Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is quite possibly my most favorite day of the year. I love the excitement and anticipitation of the day. We spent Christmas Eve at Uncle Mike & Aunt Debs. We read Luke 2, while the kids and I sat under the piano. Then just for kicks we had a pinata. AK is a darling. She looks so teeny tiny trying to hit the pinata.
The kids wearing their matchy matchy pajamas, in front of the tree. Mr. Man reads the Cajun Night before Christmas to the kids.
Then the kids are whisked off to bed, and the elves get to work. We did lots of Playmobil, and totally underestimated the set up. The pirate ship took 90 minutes to put together!!

Gearing up for the Holidays

*warning picture heavy posts*

Here's Mr. Man, Santa, and Mr. Boy who refused to talk to Santa the first time he got near him. Then he was totally upset, because he forgot to tell Santa what he needed. So he went back up there, to chat with Santa. He asked for the Dinoco 400 Cars set from Target it's $29.99, and Mr. Boy calls it the 2-9-9-9 cars.

AK with Santa, she didn't like him either.
Our Annual Gingerbread Decortating Extravaganza. We did the Costco kit, and the Trader Joes' kit. Oh how I love Trader Joes, however their Gingerbread house smells oddly like Ketchup.
Mr. Boy with his house..

AK with her house Mr. Boy & AK all dressed up for a holiday party. They looked adorable.
Then Mr. Boy performed at his preschool Christmas Pagaent. So fun. They performed their song without a hitch. One class asked the parents to sing along to Away in a Manger . I totally choked up singing along with 100 3 &4 year olds with thier parents. It totally put me in the Christmas spirit.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's a Festivus Miracle...

Mr. Man went to a client's holiday party. They had a white elephant gift exchange..... Mr. Man brought home this. It's a 6 and a half pound can of the worlds GREATEST food.... hominey.. YUM. I grew up on this, love it, it's nectar of the Gods..... and Mr. Man thinks it is vile and wretched.

When he told me about the white elephant gift exchange and then unveiled his prize... I exclaimed, "That's no white elephant gift, it's a Festivus Miracle"

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Present....

Just some shots from around the house... The Tree

And the two pairs of legs that are constantly sticking out from under the bottom of the tree. Remember laying under the tree when you were little? Nathan loves sleeping under the tree, I'm thinking it will be a St. Lucia tradition in our house is to sleep under the tree. The lights on our house.... Mr. Man came up with the sweet swag design. The sentimental decorations. On the right is a statue that Mr.Man just HAD to have when he was little. In the middle is the first Nativity that Mr. Man gave me that first humble Christmas. On the far left is a candleholder that I had growing up.

The Christmas Cards in process.

And the dog who has laid at my feet during the whole Christmas Card assembling process. When I work I throw my trash on the floor... then clean up at the end. Sandy always loves to lay on my pile of trash.

And phew... done and mailed!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

My 15 minutes of fame...

Haven't seen it yet, but apparently AK & I are in the OC Register today. If you get the paper, would you mind saving me a copy?

Shhhh... we are LA Times, Wall Street Journal, and Daily Variety type people. I'm surprised we haven't been kicked out of the OC by now.

Update... Oooo we are online. Check me out I'm an Internet Celebrity. CLICK_ME!

Another edition of Superhero Stories...

I was standing looking at the tree, when I saw tucked deep in the branches there was some ornaments that didn't quite look like they matched. Upon closer inspection, I saw the superhero's hard at work on another rescue operation. (click on picture to make it bigger, 10 points if you can spy Batman.) When I asked Mr. Boy what was happening, he replied "A forest rescue, Super Grover is trapped."

Happy Birthday Skoopix...

Yes... another letter to our dog... go ahead and roll your eyes at me.

Dear Skoopix or more commonly known as Skoopi,

On the occasion of your 8th birthday, I write you a little note. You got the short end of the doggie stick in life. You were the second dog... commonly known as "Sandy's pet". You came to this house knowing you would never be "Top Dog" here as long as Sandy was around.

