Sunday when I made Emily go see why Cali was crying and had her check on Damien since I hadn't seen him for a little while, because I was like right in the middle of this really hard song. Hey, at least I'm still AWARE of my children.
And when Cali wanted to watch her new chipmunk movie I was totally understanding. I said "mommy just needs to play a TINY bit of Guitar Hero and then you can watch it."

See just a tiny bit. And her cries of "No ditar hewo!" didn't last very long anyways.

Monday, December 29, 2008

an exceptionally long christmas post

Where shall I start?

I could start a week before Christmas when Emily had her clarinet recital. She had to be there at 5:45. I picked her up after work at 5:25. It was a dark and rainy night. Perfect setting for the horror that was to follow.

me: Where's your clarinet?

Em: *absolute look of despair* "I think I left it at school"

Shit shit shit, of course she did. It's not like she ever forgot it at school before, it's not like I reminded her when I dropped her off that morning not to forget it.

She almost started to cry, but I whipped into action. Let's go, maybe someone's still there. We ran down the halls of the school, in the dark, in the rain, and yes, we are blessed. The janitor was cleaning Damien's class as a matter of fact and was glad to open Emily's classroom for us. Another tragedy averted.

We drove as fast as safely possible on this dark and rainy night and made it to the recital just barely in time. I dropped Emily at the front door so she could hurry and take her place and the rest of us went to park.

Once inside I found a great seat right up front. I gave Cali a granola bar and settled in for the show. I didn't see Em, so I assumed it was the advanced band or some other school going first. After the first song, the teacher announced that it was the beginning band. Oh, my bad, I jumped to attention and started looking for Emily in the cluster of kids and instruments. I still didn't see her and started getting panicky. What if she was in the back amidst all the rest of the band members wondering where her teacher is and where she's supposed to be. I craned my neck through the entire performance looking for her in the band, looking for her in the audience, looking for her to come through the doors confused and possibly crying.
Before the last song the band teacher introduced the instruments individually and when the clarinets stood up I finally saw her. Right where she was supposed to be, holding her clarinet up, looking for me too. She waved, I waved, and I was able to enjoy the final song.
When it comes to band, it's about what you hear more than what you see anyways.
Right? Right.


I could start at 2 days before Christmas. December 23rd. One of my favorite days of the year because for the past 5 years Emily and I get all spiffed up in our best formal wear and drive down to San Francisco for a night on the town. We go to Chevy's and dine on fajitas and margaritas (well the margaritas are more for me than her... but you know).
After dinner, we catch the 7:00 show of the Nutcracker Ballet, performed by the San Francisco ballet company, the first company to perform the Nutcracker in America. Can't get much more authentic than that. It's performed in the War Memorial Opera House, an amazingly beautiful building, with lovely marble floors and floor to ceiling mirrors. This year, my mom came along with us. It was a rainy day and the traffic was a little congested through the city. We had only 35 minutes from the time we arrived at the restaurant until the ballet started so we had to eat fast. I mean fast fast. Thankfully, our waitress was very acommodating and we juuuust made it, with no time at all to spare. Our seats were on the balcony level in the very front row, so we could look down on all the people below. To the left of me was an older woman, sitting alone, looking not altogether comfortable. I don't know her and I don't know her reasons for going alone, but I smiled at her and was thankful that I had loved ones to enjoy the show with me.
At intermission Emily and I went in search of the gift shop. It was 3 floors down, and we took the stairs the entire way, in our heels. Phew. But, I was on a mission for the Nutcracker CD. I couldn't find it at Target or Walmart or the mall, so what better place than direct from the source. They had them stacked up right on the counter, EUREKA! I expected to pay a little more than usual, maybe $20? $25? I asked the woman how much.

"40 dollars"

me: "yikes"

saleswoman launched into her pitch: "It's the entire ballet on a 2 disc set, performed by the San Francisco orchestra...."

She could have saved her breath, I was buying it. $40 or not. It even came with a little souvenir book holder. Neat. Back to our seats.

As usual I watched Emily almost as much as I watched the ballet. There's something amazing about experiencing something like the ballet through the eyes of a child, especially your own child. I remembered back to our first year, when she was 5 years old, where she was so short, she had to sit on the arm of the seat just to see. That first year she danced through the lobby, a tiny blond pixie in her floor length gown, making strangers smile, telling everyone she met that she was going to the ballet and thanking me over and over for bringing her.
I looked at her now, almost 10 years old, leaning over the balcony, helping to conduct the orchestra, still making strangers smile, still thanking me, and felt intense fear at the speed of time and overwhelming pride at the person she's growing up to be. I also looked over at my mom, watching me watching Emily. She told me how happy she is that I could give these experiences to my daughter that she wasn't able to give to me....and I was so glad she was there to share the moment with us.


