Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Visited one of MY body mechanics

Well, I did it! After 3 weeks of barely sleeping and 3 nights of REALLY NOT sleeping, I called my body mechanic. She wasn't available, so I saw one of her fellow mechanics. I walked in and basically self-diagnosed (as usual). OH WHY didn't I go to med. school, so I could write my own prescriptions?! Well, because being a body mechanic was NOT my calling in life. I have accepted this. But I nailed it, even what she'd probably prescribe. By Saturday I'll be feeling like a human again--maybe I'll even have slept!

Oh, LOVING the body mechanic's receptionist! I got my Rx for Allegra-D, which my insurance wants to fight over. I'm considering paying for it out of pocket, I'm so desperate! I called the office to see how long this fighting will take, and the receptionist, bless her heart!, offered to give me some SAMPLES to tide me over. Oh Joy! I told her I loved her!

After 1 hour on the Allegra-D, I can stand for the windows to be open! I'm not "fixed" but I'm feeling more human!

I think I'm seriously allergic to the jasmine that surrounds our home AND THAT I LOVE! So now we know, Maree needs the GOOD drugs when the jasmine is blooming.

Maree also needs to sleep, so she can remember phone conversations she's had in the last 2 days. If I've promised anyone anything, you'd better double-check! I have had conversations with folks that I don't EVEN remember!

I'm going to bed!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Body Mechanics--a first-rate rant

Warning: This post is a rant. Proceed at your own risk.

I've been giving this topic a lot of thought during the past week, and I just have to get it out of my system. Some of you have heard this rant before. I mean NO disrespect to any health professionals who may read this.

In this age of technology, NONE of us should be ignorant of things pertaining to our bodies. In the same light, I wish folks would stop looking at their doctors as gods. Doctors are MECHANICS--of the body, and they are HUMAN. They have specialized training, enabling them to care for the physical body--just like your car mechanic has had specialized training enabling him to care for your vehicle. You HIRE your car mechanic, right? So your attitude about your doctor should be the same. They are not gods to be treated with awe and wonder. Yes, they know more about the body than most, because they've suffered a long time in school. But you still HIRE them to care for your body. Even if your insurance limits WHO you can hire, your doctor still works FOR you! And if you are not satisfied with your doctor, YOU CAN FIRE him/her. I've done it before. And since the work they perform for your body can cure or kill you, you SHOULD be comfortable with your doctor!

Short story: I have some health issues and have had many health professionals care for me in my lifetime. I had some sinus issues several years ago. I was unhappy with my ENT. He had a superior attitude and I felt he "talked down" to me. I'm not ignorant when I go to my appointments. I DO research ahead of time. This doctor told me that I needed to eliminate all dairy from my diet (Dairy is evil!). Then he looked in my nose and prescribed an "allergy" shot. I asked how he could tell what was wrong just from looking in my nose? He was offended that I would question his judgment. I allowed the "allergy shot" and made my follow-up appointment--but already I was starting to question. The doctor had NOT told me the name of the drug in the injection--I should have asked, but I didn't. What if it would have an adverse reaction with some of the other drugs I was taking? They didn't even ASK what other medications I was on--standard procedure most places. When I got the bill, the name of the injection ended with "-sone." Because of my up close and personal relationship with Prednisone, I know that most drugs ending with -sone are going to be steroids. I looked it up, and that was the case. That doctor got fired. He was not honest with me about the treatment he prescribed. Yes, sometimes steroids are a good treatment option, but I was not given all of the facts, so that I could make an informed decision--and I DID NOT ASK! The fault was mine too. Incidentally, when I started with a new ENT (in the same practice), I asked how Dr. X could tell what was wrong by LOOKING inside my nose. Dr. Y said that it was not possible--there are bones and other things in the way--which is what I'd felt was true all along. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!

Our Fresno Pediatrician is an old family friend, and a darn good doctor! When I became a mother myself, I was fortunate to be able to choose Dr. Jones. He always said that he trusted the Mama's Intuition. I would feel foolish for taking my baby in to be seen when she was just extra grumpy or not sleeping normally--but my "gut" said that something was wrong. And 99% of the time, it was. Recently, I was taking Hannah in to the doctor, and I was prepared to tell him that "he could find something wrong that could be fixed, or he could take her home." Once again my "gut" was saying that something was wrong--and she can TALK now and tell me these things. She was sick. I'm glad I took her in. TRUST YOUR GUTS!

Another beef I have is folks who are ignorant about the medications they take. People tell me I should be a pharmacist. I'd actually LOVE to do that, but I'm afraid that I could NOT pass the chemistry and math requirements to obtain that degree. But I can memorize drug names, doses, and side effects. So can anyone else. I guess it's just a sick hobby of mine, no pun intended. If you're going to take a medication, even an OTC, why NOT do a bit of research and figure out what it's supposed to do for you? For instance, did you know that most OTC sleep aids ( Sominex, Compoz, Tylenol PM, and Unisom) are the same ingredient and dose as Benedryl--an antihistamine? It's cheaper in it's generic form than the sleep aids too. Pay attention to the label and the dosage. Pharmacists aren't infallible either.

I believe that folks should go to their doctor appointments prepared--research things out ahead of time, ASK QUESTIONS, take someone else with you--don't just blindly accept. You should be in partnership with your doctor in the caring for your body--YOU own it! YOU'RE the one who ultimately has to LIVE with the consequences--take some ownership! So that's it--I just wish people would put some effort into being more informed. It's not hard to do in this information era. Let it be a force for good in your life. Knowledge is POWER. The end.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

How did I NOT know this?

