Friday, August 31, 2007

ABCs and 123s with Miss B.!

We got her!!

When I went to register Noah for kindergarten, we were all given the grand tour and I was asking one of the PTA Moms a couple questions. She pointed out one of the teachers and said, “She’s awesome!! She is like the most perfect kindergarten teacher ever. Kind and sweet, supportive and funny”.

Later, during that tour, I saw that teacher going through a chart with her students, where the kids pronounce every letter in the alphabet and all the sounds it makes like a little (make that very long) song. While hard to describe in words, I thought it was a genius method, and hoped Noah got in that class just because I knew that chart/song would work SO well with his style of learning.
Then, I found out that she works on writing every single day. That is the area that Noah lacks most. Of course they had been in school a whole year by then, her students could sit at their desks reading a few books for a full half hour at a time!

We had met her a couple days ago when I took Noah to the school to be evaluated, and she was the one interviewing him to see how much he knew of his letters and numbers, etc.

Well, today was Kindergarten Orientation. Noah got to come with me to find out which teacher he got, and to see his classroom. There were all four teachers standing beside big lists with their students’ names on them. I looked at her list first and sure enough, he was in her class! YAY!!

I took Noah over to meet her and said, “Noah? Do you remember Miss B.? She was the teacher we met on Monday at the evaluation! She is going to be your kindergarten teacher!”

Miss B. knelt down to Noah and said, “Good Morning, Noah, I am really looking forward…”

And then Noah threw his hands around her neck and gave her the biggest hug! Surprised, she warmly hugged him right back.

When he pulled away, he almost had tears in his eyes, and it made me well up a little too, this big show of emotion!

So, we are all very happy.

We got to see the classroom, and Noah found the desk with his name on it, was very excited to find the hidden compartment underneath with a basket that held a pencil, a gluestick, a box of crayons and a pair of scissors, all for his own use. He sits between Carly and Charlie.

Afterward, of course, it was off to buy a backpack and a few random school supplies.

We have 3.5 days off now before school starts, but I think Noah would be happier if he could start school tomorrow.

A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for
others. --Author Unknown

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Most Worst Day

The Most Worst Day of Her Life... and on her birthday no less. Apparently the poor girl didn't know what a pinata is for...

That's What Little Boys Are Made Of

Noah and Daddy were on their way out the door this morning...

Mama: Only two more days of preschool!

Noah: Uh-huh!

(pulling him onto my lap and giving him a big hug)

Mama: I am so proud of you, baby!

Noah: Why, Mommy?

Mama: Because you did so good in preschool, and you are getting to be a big boy, all ready for kindergarten.

Noah: Yeah... Hey! I'm picking my NOSE!!!

...way to blow a nice moment... =)

Wordless Wednesday: Luka Crashes on the Floor

For more Wordless Wednesday photos, check out the headquarters HERE!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Be True To Your School

Bright and early Monday morning, Noah and the twins and I went over to Noah’s new kindergarten elementary for him to be evaluated. Apparently, this year, the teachers are quizzing all the incoming students about what they know and don’t know so that they can divvy them up into appropriate classrooms. I am not sure if they are putting kids at the same level in each of the four classes, or if they are trying to make each group equal. But I guess they are making up four class lists and then the teachers will be picking lists out of a hat. That way, none of them picks the easy ones or shuns the troublesome cases.

Noah was pretty excited to be able to actually go inside the school yard rather than just the usual drive-by. We went into the auditorium where Mama was given the usual 12 pages of forms to fill out, and the babies were allowed to run free around the giant room and play with some toys there for siblings.

One of the kindergarten teachers, one who was pointed out to me during registration as being the ultimate kindergarten teacher, came over and introduced herself to us. She was very sweet and friendly, and invited Noah into the library to ask him some questions about letters and numbers and colors and such.

The babies had a blast running around and shrieking, making echoes with the other toddlers. I filled out the obligatory forms.

When Noah came out, the teacher said he did a wonderful job, and pronounced him “just delightful”. She was so sweet and comforting I almost swooned in her presence myself!

I gave Noah a little tour around the “campus” as it were. I come from Ohio where the whole school is indoors in one rectangular building. In California, they are more low-lying with doors that let out into the outdoors, with covered walkways in case of rain. There were little low hooks on the sides of buildings to keep your jacket on, and painted trails on the ground so that you can follow a colored walkway to whatever destination, preventing newbies from getting lost. Noah wanted to check out the playground. It was fenced in and locked but he got up close, gripped the chain link and stared intently inside, picturing his future.

“Wow… I am gonna have a lot of fun on that playground.”

What Mama liked about it was that there was no sand!! Noah comes home everyday from preschool with an entire sandbox inside his shoe and completely brown sock-bottoms.

We stopped in the boys bathroom for a potty-stop before heading off to preschool. It had those cute little low-lying potties and a set of three urinals on the wall. I asked him if he had ever used a urinal and he said yes, Daddy had taught him how.

He paced back and forth carefully studying them. And then pronounced, “Mom, I really like the urinals in here! THIS one is my favorite one!” And he christened it right then and there..

In the car, we headed over to his third-to-last day at Montessori preschool, and he told me, “Mama? I am tired of Montessori. I’m ready for Kindergarten. The teacher told me so.”

"I know, baby. I think you are, too!"

“Mama, what does delightful mean?”

Monday, August 27, 2007

Weekend Adventures

This weekend, Noah went up to his Mima’s house for the weekend while the twins stayed down south with us. We are trying to see how well he does on more extended time away from Mom and Dad and he did just great! He had a blast.

Vera (Mima) came down on the train and I picked him up from preschool early and took him to the train station to meet her. He had his little backpack and was ready for an adventure. They went back north together on the train.

That evening, he got to see his beloved Uncle Mark and Aunt Michele for dinner. On Saturday, he had his first of two swim lessons in Mima’s pool. We have been having trouble trying to get Noah to learn to swim. With Mom and Dad, when we try to get him to blow bubbles with his face down in the pool, he politely says, “No, thank you!” Even with incentive. So she found a swim teacher who came to her house to instruct him and he did just great! He was very proud of blowing bubbles and paddling with the board, and even went under completely a couple times!

After swim lessons, they headed up to Oxnard to see his cousins Alex and Katie, who live close by to us, but were up there for the weekend. There was playing on the beach, fishing, riding the electric boat, etc.

