Monday, July 30, 2007

Castles in the Sand

Ok, I know some of you (Mom) likely think the whole contest thing is all well and good, but let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming and start talking about the KIDS!

So, let’s do just that.

This weekend, Noah and I went to the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition in Imperial Beach. We had an early lunch and a half nap before making a day of it (or… rest of the day of it). It was super crowded but still a lot of fun. We got there after they had finished building and during the judging period. I took bunches of pictures but just brought the point and shoot which lacks a little when it comes to wide angle. Luckily, two of my favorites were smaller ones. Here are shots of a sandcastle held in a sand-hand, and the front and BACKside of Mount Rushmore which was very funny.

We had to stop halfway down the beach because Noah just couldn’t help himself but fall to the sand at each display and start digging his own holes and making little tiny castles with a water bottle lid he had found. So we stopped and played in the sand for about 45 minutes.

Normally, he doesn’t like to go near the water when we go to the beach, so I didn’t pack a bathing suit. But I did bring a spare pair of underwear because unfortunately, we are still having the occasional accident, especially when having too much fun or when far from a restroom. Well, this time, he decided to run into the waves repeatedly, so finally, I stripped him of his shirt and his shorts and he played happily in his Tigger Underwear!

No one seemed to care.

On the way back to the car, we passed a house that was having a party in their side yard with a bunch of drums set up and a rockin’ drum circle going on. We stayed and listened for a good long time from the other side of their white picket fence. Noah said, “Mommy, I can feel my heart!”

“Well, THAT’s good!”

“I mean, the drumming makes my heart feel good. Really good.”

Awwwwwww! How sweet!

Afterward, we went to a nearby hole-in-the-wall-pizza-place and had some pepperoni slices.

Near the end of the day, he started repeating every twenty minutes, “I love you, Mom”. This tends to mean a lovely combination of “I am getting sleepy” and “I have missed spending time with you, Mom”. I asked him what his favorite part of the day was, and he wouldn’t be persuaded… the answer was consistently, “ALL of it! I had a BLAST!!”

I did, too.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I'm a Wiener!!

I never win ANYthing.

Okay, that's not quite true. About 10 years ago I won $1800 by saying "Star 98.7" 18 times in ten seconds while Ryan Seacrest counted, back when he was just a drive-time dj. That was awesome.

And I always consider myself a winner when I think of the wonderful husband I ended up with. No, I am not just trying to get points with the hubby, I really feel this way!

But otherwise, I never win anything.

This would be why I neglected my kids for two days straight while I filed through all 506 giveaways in every free moment I had (kids eating peas off their trays? Go look up two more giveaways! Kids playing nicely with blocks? Go look up three more giveaways!). I entered about 225 of them. Seriously.

And I WON!!

First off, I won this cool little pouch to put a couple diapers and a box of wipes in, so I can stick it in my purse! I won the brown one, which was my favorite. The lovely lady who did the giveaway is named Liz, and she has a great blog over there called Monkey Kisses. She has a great post on how to cut your kid's hair, which will help me a lot... I have been cutting Noah's straight hair for years, but am scared to cut Ethan and Luka's curls. She also has a review on her favorite baby gate, which happens to be our favorite one too!

Next, I also won the prize over at Crafty CarolinaGirl. Check this out... it's a little gift set of a packet of African Coffee (mmmm, coffee...), some Choxie chocolate mints (oh, I love me my mints!), and a homemade coffeemug coaster and this adorable little cupcake pincussion that she made herself!! Her blog was fun for me to look at because she actually took pictures of her drawing with all the little papers in a bowl and a photo of MY NAME on the one she drew out! How cool is that? Check out the crafts she makes, (especially this awesome little voodoo scull) and she is building a recipe section and a link to her tutorial on how to make an ipod cozy!! She is crafty!

But wait! There's MORE!!!

Thirdly, and lastly, I also won over at It's Always a Production! Over there, Ann was giving away FOUR prizes and I won her cute litte hexupus massager that looks like a little wooden octopus. Ann is a Christian, home-schooling mom of FIVE kids and is in the process of adopting a little boy and little girl from Ethiopia. She has this cool tradition of handing her blog over to her kids on their birthday so they can write a list of things the world should know about them. As many things as they have years under their belt. Check these out.