I was watching the late news tonight, and I learned something really astounding.

Did you know that Puerto Ricans get to VOTE in U.S. elections? I did not! Am I the only person on this planet who did NOT know that Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, and that their ultimate leader is our President?!

Where was I in U.S. History, both in High School and College, that I have escaped these many years without this knowledge?

Why DON'T we have 51 stars on the flag then? Robert tried explaining this all to me, but my idiot gene must be in control today.......

Friday, May 23, 2008

Seriously CRAZY weather!

Last week at this time, it was over 100. It was hot and uncomfortable. Today it was 67--COLD, windy, and rainy. And a tornado in Riverside county? WHAT THE HECK?! I really don't know if I'm coming or going--if it's summer or winter or something in between. One week, I've got my air conditioning (which I'm VERY thankful to have) on and the next I'm thinking about turning on the heater again (down to 62 in the house). The heater on at the tail end of May--the very idea! Oh, Mother Earth, PLEASE take your Lithium so you can be less bi-polar!

By the way, I LOVE living here! Most of the time, the weather is like unto Paradise. We can handle a few bad weather days--but please, not every spectrum of the weather all in the same week, okay?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Would you make Dad's oatmeal for dinner, please?

Robert LOVE LOVE LOVES oatmeal--I don't. He makes steel cut oatmeal, and I thought I was going to gag some down, to be supportive. It was delicious. Topher, world's pickiest eater loved it--requests it! I was supposed to make some last night, so he'd have it this morning, and I dropped the ball. So Toph requested Daddy's Oatmeal for dinner tonight. Okay.

Here's the recipe:

Daddy's Oatmeal

2 c. steel cut oats
2 Tbsp. butter
6 c. water
2 c. milk
2 tsp. salt

If you have an electric kettle, great. Put the water on to boil. If you don't, put the water into a pot and bring it to a boil while you're getting the oats ready. Melt the butter in a big saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Add oats and stir to toast them. This will take a few minutes--you know you're done when they smell nutty. Pour on the water and give a stir. When it reaches a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Then, USING THE HANDLE OF A WOODEN SPOON, break up the cooked oatmeal (it will be really chunky). Stir in the milk (handle of the spoon!) until it's creamy. When milk is incorporated into oatmeal, add salt and stir again. Serve with brown sugar or dried fruit. Yummy, even for dinner. This is a double recipe. It re-heats well. Don't cook more than a double recipe at once--we haven't had success with that.

Happy Birthday, Grandma Jan!

Janice Mary Yates was born on May 21, 1925 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Later in life she moved to Chicago, Illinois where she lived until 1963, when she moved to Fresno, California. She is my Grandmother, and I was privileged to know her.

My Gram met my Grandpa, Robert John Blessing, (we call him Grandpa Birdie) in high school—they were sweethearts. She graduated from high school at the age of 16, and was engaged to be married. Then World War II interrupted plans, and she had to wait for the war to end and her sweetheart to return. Gram and Grandpa were married on March 30, 1946.

My Gram was always a working woman. She worked at a department store (Marshall Fields) before she got married, to accumulate things for her hope chest. During the war, she worked as a secretary in a Top Secret department for Northwest University. Later, she worked in the Hall of Records and then as the secretary to the City Manager. In 1963, my grandparents moved to Fresno to follow Grandpa Birdie's dream of owning a driving range—which ended up being a miniature golf course. In Fresno, Gram worked as a court clerk for a short while, and then she worked as the secretary for 4 Mayors. In my younger years (because I'm so OLD), my Gram was like a celebrity to me—she WAS the mayor's secretary, after all! I liked going downtown to see her at work and get my package of raisins. It was especially nice the times we could go to Gottschalk's and have a tapioca with whipped cream. She was the most famous person I knew!

When I think of my Grandmother, several words come to mind: fun, funny, music, patient, kind, loving, guileless, proper, fashionable, and enduring.

It was my privilege to live in the same town as my Grandparents my whole life, so I got to see them frequently. Whenever we'd spend the night at their house, Gram would serve us juice in special juice glasses. Holidays always came with traditions when Gram was involved. Halloween meant that Gram would dress up in her witch outfit, complete with crooked nose, and she would CACKLE as she'd answer the door. Christmas meant Christmas Eve at Gram's and hiding under/near the bed and pretending to be asleep so that Santa would come. Easter meant a frilly, beautiful dress. Summer meant BBQ's—and tuna macaroni salad (which NOBODY can make like Gram) and sometimes CHEESECAKE (also unique to Gram). Gram was the person who showed us how to skinny dip! She made sure all of the men stayed inside and then had her join us—what fun!

I remember one Christmas, sitting around the ROUND table at my Aunt Bonnie's. My sister, Aimee, told the joke: “How do you get an elephant out of a phone booth?” “Take the E out of elephant and the F out of way.” Gram must have said, “there's no F in way” a million times, and honestly didn't know why we were rolling on the floor laughing. She was so guileless that the joke had to be explained to her (and I'm not sure she thought it was so funny). To this day, I laugh out loud when I thing about that, “but there is no F in way......”

