Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This Happened Before

I was seven months pregnant, and trying to handle all the details of our move to our new home in Vegas. We were camping out at the Mayers' house across the street from our waiting rental. I had to coordinate paint and carpet and all the minutiae kept me up at night. Well, let's say Baby John woke me up at ungodly hours and then my mind wouldn't permit me to go back to sleep.

This fine night, I am not pregnant, but when I finished reading and turned out the light (an hour and a half ago) it became evident that my mind wasn't going to slow down.

Some people think about social justice. Others about business deals. Sports? Family worries? Not me. For me, it's paint. Heaven forbid I choose the wrong brown for the far wall in the kitchen. This has been obsessing me for months. Now it's keeping me awake.

First I tried sauntering around on Kevin's facebook page, peeking in on friends of ours and all their myriad of photos. You HAVE to be insomniac to spend time looking at Joe Blow's trip to Disneyland.

What I SHOULD be doing is searching for a race to run, now that I won't be heavily pregnant this Fall. 'kay, I'll go do that. I've heard the thought of distance running moves paint thoughts out of the brain. Hope it's true.

Oh, and by the way... happy first of July!


I need to post some fun photos of my kids and what they've been up to.

We'll go in age order.

Joe just promoted to Webelos. Here he is at his "bridging" ceremony.

And, in his spare time, he tries to break his own record for pogo stick jumps. This was fueled by his cousins' visit and their efforts.

Cayna is really all about hair right now. She watched an instructional DVD she got for her birthday to polish her skills doing doll hair. Notice her look of effort and concentration.

She also has recently decided that I can do her hair. This is exciting news for me because I've always dreamed of cute hairstyles and she has always resisted. I think I can credit my sister-in-law's visit and influence here. In this particular photo, she did her own hair after her bath to match her recent favorite (saint? blessed?) Kateri Tekakwitha (shown on the prayer card).

Our family watched an old home video recently and saw Joe and Cayna happily fingerpainting up a storm in our house in Yucaipa. Kevin asked if John had ever fingerpainted and I realized that for that matter, Bethanie hadn't. Next time I was at Target, I picked up some fingerpaints.

Every night, John insists his trucks join him in his crib. I honestly don't know how he sleeps with those so close to him. Had to take a photo on a recent morning to remember his sleeping arrangement.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Alert! Alert! My Newest Award-Winner for Funniest Blog

When I found Cake Wrecks, I couldn't stop laughing. I don't go there every day anymore, but when I have the time, it is always a worthy read. I laugh out loud, and that pleasure is only outweighed by introducing others to the site and making them laugh.

This morning, I received an e-mail from Magan suggesting this site: Catalog Living - "A look into the exciting lives of the people who live in your catalogs". I finally had time to check it out this afternoon (minutes ago) and I laughed so hard I cried. I am not exaggerating. In this case, the pleasure of such good laughter was only outweighed by having such a good friend she would recommend this site. You can bet your fanny-danny it will be on my blog list and I will hope and pray the writer will keep it up.

Thanks, Magan! And if anybody visits the site and gets even a chuckle, PLEASE let me know so in my comments. It will make my day!


Had another Mom's Day Out. It started off with our four-family garage sale. My goal was to get rid of all the stuff I don't want to move. If it didn't sell, it was bound for the Goodwill drop-off. By mid-morning, we closed up shop because of the heat (and because we had better things to do) and the guys made a quick trip to unload the leftover junk at the donation spot. It wasn't the highest-grossing sale we've ever had, but just as satisfying as any. Here is my happy list of things I'll never see again:

*Kevin's ancient golf clubs
*All my unworn clothing
*Our old jogging stroller
*Two unused baby gates
*The rocking chair I bought at a garage sale and sanded but never painted
*Two artificial Christmas trees
*Our pet fish
*Some unused toys

Ahhhhhhhh! It is so nice to get rid of stuff. And all our proceeds went to the Poor Box at church, so it was for a worthy cause.