We felt like Sandy was lonely, and needed a pal, so we scoured around for you looking for just the right dog. We went to this sweet little family who had breed puppies as a family project. We met your mom, who loved you and nudged you to "Go Play" with the others. You walked right over to Mr. Man, and settled in his legs for a slumber. Well, that was it.... you picked us. We took you home that night, and your mama's human sobbed as she said goodbye to you.
Oh, your tummy was so soft, like velvet when you were a puppy! Our friends came over that night to meet you, everyone loved to hold you. You would sit down and throw back your head and howl this pitiful.. "RoooRoooRoooooooo" sound when you were being ignored by Sandy or us. You still do it on occasion and it makes me laugh. Sandy could not STAND you the first week. Everytime you touched her, she would scowl and run away. Your lovable and resillent nature just kept trying to get her to accept you, and she did once she realized you'd share your food with her, and your food was much tastier.
Your name.... is ridiculously unique, a daily reminder of our good friend Booboo and her husband. We spent New Years Eve with them and were discussing what we would name our first children, and the men were getting a bit punchy... Mr. Man said.. "Schnaug.. that's a good name for a first born son".... and everyone laughed and laughed (maybe we were all a bit punchy....) then asked how you would spell that.. Mr. Man said "S-k-o-o-p-x, the koopx is silent.. and the Naug is invisible. " For whatever reason, that was just HILARIOUS. Out of that came your name Skoopix. However, though your name is ridiculous, Skoopi fits you well.

Skoopi, you remind me a bit of Forrest Gump.... loveable, obedient, and incredibly loyal, however you have not been blessed with a high brain capacity. For what you lack in mental power, is more than made up in the love you expel. Sandy loves and worships Mr. Man... you, however, are ALWAYS by my side. You are MY dog. You have never tested me like Sandy has. When I went away on my first business trip, you were so beside yourself you ate the Christmas Tree and a giant hole in the couch. You are always sitting there by me and when my hand falls to my side, you gently nudge it looking for some rubs and scratches. You crave physical touch, and can not stand being on a "stay". Your whole body shakes just waiting for that moment you can be released and go back to nuzzling.
We fear what it will be like for you to lose your pal Sandy. You are best friends... you started sharing the same bed this year, and you are rarely out of each other's sight. Sandy gets you into all sorts of mischeif, and you copy her bad behavior. Sandy jumps on guests, even with failing hips, and years of training, she jumps. You join in the jumpfest. If Sandy misses the guests arrival, you quietly stand beside me sniffing the air in the direction of our guests to see if they are interesting.

Skoopi, you are so loved and such an integral part of this family, I can not imagine life without your nose nuzzling me throughout the day. On your birthday, I am grateful for the silent loyal companion who has loved me unconditionally each and every day of their life.

With Love,
Your favorite human on the planet and that other guy (aka....Mr. Man)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Company Shindig...

So, I got all fancy to go to Mr. Man's fancy holiday party. I even wore a bit of make up. Mr. Man... he looks THRILLED I tell ya to be taking this pic. What you don't know is this the 11th and final shot we took... Seriously, it's easier for me to wrangle the wee ones into smiling for the camera than it is to get this guy to smile on cue. We take, or should I say attempt a family pic every few months. He is the one staring off into space or looking down at a shiny spec on the ground when we finally are able to get everyone else to smile... but I didn't come here to whine about Mr. Man's inability to cooperate in pictures...

We had a lovely time, swanky club in Hollywood. The food was well.. ahem.. not my favorite part. However, the people were fun. Mr. Man has worked there a while, it's interesting to see him work the room. "Mr. Fancy Working Man" is definitely not the "Mr. Man" I live with. He's a lot more animated, and get this... he speaks without grunting or even without being spoken to first. IT'S AMAZING.


The second holiday party we went to for this company, I stood with my jaw on the floor the entire evening. On the way home, Mr. Man said... "you are too quiet" and I was just too flabberghasted to speak in complete sentences... "you spoke... you know.. initiated conversations, your colleagues think you are funny.... they have "Mr. Man-isms... you are the "cool guy" to work with". I was disturbed for days... mostly because back then, we hung out with my friends and their spouses, not a lot of people knew Mr. Man without knowing me first. And well.. I might talk too much, and Mr. Man could never get a word in.

