Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fall Y'all Bloggy Giveaway: Springtime in October!

Update: Commenting is now closed. I will announce a winner on Sunday! Good luck, Everyone!!

Hey Ya’ll! Remember earlier this summer when I gave up good parenting for a week and found myself glued to the internet so I could enter about 500 giveaways?

Well, it’s that time of year again, and so as to keep my karma in balance (hoping for more big wins!) I am offering my very first Shama-Lama Mama Giveaway as part of the Fall Ya’ll Bloggy Giveaway hosted by Rocks In My Dryer.

Here is how it works… I show you my nice prize, you leave a comment on this here very post, and then on Sunday, November 4th, I will pick a random number through the number generator on random.org. That commenter gets the prize! Simple as that!

Now I know that you all have lots of giveaways to enter, and will spend all of
30 seconds here at my blog, so let me just say that I am a stay-at-home mom who
has three boys, including a pair of twin toddlers, I am from Ohio, but living
now in San Diego. I love theater and photography. If that sounds at all
interesting… bookmark me and come look around sometime! Yeah… after you enter
those 500 giveaways. I know you have places to be, things to do…

So what is the prize? I know…this is an Autumn-themed giveaway carnival, but here in sunny San Diego, its always time to go to the beach! This giveaway is for this really sweet lined, orange and white canvas tote bag embellished on the front with beads in the design of flip flops in four colors.

And what is inside (besides the zippered pocket and place for your cell phone and sunglasses) you ask? Well, its four pairs of flip flops to match those on the front of the tote bag! The shoes are in size 5-6, but even if that is not your size, you can give the shoes away to friends and keep the fun bag for yourself.

Here is the fine print…

1. Leave me a comment on this posting WITH A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS - I must have a way to contact you if you are a winner.

2. Duplicate entries and entries without a valid email address will be deleted.

3. You do not need to have a blog to enter to win, only an email address.

4. You do have to have a U.S. shipping address, sorry.

5. Yes, Mom, you can enter.

I'll choose a winner on Sunday, November 4th using a random number generator. I'll email the winner and post the winner’s name on my blog. You'll need to respond back to me with a valid shipping address within 48 hours of notification that you've won or I'll pick an alternate winner.

Join in the fun! There are 500 other giveaways listed over here!

You are bound to win SOMEthing!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Rancho Bernardo Evacuations

There are a lot of videos on youtube.com about the fire. This one really brought it home for me, though.

This takes place about 6 miles north of us, straight up our closest freeway. Someone took this footage of a dad strapping his kids into their carseats while his wife is tossing bags into the garage. According to the comments, this family never got the reverse-911 call.

Looks like neither did anyone on their street.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Spooky Face

Found this picture today by Irfan Khan via Associated Press . I in no way want to minimize the loss of this family, but THAT is a really cool picture! I love the skull-face in the house. This picture and other very good shots can be found here.

Not Yet Out of the Woods

I’m not sure if things are winding down here in San Diego, or if people are just tired of the wall to wall news coverage. Many people have been allowed to return to their homes. The population of the stadium evacuees has gone down to 2500 from 12,000. Unfortunately, two bodies were found this morning in a burned out home in Poway.

People seem to be trying to get back to everyday life.

But I have a small worry.

When we were on the edge of the evacuation zone, before the line was pulled back, we had been watching a stretch of the fire directly to our east. As the Santa Ana winds pushed the Witch Fire west, this stretch of the fire traveled inexplicably north! The perimeter of the fire during the worst days of the fires stayed within the blue lines on my map.

Last night, as I checked the map before bed, I was a bit dismayed to see that for the first time, the perimeter had jumped to the other side of the El Capitan Reservoir and had moved west and south. The boundaries were roughly where I made the pink outline on this map.

I woke up THIS morning to hear everyone on the radio talking about how the fires are dying down and about post-fire issues: the emotional stress of heading back into burned neighborhoods, how to avoid insurance scammers, how to get your gas turned back on…

But when I bring up the burn map, I see that fire has now crossed the 67 at one place, and even pushed out of the evacuation zone toward Flinn Springs and West Alpine, where Michael’s step-sister lives.

(The real-time version of this map can be found here. The yellow is the evacuation zone, the orange is the fire perimeter.)

If the fire continues to push west, down the open mountain and canyon area where I drew the green arrow, we could yet find ourselves evacuated.

