Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sleep walking

Thing 2 is still having nightmares. For the past couple nights now she’s had me up several times a night, usually from 3:00 or 4:00 am on, about every half hour or so. Which means I’m getting three or four hours of sleep, then dozing for fifteen minutes five or six more times before I have to get up.

This does not work for my body.

The first several times she wakes me up I am sympathetic and snuggling… but after the fourth or fifth or sixth time in a night, my tolerance plummets. I don’t think I’ve snapped at her too bad, but I do get more growly and less huggy. And right now I’m positively sleep walking.
I can’t remember the circumstances but despite mostly marvelous behavior over the week in California, sometime over the past week Thing 2 was kind of acting up over something and bothering Thing 1. I had just made a comment to Hubby about how good the girls had been, when Thing 2 did something like poke at Thing 1… and I said to Hubby “Someone seems to be a little crabby, though…” Thing 2 looks up and says cheerfully, “That’d be me.”

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good little travelers

We got up this morning and Hubby was worried about the class he’s teaching back home tomorrow that he’s not ready for. (He’s in the other room pulling an all nighter right now.) As we rubbed our eyes after sleeping in late, and leisurly did our packing, he was looking at our 3:40 pm flight. He figured it’s stupid to waste all morning hanging around downtown Disney, we’ve already been there done that. So he called and found he could get us on the earlier 1:10 pm flight. I thought it gave us not quite enough time to eat breakfast, especially if there was any line at all at IHOP… But he seemed sure we’d have time. We packed up and were loading the car, when he realized he didn’t have the car keys. These were MY keys, the keys to the Passat and the house. He looked everywhere, came back to the room, looked everywhere, we couldn’t find them. We did a last scan of the room and took the last bag to the car where Hubby started unloading his bag, and finally found them in a pocket of – not his computer bag (where he had expected to have put them) but another bag that held his computer writing tablet thing. Whew! But that took us some extra time. Then, the girls were getting situated in the car when Thing 1 realized she didn’t have the magic wand for her build-a-bear rabbit from yesterday. We looked all around the car, then she and I retraced our steps back up to the room, got the maid to let us in, and searched the room. We did not find the wand. We went back out to the car and I reminded Hubby that I didn’t think we had time for breakfast… I mean, it was after 10:30, and the flight left at 1:10…? And we're how far away from the airport?... He insisted we did. We started walking over to IHOP, and as we got there and were opening the door, Hubby was walking along behind and did a google map on his iphone and found that the airport was about a 40 minute drive away. We did not have time for breakfast. He very graciously said I was right, we had to get going to make it to the airport at all.

We made the flight just fine, both girls were marvelous. I sat by Thing 2 this time, and she was amazed at how quick the flight went without the 2.5 hour wait at the gate. She pretty much just sat there and talked and played with her dog and looked out the window and ate her cookie.

It’s nice to be back, and I got all the suitcases unpacked and the laundry sorted while Hubby ran to the store to buy stuff for his class tomorrow. That alone puts me a day ahead in life, though the TV room is a mess from our having dinner-and-a-movie in there. But it’s past bedtime, maybe I’ll deal with it tomorrow.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Last day on the beach

Friday was our last day on the beach, and it was really pretty. Quite a bit warmer than our other day. I was feeling my cold, and we cooled our heels around the condo until after lunch, then I took them out and we had a glorious time on the beach. They wore tee-shirts over their swimsuits, and played in the sand and chased seagulls, and had a great time.

They found some palm tree husks, I don't know what they were, but Thing 1 picked it up and immediately recognized it as a mask.

I built a pretty good sandcastle. Grandma came out and watched us and knitted. Finally she got cold and went inside, but the girls were just getting warmed up. We put on their wetsuits and we all went out into the water… about up to their hips, so the waves of course splashed up almost to their chests or higher sometimes, as the waves were coming in. I had a firm grip on their hands, of course, the whole time, and I think they came in more because their hands were going numb from my grip than because they were tired of playing. It was a very nice day. We hopped in the car after supper and took the girls shopping, and FORCED Thing 1 to choose some clothes. On the way back, when she learned we were kind of late and she didn’t have time to play with her Legos before bed, she moaned “This was a BAD PLAN!!!” She hadn’t wanted to go shopping at all, and resented being forced to.

