Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to Stupid School. Boo. *Hiss*

I'm particularly bitter about school starting up again this year. With the exception of one sweltering week, it has barely been warm. Then, we spent most of the summer inside various Home Improvement stores rather than lounging at the beach. The summer flew by and I just am not ready to send the kids off to school. I mentioned before, I suck at being the responsible school parent and it is not particularly a talent I want to try and improve. I would much rather we skip the whole school business altogether. So on the last day of summer, we crammed in as much fun as we could. We went on a long hike...
We swam in the pool. The kids had long baths while I prepared the annual "Back to School" Feast. We had the traditional meal of Pizza & Pancakes, something Mr. Boy decided when we ended up doing the midyear back to school feast earlier this year. We unveiled the year's theme which is, "Do your very best." AK has an insane 8AM start time for school, which means I spent from 7:00AM to 7:45 AM pleading and begging my children to "please, please, wake up and get dressed!" I have such good little sleepers, from the beginning of time they have always been waking up somewhere between 7:30-8:30AM, great for this non-morning person family, but bad for evil, stupid, school. Are they really supposed to go to Kindergarten when their backpack is bigger than they are? I might not be ready to have a Kindergartener, but she is ready to give it a try. She was happy to give me a quick wave goodbye. *sigh* How many more days left until summer?

Friday, August 20, 2010

School Blues

There are some serious problems with the new chalet. Well, mainly just one that is causing a whole host of problems. School starts obnoxiously early around here. Like, August 16th early. The sun had barely had time to warm up the place and school began. Have we frolicked enough in the ocean? Eaten enough popsicles? Stayed up way too late because we were having too much fun enough? Did we watch enough Wipeout?
We have barely hit our summer stride, the kids are sleeping late, and enjoying lazy days. Now, AK has to get up at the crack of dawn for an 8AM Kindergarten start time. Yes... 8AM. Then there is the issue of "I suck at being a school mom." I despise homework, having the kids gone all day, dealing with teachers and other mama bears, pick up and drop offs, following school rules, early bedtimes, making lunches.... Such a killjoy.
Homeschooling would rock, but we'd spend all our time at the beach or playing Xbox. Then the last two weeks of the year, I'd panic and we have to cram a year into two weeks.
Then again, maybe my kids could be marine biologists and we could count our days at the beach as "in the field" research days.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bon Appetit!

Remember this cute little 1950's kitchen. I loved it, but as we added on to the Chalet, the kitchen seemed out of proportion to the main living space. So we knocked down a wall and extended it 7 and 1/2 feet. I waffled back and forth for weeks on whether or not to do it, but Mr. Man put his foot down and said, "Yes! More space please!" I listed my priorities: Solid Wood Cabinets, An Island, Farmhouse Sink, and a Pantry. Mr. Man wanted: "Storage, lots of storage and a place to hide appliances. No white cabinets." Hmm... Check. Check. Oops!

For the last 10 years, ever since the purchase of our other house a.k.a. "The Chateau", I have been tearing out pictures I love from magazines and sticking them in a "Someday" file. When it came time to plan, I pulled out all the Kitchen pages I had torn out, and ALL of them were white, except one. Looks like I'm drawn to a white kitchen.

The day the cabinets arrived was better than Christmas. I could hardly stop smiling I was so excited. I had a friend say that she thought, "Everyone should design at least one kitchen in their lifetime." It was an interesting process and I learned a lot from it. Seeing it go from paper to real life was an adventure. Without further ado... I present the Chalet's new Kitchen. That is the very same view as the before pic. Can you believe it? I can't. In the picture below, the view of the city out that window is amazing. Next week the kitchen table gets a makeover to match the new cabinetry. The cabinet maker was a genius and insisted I do cubbies on the table side of the island. It's perfect for grabbing napkins or salt and pepper during dinner.Islands are interesting, in that they attract people to linger. I used to be in the kitchen alone, but now someone is always sitting at the island while I cook. Those light fixtures are like night and day, one was $10, and the other was... well a lot more than $10 from Pottery Barn. Can you guess which came from where?* Also, that awesome wall of cabinets houses a killer pantry. I've unpacked everything I own and still have one side that is completely empty. Time to buy more dishes! I love this section of drawers. I put all my dishes in these drawers and it makes unloading the dishwasher a cinch. Plus the kids can reach them to help set the table. This is my "Peanut Butter Cupboard" and it was the hardest thing to explain to the cabinet makers during the bidding process. My cabinet guy had no problem, he knew exactly what I meant. The cabinet guy also added these scrolls to the bottom as a surprise, I love them, it fits the personality of the kitchen.
This is what you find on the inside of the cabinet. Peanut Butter! and other baking things. It's a mini-workspace for baking and a giant appliance garage. It is genius and keeps my counters clutter free. I made cookie dough in under 3 minutes the other day since everything was at my fingertips except for the eggs and butter. I have to give credit to my Mother In Law who has the Mother (in law) of all Peanut Butter Cabinets.
Alrighty, whose hungry? Dinner is at my place!