Later that evening it was back to Encino and to bed. Sunday, he had another lesson and a nap before heading back down towards San Diego. He and Mima came south, and we drove north with the babies, to meet half way at a Carrow’s Restaurant for dinner. Other than being very noisy and raucous, it was all very fun, and great to see my Noah again.

He really had a great time, and this trip he did not seem to miss us at all. In fact he was the one asking to go up there sometime in the first place!

One step closer to a mommy-daddy vacation some day!

Fun Monday: Why Do I Blog??

Hey everyone,

I decided to join in with another group of bloggers who post on specific topics. First there was Mama Says Om, which gives a topic each week and then asks folks to submit some writing, a photograph, or some kind of work of art on said topic. I do that occasionally when the topic hits home, but being a photo-junkie, I tend to just submit photos instead of written articles.

Then, of course, there is Wordless Wednesday which I love because it specifically implies that you don’t HAVE to write anything, just tell a story with a photo. That I LOVE to do.

But I ran across this one that is new to me, and decided that between MamaSaysOm and this one, Called FUN MONDAY, that I would occasionally be inspired to write. So, on Fun Monday, each week, there is a new host. That person comes up with a topic to post on your blog about, and if you want to participate, you write a post, and put your link on the host’s page. In the past, topics have included “White Lies You Have Told”, “A Look Inside Your Fridge”, “Your Favorite Treat”, “Favorite Place to Relax”, etc. It seems like a good way to let my readers know more about me, so I decided to jump on in.

This week’s topic is a good starter. It is hosted by Lisa’s Chaos and the topic is:

I’d like to know more about you, what makes you tick. I’d
like to know how you started blogging. Did you keep a diary under lock and key
safely hidden as a child? Do you still? Do you share the same things on your
blog that you would have, or do, in your diary? Why did you start blogging and
why do you continue? May as well throw in any roadblocks you have run into while
blogging. If you still have your old diaries we’d love to see them.

So here goes:

I had seen some blogs around and had read only a few when I met a woman in a Mom’s Group called Move It Mamas. She said she had a blog called Wannabe Hippie, so I went and checked it out. I had been feeling guilty about the fact that I had again recently moved myself and my family far away from my parents and my brother’s family, and I was so so bad at keeping in touch with phone calls and emails. Reading Wannabe Hippie was a revelation! I had never even HEARD of Mommy-blogs! On one of her pages she has this great HUGE list of links to other Mommy Blogs and I started reading through them.

Being alone in a new city, without a job to go to each morning, I was beginning to feel a bit isolated. But in these mommy-blogs I found a community of women with the same kind of life that I have, going through the same challenges, joys, and frustrations that I was having! And it was a supportive community, with lots of posts where people were venting and then getting comments from strangers about how to get through, how they were not alone, and encouragement.

And I also realized that this is an amazingly easy way to share with everyone who is interested in my little (did I say LITTLE?) family the mundane day-to-day activities of our brood. And an awesome way to share photos with friends and family that are across the country and around the world!

Why do I keep blogging? Because I now feel a part of that virtual community of isolated women who are reaching out with ideas, encouragement, laughter, support. It’s also shown me that the problems that I deal with are really not so bad compared to the day to day life of some people. People who deal with children with disability, husband’s with cancer, infertility, loss. It keeps things in perspective.

And! And I realized that it also makes up for something I was feeling bad about. With my first son, I diligently kept a baby-book recording every new word, every tooth, first steps, etc. With my twins, I just didn’t find the time. I bought adorable little matching books, glued their name tags into the front, filled out about two pages and then got very busy raising three boys. But I realize that this blog, in a way, is a better gift to give them in their future than any baby book. How many men cherish a baby-book anyway. Maybe their future wives would, wondering about the comparison of daddy to his baby. But a day to day story, written by Mom, of their childhood? That is an awesome hand-me-down.

So, I plan to occasionally back up my blog writings and save them to disk so that if one day Blogger crashes, I will not lose all these posts. And in the modern world of memorabilia, I can pass down a box with their little first outfits, their baby hat, a print of their feet taken at the hospital, and a disk with all their childhood photos, right alongside one of their Mama’s Blog, documenting their childhood. Day after day.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Resorting to Memes

You might have noticed that I haven’t written much of substance lately. Been feeling a bit “writer’s blocked” as it were. So, I decided to turn to one of these memes and just write what it says to write.

1.Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4 and write what it says.

”However, pushing the tortoise makes him retreat, not go faster.”

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What can you touch?

Oh, well, that would be the OTHER office chair. The one I got because it was in such nice shape, big and with arms, the one I got because it is the kind my husband likes so much and because it was FREE. The one that takes up a lot of space in our tiny office and is never used because we already HAVE a great big office chair AND a futon to sit on!
Well, I guess that’s not exactly true. The babies love to sit on it together while I spin them round and round. They say “Wheeeee!!” That makes the wasted space it takes up almost worth it.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?

Sesame Street. That is almost always the last thing I watched on TV.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is.


5. Now look at the clock. What is the actual time?

11:33am!! I rock!

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

Well, the babies are napping, so I hear the jets flying over at Miramar Marine Corp Air Base. That is an almost constant sound around here. If it was 9:53pm, I would be listening to the sound of the fireworks at SeaWorld.

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?

I snuck outside to throw the yogurt cups in the recycling which is now outside since the ants have attacked. I have to do it quietly and quickly because if the twins see me go outside, they come running in desperation and despair.

8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?

My email.

9. Did you dream last night?

Probably, but I can’t recall it now.

10. When did you last laugh?

This morning with Ethan. I was helping him dribble a ball by holding his wrist and bouncing a ball in front of him and making him smack it. He giggled so much, its infectious.

11. What is on the walls of the room you are in?

Rental-House White paint. No pictures because we are lame about decorating. But there is a BIG map of San Diego on the wall. It helps us learn our way around our new city. San Diego is made up of lots and lots of little neighborhoods with names. So we are trying to learn it so we know if it’s a long way to Linda Vista, Mission Valley, Point Loma, or North Park.

12. Seen anything weird lately

Pretzels in odd places. I have toddlers, the toddlers like pretzels. They like putting things in odd places. Thus I find them in the dishwasher, the kitchen drawers, down inside the locked TV cabinet when I open the doors, pushed under the bathroom door, in our wicker chest where we keep shoes…

13. What do you think of this quiz?

Very random. Which is why I picked it.

