Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Badass Chihuahuas

Can you believe the ferocity? Don't let their precious fleece frocks fool you. These dogs will take off your finger if you get near them.

Just TRY to enter this vehicle. Come on! We dare ya.
The owner probably christened her two little angels something like Tippy and Tia, but you know their secret dog names are Piranha and Miz Psycho.

Dinner last night: manicotti, green beans, garlic toast

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Remember Those Days?

One of the twins is determined to "do the splits." I remember wanting to do the same thing when I was her age. I would practice by jumping up in the air and slamming down on the floor, hoping the force of my movement would cause my legs to stretch out further. There was no gentle stretching in ballet class for me.

Have I mentioned that I have an appointment on December 17 to see an orthopedic surgeon about the pain in my right hip joint? I'm not even joking. I can barely walk these days. I'm wondering if perhaps my method of achieving the splits via shocking and awing my legs into submission was not the best approach to reaching my goal.

Dinner last night: teriyaki steak, rice, green salad

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Classroom With a View

Back to work. I thoroughly enjoyed my unexpected day off yesterday, but it's time to snap back to reality. I have 11-year-olds to wrangle, parents to call, team teachers to meet with, papers to grade, and graffiti to erase out of books.

No matter how crazy my day might get, though, I can always look out my classroom window for an attitude adjustment.

The sky, it is vast.

The mountains, they're majestic.

The school bus, it rolls on.

Dinner last night: orange chicken, stir fry rice

Thursday, December 5, 2013

All I Want for Christmas is 8 Hours of Freedom

As I'm finishing my cup of coffee, savoring what I know will be my last moment of quiet before I go to wake up the kids and begin the morning rush to get ready for school, the phone rings. It's early, and I glance at the clock: 5:59. Could it be? Could this be the day that all my prayers are answered? I pick up the receiver, shout a happy greeting into the mouthpiece, and wait to hear those two heavenly words . . . SNOW DAY.

That's right—SCHOOL'S CANCELLED! A freezing rain has hit our area, and the roads are slicker than, well, you can supply your own imagery.

I don't give a rat's patoot that my own children get the day off; I'm happy that I don't have to go in to work. No teaching of the sixth graders will occur today. I can catch up on grading and planning from the warm comfort of my home. I can finish up the laundry that's been sitting on top of the washer for weeks days. I can pull out the Christmas boxes from the attic and start decorating the house, a task I didn't think I would get to until this weekend. I CAN BLOG!

Dinner last night: leftovers

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Volleyball All Day, Every Day

My eldest daughter loves volleyball. And volleyball loves her. This year she is captain of her JV team and stays on the court for the entire game in every match, rotating through both rows. The season is entering its last month, and the varsity coach asked Hayley to swing up and start practicing with varsity (in addition to JV). The coach wants her to start learning the varsity plays and travel with the team to Regionals and State.

Photo courtesy of Duane Hickok
This sounds great, until you realize that my daughter is now practicing THREE HOURS a day. In the next few weeks she will be traveling every weekend all over the state, either with her own team or with the varsity team, to compete in tournaments. This is crazy. Crazy fun, but still. CRAZY.

Dinner last night: tamale pie (hey! I finally cooked something!)

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Camping Once a Year is Still Camping

We had such fun last year when we rented an RV over Memorial Day weekend that we decided to make it an annual family tradition. Between my husband's work schedule and the kids' various activities, however, it was well after Labor Day before we were able to head to the river. At least we scored an off-season rate for the RV.

We had a blast just sitting around the fire, sometimes hiking around, and pretending we were outdoorsmen. The wildflowers had long faded away, but the autumn foliage was pretty.

My secret hope is that years down the road, the kids won't realize that we only took them overnight camping once a summer—they'll just remember we went camping.

Dinner last night: brown bag lunch (parent/teacher conferences well into the evening)

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This One's For You, Barb

I am not dead. Yet. I sometimes wonder, though, if my students are conspiring to send me to an early grave.

I accepted a position with a local middle school to teach language arts. I naively believed that, hey, I taught at-risk high schoolers in Southern California for years. I'm talking literal gangsters, for crying out loud. Yo! West Side Rivas . . . how bad could a bunch of tiny, innocent sixth graders be? Pretty bad. They are full of energy, sass, and lame jokes. Did I mention energy?

