Monday, January 31, 2011

At my wits end

I’m a fairly creative person or at least I used to be until I had kids.  I think I’m smart when it comes to solving other people’s problems and maybe you’re the same way.  If that’s true then what the howdy hay am I supposed to do with my 5 1/2 year old who insists on chewing on EVERYTHING!  It is one thing for him to chew on his own toys but he chews on his sister’s toys too.  He has bitten off Jessie’s fingers.  Jessie was a birthday present for Gwen’s second birthday.  He has also chewed on her fairy and fairy accessories which were also from her last birthday.  Now I see that he has chewed off parts of her Beauty and the Beast figurines that were a Christmas gift.  A month ago.  I took away his computer privileges and he cried his eyes out so I think that was a good idea.  I’m seriously thinking of putting a baby gate in front of Gwen’s door so he can’t get in.  Of course that means neither can she and it also means if she’s inside she can’t get out to use the bathroom if she needs to.  Honestly!  What am I supposed to do?

Keep your air to yourself

Mom:  Is my air getting on you?
Me:  No. 
Mom:  I just didn’t know if I needed to turn down the heater.  I didn’t know if you could feel the hot air.
Me sarcastically:  Yes Mom.  Keep your air to yourself!  There’s not a wall here! 
Fits of laughter followed. 

On Friday we did a few fun things before heading to San Francisco in the afternoon.  The kids had their regular play date with their friend Rebekah at the park.  It was very cold until the sun came out to thaw the world a little.  We girls went back to Dress Barn where we had very loud conversations in the dressing rooms.  I ended up buying a cute shirt.  I’m wearing it right now and I love it.  I’m just afraid I bought it too big.  I hope not because I don’t like replacing my wardrobe as quickly as I’ve had to lately.  My mom didn’t find anything she really liked.  Good thing Old Navy hooked her up with a cute shirt the day before. 

Now I could sum up our trip to San Francisco in a tidy little nutshell.  I could talk about how I met Heath’s boss and co-workers, as well as the president of the company.  His boss is beautiful by the way!  I could talk about how the kids decided where we should eat dinner.  Parker recognized the sign for Las Margaritas as a Mexican restaurant and all kids agreed that’s what they wanted.  It was really good and I’m glad we stopped there. 

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I could talk about wandering around the city stopping in little shops here and there

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and driving down Lombard Street for the second time in my life and how it wasn’t nearly as scary as the first time.   Hanging my head out the window to take really cruddy pictures kept my mind off of how insanely steep it was with all the crazy switchbacks. 

I could end the post right now by saying we had fun in the city.  I guess the reason why I won’t is because when I started recording my family’s stories by way of scrapbooking and blogging I wanted to portray a real picture.  Years ago I taught a Young Women’s lesson on journal keeping and one quote really stood out to me.  It said something to the effect of when writing in a journal one should not be extreme in what is said.  Don’t overly emphasize the negative or the positive.  Use the negative experiences to show how you’ve grown and be realistic with the positive experiences.  I like to believe I do that. 

Normally when I go into San Francisco I use my agoraphobia and panic attacks as a way to entertain my readers later when I post about it.  I think today I will be very honest about my feelings.  Like any woman there are many things I wish I could change about myself.  I am starting to appreciate my body and what it can and can’t do.  It’s a gift from God.  But to be honest, the number one thing I hate about myself is my mind.  The agoraphobia and panic attacks and every other mental mess I deal with on a daily basis is just that – mental.  It’s all in my head. 

God did not make me this way.  It’s just something I struggle with which means I can change.  I don’t have to be like this.  While I believe all of that it’s not easy.  The fear is real.  I don’t make it up.  That fact makes it that much harder when people judge me or seemingly yell at me about it as if I can snap my fingers and magically fix it.  Change is possible but it will take time and it will take a professional.  No, I have not executed on my plan yet of finding a doctor and yes, I know I need to. 

This trip into the city was particularly stressful because my hatred for freeways has increased exponentially since Christmas Eve.  I hate that but it’s true.  The freeway to San Francisco seems to always be crowded which makes me nervous anyway but after what happened a little over a month ago . . . let’s just say my arms are still sore from gripping the door handle and armrest so hard. 

Getting into the city wasn’t nearly as bad as going home.  I made my mom drive and once we picked up Heath he drove.  I suppressed a lot of terror on the way in by concentrating on the instructions Heath gave me to navigate our way across the bridge and to his office. 

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I like this picture.  It reminds me of the scene in Gattaca where Vincent had to cross the street after he took out his contacts.  Irene didn’t know he couldn’t see.  The lights from all the cars were bright and streaked like this and the sounds were different.  Everything was louder.  Horns and cars zooming by like bugs buzzing a person’s head.  This picture seems to show how I felt during my little trip to San Francisco. 

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I like this one too.  The kids drew pictures at their dad’s desk and on his whiteboard.  I like how Gavin drew this person with a huge mouth while they say something normal.  That was me.  Speaking normally while looking scared to death. 

Driving around town with all the steep hills, narrow streets, and traffic was crazy enough then we drove home.  I felt like a science exhibit as my mom was in awe with my insanity and Heath would say things like, “This is her reaction to brake lights.”  The heavy traffic mixed with brake lights and blinkers signaling lane changes felt all too familiar.  The good news is we made it home safely. 

I like to go into the city to remind myself I can do scary things.  For one thing, I don’t sit around letting my agoraphobia stop me.  I am not a prisoner to my mind.  I do things even when I think I can’t.  I used to live in the city which was not easy but I did it.  It’s nice to visit so I can appreciate how wonderful I have it where I live now.  I am always so impressed that Heath works there and deals with city life day in and day out.  So I consider it a good thing that I allow my blood pressure to rise periodically. 

My family may wish I could keep my crazy to myself but sometimes I can’t.  It’s like the air.  There’s not a wall separating my crazy air from anyone else’s normal air!  Maybe normal air will eventually rub off and my crazy air will disappear. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

You’ve been a whale all summer

When I was a kid I loved book orders.  That was the cheapest and easiest way to get my reading fix.  One particular book order advertised a book called “You’ve Been Away All Summer” (and I’m too lazy to look up the author right now).  It looked like a fun book so I ordered it.  For whatever reason my mom kept calling it “You’ve Been a Whale All Summer.”  It was a cute book and a sequel to another book I had borrowed from a friend.  One day I may have to write about someone being a whale all summer because that sounds far more interesting than someone just being gone for the summer.  Since I had no idea what to title this travelogue of a post I thought my mom’s title was pretty fitting. 

My mom has been visiting the last few days which is why it seems like I have fallen off the face of the blogosphere.  She was only here a few days but we packed in a lot of fun.  Every day was filled with adventure. 

I loved how she showed up Wednesday night when she wasn’t planning on it.  She and my uncle had spent several days in Southern California sightseeing and eating homemade sandwich after homemade sandwich.  They thought they would get into town too late to stop by and visit and since my mom was staying in a nearby hotel we wouldn’t see her until Thursday. 

She called to say they made better time than they thought and they were heading over.  I had just finished putting the kids to bed.  When I do that I always put on my pajamas because the day is done.  I’m not going anywhere and it’s time to stop being dressed.  I take out my contacts and wash my face as well.  The transformation is pretty dramatic so you can imagine how embarrassed I was to find out people were coming over!  I made the best of a bad situation and put a bra back on. 

