Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Blissfully Boring Plane Ride

Yesterday, the kids took their first airplane ride. We flew to the San Juan Islands to visit my aunt & uncle on a five passenger plane from our local airport. An 8 minute drive to the airport and a fly time of 25 minutes sure beats the hours spent driving and ferry waiting that is typical of travel to the Islands. We left at 9:00 a.m. and were home by 4:00 p.m., with none of the usual weariness after a day of schlepping it by car and ferry.

We were lucky there was no turbulence, and we slipped in right before a serious wind storm...otherwise, this might have been a much more interesting post. Of course, I was nervous taking our babies in such a small plane...but I kept telling myself that planes are safer than cars. When the pilot pointed out the door handle poking into my side and told me to keep my daughter away from it, all I could see was that door opening and....well, I just held on tight to my little girl. Happily it was an uneventful, pleasant flight and the bird's eye view of your hometown gives you such a different perspective. I had no idea just how many rusted out car collections exist in this county!

And it's New Year's Eve! Exciting parties, thoughtful resolutions? Stay tuned.

The kids had a great time being carted around by their 12 year old cousins (also twins) all day.

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Wave Bye Bye"

The last time my sister (right) & I lived together.

My sister moved out on Saturday. She drove away at 1:00 p.m., leaving my husband and I standing in the driveway holding our children and waving goodbye. My head was turned helping my daughter say "bye bye", so my sister couldn't see my tears. She left for Eastern Washington where the excitement of school and a new life awaits her.

She had stayed with us since September, helping us with childcare in exchange for room and board. I know she was ready to move to her own place and we were ready to have the house again to ourselves, but I was surprised by how sad I felt when moving day arrived. No more warnings of the baby hazards that lurk in our house, no more of the constant "thank you's" for dinner, for coffee, (for everything it seemed!), no more sharing TiVO space with her TV shows, and no more of the easy and sometimes profound conversations that arise in day to day life...the kind you don't get when someone is just visiting. No more of anybody saying "T, I want you to know that your blog is very important to me." I had to laugh when she said that, I had only asked if she had read it!

Best of luck to you E on your new adventure, and you are hereby relieved of your sisterly blog-reading duties!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crow Never Tasted So Good

Sometimes, things are different than you expect. Sometimes, a moment sneaks up on you that takes you by surprise. You can't plan it; it just happens and you savor it. My mother and I shared that last night. There was no discussion of my lack of makeup, no encroaching of boundaries; only a solidly green Christmas tree that desperately needed trimming and a mother and daughter sorting through memories disguised as ornaments. We oohed and aahed over the fancy ones and lovingly admired those crafted by my late Grandmother (my mom's mom). Meanwhile, my husband and father watched a reality show involving hot babes and mama's boys. It was all so normal and delightful.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snowed in with the Parents

Now we're really snowed in. Pacific Northwesterners from Oregon to Washington are stuck in airports, train stations, bus depots and ditches. Best laid plans are biting the dust.

My BFF was supposed to fly here from Vancouver B.C. before returning to Hawaii; and after waiting for hours at the airport decided to fly home. It's so unfair that it was easier for her to fly across the Pacific Ocean than catch a plane to SeaTac.

My nephew and his girlfriend spent eight hours driving in the snow (with my sister white knuckling the wheel), only to find themselves stranded twelve plus hours the next day at an Amtrak station, waiting for that repeatedly promised "next train" home. All this to spend a few hours at an early family Christmas gathering. I'm not sure we're worth it! parents are visiting. Very nice, don't get me wrong, I love to see them and have the kids get to know their grandparents. My daughter is in awe of my mother's long, red nails and sparkly diamond rings (she's never seen such a manicured hand before). But even well-meaning mothers can be, you know, mothers. Since they've been here I've discovered: I need a new bra (because I'm looking a "little saggy"), my ranch dressing is runny, and using fresh spices is a stage I'll grow out of. Maybe today I'll hear about how I "would look so much nicer with just a little more makeup". But she raved about my blog, and even though it's from my mother (I mean, mothers have to love their kid's blog...right?) it felt great. So what can I say? I gotta love her, she's my mom!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Who Didn't Want to be Bionic?

Flashback Friday
Jamie Sommers: She had it all...the career, the hair, and could serve up whoop-ass like nobody's business. They just don't make role models like her anymore.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snowed In

It's official. We're snowed in. Seniors are scared, kids are excited, and us...well, we're just hanging out.

We stay in pajamas all day.
(Don't ask why my son is wearing pink ladybugs & my daughter is wearing blue, it's called "what fits". Besides, it's my parental responsiblity to give them future therapy topics.)

...and eat WAYYYY too much Christmas toffee.

Sorry, I'm not a food photographer, it tastes alot better than this picture looks.

