September 30, 2012

the fair and stuff.

This week was a first for me and the two younger boys: we went to the fair with Ollie's preschool.

In all the 10 years+ I have lived in this town, I have never gone to the fair.

The fair is kind of a big deal for the natives around here. So I was interested to see what the fuss was all about.

On the way in the van. "Mommy, mommy! What's the fair?", two little boys asked.

"Well, we are going to see animals", I answered.

"Oh, are we gonna see kitties?", Ollie asked.

"Hahaha. I don't think so Ollie", I answered. Oh boy, I hope we are not in for a big disappointment here. Kitties. At the fair. Can you imagine?

MOOOOO. We def saw cows. Lotsa preggo cows right here.

Excited to pet the little brown cow. I am amazed that these cows put up with little kids petting them all day. They are so docile.

 Later Twain told me that his favorite animal at the fair was the "brown tow"{brown cow}. We only saw around 4 farm animals that day.

Throwing balls at the speedometer.

This Bernoulli Blower kept the boys occupied for an hour.

It was hot.
I was getting tired pushing the double stroller.
It felt like I had heat exhaustion.

I desperately needed a lemon slushy to revive me.

Dear friend and neighbor Patty was with me, and so we went on a wild goose chase for lemon slushies. We did not find any lemon slushies, but we did stumble upon some deep fried Kool-Aid and chocolate covered bacon.

Carnival people are a peculiar lot. As if Kool-Aid were not healthy enough. Let's deep fry it!

We eventually found a vendor willing to sell us flavored shaved ice for $4.50 each cone.

I actually stood there for a minute looking over the flavors.

My brain might have been deep-fried from the heat, but there was no way I was gonna fork over $13.50 for 3 cones of flavored ice. I think I would have gladly paid that much for lemon slushies though, lol.

As Patty sat their pondering, I said "No way Jose! This is high-way robbery!"

Patty said, "You are right. We could buy a can of frozen juice for 98 cents at winco".

"I kinda feel like a cheap-skate", I told Patty. "Maybe I would pay such high prices at Disneyland, but not at the fair".

Patty totally made me feel better by saying, " are just being a good steward of your money".

We decided to snap a few pictures before we hit the road.

A little too sunny.

So we put on our shades.

We are outta here! See ya later fair. We thought you were totes adorbs, but unless we save up or strike gold, we will not be seeing you again til next year.

I was extremely consoled by the idea that the money I saved on shaved ice was much better spent on 8 new plates from Target.

It's Lorie's fault. She texted me a pic of these plates. Molly June has them too. From the Curiosity shoppe.

They go perf with the arrow salad tongs from Olive Oyl, and the fabulous table runner that Lorieloo made me. Thank you Looloo, for slaving over little itty bitty triangles in such a fun native pattern!

I smile whenever I see the little ensemble. I can use these plates for Thanksgiving and pretend that we are hungry pilgrims living off the land. Ya know. Shooting our bounty with bows and arrows.

Or I can use them for Christmas and pretend the triangular patterns are Christmas trees. And of course I can also use them for every day use too.

So. In sum.

The fair was cute but the food was kinda pricey{Some booths are fundraisers and I can totally deal with that}. And they really ought to sell lemon slushies.

Target is my BFF. I love their new Curiosity Shoppe.

And just out of curiosity. Do you have a fair in your land? Do you just fork over the big bucks? Do tell. I won't judge--I really want to make it work next year. Perhaps just bring the older boys and go at night for the rides. And buy them the wrist band for multiple rides and maybe a funnel cake.

p.s. I am simultaneously fascinated and terrified by the ferris wheel.

September 25, 2012

not a retreat. an advance.

A couple of months ago, John decided he wanted to take me to Hume Lake on a homemade little marriage retreat for a weekend.

My first thought was "oh yay! Hume!" Followed by, "I've never been away from the boys for that long! How will Twain and Ollie survive???"

