Saturday, April 29, 2006

Olivia's first catch!

Who says city folk don't know where their food comes from? We ate trout for lunch that Olivia caught live!

Ok, it wasn't the picture of county-life. The Kawanas (sp?) filled the Santa Clara city fountains with trout and helped the kids catch them with fishing poles and everything!

Olivia did great. She caught her first fish within minutes of her first turn. She wasn't as fruitful on her second turn, but she had great fun. She was a little scared at first because mommy wasn't allowed to come in with her, but she met a new friend that helped immensely. Another cutie little 4-year-old girl held her hand in line. Very sweet.

Unfortunately I forgot the camera for the experience, but here is her holding her (bagged) fish once we got home.

Daddy even cleaned it and cooked it for lunch. I must say, it was pretty good. It's probably the closest we'll get to fresh fish for a long time.

Now THIS is California

We're finally getting lots of sun and warmth after months of rain every day. We set up the Dora sprinkler to celebrate. (In the background of the first picture. Click to enlarge.)

Olivia was much more willing to run through it than she was last year, but Noah only would come close to it when I was holding him. Sigh. I had visions of them giggling and running around it together for extended amounts of time with no adult supervision necessary. It was still fun though.

Noah did get some good driving time in though. Uh oh, daddy's tomato plants are dangerously close right behind him. Don't kick it in reverse Noah!

Another product of Olivia's imagination

Once again I was a little taken aback by something I found in Olivia room. I guess I didn't expect her little chick to be sitting in the phone holder and bound to the faucet. She had a whole explanation about what she was pretending. It seemed to have slipped my mind now. She has quite intricate pretend games, sometimes it will take several minutes for her to explain to me what we are going to pretend, and I'm expected to remember it all and play extactly right according to her telling. Fun to experience, for sure, but quite draining at the same time!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Feet: the sticker surface of choice

I was sitting on the couch (our new, brown, leather couch) talking with Olivia today and noticed she had a ladybug on the sole of one foot, and an ant on the other. Luckily, they were just stickers. She never ceases to amaze me with the funky stuff that crosses her mind to do.

Treasure in this earthen vessel

(Warning: In this blog entry I discuss my faith, Christianity. Read at your own risk of being offended.)

At church on sunday the sermon was about II Chorintians 4:7.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (NIV)

The idea is that we are all jars of clay (some translations say earthen vessels, which I think sounds kinda cool and, you know, less like a band.) In biblical times clay jars were ordinary, used for lots of things, and when they were worn out they were thrown away without much of a thought.

That is us, as people: fragile, breakable, failable, ordinary. Basically we are mortal, we get old, worn out, and perish. Nevertheless, God chose to put his treasure in us. Specially, in me. Plain, old, ordinary me. Not some being that is eternally beautiful and perfect.

The pastor also talked about how, like jars of clay, we have real imperfections, cracks and asymmatries, or weaknesses and flaws in our character. We shouldn't try to shine our outside and hide our flaws too much. We shouldn't be ashamed that we are real people with real life problems.

I've been thinking about that this week and how one place that part really comes through is here, in my blog! I'm never really ashamed to show my failing too much here. How right now I'm letting Noah run around naked and I don't even know where he is peeing because I'm too lazy to fight him on getting some pjs on, for instance.

No, I don't share every thing I'm ashamed of, but I do feel I let it come through a little bit and not candy-coat my life completely. And I think that's cool that I can be a real person who couldn't possibly do everything perfectly, yet God still wants to put His treasure in me. Wow.

But what is His treasure? I've also been thinking about that part this week. I'm not exactly sure if I understand that part completely, but it's something about "the glory of God." I guess it's that he created us to reflect Him and His awsomeness. That we are his portal to show His character in this world. His love, honor, dignity, greatness, all that. That's a lot to live up to.

But even though it's a high calling, I can still have my own cracks and failing on the outside. I don't have to be this perfect person who always has the house spic-and-span, makes delicious homemade dinners every night, pulls all the weeds. But I just want to try to live in my weedy yard, messy house, getting take-out food as He would have me to, while loving God and others.

I just thought that was pretty cool way of reminding me to not sweat the small stuff.

Speaking of noticing

Did anyone notice there was a picture of me on this page? (At the time of this blog entry anyway.) I bet you all missed it! (Either that or no one cares. :->)

I just noticed

Noah's car has a "Jazz" bumper sticker on it. Hmmmmm. What do you want to bet that was placed there by Travis and not an original feature?

We have fruit trees we've never heard of before

This is the loquat. It is apparently a delacacy in Japan. They are not bad. The kids like them. Here is Professor Olivia explaining the intracacies of the loquat. I think she was explaining what parts you can and cannot eat. Noah prefers his on the go.

