Monday, August 25, 2008

Stuff You Should Know About My Weekend

This weekend, I had a rare opportunity to stand barefoot in the street as the sun was setting and chat with my neighbors. My kids were already in bed, so I had all the lovely ladybirds to myself. I seriously live on an entire block of hot moms... and they are ALL super nice to top it off (gross, I know). Chattin up the hood is one of my favorite things to do, but I never feel like I've had my fill when I see people out and about because there is always a dozen or so kids hanging off of me.

But not Saturday night!

So, as iI discovered in my interruption-free conversation, my fabulous neighbor Alyssa decided to start a home business. She is making custom cakes. She tied me down and forced me to sample one of her rough drafts she is making for a friend's wedding... HOOOOOOOLY SOMETHING SACRILEGIOUS, it was AMAZING. She said she is going to try to stick with wedding cakes for now, because they will be most cost effective... BUT, if you have some fantastic event coming up or you happen to be gettin hitched soon... you need her. She also showed me a birthday cake she made for a family member recently. The girl is going places. Hit me up if you're hungry.

Sunday... I got to hold a tiny new baby. Tiny new babies aren't generally my thing ("WHAT??!?, you say? She runs a daycare for crying out loud!!?!?!?") Oh, yes, my friends, I think that is precisely why I do not LOVE the tiny ones. They are just so needy and fragile up front, its hard to get to know them and grow to love them, get them on a schedule, etc (when they're my responsibility, anyway....) Once a couple months go by and all of their 'issues' are worked out, we can play... but anyways. I do LOVE tiny new babies that don't belong to me and happen to belong to someone dear. I LOVE being included from the start in the first family chapter, seeing that look in a new mother's eyes, and in a new father's eyes... I love the smell of the hospital, and the top of their heads, and seeing what color their eyes are and which parent they look like. I love hearing the birth stories, and hearing the parent's use their child's name for the first time with a little face to match it to. And this particular new baby girl... baby Ashlynn, belongs to an old friend from long ago who still has a special place in my life. And now we have become kindred spirits in motherhood, and I think that is wild.

Also. Sunday afternoon, Anabelle and I made a special trip to WalMart on a quest for a big toy prize for her potty training accomplishment. It is finished. I thought this day would never come... I feel like ordering a cake to celebrate. HA! A toilet cake. (What is it about bathroom humor that is so funny, anyways?)

This week, I have a new baby starting in my daycare. I know this is a great fit, the baby is adorable and sweet... but any time a new kid starts its a crazy week while we all get used to each other. So, I will have my hands full and you may not hear much from me. And, its a short week, on Friday I am closed and jumping on a plane to party the long weekend away WITH NO CHILDREN in Arizona with Chels.

I'm sure you'll be hearing about that one next week... then again, maybe not...(heh)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Signs of Fall

When I woke up yesterday morning, there was a smell in the thick foggy air that was an unmistakable promise of Fall. I had butterflies in my stomach all morning long, so finally when the sun melted the gloom away I grabbed the camera and the daycare crew and headed out front in search for more of its telltale signs.

Look what we found!:

The leaves on the maple tree in the front yard have flames of red at their tips...

The pumpkin plant has started to flower!

The back hill is golden brown and dry as a desert...

Theres no denying it now...

Hurrah! Fall has taken victory over the summer heat yet again!

To celebrate, we slaughtered the king sunflower.

(Well, actually, he was mostly wilted on his own.)


The kids managed to keep busy plucking sunflower seeds out of the mighty beast one at a time with a pair of tweezers for the better part of a half hour... so I seized the golden opportunity and sneaked into my bedroom to answer the call of a pile of a particularly needy heap of laundry. I was silently commending myself for the genius and creativity of my afternoon activity for the wee ones, until I looked up and saw THIS out my bedroom window...

... and just like that, I was back on the clock.

But even so, it couldn't kill my good mood yesterday... because I spotted Fall around the corner.

And my kids seem almost as excited as I am.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Teresey-Piecey and the Croc

Meet Terese, and her adorable husband, Lyle Lyle Crocodile ("Lyle," or "The Croc" for short...)

In addition to being ridiculously HOT, as you see in the picture above... they also happen to be 2 of my most favorite people. This blog is a tad behind, but a couple weekends ago, we both happened to have a free weekend so we accepted an invitation to drive up to see them in their new home in Santa Rosa.

I should mention: Terese and I worked together once-upon-a-happily-ever-after-childless-lifetime ago, and we both lived in Santa Barbara. She was dating Lyle at the time, and they have since tied the knot, and relocated to northern Ca to be closer to the fam and such.

One of the MANY reasons Terese is SO fantastic... is the fact that we are COMPLETELY different in a lot of things... our politics, our worldviews... our upbringings. But we still manage to have this respectful, meaningful, thoughtful relationship and I feel like we both just really appreciate where the other comes from and what they stand for without being able to personally relate much. Its a really cool friendship! (gush, gush, mush, mush...lesbian soul mate, yada yada...)