Or, I could start with Christmas Eve... which was not quite the fun filled evening I imagined it to be, in which we starved the children and I went to church twice, and Patrick not at all.
I worked until noon and grabbed some chinese food on my way home. It was quite busy in the restaurant, but the orange chicken was calling to me, and besides it was quite busy everywhere. I needed to make one more stop at the grocery store since Patrick had drunk all of the egg nog and I had forgotten a few other things. As you might expect, it was a madhouse. I had Caliana with me and I'm lucky she didn't get lost in the fray. You could barely move. I will never, vow NEVER go to the grocery store on Christmas eve again. Mark my words. Go ahead, mark them. I tell no lies.
We got back home an hour and a half later and Patrick was impatient to get to his parents house. It was another crummy rainy day, and we all got wetter than I would have liked. Emily almost dropped the two pies we were bringing on the floor of the car and we were all basically feeling pretty tightly wound. We did have a nice visit though and then afterwards fought our way through traffic to church. They had daycare for the toddlers only so Damien and Emily sat with us in the church. Five minutes in, the pager they gave us at the daycare room went off. Patrick went to get Cali and we didn't see him again for the rest of the service. Which was a very nice service. Except for Damien trying to have a sword fight with the glow sticks they gave them and both Emily and Damien thinking it would be fun to climb on the hand rails.
At the end, we made a mad dash through the Patrick and Cali, outside....again no Patrick and Cali. So we booked it across the puddle filled, dark rainy parking lot a mile away to the car where I just knew they had to be. Nope. Back through the parking lot. Emily is upset because she stepped in a puddle and her pants and socks and shoes are soaked, Damien is losing his mind because it's 7:00 and they haven't eaten since lunch, unless you count the candy and cookies everyone is handing out, which I don't. We eventually found them, still in the daycare. DOH.
3 cranky, hungry, wet kids and 2 grumpy adults all finally packed in the car, and did we do the smart thing? Did we go home? Did we find them some food? No, we went to Patrick's sisters house to bring them their presents, because we were like already over on that side of town and everything. Needless to say we didn't stay long. We went to my mom's after, where she was having real food, drinks, and karaoke. I was the only adult who got up and embarrassed myself, I mean sang. But she had an 80's karaoke cd and I can't pass up the chance to sing along with WHAM.
Long story short, we wore those kids out, there was no chance they were waiting up for Santa, they were just glad to be dry and warm in bed. I caught a midnight candlelit service at our regular church with a couple friends which was just lovely and got me back in the Christmas spirit. And when I got home I sadistically added ribbon to every single one of the presents I placed under the tree and headed off to bed, for 3 hours at least.


Christmas day, ahhh Christmas. The glow of the tree never looked so bright. I'm definitely not one of those parents that moans and groans when the kids wake up early on Christmas and nudge you out of bed. It is the one day a year I am actually up before everyone. Except Patrick. No one can beat him, so he doesn't count. I'm all jittery with excitement, wondering if it would be cruel to wake the kids at 5:30 am after they were up so late. Emily and Damien made it down first and we let them open their stockings, but they had to wait for Cali to do the rest. It was a lovely morning of gift giving, gift receiving, and gift frustration since Mom put ribbons on every single damn box.
One of my gifts to Patrick even made him tear up which in turn made me tear up. Sniff Sniff, I just love Christmas.
We finished off the morning with the giving of the Wii. We saved it as a surprise gift after everything else was opened and the wrapping cleaned up and the kids were looking over all of their goodies. And it WAS a surprise. It was a surprise that I remembered to actually go get it out of my closet and give it to them. They were appropriately enthusiastic, but I couldn't stick around to bask in it since I had some serious cooking to do.
Normally I am not the host. I don't do the whole....stay in the kitchen slaving all day, and I mean ALL day so that everyone else can have a glorious Christmas and I can have two burns on my hand and one on my arm. Nope, that's not usually me. But this year it was. We all have our burdens to bear.

BUT, I was pretty excited because I had no less than FOUR brand spanking new recipes to try out and I was just going to wow everyone. And did I ever. I wowed them with a $300 meal, that was ready 2 1/2 hours late, which by the time it was ready I was so stuffed on sampling carrots and mashed potatoes straight out of the pan, that I was barely able to wolf down 3 pieces of rum cake.
When all was said and done, we had a ton of guests, a ton of SATISFIED guests, I had a few too many glasses of champagne and played Apples to Apples. There was farting, name calling, and I even grabbed a cookie from a little girl and chucked it all the way to the kitchen. Beat that with your Christmases.

I'm just glad I didn't try out Guitar Hero until after all of my Christmas duties were finished. We might not have eaten at all.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Here I go again on my own

Going down the only road I've ever know-own, like a drifter I was borrrrn to walk alone....

Sorry, got a little carried away. I am well aware that I haven't even touched on the subject of Christmas yet, and I'll get there, probably Monday. There's just too much to write and I'm too distracted here at home. Right now Caliana is sitting on the side of the couch throwing sunglasses and Heely plugs at me. I really should be cleaning and doing some laundry, but hey, I have ALLLLL weekend for that.

To explain the title of this post, Patrick has left me.

For three whole days.