When John and I were dating in college, he literally sent me to Hume that first summer we were together. He wanted me to experience one of his favorite places on earth. He was supposed to stay back in the city working, while I was at Hume. But after a few weeks, he followed me on up to Hume. He claims he missed Hume. Yah, sure;)

He was a fancy camp counselor.

I was a midnight toilet plunger.

The likes of the two aren't supposed to mix.

Us toilet plungers were a little scorned--but we were a proud crew of misfits and even wore matching tees, donning a cartoon character rappelling into a toilet with a clothespin on nose, with the caption saying "It's not a job. It's a nightmare".

I actually plunged over 200 toilets that summer, a feat that was quite daunting for someone of my constitution. I think before Hume, I had never even touched a plunger without retching. I think God gave me this job to prepare me for the rigors of 4 boys. I mean, cleaning their bathroom is not a job, but a nightmare.

However. Toilets and poop aside, that summer was very romantic and we had the time of our lives. So I was excited to go back to one of our favorite places together for our homemade marriage retreat.

Except we weren't calling it a 'retreat'. John read somewhere it should be called a marriage 'advance' because we were going forward rather than backwards.

John was in charge of this whole thing. He decided our itinerary. He is always reading books on marriage and such. He is good at this kind of stuff, whereas I am totally awkward and silly. I can barely keep a straight face typing the word 'marriage' here on this blog.

The night before our trip, I went to Target for some last minute supplies. I was gone 20 minutes. When I returned, Twain informed me, "I missed you while you were at Tardet(Target)".

Oh mercy. I was gone 20 minutes and Tweeds was already missing me? I was sad but knew that the best gift I could ever give to Twain was a good marriage. John deserved a weekend away. It would be good for us.

Still I was a bit 'noivous' leaving Twain behind. I'm slightly pathetic, let's just get that out in the open.

On our drive up, I just felt in my heart that I had to have a warm chocolate chip cookie from McDonalds or I would die. We walked in and I asked for my chocolate chip cookie. But they only had stale oatmeal cookies left. My face fell. The girl behind the register just stared at me.

We then went on a wild goose chase for another McDonalds but couldn't find one. Aren't they supposed to be everywhere? We finally settled for dessert at Burger King, which was a big mistake. The stale cinnabon twisted and churned in my stomach, as we went round and round the mountain up to Hume.

On our way up, John turned on the podcast and we listened to our first online seminar from a speaker on love languages. It was actually pretty funny.

Here's my thoughts on love languages. I don't expect anyone to learn my love language. It's a nice bonus if they do, but certainly not mandatory. But I do think it's neat to go out of your way to learn someone else's. For example, the speaker talked about the time he went off to college and an older  couple from church invited him to dinner with a few other students. Around the dinner table that night, the wife asked each kid what their favorite food was...and lo and behold...she had it served for dinner that night. Each kid asked "How did you know that was my favorite food?" and she answered "I called and asked your mama."

"You called and asked my mama?" they sniffed tearfully. I want to do that one day.

The next morning as I was getting ready in the bathroom, John turned on my favorite soundtrack.

I was so happy!

And he said that for our first activity together for the morning, we could make chocolate chip cookies together. Sweet.

We were staying in John's brother's rental cabin, formally owned by their grandparents. I think this retro beater belonged to his Grandma.

My job was to mix in the chocolate chips.

Stoked it was cool enough to wear my favorite wool hoodie.

John's Grandpa made these cabinets. They look swedish and I want them.

And my other job was official taste-tester. Obvi.

We did not have crisco shortening(key ingredient) and used butter instead. As a result, the cookies were very yucky. Our first marriage-builder activity did not fare too well.

We then listened to another speaker via podcast. This time the topic was on honesty in marriage and how it brings you closer together. Once again, I survived the session. Actually I rather enjoyed it.

James 5:16a Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. 

I can attest to the truth in this verse. We all mess up. We are all humans. Even Christians. John and I are not perfect. We are no exception. We need to fess up with the best of them, from time to time.

