Showing posts from November, 2008

Thanksgiving Memory

In late 2002, we found ourselves unexpectedly expecting a new baby. It took both Michael and I by complete surprise, and while we came to grips over how it had happened (besides the obvious way, duh), we decided to wait until Thanksgiving to share the big news with the family.

The big day came, and we found out that one of my cousins, Whitney, had just delivered a baby boy the day before. We poured over the photos and how cute the little guy was. As we began our meal, Michael cleared his throat and said he'd like to have us go around the table and have everyone say something they were thankful for. We went all the way around and came back to Michael, who said, "I'm thankful for the little baby". Everyone nodded their heads and agreed that it was nice that Whitney had given birth right before Thanksgiving. And then Mike added, "In Heather's tummy". As you can imagine, the whole family went crazy.

My Dad, as expected, teared up. My Marine Corps b…

Oh My! Apple Pie!

I don't have any memories of doing things like baking cookies or making pies with my Mom while I was growing up. We did lots of other things, but cooking together was not on the list. Which means that I don't really do those kind of things with my kids. Some women find lots of satisfaction from feeding their families and enjoy spending hours in the kitchen. I am not one of those women by any means. However, there are a couple of things that I do very, very well. One of them is making a delicious crumbly-top apple pie.

This time of year is the perfect time to break out our apple corer/peeler/slicer. Sadly, my trusty machine gave up the ghost last year, after 15 years of reducing apples into corkscrews. I ran over to Cost Plus World Market and picked up a new one, and after demonstrating to the boys how it works, they were hooked!
They peeled, cored, and sliced over two dozen apples, and then begged me to go to the store to buy more!
It works by just cranking a handle around, whi…

Storm Watch 2008

One of the crazy things about living in Los Angeles is that the tiniest bit of rain sets the news media off on a frenzy. The rain gets it's own theme song and animated graphics and a name like "Storm Watch 2008" or "Weather Tracker 911" while a serious news anchor tosses it off to some woman on the street dressed to the nines in trendy rain apparel showing that yes indeed, there is some precipitation happening in the desert of L.A. I don't know why I find this so amusing, but I can't help laughing out loud at the very serious news reports surrounding our "weather events". It doesn't happen all that often, so I guess they have to make the most of it, right?

No school today, so the boys colored and cut and taped and created elaborate Transformer action figures out of copy paper while I made apple pies, pumpkin bread, a Jello concoction, and cooked a fancy Moroccan Pork dinner (because tomorrow it's all about the turkey!). At one point, Be…

And so the fun begins!

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Cookie Turkey

Here's is Nathan's Turkey Cookie before he gobbled it up:
The boys are so excited to have FIVE days off from school! I'm less excited, but only because there is rain in the forecast... which means no bike rides or playing at the park. It would appear that Fall has finally arrived here in Los Angeles!

Fat Turkey

Today was the annual Thanksgiving assembly where all the Kinder classes sing a selection of songs and recite some poetry. Benjamin has been rehearsing one song in particular which is sung to the tune of "The more we get together". It basically goes: Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, Fat Turkey, Fat Turkey... and then the rest is garbled. Around campus I've heard the older classes making up their own lyrics to the little ditty.
There are seven Kindergarten classes this year. Two dressed as Pilgrims, two as turkeys, and three as Native Americans. Ben's class had the most ornate costumes, with real feathers in their headbands and hand dyed macaroni beads. Benjamin is a star performer, singing loudly and doing all the hand motions with military precision. I think the most amazing part of the assembly was the incredible respect that all the other students showed to the performing Kindergartners!
After the assembly, Ben's class had a mini "feast" where they en…

Brick Art

Nathan received this incredibly cool Lego set for his birthday, the Tower Raid Castle. We told him he could open it up and play with it on Saturday morning. Nathan said that he was going to have a hard time putting together the castle part, and would need help with it.
The castle has a single moving part, just the door at the bottom. While he waited for Mike to help him with it, he put together the Troll tower cart, which has a multitude of moving parts like a battering ram and a gang plank that pulls out, and a very complicated set of instructions.How I wish I could see it from Nathan's perspective... that the simple one in my eyes would be so much more difficult than the multi-step project where the success of one moving part depends on the preceding five steps being done accurately.He's a smart kid though... I suspect that he really thought that the simple one was "boring" and wanted to do the cool one by himself and leave the grunt work to his minions.

Up on the rooftop

This morning was the day for Mike and I to sleep in and for the boys to watch a brand new DVD that Nathan received for his birthday. They've been on restriction from TV and movies this week, so we figured that the new movie would keep them quiet while we got a little extra sleep. However, come 8:00 AM, I was wide awake. I was hoping to stay asleep a little longer! I came out to the living room where the boys were both quietly playing with Lego (every Mom's dream: two kids, playing nicely together!). We had planned to put up Christmas lights on the house today, so I thought I'd get the kids in the mood with a viewing of The Polar Expresswhile Daddy slept awhile longer. Later in the day, all three of my guys climbed up on the roof to attach the lights, which was more than I could handle watching! In a college lighting class, I suddenly developed a completely irrational fear of heights that I'd never had before. Unfortunately, it hasn't left! Seeing my babies up there…


Nat did this from memory. I had to pull up an image of a Battle Droid to appreciate what a great job he did. This is the kid who refused to color or draw in Kindergarten or preschool, so I'm glad he's making up for lost time!