He's in Sacramento painting, and scraping tar and doing other such fun things while I'm stuck here at home with the kids. I had a bit of time being a single parent, between leaving Emily and Damien's dad and getting married to Patrick and I can tell you, I am NOT enjoying the flashback. Especially with a third psycho, I mean child in the mix.
Yesterday started out well. I cleaned up the Christmas mess. At least the kitchen Christmas mess, then went to the park, took Emily to see Twilight, made dinner and watched a movie with the kiddos.

*WARNING* If you don't have kids and think you might want them someday, you might want to stop reading now. Just saying.

Nighttime is when things started to fall apart. I got Caliana in her jammies, set her up in my bed with a movie and went downstairs to watch Wall-E with E and D. No more than 15 minutes had past and I was falling asleep on the couch. I decided to just go on up to bed and let the kids fall asleep where they were. They're on vacation from school, who needs bedtime. I fell right to sleep and woke up to a very loud toddler, a very naked toddler, a very stinky toddler yelling in my face.


Oh, ick! She also decided to remove her pajamas and the offending diaper and crawl back up on the bed, so now I had a nice big poop splotch on my bed, a nasty diaper on my floor, and a poop covered monkey trying to jump on me.

That woke me up pretty quickly. I plopped her down on the floor.


Then I went on a frantic midnight search for the diaper wipes. After two full laps around the house, I still didn't find them. This is the irony of parenthood. The one time the poop is in a state of urgency, the wipies will decide to take a vacation. Patrick probably took them with him just for the laugh. I still haven't found them.

Anyways, we resolved the problem with a bath, a washcloth, and a bedding change. I sure hope the next two days fly by.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


One of my children, and I'm not naming any names here, is the most eager to please child I've ever met, aside from myself of course. It seems the only time she is in trouble it's because she won't admit to a mistake she made for fear of our disappointment. This is a pretty easy disposition for me to deal with, and the source of my "parental snobbery" when I only had one child.
I was all like "geez, parenting is so easy. I'm only a teenager and my toddler is so well behaved. All you other parents must be screwing up and turning your kids into brats."
Yeah, ok, remember I was a teenager. And she really was that easy.

My newest daughter....I knew from the start that she was going to be trouble. First of all, she's a cancer. Don't get offended all of you cancers... she's extremely loving and charming, but she's going to do things her way and that's it. Nope, no point in arguing, that's the way it is.

Her first act of rebellion, being born a girl. No one thought it would happen. There hasn't been a Walsh girl born in at least 4 generations. Ask my husband, or his brothers, or his nephew, or his dad, or his get the point.
She's a new specimen, very powerful, very headstrong, very stubborn.

One of my biggest parenting pet peeves is children with hair in their faces. Especially toddlers. They get food in it, it sticks to their snot...ick. Caliana was born with an extrordinary amount of hair. She had a bob by 6 months old.

Consequently, I've had to style her hair from a very young age, to keep it out of her eyes, her mouth, her drool. And was there ever drool, my goodness.
But I digress. My problem is with her hair now. I style it, she pulls it out. I style it again and she tells me she doesn't want it in, and pulls it out.

At breakfast she's leaning over her bowl of cereal, her hair is almost sitting directly in the bowl, she keeps swiping it out of her eyes. I see the problem...I want to fix the problem...I need to get the damn offending hair out of her face. I say "baby, do you want me to get you a hair thing to get all that hair out of your face?" Her response, "no, my like it my face" grabs a big hunk of hair and pulls it directly down the middle of her face and eats around it. I tell you, I just can't WAIT for her teen years.

Monday, December 22, 2008

the ways we torture each other

On Wednesday Damien had basketball practice. I ended up bringing all of the kids because I had just enough time to run from work, pick them all up and get Damien there on time.
Things went much smoother this year than last year. Last year Damien looked like one of the little guys on the team, he had no skill and messed around....a lot. This year, he's one of the tallest on his team, no screwing around, and actually knows how to dribble, pass and shoot. He even swooshed, it was fun watching him....when I actually got to watch him.
Emily found a little girl to play with and they rolled a ball around and then played cards. Cali wanted to play ball too, so she got a ball, ran within one foot of me and threw it directly at my face. She thought this was a great game. I didn't like it as much. When I put a stop to it, she started throwing the ball to Damien....out on the court. Ha. Yes everyone, I brought my toddler to interupt your children's practice, it's all part of my evil plan, bwahaha!
I finally got her settled on a game of tossing an orange cone in the air and trying to hit herself in the head. I'm sure I wasn't the only one entertained.

After practice I just wanted to take a quick drive to the mall to pick up our xmas pictures. Quick....mall......xmas......yeah I can see where my thinking went wrong. If I thought the portrait studio was busy when we went to get our pictures done, well, I was wrong. Here it was 8 days till Christmas and the place was wall to wall people, cranky kids tired of watching Shrek the Halls for the 5th time were running around, crying, tearing out their picture perfect hair....harried parents were shooting daggers at the two employees running the place....let's just say I was thanking my lucky stars that I was only there to pick up, and get the hell out. I still had to wait 10 minutes or so. Plenty of time to lose a kid or two. Damien said he had to go to the bathroom. I reminded him that it was around the corner. He said he knew where to go and ran off. By the time I finally got my pictures he wasn't back. I grabbed the girls and we went running halfway through the mall looking for him. I asked a security guard if she'd seen him and she helped us look. He wasn't too far from where we'd left him and he still had to go to the bathroom. Heart attack for Wednesday...check.