Traffic was light so when I thought they would arrive in 10-15 minutes they got to our house in 5.  So all my pump supplies were on the counter and I was not able to change my site before my mom and uncle were so excited to see me in all my glory!  What an evening.  Ok, so it was just crazy for a few minutes then we hung out talking and watching Pawn Stars before I took my mom to her hotel. 

After I carpooled kids to school on Thursday I picked up my mom.  She did the ultimate grandma thing by hanging out with us while Parker and Gwen played show and tell for a good 90 minutes.  My mom was such a good sport to look at nearly every DVD we own be taken out of the cabinet one by one with the question, “Have you seen this one?  All the way through?”  Sleeping through movies is a bad family trait from a defective gene I’m sure. 

Parker was a good sport to eat lunch alone knowing we were going to Mr. Pickle after we dropped him off at school.  Gwen is a social eater so she had to have a large snack while Parker ate.  I planned on buying her a sandwich even though I could almost guarantee she wouldn’t touch it.  I figured if I got her a meat sandwich instead of a PB&J then at least Gavin could have it for lunch the next day and I wouldn’t have to make him a sandwich.  I hate making sandwiches. 

Funny sandwich story.  My mom and uncle never went out to eat.  He brought sandwich fixings so they would make sandwiches day in and day out.  Twice a day I think.  My  mom hates sandwiches and really hates making them since she made a sandwich for my dad every day for work for nearly 20 years.  Gavin’s only in second grade and this is the first year I’ve made him lunch for school.  I already get so tired of making sandwiches.  Maybe I need to pace myself better!  Anyway, one day my uncle said he was tired of making sandwiches and asked my mom if she wanted to go out to eat.  They went to Subway.  That one cracked me up.  But sandwiches always taste better when someone else makes them. 

In my defense with the Mr. Pickle lunch, I didn’t know about the week of sandwiches until after we ordered sandwiches from Mr. Pickle.  My mom was all for it though.  She ordered one sandwich she was all excited about and then told the guy not to do it because it had so many calories.  I thought she was being crazy.  My mom is a twig she’s so skinny.  I told her calories don’t count on vacation but she ordered the sandwich I did.  The Tom Turkey.  Best sandwich ever.  When we sat down I saw the calories on the one she wanted and it was, I’m not kidding, 1,100 calories.  The Tom Turkey was 315.  Yeah, I would have changed my mind too.  My mom loved every bite especially since it had garlic sauce or some sort of garlic on it.  She texted my sister about the garlic, who texted back that she was jealous since she loves garlic and tries to put it in everything.  You know, cereal, pancakes, ice cream.  Then she kisses her husband with her garlic mouth.  Mmm.  He doesn’t mind.  He’s a growing boy and loves to eat and a little garlic breath didn’t hurt anybody. 

Gwen ate nearly half her sandwich much to my surprise.  She also ate most of her applesauce.  Girlfriend must be going through a growth spurt because she eats all the time.  It’s mostly snacks but still.  She eats all day long. 

After an hour at Mr. Pickle I started taco soup in the crock pot and we headed out shopping.  Gwen was beside herself.  She loves shopping.  We found a whole bunch of fun things to try on at Dress Barn.  Did I mention that is my favorite store?  It is even though the name makes me feel like a fat cow.  They have really great clothes that are just my style - fancy casual.  A saleslady started a dressing room for me while I perused some more.  Incidentally, she was the same saleslady who I bought the very shirt I was wearing that day from the previous Saturday!  Is that weird to wear clothes to the same store you purchased them from?  My mom said it was the ultimate compliment.  I hope she’s right.  When we were about to try on our clothes I noticed the time.  We had just enough time to get to the school to pick up boys.  The saleslady said she would hold the clothes for 24 hours.  Sweet. 

Since it was Thursday Gavin was the only one who had any homework.  Parker turns in his homework packet on Thursdays.  I hoped homework would go quickly for Gavin since he hadn’t seen Grandma all day like his siblings.  He rocked it and was done by 4:00.  So we headed to the playground.  It was a beautiful day and the kids had a blast playing with Grandma.  Parker’s favorite was going down the slide and having my mom touch his face to shock him.  The kids would take turns with Grandma.  We learned that Parker and Grandma create strong charges while Gwen and Gavin could hardly be shocked at all.  Weird. 

Here are some pictures.

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We played at the park for over an hour and a half.  So fun.  Taco soup filled our souls, the kids bathed/showered, and we rounded out the evening with some Despicable Me.  I think so anyway.  I was so exhausted I slept through most of the movie.  I’ll have to try that one another time.   I hear it’s really good! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Life Lesson #26

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Childhood is a world where cuts and bruises are a badge of honor

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and clothing choices have nothing to do with anyone else’s opinions. 

Indulge your inner child and live dangerously today! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No Doubt

Heavenly Father loves his children.  He knows us each individually.  He knows our hopes and dreams as well as our fears.  Because he knows the past, present, and future he sends us little post it notes along the way that basically say, “I love you and I haven’t forgotten you.”  Status doesn’t matter to him.  Religious beliefs or lack thereof don’t prevent post it notes from heaven.  He does this for all of his children.  I have no doubt about that. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

I hope I wasn’t asleep when I wrote this

Sleeping is fascinating.  The body shuts down in some ways and switches to auto pilot in many ways.  The brain is the most interesting when it comes to sleeping.  Minds have to tune out a lot of noise, whether it’s outside or internal noise yet the mind stays active enough to dream.  Dreams are a whole post on their own. 

Have you ever had a realistic dream?  I don’t mean a dream where it seems so real at the time but after you’ve been awake for a while you recognize it was definitely strange enough to be a dream.  I’m talking about one of those dreams where you see yourself walk into the bathroom.  You don’t see yourself as if you’re looking in a mirror.  No, you see yourself as you do every day with your eyes in your head that is perched on top of your neck and shoulders.  So in this dream you realize your need to relieve your bladder and watch your legs and feet walk to the bathroom.  Everything from your bed to the bathroom is exactly as it is in real life.  Your hands reach out for the wall in the dark and you fumble for the light.  You get to the toilet and decide not to wake yourself up with the light.  You open the lid and do your business.  The next morning you wonder why your bed and clothes are all wet when you know you went to the bathroom to pee in the toilet.  You saw yourself do it!  Right?  Those dreams are the worst.  Or so I’ve been told! 

Ever spend the night tossing and turning wishing your companion would choke on their own tongue they’re snoring so badly?  Then they go out of town and you realize you can’t sleep without them or their snoring.  The story goes that when I was a kid I would snore so loudly that the walls of the house would suck in with my every breath.  My tonsils and adenoids were so swollen I couldn’t breathe with my mouth shut.  I would get out of breath just eating.  I had surgery the day after Christmas when I was 8 and haven’t snored a day in my life since. 

My sister used to dance on the wall at night.  There are pictures of her legs up on the wall while she slept to prove it. 

Some people talk in their sleep.  I have been known to yell out a couple of times.  My yells are strangled and muffled because when I have to scream in my dreams my mouth is full of sand and I can’t talk to save my life.  One night Gwen was crying and when I went in to comfort her she started talking nonsense.  She was all upset about me taking her baby downstairs or something else that had nothing to do with anything that had happened the day before, much less anything going on at 3:00 am.  Heath will sometimes talk in his sleep but it’s all gibberish I can hardly make out.  Which is too bad since it would be fun to tell him what he said and see if he actually remembers his dream.  No such luck though. 

