Wednesday, September 24, 2008

school pictures

One of the things that I knew I would miss about traditional school was school pictures. I don't know why this silly tradition seemed so important to me (especially last year when we got the order form and realized that they cost a small fortune). So this year I asked my good friend Jill, a professional photographer, to take school pictures for our homeschooling friends. We met last week at Templeton Park and these are the beautiful results. Enjoy! (And yes, I will be making prints for the relatives, be patient!)

Monday, September 22, 2008


After our "recess" (in which all three of us spent in separate rooms) the school day was much better.  By taking the time to cool off and let everyone energize in their own way I think I avoided major resentment issues.  If I had forced togetherness and forged ahead with the schedule I would have alienated the kids.  That's a big lesson for me: let go of the schedule and be flexible!  And, no mom, we don't need banana bread.  Darren recently joked that we seem to eat more banana muffins than actual bananas because we can't eat them in time.  I currently have a half a batch of banana chocolate chip muffins out on the counter and three more ripe bananas awaiting their fate in the freezer.

homeschooling is NOT glamorous

We're having a bad day.  Last year when I was dropping off Jason at school I would feel all kinds of horrible guilt for having to drop him off after a bad morning.  None of us are morning people, so getting ready in the morning is difficult.  Cameron currently has a cold, so she is not sleeping well, is grumpy, whiney and altogether miserable.  She needs a lot of attention, but also we have to maintain a level of discipline in the house, so that makes for a rough morning.  Jason isn't sleeping well because he has to share a room with Cameron.  Last night we let him sleep out on the couch (again) and he had a horrible time trying to fall asleep... I think he was still awake well after 10pm.   I had crazy pregnancy dreams all night, my usual hip pain and difficulty staying asleep.  I'm trying to be positive about our morning though, because at least we have the luxury of putting everything aside, praying about our situation, taking a recess, and starting over.  So that's what I'm off to do now, start over.  I'm glad I don't have to wait to pick Jason up at 2:45 to start over and try to salvage the day.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

i think i messed up

Has anyone ever made caramel apples? I'm pretty sure that I messed this up. The recipe said to cook the butter, corn syrup, sugar and cream until the candy thermometer read 280 degrees. What do they mean by cook? Do I stir constantly, not at all, maybe a little here and there? What type of heat do I use? High, medium-high? My pan now has a black bottom and my kitchen is filled with a smokey smell. I can't imagine that this caramel tastes very good. Help!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Last night the kids got their vests and handbooks at AWANA. They are very excited clubbers. Cameron was so proud of her vest that putting it on immediately changed her mood and got her unwrapped from my legs. She went to bed with her book and had to wear her vest all day today. This morning we read out of their books and started working on their next sections. Jason was also excited to get a membership card. I think this is the start of a very exciting year!

Monday, September 15, 2008

BOOOOOOO! Michaels

That's right, boo and hiss to you Michael's craft store!  I love to use my 50% off coupon that comes every once in a while to buy a new book or magazine, but apparently you have a new policy.  No coupons on books or magazines!  Boo!  I've bought Craft and Memory Makers before because it's a better deal than a subscription to use the coupon.  Today I was going to buy Crocheting for Dummies  because for some reason I really want to learn how to make a granny square and I have this sick fantasy that I'll be put on bed rest in late November, spend my days lounging on the couch as we homeschool and my mom comes over to bake pumpkin chocolate chip bread for me and do all the dishes and laundry and I crochet baby booties and other baby stuff.  I say it's a sick fantasy because I've been on bed rest before and those were the two most torturous weeks of my life!  I can't be contained to the couch, no matter what... I'm a terrible bed rest cheater.

In other news, the G key on our computer is broken.  I'm sure it was the kids somehow, but Darren pointed out that I'm a violent typist, so maybe.....

Now that we bought a new camera I have acquired a new skill... leaving it behind when we do really cool things.  On Saturday we took the kids apple-picking at Avila Valley Barn.  It would have made for a cute spread in my scrapbook.  If I'm a truly neurotic scrapper I would re-do the outing just to get the pictures... any guesses?  Will she or won't she?