Onward ho, to marriage builder number 2: Riding on the quad to get to the lake. I never rode on a quad before. This shall be interesting. Like the time we tried riding the tandem bike at Hume. Talk about a good marriage builder.

John drove recklessly down the hill while I screamed and held on for dear life. At the bottom, we switched places. My turn.

I drove along at the pace of a snail and John busted out his iPhone to document our wild ride.

I must say, a girl could get used to 4 wheeling. I finally got up to the speed limit, and off we went.

Next on the agenda was a brisk nature walk around the Lake, to burn off those cookies.

My attempt to look romantic.

Instead I look like I'm squeezing the daylights out of John's hand.

I'll stick to what I know best. Playing in the weeds.

The weather was beautiful. I'm convinced September is the best month to visit Hume. The crowds of hyper kids were gone, replaced by mellow campers scattered about. The sun came out during the day, but it wasn't hot. It was cool at night, but not unbearably so.

We had lunch back at the cabin and then John said I could have some free-time. He's kinda strict, LOL.

I worked on my 1 John Precepts study, so I wouldn't fall behind. I was marking my key words like a  wild mashaguna.

My last Precepts study, I was too cool for colored pencils. This time I have completely embraced the colored pencils. My fearless leader Claudia, will be proud. I feel like I'm in the club now.

Do you think I John has anything to say about love? I think I'm gonna get worked. I mean, I already am.

After free time, John said it was time to play a board game. I stink at board games, but played along to humor the boy. We went outside to play Spill and Spell. I love this picnic table. And the aqua broom to the left.

The goal of this game is to create word puzzles in a short amount of time. It's kind of nerve wracking. I'm too slow. Whenever the sand in the hour glass runs out, I jump and scream from the stress of it all.

John pretty much dominated with his fancy SAT words.

I only was able to come up with short words, but ended up winning the first match because John was being too ambitious. He's way better than I am and easily whipped me at match 2.

We then walked down to join our sister-in-law Kristin and kids at the snack shop for dinner. I'm kinda intolerant to cheese and milk so usually avoid it...but I could not resist nachos with jalepenos and a Hume burger. Totally worth it. Mmmmmmm. Cheeeeeeeeeeese. How I have missed thee.

We had a lovely time chatting around the camp fire, and then we ended our day by snuggling up with a movie: Soul Surfer. I screamed when her arm was bitten off by that shark. But I loved the family in the movie. They were so much fun and the movie had a great message.

During this time, sis-inlaw Kristin felt sorry for us because our chocolate chip cookies were yucky, so she made us a fresh batch of her famous chocolate chip cookies. And hand-delievered them to us while we were watching our movie. Who does that? She amazes me. Love her so much.

On our last day of our 'advance' at Hume, we listened to another seminar. This one was HARD and I squirmed the entire time. Tough topics with tough questions afterwards. It was discouraging and blah, but in the end, anything worth fighting for is tough. You have to periodically ask the tough questions and ask how your marriage is doing and how to make it better. And you might not like the answers your spouse gives.

Listen anyway.

And answer truthfully for yourself.

Then God has something He can work with to make you a stronger couple. John doesn't want us to squeak by as a couple. Nope that's not good enough for him.  He wants the sun, moon and stars. No pressure. I tend to be easily contented with chocolate chip cookies and I resist change. But I shall try my best to rise to the occasion. For John and ultimately God's glory.

One thing that helps me is, asking myself, "How do I want my future daughter-in-laws to treat my sons?" Um, they better give my boys what they need, lol. So I better be a good example of a good wife too.

Ok, back to the cookies. Kristin sent us home with a plate of cookies. {Green print to the left made by katygirl; you can visit her shop here! and hunger games card to right was from Olive Oyl. Love.}

Look at this perfect specimen. The mark of the perfect cookie is that it's flat and puckers up where the chocolate chip resides.


