Monday, September 27, 2010

i'm such a baby

it's over 90 degrees here today.

97 currently, to be exact.

and its officially the first day i've complained about the heat.


i love it here!

and since typically, it doesn't even hit 80 degrees, we don't have air conditioning.

which is what makes days like this quite miserable.

97 degrees. 3 whiny kids. no air conditioning. 

one irritable mommy.

i know, its hard to feel sorry for me when today is the exception. and the rest of the year i can head to the beach in the morning and wear sweatshirts in the evening.

but for today, i complain. i'm a baby like that.

i'm off to sit under the fan and eat ice cream.

**(don't forget to enter the giveaway. winner to be announced friday!)**

Thursday, September 23, 2010

nothing like the sound of jackhammering in the morning...

over a year ago, some genius that lived in a house across the street decided to siphon gas out of his non-working car with a shop vac. 

unfortunately for him, the spark of the shop vac and the abundance of gasoline were not a good mix. it burned most of his house down.

when we moved in, we heard the story. 

and then, for the past year, we continue to drive past the "fire house" (as my kids call it), all burned and haunted looking, with an overgrown front yard and a chain link fence lining its perimeter.

it's an eyesore.

and i know we have such things as insurance hurdles and investigations and all that necessary stuff here in our forward-moving civilization. but seriously, i ask myself (or complain to anthony) ever so often, WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG!?!

that is, until this weekend.

early saturday, we heard the wonderful sounds of the demo team filling the air. and the people that never came all year, have proceeded to work non-stop tearing this house apart.

and i wonder, why must we jackhammer up the entire driveway? i didn't think cement was affected by flame.

and why must we start it so early in the morning?

anyhow, this has provided excellent entertainment for my kids.
yeah, i know this looks dangerous.

it is.

for awhile, they weren't allowed to climb up there anymore. not after ella pushed bennett because he was crowding her perch and he fell off onto his back.

it was pretty bad.

so i said, NEVER AGAIN!!!

no more kite flying.

or neighbor spying. (it does just look onto the road, not anyone's backyard or anything... that would be really creepy)

or periscope looking...

but then, as those of us who are weak and desperate often do, i caved.

with all the demo action, the questions started coming, like can we go watch? can we go in the front yard?

people, this would mean i would have to go with them and retrieve mason from oncoming traffic. over and over and over again.

what kind of mother do they take me for?

i'm l.a.z.y.

so yeah, they can climb the teetering tower of plastic chairs once again.

it's educational after all. they have learned so much... jackhammers, cement trucks, construction-ish things, forklifts, bobcats...

and meanwhile, i can do the dishes, or fix dinner, or blog...

its a win-win for us all!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010



have you been shopping lately for console tables, learning resources, or a super cute chips and salsa bowl like this? 'cause i just got me one and i'm loving it!

one lucky blog commenter will win $40 to spend at

there are about a million things to choose from. so spoil yourself. or start your christmas shopping early.

leave a comment for an entry. (if you do not have a blogger profile, leave an anonymous comment and your email address so i can contact you if you win.)

for an additional entry, post about it on your blog or facebook and leave me another comment telling me you did so.

good luck!

Monday, September 20, 2010

happy fall

so we have this really cool nature walk area right by our house. you can walk down the sidewalk and suddenly you are on a dirt path surrounded by trees. it's gorgeous and secluded and makes you feel like you are out in the forest (and yet close enough to home to run back for preschool bathroom emergencies).

since we are wrapping up our little learning unit on creation, i figured it would be the perfect opportunity to enjoy God's creation (and collect little fall-ish items for my pumpkin men).

so i had just found the perfect little tree with itty-bitty pine cones when i hear the commotion.

there are all these birds flying through the air shrieking, and running on the ground below them was some sort of coyote/wild dog/crazyanimal.

and it was just about to intersect with the boys, who happened to be running up ahead of me.

so i start running for them yelling, "stop! stop!" (as if they have ever listened to that command) and panicking slightly, like how am i going to fight off a wild animal but knowing of course that i totally will because these are my children...