This toffee is so easy to make. So easy, you can binge on it & make more so nobody knows you've eaten any & you look really disciplined. Of course I would never do anything like that.

Super Easy English Toffee
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or almonds
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 3/4 brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • grease a 9 x 9 pan, a pie pan works great
    line the bottom with the chopped nuts
    melt butter in saucepan over med. heat
    add brown sugar
    bring to boil, lower temp. and simmer, stirring constantly for 7 minutes (don't stop stirring!)
    pour mixture over the nuts in the pan

  • sprinkle with chocolate chips
    cover with a plate for 1 minute (this will melt the chocolate)
    spread chocolate
    quickly cut into squares (very important, otherwise you'll have one giant piece of toffee)

    If you are feeling extra Martha Stewart-ish, you can always sprinkle the top with crushed almonds.

Refrigerate and keep them there.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Scrapbooks. They seem like a good idea at the time.

I sent my husband to the crafts store yesterday. The image of him walking into this estrogen soaked space filled with notions and charms; a place where the word "cute" is uttered dozens of times daily, made me crack up. It was probably worse for him than buying tampons!

This all started with my Christmas idea for our granddaughters: a mini photo album of their summer visit. Nothing elaborate--I've been down the scrapbook road before and I'm savvy to the expensive detours---brads, stickers, corners, charms, pockets. You get sucked in, all in the name of cute. So this time I knew better, I bought a scrapbook kit that contained everything I needed.

This would be a quick project: order the photos, glue'em on the pages, slap on some stickers and "viola!" a cute (there's that word again) souvenir album. I was congratulating myself for being so crafty about it's simplicity, that in my excitement I wrote each girl's name in glitter on her book.

Inevitably, I had more pictures than pages, and since scrapbook makers are evil, to expand your book, you must purchase additional pages from the same manfacturer. Are any of them the same? Of course not! I couldn't even return the kit albums since I'd already decorated the covers. Dammit. My dilemma: drive forty minutes for extra pages, or see what I could scrap (pun intended) together locally. Hence, my husband going to the crafts store, there was no way I could go with two 1 year olds in tow.

So at this late hour I'm hunched over our kitchen table peeling apart teeny tiny corners that I must hold at arm's length to see (when did my vision get so bad?). I stick these teeny tiny sticky squares to teeny tiny photo corners that stick to my fingers, then stick to the photo. I curse, try to carefully peel it off and tear off part of the photo with it. Now I'll have to cover that spot with another photo corner! You get the idea...

One down, one to go. But I must say, it really is cute.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Let it Snow...

A whole three inches that is....

No matter, we still got the white stuff and we're thrilled! It might even stick around awhile. They say more on Wednesday or Thursday. A fringe benefit of staying home with the kids is all the morning news "Winter Storm" drama doesn't affect me. I can kick back and drink my coffee. For a few seconds anyway, until somebody is laying on the cat, about to do a face plant on the tile, or I smell poop.

Well, maybe the city commute isn't so bad after all.

P.S. On Saturday night, we turned the lights off and peeked out the windows to watch the snow fall. As we looked out, we discovered a coyote on the front porch! He didn't see us, so we watched him trot around in the snow, sniffing here, lifting a leg there. All the while, our German Shepherd dog slept peacefully at our feet. (He would have gone bullistic if he saw it). We actually see coyotes quite a bit where we live, but never one this close to the house.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Babies' Birthday Revisited

First Birthday

The night before the party, so much to be done,
a special one too, the kids turn one.
Gifts still to wrap, & the hour was late
“Geez, I still have two crowns to create!”

While Sis wrapped the gifts
I sat down to think,
“Why am I making these?
They'll be yanked off in a blink!”

The next morning was a blur,
the vacuum roared, beaters whirred.
We got the kids napped & dressed up cute,
guests began arriving with lots of loot.

The table was full of wonderful dishes,
the babies made rounds, giving everyone kisses.
Finally it was time to give them their cake.
The candles were lit, just a wish to make.

I made a wish for them, as they dug in to taste.
“May their future be bright, & please keep them safe!”
After the cake, it was time for their crowns,
which I placed on their heads & chased them around.

I wanted the perfect picture you see,
to post on my blog and, you know, for memories.
A lovely day, it was worth the wait.
The food was wonderful, the mimosas were great.

But our best gift ever was the two of you,
with your ear splitting shrieks & heart melting coos.
Here’s to celebrating one year gone by
A whirlwind of gurgles, poo, and cries.

To our little babies, so very, very loved,
we give you our best, and a thousand million hugs.

Happy Birthday, Love Mommy & Daddy

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Day Without Gays-Fight H8

I'm not usually a political activist, in fact, this is probably my first act. But I want to spread the word, even if it's only for awareness.
Tomorrow, December 10th, is 'A Day Without A Gay'. The day we can show support for our gay, lesbian & transgender friends & family.