Okay, this picture doesn't make my point. This is my first class of the morning, and they're still a little sleepy. Trust me when I say that by 6th period, the children? They have awakened. Just when I'm ready for my afternoon nap.

I'm too old for this, is what I'm saying. I NEED MY NAP.

Dinner last night: fast food, because I don't make have time to cook any more

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Poor Moose

Normally, I don't have a lot of nice things to say about moose. They're big and dumb and don't respect property lines. They are constantly walking through our yard, across our deck, eating our lilac tree, and pooping wherever they like.

But I feel sorry for this guy.

He seems fine in this picture, but if you look closely you can see the gash across his side, which actually is not the worst part (so many moose possess that same kind of scar—probably from scraping against fences and railings as they run through people's yards). You also might notice that he's not placing any weight on his back right leg.

When he started moving, he walked with a horrible lurch. I don't know if he'd broken his leg or dislocated his hip or what, but his laborious movement was the most pitiful sight. He won't be long for this world with a lame leg, poor thing.

If I would I have been thinking, I would have switched my cell phone camera over to video so you could see how bad his walking was. Actually, that's not true. I don't think I would have posted video. Too sad.

Just between you, me, and the lamppost . . . this guy is welcome to nibble on the lilac tree any time he wants.

Dinner last night: tater tot casserole (I know, I KNOW . . . but my husband cooked dinner, so I'm not going to say another word)

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Beauty Sleep

My daughter recently celebrated her birthday and received a gift package of Hello Kitty items, which included lip gloss, fingernail polish, and a sleeping mask.

A girl just can't sleep without her purple blankie and her SLEEPING MASK.

Dinner last night: barbecue chicken, rice, green salad

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Tidal Pools

A couple of weeks ago, the tide went out the lowest that I can remember ever seeing. We jumped into our rubber boots and tromped out to the water's edge to check it out.

 I'm not sure what I expect to see when the mysterious blanket of ocean water is pulled back—reefs? mermaid cities?—but there's only sand.

The kids were amazed at all the razor clam necks poking up from their hiding places in the sand. The girls discovered quickly that no matter how fast they dug with their hands, they couldn't uncover an entire clam. (You really need a shovel and the right technique to dig clams, which we weren't there to do.)

After a good long hike, we finally made it out to some tidal pools where the girls found starfish.

Lupine was more interested in barking at the seaweed; she did not trust the suspicious kelp lying all over the beach. Good dog.

Dinner last night: teriyaki chicken, french fries

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

You Lookin' at Me?

The amount of moose running through our neighborhood this year is kur-rayyyyy-zeee. Scratch that. They're not running anywhere. They are ambling. Strolling. Downright mosey-ing. Here's a skinny-legged twig-eater hanging out at our road's stop sign, with her yearling hiding down in the ditch behind her. I literally rolled down my window, held up my cell phone, and shouted, "Say cheese, you freakazoid!"

She wasn't amused.

Dinner last night: grilled chicken and gnocchi, green salad

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Class of 2013

My twin daughters graduated from kindergarten. Their school did it up big, with caps and gowns and diplomas . . . an actual ceremony!

Too bad they didn't select a valedictorian, because my kid really likes talking into the microphone. Due to her mumbling lisp (or is it a lisping mumble?), you can't understand a word she utters—but if you could make out what she was saying, I'm sure you'd agree with my objective opinion that she is super smart and very interesting.
B is For Blah Blah Blah

Here's her sister waiting nervously to receive her diploma. The girl behind her looks less excited.

Accept with the left, shake with the right . . .

One of the twins loved going to school every day. The other complained each morning that she wanted to stay home. I'll let you guess which one is my Pollyanna.

In all seriousness, I was a weepy mess. These sweet girls are my babies. AND THEY JUST GRADUATED FROM KINDERGARTEN.

Dinner last night: spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic toast

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Fish or Cut Bait

I vaguely recall ranting about bloggers who drop out of sight without any explanation. How dare they disappear from the internet with no warning! I wish I could explain my own absence with a nice juicy tale of intrigue, but the boring truth is that I've been 1) busy and 2) uninspired.

