Saturday, June 30, 2007

Only 73%??

So, the folks are coming out to visit for ten days (mine, from Ohio) and they are bringing along my neice who hasn't been to California, I think, since she was my flower girl at the wedding (She was barely three and needed to be walked down the aisle by her daddy, my brother, to keep her on track). So, I don't have a lot of time for blogging.

After moving into this house we did a lot of unpacking and got out and put away most of the stuff we really needed and left all that other crap in boxes up against walls, and in closets, and in corners of every room. Now with visitors looming, I have been taking a second look at getting back to unpacking a few more of those boxes, maybe putting a few more pictures up on the wall.

And so as not to leave you with some little tidbit in my blog to read (because I know your day is less swell without it, I leave you with this little "meme" test I took (wow, my first blog-meme. Am I stooping low? Selling out? Getting cooler?) which tells me just how addicted to coffee I am.

Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

Friday, June 29, 2007

In My Dreams...

In the middle of the night:

Noah: Mommy! Mommy! Can you fix my blankets? They are all twisted.

Mama: Sure, Babe. Here ya go.

(back to my bed…)

Daddy: I was having the weirdest dream. I came home and there were these giant foam animals up on the roof. When I asked why, it turns out you were secretly running a puppet show on TV and you had just won an Emmy award for it. Someone showed me the footage of you making your acceptance speech up on the stage!

Mama: Wow. I was dreaming I was folding laundry.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Come On! Big Money, Big Money!!

Okay guys, I know you are coming here to find out what is up in my life, and here I am using up my space (well it IS MY space, ya know...) to enter some cool contests.

Over at 5 Minutes for Mom, they are having a number of really great contests, and you can enter one or all of them. I am picking and choosing the ones I want (ranging from mama-blogger business cards to a weekend away for Mama at a spa in Arizona!), so keep your fingers crossed for me, and maybe even head on over there and check it out yourself!


There is another awesome contest too, over at ArsGeek, a site that seeks to free your inner geek. Over there you have the chance to win a Zen Stone MP3 Player or Phillips MP3 Player just by leaving a comment! Check out the contest here.


Over at Mommy Of Three (I can relate) there are a few contests listed, but I am entering to win a copy of The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.

As Karen (not me, the OTHER Mommy of Three) says: "Disciplining children is arguably one of the hardest skills for parents to learn. As a parent herself, Elizabeth Pantley knows what a challenge it is to establish good discipline, and she shares the hard-won wisdom of her experience with parents in this latest edition to her revolutionary "no-cry" approach to parenting." You can enter too!


And here is a funny one... has a giveaway based on that lovely midwestern game called Cow Patty Bingo! Thats the one where you grid off a field and bet on where the cow will leave her happy little deposit. If you mention your favorite post of here (this review on a self help book is mine). Head on over there if you want to give it a try. This contest runs until July 31st.


I'm a Busy Body

While wandering about the blogosphere (wow, thats the first time I used that word... I am so IN, so NOW!) I stumbled upon a couple contests and thought I would share them. This one is for this great organizer called the Busy Body Book over at Mum's the Wurd.

Its awesome because they look so cool in their fabric covers and are fully customizable, which is great because I can never find one that fits my odd world. If you want to enter too, you can do so here!

Wordless Wednesday - Sanibel Island, FL - Sunset

I had another picture planned for today, but the computer crashed and so we are back to the laptop. So today, and old favorite of mine. An oldie but a goodie. March 2005.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cold Hard Cash

A conversation with Noah as I was tucking him into bed tonight:

Mama: Okay, I love you Honey, I will see you in the morning.

Noah: Mommy, there is cash in the freezer.

Mama: Ummm…. Huh?

Noah: There is money in the refrigerator and in the freezer too.

Mama: There…is?

Noah: Yeah, it’s the round kind and the paper kind. It’s all full up.

Mama: Um, okay. How did it get in there?

Noah: I don’t know but you should go look.

Mama: What should I do with it when I find it?

Noah: Get the mop, and sweep it down onto the floor. Then open the back door and push it all out there. Make a HUGE pile!

Mama: But won’t it blow away out there?

Noah: Yeah, it will. But that way, people in other countries can see what our money looks like.

Mama: Okay, honey. You go to bed now. I gotta go check out the fridge.

Noah: Yeah... You do that.

Mama: Goodnight, Noah.

Noah: MOM! WAIT!! Don’t let it blow away! You should spend it.

Mama: What should I buy with all that money?

Noah: (after some serious thought…) A one thousand... and two year old….


Mama: Goodnight, Noah.