Shannon, who hosted this extravaganza bonanza, suggested on her site that if some of us should win more than one prize, that we might consider declining one of your winnings and spread around a little more giveaway love. I thought this was a fine idea, and so I wrote back to Ann, and asked her to draw another name for the cute little guy.

So, its been a really good day! Shannon is planning on doing another one of these give-away carnivals in the fall. I may just have to come up with something to give away myself...


Thursday, July 26, 2007

And Now Back to My Regularly-Scheduled Mothering

Well, I can go back to being a good mother. Not the negligent mother I have been for the past two days.

See, there was this blog, see, and ya know, they were having a contest. No, see, it was like five HUNDRED contests! And there were no strings attached. Nothing to sign up for. Just free stuff to win! Cool books and crafts and stuff. And you know how cheap I am. I mean FRUGAL. And how I love to win things. Which I almost never do.

OK, let me explain.

Sometimes, to draw readers to their blogs, people hold giveaways and advertise them. Then people come to enter the drawing and stay and read the blog. Maybe even come back another day to check in.

Well, Shannon, at this blog I read called Rocks In My Dryer, had this great idea. She told all the mommy bloggers to get a giveaway ready and to post a link to it on her blog this last Monday. And to hold a drawing Friday. And post their giveaways they did. 506 of them, in fact.

I entered about 225 of them.

If you want to enter any of them, you don't have much time left. Most of them will draw winners on Friday morning. But the list of links can be found HERE.

And now, I am getting back to being a good mother...

Please Won't You Be... My Neighbor!

I took the twins to the park this morning. I brought the camera and tried to get some good pictures of them.

Met another Mom there of a boy the same age as Ethan and Luka. With my lack of friends here in San Diego, I practically gushed all over her with my "please be my friend" behavior. She seemed pretty cool (she had an "ohm" tattooed on the back of her neck so she must be at least a little funky!), and it’s so nice to have a grown up to talk to during the day, so I was overly-chatty.

She told me her name and suggested that we both try to come before nap time more often and maybe we would see each other. She lives on my street. Yay.

It has been kind of isolated here in San Diego. Most folks I meet already have friends and don't need new ones. And without a job, its hard to meet other people with the same kind of issues and interests that I have.

It seems you lose friends at three times in your life... when you get married you lose your single friends, when you have a baby, you drift away from your childless friends, and when you move, you lose everyone that is left!

When I was pregnant with Noah and had just moved to Ohio, and I had no friends. I practically forced myself on two of the moms in my birthing class at the hospital when I learned they lived in the same suburb I did. "Hey, we should hang out when we all have our babies!!" Miraculously, it worked, and I ended up with one of my best friends ever (Hi, Pam!!).

We traded babysitting to the betterment of our marriages; we shared breastfeeding problems and hormonal changes, and just gave each other company and encouragement in that time of scary-new-motherhood. I thank God for her.

But, now, I have done it again. I have moved to a new place.

I have always loved moving to new places, but I find it harder to make friends now than usual. I barely have time (or is it the energy, these days) to get myself dressed and out of the house. I have gone to some Mommy Groups and met some really cool women but they, of course, are very active, busy and plugged-in and don't see me in all my glorious loneliness.

Don't get me wrong, I am not all miserable, nor am I depressed. I just miss my old friends and the companionship of someone to just hang out with or gab on the phone about nothing important. I miss being someone's go-to when they have something to vent about. I miss that my son doesn't have a best friend anymore.

So, really, I am okay. I am just venting here because I don't have someone to have a mocha with, or curl up on the couch and call and say all this to right now.

Technical Difficulties

We have been having some computer problems lately.

My beloved Adobe Photoshop crashed for some reason and then I found that my installation discs no longer would work. Probably scratched. Then, our main computer started to crash too, and so we switched to the laptop for a good long time. I was left with Adobe Elements with which to play with and color-balance my photos.

Elements is a pretty good program with a lot of short cuts that work very nicely to do some adjustments you do manually in Photoshop. It took some getting used to, but in the end I liked it.

But we just brought down our OTHER, other computer from Michael’s mom’s house and while we are on our third hard drive in as many months, we are back to our usual monitor screen.

