The Chocolate Lady

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Birthday Girl

She was born in the tiniest state, and moved to Southern California. She learned to surf, sneak out her window, and is a very good dancer.

She is smart, works hard, and has a lot of fun with life. She is an avid volunteer, always giving back to others.

She is a good mom, and an even better Grandma (hello, I dont remember getting to eat marshmallows for dinner and ice cream for breakfast as a child.)

Please join me in saying, "Happy Birthday Grandma J"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Adventures in mothering, Part 2

Ok....where did I leave off????

My kids were gone. They were not at "Nathan's" although they had been at another neighbors, but left an hour prior. So, they were last seen walking straight towards our house, about 6 houses from our own, an hour ago.....

I got Little One, and drove around, stopping at every house with a child, to see if my kids had stopped by to kids are social like that, so you never know what new friends might have been made. Nobody had seen them.

I kept mulling over in my head....that they were last seen, just 6 houses from mine, walking straight towards my house.....they were on their way home ...what could have stopped them from making it home?

I really didnt think they were kidnapped, really. For a split second, I wondered if they were at the pool. They were not at the park....the pool is inside a gate. There was always the chance that when walking home, they came upon some friends that were going to the pool, and went inside with them, but I know my kids, they would have run home and said, "Can we get on our bathing suits and going swimming with Jimmy?" They would never have been content to sit at the pool, in their clothes, and watch others I didnt even bother checking out the pool.

We have some neighbor girls 2 doors down, but nobody answered when I knocked. I actually went back to that house 3 times, thinking maybe nobody heard me I knocked loudly, and rang the doorbell a answer.

Well, crud. After an hour, I had checked every place I could think of.

I didnt want to call the Sheriff, because I knew hey were just playing somewhere. All a sheriff would do, would make a list of friends and neighbors and go recheck everyone....I could do that myself. Oh wait, I already did do that, a couple of times. I decided to call the sheriff.

One neighbor remarked that I seemed very calm, and she would have called a while ago. That made me feel "bad"...but really, if someone had nabbed my kids, I would have heard them scream. But, I couldnt find them, and that one bazillion chance was still a I called.

I was driving back to my house, from the neighbors a block over (yes, I drove, it was 98 degrees, and Little One was with me, and I wasnt about to walk around for an hour, carrying her, in the heat.)

I was giving the sheriff the description of Beauty:

Me: Curly-wavy blonde hair

Sheriff: Curly or wavy?

Me: Wavy

Sheriff: What did she have on

Me: A pink and white floral outfit, tank top and skort

Just then, as my car pulled into the driveway, I saw my kids, my smiling kids, walking over from the NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS HOUSE.

No kidding.

They had been at the house next door, right next houses in between us....they were playing next door.

The people next door are very nice, but they keep to themselves. They have a daughter who is Beauty's age (or a year older) and a son that is 2 years older than Pooper. But they are never, ever outside, and my kids have never, ever played with them, EVER.

We have lived next door 5 years, and they have never played together. I didnt think they would be there.

So, I told the Sheriff......they were home, she was glad, so was I.

I gave the kids the ole, "Where were you?? I went to Nathan's and you werent there....and Luke's mom said you were at their house, but left to come home. You need to tell me when you leave one persons house and go to another, I had no idea where you were, AND I WAS JUST ON THE PHONE WITH 911 BECAUSE I COULDNT FIND YOU."

My kids just looked at me, like, Wha???? we were right next door!

Pooper ran back to the next door neighbor's house, as he had forgotten his Pokemon cards...and when he came back, the neighbor mom was with him.

Her: You called 911? (laughing)

Me: (also laughing) I know, I could not find them, they werent where they said, and I looked all around and just couldnt find them.

Her: I bet you didnt think to look here, the kids have never played together in 5 years.

Me: yeah, exactly. Who'd have thunk it???

So, today is another day, and there is exactly one week left until school starts...I have a feeling this isnt the last chapter on this saga!

BTW, still waiting for the urine analysis, will keep you posted.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Adventures in mothering

Well, hmmm, where should I start in recounting this glorious day....

First, I was on the horn to supervisor, "Judy" at the Post Office...before I could say I word, she sternly reminded me that, "Ill talk to your mail carrier this morning, I havent had a chance, Ill call you later today." and I let her know that I had more info that might help in this "mystery"....the yellow "not at this address/do not forward" sticker that was being put on my mail, as recently as 8/22/08 (the day after my first call about my mail.)

LONG, BUREAUCRATIC story mail man told her I hadnt picked up my mail in 3 weeks, so he assumed I was gone, and put in the order.


First, I have mail sitting right on my counter that has postmarked dates from throughout the wasnt until last week (when our regular mail man went on vacation) that this problem began.

Second....when I called those mornings, and talked to Judy the Supervisor, or when I saw the temp. mailman at the mailbox and spoke with him.....why didnt they tell me that their was a forwarding order in?? They both said, "we checked this and we checked that, and it's just been a slow mail week for you." They assured me, over and over, and in fact, both got quite testy with me when I persisted - not believing the "slow mail week theory". Wouldnt they have been able to see that this forwarding order was in place?

Well, Judy got quite snippy....and, if there is anything HSH has learned in her 42.75 years of life, DONT BOTHER TALKING TO THE PIONS, GO STRAIGHT TO THE TOP.

So, I asked to speak to her supervisor, and soon, "Lydia" was on the phone. Let's just say, I totally get why people "go postal" and can see that Lydia has set the tone for her little team. She was so grumpy, and I then asked to speak to her supervisor.

Lydia did what many people do, it's something that I actually find hilarious...when I asked to speak to her supervisor, she told me SHE WAS THE, yes, but I would like to speak to YOUR BOSS, I said...and then she told me that she didnt have one, she is the head person.

That is so special I must be to be talking to the Federally appointed Post Master General...and, what a treat for the folks at our local post office to have a visit from this leader. How "down to earth" of her to roll up her sleeves and answer the phone. I mean... really????

Lydia, I know you have a boss....I am asking for you to direct me to your supervisor. She refused, so I was left with no other choice, but to call the darned 800 number and get to the bottom of things.

I talked to a very nice gal.....told her my story.....she said she would call me back. When she did, she said, "I see what you mean about the attitudes at that place, they had poor customer service habits with ME, I can only imagine how they treated YOU." Thank you. She handled it, I think, and problem solved. I think. Let's see if I start getting mail now...especially since I was inundated with calls from people who thought we had like, fled the country or died. Andrew's agent, My Dove business corporate office, our church, etc. all called telling me of returned mail today.

Anyhoo....besides THAT riff raff....I have been emailing the head oncologist a bit, wondering when to worry about Andrew's "tentacle".