My little teenagers

Laying in bed and talking on the phone.

They even dial at the same time.

Are they supposed to be this big???

I'm starting to wonder if our calla lillies are going to take over our yard. Good thing I love them. And I didn't know they were going to stay in bloom this long either. I discovered them blooming when we got back from our vacation the first of January. So they've been this way a good 4 months now. Wow. And I really don't have to do anything to them. My kind of plant!

So it begins

When Olivia was still in diapers and it was time to change her, she'd always resist. So, I'd tell her she could play by herself until she's ready for me to change her diaper. She played independently so rarely that this actually got me a few minutes to myself. However, it probably did not help the potty training, we didn't even start until she was past 3 and needless to say, it was slow going.

Now Noah squirms from my arms and runs from me when I tell him that we have to change his diaper, and guess what? I let him. I'm one that doesn't learn well from history, and I almost always sacrifice the long term for the short term.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The day I've been waiting for

We've replaced all of our old, blue couches. I guess I've been expressing my excitement about it a little bit, because today when some friends came over the first thing Olivia told them was, "This is our new couch. No more old, blue couches!"

Let's compare the before and after pictures. (Please excuse the clutter. Like I said, we had friends over, and I had no energy to pick up.)


After: (Overstuffed red chair I bought used for $60 through craigslist)


After: (Futon which used to reside in Noah's room but was moved into our main room whem we switched him to his toddler bed.)


After: (Brown leather couch I got used for $100, also through craigslist.)

It's amazing how much happier a little change in furniture can make me. I just smile when I walk in the room now.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Oceanside, CA

We really enjoyed staying in Oceanside. In fact, we played with the idea of someday buying an investment property there. We could vacation there a few times a year and rent it out the rest of the year to other vacationers. That is, until we saw the prices. Bwahahaha. Nevermind. It was lovely though.

A licensed driver?

According to her LegoLand/Volvo driver's license, Olivia is now a licensed driver. She did great on her first time driving a motorized vehicle. She pressed the gas pedal to go, she turned with the sterring wheel, much better than I expected! Here is my big girl driving.

The wind blowing through her hair.

Looking in her blind spot.

Poor Noah only got to "drive" a stationary vehicle.

Side trip to San Fransisco?

Nope, click on the picture and look closer. This entire scene from San Fransisco is made solely out of legos. Unbelievable.

Not only San Fransisco, but New York, Florida including the Daytona 500 and Kennedy Space Center, the capitol, New Orleans, any place you can imagine completely made out of legos. Now, I'm not quite as impressed by lego creations as Travis is, but I have to admit, it was quite amazing.

It's all about the playground

SeaWorld had the most extensive playground imaginable. You could travel for miles 15 feet above the ground all perfectly safely. I had to tear Olivia away so we could go see Shamu. Then they played until the parked closed when they immediately fell asleep in the car.

The only thing that came close to competing with the playground that was related to sea animals at all was the star fish exhibit where you could touch the star fish. You had to pull the star fish out of freezing cold water, sometimes putting your arm in up to your shoulder nearly. Of course, Olivia couldn't do it by herself and guess who got to help? It was cool though.

Polar Bears are Sea animals???

They were still cool. Notice Noah fogging up the window.

Sea Lion feeding time

Click pictures for larger versions

And what you've all been waiting for...


Here is Olivia and Noah upon our arrival at SeaWorld checking out the maps and planning our day. They decided we would watch the sea lion feeding first and then go to the show. Seymour and Clyde were a hit!

The LegoLand ticket fiasco

On our drive to San Diego we realized we had forgotton something very important. We even had it on our list, our list we never checked before we left. My friend, Crissa, gave me a GREAT coupon to buy LegoLand tickets, and un-organized us left them at home! Doh! It would have saved us $67 off the price at the door.

Very frustrating, but at least we could get our AAA discount at the door which would be about $15-$20 off the door price. Better than nothing.

The day of LegoLand we stopped by Ralph's on the way and noticed they were selling discounted tickets! Score! I bought 2 adult and 1 child for $43.50 off the door price. (Noah is under 2 and got in free.) We were feeling very fortunate for making that pit stop and a little less frustrated at ourselves for forgetting the coupon at home.

We get to LegoLand about 20 minutes later and realized the grocery store clerk had given us 2 CHILDREN tickets and only 1 ADULT ticket. This was worth about $20 LESS than what we had paid for. Argh! At this point it's a bit past 10am when LegoLand opened, and they only stayed open until 6pm that day. What are we going to do now?