and i'm running as fast as i can all the while hearing ella screaming "mommy! mommy! mommy!" because i pretty much left her in the dust since the boys and wild animal were in front of me...

and i see it getting closer and closer and this whole time i'm still yelling "stop!" (yet haven't begun to think up ways to beat them later for still not listening to me...)

but then...

the thing runs the other way and we are safe.

minus all the emotional drama this has caused.

because by now, ella is in hysterics. and mason finally realizes something is wrong so he's yelling "up! up! up!" and clutching at my legs.

and ella is sobbing, "i don't want to do a nature walk anymore! i wanna go home now!"

(i told her to put the stick down for the picture. she said, "no. what if that thing comes back. i'm going to kill it." right, honey...)

and mason is crying and i'm trying to calm my heart down.

and bennetts all, "so mom, which way now?"

um, home.

and then bennett realizes we are heading home and he starts crying, "i don't want to go home..."

and he's throwing this ridiculous fit and i ask him, "bud, did you see that animal?" and he stops mid-cry and looks me all matter of fact and says, "yeah, but its gone now and i'm sure someone killed it already. can we go in the tunnel?"who says homeschooling isn't full of adventures...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

happy birthday (last week)

dear mason,

2 years! how has it already been 2 years? wow, time has flown by. it seems like yesterday i'd hold you in my arms and you'd smile at me. and then i'd set you down and you'd giggle at me from your swing, without a care in the world. such a happy kid, so content. bringing so much joy to my life...

dear mason,

wow, 2 years? is that all? i swear i've aged at LEAST five since you've been born.

don't get me wrong, i do love you. more than life itself.

but you exhaust me. it was pretty obvious the way you came into this world... what with that terrifying emergency c-section and you making a tangled mess of that umbilical cord and then squeezing it while they tried to yank you out of me... you were a force to be reckoned with...

and you were a keeper, that's for sure.

and then your incessant need to be awake all the time. really? really!?!

you give it your all. you are determined and passionate. and nothing gets by you.

and i must say, its nice that you no longer scream every waking moment. because, for real, your first year of life about did me in. i mean, i know some day you are going to change the world, fight injustice, stand up for the orphan and the widow, run for president, invent something incredible... all i know is, you better thank me at your inauguration for not murdering you as a child. (and don't be laughing like i'd be joking about that... you were, lets face it, pretty much a monster.)

but i love you. i mean, sure, its annoying that all you want now in life is daddy. like when i stumble in your room to your freaking out, middle of the night screaming and you go all ballistic and throw yourself to the other side of the crib and yell "dada, DADA, DADAAAAA!!!!" that doesn't exactly warm up a mother's heart.
but i do think you are really smart. like knowing how to get into my bathroom cabinet to get out all the first aid ointments. or eat vaseline. or shave your face. or stick q-tips in your ears.

so maybe this year we could work a bit on developing your speech. lets start with a calm version of, "mommy, may i please have a snack." and "thank you. you are the most wonderful woman in all the world." but if that's too much maybe we can work on "please" "snack" and understanding the term "patience, mason."

i love that you are driven. that you want to grow up fast and do things like color with markers (but lets keep it on the paper, ok?), glue and glitter, run out into the street (ok, but notsomuch), and sit at the table with the big kids...

that is, until you are actually allowed to sit at the table and then you adamantly insist upon sitting in the high chair.

life is on your terms.

although currently annoying for me, its a very admirable trait. don't ever let people bully you.