We may, however, not be here. On Friday, after work, we are headed up to Encino (as is Terri) for Michael’s brother’s birthday. I am supposed to be packing, but pack what? All our family memorabilia? Backup drives? We usually barely have room for anything extra what with all the paraphernalia it takes to spend a couple days away from home.

So, I haven’t let loose that sigh of relief quite yet.

Keeping those proverbial fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Wicked Witch Fire vs.The Great Pumpkin Patch

I thought I would take a few minutes to write even though I have all three kids home this week, due to the fires and school closures. Everyone is busy playing with toys and doing art projects and (shockingly) seems to be self sufficient at the moment.

The air today is as smoky as it’s ever been since this firestorm started 3 days ago. Here at day 4, the Santa Ana winds are dying down and the onshore winds have started back up. That is good news and bad news. It should stop forcing the fire into the city, but it will also make the fire much more unpredictable.

I had wanted to post some pictures of our trip to the pumpkin patch on Sunday to get our Halloween pumpkin. We went on Sunday morning, the same morning all the fires broke out. The farm we went to was called Pumpkin Station and it is on the Escondido/Rancho Bernardo border, and by later that afternoon, the Witch Fire would storm through there with a vengeance.

When we arrived, the winds were just crazy, blowing plant debris into the road. Most of the potted Christmas trees at the pumpkin patch/Christmas tree farm had blown down and lay like toppled dominoes. Later, I would hear them described on the radio as hurricane-force winds.

It is believed that earlier that morning, out in Witch Creek, the winds blew down some electricity wires, which fell on the dead summer grasses, sparking the Witch Fire, which quickly spread out in three different directions.

At the pumpkin patch, at 9:30am, people were doing their best to have a nice time with all the dust and leaves blowing around. The twins were having trouble standing in some of the big gusts and Noah kept getting dust in his eyes. People dealt with it, trying to enjoy the autumn morning with their kids, not knowing that all of San Diego would come to a standstill (or be on the run) in a matter of hours.

It was hard getting the cute pumpkin pictures we had come for, what with the squinting, the falling down, and the hair in everyone’s faces. But we had fun on the hayride through the doomed Christmas tree fields, and took refuge in the shelter of the corn maze.

We headed home with the pumpkin Noah picked out, and also with the half-rotten little Charlie-Brown-Pumpkin that Luka grew attached to (and carried around the rest of the day).

Within a few hours, evacuations were ordered all over the county, and about 8 fires grew into firestorms. I heard today that the total fire count is now 16.

I grew curious about the workers in the tree farm we saw unloading more trees in the wind, and the pumpkin patch workers, selling pumpkins and caring for the petting zoo. I pulled up the burn map and saw that the farm is located dead center of the burn area.

It is reported that the Witch Fire alone (burned homes aside) has so far destroyed over 100 businesses. I am guessing that the Pinery Christmas Tree Farm, who runs Pumpkin Station, might well have been one of those businesses.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

KPBS Lost Their Transmitter

Update: KPBS is back on the air, on their own frequency. Mucho
appreciation goes out to FM94.9 fir providing airspace for palatable news broadcasts.

I just wanted to post this since I find that some people come this way from Google searches for random things...

If you have found that KPBS has been knocked off the air, they are now broadcasting on 94.9, who has generously given their airwaves over to KPBS for the day.

I heard Tom Fudge (I think it was) saying that a fire went up the mountain where their repeater was but that they were still broadcasting, so everything must be fine. Then, a half hour later, I came back into the kitchen to find static playing. The DJ's have been invited to provide their excellent service on another station.

So, go listen to KPBS on FM94.9. It seems to be the most awesome place for news right now.

As of 11am today, a half a million people have been asked to leave their homes. That is 1/6 of the population of the county, the most in California history.

I just heard the whole town of Julian is now being evacuated. Hmmm... can't head west. Into the desert for them??

Again, this map is awesome and mostly up to date.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wildfires in San Diego - Take 2


Finally found a really good map of what is going on... check it out. The one that concerns us is called the Witch Fire which started in Witch Creek. Nice creepy, halloweeny name. Geeez...
Maybe the karma would be better if we called it the Gentle Fire or something. The Be-Kind Fire.

Spent the whole day trying to pack while trying to juggle cranky kids (who were likely picking up on my stress).

Today was the day Noah was having his assembly where his class was doing a little play. He had one line. And then he was to get an award for being one of the most respectful kids in his class.

So, I dragged the babies out of their cribs after only having napped an hour out of their usual two. Go them to school, into the stroller. As I went through the gate, which the principal was holding open, she said, "Your son is in kindergarten? You can sign him out in his room". I cheerily said, "Thanks!" and walked on.