So, anyways... all this to say, that one of the many differences in our present lifestyles is the fact that WE have 2 monster children, whilst Terese and Lyle remain childless and undecided to boot. They DO have 2 dogs... Bootsey and Ella... (Pugs.... love them. And I hate little dogs!). So despite the fact that Terese and Lyle live a fabulous child-free lifestyle... they are SO warm and relaxed and accommodating and welcoming to our brood of vipers. Right down to the fact that Terese planned an ENTIRE kid-fun itinerary for every moment of the day on Saturday!

When we woke up, my kids (the demons) chased her kids (the dogs) thru the house, up and down the stairs, into every unexplored bedroom/bathroom/houseplant available. Terese then prepared this wonderful breakfast buffet of teeny boxed sugar cereals (seriously, my kids STILL talk about it),

and we headed down to the local farmer's market where we feasted on fresh fruit, and also bought some grown-up delicacies for dinner that night. Terese was SO cute, when she was telling me about the market plan, she said "I really want to go, because every time Lyle and I go, there are LOTS of people with adorable kids there having a great time, and this time I want to be the one with the adorable kids!" Um. I think she might be cured of the fantasy for awhile now? Just a guess.

After the market, we headed over to the city park... that was the mother of all parks. It had... water spouts. 3 or 4 play structures (different themes for different age groups). A working train on real tracks that ran around the perimeter of the whole park...

Oh, and did I mention the most FABULOUS part of all?... PONY RIDES!!! At a city park... on a real trail, not one of those silly little loop track thingies... $3/ea. Both the kids were in love, but Anabelle just about died and went to heaven. She still tells anyone who will listen about her Rusty horse, and about how "Goodnight pooped!" (The horse in front of us... all dark black... was named "Midnight." I think its the most adorable thing EVER that she calls him "Goodnight..." and yes, he did stop and poop for her. Probably to make her feel better for pooping HER panties just moments before, nearly costing me my sanity and her a severe beating... just kidding. But yah. She waited till she was soaking wet from the water spouts, then ran in the fake little saloon play structure and dropped a deuce of her own. Also... I didn't bring the wipes to the park. Fuuuuun!!! After that, Terese couldnt stop talking about how she wanted to go home and get started on having a baby right away, hahahaha.)

The rest of the day we spent going out for pizza, and lounging in the pool at Terese's aunt and uncle's house. We decided to fore go the usual nap time for the wee ones in hopes for an early bedtime so the adults could get some quality playtime in also. It worked like a charm, and before we knew it... we were enjoying THIS:

Yah, this is the ACTUAL view off their back deck. If I ever run away from home....hmmm. Better make my reservation now.

Oh, and then we fed our faces and had pillow fights in our underwear the rest of the night.

Like only old friends can!

We love you guys, thanks SO much for all the fun, and for putting up with all of us! Best vacay ever.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Apple Valley Insanity

Can I just say... OMG, I haven't had a parenting/ daycare hag morning like this in... I don't know HOW long...

It started with oversleeping and waking up to the smell of dry urine on Dawson, who was in our bed since he wet his in the middle of the night.

I spent 30 minutes in and out of the shower frantically trying to be presentable for the heard of kids that would be arriving any moment... Dawson was cranky the entire time ( I always love when I can make such a great impression like that when parents arrive to entrust me with the quality care of their children for the day...). He was on a time out in his bedroom BEFORE Tyson even left for work... uh-oh.

I decided it would be a good idea to shake up the routine a little since some of the kids (ahem, MINE) seemed to be having such a hard time getting themselves together... so we went for an early morning walk to the park.

Some neighbors with a 6yr old son and a 3 yr old daughter happened to be there with their dog. Dawson really looks up to this big boy, who is always throwing the ball around with his Dad... but there seems to be drama EVERY TIME they interact. I'm SURE it COULDN'T be any of MY little angel's fault (dripping with sarcasm)...

So in a matter of moments, Dawson had this 6 year old in tears, holding his hand... claiming Dawson hit him. I'm ashamed to say, I saw none of this happen. The Dad had to fill me in. "Errrr... sorry about that. The priest didn't show for the usual morning exorcism..."

We came home shortly after and all the kids seemed to be picking up on Dawson's orneriness. So, no biggie... early lunch, early naps. I put all the kids at the table and make some peanut butter sandwiches... I'm feeding the baby in the high chair when one of the kids starts to gag, like they're choking... but oh, no. Choking would have been WAYYYY to easy. Its PUKE! (yeay!) My fave. Loooots of puke. Poor little thing (but also... feeling sorry for myself a little, not gonna lie...)

