Monday, October 31, 2011

Moe the Spider

In the spirit of Halloween, and all things creepy, I would like to share with you an ongoing obsession in our house- SPIDERS.

The mere mention of spiders sends Patrick running to the other room. It is quite comical. He hates them- all 6’5”, 225-pounds of grown man is, dare I say, AFRAID of spiders.

The boys on the other hand adore all things arachnid. When we visited our family in Boulder this summer we made a trip to the Butterfly Pavilion.

There, in addition to an amazing butterfly habitat, which you could stroll around, was a fantastic insect room. It was full of ants and bees and SPIDERS!

Here is Franklin, my brave boy, holding Rosy the Tarantula.

And our family’s personal favorite, the Black Widow. Patrick mumbled something about it reminding him of me. I pretended not to hear, but a woman never forgets.

Colette shares her father’s distain for the live ones.

Pretending to be spiders in a “spider web”.

The boy’s obsession extends to pretend spiders as well.

Meet Moe, the squishy black Target dollar bin finger puppet.

A few hours after he became a member of our family he was lost somewhere in the house. The boys were beside themselves with worry. I reassured them that he was around somewhere. I was forced to eye Snoop’s poop for Moe’s remains. Everyday they asked if I had found Moe yet. It became a part time job. Two weeks later, Moe was found shoved between Franklin’s headboard and mattress. The children rejoiced. Angels sang. If only I had changed the sheets sooner the reunion would not have taken so long!

Since Moe’s “return” the boys have decided to keep him in a box with the rest of his spider family, were he will never be lost again. The box also houses Meanie, his mother. I’m not sure when we will have a Eanie and Miney, but there is a warm bed consisting of a washcloth waiting for them. And we love our yarn spiders as much as the others.

Spiders- they make Hexbugs look so cuddly!

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Preschool Pumpkin Patch

I think I have mentioned here before that I LOVE the kids’ preschool. The teachers and instructional aides and principal are amazing. The parents are very involved. There is a very loving, positive atmosphere, and the kids have so much fun!

One of my favorite activities of the year is the Pumpkin Patch. This year I got to take Franklin and a group of his classmates around to the various activities. It is staged on the bluff next to the church. When the kids walked over from the school building they were in awe!

There were pony rides.

“Cow” milking.

Bunnies and goats and chickens.

Bobbing for donuts.

A scary, wretched, evil witch... who happens to be the boys’ favorite teacher.

A haunted house made by Vincent’s class, and many, many more activities.

They “bought” pizza for lunch.

There was The Monster Mash and lots of singing and dancing. The kids all got to pick out a pumpkin to take home, along with candy and other treats...

Like these.....

Happy Early Halloween!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Parade

The boys had their Halloween celebration today at school. It consisted of a "parade" through the elementary school and church offices with classroom parties following. Last year when I arrived to Vincent's classroom to walk with him in the parade he was teary eyed. He was afraid I had forgotten and wouldn't be there. 

This year when I arrived, Captain America told me (very politely, after a hug and a kiss) that he wanted to "walk with my friends." 
Huh? Are you kidding me? I hope the shock didn't register in my face. Of course I said he could walk with his friends. 

Then I went to Thor's classroom (aka: Franklin). He was thrilled to see me, but wanted to hold his teachers hand instead, and walk with Spiderman (aka: Ryder).

Another parenting moment, where you are thrilled and sad at the same time. I was a little weepy on the way home, but I still have my Supergirl Coco to least for now!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Celebrating and Recovering

We just came off what might be the busiest three weeks of my life. It included lots of school activities and commitments, a traveling husband, a visiting uncle, the half marathon, Vincent and Coco’s birthdays and parties, and Patrick’s early birthday getaway. Throw in getting ready for Halloween and doctors appointments, soccer, swim lessons, and all the day-to-day stuff, and I’m not going lie, that Xanax prescription looked pretty damn tempting!

I did a lot of it to myself. Growing up birthdays were a big deal in my family, and I have promised myself that I will do the same for my kids. It would be more manageable if each child had their own birthday month, but with two kids sharing a birthday week, it is hard! I want them both to feel special. I don’t want either to feel slighted because their birthdays are within three days of each other.

Vincent turned five this year. Where has the time gone? Was it only five years ago that I could nap whenever I wanted and sleep in on the weekends?

We celebrated his birthday with cupcakes and presents and his favorite meal.

He had a birthday celebration at school, complete with fruit kabobs and marshmallow pops.

Legos and Hex Bugs were a huge hit this year. Franklin was excited too.

Colette turned two, three days later. She is such a sweet girl, my baby.