Of all the crazy things that can happen while a person is sleeping, including Peter Gallagher's brother stealing his fiancĂ© while Peter was in a coma, sleep walking is one I have had the least experience with.  On TV they make it seem like people walk around with their arms out in front of them zombie style.  They say stupid things with their eyes closed.  You know the drill.  That’s not really how it happens though. 

One night we had the kids all in bed and were watching An Idiot Abroad.  Interesting show from the mastermind Ricky Gervais, who also came up with The Office (the original BBC version).  We’re watching this guy hate every second of being in China.  He was appalled at the toilets that were nothing much more than a hole in the ground separated by cubicles with no doors so anyone squatting was doing so in front of God and everybody.  Apparently there was no toilet paper either.  He said, “I thought this is where they invented the i-Pod.  Did I get the wrong place?  This does not seem like the place that needs an i-Pod when they don’t even have toilet paper.” 

Footsteps overhead.  I suppressed my fear by thinking it had to be one of the kids.  Toilet flushing.  Yep, one of the kids.  More footsteps.  The next thing I know Parker is speed walking in front of us with a strange vacant smirk on his face.  He leaped onto the couch and quickly but carefully folded his legs underneath himself.  He blankly stared at the TV, which was paused to fully take in the bizarre scene unfolding before us, with a loopy smile on his face.  We were calling out his name and asking what he was doing.  We were telling him it was 10:00 and he was supposed to be in bed.  Anything we said yielded zero response.  There was no recognition in his face.  Heath scooped up Parker who never unfolded so he looked like a pretzel in Heath’s arms.  Heath and I were giggling wondering what in the world was happening.  Parker’s eyes closed halfway up the stairs. 

I asked him about it the next morning just to see what he would say.  He seemed to know what he did but his answers didn’t seem to truly fit what had happened.  It was almost as if he was just answering questions as if it happened when in actuality it didn’t.  Very strange.  He said he heard the TV come on so he came down to watch with us.  The TV had been on for a good 90 minutes before he “heard it come on.”  I don’t know.  I think he was sleep walking.  It was the craziest thing I had ever seen. 

What crazy sleep experiences have you had?  Take note tonight so you can share with all of us. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nobody NEEDS a fruit pie!

On a road trip my mom, sister, and I stopped for snacks.  My mom grabbed a fruit pie for herself and said something about needing one.  You know those glazed frosting coated pastries in the snack section filled with pie filling that have over 30 grams of fat and over 50 grams of carbs in one serving?  And they used to be big enough that there were two servings in a package!  I said in my most deadpan voice, “Nobody needs a fruit pie.”  For some reason my statement hit a funny nerve and we all laughed our heads off.  It has been an inside family joke ever since.  You had to be there. 

While nobody needs a fruit pie I needed a burger.  With a pickle on it.  No, that’s another inside family joke.  Maybe I should have titled this post “It’s esoteric!”  Which makes me think of junior high French class when my friends and I would study for our English vocab tests for the next period. 

Anyway, let’s move on.  I was craving a hamburger.  Like ready to do something illegal to get one kind of craving.  Although I can’t imagine what illegal thing would help me get a burger when all I had to do was just go to a local burger joint.  The point is I really wanted this burger.  My mouth was watering thinking about the perfect burger. 

Bacon.  Cheddar cheese – sharp cheddar.  Bleu cheese crumbles.  Tangy sauce.  Smokey grill flavor on the juicy meat.  Hot fries with fry sauce.  And a tall, cold, Diet Coke in a cup with tantalizing beads of condensation dripping down the side.  Can you taste it too?  Oh how I wanted a real burger.  I can be a fast food junkie and of all the burgers I have ever eaten in my life the Bleu Bacon Burger at the Taste Pilot’s Grill in Disneyland is as good as it gets.  It is so freaking good the heavy downpour of rain we ate our lunch in didn’t ruin the experience in any way.  So my fry sauce was a little watered down.  Big deal.  The food was spectacular and that is all I have been able to think about for the last several days. 

Heath, Gwen, and I went to lunch yesterday.  I knew whatever burger I got would never compare to Taste Pilot’s Grill but maybe a burger would get the insatiable craving out of my head.  We went to In & Out Burgers at 1:00 pm.  You would think the lunch crowd would be starting to die down some.  Not even a little bit.  The drive thru line was starting to wrap around the parking lot and I am not even kidding.  Well I’m sorry but In & Out is not that good.  I mostly picked it because it’s totally different from all the franchised fast food burger chains out there.  We went to Carl’s Jr. instead. 

Normally I like Carl’s Jr.  It reminds me of my childhood and eating at Hardee’s.  (Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. are the same thing with different names in different parts of the country.)  It tends to be heartier than your run of the mill burger and their fries are really good.  Diet Coke tastes great there.  I realize Diet Coke is technically Diet Coke no matter where you get it but some places really are better than others.  When you’re a connoisseur like me you know where the best Diet Coke is.  

I ordered my burger and was anticipating enjoying the heck out of that bad boy.  It came and I seriously wondered if someone dropped it on the floor first.  Every piece of it was screwy wampus like it was “it” in a game of hot potato or keep away.  The flavor was fine but the presentation of it with the condiments dripping down my fingers and all over my wedding ring really killed the experience for me. 

Instead of satisfying my craving enough to get through a week or so, I wanted a burger that much more.  I needed a carnivorous burger badly.  Heath is a bad influence on me because he supports my fast food addiction.  There is a Greek burger place nearby that we have never tried.  He thought it would be similar to Crown Burger.  Crown Burger is the best heart attack waiting to happen kind of restaurant that you have to indulge in periodically.  Yes, that was the type of burger I wanted. 

Let me paint a picture for you so you can appreciate the irony of what I was doing.  Yesterday I didn’t work out.  After only 4 or 5 hours of sleep it didn’t seem important.  Today I didn’t work out.  The morning got away from me.  I was wearing my extra long jeans.  The ones that probably could be hemmed just a little but work with heels, or tall wedge sandals as the case was today.  I love these jeans because my legs look a mile long and therefore thin thin thin.  I don’t like these jeans because they are getting too big in the waist for me but I bought a belt to tide me over until it becomes absolutely necessary to buy a new pair of jeans, which I hate doing.  The shirt I was wearing I bought when I weighed about what I weigh now so it finally fits again.  I was pretty stoked about how I looked!  To go eat a heart attack burger.  You see the irony? 

The restaurant looked like a Crown Burger from the outside.  We walked in and it was very Crown Burger-esque inside too.  Good sign.  I ordered a bacon cheeseburger, fries, and a Diet Coke.  When the food came it looked like Crown Burger.  This is good.  The burger was everything I hoped for.  It could have used some sort of tangy flavor like sauce or bleu cheese but I knew that wouldn’t happen so it was good.  Everything I hoped for.  My cravings were being satisfied.  The fries were good too but they really needed fry sauce and not ketchup.  That used to be a Utah thing but Taste Pilot’s Grill had fry sauce.  That perfect mix of ketchup, mayonnaise, and pickle relish.  Tangy awesome goodness coating every bite of every fry.  Yu uh um.  Now the Diet Coke wasn’t the best I’ve ever had.  It came in a Styrofoam cup so maybe that was the problem.  I did have one refill though.  It’s Diet Coke and I paid for it!  Over all my burger craving is satiated for now.  All I needed was a good diner.  Diner burgers rock. 

