Good Intentions.

Didn’t I title one of my posts that not so long ago? This was another one of those weeks, I guess. A very hard, long week.

I started the week on a cleaning binge and had intended on cleaning out a closet a day, and a definite full day devoted to the playroom. Well…that lasted about um, two days. But on a bright note, I got two closets cleaned.  I also ended up making a really, really good soup. It was apparently so good that Addie ate three bowls of it for dinner one night…on top of her grilled cheese sandwich.

We needed some good chicken noodle soup around here because poor Em is still sick. Fever and cough all last week, just cough this week…but that hard-keep-you-up-all-night cough. So we are all a little tired. And now it appears that J. has it too. Poor kids. We are going to leave the two of them home on either sides of the sofa tomorrow while Addie and I take one of her friends to Disney for her birthday.

J. and Em need to get all rested up because we are going to see Wicked on Sunday! Woot! I can’t wait to take the girls, they have been singing the songs for years, it is going to be a treat to just sit and watch their reaction to the show.

I sure do love these two monkeys. They make getting through the very long, hard weeks so very much worth it.

Enough Already.

If you asked me earlier in the week I would have refused to even think about tomorrow, or the very idea of vacation ending.

‘Lo what a difference a few days makes.

Today is just the end of a long, frustrating week, and I think that it is really just time for everyone to head on back to school, or work, or wherever it is they belong.

On Monday I finally convinced J. to traverse out to the Lamps Plus Outlet & Warehouse. Since we need lighting in virtually every single room in our house, we really need to go on a bit of a lighting spree. This outlet is supposed to be pretty great…lots of open box stuff and discontinued stuff for cheap. Notice how I said “supposed to be?” Yeah, I called to get the hours and make sure they were open (it was Jan. 2nd, mind you, the day after New Year’s) and the phone message and website said nothing about being closed. You can so see where this is going, right? Fifty miles later, we pulled into an empty parking lot and J. just said, “oh, baby.” And Addie pipes up with “we came all the way here for nothing?”

Grrr. Yes, for nothing. Although J. did say “I will not be coming out here again, you can just get whatever you want.” That kinda sounds like carte blanche to buy whatever I find, doesn’t it? So he can’t complain when he doesn’t like it, right?

Tuesday we headed to Disney for a little mini-vacation. We planned on staying at the Grand Californian so we could hang and see the nighttime festivities that we don’t usually get to see. And then, Gracie got really sick. Early in the afternoon she started to get that glassy-eyed, feverish look. So J. took her back to the hotel and they ended up hanging there. On the plus side, I got to spend an afternoon with just Addie. We rode whatever she wanted to, and it was a nice chance for some one-on-one time with her.  We grabbed a little dinner and then J. took Addie out and they had some time, while I hung with Em in the hotel room. She went to bed around 6:30 and pretty much slept til 8 am the next morning.

Wednesday morning she popped up and claimed to be feeling “much better.” So our friends came down to join us and we made it through lunch and a few rides when the fever hit yet again. J. ended up taking Gracie home, and the rest of us stayed for a few more hours and tried to make it worthwhile for our friends. It ended up being fine, but it was just not how we had planned it going down.

Thursday we spent a quiet day at home mostly hoping to get Em all back to normal for Friday. Friday the girls were having a sleepover at Uncle Jeff and Aunt JBs and Mommy and Daddy were having a much needed date night! Yeah, well Friday afternoon Em took a 3-hour nap and it was pretty clear that we couldn’t pawn her off on poor Jeff and JB. Sooo…no sushi and movie for Mom and Dad.

I know it isn’t Gracie’s fault she was sick, but her “8-going-on-16″ attitude lately is her fault, and enough to drive me over the edge. In retrospect, none of these frustrations are very large in the greater scheme of things, I mean boo hoo hoo, right? But, it is just enough already. I’ve possibly never said this before but…I’m excited for Monday.

Guess What I’ve Been Up To?

A whole heck of a lot of laundry. Surely this is far too much laundry for a family of four, right? And I’ve still got a two more loads to fold…it is never-ending.

I’m also trying to help Addie get her ancestor project done for school tomorrow. She came home on Monday with the assignment and said, “Mrs. K. showed us examples of what we are supposed to do and one of the examples she showed us was Emma Grace’s from when she was in first grade!”

I said, “Oh, yeah? I remember doing that one.”

