Monday, September 14, 2009

I wish that I could talk to dogs

I am in my 2nd week of the Couch Potato to 5K program. I've never been much of a runner, but I've decided that I could be.
A couple of my friends began and after how I heard how they were doing, I decided that it might just be a good program for me as well. I want to do a 5K in the future. I know that my 70, or possibly 80 something, neighbor will still kick my butt, but I want to finish a 5K. So far, my refabricated ACL is holding up vs my original ACL in the other knee.
Today, I had Cinnamon running with me, which, BTW is like trying to put a leash on a deer. She loves to go with me, so I take her almost every time. We were running along and she spotted something that caused her to stop in her tracks. She froze, and began to back up. Freaking out.
It was a baby stroller with full trash bags tied all over it. Something that is usually being pushed by a homeless person on the street. This was just sitting at the curb. We could not pass it and needed to turn around. Cinnamon didn't calm down until we were half a block away from it.
It's not as odd as Pumpkin's irrational fear of aluminum foil when we first rescued her from the shelter, but it was odd.
I wish I could ask her what was wrong. How long was she a stray on the street? What happened?
She is sleeping quietly on the sofa now (and drooling onto the floor)... safe and sound, and that's what matters.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

14 wonderful years

Stuntman enjoyed the anniversary gift that I gave him today.
Even though we rarely give gifts for our anniversary, we always sit and watch our wedding DVD and have a nice dinner together (if we happen not to be apart for work or war reasons).
The 14th Anniversary is the "Ivory" anniversary and he liked his bar of soap.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Volcano, or pyrocumulous cloud?

video
I was going through my video camera and forgot all about the quick video I shot of the Station Fire in L.A. last Saturday.
This is my first video upload to the site, why not.
At the end, you can hear E1 ask me if we are evacuating. I say "maybe".

On another note... our usually squirrel-free backyard is full of squirrels, dozens of them. Usually, there is only that one obese squirrel that eats every last almond on the almond tree.
The squirrels escaped the forest,
where are the coyotes, deer and mountain lions? Remind me not to go for walks by myself around the neighborhood.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Home Sweet Home

It's good to be home.
We've been evacuated for several days. Although the neighborhood is smoky, it is still intact.
I have many days of cleaning ahead of me (what's new). I'm just happy to have a home to clean.
I replaced the house air filter and I think everyone else in town has done the same because the store was practically sold out of filters of all sizes.
I am so thankful that the winds stayed calm as the fire crept closer to my home because any flying ember would have easily torched anything in it's path.
The firefighters have done an amazing job. A BIG THANK YOU to them.

Tomorrow...
1. clean the pool because it is full of ash.
2. begin wiping down everything in the house, there is a fine layer of black dust on everything.
3. relax... traveling with 3 kids and 3 dogs and trying not to destroy your BIL's house is exhausting.
4. count the hours until Stuntman returns home
5. almost forgot... try to fix the sprinklers in the front yard. Someone (fire truck or looky-loo) drove into my yard while I was evacuated and ran over two sprinkler heads.


On a side rant... an online map of the fire was drawn incorrectly and showed that the fire had made it's way past our home. Stuntman was a little freaked out by this when he was looking for information on the fire. The media coverage of the fire has been horrible. It has been sensational, but not informative. Some online information was helpful, but some (as noted above) was inaccurate. Maybe next time someone can get it right.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another Day


We left the house last night and stayed at my BIL's house by the beach. Last night, the wind came up, flames crested the ridge and I didn't want to stay up all night watching for embers. A fire engine was parked at the base of my driveway, so I took it as a sign that it wouldn't be a bad idea to get out of their way.
It looked as if everyone else thought the opposite because there were MANY gawkers that drove up to the neighborhood, parked their cars and watched the fire. A-holes.
The fire is huge and moving in multiple directions.
The hill behind us continues to burn and there is one more ridge to go. No one is trying to put it out because of the steep terrain. It looks like they are just letting it burn down to the community like they have done in several other areas of the fire. It is a bit unnerving to see flames from the house, but the fire is moving very slowly. If there was any wind, I would be out of here.
My neighbor and I are taking turns staying awake tonight just so the other can sleep more easily knowing that the other is watching. We are not under an evacuation order, and probably won't be, but we will keep vigilant until the flames are extinguished.
My heart and prayers go out to the families of the firefighters that have lost their lives fighting this fire.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