Everyone was suitably cranky by the time we were headed home at 7:00. We all wanted dinner and to just be home already. Caliana started crying over something, probably because Emily touched her carseat or some such thing.
This is how it went.

C- *cry, cry, cry* In that annoying fake-y tired cry.

Me- "Ugh, Caliana PLEASE stop crying, we'll be home soon"

E- "Cali don't cry, it makes me sad"

D- "Cali don't cry, it makes me want to hug you....and throw you out the window" (all in that sickly sweet sympathetic voice)

So the rest of the ride, hell, the rest of the night, we got to hear:

"Damen says he put me out da winow, I tan't doe out da winow, I cwy" *cry cry cry*

Friday, December 19, 2008

Kitty cruelty?

So, I just read an article about a woman who is in trouble for selling kittens that have piercings. Here's the link:;_ylt=AnpFUCWT5LEq2hs68BVd2mxxFb8C

The article says that the cats were taken away and the woman likely faces charges. My question is....really?
Because I know you can take your pets and have their claws removed, have their wings or ears clipped, tails shortened, chop their nuts off, and the list goes on. But I guess an earring....or tail ring as the case may be, is crossing the line.

Don't get me wrong, I like pets as much as the next guy, and I'm not saying piercing your pets is a great thing to do, I'm just saying I don't think it should be a prosecutable offense, considering.

Think about this. I was able to take my 2 month old infant daughter to the mall, the
MALL, and have a teenager pierce her ears. I wonder if I would be able to get her nose pierced, or her bellybutton. Where are the lines drawn. Is this spelled out somewhere or is it all a matter of opinion.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Maybe I shouldn't share this one

Remember how I said I was a deep sleeper, and nothing short of the world exploding, or a toddler jumping directly on my face would wake me. Yeah well....

Last night, all the kids were tucked into bed sleeping, and Patrick was at the store when I started getting yawny and stretchy. I locked up the house, and headed off to bed. What I completely forgot all about was that we had taken our house key off the key ring when we went to Oregon, and I had just inadvertantly locked my husband out in the cold. And it is COLD. It has been unusually cold here this week. We've even had everything frosting over. It's freakin me out.
Well, he apparently rang the doorbell for quite awhile, but did I wake up? Did I even stir? Did I even have a dream about a bell ringing insistently? The answer is no. I slept on cluelessly, while my 2 year old. Yikes. My 2 year old unlocked the door for her daddy. Oh lord. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm glad he was able to actually come in the house, but not so pleased that my baby can undo the deadbolts. Especially since she's proven to be somewhat of an insomniac and I'm so not. Obviously.
This situation will have to be rectified immediately, before she decides to take a midnight stroll up the street, and I'm left sleeping peacefully through the insistent doorbell ringing from the police.
Nobody call CPS, I'll fix it. Promise.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The eye before the storm

I honestly and truly get a break from all extra curricular activities, starting tomorrow and ending the day after Christmas!!

Damien has basketball practice tonight, and Emily has her clarinet recital tomorrow night, but then, nothing for 7 whole days!!

I'm going to need it.

School, Gymnastics, basketball and my dance class are all on hold until the second week of January, but Emily still has cheer practice twice a week. That is because her first competition is January 11th, in Davis! The day after MY dress rehearsal for dance. The next weekend, my dance performance is on Saturday, and the next day, another competition for Emily in Moraga. Where? Yeah, my thoughts exactly. That means it's at least an hour away.
I'm pretty sure Damien's first basketball game is one of those weekends also. Where will we ever find the time to play our new Wii?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tired and sad.....but grateful

Up until now, the only ways our struggling economy has affected me personally are;

1. I got an extra tax refund
2. Gas prices went way down
3. House prices went down so far, that I started to consider that I may be able to one day buy my own home.

Well, I'm sorry to say that negative effects are starting to hit home now too. My company is suffering the same issues as the rest of the country, and we had to do lay offs this week, right before Christmas. I know they hated to do it, but there honestly was little choice. For the next few weeks at least, I'll be doing all of the work in my department, and while I am bitter about all the extra work, I am also so very thankful to still have my job and more importantly, my paycheck. It's very scary sometimes being the main breadwinner in the family.
To everyone who has been laid off, fired, who's husbands or wives are laid off, who are in fear of losing their jobs....hang in there. My prayers are with you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The OCD chili dog