For some background info.....leukemia is cancer of the blood....most chemos do not cross the blood/brain barrier...which means the blood in the spinal chord, around the brain, and (for boys) in the testicles, does not get the chemo coverage that the rest of the body receives. These places are known as "sanctuary sites"....(not like San Francisco)....and the cancer often hides there. For that reason, the spinal chord and the testicles are where you often see a relapse. This is why Andrew had radiation to his brain, and chemo injected into his spinal chord...however, that stil l leaves the tentacles susceptible.

Typically, a relapse in the testicle will not have pain, and will have a mass. But, there are no other symptoms, and the only way to check is to biopsy the testicle. It's not going to show in the blood work, or via ultrasound.....eventually, a relapse will spread, but when it's in the testicle alone, the only way to tell is a biopsy.

I dont want to do a biopsy when he doesnt have a mass, but I would like to know why one tentacle hurts. We are still awaiting the urine analysis, to see about the blood in plan is to wait and see. If all else is negative, and it still hurts next week...then I will probably press more on the relapse issue...but am praying he just squished it somehow (he claims he didnt injure it)...and that he is feeling better soon.

Now, on to other things, because, worrying about a relapse of cancer, and haggling with one of the governments most frustrating institutions (this is why I dont want government run healthcare!) ...well, those just werent enough. And it wasnt enough that we visited the ER last night, no....there must be more excitement...something to blog about.....

So, my kids got lost today.

We live in a area where there are a few streets, sort of set apart a little area. Our larger community is pretty safe, suburban...and then our little "square" is even more secluded.

I let Pooper go to friends in this area. He doesnt have a lot of kids to play with up here, and the few he has are on streets next to us, adjacent to us, etc. Maybe 6-15 houses away...not far, but not within eye shot. I let him go to friends, and I let Beauty go if she is with him...they must stay together, I feel pretty secure in this plan.

Today, they told me they were going to "Nathan's" typically, when they go to someone's house, if that friend is not home, they will come and tell me, and then tell me who's house they will try next. Today however, I never heard back after they left for Nathan's, at about 11:30am. I told them to come home for lunch (they are usually home by 1, if they get hungry.)

By 2:30, they werent home, and I had to go to the grocery store. I went by Nathan's, and there was no answer....another neighbor told me they had gone on vacation. Hmmmm. So, I went to another friend's house, and they said that the kids had been there, but left to go home for lunch at around 1:30.

That was about an hour ago.

The house they had been at, is directly across from ours....within eye shot.....but you have to walk down a street....a street with 7 houses on one side, and a park/pool on the other. The mom said my kids walked down that straight, headed straight towards my house.


Now, Ill be honest, Im not paranoid about "child abductions"...while it's every mother's is not that common, especially since my house is off the beat and path, pretty well insulated from major streets, etc.

I really thought, that the kids were playing at someone's house.

Besides, my windows were open, and I can hear when they are fighting with each other outside...even several houses away.....if someone tried to nab them, I would have heard them scream.

So, I proceeded to get in my car, with Little One, and drive around our area...knocking on the doors of every kid I knew...making all of their moms wonder what kind of horrible mom I am that I didnt know where my kids actually were.

** Im realizing this is turning into a bit of a lengthy, Ill write more later, I promise Im not going to turn it into a 35 page, 1 page at a time, chapter book. promise.

through rain and sleet and snow and stuff

Last week, I had hardly anything in my mail box... a couple of ads, and that was it. The odd thing, was that I hadnt checked my mail for 3 days, and so much more was expected.

The next day. Nothing.

I called the post office to check and find out why I wasnt getting all my mail. A few ads for nearly a week is not normal, AND, I had some things I was expecting that should have arrived.

The US Post Office Supervisor, Judy, told me that there was no mail waiting for me, no orders in holding my mail, it wasnt in the neighbors box (same street number, adjoining street....often gets my mail and is out of the country for the summer....thought maybe it was put in their "hold" box.) Nope. It was just a slow mail week, Judy explained.

The next day, I made a point to be at the box when the mailman arrived. You see, I had spent a bit of time on the phone the day before, and sure as I thought, some important things had been sent...but I never received them. I confirmed with Dove Chocolates that they had sent me a special letter the week prior, also, a friend had sent me a personal letter....not to mention the never-ending bills.....

So, I told the mail man that I was concerned, and he became very defensive!

I said, Look, Im not blaming you, but I have a right to wonder where my mail is!

He was only a temperary mail guy, as our regular postman was on vacation (probably Beaches, with Elmo, just to make me jealous)....he was defensive because Judy the Supervisor had accused him of losing my mail.....but anyways, he assured me all was fine, just a slow mail week.

I wasnt buying it, but what could I do.

The next day, my dentist calls, asking if we were ok.

Me: Yeah, we're fine, why?

Dentist: Well, your statement was returned to us with one of those yellow stickers that says, "Return to Sender, Unable to Forward"


This explains why I havent gotten any mail.....but now, the mystery thickens, because, why is my mail getting those yellow stickers, and more importantly, why didnt Judy or the sub-mailman know that my mail was getting stickers????

My dentist emailed me a copy of the returned envelope....And, get this, they yellow sticker was dated 8/22/08. 8/22/08 as in in the day after and the day of, my conversations with the post office folks. It wasnt like the yellow sticker was put on a week ago...It was put on discussions with Judy and the mailman started on Wed (and Thursday), what the heck is going on??????

So, today, because I was trying to find an excuse to get out of the laundry, Im going to gather my small children and go to the post office, because, how much fun is that? To deal with postal beauracracies, especially with 3 small children, who undoubtedly will become restless and whine and maybe cry or get into squirmishes with each other?

And, who is easier to deal with than a postal supervisor, except for maybe someone at the DMV? Really, should be a real treat.

Wish me luck.

And...say a little prayer for's probably nothing, but his "tentacle" is hurting...we took him to the ER to make sure it hadnt gotten all twisted up, and the ultrasound was fine. However, that doesnt answer why it is hurting.....leukemia is known to relapse in the testicle, but it typically doesnt have pain (which he has) has a mass (which he doesnt have), that is good news, but still has us a little nervous.


Friday, August 22, 2008

The great emotional conflict that is "back to school" time

It's that time of year....the time when I wonder how in God's green earth homeschooling mothers survive, because they dont have "back to school" to save them. The time when I am so ready to drop me kids off at the front door of their new class rooms, because they have worn my last nerve into a tired fray (not sure what a tired fray really is, but in my mind, it's like a piece of ribbon that has all the little threads coming apart...get it?? that's my nerves!!)

To be honest, Beauty is nothing but a beauty. Yesterday, in Grande Grandma J style, I declared to the children that it was "clean the van" day. Pooper immediately went into a melt-down. Beauty smiled and said, "ok." Talk about two different worlds. It's like Pooper heard, "you will live in a dungeon and never see friends, tv, computer or pokemon again, and your only food will be brussel sprouts." and Beauty heard, "You are the world's most amazing daughter and I love you more than all the flowers ever made." Truly, I said one thing, and they both reacted so differently.

