Sunday, December 31, 2006

Holiday endings

Yesterday I scheduled the end of our holiday celebrating.

Down went the front yard lighted metal trees. Off came the ornaments from our tree. The decorations went into boxes separated into organized groups. Outside lights. Inside lights. Tree decorations. Inside decorations.

Today? Down came the backyard fence lights. And all the holiday decorations were placed into our garage. I organized everything in the garage this morning. AFTER I took everything out and swept the entire garage out. Yes. I swept out the entire garage. I've been sweeping out my side where I park my car but the other side? It hadn't been fully cleaned out since we moved in. There was SO much DIRT! Bleah! I even put all the "get rid of" stuff into a pile.

Now the bright colors and lights of the season our packed neatly and safely away. The kids are happily playing with all their new stuff.

Another year done. Another year over.

I leave you with one last holiday memory. Our successful trip out to see Santa at the mall on Saturday, 12/23. The one where we waited 45 minutes in line. Where we got to the front of the line and had the "gate" closed in front of us. Santa had to eat lunch and feed the reindeer. Yes. We waited 30 minutes for Santa to come back. But thankfully we were FIRST in line. He was fresh. He was happy. But the line? It was 25 kids deep by the time the place re-opened. WHEW! The Bear was a little skittish but ran to Santa when the guy said "Come on over Bear!" The Princess had slipped Santa her little brother's name. So it all turned out nice.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Going, going, gone!

Y'all remember that my ILs house is for sale?

Not anymore!

I guess they accepted an offer today. From the people who lowballed them.

When they first put it on the market, their price was $298k. After 2 months on the market, they modified the price to $288.5.

They had someone come in 5 times. FIVE! Then they got an offer. $270. WHAT?

My ILs countered with $283. The people countered with $273. My ILs cut off any other negotiations. They walk away! After almost 3 months on the market. They walk away from their only offer.'s now Wednesday. The person came back with $280. My ILs? Took it.

The person wanted to close by January 15th. My ILs said they can't do it. That they need until January 31st.

I don't know why. All they are going to do is move into my BILs house. But my BIL can't close by the 15th. Doesn't matter, does it? All my ILs have to do is put all their stuff in one of those POD things. Move into the guest room at my BILs house. Then let my BIL close when he can. That way the deal on their house is over and done with.

But to each his own. They FINALLY sold their house. Whew!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

It's what captured their hearts

We didn't go the expensive route on gifts. For the most part. We mainly got inexpensive items for them. But stuff that we knew they'd be interested in.

The jackhammer and googles for the Bear? Instant hit. He's been wearing the googles quite a bit. That jackhammer is just about ready for a new set of batteries. Cost? Less than $5 at Tar-jay on Dec 24th.

The barn, horses, and accessories for the Princess? Instant hit. She's played with it for two days. She's incorporating all the My Little Pony items into the barn. The barn with all it's accessories? $15 at Tar-jay.

The two work-out bags? One for each of them. So they can punch the bags instead of each other? $5 and $3. But really PRICELESS! They've been pretending to fight 'bad' guys today.

I'm really glad that these inexpensive gifts have caught their attention. No flashy items. No huge technically difficult items that we had to assemble. Basic stuff.

I just had to get it all out of the boxes. HA!

But I know this type of thing won't last long. My girl is in school. My little guy in daycare. They're being exposed to things without my knowledge. They're interacting with kids who watch Nick Jr, Nickleodeon, and Cartoon Network. I know the expensive stuff will be requested anytime now. I know. But I can relish can't I? Relish in the fantasy that the thought of a gift (no matter what is inside) is awesome enough.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Our first tree

Here is our beloved tree. The first time that it has graced our new home. Center stage as anyone walks through our front door. Isn't she pretty?

Since Christmas is over, she will soon be stored away again. But only for one year. Not the two year lockup like she last endured. Just one year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Home again

Today was the Princess last day at school. She is officially on her 2-week holiday.