In the town where I work, sort of hidden over near the college, there is a hot dog restaurant. If you live in Rohnert Park, you've probably been there. If you haven't, you should go. The food is delicious. It's called Charlie's Serious Chili Dogs. The owner, consequently is named Charlie. Charlie runs a neat establishment. Extremely neat. In fact, it is the cleanest restaurant I have ever seen. Charlie has exactly zero employees. I used to think it was to save money, and it might partially be for that reason, but I believe the main reason is because an employee would not do things exactly right, exactly precise, exactly neat and tidy, and I just don't think that would sit well with Charlie.
Charlie puts on a new pair of gloves for each customer. He shows no sign of urgency, even during lunch, when the line is snaking through the restaurant. He handles each order with utmost care and precision. If you order a "serious chili dog" you'll get a hot dog with mustard, onion, chili, and the option of cheese. Order it with the cheese. Charlie will take out one of the individually separated containers of cheese, tap it on the counter once, and break a piece of the lid before removing it. I promise.... it's always the same. It fascinates me. Charlie has concocted a chili, that pours beautifully over your dog, and then stays there. I've never seen a chili dog do that.
Charlie isn't the most carefree, outgoing man. He almost gives off a feeling of annoyance, that he has to deal with you, and the rest of the unwashed masses, in his nice pristine restaurant, but he is also unerringly polite and I like him a lot. And did I also mention that he's clean? I think I did. Some health inspectors visit Charlie when they've had a particularly disgusting restaurant filled day, just to make themselves feel better about the world.
A coworker and I went there on Friday to pick up lunch. We ordered a few dogs and wanted to mark which one was which. My friend asked if Charlie had a pen, and when he brought one out, she reached for it. Charlie whipped his hand back so quickly I thought he might fall over. Geez girl, please don't touch the OCD man's pen, he might not give us our chili dogs. He glowered at her and marked the containers himself. Thankfully he forgave her faux pas, and we left with all of our delicious, perfect lunch.
I brought out a fork to eat with, because I was being silly and thinking of NORMAL chili dogs. I picked up that dog, and was finished quicker than I'd like to admit. But this, this is the amazing part. I looked down into the chili dog container, and there was not an onion, not a drip of mustard or piece of cheese, not a drop of chili had escaped from it's rightful place on the dog. Now THAT is a serious chili dog. Sometimes I wish I was even a tiny bit OCD.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

2008 pictures

Here we are in all our Christmas-y glory. Keep in mind these are low resolution proofs and for some reason low resolution means your teeth are going to look out of whack, and your eyes might look really really freaky

It's a kiddie totem pole (remember this photographer was a newbie)


Is it just me, or does she look really tall here? I think it may be the really short fireplace?

Cute boy. Like most men, he's not altogether comfortable posing in front of a camera

Aren't we cute, everybody "awwwwww" Ok that's enough
This picture is also known as "hurry the hell up, because no one is supervising the children"

Ok, this one is my favorite, stare at it for a really long time, it starts to look really strange....and check out Cali, it looks like she's in a wheelchair, doesn't it? Tell me it doesn't? This picture will have me cracking up for years. Not that a toddler in a wheelchair is funny.....except when it is.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A visit from Christmas past



That would be me and Em on the left

2001 (I put Caliana in this same dress for this year's pics)



I totally slacked on the pictures in 2004




2008 coming soon!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I love when Monday is actually Tuesday. What better way to start the week than to totally skip Monday? I took yesterday off as a self imposed "Mental Health Day". I'm getting a little ribbing about it this morning..."what, she thought one day would be enough..hahaha" It's all good though. I spent most of the day with my baby monkey. I think she gets a little shafted on the individual quality time, being that she's the third, so it's nice to just hang out sometimes, just me and her, even if we did have to stop by the DMV.
The weekend was super busy. I went to a passion party at a friend's house Friday night, and am going to have to find another to go to, AFTER Christmas, because I wanted to buy too much and it's just not in my budget for December. I got a little something though, so all was not lost.
Sunday we got our Christmas pictures taken and that was an ORDEAL. It always is. I used to work at Sears Portraits, so I have a certain sympathy and understanding for the madness. Portrait Studios pretty much triple their business in November/December, so their solution to that is to hire a bunch of new employees in October. That's great and all, except one month of experience is usually not sufficient to keep things flowing at the pace necessary to avoid total chaos. I helped out with the pics that I'm not actually in, so we did get some good ones.
Hey, I just had an epiphany! Maybe I should hire on part time to a portrait studio next year. I have the experience to help, and it would mean extra Christmas money. Hmmm, we'll see whether the lottery comes through or not in 2009.
Later that day we went to get our Christmas tree. We always go to a farm to cut our own down. We lost every one of our children at least once. It was thrilling. I had spent my entire fortune on Christmas pictures, so I only had $53 left for our tree. They sell pines for $4.50 a foot and firs for $7.50 a foot, so I could have saved myself some stress by just going with a pine, but I didn't. I love firs. So we had to be really careful how tall the tree was, because how embarrassing would that be, if we cut it down and couldn't pay for it. We ended up with a 6 1/2 footer and it cost $51.28. Woohoo! I took some pictures, but they were on one of those disposable film cameras, so I'll share those pics sometime in 2010.
Our pretty tree is now standing in our living room completely bare. I got out the decorations last night and found that not a single strand of lights works. Damn and double damn. But, Patrick has vowed to make them work today, so good luck to him.

