Sarah Vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed...
Monday, March 31, 2008
Sarah Vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed...
There are pictures of me as a little girl visiting the California Poppies. The only memories I have of them are the ones etched in my mind by the photos. So, like a dutiful parent, I intend to do the same to my children.
A little background on the California Poppy Reserve, from their official website:
This State Reserve, nestled in the Antelope Buttes 15 miles west of Lancaster, California, is located on California's most consistent poppy-bearing land. Other wildflowers: owl's clover, lupine, goldfield, cream cups, and coreopsis, to name a few, share the desert grassland to produce a mosaic of color and fragrance each spring. As unpredictable as nature - the intensity and duration of the wildflower bloom varies yearly.
The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is located in the western Antelope Valley at an elevation ranging from 2600--3000 feet. It is the high desert. Until the early 1970's Sheep once grazed the buttes in the western Antelope Valley. Pronghorn grazed long before then, until the railroad of the 1880’s. Park management has excluded sheep from grazing the hillsides.
California State Parks does not water or use any other means to stimulate the flowers; the land is preserved to only be influenced by the natural forces that had once influenced all of our surroundings.
Doesn't that just sound thrilling and exciting? However, much to the concern of my children, I'm too cheap to pay the $5 parking fee to enter the reserve. Instead, the children and I, driving my little Corolla, off-roaded it. I'm not sure if we were supposed to go where we went, but we did. Besides the thrill of dodging the parking fee, the best part was that by doing this we were able to see the same poppies that are on the reserve, but we didn't have to see the crowds of people on the reserve.
Once again, Sarah was my star photo subject. Ben wasn't feeling well, and did not want to pose for pictures. I thought he was just being a pansy, but two hours later, he had a temperature of 103.5. Oh, why do my children do things like insist on having legitimate sicknesses while I am in the throws of picture selfishness? Is it so that later I must feel extreme amounts of guilt related anguish? Ok, I'm over it... now I might just have to go back, and put him through the torture again, so that I can get the happy pictures that I had my heart set on.
Anyway, the poppies, are the one and only thing I like about the Antelope Valley! They are beautiful and the opportunity for us to drive such a short distance off our mountain to see them, is truely an added bonus to living where we do.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
My kids are pee'ers. We aren't talking occasional accidents, we are talking terrible potty training experiences and flooding their beds every night. They flood their bed and sleep right through, waking up in the morning laying in cold pee. I'm convinced it has something to do with my parenting style, but I've yet to figure out what. Somewhere along the way I just had to reassure myself that they wouldn't be 18 years old and still peeing their pants and then I moved on. As they've gotten older it has gotten better during the day. However, there is still the occasional embarrassment of my 6 year old laughing so hard in kindergarten that he comes home hiding wet pants with his backpack.
We've learned incredible coping mechanisms for dealing with the floods. I almost always carry extra underwear and pants in my car. Ben knows how to strategically cover wet spots with his backpack, sweatshirt or books. And Pullups! Pullups are our best friends. Like clockwork the kids put them on each night before bed. The thought of being without them is even a little scary.
Don't get me wrong, it isn't that I've resigned myself to this. Every few months, I've tried to move them beyond it. We have tried nights of sleeping in underwear, limiting evening liquids, waking them up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Nothing has worked.
Last night, the scariest thing of all happened. I was down to one pullup for 2 kids. Running to the local store to pick up some more isn't an option. There is no where in our little town to buy them without breaking the bank. I had no option but to talk to the kids about it. I explained the situation and told them that one of them would have to sleep in underwear. Little Sarah volunteered. She told me that she thought she could do it.
At dinner I reminded Sarah to not drink so much milk. I had her stop at the potty one last time before crawling into bed. Then an hour after bed time she called for me to tell me she needed to go to the bathroom. She got up and went. And the miracle... when she woke up this morning she was DRY. Dry as a bone! She was so excited and proud of herself. I think I might have been more excited. Ben, who wore a pullup to bed was extremely quiet about the whole matter.
I'm jumping on this. Now that I know she can do it, we aren't going to buy new pullups. Hopefully, the taste of success will motivate her to continue the trend.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The other two neighbors who have semi-direct views of this house, have moved and abandoned their homes without even selling them. It as if they were fleeing! I think I'm beginning to understand the reason.
Monday, when I got home from work, I discovered UPS had accidentally delivered a box to our house that was meant for our non-privacy seeking neighbors. Wanting to be a good neighbor I had to take the box over to them. It was a strange feeling to come face to face with the people who have hidden nothing of their personal lives from the neighborhood. This is the first time that I have technically had any interaction with these neighbors, even though I have felt that I have to much contact with their private life. When I got up close I discovered that they live in the most minimalistic, bare house I have ever seen. Even opting for tiled floors instead of carpet.
Their house has been up for sale since we moved into the neighborhood a year ago. I think maybe they need to watch that show on TLC about getting your house all prettied up to sell. Right now the curb appeal of a large man in a recliner... is not going to sell the house!
Monday, March 24, 2008
After our weekend of excitement, Ben and Sarah require a quiet evening. Their mom probably does too. So I picked them up from daycare and told them that we would come home, put on our jammies, eat leftover Spaghetti for dinner and watch a movie before bed. That sounded like a good idea to them until Sarah decided that she doesn't want "scetti" for dinner. Before I even knew what had happened a war had erupted in the car. Ben was persistently trying to correct Sarah's pronunciation. "Sarah, it isn't 'scetti' it is buscetti!" To which Sarah, at first patiently corrected him that she was in fact correct and it is scetti. The debate quickly became quite heated as both children stubbornly insisted that they were absolutely correct. My addition to the conversation of the correct word pronunciation, accomplished nothing. The only way to silence the feud was to fill both of their mouths with some of those red saucy noodles.