THE PROBLEM is that while looking back on the photos I retouched and color-balanced while we used the laptop, I see that many of them are way off color, and often horribly over-saturated! Now, I often like to bump the saturation a bit, especially for online use, but that photo down there of Vera and me looks like someone spilled Kool-Aid and Jell-O all over it! I am going to have to go back and re-do that.

But also, over at Mama Says Om, they chose my picture of the twins sweeping to be representative of the weekly theme, "responsibility", and eeeeewwwww, now that I see it on my good monitor, it is a nasty fluorescent yellow. Yuk.

Well, I am thrilled to find that this new (old) hard drive HAS a working version of Photoshop on it, and I am back to my good monitor, so I hope you will forgive the overly-Technicolor pictures of old, and find that my work is looking a little nicer, soon.

I leave you with this overly-contrasty but color-balanced self-portrait of a giddy Michael and I on our little vacation at the Sheraton.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

NOT an Urban Legend...

I was wandering around the blog world the other day, going from one link to another, when I found someone who mentioned this awful thing that happened to the son of her friend. I clicked over to the link.

It was the story of a family that went to the beach and they noticed that one of their sons (one of a pair of twins), who was there just a second ago, was now missing. Looking around, he was nowhere to be seen within the distance he could have wandered in just a few seconds.

His parents instantly thought a wave must have come up and snatched him (one hadn't). After a couple minutes the nearby lifeguard wanted to just fill out a missing child report. The father splashed around in the waves trying to spot their small boy. Other beach-goers pitched in to help look.

The story ends happily, but with the family very shaken. There is a lesson to be learned here if you ever go to the beach. This kind of thing is very unusual but it does happen. And I just wanted to give you a heads-up.

The writer of the blog has allowed anyone who wanted to link to her story to do so, so please go read it here, especially if you ever take your kids to the beach.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Peanut Butter Thief

Discovered after returning home from our trip without the kids.

A Little Respite

Oh, it was lovely. Nineteen whole hours with my fantastic hubby and no kids.

No desperation, no fighting, no clawing at my pants to be picked up, no peas on the floor, no vomit, no Teletubbies, no diarrhea, no biting.

Not that I don’t just love all those things…

Of course I love my kids, but sometimes a Mama and Daddy just need some Mama and Daddy time. And this was our two-week early anniversary celebration.

Immediately after checking into the hotel, over cheese and crackers and a glass of wine from the gift basket, we marveled how long it had been since we had had a real conversation. Not the hurried, “here are the things you need to know about Noah’s school and what I did with the bank accounts, and oh, this thing over here is broken and needs to be fixed” conversation you have in the hour between getting the last kid into bed and falling asleep yourself, but a real talk. About anything we wanted. Of course, it always ended up veering back towards the kids, but it was more about milestones and wonder than diaper rash and what to bring on snack day.

We were on the tenth floor and the view of the city skyline and the harbor were just beautiful. We could see in the distance the place where we had watched the Fourth of July fireworks over the bay, see the city skyline and the Coronado Bridge, and could watch the airplanes coming in for a landing at the airport (which was shockingly quiet due maybe to the angle, even out on the balcony!). I wished I had brought my “good” camera but my point and shoot got this great shot.

We went for a quiet dinner (Quiet!!) of pasta with smoked chicken and pine nuts, and lots of good veggies. A walk along the marina. Watched a movie in the room, which we almost never get to do anymore. I miss movies. It was a lovely night.

The next day we had a long, luxurious breakfast buffet in the dining room. Omelets and fruit, cinnamon rolls and all you can eat bacon! Bottomless fresh squeezed orange juice and a coffee pot all to ourselves.

Another walk and a morning shower and it was time for check out. Sigh…. But it was a wonderful little respite which left us rested, and closer, and more patient with our children.

It takes a little time away from the children to make a parent the best parent they can be.

Thanks again, Mima.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

My Awesome Mother-In-Law

My Mother-In-Law rocks!

For our birthdays, she sent the hubbie and I away to the little town where my he proposed to me, to stay at a bed and breakfast for one lovely night while she stayed with all three kids.

Tonight she is at it again. As an early anniversary gift (August 5th, folks, write it down!) she has booked us into a very nice hotel here in San Diego where we can live it up (dining, jacuzzi, no one vomiting in the night) sans kids for one glorious night!