My Gram's best friend in the world was her sister, Phyllis. Phyllis moved to Fresno before Gram, and I think that's one of the reasons my grandparents moved to Fresno. Gram and Auntie Phyllis took me and Cousin John to BYU one summer—me for EFY and John for a football camp. The whole way there and back they laughed and hooted and talked about a book called Lake Woebegone Days and looked for Wayne Newton. They were certifiable when they were together—so silly!

Gram spent HOURS of a precious Saturday helping me learn how to make a 3-point turn in Grandpa's white truck. She was SO patient with me! I'm not exaggerating when I say it was HOURS. I think we spent the entire afternoon working on that—and I passed my driver's test, because I learned how to do it by practicing for hours and hours. Thanks Gram!

Gram had music in her life. She appreciated music. She played the piano, organ, bassoon, harpsichord, and other instruments—and she let us play her organ! I'm sure it was a sacrifice to allow us kiddos to play on her “baby.” Of course, we had music at many family gatherings—lots of singing. And we couldn't have Christmas without the CHIMES! When she wasn't playing the instruments, Gram was singing. She was well-known for several musical numbers that she performed countless times--always funny songs. Many of Gram's callings revolved around music—a true talent. She served about 50 years in music-related callings at Church.

My Gram is a great example of love. She LOVES Grandpa Birdie. I remember when she got mugged at the mall and had her purse stolen. She was more concerned about missing a picture of Grandpa in his Navy uniform than anything else--and she was moved to tears when it was returned to her. That's love in action. Sure she and Grandpa must have disagreed in 60+ years, but I never heard her yell or fight with Grandpa. She was a good example of the little things that make life more pleasant. Gram was patient too. She was so kind and patient with Grandma Ada (her Mom) when she had Alzheimer's. Gram didn't complain about having to repeat herself a million times, and although it must have been sad for her to watch her mother decline, Gram didn't give into self-pity. She enjoyed the time she did have to spend with her mother and the things they could still do together.

My Gram is a great example of being rock solid. She attended Church faithfully. She did her callings faithfully—I don't recall her complaining. She went to the Temple when she could. She was kind and loving, and she spoke kindly of others. Gram was not given to gossip and tried very hard to only say kind things about other people. This was always a good example to me. She didn't seem to hold a grudge. She was ALWAYS a good example of dressing nice and being proper. And it was through Gram that we girls had some of our nicest dresses. She was a perpetual shopper—sales ladies KNEW her! She always dressed so fashionably that my friends would comment--”That's your GRANDMA?” You wouldn't catch her using bad language or bad manners—ever. The closest she got to bad language was, “oh shed!” and that was usually in jest. She was always very active with her groups of friends-- GoGo Girls, Philharmonic friends, Bunko, etc. Gram has always been FUN—to watch or be around. And often, it was the watching that was fun. Even the last battle with cancer saw Gram pretty much in character—she endured without too much complaining, and still tried to dress up and look nice to attend the events she did attend. She tried to think about others and went to Church as LONG as possible. “Enduring to the end” is Gram personified, and I miss her!

It just seems fitting to pay tribute to such an Elect LADY on such a special day. I'm sure she's enjoying herself with my Auntie Phyllis, having a hooting Heavenly party today. And I'm sure she's the life of the party. Happy Birthday, Grandma Jan!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Young Love

Hannah has a CRUSH, but DON'T TELL! It's a secret! But not really--her behavior gives it away.

We had a visitor this weekend. Stevo is one of Robert's friends--he actually works in Robert's old job. Stevo needed to get away, and he chose to come here. Hannah was in HEAVEN! Wherever we went, Hannah wanted to hold Steveo's hand and sit next to him. She only had eyes for Stevo. I felt so rejected--but so did Robert.

We had a lot of fun. Friday was restaurant day. We ate a HUGE breakfast and then we went to Cheeburger for dinner--yes, it's a theme with us right now. Originally, we were supposed to go to Sea World, but it was WAY too crowded on Saturday, so we parked at the Fashion Valley Mall and took the trolley to Old Town for lunch (just mediocre; we were disappointed). Then we hopped back on the trolley and went to the Embarcadero. We were hoping to take a harbor tour, but we got there too late. So we walked down the block to the Maritime Museum. We visited Point Loma and saw the tide pools. Good times were had by all.

When we weren't being tourists, the guys were busy playing video games and watching movies, and Hannah was following Stevo around. She reminded me of when our Basset Hound, Princess, would follow me around with her nose touching the back of my knee. Hannah does this type of following to me all the time, so it was fun to watch someone else be her victim.

Just tonight, Hannah was all emotional, with real manufactured tears, because, "I just miss Stevo so much." He's a nice house guest; we all enjoyed his visit--but none more than Hannah. Oh, young love!

Mom, Today I'm a ballet dancer

This is what Hannah greeted me with as I was getting out of the shower. She brought in her leotard and asked me to help her put it on--an impossibility, since the leotard was a size 6/7, and Hannah wears a 10/12! We even tried to squeeze her into it, but it just wasn't long enough for her extra LONG body.

I decided that Hannah could wear her swim suit with the tutu--that would work in a pinch. It took a bit of coaxing, but I managed to talk her into it.

THEN, as I continue to try and get dressed, Hannah starts to POWDER her legs with baby powder. I don't mean a little bit--she's virtually PAINTING her legs in powder. When asked why, she tells me that it's because all ballet dancers have WHITE legs--don'tcha know? I was thinking that might have something to do with tights, but I kept that observation to myself.

As soon as I took her picture, Hannah had lunch and all visions of being a ballet dancer have fled from her mind--until tomorrow.