14. What is the last film you saw?

I went to the new Harry Potter movie by myself. Since babysitters are so pricy, and we are new in town, Michael and I tend to go to movies we MUST see on separate nights, and then discuss it later. That is a movie date for us now… sigh…

15. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?

A new house. Even in this market. And I would hire someone who would cook my family dinner, be in charge of feeding my babies, and could stay with the kids occasionally when my hubby and I want to go out and spend some time together. Yeah……

16. Tell me something about you that I don’t know?

Please refer to my 50th post, “Fifty Things About Me

17. If you could change one thing about the world, what would you do?

Oh man… one thing? So many silver linings have dark clouds! Like if I got rid of pestilence and disease, we would be dealing with ridiculous overpopulation. I guess I would just UP the compassion in the world a few notches. I think that would help solve so many of our environmental, political, educational and social problems in this world.

18. Where are you on the war in Iraq?:

I think we should NEVER have gone in there this time. I am totally cool with the action in Afghanistan. But now that we are IN Iraq, and have made the financial commitment, lost so many lives, disrupted another society, etc, I am not sure we shouldn’t stay and get the job done. I am not passionate about pulling out or staying longer since there is so little un-biased information out there to base an opinion on. It’s hard to know how much good we are doing there, and the real detriment of pulling out. So hard to know who to believe.

19. Would you ever consider living abroad?

In a heartbeat. It’s harder now, with kids, but I think I would go almost anywhere SAFE with my family if I could come back in a year. But I would want to do it when the kids are a bit older and could benefit from the experience of living in another culture.

20. What do you want God to say to you when you get to heaven?

"Come on in! Can I get you a Pepsi?"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Some Good Reads

So, I have discovered what happens when you start a blog…

You want to know what other blogs look like so that you will get ideas on what to do on your own. And eventually, you begin to run across ones that make you laugh, or cry, or even look at things in a different light.

I have been reading quite a few pretty religiously. And I thought I would send a couple new faves some linky-love, by pointing them out to you guys so you can check them out.

Many of you know about sweet/salty which is a blog written by a woman named Kate who had a son, became pregnant with identical twin boys, had them come way too early and after some severe brain damage, lost one of them, and brought the other home perfectly healthy. She continues to inspire me with her writing, never pulling punches about her grief, her anger, her joys, her guilt. She is a constant reminder to me about how lucky and blessed I am.

On a completely different level, I almost always laugh out loud at a blog called Boobs, Injuries, and Dr. Pepper. Crystal is a wrong-side-of –the-tracks Mama who loves her kids but also enjoys torturing them as much as they do her. She writes in such an irreverent manner about her everyday life. She is a crack up with a great gift for seeing the hilarity in the mundane. If you don't like a bit of "rough" language, I would skip this one.

And lastly, I was surprised that I liked this one so much, but it’s a blog by a woman married to a cattle rancher, living life out on the range. Its called Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. Ree documents ranch life with a load of photos and wit. She has a bunch of posts that come with 10 or 12 pictures each, often taken within seconds of each other, explaining each moment by moment. You can almost hear her Oklahoma drawl. She also has a recipe page which rocks because she photographs each and every tiny step which is awesome for a wannabe cook like me. I was never interested in ranch life, but her blog has me hooked.

Lastly, I wanted to clue you into a great series of posts on a blog I do NOT read, but may look into when I have more time. I was directed over there from which said that this story was such a good read. It was. The blog is called Antique Mommy and her true story is called “The Box” and it is written over 6 posts but is gripping and heartfelt and made me cry at the very, very end. Awesome writing. Check it out. You can get to the first page here, and then click on the next page’s link in the upper right hand corner of her page.

Happy Reading!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another Day, Another Head Injury

I knew it!

I knew what he was thinking and I RAN! But not fast enough to stop it.

When it's nap time, I tell the twins, “OK, its time to go upstairs!” and they love to climb the stairs so much that they run with glee to the gate and shake it violently until I get there to open it. Luka begins to climb, but Ethan likes to turn around and slam the gate shut before I can get through it. I always overact that I am locked out, which makes him giggle every time. It’s a ritual.

Then they climb the stairs. As they go around the landing and up the second flight, they either stick their faces through the bars for a kiss, or they giggle and go right past my waiting pucker, and I of course, act like I have been wronged again!

Then upstairs, I let them play for a couple minutes, exploring whatever toys Noah left on his floor, slamming the bathroom door, seeing what I left too close to the edge of my dresser (which is like, everything!).
I was in my room adjusting the pillow in the playpen where Ethan naps separately from Luka, and had a good view down the long hall to the top of the stairs where Luka had just gone. He was standing beside a box of Legos that had come back up the stairs on someone’s recent trip but hadn’t quite made it back into Noah’s room.

Ethan toddled down the hall toward Luka and stood beside him. That’s when Luka dropped the baby rattle he had carried from his room onto the first step down. And it played out in my mind just what was about to happen. Just like its playing out in your mind. You see it too, right?

Luka looks down at the rattle and wonders if he can bend over and pick it up. He bends down to negotiate picking up something lower than his own feet. I drop the pillow and run. Ethan is looking at Luka’s back and then as Luka bends, he is looking at Luka’s diapered rear end. I am only half way down the hall. Ethan reaches out and just gives a little push, and over he goes.

And over and over, somersaulting down the stairs as I round the corner. He flattens out and almost stops half way but then keeps going laying out sideways like a kid rolling down a grassy hill. Only this hill has many bumps and he is screaming all the way down.

I don’t even stop but throw myself around the corner, hurdle over Ethan’s head and practically leap down to the landing, thinking perhaps I can go faster than he is, and catch him. I don’t even feel what must have been me kicking the box of Legos, as I find myself skidding down the steps in a hail of little squares and rectangles in crazy colors everywhere like rain.

Thank god there was a landing to stop him from continuing down the rest of the stairs, and again I am thankful for the carpeting. I swoop the little guy up into my arms and try to soothe the wailing screams. But then they double in volume. I look up to the top of the steps and there is Ethan standing there screaming, frightened, probably from the noise, and being kicked in the head, the sudden flurry of Legos showering down everywhere, and the inexplicable commotion caused by one little push on his brother’s rear end.

