Wednesday, June 27, 2007

So long, farewell...

Well, the truck is packed. The house will be cleaned tomorrow (not by me, hee hee). The kids are chomping at the bit to get out of Dodge. I am exhausted. Looks like we made it. See you when we get to St. Louis!

P.S. The mohawk still lives on. I have decreed that it will disappear before we go to church for the first time (nothing like a white-trash first impression). He is rockin' it though.

Friday, June 22, 2007

And so it begins...

This may be my last post here in sunny CA...I realized that these boxes won't pack themselves (unfortunate, I know). So long, San Diego. It's been a great year. One we'll never forget. In the words of Andre Gide:

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."

We're quite literally leaving the shore in search of our own new oceans. Can't wait. Come meet me in St. Louis!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Said by Hannah to McKay and Chase:

"I hope I don't get any wedgies when I go to kindeegawten this year."

Me, too, little sister. Me, too.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

directions to where I am

Start in Salt Lake City on the very day that Nixon proclaims to the world, "I am not a crook." Have an older brother who keeps waiting for you to go back where you came from. Be adored by your Grandpa and have him set aside special gifts just for you. Find yourself the princess of quite a lot until that red-headed brother is born and steals your thunder. Love him in spite of this. Be immersed through your Mama in classic broadway shows such as "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and "Cats". Learn at an early age that you cannot sing. Sing anyway. Be the only girl in a family of four boys. Realize you can run just as fast as the boys can. Embrace your tomboyishness.

Go to kindergarten proudly with a plaid lobster on the front of your jumper. Love your bearded kindergarten teacher who makes his own banjos and guitars. Laugh a lot. Talk so much that they stick you in a special class to help less "social" kids acclimate. Fly from the swings on the playground into salty, coarse gravel. Feel the freeing wind in your hair as you run. Fall off a skateboard and scratch up your face. Run through the sprinklers in your front yard. Try not to cry when your dad goes hunting and comes home with a deer. Go camping with your family at Trial Lake. Be given a box of chocolates in fourth grade by a boy. Have sleepovers with girlfriends and spend hours whispering and giggling. Grow tall early on, and find (to your dismay), that you are taller than all the boys most of your life.

Fall down while roller skating and severely break your arm. Have the first of six surgeries on this arm. Discover how grueling physical pain can be. Spend hours climbing the tree in your Grandma's front yard, collecting the "witch nose" pods that grow there. Pick fresh vegetables from her garden and listen to her Jazz Singer record over and over. Cry the first time you hear this record after your Grandpa dies. Sleep over at the cabin with all your cousins. Dance your heart out to the Footloose soundtrack. Savor the juicy sweetness of ripe peaches. Eat hamburgers at Hires. Go home and cry when boys begin flipping back bra straps and you are caught without one. Feel very womanly the next day when you arrive at school wearing your first bra. Be a little disappointed that no one ever tries to flip yours again. Never really make peace with your many freckles. Discover your love of literature.

Go through the awful stage where your body gets ahead of the rest of you. Be called ugly and fat by mean boys, and believe it for many years. Stuff your bra. Kiss a few very awkward boys. Fight with your parents. A LOT. Slam doors. Cry more than you want to. Pour your feelings into a journal. Feel so unsure of yourself that you wonder how you'll survive. Get on an airplane for the first time right after high school. Go to Chicago and win nationals in FHA. Go to college. Like a lot of boys. Learn to begin liking yourself. Send several boys off on missions, proclaiming your devoted and undying love for each one. Live with six girls and be glad you never had any sisters. Discover that you are a runner.

Meet a smart, cute gymnast quite by accident. Date him for only six weeks before getting engaged. Find that no one around you is shocked or even surprised at the shortness of time - because it just feels so right. Marry this man early one morning, surrounded by all your friends and family. Decide you are finally old enough to no longer pretend to like roller coasters. Move for the first time in your life to Minneapolis so your husband can attend graduate school. Make new friends.

Wonder if it will ever be your turn to be a mother, and blink your eyes to find that you are one. Cherish your babies, each in their turn. Sing each one to sleep with show tunes and John Denver songs. Make chocolate chip cookies and lots of peanut butter sandwiches. Kiss them every night before you go to bed. Wish it wasn't going so fast.

Move from Minneapolis to Seattle to Boston to San Diego. Be thankful for good friends all over the country. Be preparing to move to Missouri for the man you love. Look around and realize that you lead a charmed life. Spend as many days as you can at the beach. Re-learn the painful lesson of what happens when you don't wear sunscreen. Relish the sound of your kids playing so well with each other. Know that you are loved. Take a sip of diet coke. Over the phone, tell your husband just how great your day was. Miss him a lot. Blog. Write this. Wait anxiously to read other posts like this one. You're here.