After consuming more carbs and fat than I should in one sitting I went to Dress Barn to buy a couple new shirts because very few of my shirts fit anymore.  I have lost enough weight and inches that most of my shirts are too long now and completely shapeless in the most unflattering way.  When another shirt gets too long I just have to wonder how fat and wide was I that it used to land where it was supposed to.  Is that weird?  One of my favorite shirts fits everywhere but the length now.  I can’t wear it and risk people asking when I’m due.  I totally look pregnant in it since it’s an empire waistline.  Oh and the dead give away maternity ties in the back.  Though it’s not a maternity shirt.  It was fine before when I was fat but now it screams maternity and I can’t do it.  I bought two super cute shirts to go with my ever changing body that I tried to sabotage with a heavenly lunch of burgers, fries, and Diet Coke that I needed. 

Nobody needs a fruit pie or a burger but man today I sure did!  So worth it.  Steven, I’ll see you on Monday! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Simple Truths of Potty Training

Before I begin my list I want to preface it by saying that I am not an expert.  I only have three kids.  I don’t nanny or babysit or run a daycare out of my home.  I have learned that all three of my children are completely different so I can only imagine that the differences in all children are exponential.  That being said here are ten simple truths I have learned from the potty training process. 

  1. Plan on it taking a year.  For real.  Full independence where a child is aware of their needs and can take care of those needs completely on their own without accidents will take about a year from the time a child “gets” the concept of toilet training.  This is an approximation and could take longer or shorter so just plan on the year. 
  2. Every child trains themselves.  The phrase “My child figured it out on their own” produces feelings of guilt and anxiety in parents whose children are not fully trained yet.  The truth is there is only so much that can actually be taught.  It’s up to the child to do it. 
  3. One cannot make a child perform on the toilet.  Few things in this life are technically impossible but this is one of them.  I cannot go for my children nor can I force them to go at my whim.  So don’t micromanage this process. 
  4. Motivation is the key to success.  The frustration being that every child is different and finding what motivates each child can be difficult.  One of my children finally found success when I left it completely in his/her hands.  Stickers and other reward systems to earn toys worked for the other two.  Some kids will work for food.  It’s different for everybody. 
  5. Pull ups are not evil.  They are peace of mind in public and when a child is sleeping.  Pull ups do not send the message to a child that it’s ok to “have an accident”  unless a parent actually tells the child to just go because they’re in a pull up.  When variables are harder to control a possible accident will be easier to take care of if a child is in a pull up instead of underwear. 
  6. There is no magic age and no specific window of opportunity for potty training.  Some kids are trained by 18 months (or younger) and some are closer to 4 years old.  Unless there is a physical or mental disability most children are trained by kindergarten.  Parents will not be changing their grade schooler’s diapers!  So stop worrying about keeping up with the Joneses. 
  7. Bed wetting is more common than you think and should not be a source of contention or anxiety.  Patience, understanding, and minimizing embarrassment are the keys here. 
  8. Regression happens.  Recognize stress in your child and be encouraging.  They will get over it. 
  9. Don’t be afraid to throw out heavily soiled underwear.  Seriously. 
  10. Potty training can feel like the most consuming activity of your life.  Trust me when I say it is fleeting.  Once it’s over it’s over and you will forget more than you will ever remember.  My kids are all approximately 2 years apart and I felt like it was my first time every time because I had forgotten so much.  I feel like this is a good thing since what worked for one child may not work for another. 

The most important thing to remember is that you are raising adults and not children.  The goal is for your child to reach independence and take care of their own needs.  Don’t potty train a child still sleeping in a crib unless you want the responsibility of taking them to the bathroom.  I wouldn’t want to.    There is nothing more satisfying than to realize I have no idea how often my child used the bathroom because they didn’t need me to help them do it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

All Apologies

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I screwed something up today and I feel awful about it.  Since my Diet Coke and keyboard are only consoling me I will have to find some magical super glue to hopefully mend what I have unwittingly done. 

Maybe I should dust around here while I’m at it! 

This song seems to fit today even though I can’t explain why. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Airborne Results

The results of my little experiment are . . . (drum roll please) . . . how sad must I be to blogging about this?  No, those aren’t the results but it hit me last night that I am the most vanilla person.  This does not depress me or bother me in any way.  It’s just an observation.  I was watching White Collar, another fabulous USA drama, when I realized that my life is the exact opposite of TV.  I watch these shows with their complicated plot lines and mysteries that take years to solve and what do I do?  I color inside the lines and blog about whether or not Airborne is a viable cold remedy.  Gunshots do not punctuate my day nor do crazy car chases.  I do have the controversy of cartoon Wii trainers.  At least that . . .

On an episode of Burn Notice Sam asked a woman if her late husband had any enemies.  Can you imagine?  What if I were to go on some trip and, heaven forbid, something awful happened.  What is Heath supposed to say if his friend asks, “Did your wife have any enemies?” 

“Uh, no.  Wait.  Come to think of it she did.  She had a family of green talking boogers that sometimes took up residence in her nose.  Mucinex always seemed to clear them out.  And she took Airborne as soon as she felt a new cold coming on . . . Other than the booger family I can’t think of anyone that would want to hurt her.” 

Love is blind! 

I think commercials were created to give Mrs. Boring of Suburbia a sense of fitting in.  That’s why the Mucinex commercials show talking boogers living in someone’s nose.  It’s more exciting than what is really happening.  How about that commercial where the lady is sitting up in bed talking to Mucous aka a figment of her imagination?  Not only are they talking but he’s telling her to stop blaming him for symptoms clearly caused by sinus inflammation.  Or how about the lady who supposedly gives a knuckle bump to the Alka Seltzer kid but nearly knocks him over in her exuberance? 

That’s closer to my reality.  Personifying the voices in my head.  Because as the professional homemaking queen of Suburbia this is as complicated as it gets.  That and of course giant stockings unrolling from the roof on Christmas morning revealing more than Santa ever considered giving to anyone in my family!  Those Windows phone commercials are pretty spot on though.  “Really?”  Boy I tell you, I’m glad Heath has a Windows phone so he doesn’t fall on his face getting off the moving walkway at the airport.  I mean talk about embarrassing. 

Thank goodness for Airborne though.  I have two kids in the public school system who act as carrier monkey mercenaries for germs. I have one who survives the church Nursery every week with all the crying toddlers chewing on toys and dripping snot everywhere.  I have a husband who does business locally and across the country.  Have you ever seen one of those Airline episodes on A&E?  Airports are a lot like government buildings in that they attract the armpit of the earth.  I find it interesting that it’s not cheap to fly yet “government building” types fly.  Wouldn’t you think that a trip to the grocery store would be a more exotic experience since everyone has to eat?  I guess enough people watch What Not to Wear and dress up to shop for groceries.  Nah!  Maybe all the exotics shop at the 7-11 across the street for basic grocery needs leaving the regular grocery store closer to a model runway experience. 

I say don’t forget your Airborne no matter where you’re headed.  Because Dory, from Finding Nemo, was right.  If you never let anything happen then nothing will ever happen.  Leaving the house is inevitable as are the germs that lurk just outside your front door.  Airborne is the key to uncomplicating an otherwise uncomplicated life.  It will free up more time for you to find enemies, or at least find a more complicated plot line in your life story. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Airborne Experience

I spent most of my Civil Rights holiday weekend dejunking.  What a liberating feeling to purge things that haven’t been used in years but are taking up so much space.  Towards the end of this project my head felt funny.  I had either inhaled too much dust or I had a cold coming on.  There is nothing worse than feeling a cold coming on. 