So I scooped up Luka and carried him to the top step where I pulled Ethan into the same embrace. Neither could be comforted what with the screams of the other deafening in each other’s ears. At nearly 20 months, they really are getting too hard to carry at the same time, but I couldn’t leave either alone, so I dragged them up into an uncomfortable hold for all three of us, and brought them into their room where we fell into the much-too-small-for-three-people rocking chair and tried to rock it off.

Ethan recovered first, and slid down to inspect the fan. Luka needed a little more cuddling, making those gasping sounds you make at the end of a good cry. I lifted his face to wipe the tears, and checked first his mouth, where most of his tumbles cause bloody teeth and gums. Nothing. Looked past the remains of a cut and slightly blackened eye where he had pulled a can of beans down onto his face from the pantry shelf a few days ago, and lifted his crazy bangs.

There it was.

A huge stripe of angry red was hiving up on his forehead surrounded by hot white skin. Likely from the baseboard that runs down the steps on the side he was facing. It didn’t appear to be cut or bleeding but by the next day it would turn dark brown and scabby.

I noticed the lump on the side of his head where he had hit the fireplace (sending him to the emergency room a couple weeks ago) was still there but finally receding.

He is not even two yet.

Between this boy’s penchant for climbing, and Ethan’s love of experimenting with his brother’s balance (not the first time, won’t be the last), we are in for a looooong wild ride.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Baby Wrap!

I have been seriously toying with getting some sort of baby wrap. I know, the boys are almost two (Dec 20), but especially Luka wants to be held all the time and it just puts a stop to things.

Michael suggests tossing him in the backpack, which would let me do the things I need to do, but I know the desire to be carried is more about snuggling than being up high. I want to try baby-wearing because I can give him the closeness he wants, while still having my hands free.

But I have been pricing them, and man, the ones I like are super expensive, especially when I think that my babies aren't babies anymore.

But I just ran into a giveaway at When 2 Became 3, and she is giving away one of the kind I was looking at! Yes! So I am entering.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

And Luka.



I just found another contest with another baby carrier that is SO GORGEOUS! I must enter!

If you want to enter...

Here is what you can WIN! You can win this sold-out Baby Dagny-exclusive multi stripe Peekaboo Pouch!

HOW TO ENTER: Just fill in the Mr. Linky and link to this contest at Adventures in Babywearing, and also link to this contest's wonderful host: Baby Dagny's big sale in a post on your blog before Wednesday August 22, 9 PM (CST.)

That's what I am doing!
This one is good for a kid up to 35 pounds! Lordy, I could still put NOAH in that thing!!


Help! I’m next!

It’s coming to get me!!!

Get this freaky thing out of my house!

We have had our ridiculously huge share of viruses and bugs going around since moving to San Diego. Probably a combination of Michael bringing home nasty, nasty things from his patients, and also from Noah being in preschool and swapping cooties with all those other little rugrats.

I was never one to get sick very often, and usually I am the one who stays well as things are passed around my family one person at a time. And this time, baby, I am steering CLEAR!!

This one is freaky.

We think Noah got it first. He complained of pain in his neck and knee occasionally, but then he threw up at school and was sent home for more then 24 hours. He had a fever of 102. Not so bad.

Then, as he was getting better, Ethan got a fever and a rash of polka-dots all over his tiny body. He passed it to Luka, who got the freaky rash too.
Looked like a plucked chicken.

Now Michael has it. Does he get a rash? No…. he gets debilitated!! Every muscle in his poor body is being attacked from within. He winces when he limps from the couch to the stairs, yelps while walking up the stairs. I hear sudden cursing from the bathroom, so God only knows what the heck is going on in THERE!

It got so bad over the weekend that he was no longer able to take a lid off of a jelly jar, and every four hours when the medication wore off, he would get a near-migraine. I asked him to stay home from work on Monday but he insisted he would be fine. He had to use two hands to get the car into gear and drove off to work.

When he came home that day, he admitted he should have stayed home in the first place and he asked me to unbutton his dress shirt because he couldn’t manage it. He also finally agreed to go see a doctor on Tuesday just to make sure it wasn’t anything really serious.

I have to admit, this thing was starting to scare me.

Tuesday he was worse, and gimped it out the door for a first appointment with a new doctor. He asked for a specific blood test and the results were off the charts, letting him know that he had a severe inflammation of his muscles. He is went back in Wednesday, and will on Friday to do the test again to be completely sure its not something scary, but both he and the doctor feel that this is how the virus going around our house chose to attack him.

So, in the meantime, he has gone back to work today after asking for a 2/3rds workload for the next couple days, and will get that test done again Friday.

And me?

I am laying low, taking care of everyone but refusing to swap spit with ANYone, and only touching people when I absolutely have to. I want this thing dead and gone before it finds its way into MY body! God knows, it would likely turn my bones to goo and leave me a blob on the floor.

A blob with a migraine and polka-dots.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Eye? Aye, Matey!!!




Yeah, I wouldn’t be able to figure them out either if they weren’t preceded by “Ethan, can you say BOTTLE?”

But hey! Give the boy a break! A light bulb finally has gone on in Ethan’s brain (that, or he finally figured out what “can you say?” means), and he is really getting interested in speaking some words out loud!

He has gone through a month or two of pointing at things and having me label them for him, but never really seemed interested in saying the word back to me. He is also finally pointing to some body parts when asked, “Where is your ear? Where is your belly?”.

This has been making me nuts because, as I posted before, Noah was a very gifted speaker by this age and every time he learned a new word (daily) he would say it with such clarity. I never really had to deal with baby talk or translating to other people for him.

But I am just so happy that Ethan is getting interested in saying words. His best word is “EYE!” and he says it with such enthusiasm, that I am forced to write it in caps with and exclamation point. It sounds like he is saying, “I won the LOTTERY!!!” . We have to work to keep him from putting an eye out with his finger tip while saying it too. He is so thrilled to know this word, it will change his bad mood on a dime if you ask him where his eye is!

Luka, on the other hand, stares blankly at you when you say, “Luka, can you say Mama?” But he can make a little bark when you say, “What does a doggy say?”. And if Ethan is not in a cooperative mood, and refuses to say a word, Luka will often say it while pushing his little truck around, without even looking up.

And the other day, when Noah opened the door for him, Michael and I both swear Luka said, “Thank you!” as he trotted on through. He does have a few words, he just chooses not to use them very often.

But with Ethan, we are getting somewhere.


Wordless Wednesday: Portrait of Noah with Sand

Monday, August 13, 2007

Book Fiend

Well, I was so excited about discovering, that I ran around my house last night looking for books that I no longer needed. I found 3. Entered them in the database, and it seems they are books nobody wants.