"What did she say??"

I went back to the gate and said, "Excuse me, I'm here for the play??" and she said, "Oh... play has been cancelled. The school is closing because of the fires. It's going to be closed tomorrow at the very least, as well."


The classroom was in an uproar. There were room parents helping out but the kids were at their desks doing next to nothing while the adults were furiously packing the "monday folder" with homework for the week, notes home, test results, etc. I signed Noah out, and our carpool-kid, Cooper, and then called Cooper's mom to tell him that I was bringing him home.

So, we played at Cooper's house awhile before heading home to pack some more. And then because he was near mutinous, I didn't make Noah take a nap because I didn't have time for tantrums and cajoling. So I let him play while I packed things we might need for evacuation.
A friend offered her house up for us to crash at if necessary. She ROCKS!!
There is, apparently, a reverse-911 system that will call us if we must get out. So, the car is packed, and the kids are finally in bed after a long napless, cranky day of stress.

Hopefully, we will eventually have to go through the annoyance of carting all that stuff back into the house in a few days.

But we hear the firestorm will likely be going on for quite awhile.

San Diego Wildfires

As you may have heard, San Diego is experiencing a rash of wildfires that will "...probably be the worst this county has ever seen – worse than the Cedar fire," Sheriff Bill Kolender said.

I just wanted everyone who is curious to know, that we are fine, we have packed a couple bags, but Noah is still in school so far, despite many closures, and we have been told to "keep an eye on the news" here in our community.

Following is an email I wrote to my family. Just so I don't have to rewrite everything, I am including it here:


Hey everyone...

I figured by the time the news gets out that way,you are all going to be worried about us.

There are at least 7 fires burning all over the western and southern sides of San Diego and the Santa Ana winds are blowing which means severe winds are blowing TOWARD the ocean instead of off of it. The fires are really nasty and heading into the city.

BUT! Do not worry about us. We ARE in neighborhood that is surrounded on three sides by wild canyon and mountains, but our house is securely in the center, and the fire is not directly heading our way at this point, and if it did, about 1000 houses would have to burn before it reached ours. We do not fear for our house at all.

What we do fear is evacuation.

There is a very strong smell of smoke in the air, the sky is pink in that direction, and I am keeping all the windows closed to keep the smell out. Our neighbor told us that this is just like the devastating Cedar Fire, and that on that day, they got a knock on their door telling them to leave now, and that we might want to collect some things now in case that happens again. So, I plan to pack a couple days clothes for everyone and put it in the car with baby bottles and sippy cups and diapers, and the important papers.

We can't go to Terri's (Michael's sister) because she is inland. Its more likely she will get evacuated to us first, being inland. Michael would likely just leave work and we might go north up to his mom's house.

We went to buy pumpkins at a pumpkin patch yesterday morning when all these fires started and it was so windy up there that the babies kept falling down. The pumpkin patch area, I believe already had the fire come through last night. It's basically mostly north of us, heading to the coast... but there are at least 6 other fires, two with virtually no news that might be more troublesome to us.

Today, I am taking the babies to Noah's school where he is in a short play and is getting an award for being one of the most responsible kids in his grade (one of the kids with the most"caught being responsible" tickets). So life goes on here in our neighborhood.

Here is a map to the worst fire, the Witch Fire. We live (omitted, but about 15 miles away) ...of the fire. http://tinyurl.com/ysav83

A new fire popped up right beside the Wild Animal Park, and they are attempting to catch and crate up the animals and remove them to their hospital. (edit: they are leaving the walking animals to wander because of the lack of shrubs. Condors are being taken indoors) Local cattle is being sent to the fairground and the airbase. SD Chargers stadium has been opened to evacuees. Lots of schools are closed. It's all expected to go for at LEAST the next two days. I will keep you informed if anything changes.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Everything's Coming Up Roses!!

Some days are crazy. They make you want to run amok, screaming.

Other days, you just feel so blessed. Lately it’s been the latter. Good things have just been coming my way!

(Which helps, since I am in mourning and all!)

We recently purchased a new Honda Odyssey which is AWESOME! I plan on blogging about how lucky and thrilled I am about that alone, but I keep not getting any pretty pictures of my new baby, as it sits in a very unattractive carport.

But I digress.