So, Beauty and I spent 4+ hours cleaning out the van. No, we didnt do deep cleaning of the seats, or even attempt to rid the mats of crusted in bananas or fruit roll up. It simply took that long to take out all the crap. And when we were done, the large, trash can was 3/4 full (it started empty) and there was at least 4 loads of laundry (that's what you get when you dress and undress from swim team in the car.) There were plenty of happy meal toys, princess shoes and sippy cups......all of which Beauty happily put where they belong in the house.

Periodically, the king of complaining would come down to see if we were done...and when he saw there was still work to be done, he retreated far away, to his room.

When we finished, I stared at the trash can, and the pile of clothes, and imagined that it had all been dumped into the 3 x 4 space that is the inside of my van....Im sure if Oprah had ever seen my van, she would have done an intervention, people would have cried, a team of experts would have saved me....really!

But we did it, and as a reward, I told Beauty to grab her piggy bank, which she filled with all the loose change found during the clean up. She also was rewarded with staying up 1/2 hour later tonight, to watch the new Cheetah Girls movie. She was happy. :)

Anyways..not sure why I got off on that tangent about the van...but, what Im trying to say, is soon it will be time for my kids to go back to school. And I will miss them. And I feel guilty that I dont want to be with them every single, solitary second, because I do....but, while my heart wants to hold them close, it's my nerves, my nerves that cant quite take it.

This morning, at 7:23 am, Pooper approached me, with his velvet, magicians, top hat on his head, and his magic card trick in his hand.

Pooper: Mom, you know how a lot of people walk by our house in the morning? (lots of morning dog walkers around these parts, and we are close to a trail and the dog park.)

Me: yeah

Pooper: Well, Im going to do some magic tricks when they walk by

Me: (giving him a once over look, in his magicians get-up, and trying not to giggle) sure honey, great idea, they'll all love it!

Pooper: So, Im gonna go walk around outside now, to do some magic for people.

Me: Not NOW, it's only 7:23 need to wait.....


Me: (my brain seizing up, unable to handle the contention so early in the day) FINE GO!

Later, I went and checked on him, him with his tall black, velvet, top hat. He was standing with his cards, and my plastic mixing bowl...which was labelled, "Tips, $5 or less"....AWWWW, what a sweetie, he didnt want people to go broke watching his show, so he said "or less" ...such a caring boy. His bowl was empty, but his imagination and his tender heart, both so full.

Ill miss my kids this year...both of them.....but it's the best thing, for all of us, for all of my nerves....God bless "back to school" time!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The nerve of people!

Okay, Im sure you have all heard the flap about Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimming phenom, being featured on the box of Frosted Flakes cereal, right?

Now, when I was a child, Frosted Flakes was my favorite cereal. And, not to rat anyone out, but, yes, we were allowed to eat junk food for breakfast when I was a kid...junk like, sugary Frosted Flakes.

Personally, Im not as nice of a mother as Grandma J and I dont allow my kids to eat sugary cereals, not even Frosted Flakes. Even though Pooper and Beauty swim for an hour each day, I try to make sure they refuel with "healthy" snacks....and I tell them all about the building blocks their muscles need, like proteins, etc. The exception, is once a week, is "snack day" on the swim team, and mothers bring all kinds of junk....their is no avoiding it, so I let them have it, but as a rule, I dont have junk in the house, even for busy swimmers.

THAT SAID.....who in the heck is the lady that thinks she can call out Michael Phelps for promoting Frosted Flakes?? Rebecca Solomon, a Nutrionist at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, has been all up in a ta-hizzle about Michael Phelps promoting a sugary cereal. She has been on talk shows, (cough,cough, attention-hog!) and basically bad mouthing this American Hero.

I might be annoyed if he were promoting, let's say, (Jamie Lynn) Teen Pregnancy, or, heroin use, or cigarettes.....because, Id be upset if my kids were involved in any of that, and I dont like people promoting it.

But for someone to say he is a bad example for eating a sugared cereal....well, Im pretty sure from the looks of his abs, and the fact that he just didnt go belly up when he hit the water, that the guy is A-OK in the "healthy lifestyle" dept. I realize that with his intensive workout, he gets to eat 12,000 calories a day, but Im gonna go out on a limb and guess that he doesnt eat it all in ice cream and big macs....for the record, when training for a triathlon, I thought I could eat all the ice cream I wanted, because, well, I was training and all...and guess what, it all turned to fat. But if Michael Phelps was leading an "on-the-verge-of-diabetes-life-style" he wouldnt have that body, and he wouldnt cut through the water at high speeds.

So, Id like to know, for the record, just what has Rebecca Solomon done to promote good health? I mean, what does she do personally, ...slamming Michael Phelps all over the media doesnt count.....

For example, is she breaking world records in athletic events to help promote fitness in children?????

Is SHE on the cover of the box of Fiber One????? (I bet she'd LOVE that!)

Would it be ok to follow her around, and the first time that she bites into something with more than a gram of sugar, we sound some alarms and bells and call her a FATTY FATTY 2 X 4???

Again, Im not a promoter of the sugared cereals, but this is a guy who has done quite a bit to promote fitness, discipline, dedication, exercise, and healthy living to our children, the last thing we need is some haggard windbag criticizing him.

So, Rebecca....let me know when you beat Michael's swim times, or when your body fat matches his....until then, go shove a bunch of bon bons in your mouth, and leave the guy alone!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My new makeover

If you've met me in person, or seen one of the rare photos, you'll know, Im not into "makeovers". I dont want to get caught up in botox and arm tucks and fake implants in my bottom, because really, once you start that stuff, where does it end? Have you seen "Cat Woman"?? How about when fancy, rich, blonde woman, in their 50's all start to look alike, because their surgeons used the same pattern on their face???

Lately though, Ive noticed a wave of reformation taking place among bloggers. It started (or at least, I first noticed) when The Pioneer Woman did a complete revamp, and went uber-commercial. To be honest, I was a faithful, daily reader, and as soon as her blog changed, and she had a bunch of "tabs" and "sections" and such, I lost interest. It wasnt a conscientious thing....I just found it all too tedious to hunt around for the daily post.

Others bloggers have updated too....but I was happy with my blue header, with the house scrunched onto half of it, with the HEART SHAPED HEDGES that took 9.45 hours to create. Really, I couldnt have been more pleased with my "look."

But then, my own mother went all high tech. Not that it was a surprise, I dont think we hold the same views on "rejuvenation" know, and besides, I really liked it, I was impressed. And, then Pumpkin Delight got all glammed out, and I was like, WOWEE, this might not be a bad idea! Yesterday, my very own, siamese-twin-separated-at-birth gave her blog a new look, and it is SOOOO CUTE.