(As I am going down the stairs…)

Noah: Ha ha ha ha ha ha! I said Dinosaur Butt!!

Little Slugger

It’s so nice when you feel like you have a good balance of work and play in a weekend. Like it wasn’t wasted sitting around, but you didn’t feel like you had no break either. This was a good weekend.

Saturday was a mix of errands and hanging around the house. Michael took the babies for a long stroller walk while Noah helped me clean some of the still-unpacked boxes of toys out of his closet. If we can just get them sorted through and into the toy storage bins, we can then freecycle what we don’t really need, and make room in his closet for the unpacked OTHER boxes that are hanging out in the stairwell! Got halfway, through THAT job, mostly because unpacking (and PUTTING AWAY!) toys you haven’t seen in months is really not so easy for a four year old kid to manage.

Michael built a bookshelf for Noah’s room to hold the myriad of books that were handed down to him from Bayuh’s classroom teaching days. (Bayuh is the name Noah made up for my mom when he was just a wee thing. It sounds a little like Bee-uh. Or how someone from Boston would order a brewski.)

On Sunday, I took Noah to a birthday party in a local park for one of the girls in his Montessori Preschool class. He had gotten a few invitations earlier in the year but this time he really showed interest in going. There was a the inevitable “jumping room” and the “required-for-birthday-parties-in-Southern-California-PiƱata”. There were many girls and just a few boys, but Noah, his classmate Ryan, and a couple of the dads played baseball for at least a full hour! Noah really hasn’t had a lot of practice with ball playing so the three year old kid (read: only child) showed him up a bit. But after a good deal of practice, he really started pitching pretty well, and hitting the ball quite a lot!

A good time was had by all. I even enjoyed a little adult conversation, which I rarely get since I haven’t made any new friends here yet, and almost never talk to the couple people I do know. It was good to get away from the (forgive me Luka) desperation and drama one of my twins is constantly displaying every time I walk into the kitchen or go to the bathroom.

I never knew how nice it could be to sit in a folding camp chair in the sun, with sunglasses on, pretending NOT to be dozing off.

Maybe that whole soccer-mom-on-the-sidelines thing WON’T be so bad…

Friday, June 22, 2007

Just Don't Call Me Late For Dinner!

My twin boys turned 18 months old on Wednesday.

One of them calls me "Mima" (his grandmother's nickname).

The other one calls me "Daddy".


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Not Clear on the Concept

This is my first posting for Wordless Wednesday. Over at 5 Minutes for Mom, and at, a bunch of Moms post a pic each Wednesday. Check them out!

Hmmm... Is it cheating if I use words to give the photo a title? Is it cheating if I use words to WONDER if using words in the title makes it no longer wordless?


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Queen of the House

I was trying to think of the best way to explain my life to you. I think this says it all...

I have to give credit where credit is due... I saw this first on another mama-blog called Halushki . Its awesome writing if you wanna check her out.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

What if the Grass is Greener Over at Sherwin-Williams??

I make my husband crazy sometimes.

He says that I have to “see ALL the grass” before making a decision so that I don’t get sad because I find that the grass is greener elsewhere. He knows me so well. And he very patiently waits while I look at ALL the grass, and even steers me towards any grass he thinks I might find interesting.

Confused? See, when I want to buy something, (and mostly when it is something pricey) I get in my mind exactly what I want it to be like and don’t want to stop looking until I have seen all my options. I have been burned one too many times when I see something close to what I have been looking for, but not quite there, and I decide to go and buy it anyway.

It always turns out that I find EXACTLY what I was looking for a couple days later for a better price, and now I am left regretting my first purchase.

Well, now we are planning on painting the living room green. I have been out gathering all the green paint chips at Home Depot, Penney’s, Sears, Wal-Mart, etc. I have been poring over all of them, holding them up to the wall at different times of the day, at different angles, trying to find just the right shade of green. Every time I think I have it figured out, I will be out shopping and wander through another paint aisle and come home with another handful of paint chips, knowing that the golden ticket MUST be among these!

I now have about 50 paint chips, each with about 5 colors on them.

All green.

And I haven’t even BEEN to Sherwin-Williams yet…

Friday, June 15, 2007

Tilt-Shift Photography

Awhile back, while wandering through random photos on, I came across a really cool photo process called tilt-shift. It was discovered a LONG time back when camera lenses were mounted on a bellows, and if the bellows was tilted a bit, large chunks of the photo would go out of focus and an interesting effect would happen: the rest of the photograph would appear to resemble a model, a little miniature version of the real thing.