Michael had to work today (a Saturday!) so I am scurrying around trying to pack and organize everything so that its not a completely monumental task for her.

Last night when she got into town, Luka came down with the nasty bug we have slowly been passing around (Noah, then Erin, then Ethan, then me, and now Luka) and so he was vomiting all over the hotel room (Vera stayed there with Noah last night to get him used to being overnight with her in hopes she can take him on a trip someday soon).

We ordered up room service so as not to subject the diners in the restaurant to two sleepy kids and one vomiter (can I squeeze that word in any more?).

Tonight is our turn in the room. And in the Jacuzzi. And the restaurant. And along the docks. And on the balcony watching the sunset and the city lights...


Did I mention my Mother-in-Law rocks?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

And so it begins....

Well, the day has come. A new milestone and the beginning of a new life for, well, all of us.

It's certainly not a stellar day in the world of photography (yes, I can say I have done better) but it IS however...

...the first time my child has brought home some HOMEWORK!

Noah is off to kindergarten in about six weeks. I asked his Montessori Preschool teacher if she thought he was ready to go, socially as well as academically. She felt he is pretty much good to go...

"...except for...well...his penmanship."

"It sucks?" (No, OK, I didn't really say that)

"Yeah, it sucks" (OK, I am maybe paraphrasing here a little.)

"The kids in kindergarten can usually write a bit better than he can."

Three days later he comes home with two pages. One has the letter "a" written a couple times across the top and the other has the letter "b". Each letter is followed by rows of empty lines with that dreaded dotted line down the middle that we all came to know and love in elementary school.

Noah was actually kind of excited for the first time about practicing his letters (he usually peters out after about 2 "a's"). A little quick math had me wondering if I had 13 more nights of letter practice in front of me. But he sat down with me and we talked about how to make each effort a little better than the last and the ones at the end of each page were certainly superior to the ones at the beginning!

He was very proud. I was very proud. But I was also imagining a life of sitting at the dining room table most evenings trying not to do his homework for him.

And that screechy Mom-voice I just know I am gonna have...

"Noah???? Didja do your homework???"

Even Moooore...

I was going to post this in the same post as the last one, but this contest requires its own post to be considered a legit entry. I liked how both contests were cow-related. Ah-well....

SO, here goes...

Over at, their cool web hosting provider in the offering a chance to win $500 bucks with which to purchase your choice of of lots of different prizes. Here’s your chance to win a Playstation3,or an Xbox360, a Nintendo Wii, an iPhone .. you name it, they’ll pay for up to $500 of it! They have lots of cool contests over there, so pop over and check out their mad cow blog!

Moooo-re Contests!

Hey I ran into some more contests that I am entering and that you may want to know about.

The first is another great contest over at 5 Minutes for Mom, where the Horizon Organic dairy company is offering one lucky person approximately $300 worth of FREE organic dairy products in the form of 60 gift certificates. With 3 small boys who drink pretty much nothing but milk, I am all over that!
Next up is a Moooooo-vie ticket give-away over at Lille Punkin' Reviews. All you have to do is post a comment at their site, and if you have a blog, you can make a post like this one, and like me, you will get five extra entries! I NEED a night out at the movies with my hubby....
Here is an AWESOME give-away... a Brand New 8GB Apple iPhone ! It's from a blog called Mr. Gary Lee.
One of the best ways to do internet marketing is to give something away and Mr. Gary Lee knows this so he is giving away a free iphone! All I have to do is write a post about it in my blog and link to his new project site about golf equipment as well as which provides a free online coupon for most stores on the internet.
OOOhhh, pleeeeze let me win this one! Over at Desperately Seeking Sanity, she is giving away the latest Harry Potter Book!!! And I want it I want it I want it!
This one is awesome... over here at Facipiers and Stinky Toes (yes!) you can sign up to win a fantastic "daddy diaper bag" which is cool looking for both mommy and daddy! I would totally use it for years after the babies are grown. I am making this blog entry to get five EXTRA entries! Awesome, no? Here is the link.

More contests to come...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

50 Things

I started writing this one awhile back after seeing some other bloggers do this. This is my 50th blog post, and to celebrate, I wrote a list of:

50 Things you may not know about me…

1) My favorite colors are fall colors: hunter green, browns, eggplant, rust.