I couldn’t shake the sinus pressure or the itchiness in the back of my ears and throat.  It’s a cold.  Heath suggested I take some Airborne.  You know that stuff that was created by a second grade teacher to fight off the gambu at the first sign.  Heath had bought a couple tubes of it for our trip to Disneyland.  For all the rain, he was the only one who took any.  He never did get sick so I guess that’s a good sign right?  Or is it like someone clapping coconuts together to keep the elephants away?  Is the clapping successful or are there just no elephants?  Either way, I was ready to try it as an experiment and share my findings here. 

My head was feeling twice its normal size so I tried the first tablet of Airborne.  Unlike Heath, I let mine dissolve in water first.  I guess he’s just into extreme cold fighting and preferred to take it straight.  Just pop that fizzy tablet bad boy into his mouth and chew away.  Like I said, he never got sick.  Maybe there’s a method to his perceived madness.  That will be the next step in my experiment. 

So far I’m three fizzy tablets into the Airborne Experience.  I’m not sure if it has a cumulative effect or not since the first dose didn’t seem to do much of anything but taste like tepid raspberry Fanta, only more carbonated than Fanta.  The second dose was around 7:30 this morning and seemed to clear up the fog of fatigue I was operating under.  Incidentally, the thick fog I could barely see to drive in also cleared up by 9:00 am.  I don’t think Airborne had much to do with that though.  My other symptoms seemed to diminish to the back burner of my subconscious. 

Symptoms slowly started to make a comeback as ungracefully as Kate Gosselin on Dancing With the Stars.  Sorry, she came up in a conversation with some friends today.  We all agreed she’s milking the gravy train she’s on to the point of train wreck – can’t watch but can’t look away!  Oh dear.  Where was I?  Oh yes . . . cold symptoms coming back.  I popped another fizzy tablet into a glass of water right before taking Parker to school.  I ended up chewing most of the tablet since it didn’t have enough time to dissolve more.  Now I know why Heath took it straight!  The flavor and fizziness is so much more intense when you chew the tablet.  And with the instant knockout of my symptoms I had a rocking party in my mouth! 

I’ll admit that when I started this experiment I had my doubts.  I know people swear by this Airborne stuff but I’ve tried other get sick quick schemes.  Wait, that’s not right.  It just feels right since that’s inevitably what happens.  Take Zicam and plan on being on your deathbed of a cold by the end of the day.  Plus that stuff has so much zinc in it I felt like I was licking colored sunblock off of someone’s nose.  Metallic zinc aftertaste will last until Christmas, regardless of when that is.  And if you get gassy with those subtle burps you suppress as a full body hiccup you taste it all over again.  Woo.  Hoo.  So not a party in my mouth.  More like party gone awry.  More like getting pulled over by Parker the cop, who ironically started out as a veterinarian but somehow picked up a second job as a police officer, every time I spin a decent number on Wii’s game of Life on the Family Game Night disc.  I had to pay that kid $5,000 every time he pulled me over!  It’s ok.  I still won.  But only barely.  That kid is so good at every game he plays. 

The older I get the more I am willing to try things just once.  Like frozen California Pizza Kitchen pizza.  That one made me nervous.  I’m not a pizza fan and I had a friend tell me that CPK isn’t that great.  For someone who actually likes pizza tell me that CPK is the pizza to avoid, well I think that advice is worth something.  But Heath wanted to buy the frozen stuff and I reluctantly agreed.  All I can say is it’s a good thing we bought two boxes because what came out of the large box was a miniaturized version of what was pictured.  The box neglected to say anything about how the photo came from the image seen under a telescope.  Forget a microscope, this had to be from a telescope at close range. 

The taste wasn’t bad for frozen pizza.  Given the fact that two boxes equaled about one medium sized Domino’s Pizza, I would have much rather paid $2 less for Domino’s where the Pizza Dude delivers it to my house already hot!  And if I’m going to eat pizza that wrecks my blood sugars for the day faster than I can blink, I would rather enjoy eating pizza that tastes good like Domino’s or Pizza Hut.  Not some tiny thin crust pizza resembling cardboard that tastes only so so but convinces my blood sugar to take up residence in the 300’s for the next 8 hours.  Would I recommend CPK frozen pizza to a friend?  No I wouldn’t.  I think it goes without saying that I won’t be in a hurry to dine at CPK either. 

Would I recommend Airborne to a friend?  So far yes.   If any new developments come up I will let you know.  Nothing like drip by drip coverage of my latest cold.  It’s for posterity, if not for science.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Saving Face

It had been a long day.  He had worked for 12 hours and was beyond ready to go home.  What would you do if you were tired?  Would you hail a cab or walk a mile to the BART station?  Good choice, he hailed a cab too. 

The cab driver dropped him off at the BART station where he paid and told the driver to keep the change.  Freedom was close and it never smelled so good.  Joy would be short lived though.  Halfway down the escalator he started patting himself down.  Where was his wallet?  No really.  Where was his wallet?

The cab. 

He could give a Kentucky derby racehorse a run for the money the way he ran up the stairs, taking them three at a time.  What luck!  The cab was still on the street.  It was only about a quarter block away so he sprinted for it.  Of course the light turned green seconds before he got to the cab.  Wait, what’s this?  The car stopped as if picking someone up.  There was still hope.  More sprinting.  Gold medals should be awarded to those who perform the best under pressure.  Adrenaline kept his lungs from feeling any sense of explosion.  The car was only teasing him though since it pulled back onto the street as suddenly as it had pulled over.  Hope disappeared as the car went around the corner. 

Oh crap! 

No need for panic.  He pulled out his trusty cell phone and called Yellow Cab.  It was a Yellow Cab right?  Yes, it must have been.  A nice woman finally answered the phone.  He explained how he accidentally left his wallet in the cab he just got out of.  She put him on hold to get the necessary paperwork.  While he waited he patted himself down again, just to be sure. 

You have got to be kidding!  There was the wallet in his pocket where it belongs. 

The nice woman came back on the line and asked questions.  He had just ran the length of a BART train chasing after a car for no reason at all, apparently.  What would you do in this situation?  Would you admit your folly? 

Neither did he.  He answered each and every question as if nothing had happened.  She assured him they would do the best they could to recover the wallet.  He got on the BART train and headed home, laughing at himself.  He laughed harder when he thought it probably wasn’t even a Yellow Cab.  The thought of that company grilling the cab drivers and all of them saying, “I never picked anyone up at Levi’s Plaza and dropped them off at the Montgomery BART station,” was too crazy. 

Oh well. 

The wallet was where it belonged.  In the end that’s all that really matters.  Face saved. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Civics Say What

Gwen:  It’s for ‘Mericans
Me:  It’s for Americans?
Gwen:  Yes.
Me:  Gwen, are you an American?
Gwen laughing:  Nooo!

Gavin:  I have fantastic news!
Me:  What’s your fantastic news?
Gavin:  It’s on Microsoft.com.  I didn’t understand much of what it said.  The mayor of Microsoft has the same name as me.
The article he was referring to was on MSN’s homepage.  It was about the former San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom, preparing to take his position as the new Lieutenant Governor.  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Slow

The internet has been running slow lately.  Really slow.  Like a turtle with a hernia slow.  It would take a long time for email to come through or to switch from my inbox to one of the four RSS feeds that actually still works on my email.  I don’t know why I lost most of my feeds when we switched to Windows 7.  Other than things taking a long time it wasn’t too bad.  Well, except for youtube videos.  Gwen would want to watch her Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique video and it would take 20 minutes just to get through the 4 minute video. 