I LOVE this girl!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Butternut Squash, as promised!

On a recent trip to my favorite, Yanni's Bistro, we ran into several friends. EVERYONE who eats there raves about the butternut squash. Yanni's is different in that the owner has no qualms about sharing his recipes with his patrons. After all, you don't eat there because you CAN'T fix the food they serve.....

I have the recipe for the butternut squash--it's a restaurant quantity though, so you'll have to cut it down to something you might possibly eat in a week--good luck! Also, they don't give any directions for this recipe. I'm assuming that the squash just gets cut up and cooked on the stove, drained, and then mashed with the other ingredients--I could be wrong. I've NEVER even purchased a butternut squash.

Here's the recipe:



A BIG thanks to Doreene (Robert's Mom) for sending this to me! We also have the recipe for Budino, if you ever want an AMAZING dessert--PLEASE don't anyone tell me how many calories are in it! Let's just say, it's a special occasion dessert, not an everyday dessert! :-)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Howdy, Partner!

Toph's "gang" of buddies--we all walked to the school together.

Topher's school does a Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance every year. This year's theme was Hoedown! They do an AWESOME job decorating the multi-purpose room--I can't fathom the hours it takes to create the scenery. I REALLY hope they take it all down very carefully and store it. It could be re-used every 6 years and nobody would know!

We met a few of Toph's friends at a friend's house and walked over together. It was fun to be part of a "group." As soon as the kids crossed the street, they were begging to be cut loose and on their own. We walked in the doors and they took off for parts unknown to run around with their friends. For the boys, the dance is more about seeing friends than it is dancing with your Mom.

Sharon and I were standing over by the punch, trying to scope out a place to be out of the way, and suddenly people were calling to me. Toph was ON THE GROUND! There were several Moms who were right there, and told me that he was tackled and landed on his head--on the cement! He never passed out, was altered, or was sick--so instead of calling 9-1-1, I let him get up! We put some ice on the NICE goose egg on the back of his head, and Toph said that he wanted to stay at the dance.

He was a little subdued after that. We walked around and talked to some of his friends. We danced a couple of times--watching Toph do the Cha Cha Slide was SO worth it! We took a very over-priced picture (it's cute) and we took many of our own pictures.

McDonald's provided our nightcap--sundaes. I had a very nice time on our date. Hannah was beside herself that she couldn't go this year--NEXT year holds the key to SO many other activities for our girl.

We went to the doctor today, just to make sure that Toph is fine. I woke him up before I went to bed last night, and he was fine. But he was still a bit dizzy today, and our doctor says he's conservative when it comes to head injuries. I felt better having a professional confirm what I already felt--peace of mind was worth the co-pay. Toph will have a headache for a few days and he's to have a quiet weekend. Since it's FREAKIN' HOT here right now, that will be easy to accomplish!

A bit of ice for the goose egg.

Good times!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More Toph Memories...........Naked Tool Man

Toph had a REALLY cute habit as a young kid. Once we'd strip him down for the bath, he'd run throughout the house REALLY FAST! We'd call this the "naked boy run," and we enjoyed it as much as he did--you'll have to imagine 2-year-old running and GIGGLING. SO CUTE!

Then, as we entered the Bob the Builder phase, Toph's naked boy turned into "Naked Tool Man" and he'd run all over the house, usually with a drill, trying to fix something. SO CUTE! Of course we got pictures!

Bi-Polar Weather Rant

My friend, Jen, said it best: The weather has been absolutely bi-polar lately!

Example: Today it was 65, gray, dreary, and fairly cold. Friday it is supposed to be 96, sunny, and HOT. FOUR days apart, two seasons apart. Certainly keeps you guessing!

This is not REALLY complaining. I LOVE living here! We've been here over 18 months now, but I'm still a weather retard. I can't make my brain believe that it's "normal" to have it "raining" outside right now (in San Diego, "rain" is usually more like the clouds spitting) and on Friday we'll wonder if it's too soon to start using the air conditioner.

By Wednesday next week, it will probably be in the high 60's or low 70's again. At least the wardrobe never gets dull--shorts one day, sweaters 3 days later, back to shorts. Anybody have any lithium we can give to the weather?

Monday, May 12, 2008

A TOPHER memory

I know, I've blogged a LOT about Hannah--she just gives SO much material! But I don't want Toph to feel neglected, because I love him too. Tonight we were discussing this at the dinner table, because I couldn't think of anything past a simple PHOTO of Toph--no events like the "dance" of a few posts ago. Now my memory has been stimulated, so I'll bless my readers with Toph memories too.

Toph and Hannah are basically 25 months apart. For those math-challenged, that means that Toph was TWO when Hannah was born. As in TERRIBLE TWO'S. And I'll admit that the two's were harder with Toph than with Hannah because he was a tantrum boy.

Anyway, that's not my memory.....

Any Mom of a newborn can attest to the fact that a newborn does indeed DRIVE the family for awhile--ours was no exception. Toph, being TWO, and not in full command of the English language would sometimes get frustrated trying to communicate..........

Smart kid that he is, Toph found a fool-proof way to get my attention (usually in the late afternoons when it got to the "crazy" time of day). He would BITE ME ON THE BUTT. Yep, take his two-year-old mouth, with those RAZOR sharp teeth and just take a bite out of Mom. He'd bite other places too, if circumstances allowed, but biting my backside as I was washing dishes got to be a favorite of the Toph Man. Yes, I agree, NOW it is amusing......NOT so much back then! He's finally gotten over that little behavior. But he laughed a LOT at my screams!