update

The smoke cleared for a while yesterday and the fire is moving in the opposite direction. Still, no wind, so the firefighters can do their job.
Yesterday afternoon, I corralled the kids into my bedroom, put in a Garfield DVD and tried to take a nap. I was successful for 30 minutes and it felt great since I hadn't slept much in the last 3 days. I was half-asleep and heard a knock on the door. No one just drops by here, it's out of the way, but there on the front step was my BIL. He came to check on us since he knew Stuntman was out of town. He could see the smoke plume from his house down by the beach and drove all of the way up here. The kids were ecstatic. They absolutely love their uncle.
Of course, my house was a DISASTER! On a scale from 1-10, it was a 9 on the messy scale. Toys all over, laundry in the midst of folding on the dining table, dishes in the sink. It was embarrassing. It didn't take long to tidy up while he had the kids occupied.
He stayed for dinner and left when it was the kids' bedtime once he could see that we were in the clear.
Right now, the smoke outside is unbearable and ash is currently falling, but no flames nearby. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What to do

What do you do when you're stuck in the house all day because it's 100+ degrees outside, and smoky, and there is ash falling from the sky?
Make cake pops with little lifeguard teddy bears on them for E1's upcoming swimming banquet.


Once again, there are fires burning in SoCal. Thankfully, the winds are low so the firefighters have a chance to do what they do best.
It's been quite an airshow today with big fixed-wing water dropping planes flying overhead. We watched the helicopters take turns slurping water from the pond to drop onto the flames. It was a constant rotation of helicopters pausing only to refuel.


At this time, numerous homes are being evacuated.
Of course, Stuntman is out of town for a couple weeks. I'm staying awake as much as possible in case the wind does pick up. After last year's fires, I know how quickly fires can move. This one is MUCH closer than last year's... once again, the reason I am planning to stay awake as much as possible tonight.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reflection

Last night we I heard a deep, spooky growl coming from Cinnamon.
She was standing in the dining room and looking out of the patio door.
I was concerned, until I realized that she was growling at her own reflection.

I sure hope that she grows out of this.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Crunch

Crunch. That's the sound that I hear when I walk on the grass. It looks like everyone around here is obeying the mandatory water conservation rules for LADWP. Sprinklers are only allowed Monday and Thursday for 10 minutes.
Summer just began and I have a feeling that my lawn may spontaneously combust at any moment.
Oh, and that hill that I planted a couple years ago? toast.
I hope it will revive when rain returns.

*updated, I forgot the link

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

One of those days


It was one of those days.
Stuntman did arrive home earlier than he had for the last 2 weeks (7pm). I was able to sit by the pool and watch everyone swim while enjoying my mango margarita.

update 7/17* I should mention that it was a delicious Tastefully Simple Mango Margarita. If you would like your own, contact Butterfly Wife. Seriously, delicious.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Now back to three


Meet Cinnamon.
We adopted this little boxer from the shelter over the weekend. We picked her up from the vet today (the shelter requires spay/neuter before you take the dog home). They say she is 6 months old, but I'll see what my vet says when I bring her in for a checkup and suture removal.
She's sweet and great with the kids. She is fast friends with Roxie and Emma is warming up to her.
E3 and Cinnamon are both busy potty training now. I hope Cinnamon learns quickly.

Here is a photo from a couple years ago of our last trio.
Roxie is the young one in the center, with Pumpkin and Sparky.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Birthday U.S.A.




Happy 4th of July Everyone!

We threw a few steaks on the grill tonight because we are loaded and ready to go...

for tomorrow :)
in my mini-van of the high desert.

Tired dog


What happens after a day of swimming.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How long until the DVD?

I rarely go to see movies at the theatre. I am too cheap.
Occasionally, we go to the drive-in, because it is a bargain. That's when we see "family" shows. I would like to see the Johnny Depp movie, Public Enemies, but I don't think it would be family viewing, so I will have to wait until the DVD is released.
I hope to hit the drive-in tomorrow night for Ice Age 3, but I'm not sure if Stuntman has Friday off of work. We have barely seen him since he returned home from his 2 week business trip.
On a side note, my grandfather was taken in by the authorities because he was mistaken for John Dillinger when Dillinger was a fugitive. Luckily, they soon realized their mistake even with the strong resemblance.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An Evening Out