But today was NOT a regular day. As a reward for staying on their quarterly reading schedule, the kids were able to attend a "bowling" party. I drove. I ended up with a carload of girls. 4 girls. Giggling. Eating snacks. I had stopped by the Circle K near the school and purchased 4 bottled waters, 2 bags of peanut butter crackers, and 2 bags of tiny chocolate chip cookies. I had a feeling the kids would need a little something before they bowled.

All the first graders ened up on two adjacent lanes. There was a lot of cheering. Lots of reminders to stay out of each others way. Thankfully, this place had bumpers so the kids got to knock down pins. There would have been a TON of gutterballs if the bumpers weren't up. One of my girls had never been bowling before and wouldn't even try. Ms. D tried to have her throw at least ONE ball down the lane but she started crying. So the little girl hung out and chatted and cheered and watched the rest of the group. I totally understood her reaction because that's what would happen with the Princess if she felt too much pressure to try something new. The kids all ate pizza. I had purchased a large order of french fries for myself. I ended up giving each of the kids a handful as they all seemed famished. The kids had a good time. My girl ended up getting high score the first full game and then had high score when we finished (halfway thru the 2nd game). She did GREAT! Now she's home relaxing and watching Animal Planet.

Oh yeah. Yesterday? The lunch at the Bear's school was a hit. I picked up the food around 11:15am and was able to slip into the daycare kitchen by 11:25am. I was out by 11:30am. No fanfare. I did leave a note for the staff.

We wanted to take a moment during this busy holiday season to extend our THANKS for the constant support you provide to us through your daily care of our little Bear. Going back to work last year was difficutl for Grace but knowing the Bear was surrounded by all of you made the transition much easier. Plesae know that we appreciate your dedication and the gentle guidance you provide to our loving little boy. Thank you all.

When I came to get the Bear yesterday, I saw a lot of smiles (more than usual) and heard a number of "thank yous". The Chinese food was a hit! Everyone was able to select a number of items and actually eat their fill. It makes my heart smile knowing that they all were able to partake in the meal and KNOW that we appreciate them.

Now how did you show YOUR appreciation for the people in your children's life?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pushing for the finish

Thursday is going to be a big PUSH for the finish line. Yes. The BIG day is Monday but time "alone" is very limited.

Once I get the kidlings dropped off at school, I'm heading to Tar-jay for a couple more little gifts. Then home to do as little work as possible. I'm going to concentrate on wrapping as many gifts as possible. I haven't wrapped any of the kidlings gifts from Santa. I got the last delivery of the major gifts this morning. So I'm all set to wrap. It's just finally getting that block of time to get things done and then HIDDEN. Oy!

Tomorrow I'm bringing goodies to the Bear's daycare. So many of the staff help take care of the Bear - not just his room teachers. Throughout this year, he's had a couple of the teachers in his room and they've been wonderful. His current teacher & her assistant have only been there about 6 weeks, so I'm not going to just give the two of them a holiday 'thank you'. Instead of just cookies or some other sweets that I'm sure other parents will be delivering these next two days...I'm bringing Chinese food for the staff's lunch. I didn't want to bring sandwiches because that's probably what a lot of them bring for lunch. I didn't want to do pizza because that's what all the parents usually have delivered to their kids' class to celebrate a birthday. So I thought Chinese food would be a good option. I tried to order a variety of items so that everyone could find something they'd enjoy. Beef & Broccoli. Mixed Veggies & Chicken. Lemon Chicken. Sweet & Sour Chicken. Sweet & Sour Pork. Pork Lo Mein. Shrimp with Veggies. Beef Fried Rice. Veggie Fried Rice. Fried Wontons. Egg Drop Soup and Wonton Soup. YUM!

Then home again for more work and more wrapping.

Now are YOU all caught up? What are you still having to get done?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sneaking in some shopping

Yes. I work from home but I rarely leave the house after I've dropped the kidlings off at school. I sit in our home office and work. And work. And work. Pretty boring.