I strip her down, put her in some warm bath water. Everyone is now done eating lunch and wants down from the table. NOWWWW (screaming, plate throwing, hand clapping, fist banging...)! Wipe remaining 4 sets of hands... gosh that puddle of puke stinks... is all that smell REALLY the PUKE? Oh, no. Again... too easy. 2 of the little darlings busied themselves unloading the deepest, darkest, most untold secrets of their surprisingly large bowels (for such tiny little creatures!)... 2 EXPLODED poo diapers at the same time, and the puke is still on the floor, and the kid is still in the bath. Alright. Poo can wait. But oooooo, the smell.

I decided to clear the deck of some of the bodies to make space to think, so I sent Anabelle to nap. Usually I just plug her into her paci and she's asleep before her head hits the pillow. Today, she decided to sneak back into the hallway to play... and by play, I mean pee her panties in a clean streak stretching the length of a golf course.

This whole time, EVERYONE I KNOW is calling me. The house phone is ringing, the cell phone is ringing... the baby is crying because he is SOOO TIRED... all the voices that nobody else can hear were shouting different obscenities at the top of their lungs...

Lordy, Lordy.

I need a humanitarian award for not screaming a SINGLE 4 letter word at the top of my lungs the ENTIRE MORNING.

ALSO, I need a massage, and a handle of something strong and warm.

If anyone needs me in the meantime, I can be found under the bathroom sink in the fetal position. Just DON'T call my cell or house phone. And really, only come looking for me if you're dressed in a white coat, and planning to check me into an institution for some badly needed r and r...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What NOT to Wear (Even When You Really Really REALLY Want To)

So... I know I joke around a lot about 'never getting out of the house...' but in all honesty, it would seem this summer I've managed to chew thru the straps and dig under the fence pretty regularly!


So, this was our big weekend event this Saturday... Mike's SURPRISE 30th birthday party, planned by none other than the queen of all things domestic and organizational (not to mention one of the most fabulous women I know), miss Kari (last name intentionally with held to protect the innocent... or guilty, whatever...).

The THEME of this amazing bash was "T-shirts you can't wear in public." It was SO fun to pick out our shirts (I got mine at BustedTees and Tyson got his from T-Shirt Hell )... ALMOST as fun as it was to see Mike SO.COMPLETELY.SUPRISED when he came home to his living room FULL of friends that seemed to be more like family ( I can't believe I left my camera outside for the best part!). I've never seen a surprise pulled off so well, I thought he was going to pass out!

Anyway. Tyson and I thought THESE shirts were HILARIOUS comic relief for the pressures of marriage and family life that we face every day...

HarHarHar, we crack ourselves up. Anyways... most of the pictures speak for themselves... and yes, it was every bit as fun as it looks.

Oh, I should mention... THIS is Mike, and Kari:

And THESE are all the hot Moms that live in the neighborhood...

Here is a sample of a few of the funny shirts people were wearing (I didn't get all of them... I kept getting... er... distracted...):

This is Kari, gettin her groove on with that one dude who looked just like Nate Berkus

THIS is Tyson, a few deep...

I love how they are looking at each other in this shot...

Aaaand, THIS is me and the girls, a few deep...

Tyson and Crissy in a bar fight... Oh, wait, that's right... I didn't even MAKE it to the bars...

Yah. So... did I mention we had a good time?

Oh. And now, I'm actually pretty attached to my shirt. I think I might rebel and wear it in public anyway. Watch your step, sweetie... or the whole town might know you're in the dog house! ;)


For Anyone Who Thinks I Occasionally Exagerate the Sadistic Nature of My Toddlers...

I present to you, Dawson and Jezebelle Anabelle's Fantastic Funhouse:

...And you can't hear the sadistic laughter echoing down the hall through the picture...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The "O" Word.

No... not that "O" word, perverts.

This post is about the fact that recently... I am feeling... I cant believe I am saying this aloud into the universe (ha)... it kind of feels like admitting defeat, or like maybe I am on the cusp of inviting some sort of nasty self-fulfilling prophecy ... but just lately, Ive been faced with this paralyzing idea...

could it be possible that already, I am becomming... "old?"

For the most part, I really don't actually believe that I am. But then again... that's what all the old people always say!


The warning signs are all there.

I saw this picture of myself taken last weekend during our visit with Terese and Lyle... and thought... man, I LOOK OLLLLLD! Wrinkled and wise (zoom in, and check out my cheek!). I know, sounds a little dramatic... (and if you are older than me and reading this, you probably hate me, sorry) but I see it. For the first time, ever.

Kari asked me last week in all seriousness if Ive started using wrinkle cream yet (she wasnt trying to be rude, apparently alot of people start doing that in their 20's?). It sounded proposterous to me! Um, now...when I see this...not so much anymore. Also? Wrinkle cream isnt cheap, people!