Colette got a cake and presents.

She loves her babies, and princesses and Dora, and Scooby Doo.

We finished the week with a joint party, something I don’t think I will be able to get away with forever, but Vincent happily agreed to this year. We are blessed to have such amazing friends and an awesome school community.

I love my little Libras, both born on Wednesdays. They are kind and loving and concerned for others. They are helpful and obedient. Vincent is a pleaser and a perfectionist, which can cause him frustration. Coco is fastidious and girly. As Coco gets older I see so much of Vincent in her. They both ask for permission to do things and say sorry and please and thank you without being prompted. I would like to say that this is the product of brilliant parenting and take full credit for their awesomeness, but then there is Franklin who totally shoots the nurture theory to you-know-where. Franklin is awesome too, just in different ways!

So, happy birthday to my oldest and my youngest. Mommy and daddy love you and are so proud of the children you are becoming.

Will someone please remind me about October in June? I need a lot of time to get ready.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Diet Coke Detox Diary

About two years ago I realized that aspartame wrecks havoc on my system. Now, I don’t consume anything with aspartame, including diet soda. Diet Coke sweetened with Splenda is a totally different story, and has been my go to non-alcoholic beverage ever since. I can easily chug a six-pack a day. I have come to realize it is a sickness. Therefore, I’ve decided to break my addiction to Diet Coke with Splenda. In an effort to be held accountable, I give you my progress.

Day 1- Wednesday: It is rainy and dreary out. I get lots of emails and baking done. The kids are playing together nicely, shooting each other with their new cap guns. I drink coffee most the day because it is cold out. This seems to help me not think about DCw/S and I don’t go through caffeine withdrawals. My friend is in labor, so that is also a nice distraction- for me, not her!

Day 2- Thursday: My Godson is born. I have a lot to do before I can get to the hospital for a visit. I don’t have time to think about my addiction, or partake in it. I drink an ice tea in the evening. It’s no soda, but it is better than water. When I return from the hospital I tell Patrick that I am giving up DCw/S, his response is, “Why the hell are you doing that? DCw/Splenda is your thing.” I explain to him that it is full of chemicals and that the hot doctor on The Doctors says you shouldn’t drink it. Plus, it is expensive considering how many I drink daily. More importantly, my stockpile has run out and I refuse to shop at chain grocery stores. He laughs at me.

Day 3- Friday: I cling to my morning cup of coffee like a junkie to a cigarette. I’m sluggish in Zumba. I tell my friend Bridget that I am on day 3 of DCw/S detox. She gives me a horrified look and asks if I have given up all caffeine. I tell her I haven’t, and am trying to drink tea instead of soda. She informs me that tea makes her stomach upset. I mentally file this away in case I fall off the wagon and need a plausible excuse as to why. I suffer my first caffeine withdrawal headache. I try not to snap at the children. I snap at the children.

Day 4- Saturday: Patrick’s brother Jimmy was in town for business this week so we got to spend the day with him. We went to lunch (iced tea for me) and played around at his suite at the St. Regis. Then we hit the beach for an hour or so. The kids had fun running from the waves. I don’t know what it is about the beach- maybe the glare off the water and sand, but I never leave without a headache. A venti Starbucks iced coffee was needed stat.

Day 5- Sunday: I realized when I got up in the morning that this was probably the worst week, besides next week, to start my detox. This realization came at 5:30 in the morning when I hit bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway. At 5:50 a.m.! I was armed with my coffee, and pushed through. I ran the Long Beach Half Marathon and met my time goal. They had coconut water at the finish line. It has a lot of electrolytes but it tastes like ass. In the evening Patrick and I hit Toys R Us for some birthday present shopping. I really needed a pick me up, but I resisted. Patrick still doesn’t understand why I am doing this- he is probably concerned for the children.

Day 6- Monday: We are gearing up for a crazy busy week. Additionally, it is the day of the week that I try to get the big household chores done. My feet hurt from kicking so much butt last week. I don’t really want a DC today, until Monday Night Football. If the Bears win, I win the pool for the week. The Bears lose, so I tie with my best friend. Ugh!

Day 7- Tuesday: It is Vincent’s fifth birthday! Where has the time gone? I am helping with picture day at school, I have a birthday party, a class party, and two at home celebrations to prep for, as well as soccer camp stuff to get ready and the photo fundraiser this weekend. Coco and I are away from the house all day. Patrick picks up ice cream for the cake on the way home, and offers to pick up “anything else”. I know this is code for DC w/S. But I don’t want it. This is the first day I haven’t NEEDED it. We celebrate VW at home in the evening. No DC for me- cake helps.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Welcome Dominic!