I brought these cute little chocolates home from dinner last night. You may or may not be able to tell, but they are from the Reagan Presidential Library. The chocolates were placed on top of the dessert, but since they were so cute, I needed to bring them home to show the girls. Then they ate them.
I was lucky enough to be invited by a friend to the Reagan Library yesterday for an event. Mike Huckabee was there for a book signing. We arrived in time to hear his speech. I really enjoyed listening to him. The content was spot on and laced with just the right amount of humor. All of the "change" going on right now is overwhelming to me. It was rejuvenating to be in a room full of people that believe in the conservative movement. Optimists that believe that America's best days are not behind us, but ahead of us.
After the speech, and Q&A session, dinner was served and we ate in the shadow of Air Force One. The view from the library is amazing and dinner began just as sunset began. Perfect. Timing. I wanted to lick my plate, but didn't, because I am sure that may have been inappropriate... even though the food was delicious.


I'm trying to wrangle tickets to attend the upcoming event with Condoleezza Rice.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy Dog


Roxie Dog in her element.
She really thinks that she is a labrador.
Ever seen those dog competitions where the dogs (usually yellow labs) fly into the water after a toy and compete for distance? In her younger years, Roxie dreamed of that... well she would have if she knew about it.
Now, with her bad hips, she slowly enters the water and swims around... followed by standing on the step and smiling.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Not Hideous, maybe.


I promised photos of the cake. It didn't turn out like I had pictured in my head, but it isn't all that hideous.
I know it will be tasty, and I know E3 will enjoy it.
It is a two-layer 9x13 cake, one layer is vanilla, one is chocolate. There in another half layer for the "hill". All of it is covered in chocolate frosting and crushed cookies. Cake ball (same method as link, different flavor) boulders and chocolate rocks are an attempt at a dry river bed, something that E3 is familiar with when we drive the sand rail in the high desert.
I hope it lasts until the party, because I have a feeling that there may be a few missing rocks and boulders by cake time.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Time Flies


E3 turned 3 today.
I can hardly believe that it has been THREE years since I rushed to the hospital just in time for E3's birth. Stuntman arrived just in time for the delivery.
He is such a fun little guy. Fun to watch, fun to play with, fun to speak with.
He's a little obsessed with monster trucks and MarioKart Wii at the moment, but he is always up for playing in the sandbox. At least until his "stomach barks" saying that it is time to eat.
He adores his sisters and they adore him, although he occasionally plays the role of annoying little brother.
Happy Birthday my little man.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

School's out

Now it's time to plan the summer. It doesn't look like we will have an out-of-town vacation this year. Stuntman will be away to the home office for training a few times during the summer. He left today for two weeks as well. We stuck a Father's Day card in his luggage. Hopefully, he won't open it until then.
It finally feels like summer here. It has been cool and drizzly for a couple weeks, but now it has been sunny for almost two days. I was enjoying the cool weather because I know that we will have PLENTY of 100 degree days in the near future.
Just the usual going on around here. Prepping for a big birthday party for E3. He's never had one. E3 missed having the big first-birthday-bash that we had for each of the girls because Stuntman was deployed at the time. The 2nd birthday was just after Stuntman returned home, he wasn't in the mood for a lot of visitors at the house. I have some things together for the party, but still a lot to do. I have a vision of the monster truck cake that I will be making, I hope that I can create it in cake form.
There will be photos... unless it is hideous.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

So Proud

Kindergarten Graduation... not something that I did when I was six. We just went into first grade.
E2's Kinder Promotion Ceremony was great. All the kids in little cap and gowns ... adorable.
They began the ceremony with the kids introducing themselves and saying what they want to be when they grow up. There were several veterinarians, a rocket scientist, a boxer, a couple ice skaters among others. E2 said "I want to be a Mom that works at home". Big applause followed. I guess that she figured it out a lot earlier than I did. It certainly wasn't what I had planned, but it truly is the best job in the world... sometimes the most frustrating, but also the most rewarding.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Priorities

It's been raining here for the last few days. Just a shower here and there, cloudy skies and thunder now and then. I like it.
With no outside play, E3 and I have played the Wii together. He is a bit obsessed with Mario Kart.

E3 doesn't use a toilet, but he can kick my butt in Mario Kart Wii. seriously.

He just finished ahead of E1... the reigning champion of the house.

