Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sliding With Nemo & "Papa"

Today was a day of surprises. It didn't seem like anything extraordinary would happen - seemed like a regular day - until LaMar came home from work. "Papa" had brought Mia a surprise: a Nemo Slip 'n Slide. It is a bright yellow plasic slide with a blue bumper at the end with pictures of "fishies" (Nemo) on it. Mia quickly put on "my suit" and went outside with Papa. She watched with interest as he set up the new toy and connected the hose to it. She absolutely didn't know what to think of it - and absolutely didn't know how to slip 'n slide. Luckily, three little neighbor girls: Bailey, Sydney, and Cameron were only too happy to come over and show Mia the ropes. Being a bit older, they were savvy to the ways of the slip 'n slide, and soon Mia was taking turns sliding down the wet, slippery piece of plastic fun. See the fun unfold below as Katie tries to show her what to do at first, and then see how much fun she was having after some nice little girls came to show her how.
A good time was had by all - especially me. I enjoyed most of all seeing "Papa"/LaMar having fun with his little granddaughter, while he gave her the time of her life. The best memories are always composed of such simple things, aren't they?

A Girl Needs Her Beauty Sleep

The last couple of days have been a whirlwind. I always forget how quickly a day goes when it's based around a toddler's mealtime needs and naptimes.The first real day that Katie, Mia and I all spent together was on Wednesday. Poor Mia wasn't feeling very well - I think she is allergic to something here in North Orange County, because she kept sneezing, and her eyes were all puffy and watery. We got her some children's Claritin, and the symptoms pretty much went away, and she started having more fun. First things first: we HAD to go grocery shopping, and get supplies for the week. Off we went to Trader Joe's for lots of yummy food, and we got home satisfied with our haul. Time for a nap. We all went back to my brother's house (where they're staying, as there's no room at Casa Norman right now). While Mia napped, we watched 27 Dresses, and then we helped Becky (sister-in- law) pick about a million apricots off her tree. She was making jam that day. Mia woke up and back we went to my house to get dinner started. (See how fast the day goes? And with very little done...)
Yesterday was slightly more productive. Mia really slept in, so by the time they got here to my house, I just ran out the door, and we were on our way to order Mia's birthday cake from Rockwell's. We decided on a pink and white cake with a princess crown and number two in fondant, and with stars shooting up from the top of it. Very girly. Off next to a great little party store in Costa Mesa. We got the cutest things for her party - beach theme, of course! - and now I'm really excited for it. I love this store - called Where's the Party, for you locals. They have the most wonderful things for any type of party you could ever conceive. While we were there, the sales girl gave Mia a pink balloon, which excited her very much. I forgot to mention that while we were riding in the car, she kept cuddling the babydoll we'd given her for Christmas, and saying "Shhhh...shhhh" So sweet.

When we got home, we had a quick lunch and went to the pool for a little bit. Mia is used to the warm water temperatures in Mexico, and this was a little bit cooler, so she didn't last a real long time. We came back and I helped Mia play "Chopsticks" on the piano. It was fun until she reached up and closed the piano on her fingers. Ouch. Time for a nap.
When she woke up, it was time to prep for dinner, but luckily Uncle Scott was home, and took her for another swim. She had lots of fun jumping into the pool and swimming to him. There's almost nothing more fun than a big uncle to play with. At dinner time Mia chattered and recognized LaMar as "Papa." I'm still "Memo." (Her other grandma is Momo, I'm Mema, and so she's a littel confused, as you can imagine. I certainly would be...)

Not sure what's on for today. Maybe the carousel at Fashion Island? We also need to do a little more food shopping for the party tomorrow, and there was a rumor of a big sale at the Disney Store, so we may have to go there as well. But you know how it goes: when it's naptime, it's definately NAPTIME. I think even Memo will need one today.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hot Air, New Baby Boys, & Accounting Jobs: Whatta Weekend!