2) I was one of those kids who was a picky eater and today my comfort foods are still bologna and cheese sandwiches, Mac and Cheese, and pepperoni pizza.

3) I tend to get really passionate about things and then burn out on them later.

4) I don’t enjoy cooking. I wish I did.

5) The more I fly in airplanes, the more I am afraid to fly. It’s not the flying really… it’s the falling. And falling. And falling.

6) I LOVE being in a forest.

7) My dream house would be a huge colorful Victorian house in the forest with a stream running through it (the forest, not the house) where my kids could play and explore. And it would be 20 minutes from a major metropolitan city where there is lots of arts and culture, and there is a full blown winter that lasts for 2 weeks.

8) I love my kids. I do. But I am really disappointed I didn’t have a daughter.

9) I think I appreciate how lucky I am more than most people do.

10) I don’t live according to a lot of my beliefs. I can be a hypocrite.

11) I am probably too frugal.

12) I often feel completely overwhelmed with three kids, and yet I sometimes fantasize about having more kids. (Don’t worry, Michael!)

13) I want madly to decorate my home, but don’t want to invest much in a rental. So I live kind of unhappy with my surroundings. I am trying to find ways to fix that.

14) I am addicted to Pepsi.

15) Both my parents grew up in Michigan. My brother and I are both Ohioans.

16) While my hubby and I met, and plan to spend the rest of our lives in California, all three of our kids were born in Ohio too.

17) I think I ended up with the best possible husband for me. Thank God for that.

18) I believe that if you really desire something in your life, and you “ask the universe” specifically for what you want to come to you or happen to you, and then you just trust and believe, you have greatly upped your chances of getting it. I believe that thoughts are things. And thoughts have power.

19) I love to read books. Historical Fiction and Sci Fi mostly. But I rarely have time to read.

20) I would be happier if I had a closer group of friends. My closest friends live far, far away from me.

21) I hated high school. I LOVED college.

22) I attended about 6 different colleges and universities.

23) My parents paid for almost all of my college, and I didn’t use it to train for a specific career. I feel kind of guilty about that, but also I feel happy with most of the choices I have made.

24) I wish I was more artistic. I envy people who can create.

25) I used to work in live theater and I was the most creatively fulfilled there. I worked in stage management which allowed me to use my organizational skills and people skills to (help) make good art.

26) I love to travel. If I were unencumbered, I would spend my time traveling the planet, and living for months at a time in different countries.

27) I love learning about history and other cultures. Customs, rituals and religions fascinate me.

28) I feel like I have almost completely given up listening to music since I had kids. I have NPR playing almost exclusively on the radio all day so I can feel like I am still in touch with the world. I LOVE NPR. I miss music. But I feel like I can’t just soak it in anymore. I am too scattered with getting things done and seeing to the needs of the kids.

29) I need to see “all the grass” before I buy something expensive.

30) I love imported “global” type home furnishings the best. Especially from places like Thailand, Morocco, India, etc.

31) I feel like, professionally, the things I enjoyed doing most, I wasn’t all that talented at. And the things I didn’t enjoy so much, I did really well.

32) I think a sweet sauce on savory food is gross.

33) I am almost totally deaf in my right ear. It’s mostly because I wanted to kiss a college age boy when I was 16. Long story…

34) I don’t much like talking on the phone. I especially dislike having to call strangers and will avoid it for days on end.

35) I love cheese. It’s my favorite food.

36) I still love the music my mom turned me onto when I was 8. Cat Stevens, Harry Belafonte, and Simon and Garfunkle. I would kill to see Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) or Simon and Garfunkle play live. I already saw Harry Belafonte. He rocked.

37) My mom, my brother and I had our picture taken in front of the Edmund Fitzgerald not long before it sunk, inspiring the song by Gordon Lightfood. I lost the slide, when I separated it from the rest of the family slides so I could show it to my brother. That kills me. He would have loved to see that.

38) My parents took us on a vacation every year when I was a kid, even if it meant just a camping trip. It usually meant station wagon trips to different states each time. I think it shaped much of who I am today. I want to do that for my kids, when they are old enough to appreciate it.

39) My favorite movie is Harold and Maude. Go get it. Watch it. I know it looks odd, but don’t judge a movie by its cover. I met quite a few famous people through my past jobs, but meeting Bud Cort, who played Harold, was one of the very few who made me giddy and nervous.