P.s. I got the package Bob, and I have to say: You freakin rock! You just made my Tuesday-Monday!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's in the air

Yeah you know what I'm talking about, you hear those sleigh bells jingling...ring ting-tingling too.
Or as Lucy would say " You know, Santa Claus and ho-ho-ho, and mistletoe and presents to pretty girls."
I just *heart* that movie.
Anyways, if you're totally dense we're talking about Christmas here. It's all around. We're going and cutting down our tree this weekend *reminder to self-borrow a camera* and then we'll be decorating....oooooh *squeal of excitement*!
Oh oh...and...we're getting Christmas pictures done Sunday. Aaaaaand I have my Christmas lists all made out and half of my shopping done, and we already got our Nutcracker tickets in the mail!!!
-Miracle on 34th st
-Home Alone
-Home Alone 2
-The Santa Clause
-The Santa Clause 2
-The Santa Clause 3
-A Christmas story
and -How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Plus we already have Elf, The Ref, and of course my favorite "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

Have I enthused enough disgustingly cheery holiday cheer on you yet? I just love this time of year. Watch for Christmas cards, they're going out soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oregon-Days 4 and 5 The end

I woke up on Saturday in a great mood. It was cozy warm in the tiny room where I was sleeping, and the sun was just barely poking through the curtains and nudging me awake. The air mattress Cali was sleeping on apparently had a leak, because it was mostly deflated and she was tucked down into the middle like it was a giant squishy pillow. I giggled to myself and scooped her warm little body into bed with me, so I could rub my cheek on her silky hair and smell her sweet baby breath. These days are so fleeting. With Emily I was so impatient for her to grow, to change, to start doing big kid things and I thrilled over every milestone. It's changed for me now. My first baby is almost 10, and it sounds cliche to say it, but it goes so so fast. I've learned to treasure the age they are, and soak up moments like these. She came slowly awake and grinned at me, and said "I 'wake mama"
Hehe "Me too! Want to go to the park?"
"Yeah! Hooway!"
After we were all bundled up, we headed out. I was fully prepared for the cold this time, with a sweater AND my down jacket. We strolled right past the little city park which is all made of metal and is really pretty ghetto, and kept on going to check out the cool, big playground at the elementary school. It was still pretty early out and it is a small town, so the streets were pretty empty. We were able to walk right down the middle of the road. By the time we reached the school, the sun was starting to peek out of the gloom and shoot little rays of sunshine all around us. It was truly a blissful Saturday morning. We got to the school and found it completely locked up. We checked. We walked around the entire block, checking every point in the chain link fence. Cali was just pining for that playground the whole time and I even considered climbing us over the fence, but eventually concluded that that would not be the best lesson for my 2 year old. So we consoled ourselves with going to the grocery store for a treat. And just to illustrate for you how city spoiled I am, I stood in front of the grocery store door for a good 10 seconds before I realized that it wasn't going to open by itself. Go ahead and laugh. I did.
Cali got a sucker and I got some Ho-ho's and we headed across the street to the coffee shop. It was a very small town homey sort of place, that doubled as a book shop and a gift shop. They had shelves and shelves of used books, that I could have perused for an hour, but I had to save the tiny tea sets and other antique-ey toys from Caliana's too curious hands. I bought a peppermint patty coffee, and we had a long leisurely stroll back to the city park. The sun was shining beautifully now and I was able to shed my coat. We walked through downtown, with it's tiny little post office, video/gift store, and town gym (which was the size of an apartment complex workout room) and I chuckled to myself. It was a perfect place for my mom to grow old in, and just the type of place I could stand for a week vacation, and no more.
We met up with Patrick and the other kids at the park, and played for a bit before heading back for lunch.
My brother had some work to do the next morning, so Patrick volunteered to drive him home a day early, along with Damien. I pouted over this for a little bit. I missed home too, but I decided one more day of vacation wouldn't kill me. The boys left and the rest of us headed to Grants Pass for some tax free Christmas shopping. I picked up Guitar Hero and Wii Play with an extra controller for the Wii, and some various smaller presents, and was way excited to not have to pay any sales tax. What a great law, we should totally adopt that here in California!
After shopping we headed out for dinner, and my 12 year old brother Noah caused quite a fuss because he wanted to go to a buffet and my mom and I wanted pizza. We followed directions to 3 different places on the GPS, that weren't actually where they were supposed to be, and were all a little frustrated when we finally pulled into a Pizza Hut. It was an empty little place, and the kids were able to run around while we waited for our food. Pizza makes everyone feel better, so after we ate, our moods all improved. We headed back to the house, got cozy in our pajamas, and watched "Born in east L.A."
My mom and I hadn't seen that movie in many years and laughed our asses off. A great last night of vacation.