But today? I planned on leaving the house an hour early before I was due to pick up the Princess. I was going to hit Tar-jay to get some smaller holiday gifts. I made it off the freeway and was about to turn left onto the street.


Me: Hello?
Pastor D: Hi Grace? It's Pastor D.
Me: "Oh hi.....what's up?"
Pastor D: All the kids in the 3-year-old class are waking up from their naps right now. We noticed that the Bear's eyes are all swollen up. It might be pink-eye?
Me: Oh....I'm just out about to run an errand...I'll be there in a couple minutes.

Yeah. So instead of turning left, I shot over and made a right turn. I was at the daycare in less than 5 minutes. My sneak daytime shopping spree was cancelled. No way am I heading into Tar-jay with my little guy. No freaking way!

When I got to the daycare, the Bear was sitting up in the front on one of the cushioned benches. Both his upper and lower eyelids were swollen. It looked like someone had punched him in the eyes! My poor little guy. When we got home, I had him take off his school clothes and noticed some red splotches on his arms and body. Uh-oh. HIVES! I gave him some Benadryl and let him watch some tv. An hour later I did a body check? All clear. His left upper eyelid is still slightly swollen but MUCH better than earlier today.

So the Princess had hives. The Bear just had his first bout of hives. Now what would connect the two events? I've been straining my brain this afternoon. And I think I've found the culprit. My perfume. The perfume that I rarely use. When I do use the perfume I spray a little on me and I spray some on my clothes. And my kidlings? When they cuddle with me? Place their little faces right where I spray the scent on. So that perfume is in the trash. My clothes from the past couple days are now in the laundry washing in HOT with an extra rinse to make sure any residue is washed off.

Hopefully my analysis is correct. I'll let you know if the kids break out again....

Saturday, December 9, 2006

What I learned from my boys

I have learned some interesting things about my boys today.

That my son is a flirt. And that my husband doesn't know as much about people as I thought.

First, my husband. He was brought up in the Catholic faith. He's no longer a practicing Catholic. I think that 2 years in parochial school turned him off. But I never realized how non-versed he was with other people and their religion.

This morning I conveyed to him a silly episode of Hogan Knows Best. The one where Linda and Terry try to meet the neighbors in their new neighborhood and bring home-baked cookies as an offering? That's when the family learns that they have a bunch of neighbors who are Jewish.

Oh sorry, we'd love to but we can't. We're Kosher.

Linda, Terry and the kids had NO IDEA what that meant. They had to go to a Kosher store to find out that there's a whole niche of food that falls into the Kosher category. And this is basically what I was telling the Hubs. That the Hogan family hard to learn about Kosher food before they hosted a neighborhood party. That they ended up partially catering their party but still ended up purchasing some Kosher meats. My husband listened to the story until I got to a part that confused him.

Hubs: HUH?
Me: You's like in that Melanie Griffith movie where she moves into a Hasidic Jewish community to find a murderer? Where she almost put the milk into the wrong refrigerator?
Hubs: What are you talking about?
Me: Babe. You don't know that the Kosher and non-Kosher stuff need to be in totally different refrigerators?
Hubs: TWO refrigerators? Why? Isn't Kosher just how the food is prepared?
Me: It's not just how it's prepared. There are certain parts of the animals that they're not supposed to eat. There are certain animals that can't be consumed. They even have to use separate utensils if they're cooking Kosher and non-Kosher foods. And that's what stumped Terry when he was grilling. He grilled the Kosher burgers on the left side of the grill and the non-Kosher burgers on the right. And he was using the same spatula to turn them all.
Hubs: Uh. Okay. I never knew that....

Then tonight as we drove home from dinner out, we took the long way home to check out houses that had their holiday lights up.

Look on the left!
Look there's a bunch on the right!
There's more on the left again. A lot!
Oh look, there's one where a Jewish family lives.

My husband looks at me.