So, I caved, and I decided to go check things out. I'll admit I was hesitant about how to do it. Grandma J is a whiz at this stuff, but I cant do all of that techno-art. But, with all the others, I thought, just maybe I could do it.

The templates that I saw were incredible, It made me have overwhelming urges to scrapbook and get all artsy. The directions said it would be easy, just copy and past this little code...blah, blah, blah.

After convincing myself to go ahead, and, Ill admit, actually being excited and looking forward to my new "look"....even if it wasnt going to take out the deep, canyons on my forehead.....I did it. I changed my blog.

I clicked save. And "View Blog", and .........yeah, you're looking at it. The darn thing didnt work.

This is my luck with makovers, and quite honestly, it's the very reason I dont even bother with botox. Because I KNOW, that Ill be the one that has some allergic reaction, or gets an infected batch, and winds up with "elephant man" syndrome on my forehead (no offense to those with EMS.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sharpies and Chihuahuas

We have been busy here, with the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the new school year.

The other day, we had, "Let's get ready for school day"....which included immunizations and school supply shopping.

My kids are WAY behind on immunizations, for a few reasons, including;

A. I only do their shots 2 at a time, I dont see the need to overwhelm their bodies with foriegn invaders.

B. I skip some shots altogether, like Hep B. It's passed via bodily fluids, so I figure if my kids want to grow up and be prostitutes and IV drug users, they can add Hep B to their list of possible consequences, but since they arent engaging in that behavior now, Im not putting that into their system.

C. When Pooper was sick, vaccines were off limits for everyone, due to his fragile immune system, and we have only recently been given the green light to restart the process.

So, we made an appt. for Beauty and Little One to resume their shots. If Pooper is the epitome of bravery, Beauty is the epitome of non-bravery. When she had blood tests last year, she ran around the doctors office screaming, and eventually crawled under a chair and could not be pulled out....she ended up grasping for things, and tore things apart. yeah, fun times.

We talked about the upcoming shots, Pooper even gave her a lesson in how to get through...and I told her she could scream and cry all she wanted, but she was not aloud to run, or move at all, because it is dangerous to do when a needle is involved.

When it came time for the immunizations, I gave Beauty the choice of going 1st or 2nd. She wanted to go 1st. I told her the only thing about going 1st, was the Little One would be watching...and if she acted too upset, it would frighten Little One and make her upset too. Beauty assured me she was ready to be brave, and wanted to go first. Fine.

Sure enough, as we sat down to get them, she went into hysterics, kicking and screaming and trying to escape. I held her with all my might, so that her arm wouldnt move, and soon the torture was over (although the hysterical "horror-film" type screams went on for quite some time, only calming down when we entered TARGET.)

You see, we were off to Target to shop for school supplies. Each kid's class has a "list"...with VERY specific required items....things like, "10 count, crayola washable markers, classic colors." There are about 15 items, and all of them are idenitified in this similar manner.

Now, as you can imagine, I can find the 8 pack of classic colors, washable......the 10 packs I find are in "bright colors" .....or, non-washable.

The 24 pack of #2 pencils have to be the Ticonderoga brand (really?? why???) and, naturally, there are 5 other brands, but not, we do this shopping task, which takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r. and with 3 kids, 2 of whom just had shots, 1 of whom is way past her nap time, and they other 2 approaching nap's not long before the crying and whining sets in.

We did pretty good though, getting most items, although we never did find the Crayola 24 packs of crayons that both kids had on their list.

I promised Beauty, that if she got her shots (without destroying persons or property) that she would get some new "fancy" shoes. She wears a uniform, so her shoes are the one area where she can sort of let her fashion sense shine through. I was going to get her some sensible shoes, but also let her pick out an extra pair. She went with some rubber soled, sketchers, with lots of pink and black and glittery ribbons criscrossing the slip on. Very pretty.

So, it ws a busy day, and the week has continued on in a similar vein.

Just today, as we were preparing to leave for church, Little One (who can now reach the counter tops!) had a black sharpie pen, as in a PERMANENT MARKER. It was all over her, all over her dress (which is a pretty sundress, that matches Beauty's)...and.....all over (and I do mean, a large, central area) our hard wood floors! We havent figured out how to get it off without taking off the, if you have helpful hints, please pass them along.

We finally got out the door and were driving to church when Pooper said, "When I grow up, I want to get a red bug car, and a chihuahua."

it was at that point, that My Honey put his head in his hands, and wondered how much more difficult fatherhood was going to be.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

No offense, but....Im just sayin'.........

Tonight was the magical summation of all that my little swimmers have accomplished this summer. It was the Swim Team Banquet.

Last year, Pooper got a medal (not this year, because he is in a higher age swimming with older kids now.) This year, no medals, but fear not! every child get's a trophy (at least they did last year.)

So, the banquet is held at a community park...there is a playground, a few tables (to hold the food), the necessary public restrooms, and a large grassy area where everyone gathers round with blanket and chairs and umbrellas.

First things first...we have a new "pop up" thingy. Those things that you sit under to block the sun. We got one for 4th of July, because, hello....not sure how we ever survived any of the previous Independence Day bashes without one...especially 2 years ago in the smoking heat when I was just a few weeks away from deliving Little One, and could barely walk....but I digress.....

We put up the "pop up", and realized that it only works between noon and 12:30. because, if the sun is anywhere besides directly overhead, it doesnt do much to block it.

Take tonight, it began at 5pm. Here in S. CA, we have the sun in full bloom til 8pm. however, it's not overhead, and the pop-up is pretty much worthless. So, after putting it up, and scooting it here and there, hoping to create a patch of shade to sit in, we gave up. And, we sweated a bit in the was in the low 80's and felt about 1 degree warmer than it actually was (according to but it was also humid, and, Im not into that.

Then, the kids got their "trophys" which, this year, were medals. They were really cool, and engraved, and my kids love them so much that they are sleeping with them on....but, later on, they wanted to know when they were gonna get their trophy. have it on. The medal is instead of a trophy. The both looked at me puzzled, and I went on about the Olympics and gold medals, etc. and they smiled and ran off with friends.

Now, typically, we eat....and then the awards are given, coaches gifts are passed out, etc. culminating with a slide show at sunset.

Tonight, however, there was a change up.

You see, the "taco guy" , as he came to be known, was a bit "late".....

By 5:30, he still wasnt there, and our coach decided to go ahead and start with the awards, and eat later. Fine.

After the awards, there was a lot of mumbling about the "taco guy" ...and, apparently he was coming from Los Angeles and was stuck in traffic.

Now, this was curious to me. Ok, not curious, it was more like, "HUH???? LOS ANGELES?????"