The Odyssey came WITH an already-installed iPod adapter that was rather useless to us since we had no such iPod. Well, then the hubby decided to finally cash in his stash of birthday gift cards he has been hording (for Best Buy) and plopped down a small gift box in front of me, as proud as if he was setting down a bright blue box from Tiffany’s. I have been transferring songs, and cover art and audiobooks to it for the last couple days like a madwoman.

And as I sat there choosing which songs to download for easy listening in the new Odyssey, the mailman arrived with a box, which my husband again deposited in front of me… a dozen roses from my brother and his family, just BECAUSE!!! My BROTHER!!!

(Yes, he does indeed rock.)

After clipping stems and depositing said roses into a lovely vase, I sat back down again at my desk to read my emails. I had stayed up too late entering some giveaways a couple nights earlier, and in my email I found THREE, (count em’ THREE!) emails in response saying I had won some giveaways!

Okay, to be honest, those three emails came over the last four days, but WOOOOOT!!!

YAY FOR ME!!!!!!

My prizes include a really sweet pair of skeleton earrings for Halloween, a cool sew-on patch (that I will post pics of soon), a gorgeous (pricey!) turquoise bracelet, and a whole bunch of kid’s clothes from Hanes!

And then, somewhere in there… we got “Boo’d”. It’s okay, it’s a good thing! Someone rang our doorbell and ran off, leaving a goodybag of Halloween treats on our front door, with a note saying we had been "Boo’d" and we were to make two more goody bags and pick two other neighbors whom we could surprise. (Noah had a blast helping us assemble them… we have yet to leave them on porches, but soon!)

And now I must stop writing, and sit down with the best prize of all… my family.

It’s dinner time, yo.


Mwah ha ha ha ha!!!!

I am the giveaway QUEEN!!! Sitting down after dinner, I learned I just won a buncha healthy Halloween cupcakes that I can share with my allergic (to everything) niece and nephew!!!

I am off to buy some lottery tickets!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Revenge of the Goldfish by Sandra Skoglund

Ahhhh, Zeus, we hardly knew ye!

Yes, it’s true. We are in deep mourning today for our dear departed carnival goldfish, Zeus, who passed away last night in his sleep. Well, his eyes were still open, so maybe it was not in his sleep.

You may recall that I wrote about the nasty trick some lady played on us loving adoption story of how Zeus came to live with us. I could link to it, but heck, its only four posts down. Scroll to it yourself, slacker!

Thankfully, I had warned Noah that this was likely to happen after a week or two. Well, he made it all of five days. Five glorious days!

I had read up on what goldfish need. TEN gallons of water per goldfish!! Geez Louise! We gave him just shy of a gallon, as we have limited safe places where climbing toddlers cannot reach, nor did we want to invest a lot of money into a fish we never wanted to take home in the first place.

I wanted to spiff up his little cage cozy home, so I turned half an Easter egg into a little cave, and popped in a little plastic tree from Noah’s little Fisher Price Barnyard set. I hope that gave him some solace from the desolation of our kitchen counter.

Noah asked if he could see Zeus one last time, and when I explained that fish want to go “back to the ocean when they die” and how we make that happen, he was irate that he didn’t get to see a dead body saddened that he had missed the funeral.

So, fair thee well, our dear friend, and lifelong five-day-long companion!

Godspeed on your final swim to the ocean!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We've Been Given a Sign

So guess what popped up on the front lawn of the house we are renting the other morning like some nasty poison mushroom?

Yeah! For Sale Sign!!!

Might this have had something to do with the guy Noah saw sneaking around taking pictures of our house the other day?

Our property manager had given us an inkling that this might happen a few days ago when he asked… well, he asked if we wanted to BUY this house! In THIS market!!

Let’s see, looking at this house on Zillow.com, it seems that the value of this house went down 6,364 dollars in the last 30 days. About 50,000 dollars in the past 11 months! And the market is supposed to go down 4 percent in the next 12 months.

Hmmmm, do we want to buy this house with one living area, connected to the dining room, 3 small bedrooms, one bathtub, three boys who are getting bigger and wilder each day… lets see… ummm…


The answer is No.

Do I want to clean my house thoroughly on a moment’s notice so that potential buyers can traipse through? Do I want to leave before my lease is up next spring? Do I want to try to find a new home in the school district I just spent the last 4 months enrolling Noah in? Do I want to leave the neighborhood where I just met my first friend in a year?

Again, the answer is No.