In sum, we had a great great trip to Hume Lake and I would totally do it again. I was thrilled to get back to the boys. My in-laws went above and beyond the call of duty, watching my boys and changing my dead van battery. So a special thanks to Ron and Betty.

The next day, Twain and Ollie screamed and cried and threw tantrums all day long, until I thought I would lose my mind. But today was back to the norm.

The end.

September 22, 2012

Part Tres.

I got home from dropping Finn and Calvin off at school. I went straight to my back door,
and did a double take.

What the????

So many thoughts swirling around my head.

1. Up to this point I had never seen the mama cat. It's the black cat in the middle there. The cat that I had always thought was a boy cat... that I was always chasing out of my yard because I thought he'd knock up Peach before she was spayed. Guess I did not have to worry about that.

2. How on earth does one dominant-colored cat give birth to such varied offspring? Cat genetics MUST be different than human genetics, is all I can say about that.

3. The biggest surprise of all was the presence of the FOURTH kitten. I thought there was only THREE.

4. Best of all, the FOURTH kitten looks like a little moo cow with its black and white pattern! Hahahahahahaha. God is SO funny to make such an odd looking little kitty!

I gently opened the door to say "oh hai" to mama cat and she was none to pleased.

"HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS" she spat at me and ran away, causing her little kittens to flee as well.

Girlfriend looks pretty good for just having 4 kids. But the hissing? It's just rude. Like she thinks I'm gonna take her babies and run or something. It's not like I had homes picked out for them or anything. I mean, that did not happen til at least an hour later, haha.

I really wanted a closer look at the 4th kitten, but I had to take Ollie and little neighbor Paulie to preschool.

Back in the van, the chatter of kitties continues.

Ollie says to Paulie "Guess what? We have kittens. And Peach is one of the mommies!"

Oh wow. We have some 'splainin' to do. Haha. Peach--ONE of the mommies.

10-year-old neighbor Jordan asked his mama "Is Peach the mommy?"  and "Is Skittle the daddy?"

So much discussion, this little sitch has brought about. Inquiring minds want to know.

We are pretty sure that the papa(at least one of the papas) was the boy Siamese cat up the street. Since cats can drop eggs over a span of days, it is likely there was more than one papa.

Look at me showing off my newfound cat knowledge. It's shameless.

Back at the home front, neighbor Cynthia wants to take another look at the Siamese kitty. But kitties would NOT come out and play. A little while later, she was on her waterfall, trying to sneak a pic of the kitties with her zoom lens. "Silly kitties and silly people", she texted, laughing.

And later her teenage daughter Brynn came over to look at the Siamese. She wants one, pretty bad. And Libby could barely sleep the night before because she was so excited about it.

I was determined to get a closer look at 'moo-kitty'.

"Here kitty kitty", I whispered.


WHOA. There fur..."What IS this thing???", I wondered, shrinking back a little in fear.

And then back he went, disappearing under the deck again.

And peeking out again. Awwww. Not to worry. Will ya take a look at this sweet lil moo face?

A little while later, mama was busy eating our food(yourwelcome Miss Hiss) and her little ones came tumbling out to have a lil fun. It's ridiculously cute watching them prance all over the deck. When they saw me, they were a bit apprehensive and so it took me a little while to sneak a few more shots.

I am seriously dying from little moo.

John calls him Chewbacca. Because "vaca"(pronounced baca in spanish) means "cow". And he is pretty furry like Chewbacca.

I personally think he looks more like an ewok.

So here's the scoop.

Finn desperately wants moo-kitty.
Calvin desperately wants the Siamese kitty.
Ollie wants the black kitty and calls him Tux. HAHA. He wants to recreate Tabby and Tux with Peach and this new black kitty. Cracks me up.

The neighbors want the other Siamese kitty. Well, the neighbor kids want it.
My mom will take the black kitty and is willing to take moo-kitty to dad's work.

And I am TORN. John says we can only pick one new kitty. One the one hand, the Siamese will grow into a beautiful cat. And the Siamese are thus far the most friendly of the bunch of kitties. They always want to play with me. We have a little bond.