Looks like he's just been caught!

Let's get PHYSICAL

Hannah had a physical today. We needed to do this for school, and besides, we haven't done it in a year. Since we got the shots 2 weeks ago, this was a piece of cake!

Dr. Page is our doctor here--we LOVE him! He's like Fresno's Dr. Jones, although there's NO replacing Dr. Jones! He will be one of my heroes FOREVER--probably because I'm not so sure I'D be alive if not for him.

Hannah is in the 96th percentile for height (46 3/4 inches) and the 100th percentile for weight. Dr. Page said that those are only 5 percentage points different, and that she'll drop weight during her first year of school--more regulated eating times and NOT being around the snack basket, along with more regular exercise. He says it's his experience that MOST kids her age experience a major thinning the first year of school, and NOBODY should be concerned. Topher did the same thing. She's HUGE--she's tall like a 7-year-old girl, so it's no wonder she's as tall or taller than most of Toph's 1st grade class. No question, she'll probably be one of the biggest kids in Kindergarten.

Robert's Mom experienced similar conversations with the pediatrician as he was growing up--not on the charts for a kid his age. Genetics dictates that Hannah will be in the same boat. Also on the genetic subject, Hannah got Daddy's LONG body. Few people realize that Robert and I have the same inseam--but he's 6'2" and I'm 5'4"! While a size 10 shirt fits AROUND Hannah, often she needs the size 12 for the length--woe is me! And finding "kid-like" clothes for this girl has become harder. She's wearing a 10-12 in shirts. She likes Dora and Princess stuff, and they don't make much of that past a size 8--most of the things in Hannah's size are so grown-up looking! This does not help the 5-going-on-15 problem we have. Same thing with shoes. She wants the Princess, Dora, or Strawberry Shortcake shoes, and they only make those to a size 12--NOT size 2! Lots of "Hoochie Mama" stuff available though!

Anyway, at the end, Dr. Page goes, "Well Hannah, I now pronounce you 100% healthy and normal." What a good way to end a physical. Good job, beautiful girl!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Gifts

I'd blogged about Mother's Day before I opened my gifts, so I need to take a moment to post my WONDERFUL gifts:

My adorable boy made me a hanging butterfly sculpture in school. It was all wrapped up when I picked him up on Friday, and he was SO excited to have a surprise. Then we forgot all about it until bedtime. GOOD JOB, Toph! I LOVE it! It's now hanging on the wall in our dining room, if you want to see it.

My Mother-In-Law LOVES holidays as much or more than me. She always gets ME a gift! This year was awesome! She got me a very cute, pink T-shirt. I LOVE IT!!! It made me cry, because it was so sweet. I'm going to enjoy wearing this around!

My awesome Hubby got me a cute cookie jar from Harry and David (sorry, no photo). A nickname from long ago is "Mooser" and so I collect some moose memorabilia. I needed a new cookie jar, and this was JUST perfect! How did he know?! LOVE YOU, Honey!

Mother's Day Saturday

Yes, we celebrate Mother's Day ALL weekend in our home, and not by MY design either! Since Sunday is devoted to observing the Sabbath, we start early. Today was GLORIOUS! I got to sleep in late. I had a breakfast of junk while I read. Then, when the sugar high wore off, I went upstairs to nap--THAT wasn't so successful, but it was relaxing. After a LONG shower, I had a snack and read some more. I finished an absolutely unique book, Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn. I had a leisurely afternoon, and did whatever my heart desired. Not a bad gig.

We began the evening by going to my all-time FAVORITE restaurant, Yanni's. I get the BEST steak I've ever eaten, EVERY time I go, what heaven! We shared a couple of fantastic desserts, Budino. If you've never had it, it's divine! I guess our idea to eat at Yanni's was a good one--we saw several of our friends there tonight too! After the kiddos got to bed, Robert indulged me in a "chick flick." I watched and thoroughly enjoyed the movie 27 Dresses. Now I sit, uninterrupted at the computer and blog to my heart's content. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"Stick it in my hole!"

So, I've written MANY times about my spirited child, Hannah. She is so full of life and energy, and SOMETIMES, the filter between the brain and mouth is missing!

I'll now recount the famous "Stick it in my hole" incident for posterity's sake. I'm a bit fuzzy on the date. I know it happened in Fresno, before we moved. I've narrowed it down to late 2005-mid 2006. I'm thinking it was in 2006 though, because I'm pretty sure we were potty training when it occurred. (Can you tell I'm a Mom? I'm referencing time according to when we were potty training! But I digress.....)

We were at a family dinner at my Parent's house. EVERYONE was there--grandparents, parents, aunt/uncle, sisters/brother and their families--EVERYONE!

As is typical of one of our family gatherings, after dinner the men were in the family room, watching something on TV (no doubt a ball game of some kind) and the women were gabbing around the dining room table.

We hear roaring laugher, and I now realize it's directed at Hannah who is (please picture this in your minds......) Legs spread apart, jumping around the family room, pointing to her crotch, and saying (with the most gleeful look on her face), "Stick it in my hole!" She repeats this strange dance probably a million times.

I'm MORTIFIED and highly entertained. The question arises, WHAT is that kid watching on TV? What kinds of movies do you watch at home? Where is she getting this stuff? WHAT?!