Wordless Wednesday: Mechanical Bull

See more Wordless Wednesday participants at the WW Headquarters

Monday, October 15, 2007


Noah is tunnel crazy. He loves them in all forms. He loves when we drive through them; he is fascinated with sewers and sink pipes, caves and paper towel tubes. So, when I found out about the Gold Mine Tour in Julian, CA, I knew I had to take him up there for the day.

I try to do something fun for Noah every weekend since he has been forced to give up a lot of one-on-one time since the twins were born. Sometimes it’s just a Happy Meal after errands, but sometimes it’s a small trip. Like last weekend: we checked out the Fleet Science Center which he just LOVED!

Daddy, always the trooper, tends to stay home with the twins so they can get some Daddy time and because he doesn’t feel the need to get out of the house as much as I do.

This weekend, we invited Noah’s friend Cooper and his mom, Joyce, to come along with us up to Julian, sans little brothers. Joyce and I loved it because we both got to parent without diapers or strollers or spoon feeding or naps. It was awesome and gave us a glimpse of our future freedom when the youngest boys in our families are a bit older.

The boys had a blast roaming through the mine shafts and tunnels, up rickety ladders and such. They even got to try their hand at panning for gold. I found a few sandy specks myself!

Afterward, we headed for a local pizza place, and scarfed down some pepperoni. What’s cool about being around other moms with kids the same age as your own is that you can pick up some cool parenting tricks. Joyce had an endless stream of ideas for quiet games we could play at the table while waiting. The best one was the finger game. During normal conversation, one person puts their finger on their nose. When someone notices that someone else has done this, they do it, too. Eventually everyone does it and the last one without a finger on their nose is the loser.

And then everyone giggles maniacally.

We did a bit of shopping, especially in the candy store, where we sampled fudge and came out with little white sacks bulging with goodies. We had planned to go for ice cream at the old fashioned soda fountain, but after all that sugar we weren’t so much in the mood.

So we piled back in the car and headed for Lake Cuyamaca (not before scoping out some campgrounds for future weekend adventures) where we had to pay SIX BUCKS for the privilege of letting the boys throw rocks in the water! But after an hour of one of Noah’s favorite pastimes, it was probably worth it.

And it was so good for Noah to be able to play with someone his age after always being around toddlers lately. We only see Cooper for a few minutes on the ride home from school so it was great for them to have some true bonding time. And Joyce and I got some yummy girl-talk time and really got to know each other better. When I take Noah out alone, it usually means being his buddy and throwing rocks in the water right beside him, which (don’t get me wrong!) is great, but sitting and chatting with a friend while watching your kids discover the wonder of bugs under logs and stones and the myriad of things a pile of sticks can become…

…well that just rocks!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Noah's First Pet: Which Reminds Me of a Farside Cartoon.

Our neighborhood was having a little Oktoberfest this weekend, and since we had to spend much of the day running errands and getting things done, Michael and I decided to skip 90 percent of it and just go for the fireworks.

They had a lot of kid’s activities where you buy tickets and go play little games for prizes like temporary tattoos and spinning tops. They had the old game where you could toss a ping pong ball into a glass jar to win a goldfish. I steered way clear of that one.

So, Noah decides he wants to throw beanbags through some holes and he wins a prize. As he is looking through a little bowl of prizes, trying to pick out which color of playdough he wants, he notices there is a little closed Tupperware with a goldfish in it sitting right next to the prize bowl.

There is a small boy beside it saying, “Look at this gold fish! Someone just left it here and we don’t know whose it is!” As Noah says, “Whoa…” I look up at the boy’s mother who is running the booth and say “probably some Mom’s idea to leave it, as we all know what happens to carnival fish”. Wink wink nod nod.

Then the little boy picks up the little Tupperware and hands it to Noah and says, “you can have him! He can be your prize!”

And the world slows down as I understand what is being said a moment too late and hear that “Noooooooooo!!!!” coming from my innermost being.

Noah’s face lights up like he found a pony under the Christmas tree and he clutches the little bowl like he's been granted the last Thin Mint in the box this cookie season, and reverently says, “thaaaaank you” looking at the boy like he is an angel from on high sent to give him his heart’s desire.

I look desperately at the mother begging her with facial ticks and furrowed eyebrows to help me out of this one. “Ummm… your son just offered the fish to my son… umm… maybe… ummm…. "

“Oh, he can have it! Go ahead, honey!”


I could hear the voice in her head just laughing at the fact that she no longer has to feel compelled to take this poor doomed soul home for the 7 or 8 days he will stay alive, and then do the funeral flush, all children present and gathered around the sacred toilet.