We could try to sell the child ticket at the door and buy an adult one, but then we'd be out of over $20, diminishing most of what we had saved at Ralph's. We could try to all go back and show him how he had ripped us off, but that would waste an hour of amusement park time, and the kids had already been in the car for so long.

In the end, we decided Travis would take the kids in LegoLand and I would take the Child's Ticket back to Ralph's and attempt to convince the clerk he had made a mistake and exchange it for an Adult's Ticket. At that point I had no proof since I was only bringing one ticket back, but worse case I'd have to pay the difference, but at least it would be a discounted difference, and the kids wouldn't have to sacrifice any time in LegoLand.

Amazingly, the clerk was really nice and just exchanged my ticket! He was very apologetic when he asked if we had made it all the way to LegoLand and I said we had. Woohoo!

And the kids didn't have to waste any time in the park. Although that part didn't go quite as well. Daddy tried to take them on a few very unscary kiddie rides and they were VERY nervous without mommy there.

But all-in-all, it was a good day, and we didn't overpay too much for anything despite are very poor planning!

We're back!

We had a great time on our first "real" family vacation. ("Real" because it was the first one that included amusement parks.) I have lots to blog about, so more to come as I get the pictures downloaded. Here are some things I learned to tide you over...

  • Ritz crackers are a LIFE SAVER! Noah never seemed to want to eat anything we were at the times we wanted to. Having a sleeve of Ritz crackers just about saved my sanity. I think he survived on Ritz crackers alone for 4 days. That and breastmilk. Still nursing at 18 months comes quite in handy when you want to get him to sleep anytime anywhere.
  • My kids are the biggest scardy cats. I thought hotel swimming pools were supposed to be the main attraction for kids and you had to drag them away when they were all shriveled and tired. Nope. Mine wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole. Olivia would only put her feet in the little jacuzzi. She gets farther in the bathtub than she does in any other actual body of water.
  • Sand covered private parts is not what you want to see when changing Noah's diaper.
  • There are a lot more overweight people that live in southern Calfornia than I expected.
  • Forgoing sleep to drive at night is well worth it when you don't have to deal with two high strung awake kids in the car.
  • Shamu is HUGE and more beautiful than I expected.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

He is risen!!!

A picture from our 4th egg hunt of the year. (Click for a bigger version.)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

How to get Noah to eat

Give him a container of Yo Baby yogurt and a spoon. Let him dump the entire container onto his highchair tray and eat it with the spoon directly off the tray. When he gets tired of that, give him a half eaten apple. Let him scoop more yogurt off the tray onto the apple core and eat it off of that. As an added bonus, he will play with the container and core for another good 15 minutes, and look really cute while he's at it. The only downside, the mess really, really smells bad.

Lord of the flies?

The rains have stopped, for awhile at least. (I realized I can't really complain about all the rain after naming my child Noah.) It hasn't exactly dried up in the backyard, as you can tell. Don't even ask about the lovely outfit he's wearing.

Anything that can go wrong...

will. (Ok, I'm tired at looking at my clothes top and center of my blog, so I'm sharing my disorganized morning with you.)

I got us all ready and to bible study on time, and it wasn't meeting this week for spring break. Doh. I figured since Olivia has next week off, so did bible study, but I was wrong.

I had even showered, put on decent clothes, and make-up! I hardly ever put on make-up. I had tried to sneak in the shower when Noah was still asleep on our bed, but of course it woke him up. So I stupidly let the shower run while I nursed him and used all the hot water. By the time I finally got him happy in front of the TV with Olivia, I had to take a cold shower. Then Noah came in and started handing me my clean clothes I had set out one by one into the shower. I guess he wanted me to hurry and get dressed. All this for a bible study that wasn't even meeting.

But I shouldn't complain, I got errands done that I don't have to do tonight now. We might get to play with some friends after they get done with swimming lessons. And I took the kids outside in the backyard and I pruned my Calla Lillies and picked dandylions. (I'm convinced if you pick them while they are yellow before they turn into seeds that can blow away it will stop the spread.) And I'm even doing laundry. All before noon. So, I guess it all worked out.

I still feel pretty lame though.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

My latest bargin outfit

A cute green shirt with 3/4 legnth sleeves, a dragon pic on the front, and red trim for $1 and Calvin Klein jeans for $3. All courtesy of Goodwill. The rugged, worn look is still in, right? (I'm talking the clothes, not me.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Oh, how I'd love to retire the high chair

But I just cannot keep Noah off the table. This was actually relatively neatly eating for him. Usually he's standing on the table throwing things. I guess he's going to be in the highchair for meals for awhile yet.

Notice his guacamole knees...

My kids are such hams! What a mess, but I love watching them have fun!