Wednesday, December 20, 2006

cinnamon bears

How much do these little fellows begged to be used? It makes me just crave some cinnamon toast looking at them. Think of a really thick slice of fresh white bread, dripping with butter (real, what else?), and topped off with a spritzle of cinnamon and sugar from these beary cute friends. Must, must have. Hats off, container store, these little babies are just what I need (that I never knew I needed!)

My Annie

There is just something about friends. They know you. They get you. They know just what you need, when you need it. I got a very timely package in the mail today from my friend Annie. Annie is the kind of friend that needs little, and gives a lot. She is wise, clever, witty, silly, and just plain fun. She knew just what I needed this week, and sent it in droves. Ever since our move to Cali, I keep saying to Josh, "There just isn't another Annie....I haven't found my Annie yet." And I don't think I'll ever find another one just like her. I'm not sure I want to...I just want access to "my" Annie on a regular basis. Something that 3,055 miles has made very difficult.

So cherish the friends you have, the ones you've lost touch with, and the ones you've yet to find. Friends are like family, only better because you get to pick 'em.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

paper + glue + pictures = love

So I find myself with a new hobby...scouring blogs of fellow scrapbookers - professional and amateur alike. I could spend hours a day in pursuit of a new layout - I'm always looking for new ideas and pages to scraplift. I feel like a fly on the wall, peeking into the lives and creative minds of people who love this hobby as much as me.

Sometimes I find myself envying the professionals - women who I idolize like Cathy Zielski and Ali Edwards. These girls are my long lost best friends, and they don't even know it. They have taken their passion and found a way to get paid for it. It's the american dream, really.

There is something about the colors, paper, ribbons, embellishments, pictures, and journaling that inspire my inner artist. I can't decide if it's the self-satisfaction of completed pages or the actual creation of the pages that brings me the most joy. I find myself craving creation. If it's been a while since I've worked on anything, it calls to me. Paper waiting to be paired with colorful ribbon; buttons and chipboard begging to be used; pictures needing a home. Sometimes a picture will hit me in such a way that I know immediately what I will do to bring it to life. Other times, I will scour magazines, books, and blogs in search of inspiration. What I end up with is a little slice of me in paper form - preserving the artist buried inside for my posterity to someday love, treasure, or file away. I don't do it for them, but I hope that by my doing it, they get a sense of who I am and who I long to be. It's my version of art. It's me. Creating, loving, doing. It needs me; and I need it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

politically incorrect

My son, McKay, cracks me up sometimes. He was having a play date this afternoon at our new friends house. They just moved here from Boston, but are originally from India. They're so great - they get the whole "Boston" thing, from the 'god love yas' to the Red Sox, plus - just like us - they're trying to navigate their way through the idiosyncrasies that are California. Santosh (the mom) had a big container of those Danish butter cookies for the kids to snack on. McKay gets so excited, he says, "Are you Danish? We're Danish, too!" Santosh laughed and said that, no, they were not Danish, they were Indian. He then got excited and said, "Like the pilgrim Indians?" Um, not quite. She then gave him a crash course in Hindu, most of which was lost on him. So glad I'm raising such a racially sensitive son.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Cheers, Craig's list

So I've been adding in some extra exercise for the kids lately - we've been walking home from school. For them, it's only about a mile, but it adds almost two extra miles to my daily tally, bringing me up to about six miles a day. It's been great except for the limited capabilities of our less-than-desirable umbrella stroller. That thing requires more effort to push than it would take to just carry the little Hannah. But the boys are liking the daily trot so much, I decided to go looking for a used single jogger. Having kindly donated our double baby jogger-brand stroller to a friend in MA before moving (read regrettably!), I needed some new wheels. I decided to try the old standby, Craig's List. Love that website. I go browsing at least once a week just for fun.