And like she planned it, all the lights that lit up the basketball court that the booths were set up on were extinguished and we found ourselves in blackest night… clutching the damned Tupperware bowl. It was time for the fireworks show, and we didn't have a seat yet.

So, off we went, goldfish in hand, and found an empty patch of grass. I decided to be frank with the poor kid.

“Honey, fish are really hard to take care of. We don’t have any food, and we don’t have a fish tank, and all that stuff costs a lot of money. Maybe it would be better if we found someone else this fish could go home with that could care for him better.”

And the tears welled up. I paused and started again.

“Okay, Honey, you have to know something about carnival fish. People win these fish at carnivals and they take them home and feed them and love them, and VERY often they die in a week or two. They really die. If that happens, will you be able to handle that? Will you be super sad?”

He is sad now. He says, “no…I won't” with a big frown on his face. He is about to cry. “I’ll be okay.”

“You really want this fish?”

Just some adamant nodding. Small smile forming...



“Sure, baby.”

We have ourselves a fish.

A fish named Zeus.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

See You Later, Vader!

So, Noah has decided what he wants to be for Halloween. Vader. Darth Vader. He hasn’t even ever seen the movie and he wants to be Darth Vader. He has been jonesing for a working light saber for a year now so I am guessing this is his way of getting one finally.
It was his idea to dress the twins up... Ethan as Chewbacca and Luka as Yoda. Woulda been hilarious but those costumes cost thirty bucks each.
I found a used costume on Ebay that was local, a good price and included the light saber (the ones in the store do NOT include the saber. So cruel.).

We took a special trip and picked the costume up, took it home and tried it on, and he looks awesome! So cute in his little black suit. The front has all these little “computer lights” and switches on it. He asked what they were for. I told him it was probably part of the machine that helps Vader breathe.

He said, no, he thought it was the machine that Darth Vader uses to make bullies cry.
Love that.

So, today it was nap time and he picked up the mask on his way to the bed. He wanted to wear it during his nap and I was trying to convince him that he would dent it by rolling over on it, and we finally made a compromise that he could wear it during “cuddles” and then he would put it away when I left the room. We always have cuddles on the bed before nap and bed time… a few minutes of lying together and chatting.

So there I find myself in bed with Darth Vader’s Mini Me, reclining on his side with his head resting on his palm. Looking into Black Helmet Man’s little mask.
He says, “Kiss me, Mama. Kiss the mask!"

“No, I am not gonna kiss you in that mask”

Which of course sends him into giggle fits and he reaches for my face trying to kiss me, and I'm just trying to squirm away and all I can think is I am in bed with Darth Vader and he's trying to grab and kiss me. And he's my SON!

I got two words for ya…. “CREE – PY”.
Let's just say cuddles did not last very long.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Time For Change

So it’s REALLY getting to be time to give the twins their first real haircut. Ethan’s hair is still adorably tousled, but Luka’s is getting crazy long in back.

I have been cutting Noah’s hair since the beginning, but it’s straight and easy. One could almost pop a bowl on his head and cut around it. But the twins have CURLY hair, and I haven’t a clue how or where to start. And their long curly mop-tops have come to define them. If it weren’t for the social pressure, I would just keep clipping their bangs out of their eyes in order to keep their curly locks in back.

But on the other hand, I fear they will begin to look like Celine Dion’s son before too long.

I ran across this post on a blog called Amalah about getting her little boy’s hair cut. The first picture in her post is what I am afraid of happening if I go into a salon. The last picture is my dream fantasy of what I could walk out with. (And her son's hair even looks like Ethan's quite a bit!)

So, I am now hypothetically putting out my hat in front of my hypothetical hurdy-gurdy, and doing my silly dance to raise funds for airplane tickets for three to Washington DC so I can take the boys to Amalah’s hair stylist, who is on my hypothetical pedestal.

Can you spare some change, sir?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Climbing Structure at the Zoo

To see more contributors to Wordless Wednesday, check out the links here and here!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"Eoo By Myself"

As most of you know, Noah has started kindergarten and has been learning to read and write much more intensely than ever before. His teacher is wonderful, making them write every single day in a section called Writer's Workshop.

They sit down with a blank piece of paper and draw a picture to illustrate their "story" in the top half and then write their "story" in the bottom half. I put story in quotes because it usually consists of one sentence describing the picture. What is cool, is that even though these kids do not know how to spell more than 6 or 8 words, she encourages them to just sound out what they want to write, and spell it the way they think it might be spelled. They haven't quite figured out the rules of spacing between words, but we have been just thrilled with the results! Especially when Noah wants to "write a story" at home.