*The chandelier over the table was steal at $10 from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. It was exactly what I was looking for. The pendants were a splurge from Pottery Barn.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Dearest AK

Dear Sweet AK,
On the occasion of your 5th birthday, I sit to write you a note to tell you how proud I am of you. Last night, I sat in your room and told you all about the day you were born. I remember vividly the exact moment your birthmother placed your teeny tiny body in my arms. My heart grew twice as big in one instant and I felt like the missing person in my life had just been found. As I stared at your tiny sleeping face, I silently pleaded the most earnest prayer, "Please God, Please let her be mine forever. Please God. Whatever it takes, please, PLEASE let me bring her home." And we did whatever it took to bring you home, which meant months of daily doctor visits and mountains of paperwork. AK, it was worth it, worth every single minute. You have a sweet personality and give hugs freely to anyone who needs it. A few weeks ago at church, one of your friends was crying in the pew in front of us. You saw her tears and climbed right over the bench to give her a hug. There was no need to wait until after church, she needed a hug now, and you were willing to give her comfort right at that moment.
Each and every night as I tuck you into bed, we trade dreams. I'll make up a dream for you to have and stick in your heart, and you do the same for me. It's a tradition that I made up one night after you woke up from a bad dream. Your dreams always involve a princess of some sort, and quite often a dinosaur. It is a nightly tradition that I love, and I swear I have the exact dream you meant for me to have. This year has been the year where you "toughened up" a bit. Previously, I was telling your brother to stop pestering you. Something clicked this year and now I'm telling you to "Keep your hands off your brother. Stop pinching him." As someone who grew up with two brothers who teased and tormented me, I will tell you a secret about older brothers. They are annoying, very annoying. However, you will grow up to be strong and tough. You will learn when not to back down, and be able to hold your own in any situation. Having big brothers teaches you to be fearless. Also, let me tell you something about brothers, they are always in your corner. I was reminded of this during the past weekend as I spent time with my brothers. I learned so much from my brothers, and they taught me to be the strong independent woman I am today. Mr. Boy loves you, and constantly watches out for you, just like my brothers did. Your brother would walk to the ends of the earth for you, you are lucky to have him for a brother. You are a great story teller and love to tell us stories each day. They often start out as, "Once upon a time there was an old princess who lived in a castle." We love to hear your stories, they are adventure filled with princesses, knights, dragons, blood, and evil lurking in every corner. You have learned to read an audience and love to invoke emotion. This has been a wonderful talent, but created some awkward situations. You love to tell people stories that aren't true to get a reaction. You told your preschool teachers this year a convincing story about how your dad died in a fiery car crash. You had all three of your teachers completely duped, until I arrived to pick you up and set the record straight. Recently, you told a lady in a public restroom all about how you had a younger brother who died on Christmas Day. You went on and on about how you missed him terribly. I cowered in the stall not wanting to come out, but the nice lady waited until she could offer condolences to me face to face. AK my absolute favorite activity is listening to you play. You will sit for an hour acting out a story with whatever toys are handy. You have an incredible imagination and often times you will re-enact the previous days activities but with a lot more drama.
This year you will go to Kindergarten, and your dad and I are unsure if it's the right thing. What we do know... is that you are happiest when you are in a social setting, and that you are easy going. If we end up repeating, you will be happy to go with the flow. For this we are grateful. Being a parent is hard, you never really know what the right answer is, but you try your best. Which is really how life goes, whether your a child or an adult. Just try your best and carry on.
AK you have a charmed life right now. You have your dad wrapped around your little finger and your biggest concern is the whereabouts of your pink cowboy boots. You are so carefree and confident that I wish I could bottle this up and give it back to you in small doses later on in life. Every problem in your life right now is easily solved either with a snack or a hug, you are so lucky. If only I could shield you from the rest of the world forever, so that you never worry what others think. If only you could believe forever that the definition of beautiful is wearing pink from head to toe forever and not get caught up in today's vanity.
AK you are fearless. With your easy going personality it makes for many fun outings. I know that you are not going to pass up an opportunity, because you are willing to jump in to whatever situation we place in front of you. It is contagious and your ability to embrace life and live it to it's fullest has rubbed off on me and your dad.
If I could pick one word to describe you it would be Joyful. You spread joy wherever you go and that is why I love being your mom. On this birthday I wish I could freeze time for just a little bit longer, I'm just not ready for you to grow up yet. I'll get there... just be patient with me and do your best!
With Love,