I can’t explain it as well as I can just show you some examples. There are a group of these tilt-shift photos here and here. This one is awesome! And here is a before and after.

To get this effect nowadays (since most people do not have movable bellows cameras) people have gone so far as to mount their regular lens on a flexible rubber mount between the lens and the camera. I even saw one person had made a mock-up with a toilet plunger.

Well, leave it to Photoshoppers to find a way to copy almost any process. It seems there are some tutorials out there in how to take a normal photo and do this effect. But these tutorials explain using the pricey new Photoshop CS, which I do not have, thank you very much.

So, knowing not a LOT changes in new versions of Photoshop, I followed along the tutorial and tweaked the process a bit. The result is not likely as good as it would have been with CS filters, but it’s really not bad!

You need to use a photo that is taken from above for the effect to work best, and also with things that would translate well to toy or model versions of the originals like buildings and cars. I didn’t have many pics that would work well, but found this one I took of the Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls. If I am out and about with my camera, I plan on taking some shots that will be more appropriate to the process.

Pretty cool, no? Let me know if you want to know how I did it.

I can hook ya up!

One Small Step

I had a proud Mama moment last night.

It might not be that monumental to a lot of folks, but it as for me. It was a mental leap for Ethan.

My twins have been learning a bit of sign language. We did that with Noah, and he picked it up so fast, and used it often. The twins have started using the signs for "more" and "all done" pretty commonly, but I have only recently been sure they knew what these signs meant.

I mean, for awhile, when I would ask, "Are you all done, or would you like some more?" They would both sign "More!". But if I phrased it, "Would you like some more, or are you all done?" they would furiously sign, "All Done!!". But lately they have been using them correctly. Ethan uses the more sign for "I want that!" as well.

But last night, I walked into the living room, and there was Ethan, looking up at me, and pointing to the front of his diaper over and over and saying "Diddy!" (which is his word for anything he doesn't have a name for), and then he did the sign for "more". And back and forth he went, pointing to his diaper, and signing "more".

I checked him, and sure enough, he had a newly dirtied diaper! And he wanted me to change it!

It was the first question he ever asked me in his small little life!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mama Says: GIFT

This post is in response to the theme of the week, over at Mama Says Om, a collective blog I enjoy reading and hope to participate in occasionally. Each week they pick a theme and ask Mamas who "blog" to explore that theme in writing, art, photography, or whatever medium moves them. This week's theme is "GIFT".


When I read that this week’s theme was GIFT, of course the first place my mind went to was my children. They are each of gift to me, to my fulfillment. I sat staring at my blog, trying to figure out what to write, and which picture to use, and right there in front of me, (finally hitting me like a hammer) was one of my favorite pictures of Noah, which I had used in my blog header.

This was taken on Easter of this year. Noah is always bringing me flowers. I have had to teach him the difference between flowers he can pick and those he shouldn’t (because people planted them so that THEY could look at them). So because I said it was ALWAYS allowed, his flower of choice is usually the dandelion!

I know many people look at them as weeds, but I have always loved a big green lawn speckled with yellow flowers! And I love Noah’s heartfelt, emotional, “I love you, Mommy” every time he gives me one and leans his head on my hip, hugging my leg.

I almost cried a couple weeks ago when Ethan came over to me with a proud look and a closed fist. He is always handing me little twigs, pieces of lint, dirt. He opened my hand, and placed in it a squashed little bundle of three or four little clover flowers. And the look on his face clearly said, also, “I love you, Mommy.”

I nearly tackled his little self with hugs and kisses.


I am having secret morning liaisons!

I have a secret to share. I have been occasionally going on dates on some Monday mornings. They involve a walk on the beach first, and usually a nice meal in a good restaurant. Then home…

I do have to bring the twins along, but these mornings have still been very romantic!

Of course it doesn’t progress much beyond that because what follows is less about romance and more about cleaning house and babies throwing peas and carrots on the floor.

You see… my husband has to work on the occasional Sunday. And so, they allow him to take the following Monday off work. These dates have been with my husband, and the secret…? It is being kept from my four year old son who would be mortified if he knew we were going out as a family without him!

We treat it as a normal day. Give Noah breakfast and get him dressed, and then Daddy drives him to school (sometimes a little later than usual), but instead of continuing to work, he scurries home where I am packing diaper bags and strollers, snacks and bottles into the back of the van. And then we are off!