He spends a good 20 or 30 minutes on each story and then holds it up and yells, "Mommy! Daddy! Here! Read my story!!!!"

This statement is met with some trepidation as he often shows me great works of art that are what I would call abstract, but which Noah sees more as photographic realism which should be obvious to all. I have learned the great mothering phrase: no, not "What is THAT??", but instead, "Tell me about your picture!". Well, when it comes to reading stories, we are faced with breaking his little heart if we can't make out his sentences.

But!! I have to say that most of the time, we have been able to actually work out what he has been writing! And it makes a proud Mama just want to cry sometimes...

Here are some examples. I will interpret them so that you can follow along, until you get the hang of how it works:

"I like to see the baby bear."

"I am a person who likes to buy cars."

"I like to go to the science museum."

"There is a fire and the police have to come."

I have to say, that some of these are fiction, some non-fiction. I will leave you to wonder!

This one was one of Daddy's favorites...

"Dear Dad, I wrote this story all by myself."

Friday, October 5, 2007

So To Speak

Noah is doing the weirdest thing…

(Big shock, eh?)

He has this new best friend, Cooper. Cooper is just the sweetest, most polite boy you have ever met. I LOVE that he has come into our life because Noah has been pretty friendless since we left Ohio, and has been getting too rough with the twins and has developed some behavior issues. I think Cooper is an awesome example for Noah. He is a gentle soul. And I love that Noah is starting to live up to Coop’s example a bit… except for one area.

Cooper has the same speech impediment I had when I was a kid… he replaces his R’s with the W sound. (You can imagine my frustration as a child trying to pronounce my own name, Kawen Wenee’). Cooper gets very frustrated with the sound of his speech and is working on speaking more like his classmates and less like “a baby” as he puts it.

But not Noah!

No… Noah has decided that the way Cooper talks is as cool as Cooper is. So, my linguistically gifted child has decided to start speaking the same way! Yes! So he might say, “Mom, I was wunning on da playgwound today and I twipped and huwt my fingow”.

I remember working on plays (back in my theater life) that had actors speaking with a British Accent, or Irish, or whatever, and we all started talking that way for the fun of it, which is pretty much what Noah is doing, and I found that after some time, it’s very difficult to make yourself stop when you need to! So I worry a bit that Noah will end up continuing on with this speech pattern even after Coop has worked his way out of it!!

So we are trying to nip it in the bud. Pretty much every time we will say something like, “You did WHAT, Honey??”

“I huwt my fingow”

“You hurt your….umm... What?”


“I’m sorry, sweetie, I don’t understand what you are saying…”


“OOOHHH!!! Your FINGER! I’m sorry, I couldn’t understand what you were saying! How is your finger feeling now?”

“It has a wed mawk on it”

“I’m sorry, it has a WHAT???”

And so on like that. We hope to exasperate him so much that eventually he will go back to his usual way of speaking. We work hard not to say that he is speaking “wrong” or that he isn’t doing it “the right way” or that he is “talking like Cooper” so that he doesn’t come back to Cooper with any conversation that will make him feel bad about himself. We just try to sound like we can’t understand what Noah is saying.

When I asked him why he has changed the way he speaks sometimes, he told me…

“I’m just talking with an ACCENT, Mom!!!”

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Over at Rocks In My Dryer they have a thing called "Works For Me Wednesday" where each Wednesday bloggers post tips on how to make life easier for families. I love to read it but have never participated.

Well, this week, they decided to do it backwards, where folks would post a question or request for tips on some topic and folks would comment with tips and suggestions.

In the Spirit of the Great Mofo De-Lurk Day of 2007, I decided I would participate to see if I could get a little help through comments.

Here is the thing...

Noah has had some behavior issues lately. We are working on that but I am having trouble teaching him about respect. Noah is four (and a half, he will insist) and is actually learning about respect this month in school.

I guess I am having trouble DEFINING the word for him. When asked he will say he has learned that respect is following the teacher's rules, not breaking things that belong to other people, listening. Those are examples of HOW to respect someone or something but it doesn't say what the word means in a way a four year old can understand.

So, I would love to hear your tips and suggestions. How do you explain respect to your little ones. How do you explain who deserves respect and who doesn't (although I guess you would start with EVERYONE deserves respect). Do you explain that some people deserve MORE respect? Older people, teachers, policemen and policewomen? Parents, for heaven's sake?? Any ideas on how to get them to act with more respect towards his parents? It seems he is good for his teachers and grandparents and treats us in a very mean spirit sometimes, showing no respect at all.