I have no answers! I'm 29 different shades of red, and I can't believe my beautiful, precious daughter is making such a spectacle of herself, in front of my VERY proper grandparents. I have no explanation of where she's come up with this.

She DID do it at home previously, I believe after a moment of "self discovery" whilst potty training. But I gave it NO attention, believing (incorrectly as it turns out) that by NOT saying anything, she'd not do it again.

There she is, in all of her glory, doing the "stick it in my hole" dance for the entire family to see, and believe me, she got PLENTY of attention for this little shenanigan! Such a spectacle did she make, that the incident was discussed several times--apparently in her presence too.

No, this was not a single-time incident either. Shortly after the first performance, we were at CHURCH (yes, you guessed it!), and in front of the Bishop, Hannah decided to perform her lovely "hole dance." You can only imagine what an uncomfortable time it was for all of us. I really don't remember this. Robert swears it happened. I think I've blocked it as a traumatic memory. I guess the Bishop said something like, "Wow, Hannah, that was.....interesting."

Please earth, just open up and swallow me NOW.

Incidentally, this is not the first time Hannah has bypassed the mouth filter..... On the first day of school this year, we had just dropped Toph off at class, we saw a large group of other LDS parents from our ward (a bishopric member among them). Someone complimented Hannah on her High School Musical shirt, and she replied with, “Hi. Want to see my panties?” And she was starting to pull down her shorts to show everyone! I was mortified, but realized that Hannah said what she said because her panties were also High School Musical! She was really proud of them, but I convinced her to keep her shorts on!

With Hannah in our lives, it's NEVER dull!

I Don't Wanna Have a Baby.....

This is the theme of conversation between me and Hannah these days.

Apparently having a baby hurts, and you have to get a shot, so Hannah wants NOTHING to do with it! She brings the subject up almost daily now, and even gets emotional (can you say DRAMA?) when discussing it.

Today, she was feeling benevolent, because as she was queueing up the waterworks, she told me that she wished she'd never been born. Great, I was gearing up to hear how Sharon is a better Mom than me, yet again. Instead, she surprised me by changing her drama. TODAY she wishes she'd never been born, because it hurt me, and if she'd never been born, I wouldn't have been hurt.

First of all, there's NO WAY to explain to a 35-year-old 5-year-old that the pain was worth it. You can't truthfully say that it didn't hurt, because it DID. But the pain goes away and it morphs into a 5-year-old--totally different kind of pain! (Please smile, that was a joke of sorts.) She is not in a mental place to understand the in's and out's of childbirth. And, thank you very much, she does NOT know how you "poop out a baby." I've tried to remove this phrase from my vocabulary. She DOES know that sometimes you have to get your tummy cut to get the baby out, and THIS also freaks her out, to no end.

Second of all, WHO TELLS HER THIS STUFF?????????? She's not the only little girl in our circle to be freaked out about this, so WHO is laying on the horror stories? STOP IT!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Father's and Son's.......NOT camping

In our Church, there's an annual Father's and Son's campout. It's always on Mother's Day weekend (and Moms I know would LOVE it if it was a Father's and Kid's campout). As long as we can go out to dinner on Saturday night for Mother's Day, it's fine with me.

Toph looks forward to this for an entire year! Good times are had by all boys and dads--I think.

So this year, Robert throws Toph a curve ball. He gives Toph a CHOICE: either, the traditional Father/Son campout with the friends OR time alone with Dad--beach, dinner, MOVIE. Toph did take a few seconds to contemplate this big choice before asking if he could have the beach/movie/campout option--smart kid. To Robert's credit, he said that either option was COMPLETELY fine with him and did not sway either way.

In the end, Toph decided to take the beach/dinner/movie option. Toph has been wanting to go to the beach for a LONG time, and we haven't done it in a month. He LOVES going out to dinner at Islands, and movies AT THE MOVIE THEATER are just top notch for Toph. It's hard for camping to compete with the beach, Islands for dinner (GREAT burger place), and Iron Man at the movie theater. I'm sure they're having a great time, and we've decided we need to do this more often than once a year. Maybe once every OTHER month (whoever doesn't go with Dad gets special ALONE time with Mom).

So what did Hannah and I do? For our girlie time, we went to Hannah's favorite, Chevy's, for dinner. Seriously, HANNAH did the choosing. I'm not a big fan of the Chevy's here--horrible service and a parking nightmare most of the time. Then we went to Borders--be still my heart!--and read and bought some books. We went to the store for some ice cream, and now we're playing on the computer. Really, as I type this, I Hannah keeps having me do stuff on the game WE'RE playing on the other computer. But Hannah's going to bed at a regular bedtime. That's the curse of whoever gets stuck with Mom--no sense having both kids sleep deprived tomorrow!

Here's to Father/Son and Mother/Daughter dates--pretty fun!

Just an update: the boys did NOT get to eat at Islands--too long of a wait, so they'd miss their movie. Toph picked Rubio's instead. Also, Topher apparently talks constantly through movies, AND he thought that Iron Man was probably close to an X-rated movie--because it was scary. Too funny! They had a good time, and Toph was entertaining--what more could you want?

Something Useful!

I subscribe to the lifehacker feed on my Google Reader. It's a LOT of techie stuff, but there's other life stuff that I find interesting. But they post about 20 posts each day, so you have to LOOK for the non-techie things.