And finally, we bought the new kid an infant car seat today.  This is what happens when you are a fervent de-clutterer, you have to go back and re-purchase things that you hastily put in a yard sale.  Oh well, I like this one better than our old one.  We have a great second-hand baby store here so I was also able to find some jeans for Cameron.  She's been wearing shorts all summer so I had no idea how much she had grown until I tried to put her in pants on Sunday, "ouch, Mom!".  Beauty is pain Cam.... life lessons courtesy of Grease.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

and a couple more


as promised, here are a few pictures from the trip...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

we almost lost red team!

Tragedy, right? For those of you in the know, I'm sure you can't imagine Jason without red team. For those of you who are a little lost right now, let me clue you in: red team is Jason's blanket. For some reason when he was learning to talk he named his blankets red team and blue team. He has had these blankets since birth and probably hasn't spent a night without them. Red team was left behind in the Poor Quality Inn, and last night when Jason was settling in bed for the night he absent-mindedly said, "hey where in the world is red team, anyway?". Since he's so mature now (grin) he didn't throw a fit, but my ears perked up. As unofficial master of packing and organizing, this oversight fell in my jurisdiction. After the kids fell asleep I called Poor Quality Inn and left a message for housekeeping to have red team ready for us in the morning. Darren wondered if we really needed to go back for it anyway, "he never uses it much anymore....". I calmly explained to him that red team was a childhood memory, keepsake, very important item that we would most definitly go back for or have sent to us regardless of cost! This morning I strode into the lobby of Terrible Quality Inn and requested the blanket. I was determined to knock down any housekeeper who dared to stand in my way, turn over her cart and rifle through her cleaning supplies to get to red team! Fortunatly for the housekeepers the blanket was ready and waiting for me at the desk. Tragedy averted!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

balboa park

Before we toured Balboa Park this morning Darren and I made an executive decision to ditch our hotel. We tried to grin and bear it the first night but when we realized that the stink was stemming from the wet spot on the floor next to the bathroom we asked to change rooms. The next night was just as miserable, made possible by the extremely loud and watery air conditioner that didn't manage to condition the air at all, but instead added more moisture to the already extreme humid conditions. I'm glad we booked through because we got a full refund on our last two nights of our reservation. We took advantage of the free wi-fi and booked ourselves a room at a Hilton in Del Mar. When we checked in this afternoon it was as if we had walked into a real hotel, as opposed to Darren's proposed tagline to the previous hotel, "Quality Inn and Suites: by third-world standards".

So Balboa Park was nice. We had a lot of fun at the Fleet Science center which was pretty much like the OMSI in Portland (which we miss very much!). We also went to the model railroad museum which both kids loved. It was fascinating to watch the old guys (not tryingto be rude, just stating the fact that noone under 60 worked at the museum) keep the trains running and so well maintained. Balboa Park is filled with beautiful buildings and gardens, it made for a relaxing day since we were still recovering from Legoland. We went swimming this afternoon (in the awesome Hilton pool) and had dinner at Chevy's (kids eat free on Tuesdays!). Chevy's is a happy place for Darren, I think it was the highlight of his vacation! OK, I can't wait to try out this new comfy bed (probably no bedbugs tonight!).

Monday, September 8, 2008


... was AWESOME! The park didn't open until 10am, so talk about torture! The kids were awake at 7, we had eaten breakfast by 8:45 so we had a looooooong 45 minute wait until driving to Legoland. Once inside the park Jason wasted no time in doing everything. We scored on homeschooler tickets ($17 per person, Cam free) which are only available during the school year so the park was basically empty. We went on all the rides, some twice. Jason liked the dragon roller coaster, Cam rode the horses at Castle Hill. Jason got his driver's license and both kids got soaked at Pirate Shores water park. They had a great time picking out their souvenirs, Jason bought a Coast Guard set and Cameron picked out a pink sword and shield. It cracked me up, in the princess store she went straight for the swords rather than the dresses and tiaras... that's my girl! I forgot the camera cord so I'll post pictures when we get home. Overall, it was a very successful day, we're exhausted and the boy is in heaven putting together his new set. Hopefully he'll make it last until tomorrow...yeah right, it'll be done before bedtime!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

we made it!

After 6 hours of traveling, we finally made it to Carlsbad, CA, home of Legoland! We set off this morning at 8:45, made it to Valencia in one shot and stopped to burn off some energy in Toys R Us and In-n-Out. Another straight drive through LA and we made it to our hotel. The kids were great travelers, we had plenty in the car to keep them occupied. Tomorrow's the big day at Legoland, for now we're headed to the pool to burn off more energy. More updates to come!