“Yeah, I just asked her ‘why can’t I use Emma’s because it is going to be the same for me?’  But she said ‘no!’ I have to do it all over again.”

That’s my girl. I wouldn’t necessarily call it laziness – I think we’ll call her “efficient,” yes…efficient.


Ok, now we are teetering on ridiculousness over here. I have not abandoned you, but after realizing how very long it has been since I’ve written anything substantial, I decided to use my extra hour today to catch everyone up on the ENTIRE. MONTH. OF. OCTOBER.

Wow – where did it go? I can’t believe it is already November. I guess most of our October was spent in a soccer-induced frenzy. With a little bit of a lot of other stuff thrown in.

Emma Update:


Em continues to be a paradox. One minute she acts like she is 14 years old and heading off to high school, confident and self-assured as she bosses her sister and friends around; and the next minute she grabs my hand for comfort and gives me a little squeeze for courage as we walk into her class, and I am gently reminded that she is a mere eight years old. Just my sweet girl.

Her conference with her teacher went very well, as we fully expected. She is pretty much on autopilot, chugging through her classes, loving all there is to love about school. She was class president the first month of school and Mrs. J. said she took her position very seriously and did very well. She was awarded Super Cougar for October when they were celebrating the character trait honesty.


She is still swimming, and although she has “cooled off” on the whole swim team thing, she is sticking with it for a bit longer until we see how it all shakes out. At least until after soccer season is done so she can have some sort of physical activity to be involved in.

And soccer! She and the Terrible Teal soccer team have already made the playoffs with a week left to go in the regular season. I don’t know that she will become a stellar soccer player, she doesn’t seem to love the game but she has made big improvements this season. And the Teal are a really exciting team to watch! After years of U6 and U8 soccer – once you get to U10 they have real goals, goalies, offsides rule – it is like real soccer! They won their game yesterday 7-3 and have only one game left before playoffs. Em’s fave positions are still on defense and as goalie. (Goalie mostly because she doesn’t have to run ;-) . But at any rate, we will be on the soccer field until December now, so we are bracing prepping ourselves for that.

When she isn’t at school or soccer…she is in front of the piano. Sports might not be her thing, but I think she has a God-given talent at the piano. A lot of times she is practicing when she is supposed to be doing something else…but…she is really quite good, I think. I sit in on her and Ad’s piano lessons hoping to soak some of it in and learn at the same time. And we all sort of started at the same point, in the same book, but Addie and I have found ourselves miles behind Em. She has literally left us in the dust. I got a Christmas book for her on Friday…and I think she can already play all of the songs in it. It is amazing and fun to watch her sit down and just play.

Addison Update:


As for our little Addie. What can I say about that child – except she is one big ball of hilarious energy. She has two speeds: (1) all-out-high-octane-sugar-buzz-non-stop-on-the-go! and (2) asleep. Not a day goes by that J. and I don’t look at each other and crack up over something she says or does.

Her conference went well too, and not that we are comparing here (!), buuuuttt…Ad is not nearly as focused as her older sister. Mrs. K. said that Ad has a lot of energy and she needs to “gently remind her” to stop talking pretty often. And at home it is a struggle to get her to finish her homework, she just doesn’t “want to do it, Mama!”

So imagine our surprise (and extreme delight) to the string of perfect spelling tests and timed math tests she has going right now. Every week her tests come home as proof that she is s.m.a.r.t. So I’ve given up fighting her on her homework. When she starts slipping maybe I’ll have to crack down on her again. But very much like the reading, when she was ready…she figured it out. And apparently she is ready. I think there is nothing better for a Mom to hear than, “No, I want to read to you tonight.” And her cute, little scratchy voice sounding out all of those glorious words…that is priceless.

When she is not trying to read or avoid homework she has also been trying out soccer. Yes….again….might not be her sport. She seems to…well, she runs like a ballerina and is a little afraid of the ball still.


But she loves her friends on the team and is having fun, so that is what really matters.


She and her BFF, Emma P. have joined their big sisters, Emma Grace and Avery, in the church choir this year.


They sang in the choir last week and I have video but the audio isn’t syncing with the picture! It is so frustrating because they are adorable, but they are singing in church again next Sunday so I’ll try to capture it with my other camera. We’ll see how that one does.