Did they bug our car?

I'm certain these words have come out of my mouth at some point...

Madrona Marsh

Today two of the 2nd grade classes went on a walking field trip to the Madrona Marsh Preserve. Part of the experience was sitting in the Nature Center and learning about the various birds and wildlife that call the Marsh their home, and then the rest was actually getting to wander around the Marsh itself.

Personally, I have the tendency to mock the Madrona Marsh because it looks like a large plot of overgrown weeds that people are very serious about protecting. Most of the plants growing there you would pluck out of your garden should you see them sprouting! Mike's parents have an enormous backyard, which greatly resembles the Marsh, and we've joked several times that we should sell tickets to wander through the shoulder high weeds. Needless to say, this was not really a field trip I was looking forward to with great anticipation. But Nathan noted that I'm spending a lot of time working in Ben's class and not so much time in his this year, so a sense of guilt propelled …


What a fun birthday! Nathan said his classmates sang him Happy Birthday at school and he got to pick a treat from the prize box. For dinner we went to the restaurant of his choice, Macaroni Grill, because "you are allowed to color on the table there". Goodness Gracious Grandma and Grandpa and Auntie Holly joined us, too. Auntie Holly brought balloons for both boys, which provided hours of fun for them (not so much for us!). Then back to the house for a giant cupcake cake that our friend Miss Amy made especially for Nathan! And don't forget the presents! Nathan says that being eight "feels great"! What else feels great to Nathan? Gaining on Grandma in the height department!

Nate the Great is Eight!

Today my baby turns eight years old! I believe that Nathan's personality was evident from the moment he was conceived. I had miserable morning sickness for all nine months, loosing 25 pounds throughout my pregnancy and having weekly "dates" with the E.R. nurse who would hook me up to an I.V. to get me hydrated. From the moment I first felt him move, he never stopped moving, leaving me awake at night with his rhythmic pounding on my ribcage or bladder. We had an appointment to be induced on November 16, 2000, a week after he was due. After forty hours of completely unproductive but extremely painful back labor that included vomiting and a string of swearing with every contraction, they decided to take him via C-section. Twenty minutes later, our firstborn son made his debut. To this day, Nathan is still a bundle of energy who is never fully still even in deep sleep, and he is always at one extreme or the other, never simply "average". He constantly makes his pre…

Mr. Blue Sky

I have the song by ELO running through my head ever since I walked outside to see a beautiful sight:

No, not the moon, the lovely lack of orange in the sky! The kids are on a modified recess schedule, the school district has a strict scale of what is acceptable air quality for the kiddies to be out on the playground running about, and even this blue sky isn't cutting it. I feel for the poor teachers who will have kids who spent an entire weekend cooped up only to go back to school and have to stay indoors there, too!
We lost power last night around 11:30 PM which prompted the lighting of candles, which then prompted a small fear of our house catching fire... I burn candles nearly all the time, it has an amazing calming effect on the boys (and me) but suddenly I had fear that one would somehow ignite something, leaving us to flee into the night. We blew them out before retiring to bed, but I couldn't fall asleep despite feeling under the weather and completely sleep deprived. Wh…


We are surrounded by fire, which has personally affected a number of our friends in Orange County. Times are tough for us right now, but watching the news last night made me weep openly. They showed charred remnants of homes burned to the ground, and interviewed families who were still in their houses, not realizing their roof was on fire, who only had time to grab the kids and run... no wedding photos, no computer hard drives, no mementos of a lifetime of memories or even a change of clothes.

We live close to the ocean and normally enjoy a cool breeze coming in off the water. Right now, the Santa Ana winds are blowing, meaning the air is not blowing in off the ocean, it's coming in from the dry desert, sweeping in through where the fires are burning, and then directly towards our house. The ash on our windows, cars, and grass is thick, and though the boys sweetly suggested it was snow, we corrected them and said that all those pieces of fluffy whiteness are actually someone's …

Mr. Grumpy


Wedding Bells

Today our friend Sherry married a boy she dated in high school and then lost touch with for about ten years, only to meet up with him again last year. The day she reconnected with him, she called to say she was coming over so we could meet the man she was going to marry. We were shocked to say the least, as she has never so much as dated anyone in the five years we have known her! She asked me to be a bridesmaid, a role I did not especially relish as it meant donning a dreaded bridesmaid dress. We bought our dresses at the beginning of summer, and through an extremely stressful month of October I ate enough starchy comfort foods that the dress no longer fit when I tried it on two weeks before the wedding! Uh-oh! So I went on a strict regimen of very low carbs, lots of water, a morning and evening session of Pilates each day, and a daily walk or jog of two to five miles. I'm happy to report that the dress fit just fine with room to spare. The boys were reluctant wedding guests. I im…