Anyway, today I was looking through the 19 posts thus far, and there was something about looking up the annoying telemarketer phone calls. There's a cool website called "caller complaints" ( If you have Caller ID (and, besides my parents, who DOESN'T?!) you can type in the phone number of who's calling you. If they know, they'll tell you. You can also lodge a complaint on their website, but BETTER--go to IF you're on the national "do not call" list (and who ISN'T?!) you can file a complaint. They'll investigate. And, if the person phone harassing you is not an "allowed" harassment, they can be fined!! I'm ALL for that!

Now if I could only do something about all of the charities who call me RELENTLESSLY. I mean, the Police call WEEKLY trying to get me to give them money! I love having police to serve and protect, but the money tree in my backyard has given up the ghost.

So, investigate your most annoying unknown telemarketing phone calls and TELL ON THEM! No, I'm not in favor of tattling, but in these circumstances, it's okay. Just don't tell my kids!

House Fairy Update

So Sunday morning my kids saw the introduction letter from the House Fairy. They seemed excited about the prospect of her visiting--but they didn't clean their rooms. Maybe the rooms even got worse, but I'm not sure that was possible.

Thursday, the House Fairy made another visit, but all we got was fairy dust--all over the house. In case you're wondering, she leaves a little piece of cardstock with her signature on it, and part of her signature has glitter glue--that way she can leave the fairy dust, without a new mess to clean. Anyway, the fairy dust was in the kids' bathroom, both kids' bedrooms, and on top of a pile of stuff in the family room. We could have dusted the whole house.

Last night I was gone, and I left instructions for the kids to spend JUST 15 minutes cleaning their rooms. I didn't care if they were ALL CLEAN, but I wanted 15 minutes of hard labor. With my kids, labor in small doses is much easier to accomplish. When I got home, I found Hannah's room pretty GOOD. Her bookcase was needing a little bit of help. Toph's room, however, looks pretty bad. It looked "okay" from the door, but after walking inside, I could see that he had a LOT more to do.

I guess the House Fairy agreed with me, because she left a little bit of fairy dust and a set of stamps in Hannah's room--on the bookcase, so Hannah would know where to work. In Toph's room, she left some fairy dust and ONE Pokemon card. He was THRILLED to have a Pokemon card--wonder what she'd have left if his room was CLEAN? I think I'll request that the House Fairy leave a SMALL, sweet treat as a "good start" kind of communication.

All in all, I'd say it has been pretty successful. The kids are getting excited about House Fairy visits, and I'm hopeful that it will help them be more motivated to be MORE conscious of their surroundings and leave LESS mess. Time will tell!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Bragging, and PROUD of it!

Couldn't you just HUG him to death?!

Toph is AMAZING! I'll admit to not quizzing him much on spelling words. I'm personally opposed to spelling tests in the 1st grade. I think it's a lot of pressure, and my kid has had 15 (or so) spelling words each week for the year. I've REALLY gotten lazy about quizzing him in the last month.

Really, why should I bother? He's gotten 100% every week except one.

WHAT A BOY!! He's amazing!
Good job, Toph. I'm SO VERY proud of you!

Snap, Krackle, POP!

So Hannah and I have been having a love/hate relationship. She loves to hate me. Some of the time. At least she hasn't said it lately, so that's progress.

Hannah is NOT a morning bird, so I was a little bit surprised to find her awake and talking to me at 6:20 Tuesday morning. Her nose wasn't working, because it wasn't letting the air in--her words, I swear.

So, I say to myself, "we can't keep doing this. She's not sleeping and she's crabby. It's just like when she was a baby. It's time to go to the doctor." POP--I'd had it with the weirdness.

I made the appointment, because, I figure, she's got a sinus infection. I've been pouring all manner of drugs down her throat for almost 2 weeks. What started as "probably allergies" (since we all did the same thing at the same time) has progressed to something truly miserable for my girl. At lunch, Hannah was giving me a hard time, because she didn't want to go to the doctor--"You just worry too much. I'm NOT sick and I don't need to go to the doctor. So stop your worrying." I have mentioned that she's 5 going on 35, right?

We went to the doctor. NOT only did she have a sinus infection, but she also had an ear infection. HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS? Maybe because she didn't complain about THAT. Only EVERYTHING else! The only time she complains about her ear hurting is when she is forced to blow her nose. Who knew? At least we have good drugs NOW. And with any luck, we can go back to our "normal" routine.

Our original pediatrician would soothe me by telling me that he always trusts his mamas' intuition--because it's mostly right. I'd bring Hannah in and tell him, "find something you can fix, or you get to take her home." The nurses would laugh, because before you see the doctor and they write down all of your complaints, I'd just tell them that Hannah has been extra grumpy or has stopped eating or has stopped sleeping--and they'd look at me like I'd grown an extra hole in my head. Then Dr. Jones would say that beautiful thing about mother's intuition, and I'd feel better, because my baby WAS sick, and he could make her better so I could take her home. Some things never change.

And then SOME things do--like this crazy weather! I'm going to get bad Mom of the year award for sure. I send Toph to school in short sleeves (because it's been in the 90's) and then it's COLD. The next day I send him in long sleeves, because he's a cold kid--and then it's VERY WARM again. This week, I send him in short sleeves, and it's PRETTY CHILLY. He was fine inside, but not at recess or lunch. I've seriously messed up in the dressing department. Yes, he's capable of dressing himself, but it goes MUCH faster if the clothes are already out and ready to go when he wakes up--and I usually forget to have him do it before bed. So I've resorted to stuffing a sweatshirt into his backpack and telling him that it's his back up for when he's wearing short sleeves and he's freezing. Hopefully that will get him through the May GRAY stuff. We lived here last May, you'd think I'd learn......