In light of the many recent anti-gay ballots initiatives in California, Arizona Florida, and Arkansas this is a way to show tolerance and love, instead of hate.

from their web site...
"NOW, it's time to show America and the world how we love. Gay people and our allies are compassionate, sensitive, caring, mobilized, and programmed for success.'

'On December 10, you are encouraged not to call in sick to work. You are encouraged to call in "gay"--and donate your time to service!'
Please visit these sites & see how you can support the gay community, even if you can't call in "gay" to work:
P.S. I changed my settings on my blog, and now anyone can comment. Not just those with Google accounts.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Maui Lulu

Today is the day. Your day. The 1st day of your 44th year.
You said you're not a "pretty young thing anymore". Do you really want to be? I can't believe this is my strong, beautiful, killer chef, book lover, expert gardener, flower arranger extraordinaire, speed demon driver, cat lover, music collector, puts-Nate-Berkus-to-shame-interior decorator & legs-that-go-on-for-miles friend talking here? You've got to be kidding.

Here are a few other 44 sisters who aren't pretty young things either...
  • Michelle Obama: No description needed

  • Diana Krall: Incredible jazz singer & mom of twins

  • Vanessa Williams: Queen of come backs, Ugly Betty boss from hell

  • Mariska Hartigay: Law & Order diva who helps crime victims in real life

  • a few months: Mom of twins & we'll see what happens

A toast to you, my friend. This is your best birthday ever. Celebrate your 44-ness and your killer abs. I'm right there with you (except on the abs part, but a girl can dream).


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Raising Literary Connoiseurs

Must my children love the BoohBahs? Of all of the books they could choose, why is it one based on a TV show? Alright, I'm a snob, but I had higher literary hopes, even at this stage.

"Scrunch up, stretch out, BoohBah's shaking all about..."
Complaints aside, whispering this simple phrase instantly stops my son's fussing. I don't even need the book anymore, as long as I can quote it verbatim (which I do, I'm no fool), he stops crying, looks up...."Do I hear BoohBahs?" and smiles. It works nearly as well as breastfeeding, which is handy, since mine aren't used for feeding anymore.

When I was pregnant, I dreamed of the books I would read my children: the Caldecott medal winners, the Polar Express's, the Cat in the Hat's. My fantasy didn't include these bald, staring creatures dancing around like a wild public service announcement for circumcision. Look again, you'll see the male anatomical resemblance.

I know what you're thinking, "lighten up Mommy Dearest, they're babies". I know I'm going a tad overboard here, but I'm learning an important lesson in Parenting 101: they'll like what they like, in spite of what I think. So I'll buck up and change my attitude. (I must say, it's a colorful public service announcement!).

So we'll continue to grow our library of books prized for their early literacy building power, and the BoohBahs will sit quietly staring on the shelf. So smug. Damn them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Modest Squat

One year ago today, I rode in an ambulance (no sirens, damn) to Tacoma General Hospital, with two 8-1/2 month old babies inside me (who were fine BTW). Diagnosis: pre-eclampsia. I felt fine, but my high blood pressure and Pillsbury Dough Boy ankles were a dead giveaway for the condition, which can be very serious for the mother's health. Hence, me riding to the big city hospital in an ambulance. A ride without any exciting ER drama. The word "STAT" was never shouted, nothing beeped or flashed inside the cold & dark cabin. Nope, it was just me...unceremoniously hoisted (hard to feel dainty when you are hoisted) into the vehicle, a stone faced driver, and a Wilfred Brimley look alike who reminisced about small town ER calls. I spent the previous night in our local hospital, so was already dressed accordingly: a tidy bowl blue open backed johnny gown. As pregnant as I was, and this being a two hour trip, I had one overriding, panicky thought on my mind: How would I go to the bathroom?

"Oh, don't worry, we have a bedpan," shouted Wilfred over the road noise, gently rocking in the swaying vehicle.

As I imagined heaving my whale sized body up from the stretcher, I had a vision of how modest and squat really don't go all. Walking was difficult at this stage of pregnancy, let alone balancing and aiming, and in a speeding, swaying vehicle. Ever try not spilling an open cup of coffee in the back seat? I had to keep some diginity.

"Um, I'll be fine", I said through gritted teeth.

So I held it, held it and held it, and then held it some more, and a little more after that. Pretty soon, the only one saying "STAT" was me.

I won't bore you with the day-to-day details of my ten day hospital stay. After seeing the insurance co-pays, I prefer to remember it as my $1000 per day suite, complete with room service, scratchy white towels (sanitized for my protection), and a bottomless glass of ice water. (If you can call a big gulp sized mauve plastic cup with the obligatory straw, a glass.) There was even a plastic chair in the shower, in case I grew tired of standing, which I did.

The best thing about it though was at check out, they handed me two healthy, perfect babies.