This has been such an eventful weekend! On Friday LaMar and I finally made it out of town for our big weekend away in Palm Desert - some much needed R & R. LaMar ended up working half the day, and by the time we waited for traffic to die down, etc. we were able to roll into Palm Desert and the Westin Resort there at about 8pm. We were greeted by a blast of hot air - it was still about 111 degrees at 8:00 in the evening! Not to worry - the room was nicely air conditioned, and we were able to settle right in. Why do we always seem to be at the Westin, you may ask? We got Starwood points (towards our hotel in Hawaii?) - 50,000 of them - if we just sat through the time share presentation the next day. We'd been through it before last year, but we doggedly sat through it again, putting on our best cranky stubborn faces. This time we were successful in getting outta there in about an hour. I think we wore our sales person out this time, rather than the other way around. The rest of the weekend was ours! Just before the presentation started, I received the very exciting news that our newest grandchild - Matthew - had been born! This was very anticipated, very exciting news! Ronna and Matthew are doing well, and Ronna's mom (Grandma D) is there to help out, and smooth the transition. I'm looking forward to going myself, as soon as I can schedule it. He's very cute (see picture) even in the newborn phase. I'll post more pictures as I get them.
While in Palm Desert, we were finally able to eat at the Cheesecake Factory - the one in Brea always having a 2 hour wait. It lived up to expectations, and it was a nice evening. On Monday, the temperature cooled off a little bit (only 107!), and we spent most of the day at the pool. It was big, and we were able to score some great loungers under umbrellas so we didn't fry too badly. Here is LaMar in relaxation mode, all scruffy and happy. We were able to cool off and relax before heading back to the room and out for dinner.
On Tuesday morning we headed for home. We'd had a great time, but we were happy to leave the extreme heat behind. As we pulled into the driveway, I saw Scott getting out of his car in a SUIT...this and the huge smile plastered on his face could only mean one thing: he'd gotten a JOB IN ACCOUNTING! Actually, he'd been up for the same job last week, but they'd turned him down, saying they wanted someone with more experience. I don't know quite what happened, but today they called him back and he got the job! Major excitement! So it's been a weekend of great highs and wonderful happenings.
This afternoon Mia and Katie came over. It was disorganized - I was still putting things away and doing wash, but it was so wonderful to grab that little girl and give her many hugs and kisses. She is adorable, and I'm looking forward to many fun days with her the rest of the week. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Big Ole Baby Lover

Sunday was Father's Day, and I made the trek down to Newport Beach to celebrate with my dad. LaMar had gone to Utah to see Andrew and have a Father's Day visit with him, and Scott had to spend Father's Day at the Mac Shack, so I was on my own. My mom had told me that Brent and Becky were coming about 3:00, but I could come earlier if I wanted. Somehow, I got all mixed up, and thought everyone was coming at 1:00 (getting old sucks). And I was running late at that - but I finally ran out of the house at about 1:45, getting there all breathless, just to have Mom and Dad look at me with a "what are you doing here already?" look on their faces. Whatev.

We settled in for a little visit, which we don't ever get to do very often anymore, and I think we gabbed for a couple of hours. Dad tried hard to stay awake, but would nod off every now and then. Girl talk and idle chatter don't interest him much, but break out a business spreadsheet and HEY NOW... or bring a baby into the room.
Dad is a famous baby lover. I never realized this growing up, but the man just loves babies and small children. I should have realized it when I would think of all the games of "Monster" he'd play with us when Mom would be gone somewhere. Oh my gosh, that was fun! The house would be all crazy when Mom would get home, from all of us kids running helter skelter all over the place. He would take Rex, Katie, and Scott for long walks when they were little, and the games he'd play with them in the pool on our weekends in Palm Desert are fond memories.
Now there's a whole new crop of babies for Dad to love up. There's Lexi in Denver, Mia in Puerto Rico (who will be here next week - YAY!) and he also has a new-ish granddaughter (2 yrs old) in Indiana: Ari. The man is in baby heaven. To add to the joy, Matthew (again the Denver bunch) should arrive some time this week - the fun just never ends! Mom and Dad are planning a trip to Denver later in the summer - going to a car show is the excuse - and they will have lots of fun playing with rowdy Lexi, and new baby Matthew. I remember one day years ago when Scott was just a little baby. Dad was holding him and decided it would be funny to open his mouth very wide, and slowly bring Scott close to it, as if to eat him. Scott screamed and screamed... I didn't say Dad doesn't have a little naughty streak in him (oh, he does...) but I've never seen anyone get so happy just holding a baby. Kinda sweet to watch. He's a great dad, grandfather, and now, GREAT grandfather!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Too Much Sweatin' the Small Stuff