This post was inspired by my friend, Annie, and her own life roadmap. I was fortunate enough to meet Annie while we lived in Boston, and my life has been richer ever since. Now it's your turn - how do we get to you?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's aloe vera

Admission for four to Sea World: Free, thanks to our annual pass (well, I guess not free, but free today, you know...)

Refilling our Sea World cups inside the park: $1.50

Two plastic swords for the begging little boys: $6

One pink dolphin necklace for a cheeky princess: $5

Walking around all day dripping wet as Shamu's salt water slowly erodes my sunburned skin down to the bone?

Priceless (and totally my own fault).

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wanted: Lost Brain Cells

Do you ever have days where you wake up and swear you felt dumber when you got out of bed? [Sadly for me, I have more than my share of those days.]
I woke up this morning and made pancakes for the kids. Got busy unloading the dishwasher and burned the first batch. And not just crisp mind you, but burned so badly that the poor little pancake CSI unit would need dental records to even identify them as former pancakes. I was not at all paying attention - totally forgot what I was doing. Which I never do. [At least not when it comes to warm, delicious hot things first thing in the morning.]

Then I went to exercise. Due to my inability to stay on top of my Netflix queue, the only movie I had to watch while running was "Little Man." Anyone seen this Wayans Brothers movie? I'm sure at some point in time I thought it might be good for a laugh. I'll tell you right now that, no, it isn't. I'm pretty sure I heard brain cells jumping off my shoulders as though my head was the Titanic and they wanted a fighting chance. Can't say as I blame them.

Next came our errands. My cell phone had been charging all last night, and I forgot to stick it in my purse before we left the house. Which led me to miss the phone call from our floor contractor telling us they found "water" when they were removing the kitchen floor in the new house. When I tried to call him back to find out just what he meant by "water," he was already gone for the day. Was it standing water? Water damage? Ruined-new-house kind of water? I could just tell that the brain cells weren't even wearing life vests this time - they were committing suicide in droves.

And the icing on the cake came this afternoon when I took the kids swimming at the pool. We had the pool to ourselves (bonus to living in a condo complex where hardly anyone has kids) and it was such a lovely day. My usual post at the pool? Sitting in the shade with a magazine. Today? Swimming all day like a fish. It was fantastic except for one, teensy, minor detail. Sunscreen.

Sunscreen on the children? Oh, umpteen times. Sunscreen on me? Nada. Yes, sadly, I had multiple chances to apply some and did not. I don't know what I was thinking. I always wear sunscreen. I am a fanatic about EVERYONE wearing sunscreen. Today I was out in the sun for about four hours without a stitch of UVA/UVB protection. And I'm paying for it tonight.

So I sit here shivering, blisters already forming on my red skin and wondering what happened to my brain today. Wondering futilely if the manager up there will hurry and put a light on - in case some of those lost cells try to make it back home. I really need them. Me no likey being so dum. Me like to be suhmart. Help!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Aunts, Uncles, and Kids, Oh My!

One successful Mud Run.
Two trips to the beach (still not enough).
Three tired and happy kids.
Four aunts and uncles to play with.
Five grown-ups in all.
Six rounds of Polly Pockets for Marta and Hannah.
Seven songs from our own Neil Diamond impersonator (always never enough).
Eight seats filled with sand in the car.
Nine games of Mannequin (oh yes, Josh, the game lives on).
What we'd give our weekend? A perfect Ten. It was so much fun and we wish you were still here. Missing you already and hoping for a safe drive home.

[P.S. Hit refresh on your browser if the slideshow doesn't show up - still trying to figure out what I'm doing!]

Friday, June 15, 2007

A home for his birthday

As of nine o'clock central time this morning, my husband is no longer homeless. I have made fun of him nonstop due to his homeless state. He's been frugally bunking it up in some not-so-nice hotels for the last two months - loading everything he owns into his car, then heading to the airport for his weekend trips here. And two weeks from today, the kids and I will join him in our new home. Here's one more look at our house (because now it seems real to me and I'm getting so excited):

We've got some remodeling that begins on Monday (starting with the replacement of all the floors on the entire main level). Once we get everything done, I will post some before and after shots. You will be impressed, trust me.