Another sign is the fact that in all my new health and excercise routines, I do feel much stronger physically, as well as more energized throughout the day. What I didnt expect... was the fact that after some light weight training, a yoga class, and a nasty and embarassing dive off the treadmill in front of an entire gym full of beautiful people (top5 awesomely embarassing moments of my life, easily)... my lower back is officially more tweaked than a pot farmer and its FREAKING KILLING ME.

It came to my mind again yesterday when I spent part of the morning with my youngest brother, Kyle. Kyle is 11 years younger than me, and up to this point its always been 'cool' to be the older sibling. Until we were having this conversation about girls I referred to as "hootchies."
Yah, I know... I haven't used that word in at least 10 years either... but amazingly, it was still buried somewhere in my ancient trove of hip vocabulary words.

He had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. At all.


I think 'old' is relative. If I were, say, 30. And I had spent the last decade and a half traveling, and saving villages, and earning degrees and doctorates, and attending fundraisers and board meetings in some dream career... and then decided to settle down and be a Mom... I would expect to be an older Mom who looked and acted the part of... well, a 'MOM!'

But I have done none of these things. I am living my life backwards, actually. I am 25, with 2 toddlers and a mortgage I pray I can make the payment on each month. I have some responsibility, but I'm still 'only' 25! Theres so much left for me to do! Am I going to be... "old"... by the time I get around to being something more? You mean even young moms cant be "milfs" forever?

Will people take me seriously when I am the old woman in the back of the classroom at Cuesta?

I suppose not... honestly, if some-sweet-how the clock were magically turned back, and I were the 18yr old checking my text messages and trying to get thru another boring lecture at city college so my parents wouldn't kick me out of the house or (GASP!) make me pay rent, I juuuuust might have uttered a joke to my bff sitting in front of me at the expense of the 40-something year old woman in the back of the classroom who was fiercely taking notes about whatever trivial topic the professor was rambling about.

I'm not saying it would have been right to do that... and I'd like to say I've grown up now.

And I guess I really have... because now that will soooo be me (the note taking douche bag). And honestly, I don't think I will care when the cool kids whisper. Because I will call all of their mothers and tell them what I saw them doing in the parking lot before class... and then all of their worst nightmares will come true, they will have to pay rent and probably also have to write me a lovely apology letter (assuming their mom was the 35 year old career woman and not the 25 year old milf).

And that is the power of being old.

Bonus Material:

****************Things I've learned about myself in writing this post*********************

1. I dont know If I consider myself an older hag mother who had a career and started off late or an irresponsible sex-thirsty young mother... neither of which I made sound particularly attractive. I guess that fact alone... damned if youre old, damned if youre young... really speaks truths about the loose loose loose regarding much of motherhood in general at any age. Oh well.

2. I dont know how to spell "carrers." Carreers. Carear. Career ( I this this is the winner?). Better add basic english grammar to my Fall schedule for classes at the Jr. college.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Source of Anabelle Lee

Recently, my Mom had some time off and took Dawson on a Costco outing with her. They took a detour to a used book shop in search of a 'how-to' book for a project my Mom is working on, and during their adventure they came across THIS treasure:

A children's book, with the poem for Anabelle's name sake, retold in beautiful illustration.

I love it, and was immediately excited about it. But because of the tragic nature of the story and also the slightly traumatizing pictures, I tucked the book away in my closet after browsing through it until a day that Anabelle could appreciate the story without being a bed wetter for the remainder of her adolescence.

A few days after the bookstore outing, out of the blue Dawson says to me, "Mom, wheres the new book? " I told him in his room on his dresser (Grandma had bought him a few others that same day) but he immediately cut me off... "No, not THOSE books, Mom. I'm talking about the book that is the source of Anabelle Lee!"

Um... OK. Sorry about that, Mr. Encyclopedia Britannica. Sheesh.

Its definitely not a bedtime story, and I know it seems a little dark and tragic to name your child after such a relic.

But this name is SO perfect for her, for SO many reasons, one of which being that something inside me is drawn to this poem for the parallel of the fierce and unwavering passion in young love that I found in my husband (tho apparently we didn't and don't love each other enough for the angels to off me, I suppose that's a good thing...??).

And, don't be all sick and twisted about it, but without realizing it at the time she was named for "grace and beauty," there is also an undeniable similarity to such a love between my children. They are so terribly passionate about the way they feel toward each other for (better or worse), and I know in my heart that because they are so close in age, even if they should become completely different adults that grow apart over time, they will always love and appreciate each other and the beauty of their childhood experience that revolves around the other.

Its eerie, really... how well the name fits her, and our family.

I love this love story... the source of Anabelle Lee:

"For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams of the beautiful Anabelle Lee. And the stars never rise, but I see the bright eyes of the beautiful Anabelle Lee."