But. But.

Moo-kitty is so wonderfully quirky and odd. How can I resist his strange ewok charms? I'm fascinated by him. He has a lot of character.

How am I supposed to choose between these two faces? Hm? Hm? You tell me. And no, flushing them all down the toilet is not an option. {Ahem} You know who you are.

I predict heart break either way. So much for being "the chosen ones", ha.

September 20, 2012

I said I'd never get a cat--part deux

The excitement in this house is electric, I tell you. Electric!

Like Christmas on your Birthday at Disneyland kind of excited.

Our one and only family  trip to Disneyland.

What could be the cause of all this commotion?

Only ONE thing could cause such a stir.

Monday night I was at Stbx when I got a text from John.

"we have kittens", 

it read, with a blurry photo of a staggering kitten blob near our back deck.

And no, Peach did not have kittens. She was spayed a while ago.

I thought nothing of it and continued sipping my iced salted caramel frappuccino(cookie crumble frapp is waaaaay better, btw).

"How are we gonna find a home for this critter?", I sighed. And "Who is gonna want that fur ball?", I wondered.

Little did I know the spark that had already started at our back door and was blazing to the neighbor's house. 

I opened the garage door back at home at 10:30pm.

I walked into Twain and Ollie's room. Twain was up in bed waiting for me to get home, as is his custom. That boy sweats me out, every time I leave. Besides. He was wide awake from the events of the evening.

"We have kitties under our det(deck)" he could barely manage to squeak out. He then proceeded to ramble at top speed about said kitties.

I stepped out our back door, onto the landing of our deck. John sat outside, with a bowl of milk and kibble, of course.

Slowly, a little kitty head began to tentatively and cautiously emerge from under the deck.

At the first sight of this little Siamese face with pointed ears, I completely lost it and started to squeal in another octave. And baby talk. I vaguely remember lots of incoherent baby talk.

"Can we keep one, can we keep one?" I asked, jumping up and down.

I was in complete and total awe that this striking fancy-pants kitty was under MY cozy deck. How on earth do things like this happen to such ordinary folk as ourselves?

"We must be the chosen ones", I declared.

At this, John is now staring at me like I have horns growing out of my head. "Where is my wife and where did you put her??!!" John demanded.  

This is a legitimate question. How on earth did I go from utterly disdaining the idea of having a cat, to begging my husband for another one?" 

This is how.

How am I supposed to resist this little face??? And four kitty-crazy little boys???

And to think. Just this last post, Ollie was chattering about naming a new kitty when he was 6. Ha. Guess the joke is on me.

Another little Siamese emerges. Twinsies!

Followed by a solid black kitten. Why hi there, little fellow!

They are still a little skittish, so this footage was incredibly difficult to come by. They kept running away.

Three little kittens. Such a surprise.

Earlier that evening, Libby and Ty were over and went wild over these kitties too. Before long, baby sister Josie and mama Cynthia came over to see what the fuss was all about. Apparently they used to own a cat that looked like these lil Siamese kittens. "They are point cats with point coloring", Cynthia explained. They were as smitten as we were.

I went to bed with a smile on my face over this unexpected turn of events.

It was dark the next morning, and I awoke to Finn's face hovering over my own.

"Mom. Did you know that we have kittens under our deck?" he asked incredulously.

"Why yes!", I answered, popping out of bed and racing Finn to our backyard. Finn was already fussing over food for the kitties.

Back inside, Calvin comes up to me breathlessly. "Mommy. Did you know we have kittens?", he asked with stars in his huge brown eyes.

"Oh yes dear, isn't it grand?", I answered.

He nodded his head and could scarcely say another word from the sheer thrill of the anticipation of the excitement.

We bundled into the van, chattering nonstop about kitties, on our way to school.

But back at home, the biggest {little} surprise of all was waiting for me under the deck...

To be cont.