Hubby got in later than I thought, and I didn’t get to sleep until 2:00 am or so.

Doing Disney

Saturday we packed up and left Grandma and Papa at the condo, and headed to Disneyland for our 2nd day. I wouldn’t have minded spending the day at the beach instead, it would have been more relaxed and we really had a great time at Disneyland on Tuesday, but we’d bought the 2 day tickets and I don’t think I could have stood wasting the money. We checked into our hotel, which was called the Portifino – it was a little farther away from the main gate, and a fair amount more expensive than the Ramada we’d stayed at before, but quite a bit cleaner and nicer. The girls had their own section of the room with sliding French doors to give them privacy, with their own TV and bunkbeds, and a couch and table. Thing 1 was so enchanted with the room we had a hard time getting her out of there to go to the park. We had a very nice time once we got there, but again there was this shopping cloud hanging over everything, with the girls constantly asking when they could go buy their gift. We went to California adventure in the morning, then at lunchtime we stopped at a nice Italian place in Downtown Disney or a late lunch, then went to Disneyland for the rest of the day. We did let them browse the Lego store, and the Disney store, and the Build-a-bear store while we were in Downtown Disney. I was expecting Thing 2 to be rather indecisive about what she wanted to buy, she’d been really good about holding off at Legoland the 2nd day we were there when Thing 1 bought a 2nd Lego set, and Thing 2 had decided to save her money for Disneyland, so by the time we got there she was hot to spend. After a fairly thorough perusal through the big Disney store, Thing 2 still was begging for a build-a-bear, so at the end of the day we took them back there and they both got a new best friend. Thing 2 chose a much more expensive animal, a dog, and got a puppy and a dress for it. Thing 1 chose a rabbit that was almost half as much, and got a magic set for it that included a wand, a black velvet hat, and a little white rabbit. I thought they both chose phenomenally, but later Thing 2 told me she wished we’d let her get a folding dog kennel instead, to put her dog in. Sigh.
It was a long walk back to the hotel. But those two little girls walked ALL THE WAY from the hotel, around Disneyland and California Adventure and downtown Disney with hardly a word of complaint… they did phenomenal. Thing 1 got kind of scared when Hubby and I went the back way out of downtown Disney and got turned around. She was sure we were lost and would spend the rest of our lives wandering around the Disney property, and then she kind of got tired, and I carried her the last block to the hotel. But all in all they were real troopers.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday at the beach

This was Wednesday. We spent the day at the condo again, and Hubby tried to fix my dad’s computer. He spent all day trying to get a Trojan Horse off of it, and basically ended up giving up. I took the girls to the beach this time, so Hubby could get some work done.

On the way over to the beach, Thing 1 found a pill bug. Thing 1 got mad at Thing 2 because Thing 2 took the pill bug and wouldn't give it back. Since we only found one, Thing 2 had decided that she didn’t want to fight with Thing 1 about it, so she figured she would do the right thing and make it so NO ONE could have the pill bug. My parenting techniques are showing through her. So Thing 2 dropped it in the ocean, just to make everything fair. Thing 1 was so upset by this she turned on her heel and stalked down the beach 100 yards or so, to sulk. Thing 2 joined her after a while. I spent a while building a sand castle by myself, trying to watch them from afar. I finally stalked over to them and told them I was there to play with them and watch them since I am the mommy, but if they’re okay all the way down here by themselves, I was going for a walk for shells. Thing 2 came with me, Thing 1 came back to our “spot” and played in the sand by herself, improving the sand castle, until we came back.

They had great fun giving me giant webbed sand feet.

They had their wetsuits on the whole day and it was a little cold, and we ended up going to the swimming pool and letting them swim.

After I got the girls back, bathed, and hair combed out, Hubby and I hustled off to a movie, and then he left before dinner for LAX to fly to New York to work for a couple of days.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Legoland Again

Thursday Grandma and I took the girls to Legoland for the 2nd day of our two day passes, only to find that the reason we’d been so mystified at our receipt was because she’d sold us 1 day passes with the aquarium upgrade. Which we didn't want. I had to pay $15 a piece to upgrade our passes to get us in. I was so mad at them I could spit.