He can't drive a real car for 13 years. Oh boy.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

And she's Six

We asked E2 what she wanted to do for her birthday, and she chose Legoland. The last time we were there was during Stuntman's leave. It was Saturday, so of course, it was open.
For a Saturday, the crowds were completely bearable. I can't handle the crowds at Disneyland. It's tough to stand in line for 45 minutes for a 2 minute ride with three small kids. Legoland had lines today, but nothing crazy. We were able to go on everything that we wanted except one of the new rides that had a 45 minute wait. I purchased the tickets at the school's silent auction recently, so it wasn't as expensive as it could have been. It's one of those "spend money to save money" things.
We picked up a flat of strawberries on the way home. The strawberries from roadside stands in California are so delicious, nothing like what you can buy at a grocery store.
E1 is making the birthday cake for tomorrow. No big party, just E2's uncles are coming over for cake after mass and breakfast in the morning.
E2 was so excited about her birthday last night. Stuntman and I were snuggling on the sofa watching TV a little after midnight last night when E2 wandered out of the bedroom. She said "it's my birthday" with a big smile. I guided her back to bed and chatted with her for a little bit before she went back to sleep. I can't believe that she is 6 already.

A couple days ago I was in the ER checking to see if I had broken a bone. ( I had not, just badly bruised and swollen)
While there, I flashed back to an ER trip that I had when I was 4-5 months pregnant with E2. I had a little spotting and a friend brought me in to be evaluated. (Stuntman was out of town at the time). While I was waiting to be seen, I hemorrhaged. A. Lot. I remember seeing "D&C?" written on the board at the nurses station next to my name. The doctor sent me home after evaluating me and I was to come back in the morning for another evaluation. He said that there was a 50%+ chance that I would lose the baby during the night and prepare myself for that. I bled for about a week until the placenta healed.
I'm going to go give E2 a kiss on her forehead right now as she sleeps.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day


Thank You



"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself"
Joseph Campbell

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Before and After

Here are the Before and After photos of the house.
We absolutely love the final result. Due to the structure of the house in certain areas, we needed to modify the design here and there but the end result works perfectly!
The soapstone countertop is beautiful. Soapstone is a little different and took a little to get used to, but the pros so far outweigh any cons. Others may have other opinions, but hey, it's my kitchen. For example... soapstone is softer than granite. it scratches pretty easily. Most scratches disappear with a touch of mineral oil. Bigger ones can just be sanded away. It may be softer than granite, but it is less porous. That is what sold me on soapstone in the first place. Non-porous means no bacteria hiding in microscopic holes on the surface. It means no stains. So far the following items have not stained the countertop (some experiments were accidental, others not) ; bleach, paint, coffee, wine, berries, glue, vinegar. All without needing to seal the countertop with some nasty chemical sealer.

BEFORE

AFTER


BEFORE


AFTER


BEFORE



AFTER

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Unaccompanied trip

I enjoyed my Mother's day gift today. I didn't ask for much. All I wanted is whatever the girls brought home from school in secrecy and a couple hours to go to the mall... alone.
I had a Macy's gift card that I received when I attended the Ellen show about a week ago. Who knew that they were also having a sale today? Apparently everyone else did. The place was packed and I spent more time in line than I did shopping. It was early in the day and the entire mall was packed! This mall has recently finished ANOTHER major add-on... and it is still packed. Recession... really?
Anyhoo... I found some fancy high-heels and some fat-squishing undergarments to accompany my little black dress that I plan to wear to an upcoming event. I also found two cute summery shirts on the clearance rack. I had $7 left on the $100 gift card, so I picked up an acrylic pitcher that will be perfect for margaritas by the pool. I spent less than $7 out-of-pocket, whew!
Now I can go another 12-24 months without stepping foot in a mall. I can't handle it. It would be bearable if it was empty... but I don't think it ever is.

My kitchen is basically finished, just waiting for crown moulding. Pictures will be uploaded as soon as the finishing touches are complete. I absolutely love my new kitchen/dining/living room. It is very functional... plus it it exactly my style.

Did you know that black or brown photo frames are a fraction of the cost of white ones? I didn't. Ten white wood photo frames in various sizes would have cost me around $100, but the same frames in black, plus paint, cost only $40.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just in Time

