Monday, May 26, 2008

Clothespin Bubbles

Not to sound too 1950's, but... if you have an extra clothespin laying around I would suggest attaching it to your bubble wand! I tried this recently after my fingers were cut and bloody trying to dig out the impossibly skinny and small wand from a particular bubble container. Why oh why do the manufacturers make is so darn impossible for the wands to be retrieved from their jars? I actually passed the jar to my almost-five-year-old saying, "Can you get the wand out?" And when he could not he passed the jar to my two-year-old who tried one time and then turned it upside down, spilling half its contents on the patio, but alas, dumping the ridiculous wand out in the process.

Anyway, this handy household item made bubble blowing a snap! Not only did it help to remove the wand from the jar, but it also kept my hands bubble-solution free after I dipped, and re-dipped two dozen times! Now to find something to easily remove the protective seal off the top...
In our tiny, shoebox sized home, our kitchen is at the front of our house, with the kitchen window overlooking our front yard and porch. And every morning while I'm making waffles and cereal and juice and fruit for my children, I look out this kitchen window and I'm greated by two lovely birds. Every... single... day! Apparently this is their home, too!

This big guy is "Papa Bear", and he's about the size of my fist. He almost always sits on the left side of the two birds.
This lovely beauty is "Big Mama", because she always seems to have her chest protruding. She is almost always on the right side of "Papa Bear". It's kind of like me and Hubby; he always sleeps on the left side of the bed, I always sleep on the right. Funny how these idiotic rituals transfer over into the feathered world as well!
And every night these creatures find solice on top of my kitchen window ledge, "Papa Bear" on the left, and "Big Mama" on the right. What's hard to tell about this photo is that I'm only standing about two feet away... no exaggeration. I opened my front door (which creeks and squeaks horribly), and then I opened my screen/security door (which always bangs into the porch light on the wall behind it) and neither of these birds moved! "Big Mama" just kind of glanced in my direction!
How crazy is this? Hubby and I were just baffled and at the same time totally captivated that I could stand two feet away, or less, from these creatures, with the camera making noise, and the camera flash blinding them, and neither bird moved!

Hubby seemed to think it was my deceased Grandpa and his deceased Grandma coming back to haunt us. I choose to believe it's just God's way of bringing humans and nature together. Hubby thinks his way would be very cool. *rolls eyes*

Friday, May 23, 2008

I've decided that my life isn't challenging enough for me and I'm going to return to school to finish my A.A. When I was in high school I was a mediocore student... I passed by with several "B" grades, an occasional "A" (thanks to Art and P.E.) and of course some "C" grades slipped in here and there.

I was nothing like my sister who was brainy, dedicated and who actually liked school. I mean, who enjoys school? Sure, I thrived for recess, and breaks, and my friends; and I played sports after school... but my sister enjoyed the work, the academics of it. *Snort* She must have been a hoot to hang around with! She went on to earn degree after degree in college, and has a great background to fall back on if she ever decided to enter the professional environment again. I'm extremely proud of her success, and always felt like she was a great example to live up to, but I never quite followed in her footsteps.

By some miracle of God, I was accepted in to San Jose State University fresh from High School. This was fabulous... except that I failed my History class the first semester and I failed Psychology the second semester; I was always late to my art class because it was fifteen walking-minutes away from my History class; and I only found parking on the very top level of the parking garage after circling around it for fifteen minutes. I had declared "Digital Art" as my major because at the time I was totally enthralled with animated cartoons and found Disney Pixar animations to be a brilliant art form! I would have loved an opportunity to work for them! Then the art department changed the definition of "Digital Art" to mean "graphics" and "layouts"... so I said, enough of this! And off to community college I went!

I finished all but a couple of my general ed. classes at two different community colleges, and am now entering my third junior college here in Vacaville. I have four classes to go until my A.A. is complete and have just signed up today for two classes this summer (an online Nutrition class, and P.E. on campus) and two classes this fall (Psychology and History).

Get this, my P.E. class is going to be "Beginning Tennis". *Snort* I enjoy tennis about as much as I enjoy jogging. It's right up there with an eyelash in my eye. I would have loved to take an aerobics class or an exercise class to inspire my weightloss, but they were booked. So tennis it is! Good thing it's only for 6 weeks, and I won't know anyone... I'm the most uncoordinated person God created. He probably thought, "I haven't had a good laugh in awhile what with the wars and prices of gas, so I'll force Jennifer to sign up for tennis. This should lighten my mood."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This has been emotionally a rough week for us! Our big boy, Jacob, will be going on to Kindergarten this fall, *sniff-sniff*, and has graduated from the Awana Cubbies, completing two books of Bible verse memorization!