Sunday was filled with packing, and driving. We ate at Black Bear Diner in Shasta for lunch. It was beautiful there, with the snow covered mountain visible just outside the windows, and coffee and yummy meat filled omelets visible right in front of me.
The car ride was decent as car rides go, we played cards and Apples to Apples, did crossword puzzles, sang Christmas songs, and watched Alvin and the Chipmunks meet Frankenstein....twice.
We got home around 8:00, and I was so happy to see my house, my boys, my heater and my bed. Vacations are nice, but there really is no place like home.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Oregon- Day 3

By the third day I was feeling mostly better. I started the morning out mellow enough. Chilling out on an air mattress watching "Big Daddy" with the kids. Patrick made me a cup of coffee and warned me that it was boiling hot. Of course, Murphy's Law being what it is, Damien took that as a cue to try and sit on my lap. I was sitting cross legged on an air mattress, so I had not a lot of options. I basically shoved him away from me, trying to keep him from sitting on my *full to the brim, boiling hot cup of coffee* and in the process splashed some coffee onto my own leg. Thankfully it wasn't a lot, but I did get a pretty little burn about the size of a silver dollar that started blistering and peeling immediately. Someone got me a bottle of cold coffee creamer that I stuck on there and that took the pain away. It's kind of ironic that it's the worst burn I've ever had, but it hurt the least. I have to attribute it to making it cold right away. Anyways, everyone fretted around trying giving me Neopsorin and trying to find a bandage in the 3 different first aid kits, but I was like "dudes, chill, it doesn't even hurt. Thanks for the coffee creamer."

A little later after we were all dressed, Cali wanted to go down to the park. I pretty much hadn't left the house much at all, so I figured it was my turn to take her. It was coooooooold. For point of reference, daytime temps in the winter where I live are around 50-60 degrees. That is my cold. That is what I go out in in the winter with my cozy boots, sweaters, jackets, etc...
It gets down into the 30's but only at night while I'm sleeping.
So anyways, it was way too cold for my liking, probably around 40. I brought a Dr Pepper with me, but as soon as we got there I set it down and didn't pick it back up again. I could barely stand to push Cali on the swing. Poor girl, I kept asking her if she was done yet. She just shook her head and kept saying "my hands is feezing". My kids don't own gloves. Or scarves. We are fully unprepared for very cold weather. Which I know, it wasn't even snowing or below freezing or anything and I'm just a big baby, but whatever.
I got her down and her hands WERE freezing. I warmed them up a bit, and showed her how to stick them in her pockets, but honestly it freaked me out a little, seeing her tiny little fingers all red and cold, like little baby finger popsicles. I took her back to the house.
That afternoon my mom left to pick up her fridge from Sears and take my brothers to the movies, so I just hung around and read my book, while Cali napped and the older kids played outside *psychos*. And by play I mean, took the bottle of Ranch that was being kept cold outside and squirting it all over the walkway.
When my mom got back we decided to go to Grants Pass to go bowling and have dinner. The kids played on one lane, and the adults on the other. This was the kids' first time bowling without bumpers, and Emily got a little discouraged, but I taught them how to granny bowl, and they didn't do too bad. I bowled an ok game, but I lost my 2nd frame, a strike thank you very much, because I stepped over the line. I have never had that happen before and had to go complain about my score screwing up. She was like "oh, I'm sorry, you must have fouled, I can't change the score in that case". I was fuming. What? Me step over the line? I would never? Ok, I probably did, but that's a stupid rule! Give me my strike back!
My mom ended up winning, and I squeezed into second one point behind her with 2 strikes in the final frame. Patrick pouted over that because that knocked him into 3rd by only 1 point. Close game.
We ate at Applebees after that and I was SHOCKED at how well behaved every one of the children were. They actually colored in the little kids menu books and ate their dinner, and didn't try to climb out of the chairs and go running around the restaurant. It was truly a delightful meal.
After dinner, the boys took one car back, while the rest of us went to Walmart. When we first walked in, I was all "LOOK KIDS, they have GROCERIES at this Walmart!" They were unimpressed. I also liked the wide aisles and how empty it was. Our Walmarts are always PACKED. I also got a lot of looks. Made me wonder if I was committing some Oregon Faux-pas that I was clueless about. They do wear their boots on the outside of their jeans here, don't they? Or maybe they just don't have chicks as hot as me here, HA HA!
When we got back to the house, everyone was tired and ready for bed, except me, and finding a quiet place to read where I could have a light on without disturbing someone was quite the chore. I ended up reading in my mom's room for a little bit and finished my book (last one in the Twilight series), and grudgingly went off to bed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oregon-Day 2 Thanksgiving