Sad... :^(

So, it occurred to me that sometimes there are books available on craigslist or freecycle so I popped over there before bed last night, and there was a posting saying that the library in Poway was giving away THOUSANDS of books!! YES!!

It started at 10am this morning. But did I ever mention to you that I have twin toddlers? And that its not always easy getting out of the house when you want to? I pulled up at the library at 10:20 and there were hordes of people with boxes and boxes of books. Someone LITERALLY had like 15 boxes stacked up outside the room and had hired children to tell people that these books were taken, thank you very much.

Then the horror...

The sign, posted beside the door, and above the line of parked strollers, stated, "NO STROLLERS INSIDE ROOM", said room being where all the freeness was! Inside I could spy any number of women with a child on one hip and a tote bag on the opposite shoulder, browsing happily. Well not exactly browsing. More like speed-browsing! Books were being grabbed and bagged up left and right!

Now, did I mention I have twin toddlers? Ones who are very heavy now and do not like to hang out on your hip when you are in a new place. Ones that, in fact, if they were to stay on your hip, take up BOTH hips and leave no room for a bag of books. Who, in fact know very few words but do know how to scream, GET DOWN! GET DOWN! GET DOWN! while doing that thing babies do where they stop clutching you, turn slippery and slide down your body like a greasy fire pole.

She must have seen my panic and my need for tradeable books.

This kind lady sitting at a cafe table with her family and feeding her own small baby, offered to watch the double stroller so that I could go in.

I thought about all those bad mothers, and how you shouldn't leave your babies with strangers. But then, I also saw that she had four kids of her own, and people with four kids don't often kidnap babies much less twins, and likely didn't even have room in her minivan if she did want to kidnap my babies. I looked back into the book room. In that moment of decision, another hundred books had been scooped up by the rabid masses. I figured, gee, her kids are sitting there so polite and nicely, if she did steal my kids, they would probably turn out better mannered than I could ever make them.

I decided to risk it.

I popped out a couple baby bottles, thanked her profusely and ran in with my empty tote bag. I was kind enough to pop my head out every three or four minutes to see if she needed relieving or had run off to make my kids her own, but they were all fine.

Obviously, most of the best books were gone by now, but I scoured. Not so much for stuff I wanted to read, but for stuff that was popular and tradeable. I came out of there with 35 books, including The Lovely Bones, a book I had planned to put on my WANT list anyway!

I again thanked the woman profusely for not stealing my children, and I came home with my booty, put the kids to bed for their overdue nap, took a fleeting look at the dirty dishes in the kitchen, the toys all over the floor, the fingerprints on the mirror... and sat down to enter all my books into

Now I am done. It seems the database doesn't recognize many of the older books, but I was able to enter 30 books. And now! Now! Now I have my choice of 516 books, 147 Music CDs, 122 movies, and 9 video games!!

Isn't that awesome!!??

I need to go out and get me some shipping envelopes with the little bubble wrap layer inside.

OOooooooh, this is gonna be fun. Now I just have to find time to read!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Swap To It, Baby!!

Okay, you have to know first that this is a completely unsolicited recommendation for a VERY COOL website. This might be the best thing that has come down the pike since eBay, baby!

Its called

It's still in Beta and only very recently opened to the public and its still working out some quirks, but check this out...

You get on there, and you list all the books, the DVDs, music Cd's and video games that you have that you want to trade. Then you make a list of all the things you would like to OWN. Then you sit back and wait, and when someone who has one of the things you want, wants one of the things you have, the site contacts you with the possible trade! You accept (or reject) it, and you pay to ship the one you own, and then you get the one you want in the mail!


Now what else is cool is this: Say you have a book that Joe Schmoe wants, and he has a game that Jane Doe wants, and Jane has a DVD that YOU want! Well! The system can work three way trades out and will contact all three of you. If you all agree, you pass to the left and take from the right, and all is well with the world!

Just like eBay, you leave feedback on how the trade went, and people use that to decide how much they trust you to do a trade.

Everything is one for one, so you don't put anything up for trade that you wouldn't be willing to pay for shipping on, or trade for ANYthing on your want list (it sounds like they frown on trade rejections for no really GOOD reason). If you have the whole Season One of Lost and you have a desire for a slim poetry book on your list, then you should be willing to trade the 4 disc set for the one little book.

They don't accept videos for trade, but want to add audio books in the future. You can swap discs without the original box, if you describe its condition that way, but no bootlegged anything.

Oh, and did I mention its FREE!!??

At this point I am really disappointed that I ditched all my spare books before moving across country, but you can bet I am going to be scouring the garage sale bins for anything popular from here out!!!

Sign up.

Be happy!

Good Stuff. Its Good.

So I had to put this note on my front door that says, NO SOLICITORS because since moving into our new place, there are constant knocks to sign this petition, give money to that charity, chatty real estate people hunting for buyers, etc. It was working like a charm...

So when I got a knock on my door the other day, I swung it open all cranky and ready to be blustery, and there was Bob, our mailman with a BOX in his hand!! YAY!!!!

I knew what was in there and it felt like my birthday! Better even, because I only get cards in the mail on my birthday.

Recently, I have been entering blog contests like some kind of fiend. And I have actually been winning occasionally! Now, the booty is starting to roll in, and its so much fun to get little gifties in the mail!

The box was from Crafty CarolinaGirl. It included some Starbucks coffee (caf AND decaf!), a box of mints, and some of her homemade crafts. We don't usually buy decaf but got a couple tiny bottles of Kaluah recently in a gift basket (thanks Mima!). We decided this weekend, one night after the kids go to bed we will make some decaf Kaluah and Coffee!

Crafty CarolinaGirl sometimes makes pincushions and I forwarded my hubby’s idea about a voodoo doll pincushion because what better to stick pins in, right? Well, she made one up for me, and stuck it in the box too! SO much fun… now I gotta go get me some pins and think about who’s been bugging me most lately… hmmmm….

The next day, Michael comes wandering in from the mailbox and says, “What would you like… an Electric Bill? …or…MONKEY KISSES?

Well, duh!

Monkey Kisses!

From Monkey Kisses I got this awesome little pouch to put one of those skinny wipes boxes in, and a couple diapers, so that I can just toss it in my purse and go. And since I am one to risk (too often) a trip to the grocery store without the diaper bag, or a quick errand, this thing is going to be awesome! Now I no longer have to be embarrassed to pull out a diaper when looking for my wallet.

