Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Day In The Life

6:40am Up too late to go to the gym. Brandon's already kissing me goodbye while I lay in bed.
6:45am A little hansei (planning) with myself before the whirlwind begins. Put on my workout clothes to do some free weights at home after making lunches.
7:15am Kids are rousing. Time to start making breakfast and lunches. Kate left her lunch box at school. Will starts pointing out the books he wants in the scholastic book order. Elizabeth wants me to see every page of the American Girl catalog. It's a Panda Puffs day.
7:30am Lunches are done and I want to exercise before it's too late but Rachael is awake and ready for her new morning ritual: temper tantrum. I try to please her in every way possible, even letting her eat at the table like a child who can actually control what goes in and out of her mouth but she finds a reason to throw a tantrum anyway. Milk. I don't know what she wants exactly but I offer her milk in every possible cup, sippy cup or bottle in the house and she is still determined to throw a fit. It is the new morning ritual.
7:45am Simultaneously helping Will with his piano practice, dealing with spazo baby, signing Kate's agenda for school and helping Elizabeth pick out an outfit for picture day.
8:00am Take Kate to school
8:15am Give up on the idea of exercising, change out of workout clothes and get in the shower.
8:45am My sister in law is at the door with my niece. She left me a message to see if she could go to school with us. I was in the shower.
9:15am Take Will and Nicole to school (they are "late birds") and head back home to finish the preparations that were delayed by the baby's shenanigans.
9:30am Rachael is completely freaking out because I'm trying to put her pants on. I finally put her in the car in her diaper and then go in and out of the house no less than five times for things I have forgotten.
9:45am Head to the harp store. The baby will NOT put pants on. Five to ten minutes go by just trying to get into the store with both children dressed. It turns out I need an appointment with my daughter so they can show her how to tune the harp properly so I'll have to come back tomorrow anyway. (I'm sure her teacher told me this and I was too frazzled to hear . . .)
10:15am Head to the grocery store for brownie mix and disposable pans for my youth activity at the church tonight. I'm there anyway so I pick up a few extra things like jelly, apples, fruit cups, spinach, cold cereal, laundry soap, cow pals, napkins, poster board, and Clorox wipes. My shopping experience is incident free for once.
11:00am Get a fruit and yogurt parfait at McDonald's for Elizabeth's lunch, drop books off at the library, pick up the dry cleaning.
11:30am Drop Elizabeth off at kindergarten (last minute combing of the hair for picture day) and drive around until Rachael goes to sleep.
11:50am Nephew Jack (3) arrives for the afternoon while Shauna volunteers in the kindergarten classroom. (I'll take my turn later in the month.)
12:00pm Laundry, morning dishes, put groceries away, pick up the house, phone calls, computer work, paper work. My favorite part of this is spending half an hour on the phone with Belkin to fix my router so my internet will work. I just did this one week ago today. Poor Jack has NO playmates. I'm sure he is bored out of his mind but he plays pretty well on his own and watches some Diego. He also shares lots of information with me. Jack can snap AND wink. He is very proud of this.
3:00pm Wake up the baby (she was obviously REALLY tired) and load her and Jack up to pick up the kids from school. I'm careful not to forget after school snacks for everyone and car entertainment for the youngest two.
3:10pm Pass off Jack, load up my kids and Will's friend and take Kate to her first official harp lesson at 3:15.
3:30pm Drop off Will and Rithik at cub scouts.
3:45pm Pick up Kate at harp.
4:00pm Orthodontic appointment for Kate. (All her teeth are in - she's ready for braces!)
4:30pm Pick up Will from cub scouts.
4:45pm Home! Time for homework and piano practice while I make dinner. That means it's also time for Rachael to have another temper tantrum.
5:00pm Elizabeth is melting down because she didn't eat any of her after school snack. I make her a plate of nuts, ham, carrots and mandarin oranges. (She does best with single ingredients.)
5:15pm Back to cooking dinner, correcting Will's science problems, playing measures of Kate's piano pieces for her to hear, helping Elizabeth staple together a homemade mask and pacifying Rachael. Everyone is always talking at once. It's really quite amazing.
6:00pm Homework and piano practice is done so I finally put on Little Bear for the little ones and start on the brownies.
6:15pm Standing over the kitchen sink, I feel the stress relieving effects of chocolate as I clean the mixing bowl with my finger. I am alone in the kitchen for 3 blissful minutes.
6:30pm Will's favorite dinner (cajun shrimp pasta) is done, the brownies are baking and the kitchen is a mess.
6:50pm Brandon's home, the kitchen is decent and I'm sprinkling the brownies with little pink and red hearts.
7:00pm Making a "Thank You Firefighters" poster with a bunch of 14 & 15 year old girls. We take the brownies and poster to the firehouse and have a fun time visiting with the firefighters.
8:00pm After taking home one of the girls and getting gas I head home.
8:30pm Everyone is showered and fed and Dad is reading with them. What a guy.
9:00pm I cannot resist snuggling my kids at bedtime. It's my favorite time of day with each of them because it's one on one. After many interesting discussions about Superfudge, the gingerbread man and the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland I retire to my room, check email, check the news and BLOG.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Happiest Place on Earth

Yesterday I spent the day at Disneyland with my oldest daughter Kate and her best friend for my daughter's birthday. (She turns TWELVE next Sunday. How did that happen?!)