Our yearly car registrations just arrived. We are lucky enough to have them due after the increase that the California lawmakers enacted. Lucky us. We have a few cars; my minivan, Stuntman's work car and his pickup truck. The RV registration should arrive any day. I estimate that it'll cost us $500-800 more this year. They say it's based on the value of the vehicle. I need to find out how they are calculating that value.
PLUS we just received the first of the off-road registrations. The fee DOUBLED. yes, DOUBLED... FOR EACH OFF-ROAD VEHICLE. An old dirt-bike that has a yearly registration that is the same amount that it is worth. Great. We can afford to pay the increases, I'll cut back somewhere. Can't be my clothing budget, that is already at about $10/month.
The off-road thing really ticks me off... it's not as if there isn't a fee from the government when you ride on public land as well. ugh.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Still ringing

video
I can still hear the honking in my ears. This is just a 13 second video of our time at one of the local Tea Parties today.
I have no idea how many people were there. All I know is that I was surprised at how many there were.
I only saw one person drive by with the thumbs down (a young blonde chick). Almost every driver had their thumbs up and their horn honking when driving by the demonstration. Male, female, white, black, hispanic, asian, old, or young... it didn't matter.
I don't object to paying taxes. I have never failed to pay them and I don't take any "questionable" deductions. (unlike so many politicians) The demonstrations were about more than just taxes. They were about the current direction that the government is heading and the waste of our tax dollars.
Here in California people are very upset about the sales tax hike (9.25% in LA) and the car registration fee increase.
We had a conversation with E2 today regarding taxes and she just didn't get it. Why would someone take some of your money just because you worked for it? We tried to explain it... just a blank stare is what we received.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Decisions


Three choices for the accent color in the kitchen;
1. Armored Steel
2. Greenland
3. Windrock

The main color of the dining area and living room is called Desert Suede.
I'll give you one guess... what was Stuntman's choice for the accent color?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

HE IS RISEN

Happy

Easter

Everyone!


May everyone have a joyous Easter. This is the first time in three years that Stuntman has been home on Easter, so it will be a joyous one here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dreams and Ice Cream



Yesterday, the cabinetmaker and his guys installed most of the doors and the crown moulding. It is now officially my dream kitchen. It would be fine with me as is... but I'm sure that it will be even nicer with the walls smooth and painted and the floors something other than old vinyl or sub-floor.
E1 and I were admiring the kitchen when I said that I must be dreaming. She reminded me that if I was dreaming, everything would be back into the cabinets. Soooooo, I spent a few hours deciding where everything belonged and filling the cabinets.

During our hail storm yesterday, just after all of the workers left, the contractor stopped by with a few quarts of ice cream from Mashti Malone's. He had told us before of their rose water ice cream, so he decided to bring us a gift for Easter. Seriously, what a nice guy. The ice cream was delicious. I had never heard of the place before, but I'm sure that I will be visiting in the future. He brought rose water ice cream and also faloudeh. The two flavors together along with a splash of lemon juice on top was delicious. I think the faloudeh is a sorbet, it doesn't say on the package, and it isn't on their website. It tastes a bit like tapioca pudding.

Stuntman is home. Life is good.

Friday, April 3, 2009

I needed google maps

You know those "Live Traffic Feed" things on some blogs? These are pretty interesting to see a live shot of who is looking at your site, but I always wonder how they peg me coming from somewhere not even near where I live. Yes, it's in California, but not that close. Probably 20 million people between me and there. huh.

I almost cried a little





Now my kitchen, although it has no running water, is officially nicer than any kitchen that I thought that I would ever have.
The fabricators arrived today with my countertops and they are gorgeous. I am so glad that I didn't listen to everyone... and I mean everyone, when they said "why don't you just get granite?" The soapstone is perfect. I love the feel of it. The top photo is what it looks like dry, and the bottom photo is after a coat of oil. No nasty, toxic sealant needed. Just an occasional coat of food grade mineral oil to bring out the color and hasten the natural darkening of the stone.

The garden is full of tiny sprouts. E3 assisted me with transplanting the baby radishes today. The seeds sprout in clumps and need to be spread out in order to grow, so we did that today with dozens of tiny little radishes. All the while, E3 talking to the little plants, putting them in their "dirt bed" with a "dirt pillow".

Yesterday, E2 spent a couple hours sobbing and missing her daddy. E1 was a wreck the night before he left, but it took a few days for it to hit E2. E3 just thinks that daddy is in his office on the other side of the house half of the time. This is the first time Stuntman has been gone for more than a day since he redeployed and it's breaking his heart to be away from us, even though it's only for two weeks. One down, one to go.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Did I mention?