40) My earliest memory is a flying dream where I flew out my bedroom window during a nap. My bedroom faced the street and I knew I couldn’t cross the street by myself, so I flew up over the roof to the backyard, instead.

41) I used to be a Campfire Girl, and LOVED going to camp in the summer. I chose to be a Campfire Girl instead of a Girl Scout, because Campfire had a big sleep-away camp, and the Girl Scouts had a sleep-away barn. The Girl Scouts sold cookies, and Campfire Girls sold candy that was like Heath Bars.

42) I LOVE Heath Bars.

43) My worst grammatical problem is that I am addicted to ellipses…

44) And incomplete sentences.

45) I went to Thailand on my honeymoon. It was just about the most fantastic place I have ever been.

46) I have absolutely NO problem changing dirty diapers. I would do it for an extra year if someone would feed my children for me.

47) My favorite flowers are lilacs and roses.

48) I am jealous because, since giving birth to the twins, I now have more grey hairs than my own mother does. And from the looks of it, I will someday have a full head of WHITE hair, just like my dad.

49) I memorize phone numbers better by looking at the numbers on the keypad and memorizing the pattern there, better than I do just remembering the numbers in my head.

50) I have a hidden stat counter on my blog. I know how often you come visit my page. Heh heh heh…

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hard-Headed Man


Nasty scare this afternoon. I hate to fly, and I don’t much care to have my family flying either (well, the flying I love, its falling for long, long periods of time that scares me) so I have been on edge most of the day since dropping off my parents and niece at the airport to head home from their San Diego Extravaganza.

But, as you likely have heard, most injuries happen at home. Today, Luka, one of my twin toddlers, whom we always joke about being a monkey and how we will spend half our life in the emergency room with, is there for his first visit.

He loves to just walk off the edge of the couch landing on the mini-kiddie-couch and a bunch of pillows. Well, this afternoon, he did that, onto my older son Noah. I expected the usual, “OWWWW!!! Mom!!! Get Luka OFF of me!!!!” But instead I was greeted by giggles from both parties. Luka climbed up again, and jumped onto Noah again, and again giggles all around. It was so much fun seeing camaraderie where there is usually complaints that I just watched them tumble and roughhouse with only small reminders to be gentle.

And gentle Noah was. As Luka jumped down onto Noah and the toy couch, Noah caught him in a hug and slowly rolled him down to the floor. Only, in slow motion what I saw was Luka’s head squishing into the corner of a rough brick in the corner of the fireplace hearth, and listening to that sickly “thunk”. Then, the silent scream as I scooped him up, the open mouth expression of terror and pain and injustice for many long seconds before there was enough breath to make an actual voiced scream.

My hand instinctively went to the side of his head and felt the foreign object there… the bigger-than-a-marble lump that was a sack of blood that had filled up in less than 3 seconds.

My husband, the doctor, said it was probably okay. Luka had not passed out, nor did he look disoriented after a few minutes. But as the minutes grinded on and Luka would not take the ibuprofen or the ice pack, and the lump grew to the size of a small Brussels sprout, Michael asked if I was sure he had hit the CORNER of the brick.

Yes, I was very sure.

I asked what he would do if a patient came in with the same story and same huge lump.

He would send them straight to the emergency room.


He decided that it might be best if he took Luka into the emergency room for a cat scan.

I am home waiting, with Ethan and Noah.

Noah came out from under a blanket to very solemnly apologize for hurting Luka.

“Oh, baby… this was an accident. I LOVE that you were both playing so happily. It could have just as easily been you with the big boo-boo. You were helping him roll down to the floor. You weren’t playing too rough at all, baby.”

“Okay, Mommy.”

So, we wait.



Michael called and Luka is still acting pretty normally besides touching his lump occasionally and crying from making it hurt some more. They got his vitals taken and are waiting for the doctor. The doctor may of course say Luka is fine and send him home. Michael says in some cases, they have to inject a needle and take the fluid out. But it may just go down on its own.