We had this guy last year, and the tacos and trimmings were FANTASTIC. BUT, we live in Southern California...and besides being a good 2 hours from Los Angeles (maybe 3 or 4 during rush hour)....we have tons of delicious, inexpensive Mexican restaurants and catering joints....many within a few miles. Seriously. Why did we hire a company hours away? I could have guessed he would be late.

So, anyways, the kids played, and the parents chatted....and the coaches gifts were given out, and the mumblings about the "taco guy" continued, like, "Where in the heck is that taco guy???"

People began to talk.........Some people had heard that we had already paid him $400, and the check had already cleared....maybe he had taken off with the money. Or, maybe he was broken down on the side of the road (and all I could think of, was some guys sitting on the freeway shoulder, EATING TACOS.) Apparently, he must be the one guy in the USA who doesnt have a cell phone to call us, because nobody had heard from him.

7pm came and went, and we were starving (ok, not STARVING as in our Colombian Family "starving"...but, you know what I mean.....)and we decided to join the other 3/4 of the swim families and call it a going and getting some food elsewhere!

The coach felt bad, the banquet-organizing-ladies felt bad.....but, hungry is hungry, and we just didnt want to hold out any longer.

As a "plan B" they ordered pizza....but, how long would that take...both to arrive, and to get through the line of families?? So we left.

So, If you are reading this coach....or banquet-organizing ladies....I dont mean any offense, it was a great banquet (minus the food)....but, maybe next year we can get our food from someone that lives closer to home, like, less than 100 miles from home (since, we dont live in Minnesota or anything).....Im just sayin'.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bursting with pride

Please excuse any splatter or spray, but I am bursting with pride and I cant contain it.

Yesterday was Swim Championships. That's where all the kids from the county's a gigantic (and a bit chaotic) event...and the top performers move onto finals, held next week.

Beauty and Pooper both swam 25 yard backstroke, and 25 yard freestyle (Beauty actually did a 25 yard freestyle twice, because she was also in a "free relay")

Beauty is one of the only 5 year olds on our team, I think our team has 150 or 200 kids....she is tiny, and slow....but, let's face it, how many 5 year olds can even make it on to a swim team and do the workouts?

The best thing, is Beauty L.O.V.E.S swim team, with pink puffy hearts. And, she has no idea that she is the slowest, she thinks she is the SUPERSTAR, and after every race, she is beaming with joy, and says, "Did I get first place???"

For her backstroke, her previous best time was 52 seconds.....and her time at Champs was 45!! That is huge to drop so much time...really. She was first place in her heat (they have 3 heats)....and she was so proud of herself and as she walked back from the pool to our little "hang out" (we bring a pop-up and relax in the shade...we arrive at 7:30 am to warm up, and the meet doesnt end til 2pm)...but walking back, all the families from our team were cheering and telling her what a great job she did. She had the widest smile, I was so proud of her.

Then Pooper had his backstroke. His previous best was 29 flat, and he did 29.13. Again, I was so overjoyed. While it wasnt his "best" and he just missed going on to finals ....his time of 29 is new (last year he was at 34 and got a medal), I was glad he swam at his best, even if he didnt go a bit lower.

Next up was the 25 freestyle, and Beauty didnt let me down. Her previous best time was 58, and brace yourselves....she got a 42!! Seriously!! She has swam at meets all summer, and she is always in the high 50's at best....Her 42 was phenomenal, and I was just to pleased.

Then, Pooper's 25 free was up...and it happened so fast, I missed it!! I could scream, I was poolside, and I turned to figure out what event was up, and the next thing I know, I missed it. My Honey came running up to me, in huge disbelief, and said, "did you see him go! He got 2nd place" UGH. I waited for the results to be published...his previous best time had been 30 seconds....and his new time, 25!!! WOWEEEE.

Then, Beauty was in a relay, where 4 kids each do a 25 free.....and she did a 42 again! The fact that she was able to keep her time, especially because this was the last event of the day....we had been there all day (no naps) the 94 degree heat...and she did another 42...that was fabulous!

Just a bit of info....there are usually several heats, so even when my kids get 1st or 2nd in their heat...once scores from all the heats are combined, their standing is different.

The kids were a bit bummed, that they didnt win any medals, and arent going on to finals..but I explained to them, that Beauty swims in a 5-6 year old group. She is only 5 and most of the kids are fact, there are kids from Andrew's grade swimming...who turn 7 this month. So, being the youngest is tough. It's the same thing for Andrew, he is in the 7-8 group, and there are kids who are about to turn 9 in that group.

Next year, my kids will be the older ones in their group, and it will be medals and finals galore, I am sure :)

I am so proud of my kids. They worked hard, swimming every day, practicing is not always fun, it's hard work, but they do it and it's exciting to see if pay off in such fast times.

BTW, Beauty's "free relay"...she was the final leg.....and her team was last place....and as she climbed out of the pool (she was the last kid out)..she looked around and said, in typical Beauty style, "oh mom, I dont see any other kids getting out, I think I got first place!"

Friday, August 8, 2008

I am loved

I may not be getting any pettipoint chairs, antique beds, or other family heirlooms from Grandma J , but I do have, at least, two people that love me enough to pass something along.

Thank you Pumpkin Delight for realizing that it's not just the middle child that is forgotten....and for including me in your friendly game of tag. You are a cool chick and who knew that it would take blogs to introduce us to such fun friends, who dont even live far away?????

Pumpkin's game of tag requires that I list 6 of my quirks, so here we go.....

1. I hand wash all my dishes THOROUGHLY before putting them into the dishwasher. Ive never trusted a dishwasher, because, Ive never seen hands and a scrubber in there. So, I hand wash everything, and then use the dishwasher as a "sterilizer", using a short cycle.

2. I am very organized, to a fault. Like Grandma J, at my previous jobs, my desk was always clean, with everything in it's place. My expectations for my home are the same, however, I never have the time to keep up with my expectations.....the clothes in my closet are organized by color...but if I dont have the time to put clean clothes away correctly, they dont get put away at all. Hence the laundry pile up. If I dont have the time to wash all my dishes correctly, then they sit in the sink. I would rather things not get done, than to do it poorly....that goes for cleaning my floors (must be done by hand)....Im sure if I relaxed my standards, my house would be cleaner, strange.

3. I am the world's pickiest eater. I dont like ANY cooked vegetables, except corn, which has virtually no nutritional value, so it's not like a healthy vegetable and it does me no benefit to like it, but I do. I do like some raw vegetables, SOME, but not many. I wont eat ANY type of seafood, and dont ask me to try it and tell me it's not fishy, I wont try it. I wont try any food I dont like, because Ill gag. And this food aversion goes to anything with cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, blue cheese, and so on.