My mom is on a flight to CA as I type. She is coming out for my birthday (today) her birthday (Wednesday) and Easter.
Stuntman is leaving tomorrow for the corporate home office until Good Friday. The two trips just happened to coincide... Stuntman didn't know he was leaving until recently.
I hope my mom doesn't mind the mess!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Making progress


A lot of progress has been made on the remodel. Nothing fancy, and it's still a mess, but progress has been made. The engineer came back with a plan, so the guys have been working on the sheer wall (pictured above) and giant bolts that go into the foundation at several (6?) places. These bolts are as tall as I am and they go through the floor and into the foundation. Construction is so much simpler in places that the earth doesn't shake. Earthquakes have never really affected this neighborhood in the past, but there is always a chance. We're much more likely to be in the path of a brush fire. Isn't California great?
Seriously, I love it here... my neighbors are awesome, the weather is amazing, and everything (beach, mountains, desert, Disneyland) is within an hour drive.

You may not be able to tell, my my new dining room is taking shape. What was once a GIANT laundry room, is on its way to become a dining room. The patio door or lights aren't in yet, so it will look a lot less like a cave soon.

My kitchen is about the same, except most of the cabinets are in, including the island. I've always wanted an island. I also found a pot rack on Craigslist, yea!
Countertops should be in place in a few days. That island is big enough to roll out some serious lefse!

My contractor and his crew are amazing! What a wonderful bunch of guys. Last week, I had a truckload of soil delivered for my seriously undernourished garden. Two of the men were awaiting delivery of materials before they began work for the day. When I began the task of bringing wheelbarrows full of dirt into the backyard, they helped. Not only did they help, they did almost all of the work! I'm talking 6 cubic yards of topsoil into the backyard that is on a slight uphill. I was planning to take 2 days to do it myself! They weren't being paid to haul dirt... they just happened to arrive a bit early for the job. They wouldn't take anything for their trouble, but I think they will be by in a couple months for some fresh tomatoes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hunting

It seems as though having gaping holes in your home during a remodel may invite unwanted guests.
Stuntman and I were in the kitchen chatting and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something looking at me from an exposed rafter. It saw me and scurried back further into the attic.
Stuntman didn't see it, and thought that maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me.

I was upstairs typing and heard the airsoft rifle on full-auto in the attic. No luck, because the battery is low. It's currently on the charger.
We just heard one of the two large traps go off. Empty.
I think we may borrow one of the neighbor's cats. Maybe the one that caught the rabbit in our backyard yesterday.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A runner

Yesterday was E1's first track meet. She's wanted to join track since kindergarten and she seems to really enjoy running. The coach spoke to me how he sees real potential in her and how he is looking forward to how she progresses. The other coach also gave great compliments about her "mind of a long-distance runner". It seems that her downright stubborn side and determination is paying off now. It was a mock meet, so kids were able to enter as many races as they wanted and it was very relaxed. She ran the 800, easily. As 8th graders ran past the finish line out of breath and exhausted, she ran past the finish line (not far behind them) as if she had just ran to the mailbox and back, not a half mile! She also ran the 100, 200, 400, and the 4x400 relay. E1 definitely does not take after me. I only run when chased.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Everything is on hold until Tuesday. It seems that our house isn't constructed like originally thought, something about beams in the other direction, nothing major, just a need for re-planning on the architect's part. Soooo, today it's just me , E3 and the dogs at home. It's good to give Roxie a break for a day. I think she was growing tired of sleeping on the sofa and barely raising her head to bark at the workers now and then. She needs more sleep than that and they were disturbing her.
The architect is talking with the city engineer for a new plan approval, something about a sheer wall and earthquake and tie downs, and other things to make sure that my 2 story house doesn't become a ranch-style house if there is any earth-shaking.
I do have my new sink in, I like it... and it shows how it is just a matter of time until it all comes together. My washer/dryer is operational once again. It was out-of-service for 4 days but by the looks of the hampers it must have been out for 4 weeks. My oven is also operational so no more microwavable foods or take-out. We did hit the kids favorite restaurant, Soup Plantation, earlier in the week. We were definitely in need of fresh vegetables and that place is always a huge hit with the kids. They love piling their plate with every vege, and they actually eat most of them! (They know that the more veges they eat, the bigger bowl of soft-serve ice cream they can have at the end)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Before and During