After the sale, and a long, cool shower, I left to meet my friend for lunch. We chose BJ's. On previous MDOs, I've dined solo on seafood at an outdoor patio; shared Vietnamese food with a friend in a little hut off Eastern Avenue; and munched In & Out Burger from the Drive Thru in Kevin's Ford Explorer. So you can see my experiences are diverse.

At BJ's, I requested a booth, and they put us up in a gigantic semi-circle with a good view of the largest TV screen in the place. This enabled us to eat our fish & chips and drink our beer with a view of World Cup Soccer. Did you hear me right? Doesn't that sound more like a guy's day out than a mom's? I think that's why we liked it so much. And we sat there for three long, beautiful hours. We discussed faith, parenting, current events, and education - stopping only to try to catch the vital moments in the soccer game which the US eventually lost to Ghana, sadly.

This MDO turned into a joint venture, and I enjoyed that. I needed a friend with me more than I needed solitude this time. So before the end of the day, we meandered through Target, Trader Joe's, and The District (for a long stop at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf) before landing at Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz's new movie Knight and Day. I finished up with a late-night grocery spree and went home to my husband.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dancin' Daughters (and Dancin' Hair)

Cayna and Bethanie recently had their first gymnastics recital. It was lots of fun for them. Their performance was held at Artemus Ham Hall on campus at UNLV. Boy did that bring back memories. My daughters flipped all over the stage where I graduated from college, how crazy is that?

Here they are in their neon outfits posing by a tree outside the green room at Ham Hall.

And here are some closeups of their hairstyles, intentionally crafted to keep their silvery headbands in place during their performances. Thanks to my hairstylist-pro sister in law and the website she introduced us to for making this possible. I only wish she could have been here to do the work! These are shots before the dress rehearsal. I improved my form by the real performance date - Bethanie's bangs weren't left hanging for the final show.

Finally, here they are together in the green room on dress rehearsal day, and then at home after the real performance with their flowers. They were superstars!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Date With Joe

The girls have each had a date with Kevin, so it was high time Joe and I enjoyed a night out just us.

Joe's favorite food is pizza so we started the night out at Metro Pizza. Half pepperoni, half sausage. It was so filling I only ate one piece and Joe didn't quite finish his second. We had fun table conversation, and Joe did the pizza serving. We had a great time and brought home a good size take-out box.

From Metro, we drove halfway around the world to the go-cart place across town. THAT was a blast. Sadly, I had a dud car, and I only passed Joe once. He said he'd already passed me so I was only catching up. Tough call.

We had another ticket, and we had to ponder whether to ride the roller coaster, the Tornado, or the giant slide. After much deliberation, we took four slides on the giant slide. It was fun even though Joe beat me three out of four times. By the third "bump" I was going so fast I got airborne every time. I highly recommend giant slides for date night fun.

We ended the evening at Barnes & Noble. Like mother, like son -- we love that place. Joe picked up a few new books and I chose some decorating magazines to get more input on colors for the new house.

Joe is a great date!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

House Post

Here are some house photos, along with my comments and our hopes for what we'd like to do before move-in. The big three things to accomplish before we move in are: pool fence, paint, and some flooring. There is a long, fun, wish list for after we move in - but there isn't a rush with that list. These will serve as the "before" pictures and I'll share the "afters" once escrow is closed, keys are in our hands, and work is done. (I'm looking forward to that day!)

View of the front door and the living room. I love the wood floors, I don't love the idea of cleaning and caring for them. But they are warm and pretty and nice. Those drapes will go. There is also plaster work above the front door and along the long wall. I plan to scrape the stuff off the long wall, but keep and paint the stuff above the door. It's interesting.

The heart of the home --- the kitchen. I especially love the giant walk-in pantry off to the right. The microwave is missing, so that's an extra expense. And we plan to paint. Let me just state right now that the only room we don't plan to paint is the laundry room. The island with the butcher-block top is kinda fun. My color plan for that is a creamy green, or a swampy green. Stay tuned. Also, the huge dog door off to the left will be eliminated, hopefully before the painting happens. We have a lot of projects to cram into a short time.

The pool. Despite appearances (leaves, weeds, general blah) it is a glorious, wonderful swimming pool that makes Vegas life in the summer MUCH more enjoyable. Really, all we have to do here is clean up a bit and jump in.