And 3) exhausted.

I feel rather depressed/resentful/bitter that Google Reader is shutting down, because I worked so hard to build a RSS readership (really, Kim? You call your mother, husband, and three kindly strangers a "readership"?) I should probably get cracking and research a replacement RSS . . . and then try to convince anyone who swings by to take the time to re-subscribe to my blog. It might help if I posted more than once a month.

I hereby pledge to start writing on a regular basis . . . to reconnect with bloggy friends . . . to take beautiful pictures of ugly moose. And to lose weight, speak sweetly to my children, and water my hanging flowers.

This is the year that my flowers shall survive throughout the entire summer!

Dinner last night: sub sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, fruit salad

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Monday, May 13, 2013

My Babies are Growing Up

My twin daughters celebrated their birthday on Friday.

Since they still had to attend kindergarten, we baked and frosted cupcakes to share with the rest of the class. The girls wore their favorite dresses with special HAPPY BIRTHDAY ribbons.

That evening, their ballet class performed in the spring recital.

 Needless to say, I bawled my eyes out.

Dinner last night: barbecue chicken, potato salad, watermelon

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spring Break Staycation

This week is Spring Break, so all four girls are home and driving me crazy enjoying family time with their mother.

We're playing lots of board games and video games. We're baking batches of peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip cookies. We're making puppets from paper bags and reading lots of stories.

The sadists at my daughter's high school have scheduled soccer practice at 6:00 a.m. That's six IN THE MORNING. Over Spring Break. Fortunately, my husband drops her off, so I don't have to roll out of bed until 7:00 in the morning. OVER SPRING BREAK.

I'm trying to balance the "boring" stuff, like household chores, with a few outings here and there. The twins visited the hair salon for a trim, which provided an exciting adventure for them. I'm not joking—they really, truly find it great fun to sit in the big chair and watch the lady cut their hair. The older girls spent an afternoon at the new Oz movie.

Oh, we mustn't forget my trip to the vet. Our cat, Tie-Dye, had worms. GROSS. The cat was infested by tape worms from all the mice and birds she hunts. GROSS. The vet assured me that they are not transferrable to humans. Still. DOUBLE GROSS. Tie-Dye has been banished to the garage to sleep in the suitcase that's sitting on the top shelf.

The cat has been medicated and the worms should be gone. Unfortunately, the mental trauma I have incurred shall stay with me forever.

Dinner last night: scallops and chicken over rice

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

You Can't Take It With You

On the drive to school this morning, my kindergartner was looking through my purse.
Meg: Mommy, when you die, can I have your red wallet?
Me: Sure.
Meg: Yay!

Dinner last night: fettuccine with scallops

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Friday, February 22, 2013

The Journey

I have never felt more like a mom than I do right now. I'm in a stage of life at the moment where my kids seem to really need my services. I'm providing most of the cooking, cleaning, driving, watching, and listening. I am to be seen and not heard. My girls need me around, but they don't want my advice or criticism. My encouragement of their endeavors must be discreet and unwavering.

My days are a little weird, but kind of fun. Two kids don't like cheese; the other two insist on a slice of cheddar on their turkey sandwiches. One kid loves competition; one kids avoids team sports at all costs; the youngest just want to roam free and play without any structure. They all have long hair, but each has a favorite hairstyle. No ponytails for one, only ponytails for another, french braid for a third, and I'm not allowed to touch the head of the fourth kid—she'll comb her own hair, thank you very much.

My husband's elderly aunt visited our home a few years ago. The twins were toddlers. The older girls were messy and clueless, forgetting to shut the door as they ran in and out, in and out. The house was loud and crazy. She loved it. Her husband passed long ago, and she's lived longer as a widow than as a married woman. Her own children are middle-aged, married with grown children of their own. She told me to enjoy it while I've got it.

I am.

Dinner last night: ham-potato bake

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lawn Ornament

I was driving through a neighborhood when I spied this guy hanging out in someone's yard. I rolled down my window and snapped a shot with my cell phone. (Why do my cell phone pics always come out blurry and/or pixelated, while my husband's look like this?)

There's a reason why good fences make good neighbors.