4. I am determined to have children that are NOT picky eaters. While they eat plenty of junk....I dont buy any for them at home. At home, they only drink water or milk (juice is high in sugar.) I dont have processed "snack foods" for them, instead they can have cheese, yogurt, fruit, veggies, or whole grain cereals for snack. Beauty is known to have a baggie of broccoli for her snack. I rotate through vegetables and fruit, having 2 different types of each, each day, so that they have a wide variety. I dont let them use sauces and condiments, because A. they are too messy and B. I want them to learn to like the food, not just cover up the taste. I provide balanced healthy meals (when we arent eating junky drive thru.)....So, yes they eat crap, but not at home, so that they are accustomed to eating a variety of healthy foods and it has worked, they really like everything (except for Pooper....thanks to the chemo thrashing his taste buds, but he USED TO like everything, and we are having success at getting him back to that place.) And, while I dont force them to eat anything, the only options at my house are healthy. At dinner, they need to just take one bite of everything....nothing is forced, but if they are hungry they will eat what is served, and Im happy with the success of this plan.

5. I feel quite strongly, that people should respect the sleep of others. It makes me angry when people wake me up, or when they are loud and inconsiderate when others are sleeping. It's just rude. Friends that slam cupboards or talk loudly when others are sleeping, were never fit for roommates. I carefully judged people by their consideration-of-others-while-sleeping habits. Standing at the top of the stairs, in front of someones bedroom, and yelling down for something, is just not acceptable, although, in my lifetime, Ive known several that do that...and it's rude!

6. Im a multi-tasker, even while driving. I can drive a stick shift, and get dressed, and eat a taco, and talk on the phone, and put on mascara, and sing to the radio, all at the same time, and I do it safely. The new California law, requiring that you use a hands-free phone device is silly. (and I havent bought a hands-free device yet.) What's the big deal if your hands are free....if you are using them to apply make up and eat lunch? Dumb law.

My second thoughtful friend, is KJ at Travel Girl Since she may be my future in-law (when Little One marries So-So) her "tag" may be the closest thing I ever get to having something passed down from family.

KJ's game involved completing the following timeline:

20 years ago I...............

1. Was enjoying my first year after college
2. Was involved in a serious car accident, when I was hit by a big rig truck on the freeway, and was thrown into a ditch on the other side of the road.
3. Began my career as a counselor with abused children
4. Loved to go dancing at Chesters

10 years ago I...............

1. Was living in AZ, otherwise known as "hell"
2. Was dating My Honey
3. Was still working as a counselor, this time in juvenile hall
4. Was eating a lot of ice cream and staying out of the sun

5 years ago I..............

1. Was told my 2 year old, Pooper, had cancer
2. Was also the mother to an infant girl, Beauty
3. Moved into our current home
4. Was still in my 30's.

3 years ago I.........

1. Was still in the midst of my son's battle with cancer
2. Had given up on having a 3rd child, after some miscarriages
3. Made an attempt at re-entering the counseling field (the overhead is just too high for part time work.)
4. Had completed an olympic distance triathlon

1 year ago I............

1. Had a new daugher who made me smile
2. Was sending Beauty off to her second year of preschool
3. Was rejoicing that Pooper was off chemo treatments
4. Spent my days at the pool for Pooper's swim team practices

So far this year...........

1. I have spent more time at the pool, as Beauty and Pooper are both on swim team
2. I enjoyed time with my children, who are all doing well.
3. I have become a Dove Chocolatier
4. have started a new blog (and made some great friends.)


1. I promoted to a Team Leader with Dove
2. I went to the pool :)
3. I took the kids for frozen yogurt
4. I didnt clean one bit of my house


1. I spent a lot of time on the phone
2. I took the kids to the pool
3. I talked to my dear friend S
4. I finally gave my future daughter-in-law her birthday gift


1. The kids will have swim championships
2. Ill get hot and cranky
3. The kids will get hot and cranky
4. I hope we all stay off each others nerves and appreciate the victories of their swimming

Next Year...........

1. I will earn a great family vacation with my Dove Chocolate business
2. I wiil have 2 kids in school from 8:30-3
3. I will have lots of time to do special things with Little One
4. I will continue to thank God for all the miracles, blessings and mercy He has given our family.

Now....TAG! You're it! Rebeckah at Life with Kaishon Tell us all about you.....quirks, could be therapeutic to focus on you after all the hard work helping others :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ola, Como Esta?

Pooper came up to me, holding a large book, which was opened up with his pen and paper tucked inside.

Mom, I cant find "pizza" or "pasta" in this Spanish Dictionary, can you help me?

Me: Those words are Italian, and they probably say them the same way in Spanish, why do you want to know how to say them?

Pooper: Well, Dad said that we are probably gonna go to Mexico next year, and so I am putting together some useful things to say, so that I know how to speak Spanish when we go there.

Me: Oh, well, what are some of the other things you have written there?

Pooper: Es su surpiente dorado?

Me: And what does that mean?

Pooper: Is your snake Gold?

Me: Sounds like your ready to go, World Traveler!

** we later found out from a friend, that "oro" is the correct word for gold, and I looked up and saw that "dorado" actually means gilded.

I later called My Honey, to inquire about this upcoming trip.

Me: Hey, Pooper's here obsessing about a trip to Mexico that you told him was happening next year.....

My Honey: Oh, yeah....uh....

Me: All I want to know, is this going to be a lets-help-out-the-poor-and-build-a-house-or-visit-an-orphanage kind of trip to Mexico, or a tropical-vacation-to-Cabo-or-Cancun kind of trip to Mexico? Because, while I'm not a drinker, your kids have me seriously considering a Margarita!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The day that changed my world

Today, we will go to the pool, just like we did exactly 5 years ago.

On that day, August 6, 2003, we went from splashing in the water, to driving to the hospital, in a matter of hours.

In the morning, I was in the midst of happy, laughing children, by nightfall, we were surrounded by dying children.

I will never forget my first phone call with the oncologist, confirming that Pooper had cancer, telling me it was aggressive and that he needed to be admitted immediately.

We were told to plan to stay for at least 2 weeks, maybe a month. I had no idea what I would do with Beauty. She was only 6 months old, still nursing, and she couldn’t stay with us in the hospital.

All the things that mattered in my life, were cast aside, all things except trying to save Pooper.

It’s a different world. Pediatric cancer is consuming, in many ways. The treatments are all experimental. Nobody can tell you exactly what to do, what will work, it’s a matter of finding our way, trying things, adjusting medications, monitoring for the life threatening side effects, it’s a literal tight rope of killing cells and saving cells, with no guarantees.

We were thrust into a world of total isolation, the fragile immune system of a child with cancer kept us from being around people. No more grocery stores, church (as much as you desperately need it) or other public places, our only other human contact was with the other children, bald children, frail children, children fighting similar battles, and the caring medical staff.