Anyway.. back to the fancy shindig... I was way overdressed, apparently these things are getting more casual. There were a few of us wives that didn't get that memo. Mr. Man kept his suit jacket and tie on the whole night so I wouldn't feel like the only one overdressed.

And since this fancy shindig was a ways away, we got to chat on the way up. Guess what subject Mr. Man brought up... ahem.. brace yourself people. This blog! WHAT? I know! I warned you to brace yourself. I printed off his birthday letter, so it's peaked his interest. In fact, being the techno-geek that I adore, he was like..."Yeah, maybe we should get you your own domain, and I could develop an interface for you" (In my head... huh... I'll have to remember those terms and ask one of the guys at the party tonight to break that down into terms I can understand) Maybe.... I'll have to get more serious about this blog thing knowing, that now it's not just me spouting off into those vast world wide interwebs. Now my audience might include Mr. Man. Ooooo that means I'll have to behave... well shoot that's no fun.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I should be.... right now..

I should be at a rocking girls weekend up at Lake Arrowhead. My bag was packed, snow boots were dug out from the depths of the garage, directions for Mr. Man on how to care for the wee ones in my absence was posted on the fridge. Mother Nature wasn't willing to work with me to make the trip happen.... maybe she got wind of the ever lingering pneumonia, and the stern lecture my doctor and a specialist gave me.
Dissappointed doesn't even describe my feelings. I need a girls weekend.... need some time to laugh until 3am, need some shopping with my pals, and some time without having to care about anyone else but myself. Oh well.... there will be others, if not I'm making my own one happen!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas Past...

I distinctly remember sitting around Uncle Mike & Aunt Debs** kitchen, and hearing the adults reminisce about their "poor days" as young couples and college students. Mr. Man's parents, and Aunt Peggy were there as well, talking about the simple early days of their families. One of them said, "I loved being poor college students." I believe it was Mr. Man's dad who said that, the details are fuzzy because it was a LONG time ago.... and my children have used all my brain cells today. Anyway, I remember stopping whatever I was doing and my jaw dropped and I said.... "You LOVED being poor?" as if they just told me the world was not round, but a cube. They reminisced about the simpler times, the simple pleasures of going out for ice cream.

I thought they were crazy...

However, I must be getting old, because I pulled this picture out from our Christmas box and I looked at that couple... and smiled remembering that very first Christmas. In our teeny tiny house in LA with one small heater, that hardly heated.

Am I wearing a Christmas sweater in that pic? And why are my bangs so short? Yes, that is a baggy Christmas sweater, and my bangs are short because several weeks prior Ross cut my hair. He claims he knew how to do it, but my bangs ended up an inch shorter than I asked for, and I took one look in the mirror and burst into tears. They grew out, and Mr. Man felt guilty every time he looked at me for 4 months. Times were simple back then.

We were on a tight budget... Mr. Man just started his first real job, and I was working in downtown LA getting ready to quit and head back to school. I had a whole $5 a week to do whatever I wanted with. Our grocery bill was rarely over $20 (although, that was also the era where we eat spaghetti every day, because it was all I knew how to cook) We also ate roasted garlic on Ritz Crackers every Sunday night as a special treat. I remember this, because it had to be real Ritz crackers, and those were "expensive".

That first Christmas was romantic, I remember my gifts included a black fitted Gap sweater, which I still have for sentimental reasons... (I'm sure Mr. Man was hoping I'd wear it instead of that huge festive sweater), some Victoria's Secret lotion, and a wonder mop (those were ALL the rage back then). We looked forward to exchanging gifts and Christmas. We sat by the tree and talked about Christmas's to come... the traditions we wanted to carry out with our future family.