The day didn’t go quite so magically, the lines moved very slowly, and the girls were only interested in what they could buy, but we did have some good episodes… my favorite was a fire engine ride I practically forced the girls to go on… you manually pump the truck to the fire, squirt at the target with a hose, then pump back. I nearly killed myself pumping to the fire, the girls aimed beautifully, and then I pumped my heart out again (with Grandma pumping awfully hard herself as well) and we won! Of the four fire engines, we came in first. The girls were thrilled. We went around and did it again, only this time I suspect Thing 1, who was holding the throttle lever in the forward position the second ride, hadn’t locked it in all the way because I was pumping my heart out again, and we didn’t move. I finally grabbed the lever and pulled it forward for her, and we started moving, but it was too late, we’d already lost our chance as that time we were up against a bunch of adult guys in every car. We came in last. But we still had fun.

I had been wondering how to handle the driving ride, though. I didn’t want to encourage Thing 2’s delinquent behavior and let her lie again, but I was sure she would be disappointed to go back to the little kid circle track. So on the way in I told her if we did ride that ride, she really is five and so she needs to ride on the 5 year old track. “Okay.” She was perfectly fine with it. When we got to that ride, Grandma watched her while I watched Thing 1. She, by the way, improved 100% and drove like a champion, quickly and confidently making it around the neighborhood, turning and stopping like a pro. Grandma said Thing 2 only wanted to ride once, as did Thing 1, but was perfectly happy driving in a circle.

When we were leaving, Grandma took Thing 1 to the lego store and since Thing 2 had agreed she wasn’t such a lego buff, and took her over to the aquarium to take advantage of the extra entrance fee we’d paid. Though we didn't really want it, we might as well. ONLY to find out that the extra entrance fee we'd paid had only been good for that first day, not today. They sort of implied if I made a big fuss they might give me a discount or a waiver, but I figured I’d have to go hunt down Thing 1 and Grandma to get their tickets… and since the whole thing closed in 20 minutes anyway… it left me with a bad taste in my mouth about Legoland. We had fun, and I absolutely love the driving thing, but I'll be sticking with Disneyland next year.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Tuesday we went to Disneyland. We had a very nice time, spent quite a while in California Adventure.
We ran into the bears from the Brother Bear movie and they posed with the girls.

The girls are getting so fun to go with, though Hubby really missed the childish enthusiasm that Thing 1 used to have – how she would squeal and scream with delight at the Mullholland Madness roller coaster, and just basically wig out over everything. The polish has worn off for them, a little, as they've been to either Disneyland for a couple of days, or DisneyWorld for a couple of days, and one year both, every year for as long as they can remember. We went over to Disneyland after a while, where we know there's more stuff they like. We didn't want to wait for the Toon town roller coaster, the line was so long. But they borrowed a car and drove around Toon Town, unfortunately they crashed into Goofy's maibox. Thing 2 needs driving lessons. Ha ha ha.

She also had the joy of riding the golden bell horse on the merry go round. Usually everyone runs to this horse and she never gets it, but we were first in line once, when the parade was on so everyone else was over watching it, so she got the best horse. All the others are just white with no bells.

We found that the girls are tall enough to go on the Indiana Jones ride.
It’s been so long since I’ve been on it, I kind of forgot how loud and dark and scary it is. When we got to the front of the line, it turned out Thing 2 and I were in the front left position, which meant the steering wheel would be in front of whichever of us got in first. I joked to the people in the row behind us that now they were in for some real danger, as I would be driving. They were suitable scared. Thing 2 heard me and piped up that she wanted to drive. I had second thoughts, but decided to let her do it, so she got in the car first. We sat down and buckled in, and I reached over to see that the steering wheel of the huge jeep car was stationary, yup, you couldn't turn it, it was just a prop. Off we went with Thing 2 leaning forward to firmly grasp the wheel. It got dark, loud, and scary awfully quick. I kept and eye on Thing 2, but she wouldn’t let go of the wheel. I thought she must be enjoying this.
When the ride was over, we were walking out and I asked her how she liked it. She burst into tears and said “You didn’t cuddle me! I was scared!” I said I thought she wasn’t scared, because she was holding on to the wheel! I felt awful. She said “I had to steer! I was trying to turn the wheel, but it wouldn’t turn! I kept trying and trying to steer the car!” OH MY HECK! The poor little rabbit! Not only was she scared to death of the ride, she was under the impression that she was supposed to steer!