Do you ever have days when you just need a vacation? I'm so there. I have some vacation time in another week, but today it just didn't seem like soon enough. I need to confess that I was a horrible grouch this morning at work. Granted, there is a situation there that seems to be remedy-less in that it just goes on and on and on, kind of out of control...just like at most jobs. But today, for some reason, TODAY it just really made me mad, and I kind of...well... I lost my temper...
I ranted on about this, and I went on about that, and I said a few not so nice words to no one in particular, and Olga and Ilse just let me rave on. They're too good to me. Here they are so you can see what nice people they are (pay no attention to what a bad self-photographer I am)
Olga is in the picture with me and Ilse is the blonde. Nice ladies both.
When I calmed down, I took a deep breath, and then I just felt bad about subjecting everyone else to my tantrum - especially because they aren't part of the problem. They're affected by it the same as I am. Then I started thinking about those poor little boy scouts in Iowa who were killed in the tornado last night, and suddenly the nonsense here at work seemed like just that: NONSENSE.
I don't know why I let such silly things bother me. Wait - yes I do. It's because I don't know how to fix them, or I am powerless to fix them. Take your pick, it all ends up in the same mess that never gets fixed. But at least I'm alive, and I was able to enjoy some pictures just posted of Mia on my daughter's blog. I'm going to steal one of them and post it here for your enjoyment. It's Mia with pure joy spread all over her face, running free as a bird towards the ocean in Mexico. What would you give to feel that way again? I don't think you can put a price on it - you just have to dig deep and try to connect. And definately don't sweat the small stuff. As Ilse so wisely put it this morning: Is this really going to matter in 10 years? And usually the answer is: Definately not. When I do have my vacation the end of next week, (Palm Desert with LaMar and then Katie & Mia are visiting!) maybe I'll channel Mia and do a cannonball into the pool.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Summer Means Tan Lines, Beach Bonfires, & S'mores

Today felt like the first official day of summer for me. It was a beautiful sunny day, and so LaMar and I headed for the pool to introduce our white pasty bodies briefly to the sun. We were only sitting out there for about 45 minutes, but I managed to broil up a hint of a tan. The bod definately doesn't brown up like it used to - nor should I let it - but I have a smidgin of a tan line. No matter - it felt good to be out catchin' some rays - with suncreen of course. Sunshine is something I really don't get enough of cooped up in an office 8 hours a day. (In all seriousness, I take Vitamin D capsules because I don't get enough sunshine.)
After we came back, I was trying to think of something to blog about, and was perusing one of Trader Joe's Summer Guides. (For those who don't know Trader Joe's, see http://www.traderjoes.com/) On page 6 of the Summer Guide, they were touting Fair Trade Swiss Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon Grahams (no hydrogenated oils! Each 16 0z. tub just $3.49!) and all natural vanilla marshmallows. (Well they don't have those, but I know who does: Williams Sonoma!) Mmmmm... s'mores. Which brings to mind beach bonfires. Which is THE summer activity, and something I haven't done in a long time. You know how it is: when the kids grow up, they want to go to bonfires without you. But this year I want a beach bonfire. I want smoke in my eyes, I want bonfire food (trying to think of something besides burnt hot dogs - those things will kill you) and I want s'mores. I want my marshmallows to catch on fire, some of them to drop INTO the fire, and finally have that one or two that are perfectly toasted on all sides that you squish between two grahams and some chocolate (Fair Trade Dark Chocolate!) You always eat one or two, and then its so sweet you can't eat any more. But for that one or two, it's heaven, and it's summertime. As you look across the beach you can see all the other bonfires going in a hundred fire rings, you can hear the waves crashing, your hair is all frizzy, your hands are sticky and sandy, and you've got that smoke in your eyes. Seriously - I can't wait to do this.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Birthday Boy