The turtle was now walking uphill with his hernia. 

I was attempting to watch Divine Comedy on youtube.  If you’ve never seen any of their videos I would recommend it.  They’re pretty funny.  Heath was getting annoyed with how long it was taking too so he decided to check our broadband speed in case he needed to yell at Comcast to turn up the power.  It wasn’t our modem.  It was the router.  He thought he fixed it but now the turtle with the hernia is trudging uphill in molasses and it’s snowing.  So the molasses is cold.  And the turtle is about to give up altogether. 

I finally was able to login on Blogger so I could respond to comments and comment if anyone else’s blog would ever come up.  Everything is taking so long I’m starting to wonder if it’s worth the effort.  I have been trying to pull up a web page for info to enhance a story I was planning on writing today.  The internet is still waiting for the site to load. 

In the time I’ve waited for the site to not load, I’ve written this post, shared some chips with Gwen, helped her go down the slide on Jump Start Preschool World, gone shopping for some retail therapy, took a hot bubble bath, dyed my hair because it’s been 100 years since I started this post, and attended the births of all of Gwen’s babies.  She had 5 by the way.  Oh, and the last one is getting married now so I better go . . .

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Screen Time

I’m suffering from a bad case of writer’s block.  So bad, in fact, that termites have chewed my block until it resembles a small pile of sawdust.  Kind of like the sawdust that the elementary school janitor would sprinkle over vomit in the hallway to absorb the moisture and smell. 

Every once in a while I get writer’s block.  Each and every time I do I think of Joey Tribiani from Friends talking about how he moved to be alone with his thoughts then says, “I don’t have as many thoughts as you would think!”  That always makes me laugh.  I guess I periodically run out of nothing to talk about.  Yes, I meant to say it that way.  I pride myself on writing as much as I do about nothing.  However, the nothing ideas are ever so missing.  There’s not even a Say What post percolating in my draft folder. 

I blame screen time.  The family TV died which has completely changed how we spend our screen time.  I have to work out downstairs which makes me feel exposed and more concerned about what the kids are doing than what I am doing for myself.  Plus, they watch me.  Even though they are praising me and clapping when an exercise is finished I find it invasive.  It’s amazing what a baby gate in the doorway can do for one’s perspective.  Stepping over the gate is like stepping into a cloak of invisibility and anonymity.  When a sectional couch is all that separates me from the rest of my family, especially when half of them are sitting on it staring at me, I may as well workout at the gym with the public display I have become. 

Another wrinkle in our screen time is I don’t watch the news anymore.  The news was always something I had on as I went through my morning routine.  It woke up my mind and helped me keep track of time.  If the newscasters weren’t announcing the time every two minutes I could look at the bottom right hand corner of the screen and see the time myself.  There’s also a pattern to the morning news that I found comforting.  I don’t even know the weather from day to day nor do I know any statistics of the unseasonably cold winter we’re having.  I have to look out the window and hope for the best. 

Forget about all that with the news.  The biggest problem with me not attempting to stay informed of current events is I have run out of things to write about.  Some of my favorite posts were conceived with a ridiculous news story, even if the end product had nothing to do with the news.  Was the news my muse?  Quite possibly. 

One would think that with all the screens I have in my house I could find something to spark my creativity.  Isn’t it amazing how technologically dependent people have become?  Multiple televisions – I fought that one for a long time and now I can’t live without the TV in my room!  Computer screens, cell phones, PDA’s, etc.  So many screens to entertain us. 

There is one story I want to write but when I attempted it yesterday I realized it needs to marinate a little longer.  Until then I’ll wait for my normal life to take on blog worthy nothingness where I turn coincidences into The Bogey Man and the like. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Dark Dark Tale

Down a dark dark ramp . . . there is a dark dark room . . . through the dark dark room there is an even darker room . . . in the even darker room there is

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a library.  Complete with a neon Exit sign and everything. 

Inside the library there is a

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fireplace.  This keeps the room warm and it keeps the room from being too dark.  On top of the fireplace is a picture of a prince.  But he was arrogant and selfish so a witch put a spell on him and now he’s a hideous beast.  He’s still pretty mean so really we shouldn’t be in here.  Shh . . .

Across from the fireplace is a dark dark corner.  In the dark dark corner there is

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an enchanted book.  The enchanted book asks enchanted questions that tell you which character you are most like. 

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Cogsworth is in an enchanted mirror that takes your picture.  This mirror only takes pictures.  It does not tell you who is the fairest in the land.  Unless my mirror lied . . .

Anyway, the book has an enchanted bookmark with enchanted pictures to touch to answer questions.  Once all the questions are answered the character you are most like is revealed.  A list of characteristics are also listed.  It’s eerily perceptive. 

Parker was Flick (Main character in A Bug’s Life)

Gavin was Jane (cute British girl in Tarzan)  Gavin swears he touched the sir picture instead of the mademoiselle picture.  Hmmm . . . Other than him being most like a girl the other characteristics were spot on.  Maybe Gavin is a male version of Jane. 

I was Mulan (Main character in Mulan – one of two Disney movies I cannot stand!  The other is Pocahontas because it is so obnoxiously historically inaccurate.)  Despite my animosity toward Mulan the characteristics actually described me really well.  The one that sticks out in my mind is the one that said I would do anything to protect my family.  True.  I have done some crazy things to protect my family. 

Heath was Jiminy Cricket (wise friend in Pinocchio) 

Gwen was Maleficent (evil witch in Sleeping Beauty)  You can’t make this stuff up!  I think what happened here was that Gwen insisted on touching the pictures herself.  So when the question was asked, “Would you rather eat lunch with nice people or eat nice people for lunch?” Gwen chose to eat nice people.  All these weeks later and I’m still laughing about that one. 

We had to quickly leave the dark dark room because Maleficent er Gwen was having an evil tantrum.  Lucky for us the Beast did not find out we were in his library so all was well.  But I heard the spell was broken when some pretty girl fell in love with him.  I’m just not sure why Cogsworth and Lumiere didn’t change back to their original selves.  Anyway, this concludes the dark dark tale.  The End.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo May All Your Dreams Come True

This is the Disneyland post everyone is most interested in.  This was the experience I was most excited about.  Because there are so many pictures I want to share, I have made a movie with pictures and the video captured of this day.  Big thanks to Dawn and Dayleen for sharing their pictures as well. 

I could not wait to see Gwen and her cousins go through a princess transformation together.  Actually, I couldn’t wait for Gwen to see her cousins for the first time since she was 6 months old.  They bonded quickly.  Gwen would ask, “Where my sisters?” or “Where my friends?” any time Melina and Breena were out with their family. 

The last day at Disneyland was busy.  We got up early to take advantage of the Magic Morning Madness where we could get into the park an hour earlier than the general public.  We played for a while then headed back to the room to give Gwen a bath before the salon appointment and to pack up to go home.  The bellhop came to hold everyone’s luggage and we rushed out the door to get to the appointment. 

Only we didn’t make it in time.  We tried.  The boys were crying because we were making them run the whole way.  I was disappointed we were late but there wasn’t much I could do about it.  The ladies at the Boutique told us we would have to wait until they could fit us into the scheduled appointments.  Then I was really sorry we were late since we waited about an hour before they were ready for us.  The adults’ moods were deteriorating with the wait in such a small shop. 