(and yet, please don't be the bully...)

you are quite a perceptive child. i can tell your brain is really working in there. you notice everything around you. and you focus real well on your toys, especially cars and trucks. is it possible for a 2 year old to be addicted to matchbox?

all i know is, whoever invented the whole toy version of the trailer attachment thing, thanks for nothing. about 85 times a day i hear, "uh, uh, uh, uh, uh?" (which doesn't look nearly annoying enough in type) and look down to you holding the truck that became detached from its trailer, AGAIN.

i know, it could be worse. you could be 16 and addicted to drugs.
but really, do you absolutely need to have 6 cars lined up in your crib each night to go to sleep?

it is a good thing you are so cute.

not that looks are that important, so don't let that go to your head or anything.

unofficially here, its also cute how you blame your siblings for everything. you can barely talk and yet you've already learned the most important trick in the book. but sometimes, its pretty obvious its you. (such as: "who pooped their pants?" "eh ah" "ella did not poop in your diaper!" giggling... "ben nen" "bennett did not poop in your diaper!" laughing now... "ma ma!" um ok, definitely not...)

you are so charming. you know how to give great smiles and provide dramatic entertainment for your audience. and when you get to the far end of the park and i yell for you to come back, i may seem annoyed that you turn and grin at me and then slap your hands over your ears and start running the other way, but it actually is very cute.
but if you could stop hanging from high playground platforms or climbing on ladders above my head, i would appreciate that. oh, and also, there is no need to bully other 1 year olds and scowl at them when they start playing with your sand toys.

i love you, little monster-mason.

in spite of all my complaining, you bring such joy to my life. you are energetic and passionate. your exuberant excitement over passing trucks and airplanes and play doh and yogurt is delightful. your sheer giddiness over the sight of your siblings after being separated for an hour or so is so rewarding to a mommy. and the way you run to me with your arms outstretched and your eyes and mouth open wide, with all that jolly laughing coming from deep within...

yeah, i'll keep you.

happy birthday. (and there's no such thing as terrible 2's, k?)

Monday, September 13, 2010

our weekend

we went to a potluck (do we still use this word, "potluck"? or is "barbecue" more in these days? someone tell me, please) with homeschoolers from our church. we knew hardly a soul there. and i must say they are quite the cool bunch of people. not a single set of homespun matching denim jumpers among 'em.

we drove out close to the middle of the nowhere. these people have this completely amazing ranch, with pool, tennis courts, winding pathways among ponds and waterfalls...

did i mention we brought mason?
it was my worst nightmare.

i don't think i ever finished a conversation. "hi, and your name is?... oh wait, never mind, my son is about to go headfirst over the bridge."

they all probably think i'm really rude.

but the good news is mason didn't drown.

and really, it was nice to meet some other families in the same boat as us.

but enough about that.

here's the thing.

maybe i should mention, as it seems to happen frequently in my little world, if you are invited to a potluck (or whatever...) it would be *proper* to bring at least enough food to feed your family.

for instance, if you think, "oh, i need to bring a dish. how about a couple celery sticks?" and then you load your family of 8 into the car and off you go, someone is
going to be hungry.

and since your kids are most likely to get their food first and some moms out there are most likely to get their food last...

let's just say 1/2 a brownie doesn't quite the hit the spot.

but hey, enough about that.

we also had the excuse to pretend like we were on vacation. anthony had some work to do a couple hours away so we tagged along and swam in the hotel pool. the kids loved it.
and we got to spend some time with precious family members.

as simple as it may seem, these little over night adventures to hotels are huge for my kids.

ella wrote a little thank you book for her daddy.

"room 106"
by ella

than you daddy
i love you
love, ella

(it's way cuter if you could actually see it, but i can't seem to get the scanner to work and i'm completely impatient and i'm giving up.)

(also, to the people who were in in room 104 and 108, so sorry. it IS so obnoxious, how much noise they make in the middle of the night and how early the day starts...)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

in the beginning...

so this week has been pretty terrific.

i mean, not that it hasn't been a little overwhelming to try to coordinate a new schedule and
educate a kindergartner in the midst of soccer, homeschool meetings, preschool, travel preparations, a birthday, and a sale at the mall.

but we are handling it all quite well.

ella (and bennett!) absolutely love "school" so far. bennett was disappointed to leave for preschool today. he didn't want to miss anything.

they are thrilled for circle time. (i've been getting most of my ideas here.) (that is, after getting every morsel of wisdom i can from my sister.)

and our curriculum has been really easy (for me) and fun (for ella).

it seems to be one of the big questions i get from others,
what are you going to do for curriculum?

and the options are
endless. i could spend hours upon hours researching the perfect curriculum for my child's learning style, interest, etc...

but that just isn't going to happen. come on, who has hours upon
hours to do research about something like homeschool curriculum?

how would you have time left to waste on blogging and facebook?

my "research" for curriculum went something like:

"angie (sister), what curriculum do you use?"