Thank God that boy has a hard head. He is going to need it in this life. Michael brought Luka home later that evening with no cat scan and no lancing. The bump had gone down by half by then, but here, two days later, there is still a nasty lump under that crazy hair. We were to watch him for a couple days for any odd behavior (Odd behavior??? From Luka?? Ohhhhhh… Odd, for HIM! I see!). And for a couple days he has seemed just fine.

Again Noah came forward and apologized for hurting his baby brother. Again I had to look him in the eye and try to get through that he did not do anything wrong. I guess I wasn't convincing last time. Not sure I was this time either. But if it helps him to remember to be gentle with the twins, so be it.

Already, when I picture Luka’s skull, it looks like one of those hard boiled eggs, after you smash it on the counter, but before you peel it apart… covered in tiny hairline cracks stretching out over the surface. We bought the living room rug for Luka to cover the hardwood floor that he was forever conking his head on. It has softened quite a few blows already. But this thud into a firm sharp corner was quite a bit scarier. I could just imagine the possible puncture through his little apple skull.

I imagine one day he WILL get that cat scan for some other injury and the doctors will wonder what all those other healing cracks are from.

“Daily life, Doctor. Just Luka’s daily life.”

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Life as a Tourist

Wow, it’s been a very busy 10 days! I haven’t been posting much because my parents have been in town as has my brother’s 10 year old daughter, Erin. We did just about every San Diego tourist attraction there is! (Minus Sea World)

It’s been like boot-camp for me, taking the babies and often Noah out into the world on a daily basis instead of staying home. Although, it wasn’t as hard as it could have been because I often had others to hold my kids, or push strollers, or distract them for five minutes while I escape into some public restroom for a breather!

Seeing Erin again has been fun. We moved to Ohio four and a half years ago, to do Michael’s medical residency, mostly because we wanted to be closer to my brother’s family. His kids were growing up, and while I was around when they were born, I didn’t know them anymore and lived through emails and pictures. So after four years of being almost down the road from them, moving back here to California feels like we have lost a little something. Something important.

We are hoping Erin’s visit is the start of some tradition of sending our kids back and forth to each other’s families, so that they will grow up knowing each other, and seeing other states. This may even give them or us a chance to have more quality time with our remaining kids, or even a private vacation of our own some day!

So we packed a ridiculous amount of activities into 10 days. Here is our itinerary:

Day 1) Arrival and the Fourth of July Celebration at San Diego Bay

Day 2) Wandering around Coronado Island and the Hotel del Coronado

Day 3) Balboa Park (San Diego’s "Central Park"), the Botanical House, Promenade, and the Sports Museum (Erin is a sports diva at the wee age of 10)

Day 4) The San Diego Zoo. Saw an elephant have a big pee AND a poop!

Day 5) Day at the Beach making sand castles and staring at the reclining Harbor Seals while they scratch themselves with flippers.

Day 6) Drove down to Ensenada but Erin had come down with a nasty fever/dizziness thing that Noah kicked just before she got here, so she ended up having to stay in the US of A. My mom (her grandma) stayed here with her, while Dad, Noah and I went. (Next time she will go, I hope...)

Day 7) Legoland! Erin rode all the roller coasters. Numerous times. They were a challenge for her, but she made herself do them. I thought Legoland was a fantastic place for the 3-8 year old set. It has a load of rides geared toward them that places like Disneyland don’t have much of. But past the age of 8, I think kids find it rather preschooolish.

Day 8) Day of rest. Sort of. Went to an outdoor mall for souvenir gifts for those back in Ohio, and then went to our community pool to swim.

Day 9) Drove out to Julian, a gold rush town where my husband proposed to me. Dad, Mom and Erin took the mine tour (I hung with the babies for an hour) and Erin got to try her hand at panning for gold. Also took a horse-drawn carriage ride around town and ate at a very old soda fountain. Ice cream all around.

Day 10) Hiked the seaside cliffs at Torrey Pines State Park and then went down to Pacific Beach for way too much dinner, ice cream, a stroll on the Promenade, and finished off the vacation with an authentic California Sunset (complete with silhouetted surfers on the waves) before heading home.

Day 11) Up at 5:30am to wake the vacationers. To the airport by 6:45. Fantasized about coming home and crashing but of course I came home to 3 screaming children and breakfast mess and “I’M BORED!!!”

See if I ever show THEM an awesome 10 days in a row again!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!!