Stairs. Nothing to see other than the surrounding wall color I want to cover.

Giant loft = future school room and library/family room area. That's about a full mile of wallpaper border. And if you know me, you know I detest wallpaper border. It's coming down fast. So are the blackout drapes. And the golden walls have to be covered. The TV is staying in the house, but not in that room. And if it doesn't fit in the family room area downstairs, it will be sold on e-bay.

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is a master bedroom, soon to be ours, complete with chair rail. Why does anyone put chair rail in a bedroom? I'm perplexed. It has to go. I will take pleasure in removing it myself. This room will hopefully be the same shade of chalky gray-lavender that we have now.

Master bath. Our hope in this room is to rip out the carpet and have it tiled.

Here we go with the freakin' wallpaper border again. I have to count to see whether this house or our current one had the most. Sheesh. This will be the girls' room once I remove the border and change the wall color. Eventually the ceiling fan, too. But it is a nice large room with an enormous walk-in closet. Believe me when I say that a walk-in closet for two girls is an enormous luxury.

Wallpaper border #4,359. Lighthouses. In the kids' bathroom. Ironically, I once had a lighthouse-themed bathroom. But without wallpaper border, thankyouverymuch. This stuff has to go. And be replaced with bright, fun paint. Still not sure what color.

I hope you've enjoyed this tour. In case you ever get to visit for real, I will refrain from showing you the guest room in its current state. I believe it was the dog's room... little bit of work to do there, suffice it to say.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bright Spots

Yep, I'm a little Eeyore-ish these past few days. Kind of a bummer to admit that, but there it is. Still there are bright spots, graces, silver linings, so to speak. Here's a list:

*Kevin and my kids
*Extended family
*Wonderful friends from near and far
*Little presents to make me feel special, and to commemorate a little life; cards; e-mails; phone calls; prayers
*Moms Group
*Everyday stuff that is equal parts annoying and comforting (laundry, for example)
*Coconut Lime Verbena Body Lotion - it smells delicious, reminding me not only of a tropical locale, but of Alhambra, California; silent retreats; little luxuries; and above all, friendship.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Bowl of Cherries

I love summer fruit. Cherries near the top of the list. Here's a photo from a short while back of my first bowl-full home from the store.

I don't know who originated the expression "Life is a Bowl of Cherries", but Erma Bombeck wrote a book called If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? If you're a housewife in 2010 and have any interest in the evolution of our vocation, you really should read Erma Bombeck. Plus, you'll laugh a lot. I can't help but think of Erma when I serve up a bowl of cherries.

Right now, my "cherries" are my family; our upcoming move; friends visiting from Hanford; a clean house (thanks to friends visiting from Hanford - that was my motivation!); and summer fruit. My "pits" are stupid miscarriage; summer heat; and the fact that I already packed all my Erma Bombeck books. Otherwise I think I'd take one out right now and read it. I could use a laugh or two.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Sewing/Dining/Scrapbooking Table

One of my biggest fans, Heather H. (and there are two Heather H.'s in my life - one in Fresno and one in Sacramento -- this is the Sacramento one) asked to see a photo of the dining room table covered in sewing and scrapbooking. It really is a fun table. Here's a photo, finally:

That was a couple weeks ago, in the throes of sewing two sundresses and trying to get John's first-year album off to a start. The sundresses are complete, the album notsomuch. But it will get done, and SOON.

Friday, June 18, 2010

NOT Jackie and Louie

Okay, so, we are naming the babies. A few days after the miscarriage - on a slow evening with just our family - we asked the kids to help us come up with a name for a girl and a boy. In the past, Joe helped me name the other little souls I had miscarried, and I wrote the names in my journal. He took it pretty seriously, back then.