Well, tomorrow is another day.........

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ahhhh The ever-elusive SLEEP, or lack thereof

Sleep and I have a love-hate relationship. I LOVE to sleep, and I HATE when I can't. And I can't more often than I'd like. Sleep has always been somewhat elusive to me. I am a BIG TIME night-owl, so I find it EXTREMELY hard to go to sleep early (much before midnight). I am now a very light sleeper, so I need the right conditions: QUIET, dark, comfortable. And without enough of this precious commodity, all heck breaks loose in my life--and the headaches are ripe to return.

Last night was NOT a good sleeping night. I was up until 1 am. At 2:55 am, Toph was up, crying to me: "I didn't get to come downstairs and spend time with you last night." (At bedtime, I'd made the kids a deal, because they said (liars!) that they weren't tired. If they were still awake at 9:30--90 minutes--they could come downstairs and spend time with me. I knew they'd never make it.)
Me: Are you kidding me? It' 3 o'clock in the morning!
Toph (still crying): But I didn't get to have my special time with you.
Me: It's NOW 3 in the morning. You didn't get to do it last night, because YOU WERE ASLEEP, just like you were supposed to be. I never thought you'd be awake at 9:30. You did what you were told to do--go to sleep.
Toph: But I wanted to come back downstairs. (I'm realizing now that he's kind-of awake, but not fully functioning.)

We cuddled for a few minutes, and then I asked if he was ready to go back to bed. The answer: NO.

Toph: Could we go downstairs for our special time now?
Me: NO, it's THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING! We're supposed to be sleeping right now. What would we do downstairs in the middle of the night. (Clearly, I'm getting frustrated by this point.)

Toph did stop crying and I walked him back to bed and turned on his Ipod. Both kids sleep with music going at night, and have since they were little. I'll do almost anything to keep them sleeping, and I don't mind the music playing all night, because it's supposed to be quiet. It's calming music--Toph leans toward classical or reverent church songs.

15 minutes later: "Mom, my music stopped playing."
Me: Ok, you DO remember how to turn it back on, right? Please turn it back on and go back to sleep.
So he did, but he turned it on louder--Toph likes his music loud.

I waited about 5 minutes, and decided that I'd be listening to his music for the rest of the night instead of sleeping and went in and turned it down. He complained but I explained that the neighbors didn't need a concert at 3 in the morning.

20 minutes later: Toph gets up to use the bathroom and turns his music up louder again--not quite as loud as the first time.

20 minutes after that: I got up and turned his music down--HE was asleep, but I was not. Sometime AFTER FIVE, I fell back to sleep......

5:55 am: Hannah gets up and comes in my bedroom: "Hi Mom. The sun is waking up, and I'm not sleepy any more." (For those of you who don't know Hannah very well, she's NOT a morning person by ANY stretch of the imagination, so seeing her and talking to her this early is really unusual.)
Me: Hannah, it's NOT even SIX o'clock in the morning. You need to get back in bed and try to go back to sleep, or you'll be too grumpy later. (And I'm too tired to deal with life right now.)
Hannah: But I'm not sleepy any more.
Me: PLEASE, go try. Lay down and close your eyes and listen to your music, and just rest. At SEVEN, if you're still awake, you can get up, okay?
Hannah: Okay.

Some might wonder where Robert was during all of this activity......He'd fallen asleep in his chair downstairs last night, and he never woke up enough to make it upstairs. I used to try to get him to move, but now I wake him up twice and tell him that I'm going to bed, and if he wakes up, he comes upstairs.

Hannah went back to bed and was pretty quiet for a little while. I tried, mostly in vain, to go back to sleep, but didn't really manage to do more than catnap. When I got up, and the sun was REALLY awake, I had the WORST headache! So my morning started with 2 extra-strength Excedrin. When I get a good migraine going, LIGHT and NOISE really affect me.

I managed to make it to Church, but it seemed louder than usual--lots of happy kids! After Church, we ALL were supposed to take naps. Hannah SAYS she did, but she woke Toph up pretty soon after naptime started. Robert stayed downstairs, and was trying NOT to nap (so he could get better sleep tonight). The kids got up and played upstairs pretty quietly for a little while, and then were quiet downstairs. THANK YOU VEGGIE TALES MOVIES! I managed a short nap, and my head is somewhat better tonight.

I just want to know WHY sleep has to be such a battle for me?! I'd like to be more like Robert. He can sleep anywhere, any place, in any conditions, and in about 5 seconds. Must be nice!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The House Fairy visit.....

This year I'm really working on "getting it together." I haven't managed to perfect this yet, but I'm making progress. One of the websites I have used to help me get some good ideas is There's TONS of ideas on how to organize and keep your house clean. I'm loving it!

Well, on flylady, I found out about the House Fairy. I think she's going to become my new best friend. Check it out:

Tonight the House Fairy made her first visit to our home. She left the kids an introductory letter, a poster of the "official rules," a membership card, and some chore charts to fill in. It will be interesting to see how the kids respond tomorrow. She didn't leave any nice treats, because their rooms are pretty bad right now.

Hopefully I'll be able to post about a magical transformation that takes place in our home as the kids are EXCITED to keep their rooms looking clean and tidy. Keep your fingers crossed!