We have taken romantic walks along the beach, went hiking at Torrey Pines, and best of all, we have had lovely long lunches (sometimes even with sleeping babies!) at restaurants that don’t even HAVE a children’s menu! We have dined on sushi, feasted on all you can eat Indian/Pakistani buffets, eaten our hearts out!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love including Noah on our family outings… but its really hard to just have a conversation with Michael about anything without having to change the subject to jokes about poo-poo and explanations of why its not wise to throw sand at strangers. In fact we often spend 3 hours out and about with the family and find we haven’t even had a conversation with each other the whole time.

See, we are in that sweet spot, when Noah is off to school, and the babies haven’t quite learned to talk yet. So, while they do take a lot of maintenance, they don’t interrupt or require a children’s menu just yet.

So until that time… I am going to really enjoy these romantic Monday rendezvous!!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Maw! I think yew might wanna come see this!

This one just deserved its own caption contest! Got a good one? Post it in the comments!

Hello, My name is Karen, and I am an addict…

Yes, I am an addict.

I have a problem.

The first step in curing addiction is admitting you have a problem, and I do, but the second step is wanting to do something about it. I guess I haven’t hit rock-bottom yet.

I am a craigslist addict. Not just a craigslist addict, but the craigslist FREE PAGES addict! I check what is being given away in San Diego every morning before even checking my email, or what is going on in world news. And often, I find if I really, really want something, it will show up on craigslist eventually!

Yes, some of the things are shabby, and none of the things are new, but my frugal self LOVES to get good stuff for free!

In the past few days, I have received a bunch of plants, some lovely plant stands, an electric Jeep kids-car for Noah, (which admittedly is shabby, but does HE care??? NO!) and my baby… this awesome potting bench! Now I can putter and feel like a real gardener, while I turn this black thumb green!

I have also gotten our entertainment center, a futon, our queen bed pillowtop mattress, our office storage cabinet, a television, a really cool bookshelf, toy storage bins, ceramic planting pots...

Yes, I have a problem. No, I am not ready to do anything about it! More! I want MORE!

I want a beaten but still nice wicker patio set so that I don’t have to worry about the rain and sun breaking it down, or throwing it away when we move. I want more plants to “green up” my courtyard. And I want a groovy rug and a purple lava lamp to finish up the funkification of my son’s bedroom, which I plan on surprising him with: a splendiforously purple bedroom for under 100 dollars!
I gotta go… its time to reload my craigslist page to see what got added in the last ten minutes…


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Minutia? I got yer Minutia right HERE!

These are 14 white socks.
14 white socks with no partners.

Its laundry day.

Did I find the best matches and stick them together? Did I scoop them all up and throw them in the garbage?


My friend Jessica, who is a professional organizer, would be appalled. But I scooped them up and put them back in the drawer. (I DID tie them all together with the longest sock, Jessica!)

Maybe their missing partners would find their way home someday, and need someone to snuggle with in the sock drawer!

Besides, these are some of the only socks I have without holes in them...

They're still good!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Life at Home

Oh.... not feeling particularly inspired to write, but thought I should get a few pictures of the kids up since it makes the grandmas happy!
I am still being frustrated by my digital camera. Being a computer, one must figure out how to set settings and all to get it to do what a quick turn of the dial does on a manual film camera. I'm fine with the point and shoot, but if I want to do anything creative, I have to look it up! So, I am starting to read the book that came along with it finally, but the dang thing is so COMPLEX one must always look up how to do most tricky things because its all too much to retain.

I haven't been taking too many pictures of Noah lately, since I am home with the babies days while Noah is at preschool. The twins have been really getting into peas lately, I swear the only vegetable they willingly eat. I can't wait until they get molars. When does that happen again??

Its funny, because every time I give them peas, one of them ends up with one in the exact middle of his forehead. I think my babies are secretly Hindi. Baby Hindi with a Bindi! Ethan's third eye is definitely green!

This last one is of Luka. He is turning into a wild man with hair to boot! I have always cut Noah's hair. His hair is straight and thick and easy to just trim right up. These guys, I don't know what to do with.
They have wisps and curls, and cowlicks and whorls! I don't know how to handle that! Ethan is still looking good, but Luka is getting a little unkempt. I cannot yet bring myself to trim up the back because I would chop off all those ringlets and be left with straight hair. And if I trim up the sides above his ears, then I leave him with a MULLET! So I leave him looking like the wild child that he is.

Notice the lovely babyproof-babygate fireplace screen? We keep saying we are gonna get one of those real shiney metal ones with glass doors!
On Monday, we take Noah into his new pediatrician for his kindergarten inoculations. Oh lordy, its been awhile since I had to take him in for shots. With the babies, they don't know what is about to happen, but with a four year old, they think you are completely betraying their trust that you will keep them safe.
And all along that is exactly what you are trying to do!