Nothing prepares you for the constant nausea your child will endure, the intense stomach cramping as the chemo eats away at their bodies, the burns on their bottom from the chemo in their stool and urine. To watch a healthy child wither, become weak, cry out in pain, wears on your spirit.

You go through the needles, the tests, the constant trips back and forth from the cancer clinic, the hospital and home. It’s impossible to schedule appts and times, as lab results dictate each step, when to take more, when to pull back, and Pooper’s body would be constantly fighting off infections, resulting in frequent fevers.

Each fever would mean an immediate trip to the hospital with a minimum impatient stay of 48 hours. Pooper was at risk for sepsis, a bacterial infection that could spread quickly through his body, and often led to death. Any fever required that we rush up to the emergency room.

On a whim, his temperature would rise, and I would need to find someone to care for Beauty. It was usually Grandma J, who would put everything aside, so that I could stay in the hospital with Pooper.

While my mommy friends were spending their days at gym class and playdates, I was assessing lab results and watching my child in a hospital bed.

Friends drift away, between the isolation and the depressing routine of your life, very few are able to stay by your side. But new friends are made, mostly nurses, other cancer mommies, and caring prayer warriors.

The vision of a little girl being carried into the cancer clinic, dead in her parent’s arms. Sounds of “code white” being echoed through the halls, watching crowds gather outside a hospital room to tell a child a final “goodbye”, the smell of rubbing alcohol, used to sterilize the site of a needle draw, all remain etched in my memory. My most vivid memory, is when our oncologist told us the treatment was not working, that Andrew’s prognosis was very poor. I remember looking at him on the bed, he still had his full head of blonde hair, and the thought of having to let him go was devastating.

This was our world, for more than 3 years. Even though treatment ended, the fear and anguish never completely go away.

We still have regular blood tests, a constant reminder that the cancer can come back. The visits to a plethora of specialists don’t let you forget that the effects of the chemo can go on for years. We have no guarantees, the risks are high, and we spend a lot of time keeping them in check.

We are grateful to God for healing Pooper, for restoring him, for protecting him, for allowing him to run and play again.

By all outward appearances, Pooper is perfect. Nobody would even guess that he spent much of his childhood fighting for his life. One would not imagine the incredible pain and suffering that this young boy has endured. The many scars on his chest, from 5 surgeries, are reminders of his confrontation with a formidable foe. We have not forgotten, nor can we, as the treatment that saved his life, has put him at risk for future cancers.

But we have made it to 5 years, for that we are thankful. In all honesty, we did not think we would see this day with Andrew. We never imagined that he would be here, swimming, reading, playing, laughing, driving us crazy sometimes. He has overcome so much, and we know that it was through God’s healing that we can celebrate this 5 year milestone.

And while nothing will ever be the same, many things are better because of cancer. There is little I want to miss in the lives of my children. It is not a burden to volunteer in their class, help organize their team sports, or spend time creating new experiences. These are precious gifts, memories being made that might not have been. Each birthday is a celebration of God’s mercy, each one will be special, each one is cherished.

I can go to the gym and clean my house later, but there are no guarantees on the time I have with my children.

Ill end this blog, as I have a competitive swimmer, who goes to championships this weekend, and he needs me to cheer him on at practice, oh, will I cheer!

In celebration of Pooper’s achievement of reaching this 5 year milestone, and in memory of the many friends lost…whose mommy’s can not write this post, whose mommy’s can not sit by a pool and watch their child splash and play….please consider having a virtual glass of lemonade, the link is on the side of the page…the money will be used to fund pediatric cancer research, thanks.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Green Eyed Monster

This past weekend, Beauty had one of her most dramatic melt-downs EVER.

My Honey was kind enough to take the kids out for a fast-food lunch. Not only that, but Mr. Nice Guy took them each to their own drive thru. Yeah...Pooper wanted Der Weinerschnitzel, so, that's where they went, and in addition to his dog, daddy let him get chili cheese fries too. Then Beauty wanted El Pollo Loco, so, My Honey drove on over to that place and got her lunch, and A CHURRO. He also ordered a churro for Pooper, because, he's the world's greatest dad.

Now,let me just say...the fact that they got to pick their own fast-food joint, AND got to eat chili cheese fries and churros, well, those were special things.

So, I would have expected my kids to come home just beaming with joy and gratefulness, really.

But, Beauty, instead, went into a crying, body-heaving, screaming, gasping for air, nobody-can-even-understand-what-she-is-saying meltdown. 500 degrees fahrenheit, meltdown.

My Honey was dumbfounded, he couldnt figure out why in the world she was upset. He had given her exactly what she asked for, above and beyond the norm, and she was not happy.

I explained to him, this thing called being spoiled. being jealous. never being satisfied.

I called Beauty over, and tried to understand her words through the gasping for air and tears. It seems, that she was troubled, that Pooper got a "special" food at his restaurant "chili cheese fries"....and.....

and...Daddy said, You got a special thing too, I got you a churro.

yes, but daddy also got Pooper a churro....from Beauty's restaurant, and he didnt get anything special for Beauty from Pooper's restaurant.

Are you following me? It's pathetic!

I took her churro away, determined that she would not have it, unless she could be thankful (*I* never buy them churros...this was a treat!)

I went through the whole she-bang about being grateful, a few times. She did a time out in her room to "think about it"....a couple time outs. Finally, we thought she got it.


I gave her back her churro, and as she walked away, she mumbled....through a re-emergence of tears and whining, "Pooper got a churro AND cheese fries!"

And that, was the end of my patience. I then went into my spiel on our Colombian family, who AT BEST, get to eat churro crumbs (from someone else) off the sidewalk, and there was no way I was going to let her eat a churro, for which, she was so ungrateful.

And then, being a good mother, ready to teach every possible honorable lesson, I ate the churro.

This morning, it wasnt churros, or chili cheese fries, no, it was SMENCILS.

My kids attended one of life's most-fun birthday parties yesterday. It was the birthday of one of Pooper's wives. The daughter of my "anonymous" neighbor, Jane

It was at a neighborhood swimming pool, with an Olympic theme, because, you see, my one-day-daughter-in-law is of Olympic Swimming caliber, and at the ripe old age of, Just turned 7, she already has serious aspirations to make it to the games. and she probably will. she is THAT good!, swimming, water balloons, fun relay races, food, etc. and the cherry on top....the gift bag.

The gift bag contained, amongst other goodies, a SMENCIL.

For those out of the loop, a Smencil is a pencil that smells.

This morning, I thought we were having a home-invasion-robbery, what with all the screaming and commotion, but in actuality, it was just Pooper and Beauty arguing over a smencil.

