Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Disney, II

These were taken in the ice cream parlor.  If there is a happiest place, in the happiest place on earth, then this surely is the spot.  I have a hard time getting shots in focus of this girl's grin, because she's usually moving at 110mph and I have a terrible camera, but I think these turned out ok (if you ignore the lighting and the girl in the background on the phone waiting impatiently for our table). 

Aunt Mary!!

When I was little, Gigi put together a photo album for me of my first trip to Disneyland.  I remember there was a picture of me out by the front gate, one of me riding Dumbo, and one in the teacups.  I wish I knew where that album was now!
Did I mention how much my girl dug the rides?  She was scared on the first 2-3, but by Dumbo and the Teacups (maybe #5-6?) she was whheeee-ing and laughing at everything.

My son apparently inherited my picture taking face too.  Sorry, kid.

...and then his dad's genes kick in:

Temporary (I promise!) break from Disney

Last night Matt had to work late so I picked up the kids and then went to the post office where my daughter sprawled on the floor while I tried to figure out the automatic stamp dispenser.  You'd think with all the recent germs & sick days around here, I would have been more freaked out but Mommy just need five minutes to get this done and her brother's attempts to entertain her by listlessly singing the ABCs were even more grating.  So do we then head home to decontaminate?  Noooo....we go to IHOP!  Since moving to the midwest the Waffle House has actually grown on me but IHOP has a more effective advertising campaign and my son has been lusting after pancakes.  Not that we don't make pancakes every weekend but these?  Have colored sprinkles.  So as it got later, as the kids got hungrier & more tired, and as my patience and ability to warm something up in the microwave evaporated, I was easily swayed by the boy's "let's make tonight magic."  That his definition of "magic" meant IHOP is irrelevant.  That might even be their actual commercial.  I don't know.  If it is, I'm embarassed, but coming from a 6 year old it's damn charming. 

Anyway, this extended rambling by way of long explanation as to why there are no Disney photos.  Because after his pancake, the boy tried to lie down in the booth & my girl was trying to crawl in my lap so we limped home and went straight to bed.  Me too.  I got NINE hours of sleep last night and it was glorious

Instead I'm posting a picture of my daughter, taken by my SIL.  Obviously, there's always a lot of talk about genes, genetics, & what that extra chromosome means for our kids, but not as much about the influence of OUR genes on them.  This is my *exact* same picture taking face.  Which is (one of) the many reasons I don't post many of myself.  Outing my child, on the other hand, is totally fair game.

Monday, November 28, 2011

All right, already! Disney, Part I of XXVI

Aunt Mary's 300+ Disney pictures are a little intimidating, but at Gigi's request, I'll get to it.  These are still mine - There aren't nearly as many.

Along the way I'll probably chat about completely unrelated bits of randomness.  Because my tummy is still full, 4 days after Thanksgiving, and it's hard to concentrate.

We were going to Disney on Thursday but did the character dinner the night before at the hotel.  My son?  Surprisingly into it.  Autograph book and everything.  My daughter?  NOT.AT.ALL.  The mere sight of 6' tall furry beasts had her hiding her face in one hand and shooing them off with the other.  Except for the princesses - she luvvved the princesses.  Except I was off stuffing my face at the (surprisingly good) buffet so wasn't manning the camera.  Girl/princess shots are pretty blurry.  Just swap kids in your imagination. 
This girl's freakishly smooth skin creeps me out.  I always assumed they wore an inch of pancake make up but not so much.  Huh. 

Side story:  I worked one summer at EuroDisney, right when they opened.  I was the sub-junior hostess so had NO responsibility other than to lead people to their tables.  I was not allowed to decide where to seat them, nor count out the necessary number of menus, nor take their drink orders... yet I was paid (for me, at 20) a BUNCH of cash.  Extrapolate that into the European debt crisis.  Anyway, Cinderella would take breaks in our back room - her 3' high wig off & in the chair next to her, feet up, and a cigarette dangling out of her mouth. Kind of tarnished the magic. 

I LOVE topiary.  Having a garden with massive whimsical animals is on my bucket list.  Just to foster the childrens' imagination, of course.  Having a garden that didn't look like it was reverting to prairie would be a small first step.  Maybe in time for my grandkids? 