Before

Day 1

Day 2

Now that the plumbing is complete, and the new tankless water heater is in place, the guys began on the kitchen.
I was left with a functioning kitchen over the weekend, but Sunday night I needed to empty every cabinet. I have stacks and stacks of dishes in E3's room. Luckily, the weather has been nice so he hasn't played in his room at all.
The decision about the countertop was the easiest yet. The trip to the slab warehouse was fun. The kids accompanied me... and luckily, they didn't break anything... not even close. Although the girls fought over who got to carry the small sample of soapstone on the way home. They took turns every ten miles.
The "before" picture definitely looks better than the other two photos right now. I can't wait to see the "after".
As you can see in the "before" pic, my cabinets began protesting when they heard about their impending doom. Drawers broke, shelves fell out... it was a conspiracy. Similar to the range's recent protest.
I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Checking in

I have started a post more times than I can remember... but I am finally going to finish this one (I've said that before too).
It's been a bit busy around here. In the last few weeks we have gone through two nasty viruses, one stomach, and one cold... and I caught both. Things don't move smoothly when mom gets sick.
We just returned from walking around the neighborhood delivering Girl Scout Cookies. (Butterfly Wife, yours will be in the mail tomorrow). We lucked out and all but one person was home.
It's a beautiful day today. In the 80's I'm guessing.
Stuntman is working his butt off cleaning out two rooms that are in the path of demolition this week. We are doing some house remodeling that involves moving Stuntman's workbench and the laundry room. It also means cleaning the playroom in order to access everything. It's amazing all the crap that can collect in 13+ years.
Next week, I'll need to find a place to put everything in my kitchen while it is remodeled. I can't wait to say goodbye to my pink kitchen tile! I didn't even know they made pink grout.. seriously... who special-orders that?
I don't do well when there are too many choices... it took me two hours to pick out the color of white that I wanted for the cabinets. Many more choices, and my head may explode in the next month. Wish me luck, I'm going to the slab warehouse tomorrow to pick out the countertops. It is very likely that my head WILL explode.
I'm also in the midst of creating a new website for the girl's school. It looks great so far, if I do say so myself. (don't judge by the looks of the blog, I haven't put my best effort in it, sorry)
OK, I must post this now. I need to go back to helping Stuntman before he tries to move the washer and dryer by himself... like he did with the freezer.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Better late than never


We finally ordered prints of all of the photos that Stuntman and I took over the last 2 years.
The one above is my favorite one that Stuntman took last year. To me, it looks like some other planet with multiple sunsets... or maybe it's sunrises, I'm not sure.
I ordered a large print and now I need to find a frame and a place to put it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ugh

Looks like my plans have changed today.
I'm sitting home with E3, who pukes every 30 minutes (luckily he mostly hits the bowl) and E2 who has a bout of diarrhea.
I hear that it's been going around school for the last few weeks... it was only a matter of time until it hit our house.
Stuntman drove E1 to school. I needed to brief him on the strict drop-off procedures since he had never done so... which driveway to drive in, where to open the door, where to drive out, etc..

On another note, looks like a few of the moms at the school will be taking on a big project. I'm excited about it. If you want something changed, sometimes you just need to do it yourselves... and convince those in authority that it needs to be done.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The worst commercial


Buck was recently commenting on the stupid Valentine's day commercials out there and I just saw this commercial again on my TV. It's not for Valentine's Day, but must be the worst commercial ever. The quality isn't that great in the embedded version, but I think you can still see that if you go to 5-minute pawn, you can buy a motorcycle to impress the skanky ho with the monstrous bags under her eyes.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rain?

Looks like rain.
I just love the rain... always have. I love it even more since I live somewhere that rain is rare. It'll be a nice change of pace from the 80 degree weather that we've had for the last week or so. I REFUSE to wear shorts in February... downright refuse to. No, I'm not complaining about the outrageously beautiful weather here, it's what keeps up here, I'm just looking forward to the rain.
I have beef stew in the crock-pot, and a frozen loaf of bread dough thawing and rising on the countertop. Should be a good day for it.
I'm heading to the Red Cross to donate blood today. It's been over a year since my tattoo, so it's go.

Also here is a E1's sure-fire sales pitch to Grandma...
E1: "Grandma, would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?"
Grandma: "of course I'll buy a few"
E1: " You know, Barbara next-door bought 8 boxes"
Grandma: " OK, I'll buy 10"

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

the neighborhood

Stuntman and I bought this house over 13 years ago. We know our next-door neighbors very well. The ones on either side of us and the ones that share the driveway we know well enough to leave our keys with each other when we are out of town.
The rest of the neighborhood.... not so much.
We've never met anyone across the street. We have waved to each other as we drive our separate ways, but never actually spoken... until now. It's Girl Scout Cookie time, and E1 wanted to sell door-to-door. I walked with her and we met some very nice people. Almost everyone has lived here a very long time. It seems as if once you move to this street, you stay here.
We didn't walk the entire street though... I didn't care to meet anyone that lived in the house with the kite-man (he flies tiny little kites in the street and looks a bit like Bozo the clown)... and we didn't make it all the way to the guy-who-walks-around-in-his-robe-and-hasn't-shaved-or-bathed-in-10-years' house either.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spring Planting


I don't think that a flower will grow when it is planted like this, but E3 doesn't care.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

WHO's READY FOR MONSTER JAM??!!