There is so much to say about spending a day at Disneyland with two tweens. The word "lame" was used a lot. (It's "so lame" that Space Mountain is closed. The Dumbo ride is "so lame". It's "lame" that the line for the Matterhorn is so long . . .) We used the fast pass option no less than 5 times for the Indiana Jones ride and the Matterhorn never lost it's appeal even after 7 (or was it 8?) rides. We pretty much spent the majority of the day running back and forth between those two rides. We shared one dinner at the overpriced and not very tasty 'Blue Bayou' just so the girls could sit in the restaurant that is inside the 'Pirates of the Carribean' ride. My cheapness knows no bounds. I was not too cheap however to indulge them in churros, Dole pineapple whip, cotton candy and waffle cones. My personal indulgence was the giant dill pickle I snuck in while waiting for them to go on the Matterhorn for the 3rd or 4th time. That was another new development. The girls loved the idea of going on rides by themselves. I am clearly getting to the point of being just a ride and a wallet. I have heard about these things from parents of teenagers so I took all the little hugs and sharing of stories throughout the day that Kate would offer. After explaining to them at 11pm that I would not stay 'til closing (midnight) because I feared falling asleep at the wheel, they promised they would stay awake and help keep me awake too. Riiiiiiiight. I was so sure they would fall asleep on the drive home I made a bet that if they did I would make a pancake breakfast for them in the morning. I was so unbelievably tired on the drive home that I had to roll all the windows down and blast my 80's music while periodically slapping myself across the face to stay awake. They took to sticking their heads out the window like dogs while screaming/laughing and I made a pancake breakfast this morning.

Here are the girls in the new "Pixie Hollow". I couldn't tell if they thought it was "lame" or not.

I just had to take a picture of this poor guy holding a tiara.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

On Sunday Brandon put together a wonderful dinner with the "help" of the kids. He updated my computer (Hello Mac!) and gave me the beautiful necklace I'm wearing in the picture with the cake. (He whipped the cream on the cake by hand, adding coconut extract. Is my husband amazing, or what?)

Monday (yesterday) I continued on my out of control de-junk-a-thon until late afternoon when we went over to my in-laws for an end of summer swim and BBQ with family. Yummy food and yet another birthday cake, only this one was ice cream: half Reese's, half cookie dough. Good times.

Today - my actual birthday - I raced out of the house shortly after 8am showered but without make up (normally I would only tolerate the reverse because I am so vain) to get the kids to the pediatrician's office by 8:30 for their flu shots. That was a fun way to start my day. I only told the kids last night what we were doing and immediately they started complaining and were trying to get me to at least postpone the appointment. No deal. I could tell they were all a little subdued during the drive and I started worrying about potential melt downs. I happened to have a whoopie cushion in the car (what good mom doesn't?) so I stashed it in my purse before going in with the pronouncement, "Let the fun BEGIN!" The kids were not amused. Not until I pulled out the whoopie cushion in the exam room. I told them I planned to let one rip every time a shot was administered. Kate refused but I could tell she thought it was funny. William LOVED the idea. (He's an 8 year old boy. Come on.) Elizabeth was on the verge of a melt down. I was glad I had indulged her by letting her wear her "brand new" (from the second hand store) Disney Princess robe over her clothes as a comfort object of sorts. I hadn't even had time to comb her hair so she literally looked like she had just gotten out of bed.

Then Will really got into the spirit of things. He suggested we let one rip when Dr. Nish opened the door. Sweet. We did it and Dr. Nish complied with the game by responding, "That feels better!" It turned out he was so fast we didn't even have time to blow the thing back up. In my mind I imagined a plaque that read "Fastest Shot in the West" with a picture of him in a cowboy hat and two syringes in holsters at his side. That would make a great present.

Only Elizabeth had a melt down and it wasn't even that bad. Rachael cried for 5 seconds. They all know they are getting Juice It Up smoothies after school as a "reward" so they didn't complain too much.

After depositing the older two kids at school I took the little girls to the grocery store, came home and unloaded everything, made some lunch, took Elizabeth to kindergarten, spent over an hour on the phone with a representative from Belkin to fix my router and put Rachael down for a nap. Now I'm alone and online!

Not a terribly exciting birthday so far, but I've had a jillion emails and Facebook messages (thank you!!) and still have Juice It Up to look forward to. Best of all, a girlfriend party tonight at a Mexican restaurant. Woo Hoo!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Summer Bucket List Re-Cap

The fires are far far away now, but I'm thinking of those who are still in harms way - especially those fire fighters. I feel so grateful to them. Lots of people have made great "thank you" signs and posted them around town, others have used their car windows. My favorite is in sidewalk chalk up a street the fire fighters were using frequently when the fires were closer to home.