So I found several jogging strollers per se, but was unwilling to shell out the $100 to $150 for a used baby jogger-brand stroller. I figure that I'm only using it for this year - next year when Hannah is in kindergarten, she's walking like the rest of us - and, therefore, didn't want to pay out a lot of money. I found a few no-name brand joggers, and sent out hopeful emails. I got several replies back (as no-name strollers are not in high demand) and picked the best looking one that had the closest location to me.

With my $40 in hand, I went to meet our new stroller. And to my delight and utter surprise, I found a baby jogger-brand stroller (in great shape, as those things are made to last forever) waiting for me. I quickly paid the stranger my money, and ran to the car with my stroller (lest she realize what a steal I was getting and change her mind). I am sure she did not know what she was peddling. For her, it was simply a stroller they no longer needed or used. For me, it's the find of the century. People pay big bucks for these brand of strollers - new and used. There are plenty of people that would be willing to pay at least $100 for a used baby jogger (heck, the new ones start at about $300). I am thrilled to once again be the proud owner of a baby jogger-brand stroller. I now have great visions of jogging to all my errands with Hannah, but am sure that even if it's only the walk home from school, we will more than get our money's worth.

Friday, December 8, 2006

For Shame, Audrey

Hannah came to me yesterday a little sad and said, "Audrey won't play with me."

I looked at her, sincere as I could, and said, "Who is Audrey?"

"My imaginary friend. She won't play with me."

It's a sad, sad day when even your imaginary friends won't play with you.

Thursday, December 7, 2006


It never ceases to amaze me, the paradox that is California. Last night for our YW activity, we went to the temple to hear the stake youth choir sing Christmas songs. I brought my kids along as Josh was working late. I'm sitting outside under the stars, in the shadow of the temple - all the palm trees were lit up with Christmas lights - taking in the angelic, youthful voices singing Christmas songs. It was picturesque, charming, sweet. I am in the midst of pondering on what a great activity this is, and how other wards we've been in have missed the boat on this one, when Hannah turns to me and says, "Mom, McKay is picking the flowers!" Oh, flowers. In December. Live ones. Yeah, that's why we've never had this type of activity in other wards - you'd be standing in three feet of snow, fighting below-freezing temperatures. Flowers and Christmas - who'd have thought they'd be a pair? Man, I love this place.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

a good life

So I'm just returning home from the last, yes, last trip to the store for Christmas presents this year. You read it right - today is December 5th and I am all done. I did most of it online before Thanksgiving, but still. I'm pretty proud. Christmas cards mailed; family scrapbook pages done, copied, and mailed; parent gifts mailed; kids and Josh presents done. I'm thrilled. No more crowded stores. No more annoyed, angry old people pushing your cart out of their path. No more standing in checkout lines the length of city blocks. No more sifting through the remains of a display rack in the vain hope of finding something worth buying.

So how will I fill my time you ask? Easy - doing things I love to do. Today, for instance, my darling husband called and asked me to lunch. We were, of course, a threesome with baby Hannah in tow, but it made for a lively mix. Sometimes I'm still taken back by our new lifestyle. In days gone by, if he had an extra hour, it would have been spent downtown in his office catching up on some major project, thankful because that was one less hour spent working over the weekend or late at night. He would not have been able to pop home, grab us girls, and head to Via de la Valle - a lovely street with a view to the beach and loads of tasty restaurants. It seems surreal here sometimes, this California lifestyle. A girl could get used to this.

I think though, that not a day will pass where I will take it for granted. Every day this summer that it didn't rain (which was pretty much every day), I said a prayer of thanks in my heart. Every time we made that five-minute ride to the beach (which was, again, pretty much every day), I said thanks. The many nights when my husband made it home in time for dinner with us, I marveled at our good fortune. This place is truly perfection. We are truly blessed. Life, it has been good to us. It's true what they say - you have to have the bad to appreciate the good. We are living proof of that. And right now life is good - very, very good.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

I believe in Magic...