Notsomuch this time. Maybe it's because we were in the car. Usually, that's a good place for conversation because we have a captive audience. But this time, they must have been in a loopy mood. Cayna piped up right away with "Jackie" for a girl. "Because it's pretty," she said. Then Joe contributes "Louie." This is thanks to the old-time radio show he's been listening to on CD - "Baby Snooks". Turns out Baby Snooks has an uncle Louie. (I suppose I should just be thankful he didn't suggest "Snooks".) It's one thing to get silly when you're naming, for instance, a pet bunny. But it starts to seem weird when we're discussing two little souls we won't meet til heaven. Ai yi yi.

Can't do Jackie and Louie. Those names sound like main characters in a 1950s sit-com.

A couple more nights have gone by and I want names. So I chose Justin and Elizabeth based on feast days around my original due date as well as the date of the miscarriage. So there you have it. Justin and Elizabeth. NOT Jackie and Louie. I don't even think they work well as middle names.

Somehow I have a feeling Jackie and Louie will come up again. Let's hope it's not til we go to name our pet bunny.

Birthday Girl

I think I'm getting photo stuff figured out on our handy dandy Apple. So here are a couple from Cayna's party day:

The new 7 year-old with her American Girl cake. Other points of interest in this photo: Aunt Rachel is hair stylist extraordinaire and accommodated Cayna's request for seven braids since she turned seven. Also, she's wearing the dress I made her and finished riiiiiiight in time. She loved it and I was very proud of it.

The party crew shortly before guests arrived. Aunt Rachel recruited them to help get the pigs in blankets assembled and the salad started. Cayna's requested menu included pigs in blankets, Chex Mix, fruit salad, green salad, and lime punch. Plus lemon cake and two kinds of ice cream: toffee and mint chocolate chip. Pretty yummy! Everyone was having fun, witness Aunt Rachel smiling on the left and Joe beaming on the right.

Good News & Nice Timing

We found out we get the house! Escrow just opened. We're collecting boxes so I can start packing. Granted, I'm in a slightly different frame of mind than I was a little over a week ago, but it's still nice to have something to look forward to on the near horizon.

Ah, moving. Something I'm really good at. And an excuse to reduce our belongings inventory yet again.

Any wonderful paint suggestions for any room of the house, direct them to me!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Job 1:21

I was reclining on a table at Desert Perinatal Thursday, waiting to hear for sure that there was no heartbeat in my tiny baby. A scripture verse kept repeating in my head: "... the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21.)

No heartbeat.

My little baby due 1/1/11 isn't to be on earth. Two little babies, actually - there were two yolk sacs on the ultrasound screen. I'm as sad as you'd think, but also thankful for a whole bunch of graces that have come my way from the Lord in the past few days.

One joy is that in the midst of this my brother and sister-in-law have been here, and they have cared for and served us over the whole weekend. Another is that my friend and neighbor Kristi pitched in enormously to make it possible to still throw Cayna's 7th birthday party on Friday despite my lack of ability to help.

Finally, today is our 12th wedding anniversary. Blessed be the name of the Lord! I'm holding on to blessings like this as I'm mourning the loss of those tiny lives I was looking forward to holding.

I've had a million-zillion other thoughts, and some would be fun to share, others not so. For now, the flowers on my table are for the baby(ies) and the dinner out tonight was for the anniversary. Or maybe the stuff of life isn't so easily separated and commemorated. It kind of all blends in together and the happy and the sad are not always so distinguishable. At least that's how I'm feeling right now.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Creosote by my Bed

It's harshly hot. Enough to hide indoors, or dread the sunblock slathering if I go out. And my family from cooler climes arrives today. I cringe at the thought of watching them wilt. Gasp for breath. Sit in the corner and pant and fan themselves.

Yet I went for a walk the other night with two friends and stopped to smell the creosote (kinda like stopping to smell the roses, but with a desert twist). Then, selfishly, I tore off a small sprig and took it home to put it by my bed. My all-time favorite desert scent is creosote after the rain. My friend Kelly grew up in Tucson and says the same. There's enough of it around here, I might enjoy it year-round on my nightstand.

The heat makes me weary and discouraged. So I'm going to try to focus on the creosote. And our good friends. And company from cooler climes. And swimming pools and evening walks and popsicles and all the other things I like about living here in the desert. And as I'm focusing, I'll be hoping my deodorant is working. Sheesh.