Then, today, came my autographed copy of The No-Cry Discipline Solution from Mommy of Three! She is a mom named Karen with three sons and a blog. Sound familiar? She also posts about a lot of contests and I won this one from her! We have been having a bit of trouble with our once sweet and kind, now grumpy and slightly rude almost-five-year-old, so this book is going to come in handy.

As if that weren’t enough, I just found out the other day, that that other Karen: Mommy of Three, and I BOTH won a copy of The Potty Training Answer Book from Shannon, over at Rocks in My Dryer. (She’s the one who hosted the whole Bloggy Giveaway Extravaganza Bonanza, in which I won the gift box and the diaper pouch in the first place! It’s getting darned incestuous!)

And ya know, THAT book is going to be coming in handy around here pretty soon.

And what with the big bouquet of anniversary flowers over my shoulder back there (make that TWO!! One from my sweet, sweet hubby, and the other pictured above, from Mima that is just stunning!). I have been feeling down right blessed with goodies! Almost like a birthday!

Happy Good Stuff stuff to me, happy good stuff to me! Happy Good stuff dear Karen…

Happy good stuff



Thursday, August 9, 2007

Curses! Foiled Again!

I keep seeing Stay at Home Mamas pushing their strollers past my front window on their way to the neigborhood park and I get the urge to toss my kids in the stroller and run down there so I have someone to talk to. But usually one is sleeping or its just about time for lunch or I am still in my pajamas.

So I got this idea...

I printed up a flyer that said, "ATTENTION: STAY-AT-HOME MOMS!!" and below that I listed a time and day for all of us to come to the playground at the same time, so that we would be able to meet other moms who stay at home all day. I posted it about five days ago in two sposts at the playground.
Well, today, at the posted time, I pack up the kids and pedal on down there, and from a distance I see that there is not a single mom. Just 3 10-year-old boys hanging out. I played with the babies and waited a good half hour.

Want to know why no one showed up? Because someone had taken down my two signs.

I wondered if this would happen. I mean I do live in an association neighborhood, and the only signs you ever see posted in the area are for council meetings and such. I assumed there was probably a policy about posting signs. This is why I did not place my name or address on the flyers.

But Geez!!! It's not like I was selling anything or advertising! I'm trying to start a neighborhood community group!! Of FRIENDS!
Whoever took it down must have thought it was more important to NOT have two pieces of paper taped to the swingset and the slide than it was for some isolated women to get together and make some friends!!

It even said things like, "Finding it hard to make friends when you stay home all day? Feeling Lonely?" and "Lets get a big weekly group together so we can meet new people!" "Nannies and Daddies welcome!" and still, whoever it was, decided to take the signs down!!

For God's sake, if someone feels like keeping the neighborhood park so freaking clean, they should maybe bring a trashbag and pick up all the cigarette butts, plastic picnic forks, and plastic cup lids that are laying in the sand!
(stepping down from my little soap box now...)
I am trying to come up with a new plan of attack... maybe taping signs down to the floors of the play structures so that people won't see them from a distance... but they will if they are up at the structure preventing their small children from falling off.

If that doesn't work, maybe I will have to make little invite cards and keep them by the front door so I can run them out to passing women pushing strollers!
What's a girl gotta do!!???

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Slime Time!!

Noah had to stay home from school today because he threw up in class yesterday and they have a 24 hour policy in case he is contagious.

So, I needed to come up with something fun for him to do. A few days back I had discovered a couple websites with little science activities for kids to do at home and so stocked up on lots of ingredients to do fun things. Corn starch, vinegar, cream of tartar, baking soda, etc.

So, today, we decided to give GOO a try! This stuff is awesome, and even I had a good time playing with it. Its both a solid and a liquid and goes back and forth depending on how you touch it. You make it in a bowl, and if you whack it with a spoon its very hard, and if you pat it with your fingers its hard, but if you tough it gently, your fingers sink down into like its yogurt. You can scoop some out of the bowl and roll it into a ball and it will stay that way as long as you keep rolling, but if you open your hand it will dissolve into liquid and drip between your fingers!

So the recipe is simple. I would suggest putting down newspaper or paper towels because there will be drippings everywhere once the kids are done playing with this. Also, some old playclothes are in store as the food coloring in the Goo may stain the kids’ clothes.

Goo Recipe:
1 cup Corn Starch
¼ to ½ cup water
Food coloring

That’s all you need!

So first, dump the cornstarch into the bowl that the kids will play with it in. Then, I would advise putting the food coloring into the water that will go into the cornstarch. I found two recipes, one said ¼ cup water and the other said half cup. I started with quarter cup and worked my way up.

So pour the colored water in slowly and start stirring. Its going to be hard to stir so you might want to give the kids a spoon and have one for yourself so you can both stir. Mix it up until its of one consistency. You will see when its right: no more cornstarch flakes, but it still gets firm when you push it around with a spoon. And it will all be one color.

Now play with it! Whack it with a spoon. Pull it up with your fingers and drip it down. Reach in and squeeze it with your hand. Scoop some up and make it into a ball by rolling it quickly. It will stay in a ball as long as you keep it moving. Then open your hand and let it liquify and just melt through your fingers. Way cool.

You might need to add more water or cornstarch. After playing with it for awhile you will find how it works best. Ours was a little too wet, and it will actually get drier as you play with it, so after awhile it started being easier to work with, and I realized it had dried up to just the correct consistency. After another ten minutes, we found it needed to have some more water added.

Apparently, you can pour it into Tupperware or a zippered baggie and keep it in the fridge for some time before it “goes bad” whatever that means. Somewhere I read that it suggested putting a couple drops of Lysol in to keep mold from growing. So I sprayed some into a bit of water and poured that in and mixed it up well.

It cleans up easily, with water, although watch out for the food coloring stains.

Noah LOVED playing with this, and I am sure we will be doing this activity many more times in the future.

Here is a shoutout to a webpage with this slime recipe and lots of other cool activities you can do in your kitchen. Just click this link:

Wordless Wednesday: D'Artagnan

Remember D'Artagnan?

The Longest Blog Post Ever Written about Mexican Jumping Beans

I can’t help myself. I have to buy them every time.