I couldn't let today go by without a shout out to our Birthday Boy SCOTT! He's 25 today - a huge birthday, in that your car insurance rates go down (although he didn't feel it as he's transitioning from Utah rates to sky-high California rates...) and you're neither young nor old. Enjoy it, Scottie boy - it's fleeting.

Let's all sing in unison: Happy Birthday to you-u-u-u-u!

The Babes

Got some new pictures of our little girls - makes me so want to see them! The first is Lexi, who decided it would be fun to watch TV with her sunglasses on. If you look closely you can see the beginnings of very blonde hair that she's getting. She's so cute, and has so much personality, and loves to talk. Her new baby brother will be born in a couple of weeks, so I'll be able to go visit her AND little Matthew sometime this summer. I'm anxious to be able to put some pictures of him on here one day soon!

Next is Mia, who loves to swim. Since she spends most of her playing time in the pool, or at the beach, I hear she's getting to be a little fishy. She and Katie will be here on the 20th for a week long visit. We plan to have lots of fun while they're here, including celebrating Mia's 2nd birthday. Can't wait - it'll be loads of fun.
I always need a vacation after the vacation spent with the little girls - they're a lot of work to keep up with! But it's the best time ever, and I can't wait to tire myself out doing everything they want to do. I've got my camera all charged up, ready to go, and my wallet open.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Surfer Girls & Branding Irons

It was a weekend of pouring over catalogs. I got new ones from both PotteryBarn Kids, and Williams Sonoma. You wouldn't think that I would get excited about decorating a kid's room, but darn it - I still do. All I need is the room. And Pottery Barn Kids is feeding the excitement. Who wouldn't get tingly about a bed that looks just like a boat, or a darling little surfer girl room? And don't even get me started on the kid size Adirondack chairs, and the octopus that squirts water from the top and all 8 legs. Feeding the frenzy is that Mia and Katie will be here in a few weeks for a visit, and we'll celebrate Mia's 2nd birthday. I'm having a hard time narrowing the gift list, but such is the lot of grandmothers.

Now, Father's Day is coming right up, and the Williams Sonoma catalog was very satisfying on that front. I did end up getting my dad a branding iron of sorts, so he can monogram his steaks and chops on his beloved new BBQ. I think he'll love it - his initials emblazoned in meat!
But even I was amazed at the selection of gadgets and cookware that is available for use on the BBQ. I dog-eared so many pages, it looks like I just selected the entire catalog. (if only I could...) LaMar and I both love to cook. He likes it every day, and I like to cook for the special occasions. I'm lucky he likes every day, because left to my own devices I'd probably come home from work and eat a hunk of cheese and a several garlic stuffed olives. And cake, if there is any. Yeah, I'm not so much on the every day - especially after 8 hours at work. But I do like to plan and cook menus for special occasions, so the array of gadgets and cookware in a Williams Sonoma catalog is dazzling and ever so tempting. Some of my favorites:
The Grill Pans and The Chicken Roaster (cooks a whole chicken & roasts corn!)
And the Jalapeno Roaster looked fun!

I look at all of these things and think about how much LaMar would enjoy them, but I'm really thinking about how much I would enjoy them. Knowing how much they cost kind of kills the enjoyment for LaMar. For some reason, I'm always able to block that part of it out. I think it's the girl in me.

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