I think my FFS is all but gone. (Fire Fatigue Syndrome - I made that up last week.) I'm no longer waking up to the smell of smoke. The sky was blue today. I haven't heard a helicopter fly over my house in two days. It's nice.

The only thing nicer is that school is officially in full swing. When it was postponed last Monday I let the kids invite some friends over. That was not such a fun day. I was suffering from FFS at the time. Everything was stinky, the kids couldn't play outside due to the air qulaity, I was exhausted from the whole evacuation ordeal and now I had all this stuff to unpack and instead of the kids being in school they were home. Blech. Surprisingly, they weren't that happy about it either. Kate in particular wouldn't let me mention anything to do with school all summer long, but that day she actually said she was tired of summer. Tired of summer! That's when you know it's time to go back to school!

So when school was canceled again on Tuesday I took the kids to the California Science Center near downtown LA per William's summer long request. I really wanted to escape the smoke smell if possible and luckily it was better down there. I was super tired and felt a little nauseous but we had a good time on that last day of summer. The hurricane simulator was cool, the little ice cream carts outside are always a highlight and Will was in heaven in his heelies on those floors. The "baby" even cooperated with only ONE royal fit when I didn't let her cut everyone in line waiting to try out the drunk driving simulator. (She's got a thing for steering wheels.)

My nausea only got worse as we were driving home. I ended up in the bathroom that night having some alone time with the porcelain barf receptor. With everything else that had happened in the previous five days it was not a happy time.

But that's all behind me now! Happy days are here again (sing it!) and now that summer has officially come to an end, I can't resist looking back and doing a little review of My Summer Bucket List.

We did NOT have a library/park day/ice cream day each week tho' we did frequent all three more than once. (Thank goodness for BR 31 Flavors $1 scoop night on Tuesdays!)

We did NOT visit an art museum, but we did visit a Natural History, Science and Children's Museum.

We did NOT plant a garden, but we did plant some tomatoes, flowers and cactus. We tore up a spot for cantaloupe, but never planted the seedlings which are now dead and just yesterday I finally transferred the cucumber from it's little pot to a big one. (It's California so I think despite the late date we'll still get some cukes!)

We did slip-n-slide, bubbles and wading pool. We also did water balloons.

We never grilled. Not once. To be fair, I don't know why I put it on the list. It sounded like a summery thing to do I guess, but we really only enjoy grilling when the weather is cool. I know the idea is to grill outside so the oven doesn't heat up your house, but we have AC for crying out loud so why would we want to cook over the heat in the heat outside, you know?

We did some great de-junking, the most effective de-junk-athon was held just yesterday actually. The evacuation was something of an impetus. I don't want to have to sort through and pack up so much stuff in a hurry like that ever again!

We did a lemonade and book stand.

I only gave one laundry lesson to my oldest daughter, but that's a start!

Already covered the Natural History Museum . . .

Kids did lots of biking.

Had a game and movie day in our jammies.

De-junked the craft cupboard 90%.

Decided the zoo is too hot in the summer. Bummed that we missed the Aquarium too.

Due to the siting of a very large mountain lion in our neighborhood we passed on outdoor night games.

Visited a pick your own fruit farm and did all the fun "living history" activities there too.

We went to the beach and pool lots and lots. (To the point that no one wanted to go anymore - that's another sign that it's time for school to start!)

The end of summer block party came in the form of a neighborhood evacuation. (I've never talked to so many of my neighbors at the same time!)

My kids made a lot of their own food. We're still working on learning to clean up after ourselves.

Did tie dye. (Kids wear them to bed almost every night.)

Went to the Farmer's Market. Not as much as I would have liked, but I did get Babaganoush this summer so I'm happy.

No observatory, but we just went last spring so it's not a big loss.

I keep hemming and hawing over the trampoline but while on our last family reunion/vacation there was a two year old girl who broke her leg on one so that kind of put a damper on things.

We only attended ONE outdoor concert which makes me sad. Last year we had a much stronger record. I LOVE live outdoor music.

So we pretty much didn't do anything else on our list, but let me tell you what we DID do that WASN'T on the list(besides the excitment of the fire):

We went to the BEST family camp in Utah for our annual Reynolds reunion the second week in August. Hopefully I will post pictures soon. While there:

Will did what he has been talking about doing all summer long - he went fishing. He did catch a fish and we all shared it for breakfast the next morning.

Kate did a very difficult rock climb and ropes course only for people 11 and up. She also took a hike to a waterfall and stood underneath it in her clothes. So fun!

Brandon and I did the same hike and ropes course as Kate which is why I know it was hard. I also did some other rock climbing walls with Will and Elizabeth who were NATURALS. Both of them were like little geckos.

Of the bajillion families up there that week I am proud to say our family placed 3rd place in the family follies which you can't really appreciate unless you've been there.

Lots to say about the week in Utah.

Can't forget the two weeks in Iowa at the beginning of summer and the two weeks of Johnson's camp which is always a highlight for the kids. (Their house did NOT burn down by the way . . .)

All in all, considering I don't have a nanny or even a regular babysitter it was a GREAT summer! I endured to the end and enjoyed (almost) every minute with my fun, cute, energetic, creative kids.
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