When you live in Southern California, you eventually find yourself in Tijuana, wandering the streets looking at the same old Mexican tchotchkes (is that mutually exclusive?) that they sell trying to pull in the tourist money.

I usually come home with nothing much except a bottle of real vanilla extract, a hangover and occasionally the warm Mexican blankets that are so nice for gifts for those loved ones living back east in the snowy tundra.

But then I discovered them. And how could I resist?

Mexican Jumping Beans, baby!!

For a buck, you get the pleasure of holding the little plastic box in your pocket that you can pull out at any time and watch them hop around making that little tap-tap sound as they dance. I went to Mexico recently with Noah and my dad when he was in town recently. And I turned Noah on to the little buggers. We got a box for us, and one for my niece Erin, who had to skip the trip because of a nasty fever.

But this time I learned all about them from a little sign in one of the shops explaining the life-cycle (illustrations here). It goes something like this…

Apparently, it all begins with the butterfly, who lays eggs on one particular kind of bush in Mexico. When the eggs hatch, the little larvae crawl to the seeds of the bush and eat their way in (although there is no hole that I can see). There, they eat the meat on the inside of the seed, and grow in size. They spin a web, and the jumping is believed to be caused by the wormy yanking on the little threads. They believe that the jumping is to scare the birds away from the seeds which have since fallen to the ground from the bush. Then, in about three or four months, when there is no more room in the Inn, the little guy eats his way out of the seed and makes a little cocoon. And from there, he comes out as a butterfly that goes off looking for another Jumping Bean bush to lay eggs on. (I guess I should have made my protagonist a female…)

Well! In the past, I eventually notice that the beans no longer jump, and they end up in the garbage can. This time, it occurred to me to keep a closer eye out for anything that looked like a cocoon. So, we kept them on the kitchen windowsill in their box, ready to open it should any kind of cocoon appear.

At times I thought that the beans no longer moved. I figured they were duds and had died. Too warm, not enough air, whatever. But then a couple days later one or two would be twitching again.

Today, I found the beans out on the window shelf where I had left them wondering if they had needed any sun or fresh air and considered leaving the box lid open, but thought they would get knocked and spill in the dirt.

A couple hours later, Noah comes home from preschool and sees the box, picks it up and says, “Mommy, we have to open the box!” and before I could kneel all the way down to him, he had popped the thing open and there was a little grey thing there in the box, which then launched itself up and hurtled into Noah’s neck. He was startled and swatted at it, but missed, and the little tiny butterfly jumped off again and flew up around the backyard and away!!!

(Can I just say here, I am SO FREAKING GLAD that Noah did not crush the little guys wings, resulting in him falling to the cement and flopping around wildly in pain, because THEN what do you do? Teach the kid about putting things out of their misery? Try to keep him from feeling bad for maiming the thing he had been watching and nurturing?)

Now, I have to say, I would hardly call the thing a butterfly. It looked like a little stealth bomber moth in gray. And luckily, after unfolding its wings, it still was big enough to fit in the little box with five other jumping beans. But man, it was itching to get out!

So we peered into the little box and saw what was supposed to be the “cocoon” but looked more like a tiny little cicada shell (if you didn’t grow up back east, check this out!). And then, we found the bean that he had sprung from with a rather sizable and perfectly round hole on one end!

I did a little research and learned that you should spritz them with water once a week. Give them a good soaking and then dry them with a paper towel.

My hubby, always the kind one, decided to give them a little housing upgrade and cleaned out a salsa jar and put an old sock over it for (not quite fresh) air. This way, they can have SOME sort of life until we notice the little buggers again.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Super Star!!

Noah came to me the other day saying, “I have something to show you!!!”

We had been working on his writing a lot lately because he will be starting kindergarten in about a month (a MONTH???) and his Montessori teacher says that he is ready except for his handwriting skills. So we have been working on his lettering. After each page of Bs or Ps or whatever, I always put stars above his best ones.

Eventually, he wanted to learn how to “write a star” and so on the back of his pages I would put five dots with numbers beside them so he could do a little dot-to-dot. Even those looked pretty messy, but he could do them.

Then the other day, he holds up this paper towel that he had drawn on with a sharpie marker (a SHARPIE!!??) and he had made his very first hand-drawn star.

"Put it on your web-page Mommy!!"

He has been wanting me to do that again since he drew his first digital art in Adobe Photoshop (and mastered the toolbar much faster than I ever did)! I posted that drawing of fireworks on this blog awhile ago, and since then he begs me to put each new drawing and painting he does on my webpage. So, I told him to hold it up so I could take his picture.

I love how proud he looks.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Roses are Red, Poison Dart Frogs are Blue

~~~ Friday ~~~

Well, it’s my anniversary weekend. 7 years on Sunday. I think I am going to be spending it with Noah.

A couple-few months ago, we were getting ready to move from the corporate housing apartment that we were being put up in. It was a very posh TWO bedroom apartment for the five of us. Noah had his own room, Michael and I shared a room, Luka slept in a playpen by our bed, and Ethan, who was then the poor sleeper (I guess he still is) was shunted to the closet at bedtime (Come on! It was a walk-in!).

We were moving into our current digs, a 1970’s tract house in a really cool little subdivision (surprisingly NOT mutually exclusive) complete with track lighting, a mirrored wall in the dining room, and a sunken living room! And THREE, (read em’ THREE!) bedrooms! We were finally able to set the cribs back up and use them.

Things were a bit harder back then. The babies were just learning to feed themselves, walk, and were great escape artists. Life, was, um… challenging. And so packing up what few belongings we had in the corporate housing apartments still was quite a chore.

Then, Michael came home with a brochure about one of these doctor conferences that he must occasionally attend to accrue some sort of points for some sort of credential or some sort (OK, if this is a doctor scam that doctors play on their wives, SOMEone email me and let me know before TOO many years go by!). The conference was local, so it would not involve hotel costs, and would qualify him for his… points, or whatever.

And it was the weekend before the move. HA!

After consideration of how little packing we were bound to get done on weeknights, we determined that we would forgo said conference and find one at a later date.

Well, it’s later.

And the next conference that fit the bill has come to town on my anniversary weekend. Surprisingly, I am okay with it. After all, we DID have our little anniversary tryst a couple weekends back when my awesome mother-in-law treated us to a night of babysitting Noah and the twins all by herself and setting us up in the Sheraton down by the harbor. VERY NICE!! So, we pretended it was our anniversary weekend even though it was not.

So, this weekend, Michael is going to what Noah calls “Doctor Class” and so I took Noah to preschool today and will pick him up. This would normally be no big deal until you factor in that I have to unload both toddlers into a backpack and on my hip so I can walk Noah into class for all of thirty seconds and then cart them back to their car seats. (Ahhh, I long for the days when my mom would leave us in the car to go in to the grocery store to shop! She had it so good!)

Tomorrow, I hang with the boys all day and Michael finishes his conference on Sunday in the early afternoon. I am sure I will be itching to get out of the house. I am trying to decide if I should get a little Mama-Alone-Time, or do our much-needed grocery shopping.

But most likely, I may be taking Noah back to the San Diego Zoo for a half day. We invested in memberships that last time we were there so we could go whenever we felt like it even for a couple hours here or there. I have been itching to get him back there.

If only for the camera fodder.