(Forgive me, I cannot for the life of me get my blogger editor to put my pictures where I want them, so its a little messy. But I trust you to imagine just how zen and beautiful it should be.)

(You can do that, right?)

For the next week or so, my parents are in town, as is my brother's ten year old daughter, all from Ohio. Its been nice seeing Erin again, and realizing again how attached Noah was and still is to her. He has missed her quite a lot since we moved away from Ohio.

We have done a lot of the obligatory San Diego touristy things, and will doing a few more. We saw the Fourth of July fireworks over the bay, spent an afternoon wandering around Coronado and seeing the Hotel Del Coronado, explored Balboa Park and took in a museum, ate in a couple cafes and have been drinking a lot of frappucinos.

Today we went to the San Diego Zoo. I had forgotten what a nice zoo this is, and we went with the whole crowd, babies and all. It went better than expected. Got some good pictures of the animals, the kids, and introduced Noah to the sky tram. I wondered if he would do okay with heights since he has always balked at ferris wheels but he was a champ.

Tomorrow we are all off to hike around Torrey Pines State Park and will attempt to keep small children from sliding off the edge of any cliffs while hiking. Monday will be all about Legoland and getting all wet at their new pirate adventure area. And then Tuesday its down into Mexico in search of a shaded patio, some cheap lobster and very large margaritas.

Will try to keep you all updated, but with 5 of us vying for the laptop... we shall see.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Fourth of July, West ("By God") Virginia (as my Mom's kinfolk say!)

This was our little family two years ago on the fourth of July (I was pregnant with the twins). Its a place where we wish we were today. There are people we are missing today. But we are with you in spirit. You know who you are. =)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Through the Eyes of a Child

Every time I pull out the camera and take some pictures of the kids, Noah will inevitably ask if he can take some pictures. I usually say yes with the same lecture about how fragile a camera is and "What are the rules?"

"No touching the screen.
No touching the lens.
No dropping the camera.
The camera is fragile."
"And, a camera is not a toy."

yadda yadda yadda.

When I realized how much he loved taking pictures of the world around him, I started allowing him to use the camera more often. I started teaching him about framing a shot and different vantage points. He takes some interesting shots!

So I finally decided to open an account for him on flickr so that his pics and mine wouldn't get mixed together. I will put up some of his best ones.

He took this photo of Ethan. Yes, that is Luka back there standing on the bench trying to figure out how to climb over the fence.

For more pictures by Noah, check out his Flickr Page by clicking here!!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Three Little Birds... Singin' Sweet Songs

Hey there everyone.

First off... while hopping around reading some of the blogs I like to look at, I ran across a revamped site of a photographer whose stuff I like, and as it turns out, she put some music on her webpage that I just fell in love with! Its by a group called the Be Good Tanyas. Maybe click over to their song The Littlest Birds and have a listen while reading the rest of this post. Its so sweet and happy!

I am still on the laptop and will be for awhile so I don't have access to my Adobe Photoshop, so there may not be any photo-goodness for you for a little while.

I am supposed to be cleaning and fixing up my house for my looming visit from the parents and my sweet niece. But instead I am working on a little project that I have been wanting to do. Noah is learning to read and I wanted to make some phonics flashcards for him. So I got a pile of index cards and have been looking up all the sounds that are out there in the english language and putting them down on each card. I also made a whole bunch with all the words you need to know when reading your first sentances. Words like "I", "who", "what", "do", "they", "see", "run, "Dick", "run".

No, I did not make a card that says "Dick" on it. I doubt Noah will be reading Dick and Jane in this day and age.

In case you didn't know, my son Noah is a linguistic genious. No, really! I was pointing at letters and telling us what they were called before the age of 2. And he was telling us what sounds they made before we taught him those things. Like it was just already there in his head. He was sounding out words at this third birthday. That was a year and a half ago. Then the twins were born.

And where is he now? He is still just starting to sound out words. With the crazyness that twin babies brings, we have totally dropped the ball in teaching our little word genious to read. He would be SO far ahead if we had had the time to work with him more. But I am assuming with some work and some flashcards (now that the babies are a bit less time consuming and can play on thier own for some period of time) that Noah will be jumping ahead in no time. Leaps and bounds! Sky's the limit!

So how didja like that Littlest Birds song? Sweet, huh?