If I had that to do again…
We also stayed too late, trying to squeeze one more ride in before the girls collapsed.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Beach day

Monday the 16th was a holiday, so to avoid the crowds we hung around the condo. I was really tired, and starting to come down with a cold, so Hubby took the girls to the beach to give me time to sleep. I didn’t sleep, ended up sitting on the patio talking with Mom and her neighbor, and later learned that not only had Hubby and the girls built a great sand castle, they had also walked all the way down to the Marina where Thing 2 had terrorized the seagulls, chasing them back and forth screaming, “You Wanna Piece Of ME!?!?!” Hubby said it was so funny, I wish I had come out and filmed it.

Grandma took me shopping and I got three pairs of shoes, and we scoped out the stores for some kids clothes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


The next day, Sunday, we went to Legoland. There was some confusion when we bought the passes, because Hubby asked for four Two-day passes (2 adult, 2 kid) with an aquarium update, which we thought was something like $83 for the adults and $63 for the kids. The receipt said we’d paid $53 a piece for ours, less for the girls, and $10 x 4 for the aquarium upgrade. This confused us completely, but we figured they must have given us some deal or calculated it differently, and went in.

Legoland was fine… nothing spectacular, and the girls spent half their day worrying about whether or not we’d let them buy something from the gift store. The best part of Legoland is still the driving ride – where the kids can drive around wherever they want on a track. Hubby had to take a phone call, which left me with both girls for a while. Unfortunately, the big driving range was for kids 6 – 13. Thing 2 should have gone to the 3 – 5 year old circular track. But I couldn’t watch both of them… so I whispered the situation to Thing 2, and told her today she was 6. The attendant in the line really asks, too, they don’t just take it on faith that you’ll obey the rules. The guy goes through the line, looked each kid in the eye, and asked them their age. I saw him doing this before we got over there, so I coached her a couple of times. She loved being six, and when I practiced her in the line she gave me this “I am so getting away with murder” smile whenever I would quiz her on her age. But she answered quick enough when the attendant asked her, with no hesitation or nodding from me, and they let her on the ride. She did absolutely beautifully. I had coached them both while we were waiting on proper driving technique, pointing at the kids who were already driving and how they were stopping correctly and oh look that kid just ran a red light, and apparently I scared Thing 1 to death. She was a very cautious driver… stopping at every corner whether she had a stop sign or not, waiting for all the cross traffic – who should have been stopping for her – to go by… driving very cautiously. Thing 2 drove like she owned the place, speeding around and having a ball while still obeying all the rules of the road. They rode it twice – the 2nd time the attendant recognized the girls and didn’t ask them their ages again. It was almost scary how good Thing 2 was at lying about her age, and how tickled she was to have pulled one over and gotten onto the big kid track…
Am I teaching her to be a juvenile delinquent?

We met my folks for dinner at a place called Pat and Oscar’s, it is kind of a fast pizza joint.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

So Cal here we come!

Our annual trip to Southern California!!!

Valentine's day has been not really a romantic holiday for a while for us. We have spent it playng with the girls for a couple years, I think, and this year we spent it going to California.
We got up and got out the door to catch the plane at a pretty good time. But it was snowing, and once we boarded the plane we sat at the gate for 2 and a half hours – that’s right, two and a half hours before we took off. I sat by Thing 1, and thank heaven she was an angel.
Once we landed in San Diego around 4:00 instead of 2:30 like we’d expected, we picked up the rental car and then headed for the condo. It was a beautiful day, and the girls were eager to get out on the beach. We had a nice evening with my folks.

Grandma and Thing 1 watch the sunset...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When they're sweet...

For Chinese New Year the kindergarteners drew dragon masks on paper with holes for the eyes and a stick to hold it in front of their faces. Thing 2 was very proud of herself that hers was the only one with a Uvula.