 Love this picture of her.

More large furry animals.  My daughter was safely ensconced in her stroller.  

She thought Autotopia was the coolest thing ever.  My back still hasn't recovered.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The smell of toast

Do y'all read Dave Hingsburger's blog? 
He posted this a while back but I'm a leeettlee bit behind in my reader.
I love-love-love this video -  
Dogs.  Awkward kids.  Redemption.
And my daughter watched it with me last night and clapped at the end.  Every time.

I had a rough day at work yesterday.  Bad news from afar and I snapped at someone unnecessarily.  REALLY SNAPPED.  It's a rough business and there is quite a bit of calculated bluster, and occasionally a little real irritation behind it, but *I* am supposed to be, and until yesterday was, the  cool, collected party on the phone.  Nothing epic, just a break in the armor.  Let's hope it's not a sign of impending collapse.  Even on the rough days though, there is always the smell of toast.  And last night, there was my daughter clapping at the puppies.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Date Night!

...sorry about last night, I was grumpy.  My girl had her special DDS visit scheduled for 8am this morning and I'd realized late last night I'd forgotten to call for her prophylactic antibiotic (needed because of her heart surgery) so I was highly annoyed with myself.  The third anniversary of her heart surgery was on Friday, the 18th (which I also was going to write about), so you'd think it would have crossed my mind.  The dentist's fancy website said their first visit was to be just a meet and greet &, even if he managed to look in her mouth, there was no way my girl was going to let anyone clean her teeth but, just in case miracles do happen, I was going to call the cardiologist on our drive in & swing by a drug store so it wasn't entirely hopeless but still.... of all the things to let slip. 

[Turns out Matt had something come up at work & had to leave super early, so I ended up calling at 7:50, when they opened, to cancel our 8am appointment.  Groveling doesn't even begin to cover it - this is The Guy with hospital privileges who can take care of her teeth while she's sedated when/if we get her ears tubed, so I don't want to alienate the staff.  Also, he won't schedule a sedated cleaning till we try the old fashioned way and their next available isn't till December, which means now IF we do get tubes put in and shoot for the fabled double ENT-DDS booking, it won't be till January, which ...(deep breath)... is a Brand New Deductible Year.  Awesome.]

But onto happier stories - DATE NIGHT!  Matt had a gift certificate for PF Changs, I have been clutching my $4 Groupon movie tickets for months, and Matt's parents were free to watch the kids...  could it really be?

Turns out PF Changs had an almost 2 hour wait so we drove around and found a cute little Mexican place with live music (well, a guy & a guitar. But he was good!).  While waiting to get in, we were smirking at the middle age suburban moms wearing their Twilight T-shirts who had clearly gathered for the opening night of episode XVI (or whatever).  They had a LIFE SIZED EDWARD CUT OUT with them at their table.  Oh my....

Sorry, I know some of y'all like it but I just don't get it.  She's EIGHTEEN.  All that staring longingly into each others' eyes...  Honey, you may want to jump him join him for all of eternity, but I guarantee you will not still think he's as charming when he pretends not to know where the laundry hamper is after your 213th anniversary.  Also, why do they keep repeating high school?  Very few people I know actually enjoyed high school (lord knows I didn't).  And it's the same course material, repeated ad nauseum.  For eternity.  How many times can one person take Algebra II?  You'd think after the 7th or 8th time he'd ace it and, in a nice suburban school like that, the teachers would notice and pull him aside to encourage him to take Trig, instead.  Why don't they attend college and get a triple major?  Revolutionary French literature, Central American botany, and, say, enology (vocab word!)?  Then the following decade they can study Shakespeare and modern dance.  That would at least be interesting.  And ol' Ed wouldn't have to hit on underage girls  (Seriously.  He's a 90 year old man hanging out with 16 year olds. Creepy.)