The girls were in little girl heaven with all the toys, costumes, jewelry, and dust collectors all in a princess theme.  Gwen would grab a cousin’s hand and pull her over to something glittery and shiny even if she had already seen that item several times already. 

By the time they were ready for the girls Gwen was getting tired of everything.  I started to worry that they were going to kick me out because I was late for my scheduled appointment and my baby, who was technically too young to have the princess salon experience, was crying.  Breena and Melina met their Fairy Godmothers right away.  I held my crying, cranky Gwen while I stood against the wall since there was no space on the bench.  Finally they were ready for Gwen. 

She refused to sit on the chair and I considered bursting into tears myself since I have wanted to do this since we went to Disneyland in the spring.  The Fairy Godmother was the sweetest person I have ever met.  She got on her knees to try to find Gwen’s face that was tipped so far down it was hidden behind her hair.  The Fairy Godmother asked Gwen if she would sit on the chair with Mommy.  Gwen said no because she said no to any question asked at that point.  I sat in the chair and put Gwen in my lap. 

Fairy Godmother stayed on the floor pretty much and kept talking to Gwen in a really sweet voice.  I don’t even remember what she said.  It was just small talk but suddenly Gwen was responding.  Fairy Godmother held out the card that had the three choices of hairstyles on it and asked Gwen which was her favorite.  I knew which one I wanted but as the questions kept coming and Gwen was actually picking things.  I realized it wasn’t about me.  I let Gwen choose whatever she wanted.  She chose the hairstyle I wanted her to but she chose Ariel red hair when I would have preferred dark brown Belle to match her own hair color better. 

The professional photographer took some really cute pictures of Gwen sitting on my lap in the chair getting her makeup done.  The pictures are very expensive so I don’t think I will be buying them even though some are super cute.  I don’t know though.  If I can narrow it down to two I may just pay the $15 for two 4x6 prints.  Then again, Dawn got some cute pictures of Gwen in my lap and I was happy to put those in the video. 

As soon as Gwen’s makeup was done Fairy Godmother asked if Gwen was ready to sit by herself to get her hair done.  She was all warmed up at that point so she had no problem climbing up into the chair.  Fairy Godmother asked if Gwen likes to get her hair done.  I said she sits for me at home.  Then FG gently brushed and combed Gwen’s hair up into a high ponytail for several minutes.  They had the cutest conversations that I of course missed recording.  I got partial recordings of FG asking questions she meant me to answer like whether or not I wanted Gwen’s bangs out. 

Disney Princess movie songs were playing in the background.  FG would ask Gwen which movie the song went with and Gwen knew every time.  I was just as surprised and impressed as FG was!  Then she asked Gwen how old she was.  Gwen confidently said she was 2.  FG was surprised again because Gwen was so smart and so good to sit there and be pampered. 

As soon as that red hairpiece went in I lost my little girl.  It was interesting to see Gwen as a redhead though.  I always dreamed of having a little girl with red hair.  A more natural looking strawberry blonde maybe without five inches of dark roots! 

FG told me that there is only one hairstyle that comes with a tiara so she asked if I wanted to pay $4 for a cheap one.  I said yes (and then Dawn paid for all the girls later) and Gwen chose the hot pink one over the silver one.  Breena was told the same thing and chose the silver tiara.

Then FG “pinked Gwen’s toes.”  That’s a Gwenism for painting her fingernails.  She doesn’t say it as much as she used to which makes me a little sad.  I loved it when she would ask me to pink her toes. 

The transformation was almost complete.  FG had Gwen hold her arms up so she could get the sash on.  Once the sash was adjusted the transformation was complete.  My baby was gone.  A Disney Diva sat in her place with the same voice that sounded really weird since it looked nothing like Gwen. 

After every princess was finally primped to perfection the fairy godmothers would announce them to the room and slowly spin the chair around.  “Presenting for the very first time, Princess Gwen!”  Everyone would clap and make a big deal out of it then the fairy godmother would turn her around again and open the curtain so she could see herself for the first time in the mirror.  I love the video I got of that part because even the professional photos couldn’t compare to the live action. 

The girls were called Princess the whole time they were in the store and back in the salon.  It was super cute.  Everything says Princess Gwen on it.  I love it.  Each princess also was given a pink backpack to hold all their stuff.  The rest of the makeup, nail polish, comb, brush, photo pass cards, and anything else the salon used on each girl.  The backpacks had different princesses on them.  Since Gwen was wearing her Cinderella dress she had Cinderella on her backpack.  I know Melina had Belle since she was wearing a yellow dress made by Grandma.  I’m not sure what Breena got since her dress (made by Grandma) was green. 

I made sure to thank Gwen’s fairy godmother for everything since she was so sweet and patient with Gwen.  She got Gwen to warm up very quickly and I was so appreciative of it because it was a magical experience for Gwen just like I had hoped it would be. 

I was satisfied but there was more.  A professional photographer took us into a back room and took more pictures.  I love how nice the photographers are at Disneyland.  They always allow parents to take their own pictures and nobody is ever pushy about purchasing the professional photographs.   Grandma bought the Goofy’s Kitchen package, Heath bought the Ariel’s Grotto package, and Dayleen bought the Princess package.  It just worked out that way! 

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These are scans of the professional pictures Dayleen bought.  So cute right? 

The girls could not stop looking at themselves in the mirror.  I thought that was precious.  So many parents in the store had strong reactions to the salon.  Some wanted their girls to do it and some told their girls to get out of the store as quickly as possible before the devil himself grabbed them on their way out.  I thought it was fun.  I wanted nothing more than for Gwen to have fun.  I think beauty is more than skin deep and it’s not shallow to want to look nice on the outside.  This does not make me a Toddlers & Tiaras kind of parent.  That’s going too far. 

Speaking of Toddlers & Tiaras, Gwen was zapped by the end of this and with her new look she appeared to be a spoiled brat.  I think we were all embarrassed about what other people might think of her melting down the way she was in her stroller looking the way she did.  Mom, Dad, and Grandma were very impatient with her.  Looking back on it, I think it was her appearance that put us on edge.  If she looked like typical Gwen we would have understood that she spent over two hours in one place being fussed over and treated like she was much more mature than a two year old.  But because she looked the way she did her crankiness came off as total spoiled toddler in tiara! 

We got some lunch in her at the Storytellers CafĂ© and she was fine.  I loved our waiter there.  He was just awesome all the way around.  But my favorite was when he said that he liked Gwen and Breena’s look.  It made sense to him but Melina’s look was kind of scary.  “Like bibbidi bobbidi BOO!”  He apologized to her later and told her she did look good.  I thought Melina’s rock star princess look was perfect for her personality.  She was really cute. 

The whole experience was beyond what I had hoped for and dreamed of.  I’m so glad we did it.  And thanks again to Grandma for paying for it. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Curiosity Killed the Cat

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So peaceful when she’s sleeping.  So busy when she’s awake. 

This girl keeps me on my toes that’s for sure.  I’m going to write down what happened today because Heath is right, it is pretty funny and one day I may laugh. 

I told her I was going to vacuum.  She hates the vacuum because it’s “too noisy and scary.”  I wasn’t surprised when she went to the opposite part of the house I was in.  After I finished upstairs I took the vacuum downstairs and Gwen went to her bedroom.  At least I thought that’s where she was going.  I finished up and saw the upstairs bathroom door shut with the light on.  That’s not normal.  We’re potty training and it’s going really well but she’s not independent yet! 