So happy birthday, baby. No more standing on a street corner with a cardboard sign for you. You now have a place to leave all your junk (at least until I get there and hide it away). See you soon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Definitive proof that he shares my genetics

We've got some guests coming to visit tomorrow. Josh's brother Pete (and his wife Anna), and Josh's sister, Marta (and her husband Dan), are coming down to compete in the Camp Pendelton 10K Mud Run. We are all extremely excited about this as, frankly, it gives us something fun to do. Josh will be closing on the house in St. Louis this Friday, and will stay the weekend there to ready it up for the remodeling that begins on Monday. Since it is way too early to get packing, it's nice for me to have some company. Plus, we just adore P&A and M&D. And what better excuse to make some "Peterskeevers" and spend a few days at the beach?

Now, as anyone who knows me can tell you, I am a slightly neurotic, mildly OCD (okay, CRAZY) clean freak. My disease becomes especially symptomatic when I have guests coming. I like to present a clean house. One with dusted baseboards. And wiped-down ceiling fans. And organized closets. And tile grout scrubbed with a toothbrush - you know, what any normal, sane person would do for fun on a weekday. Chase was all excited to help me clean - which I figured would translate into him either watching me clean or spraying an entire bottle of 409 into the toilet. Being the nice mother that I am, I let him help.

With some surprisingly decent help on his part, Chase and I got the kids' bathroom done (which will be the guest bathroom this weekend). I mentioned in passing that maybe the kids should use my bathroom from now on as theirs was now clean (and I did not want to have to clean it again tomorrow). Chase took my warning VERY seriously and intended for others to do the same.

I came down the hall a few minutes later to find the bathroom blocked off with yellow police tape, warning all trespassers that it was for "imarginsy" use only.

Seeing his eagerness to safeguard his hard work, I now feel confident that I did indeed get the right baby at the hospital seven-and-a-half years ago. He is so much like me.

Hannah, though, made sure to promptly sneak in and use the facilities, despite the obvious warning.

Which provides conclusive proof to me that she truly IS Josh's daughter. (And not the mailman's like we thought.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You take the good, you take the bad...

We are a few short weeks away from trading in this California paradise for the humidity, bugs, and snow that make the Midwest so charming. I am very excited to go, and am feeling very optimistic about the changes we are about to face. But in light of all these changes, I thought I'd make a little list to help make it easier to go (and because a girl can never have too many lists. I know, you get that I love lists. Tough.)

Things I will not miss when I leave California:
  • May Gray (the annoying phenomenon that occurs every year in which the sun does not come out for the entire month of May - and can sometimes stretch into what the locals call "June Gloom." Yes, I know you don't feel sorry for me, but still. Gray is gray, no matter what else you get all year long).
  • Having my kids bump the doors of the Bentley parked next to us at the grocery store (accidentally, of course) and then running like mad when the alarm goes off. (WHY spend that much money on a car? WHY? I just don't get it).
  • House hunting for tiny shoe-box houses that cost a million dollars.
  • Living in this rental condo.
  • Having no yard in which to send the children out to.
  • Govehnuh Ahnold on the t.v. commercials shouting exuberantly while flashing his big, toothy grin, "Welcome to Caleeeefohnya."
  • Living within the jurisdiction of the Governor Terminator. Seriously.
  • Hanging out with all the Spanish nannies at the park.
  • The ridiculously high gas prices (we're about the highest in the nation on average, and I just grit my teeth every time I fill up my big, gas-guzzling SUV).
  • The massive amount of money I spend on sunscreen (especially great given that the elementary school does not contain an indoor cafeteria. Something I never knew existed. The kids eat lunch outside. Every day. All year long.)
  • Picking my husband up at the airport late Friday night with sleepy kids in the backseat.
  • Dropping my husband off at the airport Sunday afternoon and counting the seconds until he's back again.

Things I will greatly miss here in Caleeeefohnya:

  • The beach (did I mention that we live about three minutes from the ocean? Did I? Sigh.)
  • All that lovely year-round sunshine (except for May and June obviously).
  • Sea World and The Zoo. Seriously just the best.
  • Cheap pedicures.
  • All the friends we've made.
  • Sbicca in Del Mar (one of my favorite restaurants here).
  • Outdoor shopping malls. Yes, in which you can walk and shop outside all year long. Yet another thing I never knew existed until we moved here.
  • Absolutely fantastic Mexican food.
  • In-N-Out Burger.
  • Fresh avocados at roadside farm stands (20 avocados for two bucks - I'm not kidding).
  • The beach.
  • Not shoveling snow all winter.
  • Not even owning a single snow boot, mitten, or winter hat. (Because I gleefully threw them all out when we left Boston).
  • Swimming in our outdoor pool in January. And loving it.
  • The beach.
  • The beach.
  • Calling our landlord when something breaks and letting it be THEIR problem.
  • Perfectly, gloriously, boring weather in which it is 75 every day and sunny (almost - curse that MAY GRAY).
  • The palm trees. I just never got over them. They are so cool.