Thing 1 gave a talk in Primary opening exercises on Sunday. We forgot to prepare as we should have and I just sort of told her about it that morning as we were going out the door, and we discussed a few ideas she could talk about. The topic is families, something on that order. Thing 1 just spoke from the heart, as she does SO WELL, and talked mostly about her Daddy and how she misses him so badly when he travels. We took one of the pictures of our family and she pointed out which one he was (just in case anyone couldn’t tell). She did a really nice job… I was conducting and after she spoke I turned the time over to the music team. I then walked to the back to sit down with the rest of the presidency only to see them all in tears. They were mopping up from Thing 1’s talk, which they all marveled at how wonderful and sincere it was… it just bowled them over with how good it was, and all from the hip… She is a lovely little sincere and completely from the heart person.

Thing 1 draws many pictures in school. They often do these on extra large sheets of paper so if I’m going to keep them I have to crop them down. She brought home a new one the other day, a fox in a den with some pups. The fox’s belly is pink, and the pups are obviously suckling. When I told her that I liked her picture of the fox there with its babies, she corrected me and told me that one of the babies is a fox but the other is an armadillo.

Lather, rinse, repeat

Kids are cute and doing well for the past couple of days, nothing really to complain of much. Hubby is in town, though out tonight with "they boys" which in his case is "the user group geeks" he gets together with sporadically when he's in town.

My life is like reading the back of the shampoo bottle. Make food, clean kitchen, do laundry, clean house, etc. Repeat ad nauseam as necessary.

Some days are worse than others. It's another one of those things I try pretty hard not to think about too much.

An event such as a holiday or vacation I look forward to and savor for many months leading up to it. Before, after, and sometimes even a little during the said holiday or vacation I am often frustrated with how much extra work it costs me to have this fun.

We leave for our annual trip to the beach in three days. I've been doing this for years, adding on new elements occasionally such as kids and husband to what has been a pilgramage to the condo my parents rent on the beach for three months during the cold winter. This year we're going for eight days as it coincided with a very light week of school for the girls.
I haven't started packing.

It will be a break from the routine, (do I dare entertain the thought that this vacation is itself a routine?!?) but it poses its own challenges and difficulties. Hubby will not be there the whole time, but will be flying out to work for two days in the middle of the week. But the girls and I will have a couple extra days to go shopping, and play in the waves and the sand. It should be lovely. Really, truly, lovely. It always has been in the past.

And I won't dwell on the effort required to get all of us there and back.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Valentines and Home Depot

We had a Primary Party this morning, a re-do of last year's Pre-Valentine Waffle and Valentine making party. Last year we told the kids to come for 2 1/2 hours, we fed them heart shaped waffles, decorated valentine cookies and stamped and stickered valentine cards. I was in charge of the card part last year. It was WAY too much time, and we had to use a basement gym because our day overlapped with another ward's annual President's Day party. We ended up running up and down two flights of stairs with the waffles because the waffle irons kept tripping the breakers in the gym. We had to have the waffle irons going in the kitchen two flights up... we were saved from complete disaster by one of the presidency's husbands staying through the whole party running herd on the kids.

This year we reserved the upstairs gym and kitchen, and told the kids to come for an hour and a half, we dropped the cookies from the entertainment list and just decorated valentines. I brought all my stuff left over from last year, plus some more foam heart stickers and doilies, and was in charge of the cards again.

I think it was a roaring success this year. The only issue, really, was that there had been a wedding in the cultural hall the night before and they had left the kitchen in a mess, their garbage in big bags in the cultural hall, and boxes and boxes of decorations and candles and candle hurricanes all along the stage and in the lobby.

As we were cleaning up, the 2nd counselor mentioned that her husband works on Saturdays as the resident plumber at Home Depot, and they were going there afterward to do the Kid's Club craft. I quizzed her about it, thought it sounded like a reasonable distraction since my Hubby's out of town for the weekend, so we went over there and it was great! We arrived a half an hour before they shut the thing down, and unfortunately they ran out of the craft of the day (which was a really cool little wooden keepsake box with a heart on it), but the girls picked out a firetruck crayon holder thing to make, and had a marvelous time anyway. They got miniature Home Depot aprons and hammered their little hearts out, and got a little wooden truck out of it. What's not to love!

We'll be going back next month!!!