I think if you ask most parents they will agree that nothing transforms your life as much as the birth of your first child. You focus changes from yourself to this new little life you have been entrusted with. You suddenly become acutely aware of the fact that you don’t know anything! I remember when Patrick and I became parents. There was so much we didn’t know. But we muddled through it. Everyone survived. We were better with subsequent babies. They also survived.

This shift has begun for my dear friends NaKesha and David as they welcomed their first child, Dominic into the world yesterday...after 26 hours (yes, 26 HOURS) of labor, a fact I’m sure he will hear from his mother many, many times. He is perfect in every way.

As you learn to be a parent, there will always be questions that only time, and the baby, will answer. When he is an infant you wonder when he will sleep through the night. Does he like to be swaddled? Will he take a pacifier? When will he smile, and will it be at me? Is he going to keep that red hair? Will it get redder?

When they are toddlers: Will he talk early? Will he be afraid of the dog? When will he get rid of those diapers? Does he like tacos, or prefer spaghetti? Will he be a morning person or a night owl? Is he going to sleep with that lovey until he is a teenager?

When they are school age: Will he be the class clown or a bookworm? Will he make friends easily? Will he prefer the arts, or sports, or enjoy volunteering? Does he need glasses?

As a teenager: Will he choose the right friends? Where will he go to college? Will he break curfew? Will the cops call me if he does? Will he be a safe driver? When will he learn to do his own laundry?

And as an adult: Will he be a doctor or God forbid, an attorney? Maybe a landscape architect, or a priest? Will he get married and have kids? Will he travel the world or be a homebody?

Only time will answer these questions, but no matter what Dominic does or becomes one thing is known- he will always be loved. Loved by his parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, maybe one day his brothers and/or sisters. And always by Patrick and I, his Godparents. Always.

Thank you NaKesha and David for humbling us with the honor and privilege of being a special part of Dominic’s life. We promise to be a support to you and him. Always.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Good Pickin'

For the last few years I have been wanting to take the kids apple picking. It seems like there was always something that prohibited it. Last year we were getting ready for the kids’ Godmother’s wedding. I’m sure those apostrophes are all wrong. I apologize to the grammar police out there. The year before that Colette was an infant. This year I found only one weekend day from September thru November where nothing was planned, therefore I had no excuses.

With super hero movies in the DVD player, we headed about 2 hours southeast to Julian, which by Southern California standards, is apple country.

After careful research (we Yelped it- duh), we decided on two orchards to visit.

The first was Raven Hill Orchards. The orchard is run by Irish brothers, complete with heavy accents, and they have 7 varieties of dwarf apple trees- perfect for the kids to reach. The end of the rows are marked with the varietals, but the owner told us the best thing to do was eat the fruit off the trees to decide what we wanted.

Vincent reminded me that his favorite apples are Fujis, so we started our search.

We often forgot to look at the end markers, so we took the owners advice and ate as we went.

And ate.
And ate. About 45 minutes into our picking, Vinny bit into an apple and declared it a Fuji. I gave Patrick a skeptical glance, but when we got to the row marker, sure enough, it was a Fuji! The kid knows his apples!

Franklin had fun running up and down the rows.

We picked Empires and Pippins, McIntoshs and Fujis. I think each child consumed five apples in the hour we spent roaming around. Patrick and I ate a few too. It would have been rude not to.

Our second stop was O’Dell’s Organic Orchard where we got to pick pears. Tasting was not encouraged, but the kids did it anyways. I have to admit that after the apple tasting it was hard to tell the kids not to sample the fruit. So I joined in. We decided the uglier the fruit the better it tasted. We then sought out the lumpiest, most multicolored pears we could find. We picked Bartletts, Anjous, and Boscs. The orchard also has chickens and horses, and farm equipment.

We went for BBQ for lunch. It was good, but living in the South for a few years has ruined all hopes I have of finding decent BBQ in CA. A big shout out to Gary’s in China Grove, NC and to Kelly and Scotty for introducing us to it. We miss you guys.

On the way out of town we stopped at the Julian Pie Company to pick up a whole dutch apple to go. At this point in the day I had 14 pounds of apples in the car, and could have baked my own pie, but I was tired like to support the local economy. It was the right thing to do.

When we got home I told the kids we were having pie and ice cream for dinner. They didn’t believe me until it showed up on their dinner plate. It was declared the best dinner ever. Fitting for the best family day ever.

Now what am I going to do with 20 lbs of fresh apples and pears?