~~~ Monday ~~~

Ah, well, one can only dream about camera fodder.

Noah and I did go to the zoo together on Michael’s and my anniversary, Sunday. We did a half day, leaving after nap, and after Daddy got home from his “Doctor Class”. It was actually wonderful. We bought year-long memberships and since we had seen almost the entire zoo the last time, we just took our time and wandered and ate cotton candy and did very little of the zoo. Actually it was very relaxing!

But, I wanted to take some good pictures of the apes. As soon as we got to the orangutans, Noah yelped, “I HAVE TO PEEEEEE!!!” and off we ran. Later, we wandered past the gorillas and the big silverback was out as well as two mommies with their babies being all adorable. But my camera would not cooperate. It just didn’t like the window between the gorillas and me. (I however really appreciated said window during the silverback’s cranky tantrum.)

Noah also got to see his blue Poison Dart Frog. He got a stuffed one from my brother’s family for his first birthday, and so loves them. The last time we went to the zoo, it was in hiding, but on Sunday, it was front and center. Also, though, behind glass, and thus, unable to be photographed properly.


For this post’s picture, I leave you with the above close up of the HUGE bouquet of flowers that I came home to, after the zoo last night.


Just like my husband.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Art Imitates Life

I just got turned on to this artist whose name is Ron Mueck who is an Australian "hyper-realist" sculptor who is now working in Great Britain. According to Wikipedia, his early career was as a model maker and puppeteer for children's television and films, notably the film Labyrinth, for which he also contributed the voice of Ludo.

These photos I have posted really really do not do this guys work any justice. You can look at better shots here, or check out this video on that was made by some guy in Uruguay but really shows Mueck's work very nicely. And its only 5 minutes long. And the music is cool. You got time. Trust me.
PS: If looking at genetalia is bothersome to you, you might want to avert your eyes.

What does a Vicious Dolphin Say, Luka??

Well, its been awhile and I am feeling guilty about yet another contest post, so I thought I should write something for y’all.

Life has kind of settled down around here into the usual day-to-day. I should try to get a move on on those projects I have been wanting to do before the next big plan or trip or visit comes along. Things like decorating Noah’s room with all the stuff I already bought and have hidden in my closet so as to surprise him. And painting the living room green.

But its hard to get my groove on when the days are so pleasant and orderly, which they shockingly have been lately. The twins and I are in a zone… Breakfast, playtime, maybe a trip to the playground, nap, lunch, playtime, Daddy and Noah are home, Evening Mayhem.

Yeah, that mayhem part is confusing. You would think that adding a four year old (excuse me four and a HALF!) and another adult into the mix would balance out, but the evenings always turn into belligerence and desperation for some odd reason.

Maybe its because the babies are a bit speech-delayed.

See, when Noah was a baby, I REJOICED when he started talking because I had spent nearly a year with no one to talk to all day long. It was awesome to have even a toddler to converse with. And Noah was an linguistic genious. A great talker. Still is. He spoke so clearly and with such lovely diction.

The twins speak about six or eight words each, and three of them sound like “oh-wah”. None of them sound like the actual word (bah-bah for bottle, die-dee for diaper, dih-dow for get down) and we are the only ones who know what they are saying. They are 19 months old now. At this age, Noah was singing songs and identifying letters of the alphabet off of flashcards. (yes, I know that twins learn language more slowly, yes, I know they were born 6 weeks early so really their age is yadda yadda yadda.) Really, I am not all that worried about them, I just… worry about them.

Ethan is very proud of his new word, FLOWER, though. He says it, “WOW-wer!!!” And says it enthusiastically at every siting of a flower, a tree, a bush, or the moss glued to the side of a wicker basket I have.

But on the other hand Ethan doesn’t even seem to understand the question, “What does a ______ say?” yet. Luka can only answer the question about a dog, and only then occasionally.

Luka seemed to learn a few words and now hardly uses any of them because he has found that shrieking like some cross between an angry dolphin and a donkey in pain (while pointing) seems to get him most anything he wants. Seriously, this noise he makes is going to cause me to lose my mind. I am trying to figure out if I have any way of recording the sound and uploading it just to show you what I must live with all day.

But I digress…

In actuality, I think this lack of language is what is making it so peaceful around here lately. With Noah I went nuts having no one to talk to. Now that I live in a large crazy family, I think I really cherish the silence. And when Daddy and Noah come home, it’s all about the shouting and all that crazy energy amps up the babies a few notches, so they get all manic, too.

From the moment they walk in the door until the last child drifts off to sleep it's like a rip-roarin’ roller coaster ride. Michael and I have taken to indulging, nightly, in a bowl of ice cream after everyone is asleep, because we feel we so deserve it.

Yeah, like THAT is a good idea…

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Mama Needs a new Flat Screen TV!!

Well, I was thinking maybe I should try to reign in all my posts about contest entries, because people tune in here to hear what the family is up to, not what I want to win. But its so HARD, because there are so many good contests open out there to bloggers. And if you sign up, the chances can be one in just a hundred more or less. All you have to do is make a post on your blog linking to the contest. Take this one...

(sorry, I just hadda enter this one!)

FLAT SCREEN TV CONTEST: There is this page I love to read called 5 Minutes for Mom, and they are holding a few contests, but THIS ONE is for a free Insignia® 37" Flat-Panel LCD HDTV !! (Michael said THIS contest would not bother him to read on my blog!) Granted, the chances of winning this one are now about one in 1100, but still!! This incredible prize is valued at $799.99 and is courtesy of Best Buy!