His pre-school had a closing-day program filled with songs and then cookies and playtime afterward. Here's Jake in the back row, yellow polo, next to his best friend Joe*. He and Joe met last summer at his pre-school's summer school and have become inseperable!

See how they even walked in to the chapel together, holding hands! *Awww...* How cute are they?!
I've become really good friends with Joe's parents and we've worked it out so that Jake and Joe can attend summer school again this year on the same days. I'm really hoping this friendship lasts, because this fall Jake and Joe will part ways as they go to different Kindergarten schools. Jake has already expressed a distaste in this situation, and thinks it's totally unfair that Joe won't be going to his school. I guess this is a good lesson on the value of one's friendship, and how life isn't about getting what you want, nor is it about life being fair all the time. I better not say that out-loud to Jake or he's likely to throw sand at me...

(*Joe* is not his real name)

Aside from school, Jake's next biggest passion is going to Awana every Tuesday night. He absolutely LOVES it! I can't believe he's actually going on to Sparky's this fall! I mean, that's for elementary school-aged kids... when did he join that age group??

Here he is fresh from receiving his award. He was so thrilled to have received a ribbon ("...and it's BLUE, Mom!") that he immediately demanded I pin it on to his vest that instant.
Here are the boys outside of our Church, and Ben not wasting a moment to be silly.

His wonderful Cubbies teachers put together a computer disk of pictures (with background songs) for us to have, and we watched it today. Hubby watched it this morning while I was at Curves, and when I came home I found him with red eyes, and there were wadded Kleenex balls on the counter. "What's wrong? Allergies?" I asked. He looked at me shocked... "No! It's that Cubbies CD. Did you watch it yet? It had me in tears throughout!" So I hurried over, not wanting to miss the action, and plugged myself in to watch. Before I knew it Hubby was hovering by my side, praising and exclaiming over the greatness of this photograph-filled CD.

It was a great CD, and was ten minutes of all the Cubbies children, Jake being in it here and there... but I couldn't quite grasp what all the fuss was about. About five minutes into it I realized the heavy breathing had deceased out of my left ear and I turned to find Hubby, again with the Kleenex wads, tearing up in the kitchen. "Man up and get a grip!" I shouted. Sure, it was cute, but was it really tear-jerker cute? Hubby protested, "But this is my baby! He's just getting so big! He's just so adorable and I'm so proud of him. I'm the proudest Dad ever!"

*sigh* There are times when I think he definately wears the pants in the family, and then there are times like this when I really know it's probably me. I padded him on his back, passed him the Kleenex box, and left him to his tears.

I've been going to Curves for a couple of weeks now and haven't quit yet! It's shocking really, that I've lasted this long! Probably because there's no running involved. I worked out five days in a row the first week, four days the second week, and this is my third week and I've gone every day so far and plan to continue on to finish a full five day week.

It's a slight bummer that I haven't seen any changes in the numbers on my scale at home. I stepped on it last week and the read-out flashed "Still Fat", so I tried again this week and it said, "I Can't Breathe". How rude. But I have noticed a slight difference in some areas of my body... for example: I've gained some muscle definition in my legs and have lost the "cankles" effect. My legs are now back to separating the difference between calves and ankles. My butt-fat no longer flows like lava into my upper thighs, there's more definition there as well. And in my stomach I'm still a little thick, but it's less "muffin-top" then before.

All this is good... I guess. My first day at Curves was May 1st, and for some reason on my computer screen when I sign in it has my "weight-check date" set for the 17th of each month. When this date came around the other day I politely asked the young girl (she's like 19) behind the desk if I could please just get weighed and measured the 17th of June instead. She laughed and then added, "Yeah, it's not like you've lost anything yet, huh! You're still kind of the same." Apparently they just let any moron work at a fitness place these days.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Last summer we decided to splurge and buy a big 10 foot round pool that stands about 3 feet high. Perfect for the kiddos to splash and swim in, and big enough for Hubby and I to relax and kick up our heels. At the time Hubby decided he wanted to put the pool on our patio so it would be under our awning and would spare us the pain and misery of rubbing aloe on our children's sunburned bodies. Personally, I think he didn't want to ruin the grass... like the dogs didn't have a head start on that one!