Beauty had the chocolate scented pencil in her bag, Pooper had grape. and they TRADED. And then, naturally, Beauty wanted to trade back.

This caused Pooper great distress, because, as he put it, Beauty had allowed Little One to hold the smencil (in a plastic container) and Little One had "slobbered all over it" now, he didnt want it back.

The truth is, Little One held it, within it's protective container, and their was no slobbering, no moisture, nothing. He just didnt want to trade back.

And, while I normally wouldnt allow "trade backs"....I actually dont even allow "trades" AT ALL (can you see why??) and so I simply nullified the illegal trade.

Well, Pooper became incensed (pun intended) and went on the crazy rampage, OVER A SMENCIL.

I pulled him close, and said as calmly as possibe;

Son, you are losing your mind over a fruity smelling pencil. A PENCIL. A PENCIL!

I want you to think just for a minute, about your Colombian brother. Can you imagine him fighting over a PENCIL? He has more serious worries, like, who in the family will get the ONE BLANKET, when they are sleeping out in the snowy streets. That's what HE is worried about, while you fight over a PENCIL.

I mean, really, Pooper was so out of control over was unbelievable.

Naturally, the smencil is now in my possession, as I have vowed to mail it to Colombia.

On a side note, Beauty asked me yesterday.....while looking at the picture of her Colombian sister on our refrigerator.....

Mom, if they dont have anything, how could they have taken that picture because they dont even have a camera?

Excuse me now, while I go take a bubble bath (ha! fat chance!)....instead Ill just curl up in the corner and sniff myself into calmness, with a grape flavored pencil under my nose.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Awwww Shucks

A huge thanks to JLo-Almost Famous for caring enough to award me this:

We are like lost twin sisters that have been reunited through the internet....ok, not really, but we do have a lot in common.

Most of you know, that Im a USC Trojan, mostly because I flaunt it all football season, when they are kicking everyone's rear...FIGHT ON!

But, before I was a Trojan, I was an SDSU Aztec, and lived in Olmeca Hall.....

Well, talk about a small world, and about the internet bringing people together (thank you AlGore), JLo also went to SDSU and lived in Olmeca Hall. In fact, I would guess, that she also ate Albertos in the middle on the night, skipped classes to go to Monty's and danced at a DU TG...JUST GUESSING! The only crazy thing, is that she went there about a decade after me, so, we never met, until the Super Highway of Information allowed our roads to cross :)

She is a really fun gal and her blog is always enjoyable to, stop by and say, "hi"

Now, Im going to pass this award on to a blog that always shares the love.....

Marey at Elementl-p does a lot to give back to others, and her family and kindergarten-teacher stories are always, here's to you Marey.

Now, the rest of you...go congratulate Marey.....and have a great day.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bracing for the storm

Im holding on to my hat, waiting for a storm....a good storm....a storm of interested callers.

A typical Saturday morning in our house, has the kids up and making lots of noise by 7am. They are squeeling in delight as they push each other around the hardwood floor racetrack....driving Little One's baby trike or some other push toy. Laughing until someone gets hurt, then their is all kinds of crying. They have Disney Channel on full blast, until someone wants to change the channel, and then another fight ensues.

All the while, Im laying in bed, nowhere near sleeping, but too tired to get up and deal with the circus below.

Eventually My Honey, a morning person, goes down and tells the kids to put on some clothes (you should see the mismatching that goes on without Mommy to pick out their outfits!) and they all troddle off to McDonalds.

It's somewhat of a routine. And, it's not like I get to sleep in, but I do get to lay there and let my mind drift back to the olden days, when I could sleep in til 10am. Oh....those days.

Anyways, today, I was laying there, and my phone rang.

Me: Hello

My Honey: (lots of loud, McDonald Playland, background noise) I hope you are ready for your phone to ring off the hook!

Me: What are you talking about?

My Honey: You are in page 6 of the paper!

**Recently an article about my Dove Chocolate business was in the local paper, and I got many was wonderful, and in fact, Ive been praying and thinking, hoping to get into more community papers, for other areas of Orange County***


My Honey: Yep! Ive already had 3 people from work call me to tell me they saw the article in the paper.

Me: Yipppppeeeeee!!

It's still early, and most people wouldnt call someone this early.....but Im holding on to my hat, bracing for the storm of phone calls.

Im really excited, as this business is brand new (May 2008 for the Western 15 states)....and to be ground level with something like this is a gift, a blessing!

Besides that, the tasting parties are nothing but fun. Ive been inundated with requests for parties, doing at least a couple a week. The word is getting out that they are a blast. Imagine any other "at home" party, but instead of watching someone light candles, or tell you how to coordinate jewelry, I get to do a food demonstrations and the guests sample all kinds of Dove Chocolate treats!

So, Ive got my phone plugged in, charging, and praying that the storm hits big!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Photo catch-up Friday

My IT guy worked overtime last night, and I have some new pictures to show you....

First, let's revisit the lesson on being grateful that I attempted to teach my children.

We got word that the Orange County Rescue Mission was in desperate need for food, so we held a food drive in our neighborhood, and ended up with 2 vans full of edible goods.

My kids decorated a donation box but we ended up getting so much more than that box could hold, it was really wonderful.

Our dear friends, E and N also joined in the fun, and we all went down to the Rescue Mission to deliver the goods.

The kids helped unload the food

They watched the men from the mission weigh the food

The Rescue Mission recently moved into the Old Tustin Marine Base, which was vacated about a decade ago. The men said the facilities are very nice, and they were grateful to be able to have a place to stay, with food, a medical clinic on grounds, and even help getting education and jobs.

And yes, for the record, the guys at the RM did think I was a wacko for taking pictures of everything.

After dropping off the food, we went and got some sandwiches, where my hearts-filled-with-gratitude children complained about their lunches.


Beauty and Pooper had their final league swim meet last week, and here are some action shots for you to enjoy....

Beauty doing backstroke

Pooper doing butterfly


Finally, a certain, special, sweetie turned 2 this week, and we had a small celebration on Saturday.

Here she is trying to blow out the candle on her Elmo cake

And in deep thought over what it means to turn 2

I recently posted about Cousins and our lack of cousins in the area. What I didnt tell you, is that even though my kids dont have cousins here, I do. So, we celebrated with MY cousins, who are now having little kidlets of their own (literally, as one little baby is 4 days overdue as I type this!)

Here are the kids with their 2nd cousin, Baby P

And we are awaiting the arrival of Baby S (hurry up Baby S!!)

Uncle Dan is getting ready to be a little girls dad (hurry up Baby S!!!)

And here is Elise with her one and only and longest friend.....

We had hoped to round out the celebration with a trip to see Elmo at Sea World on Monday, but Beauty was sick, so that trip will be rescheduled.

Now that I have all my photos, Im off to scrapbooking tonight!! Yippeeee!!