We gave our little spunky old neighbor lady, Gloria, that we loved dearly, an ornament that I handpicked from Pic'n'Save, and she gave us a box of Godiva Chocolates. I felt terrible that we gave her something so cheap, and she gave us something so indulgent... something that cost 10 times more than what we paid for that gift.... however she kept that ornament out year round, and when she passed away her daughter took that ornament knowing it was a prized posession. I learned a lot that from that experience, a gift does not have to be expensive to be of great worth.

And the tree... was a hand me down from Mr. Man's parents. It was plastic, real plastic, like tupperware and a bit brittle due to age. The bottom half of the tree only had branches in the front. We had that tree for years, and every year it got a little more sparse, and it shed just like a real Christmas tree. I saved a branch of that tree, and keep it amoung our Christmas things. The tree spent it's last Christmas with us when Mr. Man was in Grad School, another humble year, and it didn't have branches on the bottom half. It was a real space saver, and a real conversation starter. I have a soft spot in my heart for that tree... just call me Charlie Brown.

Those early days were filled with fun memories. We watched a ton of movies, and Mr. Man was always playing new music for me. I had missed the 80's, and he was totally stoked to fill me in. We listened to Kevin and Bean on KROQ every morning while getting ready for work. And every once in a while we'd go out on a date.... to Panda Express or In-n-Out. Mr. Man took me on a tour of In-n-Out's across LA during that first year. Telling me about the important event that happened at each one. And going out to eat... that was BIG deal. I got dressed up, put on perfume, and everything. Oh, and Souplantation... that was reserved for special occasions... you know like Birthdays.

Whew... I could reminisce all day...

Anyway, bottom line, I look back at those "poor days" and I smile. I know what the "older folks" were talking about.

Simple Bliss.

This all goes towards the concept that I've been working on, and that's enjoying this ride called life. My friend Bob in particular is always so good about reminding me to enjoy the phase I am in. When the Christmas tree is decorated in one giant blob on the bottom two feet, obviously done by a toddler she will exclaim, " AWESOME! Did you get a picture of that?" There is a time and season for everything my friends.... one day my clothes will be free of sticky handprints, and I'll come across a young mom with a sticky handprint on her pants, and I'll smile.

**Uncle Mike and Aunt Deb, everyone should be so lucky to have relatives like them. Deb makes you feel like you are the most special guest in attendance when you visit. There is no other woman more gracious than Aunt Deb. And Uncle Mike... everyone should have an Uncle Mike. And at one time, we had a theory, that everyone does have an Uncle Mike. He is a riot, always laughing, cracking jokes, and it's never dull around him.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Belated Letter to Mr. Man...

Sandy & Mr. Man have the same birthday... as a joke I did a letter to Sandy instead, and his birthday wish was a P.S. Apparently, no one found that humorous, and I got tons of flack for that. Here is Mr. Man's birthday letter, which I will have to manually print out and put it on his desk, because he is oblivious to my obsession of blogging or the fact that I have a blog.

Dear Mr. Man,
On the occasion of your birthday, I have the opportunity to sit and reflect on your greatness. Recently, I had the opportunity to reflect on our early years, when I was a young bride. I am still amazed you chose me to spend your life with. I was young... and you still chose me. You took a chance on me. You had the foresight to see the potential that I had not discovered yet. You have exhibited patience beyond belief during our time together.
Not everyone gets to see the Mr. Man I know. People didn't get to see the man who lovingly cared for his dad. Most people don't get to hear his wisecracks or the witty comments that have me belly laughing daily. People also didn't see the man who sat with me in the hospital and held my hand and gently reminded me to keep breathing, when I couldn't remember to do it on my own.
You are an amazing person. Brilliant in every way. You are a passionate, passionate man, as our old pal Mr. Birchum would say. You are passionate about the things you enjoy in life. You have a high standard of morals, and you unflinchingly stand up for what you believe. You are also very tolerant of others, and of differences. You have taught me to be more tolerant.
Fatherhood was something you always wanted, and it came so naturally to you. Your faith never waivered during the adoption process. You were and are a pillar of strength that I lean on. Your patience with the children is inspiring. You are an exemplary father and a great provider for our family.
I was asked recently about how I knew you were the one for me. You were strangely familiar, and I was a better person with you than without you. You keep me calm, and remind me to be mellow... more easy going, that is no small task in and of itself.
Bottom line... I love you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hazmat suits for sale... slightly used...