It was nice to to be out from under the direct sun, but it was surely the coldest pool on the block! Random children would come up to Hubby and say, "Next summer could you put it in the sun?" I complained to Hubby about the sub-zero temperature but neither one of us wanted to dump and re-fill the pool. So it stayed put. We had penguins lounging on our inner tubes. We pulled ice cubes from it to add to our drinks. The boys would go in for about ten minutes at a time and then would re-emerge with frost mounting on their ears.

So when we discussed the pool location this year, the boys and I all said in unision: "On the grass!" So out on the lawn it went. It takes several hours for the pool to fill up and I tried explaining this too the boys but they insisted on watching. "Make yourselves comfortable!" I had warned, and before I had finished hooking up the garden hose I turned in their direction to see the boys lounging on their inner tubes, ready to take in the sights.

After awhile they got a little restless, and the waiting turned into to goofiness and hyperness...
And when Ben had had enough waiting and watching, Charlie came to enjoy the view. This was fine by Jake. He was happy to have the company.
Have you ever watched grass grow? Waiting for the pool to fill up is kind of like that. This was our progress after about an hour. Yep, it was going to be a long day!
We inserted the hose at about eleven in the morning and the pool was finally filled by two o'clock. The boys had tired of waiting and watching and had moved on to other things... mostly finding things for me to inflate. I blew my weight in air filling up inflatable balls, inner tubes, arm floaties, you name it, and when I had puffed my last breath I informed the kids that the pool was ready! They very excited until I told them that it would still take another day or two for it to "warm up". I said, "Remember the popsicle pool from last year? Do you want to swim in that?" They both vigorously shook their head 'no'. No one wanted to re-live that horrific pasttime. My body still trembles at the thought. "Maybe tomorrow afternoon, after my school and after Ben wakes up from his nap..." Jake ventured. Sounded good to me!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Every year at the beginning of summer I take stock of what new items need to be purchased. The occasional bottle of sunblock, a new beach ball, sunglasses and such... This year it was mostly our outdoor toys and towels. It was a pretty sad sight to see, and every toy I came across seemed to be in worse shape then the first.

Both dismembered shovels are courtesy of the dogs teeth. Look how sad the little yellow one is! It barely has enough breath to lean against the fence.

This boat will no longer float in the moat.
The pool... our sadly squashed, bug infested, dirt trap has seen much better days. The great thing about these pools is you just kick them over, stamp your foot throughout the inner rim, spray water on the spiders, and voila! Back to normal!
When my son held up this towel, and sticking his entire head through it said, "What is this, Mom?" I knew it had soaked up it's last pool-water for good. It had taken it's last trip to the beach. I threw it on the ground for the dogs to enjoy and Charlie (my one-year-old Lab that eats cat poop and chews the carpet) sniffed it hesitantly, jerked his head up, and quickly backed away. I heard Hubby from behind me say, "When the dogs won't touch it, it's time for it to go in the trash."
So this week my mission is to find some new pool toys, new sand toys, new beach towels--preferably smell free and hole free-- and maybe a cute new pair of thongs for me.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Things I never thought I’d say before I had kids:

“I don’t care what the dog is doing; little boys do not poop on the lawn.”

In the bathtub… “Please stop kissing your brother’s bottom.”

“We do NOT touch our poop and smear it on the floor!”

“Who pee’d in the bathtub?” …when it wasn’t bath time.

“We do not ride the dog!”

“Don’t eat your boogers!”

“Milkbones are not crackers.”

“Please take my bra out of the toilet.”

“Food is for our mouths, not our ears!”

“We draw on paper, not on couches!”

“Stop flicking boogers at your brother!”

“No thank you, I do not want to try on your penis.”

“I understand you are a superhero, but you may NOT wear my underwear over your pants to school.”

“Don’t wipe your nose on my pillow!”

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I've had highlights in my hair for the past few months now, re-highlighting them once somewhere in the middle, and slowly the color has changed from light brown/honey to crayola yellow. I think it had something to do with the sun. This morning in front of the mirror I decided the zebra look wasn't for me and trooped off to Target for a box of color. At the suggestion of my sister-in-law (who's own natural hair color is miles beneath her color-treated surface) I bought L'Oreal's Excellence Creme in Dark Chocolate Brown. On the box it looked a lot like my natural color. On the box...