Me:  Gwen, what are you doing?
Gwen (from her bedroom):  Putting my panties on.

I decided not to ask why they were off.  I didn’t want to know.  After all, yesterday she streaked through the house while I was taking Gavin next door to carpool with the neighbors.  I told Parker I would give them baths after Gavin left.  Gwen chose not to listen to the “just a minute, keep your clothes on” part. 

As if what was behind the bathroom door was more important than a little girl putting her panties back on, I looked in the bathroom first.  Hurricane Gwen had been there. 

Me:  GWEN!  You don’t touch things in the bathroom!  That’s a no no! 
Gwen (from her bedroom):  Ok Mommy.

On her bedroom floor were all the rolls of toilet paper from the bathroom.  One had the wrapper torn off ready to be used while the wrapper was crumpled to the side.  The toothbrush holder was on the floor.  All the toothbrushes were scattered.  A travel sized hand lotion tube was open with the cap lying nearby.  The comb and a chapstick tube were also strewn about.  Just to the edge of that incriminating mess were the panties and shorts she was wearing earlier.  They were wet.  Gwen was leaning on her bed while trying to put a fresh pair of panties on. 

I lectured something about her naughty choices that I was not happy with.  I sent her to the naughty stair while I quickly put everything away.  Gavin’s toothbrush looked wet and it had flecks of white on the bristles.  Gwen’s toothbrush also had whiteness in it.  Their toothpaste is not white nor is toothpaste that soft.  Lotion? 

She looked genuinely sorry for what she had done.  I went into the kitchen and saw that she had taken the rest of Gavin’s candy out of the cupboard.  She had already sucked on one lollipop that was oozing stickiness onto the table.  The other lollipop hadn’t been opened yet.  I threw them both away.  For all I know that candy was leftover Halloween candy from school.  Gavin never seems to remember his candy or treats.  A chair had been pushed over to the stove so she could reach the pistachios that were being stored along the back of the counter like we had forgotten she can move chairs and can climb! 

The lecture continued.  She wasn’t listening.  Only waiting for me to stop talking so she could ask if she could have some fruit snacks and she held up a package to illustrate her point. 

Me:  Where did you get those fruit snacks?
Gwen:  Unintelligible whispers.
Me:  GWEN.  Where did you get these fruit snacks?
This went on for several seconds. 
Gwen:  In your purse.
Me:  I’m putting beads back in.

I put three beads back in the jar that she is trying to empty to earn her doll clothes.  She can earn four a day for being accident free at various times of the day.  I was mad.  Heath just laughed.  Well, I never laughed when Parker turned the water heater to vacation mode or used sidewalk chalk to color on the side of the house or the van.  But later I sure did. 

Me:  We have to go to the store now.
Gwen:  Oh boy! 

Ok fine.  I’m laughing.  Gwen is a mischievous mix of her brothers.  I guess I forgot what it’s like to have a curious toddler in the house. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Just a Ride

Tell someone afraid of heights that Soaring Over California is “just a ride!”  Actually, that ride made me a little nervous.  One of those rides that reminds you that you’re alive.  We did it twice and I was very impressed the first time and able to enjoy that it was just a ride the second time.  Gavin never really liked it either time.  It calmed Gwen down the first time so we went again when she was tired and at the end of her rope.  She cried until the end when Tinkerbell finally showed up then she cried that the ride was over.  I guess you never can win with tired two year olds! 

We had a lot of fun riding rides at Disneyland at Christmas.  I loved all the Christmas details everywhere. 

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Sleeping Beauty’s castle was a beautiful sight of icicles and lights.  The self guided tour was fun.

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This tree was right outside our hotel.

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It’s a Small World was decked out in holiday trim both inside and out.  Unfortunately we didn’t ever get any pictures of the inside.  A medley of Christmas songs and the traditional It’s a Small World played throughout the ride.  I love this ride!  We were able to watch the light show one night and Heath got pictures on his phone.  Music plays while Christmas images are displayed like a changing hologram over the walls. 

Some rides we did this time that we hadn’t before were the Indiana Jones ride.  Parker and I went on it first. 

It took us 10 minutes to get to the ride even though there was no line.  That’s just how long it took to wind through the rope.  We kept walking and walking and twisting and turning through the cave until we finally stopped at the cars at the end.  That was the best part of Disneyland, the short lines! 

We got in the jeep with some other people and prepared for the crazy, bumpy ride.  I was laughing the whole time holding onto the bar so my brain wouldn’t jostle out.  I told Parker to hold onto the bar but he could barely reach it.  Towards the end of the ride he said he was a little scared.  When it was over I asked if he liked it. 

Parker:  Yes. 
Me:  Should we tell Gavin he should go on it?
P:  Yes.
putting his hand by his mouth like he was sharing a secret he whispered
P:  It’s just a trick!

What a booger!  That kid makes me laugh.  I knew Gavin would hate it and Gwen was too short.  Heath and I went together on our “date night” while Grandma and Grandpa wrestled the kids into bed.  There was a line but it was really short.  We got to skip a lot of it when they were calling up, “Two?  Two?”  We were the first couple, the rest of the people were part of larger groups.  We were able to go down the stairs in front of everyone and hop right into the back of a jeep waiting for us. 

Heath and I also went on The Matterhorn because there was no way the boys would ever do that ride.  Too bad because I thought it was awesome.  We also did the Rocky Mountain Railway (is that even the name?  I can’t remember)  just the two of us.  Those two rides are the only rides anyone has died on at Disneyland.  People who were improperly secured in the ride if at all.  We thought it was so daring to do both of those rides in a row!  I loved sitting in the back of the train and screaming a couple seconds after everyone else. 

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Someone had told us not to take our kids on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride because it was dark, scary, and you go to hell at the end.  So we didn’t do that ride in the spring.  Heath and I went on it and knew the kids would love it.  We took them on it twice they loved it so much.  I took Gavin both times and told him he could drive.  He sat forward in the seat, gripping the wheel tightly, and tried to keep up with all the twists and turns.  I wish I knew the story the ride is based on because it was pretty wild and fun. 

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Gwen’s favorite ride was Dumbo. 

We also tried Pinocchio’s ride since we missed it before.  I found it too dark, lighting wise.  I could barely see anything. 

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This steamboat ride was really cool.  I also learned that Mark Twain were the sweetest words these boats could hear because it meant the river was deep enough.  Later it became Samuel Clemens’ nom de plum.  Cool right?  We sat in the very front.  You see those chairs?  That’s where we sat.  It was very Titanic I’m flying-esque.  No, it was a great place to enjoy the ride. 

We rode the Monorail several times to get back and forth between the park and the hotel.  The last time we rode it we asked the conductor if we could sit in the very front with him.  He was happy to have us up there.  That was really cool.  The boys weren’t so sure because the conductor was teasing them and asking how many times they wanted it to go upside down and whether they wanted it to go fast or super duper fast.  He was a really nice guy.  That was a fun ride back to the hotel to get Gwen ready for her debut at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, which I promise I will post about soon. 

I would have to say that having four days to do things was much better than the three we took in the spring.  We had plenty of time to do all the rides we wanted to do and see all the shows we wanted to and even chill in the hotel periodically to dry out and try again.  We went on the rides we missed last time that we wanted to do.  Although nobody would go with me on California Screaming.  Bummer.  I still want to do that one at least once.  Just to say I did it.