Every year when the weather turns a bit cold, and runny noses start to appear around the house, I have a mini panic attack. The year AK was born, right around the first crisp chilly night she got sick.... and she didn't get better for 6 months. And during that six months, every cold she got set her back a week or two on getting over her long term ailments. I set up a Purell station by the front door, and grilled every one including the cable repairman on his health and exposure to germs. This year, the first cold has arrived, and I immediately get the panicked feeling of "oh here we go again.... "

Then Mr. Man called me on Monday sniffling and was telling me how everyone on his team was sick, and that there was 22 people all sitting in one conference room coughing and sneezing at work today. I told him to take a hot shower, scrub himself with Betadyne, and stay at a hotel for the week, because he wasn't allowed to come home until he had been quarantined and deemed noncontagious.

I'm beginning to wonder if maybe my experience with AK, might have scarred me a bit... maybe it's made me into a bit of a germophobe...

Mr. Man says it's time to put the Hazmat suits away, time to deflate the bubble that I put around the stroller when we are at the mall with the kids, and time to let them play on the playground without wearing masks and latex gloves. He's saying it's time to relax, let the kids be kids, if they decide to lie down on the floor at costco during checkout, it's time to let them lie down without going into hysterics.

Alright...Alright... Mr. Man.. you can come home now... I'm going to relax this cold and flu season. I will put away the Hazmat suits, the bubble, and the latex gloves. However... there will be NO laying on the floor at Costco. I've got to draw the line somewhere...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Went on a little trip...

I'm not a fan of traveling with wee ones. They get tired, overstimulated, cranky, and you have to pay an extra close eye on the things they touch while at other people's homes... Then to top it off, I have pneumonia, so I don't feel so hot. However... maybe my wee ones aren't so wee small anymore, because we had fun on a quick trip to Phoenix for Thanksgiving. They played well with cousins, slept well, and even ate well. Bottom line... we had a blast! As adults, we played way too much Guitar Hero, laughed alot, and ingested more calories in one snack than we should consume in one day. We fed ducks on Thanksgiving morning and played at a park. Everything in Phoenix is BIG. The park was HUGE! We went to my nephews party at Pump It Up. So fun. When I saw these two jumping, I had a total flash of fast forward 20 plus years and they will be dancing at her wedding.. *sniff* He is such a patient and loving Dad. These boys are goofy when they are together, and it's fun to watch Ross with his siblings. Becca is a pro at the girly stuff. So AK got treated to her first pedicure, she LOVED it. She keeps showing me her "Pretty Toes".
We went to a dairy farm, which was so fun. Aren't the cousins cute all sitting on the hay for the hayride!
We all tried milking a cow. Here is Ryan's first time... I could make a really obnoxious crude joke.... but I'll refrain... *giggle giggle smirk*Here is Becca with a brand new cow. He is two days old, and has these bulging eyes, and is so wrinkley. He was such a little love, with such an expressive face! I swear he was wagging his tail. Another cute pic of AK with her daddy.. I personally loved this sweet little calf. Mr. Boy found the barn a bit noisey. AK loved this little cow, he was a few weeks old with a lovely little pink nose. And the tractors were a toddler's playground. Mr. Boy still talks about this big tractor!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Sandy!

Dear Sandy,

On your 11th birthday I am overwhelmed with happy memories of your existence. You are a dog, however, you are our dog. You were our "first child" and were a happy addition to our newlywed existence.

Mr. Man wanted a yellow lab from the moment we were married. One day, while living in our teeny tiny house in LA, with our teeny tiny yard, he got the courage to ask the landlord if we could get a dog. On our 2nd Christmas, I opened a gift containing a post it with a handdrawn picture of a dog on it. A few weeks later we picked you up and took you home. The first night you cried and howled, and snorted like a little piggy, because you were so sad to be away from your family. We both got up with you every three hours and took you outside to "do your business". We stood outside and held hands while we praised your good deed.