After taking my kids for a picnic in the park, I got to work on my hair. First thing, I laid out all the contents and took stock. Conditioner: check. Color treatment: check. Gloves: check. Towel: check. Hubby's raised eyebrows: check. Vomit in the back of the throat from nerves: check. The application bottle looked so small that I freaked out about the possibility of not having enough liquid, and then as I began applying it I realized I had more then enough for my entire head. I would squirt a little here, a dab there, a glob there...

The problem wasn't the tiny applicator bottle, or the drops on my bathroom rug, or the fact that I had ruined one of Hubby's t-shirts... no the problem was the smell! The stench of the chemicals was so bad I had mascara running down my burnt eyes onto my cheeks (I double checked to make sure it mascara and not dye), I had the bathroom window open and the bedroom window open and I would occasionally run to the bedroom window and literally press my face up against the screen gasping for fresh air. I'd gasp in some big breaths and troop back to the bathroom to finish another layer. Back and forth, to and from the window I went for the entire fifteen minutes it took me to apply the glop.

Then I was supposed to "loosely pile" my hair on top of my head for 30 minutes. Yeah, right. My hair doesn't "loosely pile". It's got short layers throughout, it's heavy and thick and was stuck in clumps because of the dye-goo. So I ended up turning on Day's of Our Lives and rotating my arms to the top of my head, helping to "loosely pile" my hair. For 30 long minutes I had my arms up.

The time came to rinse out my hair, which was fine because Sami and John were having the same conversation over and over as characters do on a Soap... and then the real drama started. I turned on my shower to a warm temperature (per the box instructions) and assessed my surroundings. Hubby came in to check things out. "Do you want to take the shirt off?" He asked. I declined, explaining to him my brilliant plan of leaning very far over into the stream of water and that I'd remove my clothing after and take a shower to finish up.

So I leaned forward letting the water cascade over the top of my hair, and soon the bottom of the shower pan filled slowly with brown liquid water. I was leaning very far forward so as not to get my bathroom rug wet. All was going well, but then I had a not-so-brilliant idea of turning the spout more directly on me. The water started going over my ears and around my collar, and over the top of my forehead. I blindly grabbed a washcloth to cover my eyes, but it was soaked through in a matter of seconds. Then the outside water line from the sprinklers on the lawns turned off and all of the sudden my shower increased in pressure and turned very HOT! I desperately clawed the tiles on the walls reaching for the cold spout, found it, and gave it a good yank. With my arm still extended on the cold spout this gave the water a new incentive, and before I knew it I had water running down my arm, into my shirt, soaking my bra and receding to parts south from there.

Apparently I was hooting and hollering because suddenly Hubby appeared and asked if I needed help. I was blind from the stinging brown liquid, I had a drenched washcloth covering my face, my clothes were soaked through, and the bathroom was trashed. I raised my face in his direction and very calmly said, "Could you hand me a towel, please?" I wiped my face as best as I could, and with Hubby's assistance removed the excess water and dye from my hair. When we were done, and I was standing there like a drenched dog, Hubby asked, "Why didn't you just strip and take a shower? Wouldn't that have been easier then... this??" He gestured toward my body. So I showered.

Looking in the mirror afterward I found several stained spots of dark dye on my clothes, forehead, arms, toes (don't ask) and rug. I also found I had a mesh imprint on the side of my cheek from me pressing my face against the window screen for air. Then I looked at the color. Great, instead of a zebra I was now Snow White: pasty white skin on my no-makeup face and dark, dark brown hair. After I let my hair dry I went back to the mirror and re-assessed. Something was missing... makeup! Bad move! Snow White meet gothic chick. I give up.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The funniest thing happened in the car today on the way to Costco! --Yes, I know, all of my stories have something to do with Costco. What can I say, we live next door to it!

Anyway, Ben saw a big truck out of his window and said (over and over) "big tuck, big tuck!" and I acknowledged that yes, it was a big truck. If I don't respond or repeat him he goes on and on like a broken record! So then Jake looked around and said, "Where's the big truck?" Ben pointed his little chubby hand over his head and says, "Back dare, Daytub (Jacob), back dare." And of course Jake has totally missed the truck but he's still looking for it and still asking, and Ben is still sitting there saying "Back dare, Daytub, back dare..." over and over. So finally I said, "Just let it go, Jacob, let it go." And before Jake could respond Ben said, "Let it doe, Daytub, let it doe."

Jake and I were laughing so hard, it was absolutely hilarious!! Maybe you had to be there, but come on, anyone who pronounces "Jacob" as "Daytub" has to be cute!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I've had enough! Enough of the videos, enough of the diets that don't work, enough of my plastic scale... so I broke down and went back to Curves. I have been contemplating doing this ever since I found out Hubby has a high school reunion in exactly... 4 months! Yeesh! No time to waste.