Dinner last night: spaghetti and turkey meatballs

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Thank Goodness I'm Not One of Those Moms Who Brags About Her Kids

My 14-year-old daughter is a freshman in high school. When did that happen? This time travel stuff is crazy. I blanked out some time in 1998 and woke up the other day with a teenager blowdrying her hair in the bathroom.

My firstborn loves team sports. She played volleyball in the fall, and is in the middle of an exciting basketball season. She's a starter on the JV team, but was asked to travel with the varsity girls last weekend to a 3-day tournament. I figured she'd warm the bench, but she actually played. And scored!

I think the coach likes the way she steals the ball from the other team and races down for a lay-up.

Dinner last night: leftovers

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons

This winter has been pretty blah. Not much snow. Cold. Icy. The kids have tried sledding, but the lack of fluffy snow has made it difficult, if not downright painful. Bumping over sharp chunks of ice can be bruising.

My 12-year-old came up with a brilliant idea. She's the figure skater in the family, so she's always thinking about ice. She asked my husband if we could make a rink in the backyard. They cleared away a large rectangle—which took all of 10 minutes, since we only had a few inches of snow—and then used the hose to begin adding water in a layering process.

Since the temperature hung at a chilly –5° over the weekend, they were able to make quick progress. A couple more layers and the kids will have smooth ice to skate on.

The area is larger than it looks in this photo, which isn't to say that it's Olympic-sized or anything, but it's big enough that all four kids can skate easily around each other.

Dinner last night: rotisserie chicken, baked potato, corn-on-the-cob

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Weekend Plans

I walked into the mudroom this morning and just about fell over from the stench of . . . what? Stinky shoes? Dog urine? What horrible odor had sprung up over night? I could see nothing amiss. There were no puddles on the floor or rotting food in the corners. I was starting to think maybe I was suffering from one of those neurological problems where your brain scrambles olfactory signals, or maybe I had finally snapped and was experiencing some kind of smell schizophrenia.

Fortunately, my 14-year-old walked in, scrunched her nose, and said, "What is that smell?" It wasn't just me. Something stinks in the mudroom.

So I'm going to pull up all the rugs and wash them. Scrub the floor. Go through the shoes. I'll be cleaning and sanitizing and spritzing Febreze like a mad woman.

Then I'll take a break to look for my cell phone. I've lost it. AGAIN.

Dinner last night: pot roast and veggies

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Add Two More to the List

I've known for awhile that my twin daughters are not scared of much. They're not afraid to get their hands dirty, they're not afraid of heights, they're not afraid of the cold, and they're not afraid of dogs.

On our trip to Disneyland, I discovered two more things that do not faze them one tiny bit:

Rollercoasters, and . . . 

. . . Frankenstein.

Dinner last night: baked ziti with meatballs

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We've Got Spirit, Yes, We Do

This week is "Spirit Week" at my daughters' school; each day has a theme so the kids can dress up. Monday was Lumberjack Day and Tuesday was Mismatch Day.

Today is Twin Day.

Dinner: chicken parmesan bundles, zucchini

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

You Can't Take Me Anywhere

Look how happy I was at the beginning of our vacation.

I'm smiling because I had checked the average temperatures for Southern California, and packed accordingly. I was going to be so comfortable in my black clothing and my socks and my running shoes.

The day after we arrived, the temperatures soared into the 90s. California had entered into a freakish heatwave, completely unexpected and highly unusual for that time of year. I toughed it out for a couple of days, pushing up my sleeves like a casual but sophisticated woman. I rolled up my long pants and hoped people would think they were capris. My ankle socks and running shoes looked a little funny with my stylish "capris," but I kept telling myself that at least my feet were cushioned.

Finally, I could stand it no longer. I was hot and sweaty and my feet felt like they were encased in ovens. I walked into a Ross store, headed straight to the clearance rack, and grabbed a pair of shorts and a fuchsia tank top. I didn't even bother to try them on. Then I ambled over to the shoe section and found some walking sandals on sale. I spent all of $20 on my new outfit. Frugal and fashionable, that's me.