Help me out, folks.

Da Dwins Hab a Bad Toad!

I am up to my kneecaps in SNOT!!

I won't go into the amount of vomit I have seen this week.

The twins have both been sick for days and days and days. I have lost count. And it comes in waves… just as you think its subsiding, one of them lays around all lethargic again.

Nighttimes and naps are not going well because of it. They both tend to wake 20 or 30 minutes into their much-needed naps and begin screaming. Luka has developed this weird wake-up-too-early tantrum where he starts crying in his bed, can’t be consoled, and I take him downstairs to prevent him from waking Ethan. Then he proceeds to become Super Angry Baby, kicking and howling and thrusting, all arms and flying tears. He bangs his head on nearby arms of chairs and almost goes catapulting to the floor, and is very hard to hold onto. This will go on for 45 minutes straight.

Well, last night, poor Ethan who is feeling the brunt of this virus now, kept waking up and moaning loudly until near midnight he started freaking out with Super Anger powers of his own. I took him downstairs to try to allow the rest of the family to sleep, but eventually, Michael joined me out of worry. We checked him all over to see if there was any physical signs of injury we hadn’t noticed. Nothing. Gave him two kinds of pain reliever. Tried to give him the teddy bear he has glommed onto recently, and still he is writhing in fury. After 45 minutes or so, I turned on a Sesame Street tape so he could see “Melmo” who always makes him smile. And he finally settled down. He kept murmuring “…melmo…” between those hiccupy gasps people make after a super-cry, trying to comfort himself. Michael went back to bed, Ethan and I watched Elmo until nearly 1am when it ended and I turned off the TV. Ethan finally dozed off to sleep and allowed me to put him back in the crib.

He did still wake to moaning 4 or 5 more times, but didn’t require more than a teddy bear, a pat on the back, and a “there-there”.

(just noticing that my spell checker didn't freak out over "glommed". huh.)


Noah has his very first school pictures today!! We practiced his natural-smile a bunch last night…

It’s going to be 80 degrees today, but Mama made him wear a sweater because he looks just SO DARN CUTE in it!! I told him that after pictures are taken, if he feels at all like passing out, he is free to remove it and put it in his backpack.


Didja notice, that is three posts in one day??

Didja? Didja??

Ain't Gonna Lurk on Maggie's Farm No More...

(Okay, the title is a pun on a Bob Dylan song for you so-not-cool-like-me people!)

I am a lurker. I am.

For you bloggy-newbies, one definition of a lurker is a person who reads blogs but does not comment, one who stays on the fringes, a wall flower. Me.

I read a lot of blogs now. Actually, I am way way behind on my blog reading but I do TRY to read a lot of blogs. I have found quite a few that give me more pleasure than any magazine I used to subscribe to. I read comments too, but I rarely jump in and say anything myself.

But isn’t that the true spirit of blogging? Not just to get your viewpoint or your information out there, but to get a community started, however small it might be? To get a little conversation going?

I just LOVE LOVE LOVE when I get comments! Love it! I remember my first comment ever was from Pam, one of my friends I moved across the country from, and it was like chatting over coffee all over again.

I was reading over at a blog called Milk Money or Not, Here I Come about this great idea that she and a couple of her friends came up with… its called the Great Mofo De-Lurk of 2007, and it is TODAY! October 3rd!

I pledge today to go to some of my favorite blogs and leave a comment to celebrate, to come in from the fringes, to de-lurk, to de-flower my wall!! (hmmm… didn’t exactly come out the way I meant it…)

And I urge you to do the same!

Hey! Start here with my blog! If you have been a lurker, leave me a comment! If you don’t have an account, sign up for one just so you can leave a comment! It’s quick and easy, and your computer will memorize your password so you don’t have to remember it each time you want to drop me a note at the end of a post. Get in on the conversation, START a conversation! Just stop in and say hello, let me know someone out there is reading, let me know where you are from! If you have a blog, I will come by and visit!

(edit: Willowtree informs me that one does not even need to sign up for an account to comment here!! Just click on "other" or "anonymous"! But you know I prefer to hear who it is you are!!)

I love company.

Happy Great Mofo Delurk!! Wooot!

Wordless Wednesday: Kitchen Nap

To see other Wordless Wednesday participants, look here and here!