Okay, this thing is the best. My son colored all over my white Pottery Barn desk with a sharpie (accidentally, I'm sure). I tried every cleaner known to man from bleach to elbow grease; nothing worked. That is, until I tried my new best friend, the Magic Eraser. A few little scrubs with this baby, and bye-bye sharpie. The desk was left absolutely flawless and beautiful once again. I have now been using the Magic on everything in my house - from bathtubs to fingerprints - it gets it all.

I wish I could sell this thing - I want to shout from the rooftops to every mother out there -Magic will get it off, whatever "it" is! I'm half-tempted to let my kids color the walls on purpose, just to be able to test the power of the Magic. Tempted, but not that crazy. Try it out, you won't be disappointed, I promise.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Top 10 pet peeves

10. Call waiting. If I am on the phone with you, DO NOT put me on hold to answer another call. I will hang up on you and you will have to call me back.

9.Waiting in line. See the recurring theme here? I am probably not as patient as I should be. When you're in the checkout line, please, please, please do not take that opportunity to share photos of your grandchildren with the cashier. She doesn't want to see them, all 20 of us behind you don't want to see them. Pay your bill and move on. (Yes, this happened to me yesterday and I had about three minutes to pay, get to the car, and get my daughter to pre-school. Yes, I was late).

8. Personal Injury Lawyer Commercials. The last thing I want to see on television is slimy lawyers offering to help people sue other people. Thank heavens for TIVO.

7. C-SPAN. My husband loves to fall asleep to the stale, droning sounds emitted by the most boring channel ever invented. I will watch the political talking heads and suffer through them, but this channel is like sitting through actual meetings.

6. Meetings. I detest meetings of any kind (and watching them on t.v., as you can tell). I think all work should be done via email, my favorite way to communicate. Send me a list, and I'll get the job done. Make me sit through three hours of you deciding what should be done and I'll resent you.

5. Those little, tiny cell phones people wear in their ears. I don't know why, but these really just bug me. I mean, come on, do you really have to walk around all day with your phone attached to your ear? Are you truly that important? I think not, my friend, you look ridiculous. It's time someone told you.

4. Seafood. Yuck, just thinking about it makes me feel like gagging. I am allergic to shellfish and have violent abdominal reaction when I eat it - I think it has mentally affected me for all other seafood. The one exception to this is tuna, I love tuna fish (mixed with mayo and pickles on lightly toasted bread? Yum.)

3. Bobble-head dolls. Yes, I know, it's weird. But those things really creep me out - I'm not sure why. It just seems unnatural to have this extra large, free-floating head bobbing around independent of the body. I hate them.

2. Being interrupted. Goes with the territory of three kids, I'm afraid. Still, nothing makes me crazier than being in the middle of a conversation or on the phone and hearing, "Mom, can I...?"

1. Public embarrassment. I loathe being embarrassed in public. I have nightmares about it. The tragic irony is that by having three kids in four years - you are going to be embarrassed. I've never gotten used to it, and I don't think I ever will.

And so it begins...

Ain't he beautiful? That is my boy (or one of them, anyway). He is the real writer in our family - he ought to have his own blog. Every day he comes home from school with a stapled, crooked group of papers he has turned into a book. He's written hundreds of books, actually. They're pretty good, too. Most of them involve his alter ego, Super Frog. Super Frog can do anything, and he's really good with weapons. Super Frog always wins in the end - I like that. He even gave Super Frog a Princess, just for his sister.

The other day, Chase came home from school and said, "I had a blue day today." And he had, too. Everything that could go wrong in a first grader's life did for him that day. He pretty much had the world against him. What did he do? He went right back the next day and faced it. Life lessons can be found in the elementary school. I'm trying to learn from him.

So I am writing this blog to chronicle the things in my life that make me the happiest. It will probably be filled with my kids and husband, but those are my happy spots. Indulge me, as I reveal why I love being a wife and a mom. Trivial to some; but for me it's my life.