Monday, June 7, 2010


My Cayna-Banayna is seven years old! Truly amazing.

She donned some loooooooooong dangly earrings (compliments of her Grandma Viv), a purple dress, and black high heels to go to IHOP. She looked beautiful. I think I made strides in her health education by filtering her request for "a bowl of sausage" down to two little links. (You're welcome, Cayna's heart and arteries.)

So the sun goes down just like last night, except tonight my oldest daughter is seven.

(And, when we straighten out our issues with iPhoto, I'll post a photo.)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

How about it, science?

Honestly, if you've never experienced Jack Handey, you might be missing some laughter in your life. He's on my list of funniest writers in the universe. Here's one of his "Deep Thoughts":
I think somebody should come up with a way to breed a very large shrimp. That way, you could ride him, then, after you camped at night, you could eat him. How about it, science?

Yesterday, when a load of laundry of mine had been sitting in the washer for, let's say, about 24 hours - I was wishing science could come up with a washing machine that wouldn't mildew no matter HOW long a housewife left a completed load inside. Thank God for the rinse button. I use that little guy nearly every day (or every other day, when I'm culturing the mildew).

Are you following me? I can see how the transition from a giant rideable shrimp to my hopes for a miracle washer is kind of a rough one. But it's Saturday, so my mind is in free association mode since my parenting is getting a break with my husband home.

The mopping did get done yesterday, by the way. But not by me. I did all the vast prep work, but Kevin saved the day and did the actual mopping while I was out on a walk (not run - sheesh it was hot) with the girls (friends, not daughters). I love that man. Still had a tantrum when we returned from Target this morning and my two year-old trailed popcorn from the garage clear through to the kitchen. Lest you think I'm blessed with a great husband AND emotional maturity. One out of two ain't bad, though.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday is Mopping Day

Friday IS mopping day - and I'm pretty religious about it. You would be, too, if half the square footage of your abode was ceramic tile. (No, I don't do the grout - it's atrocious.)

But today I took the kids to a splash park in 100+ degree weather. For two hours. With only a couple sleeves of crackers and my friend's Red Vines. And the kids' giant bottles of water. Then home for lunch. Then back into the car to zoom to a dance store to get my daughters ready for their dress rehearsal tonight. Then home to wrangle John down for his nap (wasn't too hard --- reference the two hour splash park adventure). And now I'm supposed to pick up, sweep, stack chairs, and mop??? You have GOT to be kidding! But it IS filthy. As it is every week. And there's blogging to do! And you oughtta see my dining room table. On one half is my sewing machine with the beginnings of two girls' sundresses strewn around. On the other half is Bethanie's first-year baby album. She's five now --- there's no time like the present to catch up! I have it in my head that I will get her album and John's done before I give birth again. I'm well on the way - photos are printed, paper and stickers purchased. Now all I gotta do is mop! - and then I can have some fun.

If only I had a teensy bit more energy.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fell Off the Wagon

Yesterday, in a moment of extreme sugar-love, I downed some Milk Duds, two at a time - about a half-dozen times. Boy, they were good.

Immediately, my heart started racing. It was crazy how fast my blood pressure skyrocketed. Lasted about ten minutes. Then I was fine, and I started fantasizing about how I could throw in the towel completely and have a bowl of ice cream, maybe two, and so on. But THEN I felt like total dog doo, and it lasted for several hours.

I'm just not going there. As much as I love sugar --- and believe me when I tell you I love it beyond poetry and craving and lust and obsession and desire and devotion and sheer joy --- I just can't do it. I said I'd try this for a whole year, and I'm over four months in, with LOTS of noticeable benefits. I can't imagine what my parameters will be after that year, but I'm not giving in.

But there you have it, I cheated. I've also taken sips of Kevin's Coke at least a few times over the past couple months. I need to avoid even those little harmless sips, because my mind is VERY agile when it comes to justifications and working around the boundaries. No big deal, at least I didn't spiral down into the Coldstone-and-Saxby's orgy that I envisioned. Yay for me! And back to life a little less sweet. Yet still better in many ways.