I woke up at 3:30 am. Even though my phone got no reception, the alarm still worked and we forgot to change it from the night before. Patrick turned it off, but then I had to listen to him blow his nose for the next 15 minutes before I could fall back asleep.
I woke up again around 7:30. Still feeling slightly crummy, but a marked improvement from the day before. After a cup of coffee and some Caliana snuggles, I was raring to go. I helped cook breakfast *mainly because it was warm in front of the stove* and that went well, except for one bacon grease burn on my knuckle and one fried egg dropped on the gas burner. After breakfast I played Apples to Apples with the kids. Fun game, if you don't have it, go get it. Don't worry, I'll wait.
The town was holding a free Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who wanted to come, so we all decided to check that out. It was held in a cute, woodsy tiny room, and when we walked in it was half filled, mostly with elderly and homeless, and I suddenly felt like a moocher, but we just went with it. They had nice hot coffee and they brought us each a plate of food. No one was sitting near us, so we just chatted amongst ourselves, ate, thanked the kitchen staff and left to go check out the trains. There are actual trains in the town, and trains are kind of a lost mode of transportation where we live, unless you count BART, which I don't.
I wish I had some pictures to share with you all, but I haven't fixed or replaced my camera yet.
My mom has a clock that plays a christmas song on every hour. She had the great idea that whenever the clock went off, we would all say something we were thankful for.
The kids ate this up, and were thankful for things like: being all together as a family, god, a place to live, etc....
Mine were more along the lines of Coffee, hot water, indoor plumbing, air mattresses, you get the idea. I'm all about my own comfort, if you couldn't tell. Patrick doesn't like being put on the spot and was thankful for things like Russia, and that he was outside last time the clock went off.
My mom cooked her own turkey, and some side dishes and we had another late dinner. I got to talk to my sister and 5 year old niece on the phone, and we all sang karaoke. Well all of us except Patrick, who ate way too much turkey and took a nap, Chris and Cali. I especially loved Damien's version of "Rock you like a Hurricane" complete with dancing and air guitar.
We ended the evening watching "Home for the Holidays", and I went to bed feeling....thankful.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Oregon- Day 1

So, Tuesday evening, just as I was leaving work for my 5 day weekend, I started feeling... not so good. Isn't that just the way of things though? It's unavoidable. Irony is everywhere. Since I'm a tough chick, I went to dance class anyways, which was pretty miserable towards the end. Emily was also not feeling very well, and I considered cancelling the trip, but like I've said before, I'm no quitter, so we just went with it. I even stayed up till 11 packing, but I have to admit Patrick did more than his fair share.
I set the phone alarm to go off at 3:30, and went to bed, for only 4 hours. That is less than HALF of a normal night for me, so when I woke up I was not so pleasant, or even lucid really. We actually left the house by 4:05, but we have a leaky tire, so first we had to stop to get it some air, then we had to stop at Safeway to get some Excedrin for Patrick's toothache, so we really didn't leave town for another half hour or so. I had been all set to go back to sleep, but I just couldn't. The kids slept off and on until the sun came up. We stopped once for coffee and potty, then again for breakfast. We all stumbled into McDonald's to join the other groups of travelers still in their pajamas, washing up in the bathroom, changing diapers, and grabbing breakfast. But me, I wasn't in my pajamas, I was still in my dance clothes from the night before. Way stylish.
I was still able to breathe well enough to taste my Sausage McMuffin, and some man told me that I have a beautiful family, so not a bad stop. We stopped a lot. We stopped again about an hour later because I had to go to the bathroom, then again for Patrick, and for snacks. Then, even though we were only an hour or so from our destination Patrick wanted to stop again for lunch. I was against spending more money, but let them get Taco Bell. The trip took us over 9 hours total.
I still felt like crap. I couldn't even really appreciate how cute and homey my mom's new house was, I just saw tiny, and crowded, and cold. There was no comfy place to sit yet, a couple of space heaters, and a man working on the plumbing, so no toilet and from what I could gather, probably no hot water till Friday. I wanted to cry.... but there was coffee. Sweet blessed coffee, to warm me up and soothe my sore throat.
My mom put me right to work assembling her tv stand. I usually like projects like this, and it was a sit down project, so I went with it. What else was I going to do, a shower was out of the question. After first putting a piece on upside down, and then having my brother break a piece off, I finally finished it. The electrician came and replaced some fuses and I could've kissed him because that meant hot water, and a working stove.
I went to take my shower in the *freeze my ass off* bathroom, and it was blessedly hot right up until I put the conditioner in my hair, at which time it turned instantly freezing. I shrieked and flipped the faucet off. But now I had a head full of conditioner. I shivered and pouted and missed my house for a minute, before turning it back on and rinsing as fast as humanly possible in the stream of ice.
Now I was cold and hungry, and still a little pouty, but I got everyone to agree to pizza. I found numbers for 2 pizza places in my mom's new tiny town. One was disconnected, the other rang and rang and rang, and for the 10th time in an hour I missed the city, where the pizza people always answer the phone.
My mom was suggesting burgers, but I'm not a quitter, so I grabbed the GPS, found a pizza place 20 miles away and whined to my husband, who cheerfully volunteered to go pick it up. It took an hour and a half, but he also brought me back pretzels. My hero. *swoon* He also spent a good part of the evening bathing Cali, finding all the kids their pajamas, setting up beds, reading to Cali, and getting her to bed. He was the first to come to my mind of things to be thankful for.
I spent the rest of the night listening to bickering, shivering in front of the space heater, watching Night at the Museum, and finally sleep, blessed sleep.