Anyway, while we were busy feeling culturally superior, one of the Twilight moms detached herself and came over - "Aren't you [the kid]'s dad?  I'm [his classroom aide]....  Are you his mom?"  [We thought later it would've been pretty funny if I had not been his mom.  Awkward!]  We chatted for a bit and she asked what he'd had earlier in the week, when he missed Monday & Tuesday.  And my famed social graces kicked in because I suddenly could not remember.  Which child?  Which pathogen?  Which week?  Given my look of confusion, I'm sure she wondered if I really was his mom.  Way to charm the teachers! I hadn't even had a margarita yet.

A pound of guacamole later I was happy and we waddled back to the car to go to the flicks.  But we were in the dark period between all the 7:30 and 10pm shows (the latter of which I'm too old to stay awake for).  Our two options?  The cartoon about the cat... or... yes, that's right... Twilight. 

Also, neither started at the theatre for which I had the Groupon, so full Friday night fare.

I'm sure the rest of the internet has already deconstructed the movie so I'll skip the Edward Bashing.  I was happy with my movie popcorn and icee, sitting next to my aging human spouse, ignoring the Worst Dialogue Ever Written. My darling, mushy husband, raised on John Hughes movies, thought it was kind of sweet.  I have elected to ignore this fatal character flaw.  Because THAT's what grown ups in a real marriage do, Bella.  We don't mock. 

(let's all give Matt a big cheer for being a good sport).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Nite

I have a hundred little stories and yet still haven't posted Disney pictures... argh!

You know who employers LOVE?  They love employees who take a bunch of random half days, purportedly to care for their sporadically ill child, then leave on vacation for a week with two conveniently happy healthy children, who then come back sporting NEW contagions.  My girl's GI troubles seemed* to have ended, just in time for air travel and Mickey, but last Friday I got a call to pick her up from day care for for pink eye (Yeah! New and different infections!).  Over the weekend her brother developed croup so then HE stayed home for a couple days.  Matt managed to switch his schedule around to stay home with him Monday, but I took the Tuesday pm shift... but had already planned to take my girl to her new private speech therapy Wednesday afternoon, so that was twice this past week I slunk out at lunchtime.  I worked this weekend but still.... the Friday afternoon call was particularly well timed to raise eyebrows (not that anyone did - no one was around to notice it being Friday afternoon 'n all). 

Worse, my incredibly amazingly tolerant boss is moving up & out so there is Drama at the office.  My calm rational side knows that I usually get my time in and not one in a long string of managers has ever said boo about the patchwork manner in which it gets done and, legally speaking, I have eons of vacation time and then, worst case, I can always hide behind FMLA, but... BUT there is comfort in the familiar.  Especially the familiar who does not care to hear about my various afternoon appointments and catch-up Sundays.  The not-so rational side of me is chewing my fingernails, listening intently to office gossip, and fretting about unemployment numbers and the stagnant economy.

But on a happier note, our first private speech evaluation went pretty well.  My girl seemed to like the SLP, it's not grotesquely far away and it's only going to require we sell the unnecessary body parts to cover (I think I should be more excited about this?).  Even better - the SLP is tall, thin, & blond so Matt's griping about the costs should be minimized.

Hmmm... I seem to be in a mood.  We actually had a great weekend (date night! friends!) so I should just shut up, go to bed, and try this again later.  Sweet dreams?

For Tima

Happy Birthday Mom!
My sense of timing, is yours.
Thanks for ...everything.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hallowed ground

....Los Angeles, that is.  It was odd being back - such beautiful weather, such yummy Chinese food (delivered!), and yet such an oppressive mass of people.  Funny how you adapt.  Never thought I'd get used to driving by lonely cornfields either but here we are.

We spent Halloween with Matt's oldest friend & his partner, but one little girl was Not.Having.It.  There were tears and Rolling About on the Floor.  We ended up putting her in the stroller where she seemed perfectly content to let her brother collect all the goodies, never dreaming that he had no intention of sharing.  Oh, the inhumanity of it all!

We trick or treated in a lovely neighborhood that took its festive duties Very Seriously - huge outdoor movie screens playing Thriller and Ghostbusters, fog machines, bubble machines... and hundreds and hundreds of kids.  There were lines 30 kids deep just to get to the front door of some homes.  Craziness.  Also?  Next year at home is going to be a crushing disappointment. 