So this morning I talked about joining Curves to my Hubby and he said (his exact words): "I'm fine with paying the $39 a month for you to go, as long as you're actually going to do it. I don't want to pay for something that just sits around and that you don't take advantage of." So I very calmly, but sternly, pointed out that he has a dirt bike and a go kart in his garage that "sit around" and don't get taken "advantage of" most of the year. He just kind of looked at me and said I was right (then bells and whistles went off because Hubby NEVER admits to being right). Then I sucked in my gut and headed for Curves...

When I got there I had a big knot in my stomach... I wasn't sure if it was anxiety over joining or if it was from pepperoni pizza I had just scarfed down. Either way, I was uneasy. After talking to a nice woman named Debra I was really beginning to warm up to the place, and after sharing a laugh about how it's been awhile since I've been there (I joined in early 2005 and quit promptly in 2006), she pulled out my file. It's good to know all my old body weights and measurements and old goals were still accounted for on my old "fat" chart. Heaven forbid there be a fire in the two years I've been gone that would have cleared all that out for me.

And then Debra walks me over to this large, looming, doctor-type of scale. You know the kind that have the little bar you scoot across the top, the kind that always seems to need to "add" more weight... it's the type of scale that basically laughs at you when you approach it. Oh, and a hearty chuckle it got about me! Not only did it creak when I stepped on it (seriously, how embarrassing), but when my "suggestive" weight of 142 wasn't nearly enough to even out the scale marker, she had to move the bar way over nearer to the 150 mark! Talk about adding insult to injury! It was mocking me for sure!

Then Debra took out her little tape measure and measured everything! Arms, waist, chest, hips (good Lord, the hips), calves, toenails... the woman did it all. And I'm trying to be honest, so I would tell her things like "oh wait, I'm sucking in a little" and, "I want it to all hang out..." and so I'd relax and there the fat would go, dropping over my jean's waistline like the top of a cupcake. The misery, the dread, the cold hard slap in the face of what I'd let my body become... the Pillsbury dough boy has nothing on me.

Then as we're doing the paperwork and discussing fat goals and the such, I'm just going on and on about how I'm at the heaviest I've EVER been in my entire life and how I can't believe I've let myself get this big and how I need to lose a good 10-15 pounds in order to feel better about my body... and Debra very nicely says, "Well I would kill to be your weight! Your current weight is my goal weight! I've already lost 20 pounds and I would love it if I were your size." Good grief, I was mortified.

Then Debra starts talking about how she hasn't been there for the past couple of weeks due to some gall stones and rocks in her stomach that are going to require major surgery, and so she won't be able to work out for awhile. Put me in the oven and shut the door. I shut my mouth and had a mental argument with God for letting me go on and on in front of this poor woman. Talk about your lessons in humility! Here she is, already having lost 20 pounds (which I profusely congratulated her on) and is bummed because she can't work out due to a medical illness. Here I am blabbing on like an idiot for being lazy and not taking advantage of my God-given, perfectly healthy, albeit robust, body.

Anyway, so I start Monday and I'm actually pretty excited! Plus, I'll get to buy clothes! And shoes! Let's not forget the Simple brand shoes I attempted to "run" in the other day. That simply won't work for Curves. And I might need a new blush... something that says "sweaty while watching tv"...
The weather was absolutely gorgeous outside today and when my boys asked for a snack a fruit pop sounded like the smart solution! And they thoroughly enjoyed them!

I had been snapping a few pics of the boys as they casually enjoyed their treats, and then low-and-behold, a sign of affection! And where was my camera during this rare moment? Turned off and on the other side of the patio on the table. So I hurried over, walking quickly for fear if I ran that it would ruin the brotherly love. I grabbed my camera, turned it on and whipped around right as they began to separate. This is the only shot I got of them together... and Jake's head is cut off. But it's better than nothing!
Here we are, scraping every last morsel of popsicle goodness off the stick. Ben was never one to waste a treat!

Thank you Karen for this fun website!

What kind of cereal are you? I am Cheerios!

Like other Cheerios eaters, you want to be a responsible adult, but you can't help but still be a kid at heart! You try to make good decisions. You're a clean cut, conscientious person. You're the type of person who would never skip breakfast. Part of you thinks that breakfast is too important to miss... But a bigger part of you knows it's too fun to miss!