Apparently, we were.

The whole family went to Monster Jam at Angel's Stadium yesterday. We had pit passes, so we arrived early enough to walk around the pits a see the trucks up close. At first, E3 (who is obsessed with his Matchbox monster trucks) was terrified of the trucks, but after a few minutes, he was excited to see the "big trucks!" He was especially excited to see his favorite, Grave Digger.
It wasn't as rednecky as I had anticipated, and we had an enjoyable time... except for tired kids, my arm spasm from carrying E3, the constant requests for cotton candy each time the vendor walked by, and the fat-headed jerk that sat in front of us that seemed to think it was a good idea to teach his young kid gang signs and boxing during the show.
It rained at our house all day, but it was clear (and about 15 degrees warmer) down in Anaheim.
It's cool today, but not enough to keep the kids inside. I have been working all weekend on a special/urgent project for work. (read= extra money for my new kitchen :D )

Friday, January 23, 2009

How awesome is that!


In-n-Out Burger was at the girls's school one day this week.
They brought their big truck and served lunch for the kids and families.
It was their basic hamburger or cheeseburger, chips and a drink. I couldn't order the usual double-double animal style, but it was still a very tasty lunch.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Home on the range


My range heard the rumors that it was going to be replaced. It heard Stuntman and I discussing the kitchen remodel... it heard me talking to my friend today about the range I was planning to buy to replace it. It's not as if it didn't need replacing, the top was practically rusted through into the oven. It stopped working today out of protest. So, a little ahead of schedule I ran to Sears to buy a new one. I have shopped prices online for weeks, so I knew what to expect when I arrived in the store.. or so I thought. I actually paid less than I had planned. How often does that happen! Sears has this price-match guarantee and they checked around for me and found a cheaper price, plus they had free delivery and haul-away special ending today. Yippie.
It doesn't arrive until next week, but I can wait. The burners still work, so I guess that I just won't be baking anything until then. At least the range waited this long to quit working... unlike all of the other appliances that died during Stuntman's deployment (fridge, dishwasher, blender, coffeemaker, and microwave, well the last one was just before he left) .

On the kid front, E2 learned how to swing/pump by herself today. Until now, she had no desire to even try. She was perfectly content to have me push her. Unlike E1, who couldn't wait to learn how to swing on her own as soon as she could fit on the big kid swings. E2 didn't quit swinging until well after dusk. She did take a quick break to eat dinner, but went right back outside and continued swinging until she was tired.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

100 degrees

There is almost a 100 degree difference in temperature between my house and my sister's house today.
... and she thinks that I'm the crazy one for living here.


although I wouldn't mind getting up into double-digit humidity.. it is WAY too dry right now.. and windy... but at least my car doors aren't frozen shut, and my eyelashes don't freeze and break.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

There goes my manicure

We've been doing a little work around the yard for the last couple weeks. One of the benefits of living here is that it is currently 75 degrees and sunny outside, perfect for yard work.
Last week we, I mean I, dug out a huge tree root that was going across the back yard. After I dug all around it (it took almost 2 hours), Stuntman chopped it up with an ax and pulled it out of the ground in 10 minutes.
Today, I am stuccoing the low wall that runs across the middle of our back yard between our house and the upper level where the playground stands. We've talked about stuccoing the wall since we moved here 13 years ago. Finally. Neither of us have stuccoed before, but I am half done with the scratch coat and it already looks great. I hope that it all doesn't fall off in a year.
Stuntman is building steps to go over the wall, instead of walking around it like we always have. Looks good and it definitely will be useful. We will finish with a walkway of some sort to the steps. I think we will make some type of casual stone pathway.
Cheaper and more effective than going to the gym.
The title to this post may be deceiving because I don't have a manicure. Am I the only woman that thinks manicures are a total waste of time and money?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Moo Ear!

Or, if you're not E3,
Happy New Year!