When I returned to the hotel, I tried on the shorts. Perfect fit. My slim, toned legs were blindingly white and not particularly slim or toned, but after perspiring like a pig for the first half of our vacation, my need for comfort outweighed my need to be respected. I wore those shorts the rest of our stay at Disneyland. I went to try on the tank top, and as I shook it out and held it up, I thought to myself, hmmm. That almost looks like a . . .  no . . . wait a minute . . . is that what I think it is? I had grabbed a maternity tank top.

I wish this story ended with me taking that shirt back to the store and exchanging it for something cute and flattering, but I think you know who you're dealing with.

Ahhh. Happy again in my bright pink maternity top.

Dinner last night: barbecue steak, hashbrown casserole

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Monday, January 21, 2013

I Put the High in High Art

My 12-year-old snagged the cute bookcase designed to look like a dollhouse that I had sitting at the top of the stairs. She dragged it into her room so she'd have some shelves on which to store her books from The Dork Diaries series. A lover of fine literature she is not, but hey, at least she's reading. Right? RIGHT?!

The landing looked so bare that I decided to hang some caricatures of the girls we had drawn at Universal Studios a few months ago. What's that? I never bothered to blog about our trip to Disneyland and Universal Studios? Well, that's about to change this week. Gird your loins, gentle readers, I've got lots of disturbing pictures of my children harassing the costumed characters. Poor Mrs. Incredible. I hope she didn't quit her job after my twin daughters refused to let go of her hands and followed her all over California Adventure Park.

Imagine you're a guest in my home, stumbling up the stairs in the dark to return to your bed, when you look up and see those scary beautiful faces. Sweet dreams.

Dinner last night: orange chicken

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Monday, January 7, 2013

I Need an Actuary

All sorts of tables and charts can be found that break down how much time people spend on various activities. For example, three minutes (twice a day) brushing one's teeth adds up to 36.5 hours per year, which results in 106.45 days brushing teeth over an average person's lifetime.

I'd like to know how much time I will have spent hunched over my vacuum cleaner cutting off the hair that's wrapped around the roller.

25 minutes x every 2 or 3 weeks x 75 years (make that 80, or better yet, 95 healthy years) = too much time cutting hair off the vacuum roller

Dinner last night: garlic chicken pizza

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Year of Fancy Boots

We celebrated a low-key, relaxed Christmas this year. We spent the morning at home, drinking eggnog and nibbling on cinnamon toast, and opening presents. Our best gifts to each other were . . . wait. Are you sure you can handle the excitement I'm about to lay down on your head? Better take a seat . . . Our best gifts to each other were footwear.

My husband needed a comfortable pair of shoes to wear at work; his others had become so agonizing that in a fit of pique he tore them off and hurled them into the trashcan. I was presented with a fashionable pair of warm winter boots. My teenager received short sparkly boots to wear with her jeans and impress all the boys, and my pre-teen was delighted to open a package containing a warm pair of clogs to replace the tattered pair she'd outgrown. The twins each received a pair of Ugg knock-offs.

We're an easy crowd to please.

Dinner last night: spaghetti and meatballs, green salad, corn, garlic toast

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolution

Happy New Year!

In 2013, I am going to lose weight, tone up, polish my nails, apply make-up, style my hair, and wear cute outfits (including trendy jewelry and real shoes) every day. I am going to attend church regularly, arrange for date nights with my husband, volunteer in my children's classrooms, and donate time to charitable organizations. I'm going to improve myself through reading, writing, and deep thinking. I'm going to reconnect with old friends, make new ones, and spend quality time with extended family. I'm going to treat my husband, kids, and pets with love, patience, and understanding. I am going to keep my house sparkling clean . . . and cook every meal from scratch, using only the freshest of organic foods . . . and play with my kids every evening, before reading to them from a classic novel that they will find exciting but educational . . .

. . . in short, I resolve to BE PERFECT.

Okay, okay. What I have actually resolved to do is PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed or stressed out or hopelessly behind, I shall whisper, "Come on, Kim, put one foot in front of the other." One step will lead to another step, which will lead to another and another and another . . . and before I know it I will be moving forward. Straight into the mountain of dirty laundry piled in my bathroom.

Dinner last night: barbecue ribs, mashed potatoes, broccoli

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