Addie also became an official Brownie Girl Scout last Friday! Her sister actually got to “twist me turn me,” help pin her and welcome her into the troop. Since I was up doing my troop leader duty I don’t have a single photo of it. My friend did video it with my camera so I’ll work on getting that video up soon, too. She is super excited about it and keeps telling me, “I just did a good Brownie deed, Mama!”

I know there are a million other things that have been happening around here. Cuteness like pumpkin patches…


And Nena and Bill visits and Disney trips…


…but this post has already gone on far too long as it is. It is, as I said, a bit ridiculous.

I promise I’ll be much better in November!

Checkin’ In.

Been one of those weeks. Just wanted to check in and let you know we are still here.


I have Crafty stuff to share and owe you a big ‘ol Garden update (and lentil salad recipe too, Elise!) too.
Here is a little taste to hold you over.


But right now I am trying to figure out how to do these cake pops…
(Anyone with any brilliant advice to offer on the art of cake pop making?)
…because you know a certain someone is turning SIX in just 2 days, right?


Hello? (tap, tap, tap) This thing on?

So it has been pretty dark around our corner of the blogosphere lately, hasn’t it? We are still here, in case you might be wondering. Or maybe you haven’t even thought of us and our whereabouts because you have been so busy soaking up the last few weeks of summer, too!

The girls start back to school on Wednesday, this Wednesday, as in IN.THREE.SHORT.DAYS.WEDNESDAY! The backpacks have been packed and ready to go for the past two weeks, we have “first day of school” outfits picked and laid out, and we’ve almost exhausted our summer to-do list. Yes, I think we are all more than a little bit ready for school to start.

So what else have we been doing while we are waiting for school to start? Well, when we arrived home after our trip, we were surprised to be greeted with a jungle in place of what used to be Addie’s garden.


The pumpkins and watermelons are taking over. They’ve covered the stone path and wound their way up the rain gutters. And the tomatoes. Oh.My.Tomatoes!


When life gives you this many tomatoes…


…you make lots of caprese salad, bruschetta, and gazpacho! Just one bowl of this delicious cold soup makes you feel instantly healthier.


All I did was threw a bunch of tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, salt and pepper in the blender, and then stirred in some chunks of cucumbers, onions and more tomatoes, and then chill. Serve with some baguette toasts and it is a delicious hot weather dinner.

We also were pleasantly surprised when we lifted up a leaf in the garden and found this…


A nice, big, fat zucchini! Which made a few batches of really great muffins.


They were also very good. I’m working on finding a good muffin recipe since the girls really like breakfast muffins. This recipe has flaxseed in it, which is always good for…well, good for things. But the recipe has a lot of butter so I’m going to try it this week with some applesauce and see how that works. I’ll keep you posted once we hit the winning muffin.

Besides all this foodie stuff, Em finished up her book club – they went to the Huntington Garden and had lunch in the “Secret” children’s garden. Such a great group of girls – and little sisters!


The girls did a week of CATZ camp (which is essentially a bunch of fun conditioning/training games to get them ready for fall sports and swimming) last week which wore them out. We had some very exhausted girls. Tomorrow we are hitting the beach for one last bit of sand between our toes before school is officially in and we have been breaking our new patio furniture in every chance we get. Breakfast tastes better outdoors. Everything tastes better when you eat it outside.


Clearly we have been pretty concentrated on food around here lately. Maybe it is because we all had physicals and eye exams and I found that I need to take better care of myself. I always felt like I was doing a decent job, but apparently I need to put a little bit more effort into it. Or maybe…I’m just getting old. I guess it could be that, too. My doctor put me on a vitamin cocktail to raise my white blood count and platelet level, and not even a day later, the optometrist told me I need glasses. Rough week for this 39-year old.

But I figure once the girls are back in school I can resume my workout schedule and maybe get into a better meal-planning groove as well.

Yes…three days. But who’s counting?

Perfect Weekend?

If I sat down to really think about it…


I would say that the perfect weekend would be filled with friends…


…lots of laughs…


…and even more fun.


Throw in a lot of family time, some serious spring summer cleaning, and a new (clearanced!!) patio set and I would say it for sure was a (much needed) relaxing weekend. Just about perfect, I think.

Well when you put it that way…

…YES! This is a pretty accurate description of what I can be found doing most days. No wonder I’m so exhausted by the time I get around to my computer at night.

(Thanks Dad for sending this over our way.)