When I got home this evening, I found a wonderful surprise that was delivered for me. Because I have been taking so many pictures and have been "stealing" Ben's camera to do it, he decided that I should have a good camera of my own. My new camera is much more of a point and shoot than Ben's, and my favorite thing is that it is pink. A perfect pink, that even matches my cell phone. So, look for lots of new pictures from my very pretty new camera.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Then for kicks, since she was the only one who was playing my little Happy Easter game with me, I took her to McDonald's for some " 'nilla with Strawberries" ice cream.Because my other girl was completely NOT up to posing for any pictures, I'm adding a picture of her Easter basket so she can be part of the festivities also.
Friday, March 21, 2008
For a treat, we decided to take the kids to McDonald's for lunch. We went all out, even splurging on happy meals for each of them. Then we proceeded to make the utmost of parental sacrifices and sat at an itty bitty little table and watched the four kids play in the PlayLand. One by one, we started getting reports from each kid. They reported that strangers were pushing them and blocking the tunnels and just plain being obnoxious. Each time we repeated the standard parent playground saying and told them to just try to stay away from those kids.
When it was almost time to leave, Ben and Sarah came down the slide on one final turn. Sarah was leading the way and as Ben exited he could be heard giving other kids in the vicinity a tongue lashing. He told them, "The slide is made for sliding! Not for blocking and climbing up! If you can't play right you shouldn't be here!" Mortified, I jumped up and shouted to him, "Ben, stop it, be nice!" And he responded by looking up at me in shock. He came over to me and explained that he had asked them nicely twice, and they had pushed Sarah up at the top and now he had rammed into Sarah on the slide because they were blocking it. He also told me that the same kids had pushed Maris up at the top.
I had a moment of clarity realizing that he did exactly what I have always told him. He had followed my admonitions to: "Use your words!" "Stick up for your sisters!" "Ask nicely first!" "Don't let other people push you around!"
It was a new experience in parenting. I never expected the things I've taught him in theory to look so different in reality. Obviously, I immediately apologized to him, told him that he had done exactly the right thing and that I had been completely wrong to scold him for it. I realized that he was in fact being the person that I want him to be, but also the person that I am most often too scared to be myself. It was then, several minutes after the event, that I took advantage of the moment and swelled with pride!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Possibly, my new fascination with Photoshop is getting a bit out of hand...
Look who's on top of the world.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
There have been only a few times in my life as a step-parents that I have really gotten to feel like these are my kids. Today, I got to have that feeling. When Broc and Maris walked off that plane, my heart lept. I had my kids, had them near me and had them safe. It is the best feeling in the world to have all four kids, the entire brood, home. In my heart I feel that this is their safe place, this is where they belong. I just want to hold them tight, never let them go. I want to surround them with the home they deserve, a place where they can have their daddy's influence and example daily in their lives.
Just look at that smile...
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
After a weekend of pondering it, I decided this just wasn't acceptable. I have been a member for 53 years! Does that not entitle me to some kind of "special" treatment? I can't imagine that they have had many members as long as they've had me, do they really want to risk losing me? So yesterday, with all the determination I could muster, I called back. I held firm to the idea that it wasn't my fault this promised service wasn't contracted in my area. I've been paying my dues for 53 years to have NATIONAL roadside assistance. I spent an hour and a half on the phone with them. All the while Ben was telling me not to worry about it, he will just change the darned battery himself. NO WAY, by this time it was the principle of it! At one point they told me that I could upgrade to the "plus" membership. "No," I told them... the membership I have has been all I've needed for the last 53 years and it should be all I need now! Finally, at the end of the 90 minute conversation they conceded. I was so proud of myself. They will waive the towing mileage restrictions that my membership has and will tow the car to Bakersfield or Lancaster, where I can get someone to change the battery at no additional charge.
I won the battle! However, then I realized that I may have won the battle, but ultimately they won the war. Now, I will have to ride 45 minutes in the cab of a truck with a tow truck driver to get the battery changed. That can't possibly be considered a win for me, can it?
Monday, March 17, 2008
It looked like my brand new freezer had cast a chill on the entire mid-march world. The snow melted quickly, and was really just enough to remind us that a couple of days of spring-like weather in Tehachapi does not mean that winter has relinquished it's hold.
The cold weekend kept me inside working on my canning projects. This weekend brought a large batch of 11 quarts of refried beans and 12 pints of cubed ham (which I might add was on sale this last week for only 99 cents a lb.)
Every time I can something new, I am so proud of the results. Aren't they pretty?
Even though things were very busy and hectic here, the kids did find a chance to get outside and play with the neighbors and Sarah even got a little bike riding lesson from Big Ben.
Friday, March 14, 2008
So what is it I want my blog to convey? I've read the blogs of other people that are witty and creative, I've read those that are written by people who believe they are a little more witty than they really are, those that are brilliantly talented, people that I want to learn from, and people that are inspiring me. I check in to some of these blogs almost daily, hoping for an update... has *** had her baby yet? I wonder what *** made for dinner last night? Maybe *** has posted advice for how to preserve green beans? And did *** post new pictures of the kids yet? In the end, I'm not quite sure how my blog will turn out. I think having a blog will be like having another baby. I can put my heart and soul into it, help it to develop a personality. Like a baby, my blog will grow and change over time.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Taking Easter pictures this year was quite the experience. Two days ago the kids and I picked up some plastic eggs and bunny ear headbands before heading off to the park. By the time we got there the sun was getting a little low, making it difficult for them to keep their eyes wide open long enough for me to snap a picture and the wind was kicking up a little. Their bunny ears kept blowing off their heads. Oh, the lenths my kids have to go to humor their mother! I will post the pictures on here shortly.