We have made some wonderful memories. It's been a fantastic year and we will truly miss it here. But, adventure calls us elsewhere. Thanks for a great year Caleeeefohnya. WE'LL BE BACK (at least to visit, for sure).

Monday, June 11, 2007

my great vocal talents

I was driving in the car with Hannah today. We were running some errands and she asked me to turn on some "nuusic," as she calls it (I totally love it that she still says some words wrong). I asked her what she wanted to listen to, and her request was "the Christine nuusic," (for those of you that don't speak Hannah fluently, it means the Phantom of the Opera). So I put the CD on for her. After a few minutes, I'm getting my Phantom groove on and I start singing along - fairly loud and enthusiastically, I might add.

She had been singing as well, but stopped suddenly and said, "You can just turn it off now. I don't like it when you sing."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Christie through the years

My Dad (or who shall now be called He Who Gets No Presents Because He Emails Bad Pictures) sent me some classic moments in my history. And I am nothing, if not totally into making fun of myself. So indulge me, dear internets, on a little look back through time:

A girl can dream, can't she? Little did I know that it would take several years and thousands of dollars in plastic surgery before I'd fill one of those out. Sad, sad, sad.

"Me likey these super cool green goggles. They go so well with my ruffled peasant shirt and my sporty reversible vest. These will look super good when I go out at recess with my friends and we do handstands on the back fence in our dresses." (Yes, that is what I did. We always loved it when the truck drivers would honk. YIKES).

"I don't get why all the girls my age want to dress up for Halloween and be dumb princesses or fairies. I think one can best draw positive attention by cross dressing as a homeless person. That is a surefire way NOT to get teased in the easily-forgiven world that is fifth grade."

"Oh my gawsh. Like how much longer do I like have to spend with my FAMILY looking at these stupid airplanes? I like SOOO have to get out of here and get home cause maybe a Boy called and like I might miss it. Plus, I've totally got this new Erasure tape that I can't wait to put in my boom box and listen to while I think about ways to make my hair like more bigger and more crunchier. Plus, all this like fresh air is like totally making my bangs go FLAT."

"Man, it only took me two hours in the bathroom to get my hair this big and I am lovin' it. And I am so glad I figured out that wearing a sofa pattern as a shirt is like so RAD. I mean, big, floral prints don't make you look wide at all. Wait! Don't take the picture yet. I don't have enough lipstick on. Somebody hand me some Wet-n-Wild, STAT! Okay. I'm ready. Hurry, okay? Cause like 90210 starts in like 30 minutes and I so need to find out if Donna and David are finally going to do it."

So there you have in my finest moments. I share these with you only to illustrate JUST HOW ATTRACTIVE I AM NOW, people. I have come a long way. And no, I don't do handstands in dresses anymore. And I do spend a lot of time in the bathroom, only it's making sure my hair is neither big, nor crunchy.

And yes, I still think I'm like totally awesome.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Lazy Sunday afternoon

I bribed the kids this afternoon with M&Ms if they would sit still for a photo shoot (sad how easily they can be bought. Guess we know where they get it from, huh?). I think we got some good shots. Here are a few for your viewing pleasure (not that I'm bragging about my beautiful children or anything, mind you. I'd never do that. Oh, no. Not me):

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Bring it on

It is true. I got in. To this.


I did it in 2004 and for some reason (that reason being my brothers, Daniel and Matt) I am going for round two. It will be awesome to get to that place where I get in the running zone, feel my body push beyond what it wants to do, and cross that finish line with success. Last time we did it in 5 hours and 7 minutes. I finished a tenth of a second ahead of my brother. We were nearing the finish line and I just started sprinting for it, leaving him in the dust. I was exhausted and beat up, and needed to be done. Not to be left behind, Daniel picked up the pace as well, but my shoe tag crossed before his. Just BARELY before.

Our goal this year? 4 hours and 30 minutes is my target. Truthfully, I'll be happy with anything as long as it's faster than last time.

Daniel has already warned me that I WILL NOT be finishing ahead of him. He's booking it once we have the finish line in sight. Bring it on, bruthah. Game ON!