This should be the next SURVIVOR SERIES!

Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks. Each kid will play two sports and take either music or dance classes. There is no fast food. Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of ‘pretend’ bills with not enough money.

In addition, each man will have to budget enough money for groceries each week. Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives and send cards out on time–no emailing.

Each man must also take each child to a doctor’s appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment. He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Emergency Room. He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a school function.

Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside, and keeping it
presentable at all times. The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleepand all chores are done.

The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn themselves with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished, and eyebrows groomed. During one of the six weeks the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, backaches, headaches, have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties.

They must attend weekly school meetings and church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.

They will need to read a book to the kids each night and in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:30 am.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child’s birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size, doctor’s name, the child’s weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child’s favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear, and what they want to be when they grow up.

The kids vote them off the island based on performance.

The last man wins only if…he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment’s notice.

The sad thing is…I still think J. would be the favorite parent around our house. He’d find a way to do it and not be frustrated and crabby like me!

These are a few of my favorite things.

1. My necklace from Meesh for my birthday.


It is so awesome, and I love, Love, LOVE it. I love that she put all of our initials on it since I always sign everything J, C, E, and A. Yes, while the initial signature does look cool…I’m not fooling anyone – it came about due to sheer laziness.

2. The fact that Meesh and Deej get to see the necklace in person in less than 3 weeks! I can barely wait!!

3. It is Friday night and this week is finally, FINALLY over. This weekend is all about catching up to our life, so hopefully I can download cameras and my brain before we start all over on Monday…the last week of school.

4. Summer. It is so close I can taste it. Or, maybe that is just Addie’s blueberries.

Monday Mish-Mash

I just sat down to unload my camera (and my mind) after an incredibly long week and weekend. Well…the weekend wasn’t nearly long enough, but it was quite a week – especially when I realized I had over 500 photos that I needed to do something with.

So a little post with photos and happenings that didn’t quite manage to make it out of my camera and up here over the past week or so. A little mishmash, if you will.

Addie was so excited to finally get to wear her fancy, white shoes to church on Easter. I must have told Em at some point the white shoe rule (not after Labor Day, and only after Easter) because she kept telling Addie that she couldn’t wear them until Easter.


And then Addie proceeded to wear them every single day to school this week. They are hardly distinguishable as fancy “white” shoes any longer.

Emmy had her first real testing experience last week. The second graders took the CST (California Standardized Test) Tuesday through Thursday and they take the second part this week. She kept telling me that the test was very easy, but I think the stress of the testing definitely got to her for we had more than our share of meltdowns this past week. At one point she put herself on the bottom step on our staircase after I had yelled at her to stop harassing her sister. When I was walking by, I asked her why she was pouting and she started crying and said “I put myself here because I was hurting my sister. I’m in TIMEOUT!”  Oh, brother. Yes…she was pretty strung out. But she was rewarded on Friday when she was awarded Super Cougar for her trustworthiness!


And then…it was Dynamite Girl time.

Em and her friends Bella and Audrey have been practicing since December for the Variety Show. And, oh sweet fancy Moses were we happy that it finally came. They were the Dynamite Girls and danced to the song “Dynamite” – the KidzBop version. And they were…AWESOME. I’m not just a biased Mama here – they literally brought down the house. They couldn’t even introduce themselves because there was so much cheering when they walked on stage. It was so fun. And all of their hard work paid off – they rocked it!

(Miss Arlene choreographed the dance for them.)


They truly were Dynamite.


I’m still amazed that they got up in front of hundreds of people and did their thing. Actually I’m amazed at all of the performers and the show just reconfirmed my faith that we have a great community and school. The support for the kids was astounding and it was really cool to be a part of all of it.

After all of the craziness of April, we needed to just unwind this weekend. Addie has been waiting so not patiently to plant her garden, so we got some of that done this weekend.


I’ll show more details on our planting plan later in the week.

She was happy to get her plants from school “into the ground!”


And then we thought maybe it was time for her to take the training wheels off of the bike. Addie was not so sure…


Pep talk from Daddy…


Em, the veteran looks on…


And finally Daddy shows her how it is done…


No solo riding for Addie today. Mommy did walk away with a bee sting on the bottom of her foot (I had flipflops on) which is swollen and hurts still and the weekend did not seem nearly long enough to fully recuperate, but it is on to another week.

No rest for the weary.