Thanks Mike & Nick!
Do I win last place for the latest Halloween photos to be posted?  Yeah!  The grand prize would probably be the single lifesaver some random guy on the street gave my son.  We were polite and thanked him but, needless to say, threw away all the lifesavers the next morning.  I also pulled out all the Whoppers, but for selfish reasons.  Cannot resist the Whoppers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

12 Pictures. No Profundity. 3 Jokes, abandoned.

We actually flew into San Diego first to see my sister and her new husband - she's been busy (*cough*!!) writing her thesis and he's in med school, but they nonetheless whipped up a yummy dinner & took us to the Wild Animal Park.  I want to make a crack about how busy they are vs how busy we seem but in truth I'm just really really glad I'm not in school anymore.  I was a terrible student.  Much easier to just tease my little sis' and whine about my long commute in the real world. 

Though their grad student housing does have a playground just outside the door - perfect for early morning PJ swinging.  The up side of not commuting. 

I was lamenting my camera yesterday (or not, depending on how you feel about wrinkles), but for some reason, these were actually in focus.

Awesome napping skills

[Funny joke about cobwebs and facial wrinkles, since I'm apparently feeling vain these days]

The happy couple


So many jokes.  So little time.  
(near the gorilla display)

So, so, SO very wrong.

(sadly, NOT in focus)

Unfamiliar 6 yr old male in an unpleasant mood during heretofore
identified FUN trip to the Wild Animal Park.
Despite or because of massive blue slurpy?
You decide.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

31 for what?

We're back!  I briefly thought about stretching my 31 for 21 posts into November with the argument that as our kids will eventually get there in their own time, so too, will I.  But that was too nauseatingly sweet so I'll just acknowledge defeat and shuffle on.

SOOOO so so much to share.  To make this readable, I'll break it up but here are the highlights:  my three long time readers will recall previous trips back to Cali were disasters - 12+ hours in the airport terminal disasters [painfully chronicled here, here, & here].  This time Matt flew with us both ways and did we have to wait?  Did we have to share a row with random strangers?  Did ANYTHING go wrong?  No, no, and no.  Both flights in & out were half empty and my daughter even slept on the way home.  Shocking luck.  Matt takes full credit for the universe's goodwill and out of gratitude I'm stifling the little bit of hate I feel toward him because of it.

Also, we did go to Disney and the special access pass was well, well worth it.  It was a little weird sometimes, stepping in front of everyone else waiting with their impatient children, but I managed to stifle the guilt because wheee! Rides!  My girl did AWESOME.  The first two (very kiddie-level) rides terrified her & I steeled myself for a long day but she then decided the stars in Peter Pan might be a leettle bit pretty, so she let go of my neck and looked around.  We went on Dumbo next and she smiled at the elephants and the breeze.  She loved every single ride to follow - giggling and "whee-ing" thru even the Haunted House and Autopia. 

In requesting the special access pass, the gal ("cast member"?) asked "What my concerns were."  That stumped me for a minute.  My concerns?  Are endless.  I assume you're asking about my concerns for today?  You mean apart from having to wait in line holding a wiggly 35# child who hasn't yet grasped the finer points of delayed gratification?  In fairness, I've thought about it since and couldn't come up with a better way of asking - "What's wrong with your kid" might rub a few the wrong way. 

Fabulous Aunt Mary came to Disney with us and took over 300 pictures with her fancy camera - steel yourself, will start working them in shortly.  Related:  her photos and the photos my SIL sent today from our anniversary night out, both taken with very very nice SLRs, make me look about 20 years older than necessary.  I believe the maximum megapixel count has now been reached and they will soon start marketing "fuzzier" cameras for the over 35 crowd.  Isn't there a tech-y/economic term for exceeding human tolerances?  I'll concede my "normal" might consist solely of sleep-deprived, not-yet-caffeinated, pre-dawn lipstick applications in my rear view mirror but there will nonetheless be Picture Culling prior to posting.  The underwater blue light in the Finding Nemo Submarine was particularly horrific.

To tide you over in the meantime, here are a couple from my softer, gentler, not as fancy camera: 
ye olde Ice Cream Buzz
Kiddie crack

The e'er Fabulous, Auntie M.