Hubs: What? How would you know that?
Me: The lights on all the house are blue and white.
Hubs: So?
Me: Blue and white are the colors of Hanukkah.
Hubs: Really?
Me: Dear love. Did you notice across the street at Ron's house? The Star of David he's got in his front yard is in blue?
Hubs: Hmm....I never noticed that.
My husband is 38 years old and he never noticed that the Hanukkah decorations are prominently blue and white. How could he be the age that he is and NOT know these basics? I guess I taught him a couple things today, eh?

And then there's the Bear y'all. He is a flirt to the nth degree. As I mentioned at the start, we ate dinner out tonight. We went to the neighborhood Chinese restaurant. It's one of those non-fancy places. We seat ourselves. It's not fancy. But it's fast and it's got a laid-back atmosphere. We sat down and the gal who always seems to be there came up with the menus. I took the one she handed to me and looked across to the table. And what I saw surprised me.

Why? There was the Bear looking at the gal with a sheepish grin on his face with one eye blinked. Flirting! He's just almost FOUR years old people. I couldn't believe it! But the gal laughed and the Bear ate up her attention. Oh boy! Then whenever she came, the gal just HAD to laugh.

OHHHH! SHOUP! [slirping sound]
There da wice!
It's da chee-ken!

He knew each time she came by that she'd have a dish for us. So he was excited every time she came past us. He made her night. But where oh WHERE did he learn how to flirt like that?

Now did anyone else learn something interesting about their boys today?

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Wants & Needs

In this season of purchasing and receiving gifts, I found it wonderful to see that my daughter's class would be discussing the difference between a want and a need.

We live in such a "give me" society. I thought the lesson would be an interesting one. It's a topic that they're working on all week. On Monday, the class had a basic discussion about a want and a need. On Tuesday, they brainstormed about the wants and the needs of life.

And today? Their homework was to create two columns. One labeled "Want" and one labeled "Need". Then they'd draw what they'd consider a want and a need. My daughter's homework sheet had items separated based upon what we need to live.
We NEED: Food, water, clothes, shoes, shelter
We WANT: Toys, cars (she said there are buses), bicycles, dolls

She seems to understand the difference....but as her Mom I have definitely seen her selfish side. But it's good to know based upon our discussion this evening that she does know the difference. And hopefully the school lesson will expand to the things she's asking for in the future.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Winter is upon us

On Wednesday, we had some blustery winds come through our city. It was a brrrr cold kind of wind. There were 30 to 40 mph gusts. And living in the desert, there was a TON of dirt/dust kicked up into the air. It was SO dusty that we couldn't see any of the surrounding mountains. For those of you who know my town, that's a big deal. If you can't see the Catalina or the Rincon mountains than that's a big deal.

On Thursday (yesterday), I pulled out the kids thicker jackets from their closets and zipped them up. It was a crystal CLEAR morning. Compared to the day before. We could see ALL the mountains in town from my daughter's bedroom window as I opened up her curtains to welcome the day. I walked out into the garage and got them into the car. I looked at my temp monitor on the panel as I warmed up my car and it said 46 degrees. Cold, right? But as I drove out of our neighborhood, I watched as the temp plummeted and plummeted. 31 degrees. THIRTY-ONE degrees! The high temp for yesterday was 54 degrees. Even though it was a clear day, it was still cold. Thankfully, we don't have to deal with the rain, sleet, snow, and slush that a lot of other people have to each year. But it's still COLD...

And today as I drove the kids to school? 34 degrees. Winter has hit the desert with a major SLAM. Brrr....

Making Mommy Laugh

As you all know, the Bear is now a daytime underpants wearing boy. During his visits to the 'office, we give him space and privacy as we wait in the hallway for him to finish his 'business'.

"Pee-yew! Ker-see fush! Ker-see fush!"

Yes. He's asking for a courtesy flush. Why? Because his stuff is STINKY. It's kind of hard to believe that the kid actually goes every day and still has such stinky exit items. Anyway, the kid got the expression from the Hubs. The Hubs used to stay in the bathroom with the kid while he was doing his business and would use that expression when he'd flush the toilet mid-way through my son's business.