Sandy, the first few months of your life, it RAINED all the time. Buckets of RAIN for months. So the next few days, we stood out in the middle of the night with you in the RAIN, still holding hands, and you thought the mud was the worlds funnest thing. It distracted you from "doing your business" but you were so cute, we didn't mind. Everytime it rains, I think of our puppyhood days.

Then just a few days into your new life with us, you became VERY ill. I drove your little limp body to the vet in the pouring rain, and saw his grim face, when he told me you had Parvo, a deadly virus. Your chances were 50/50. I called your Dad, and he said, "Whatever it takes". We put our meager savings towards saving your life. Five days in the vet hospital, and five tear filled and sleepless nights later, we brought you home, skinny and full of energy.

Sandy, you are wicked smart. It has proved to be a challenge to several of your trainers. You once ate an entire plate of grilled chicken I had prepared for a party, and walked yourself to "time out". It appears you evaluate the satisfaction recieved from the crime and compare it to the punishment and decide.... "Oh yeah! That is totally worth it!" Also, we cannot explain your affinity and love of metal objects. You have probably eaten a hundred dollars worth of coins. Paperclips and a needle have sent you to the vet's office for unpleasant and costly visits. When you pierced your gum with a paperclip, you earned the name of "Paperclip Sandy" and earned your way into the Vet's "Patients of Fame & Shame" wall.

Last year you developed a limp, one that becomes greatly exaggerated when you are begging for attention or being punished. For a while we thought it was a ploy, but have sadly realized your hips are aging quickly. We are not ready to say goodbye to the dog who still wrestles like a puppy. The Vet has informed us you are in the sunset of your life, and we cherish each moment, each wet kiss, and each sweet nuzzle. Today, we are grateful for the dog who has blessed our life.
With Love,
Mom & Dad aka "The Hand that Feeds You"


Also, just wanted to say a Happy Happy Birthday to Mr. Man.

And to point out that Pneumonia... totally sucks. I'm totally annoyed with my body, no ONE needs pneumonia over the Holidays.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My first Car...

Her name was Louwanda. I was three years old when I went with my dad to buy her. A beautiful Buick Skylark, with the optional luggage rack, and fancy hubcaps. My brother passed Louwanda on to me, and she died a tragic death three weeks after I got my license. (Faulty Oil Pump)I learned to drive in this car, when I was 12. And I fondly remember all the trips to the beach in this car with my brothers and I elbowing each other for more space in the backseat. And this is Cinders. The family cat with gorgeous green eyes, and a long black tail. He was a big cat, one that always made the vet nervous. Age is unknown on this cat, but he lived roughly 17-19 years. No small feat for an indoor, outdoor cat. He had a big personality, but was not a snuggler unless you were sick. When I was 7, and very ill, he spent days with me curled at my feet.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Sometimes, I walk in to wake Mt. Boy from quiet time, and I wonder if he stashes alcohol in his room and gets plastered. Most people have a picture of themselves passed out in a festive hat wearing some ridiculous outfit floating around somewhere. It's just a shame he started so young! This weekend, we let him camp in the living room. (yes, right next to the pile of laundry).
Look, it's no secret, I'm not Donna Reed. Cooking wasn't my forte, when Ross met me. I improved on that. However, baking has eluded me. I have worked diligently to be able to bake good brownies, or cookies, or even a cake for 12 years. I haven't quite conquered that. My Mother in Law, is an AMAZING baker. She gave me a cookbook of favorite family recipes, and for years, I secretly thought she was leaving out ingredients in all the dessert recipes. Mine never turned out that great, and they tooked hours to prepare. Turns out, I was just a bad baker. However, I am pleased to announce, I have mastered the Chocolate Chip Cookie. They aren't pretty, but they are delicious.
Then, I totally splurged on these beauties. Aren't they just fabulous? I have been feeling a bit dowdy since the surgery. Now, that I've gotten the ok to start running again, it's time to ditch the shapeless dress, and the yoga pants.