Friday, August 06, 2010

A simple request

Asoka Tano& Anakin Skywalker share drinks after work
After hearing Mr. Man & I discuss AK's upcoming birthday, Mr. Boy became concerned.
Mr. Boy: Mom, can I make one request for AK's birthday?
Moi: Maybe, what is it.
Mr. Boy: Can we please NOT buy an Asoka Star Wars Action Figure for AK?
Moi: Why not?
Mr. Boy: Because then she will make my Anakin kiss Asoka all the time, and he doesn't even like her.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Kitchen-less Adventures

I loathe McDonald's Happy Meals. It's the equivalent of crack for kids. Hey, let's spend $4 on a cheezy toy for a meal they won't eat! The only thing I will hit a McDonald's up for is the Ice Cream, which may or may not actually contain any dairy in it... who knows. It reminds me of childhood trips to the beach, when we would get a Vanilla Cone from McDonald's and walk back to our room at Motel 6. The very same Motel 6 that had a vibrating bed, which we thought was just as fun as a ride at Disneyland. We were classy like that.

When the kitchen was torn out, the kids started to revolt against the steady stream of cereal and Peanut Butter Sandwiches. The convenience of eating out became very attractive, and I quickly learned a handful cheap eating tricks.

Tuesday - Ikea Meatball Special $2.99 (1 feeds both kids!) or Taco Tuesday! @ Del Taco (where I learned that AK can down 5 taco's in less than 5 minutes, she really does have a future in competitive eating!) Hot Dog on a Stick for $1 corndogs (which it turned out that neither the kids or the dogs would eat it)

Wednesday - Carl's Jr. 99cent Hamburger Kid's Meal

Let's stop there, because that is where the story gets good. I found going out to eat gave me a chance to get away from the construction and really focus on the kids. I have been very distracted most of the time, because I'm mulling over decisions I have to make.
On the drywall day, we had to literally cover every item that we owned with plastic. I put a bunch of items in my car that I didn't want to get dusty and off we went for the day's adventure. The dogs had to come with us, which meant the stuff was piled up to the roof in the front seat. Hooray! It was a Wednesday so we hit Carl's Jr for the 99cent kid's meal! I pulled into a parking spot right in front so I could keep an eye on the dogs. When I got out of the car a bunch of stuff fell out too, and I quickly stuffed it back in. I also noticed that I was covered in dust and had a smear of dirt on my face, so I tried to wipe it off in the side mirror.

We walked in and placed our order with the cashier, named Patsy, who had apparently been watching me since I pulled up. I mentioned to Patsy, "This Wednesday Kid's Special has really saved me, we don't have a kitchen right now." She just stared at me and said, "Oh." Then I walked away to get our drinks. When I came back to pick up our meal, she said, "I put some coupons on your tray, and some extra milks for the kids. Anytime you need anything, you just come in and ask for me."

Perplexed I went back to our booth and we ate. I then saw the Patsy the Cashier gesturing to my family and my car while she talked to her manager, and I started to get nervous, something was going on. Patsy reappeared at my table with a stack of coupons. She knelt down next to my table and spoke in a low voice.

"I've been down on my luck before too, I have faith that you guys are going to get back on your feet and find a place to live soon. I talked to my manager and anytime you want come here and you guys can eat for free. I also have a bunch of free meal coupons in case my manager or myself aren't here."

Oh my gosh... she thinks I'm homeless and living in my car. The dust on my clothes... my packed filthy car... my kids who are giddy at the excitement of french fries... the comment about no kitchen.... note to self : dust off before leaving the house.
I tried to say, "Oh no wait..." But she interrupts, "I insist... please." and puts the coupons in my hand.

So what would you do at this point?