"my father's world."

"perfect." done.

in addition to this, we've also been enjoying
five in a row, which i found at a homeschool sale for $2. (also recommended by angie.) these books give you a list of children literature to use to teach everything from math to history to art.

and amazingly, this is fascinating to my kids. we've read the same book each day this week.
paul revere's ride.i was thinking it would be way over their heads. but they love it! we've learned about poetry and minutemen and muskets and signals and palladian windows (they aren't the only ones learning here...) they can't wait to read it again and again...

there is an excitement for learning each day. (any ideas on how to capture this and keep it going for the next 12 years?)

so the challenge for me has not been in the actual educating.
its been more in the taking care of everything else.

for instance... do we actually have to eat another meal tonight? and how does one make a housekeeper magically appear at the door? and why does stress make me want to eat more chocolate?

and any ideas on what to do with one of these?
he wants to be in the middle of everything.

and to get there, he's usually jumping on people, throwing stuff, tearing papers and screaming.

and if he's not in the middle of us, he's into the glitter and markers and decorating himself. or helping himself to snacks and all kinds of stuff he's not supposed to do. so when people tell me how they don't want to homeschool because they need the break...


because even though there's learning going on, it's kinda crazy around here too.

but i must say, its fun to snuggle on the couch with my kids and a book. and its great to see the light go on when they learn a new concept. and it's fun when they ask questions when we are out and about that pertain to what they are learning.

even in these short few days we've been doing it, its been incredibly rewarding.

and i wouldn't have it any other way. (not counting the housekeeper part of the "other way." that i would definitely have.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

sunburns, haircuts, and good friends

labor day weekend was filled with lots of fun... hanging out with friends, free kid's craft day at home depot, and getting to know our awesome neighbors who, in spite of the fact that they are young and cool and kid-free actually chose to hang out with us one night.

there were also some haircuts. mason was having a hard time seeing (we put off cutting his hair as long as possible since we still haven't found a safe way to sedate him), bennett has preschool friends to impress and anthony just went for something shorter.

isn't he a hottie?
(don't answer that. because he's mine, ladies.)

bennett was a bit concerned about his dad's drastic hair change. his immediate response was, "daddy, its ok if you wear a hat so no one will laugh at you."

anthony, chuckling: "i don't care if anyone laughs at me, buddy."

gets a little insistent. "but daddy, you can wear a hat. 'cause i don't want anyone to laugh at you. 'cause, daddy... i don't want anyone to hurt your feelings."
such a tender heart, that one.
we also had a big celebration at our church.

didn't know the entire morning was actually going to be spent outside where my fair-skinned little beauty would get a serious sunburn.

seeing ella's red cheeks reminded me of my first ever trip to cancun with my family. it was so fun. especially the first day when i played and played and played in the ocean. but especially not the next 4 days when my sunburn hurt so bad i stayed indoors and watched mexican soaps and slept sitting up because my blistering skin couldn't handle touching the bed.

good times.

i always find it so *sweet* when people get "a little too much sun" and turn a little pink and then say, "oh, but it will turn into a tan by tomorrow."

oh really... how nice for you. because tomorrow, my burn will turn into a billion freckles and sun spots and wrinkles and skin cancer. but hey, i guess that's what you get when your ancestors hail from ireland.

lucky me.

we finished off the 3 day weekend at this really cool park enjoying a free concert with the rest of southern california. we had a cute little picnic dinner and then proceeded to stand in line for the bathroom for the duration of the concert.

su.per. fun.

and now, its off to bed because tomorrow is a pretty big milestone.

first day of school.

first day of kindergarten for ella.

first day of preschool for bennett.

and first day of teaching for mommy.
God help us all.