Monday, February 28, 2011

Fantasy Baseball Widow

Four baseball seasons ago, my husband decided to join up with some buddies in a Fantasy Baseball League. That same baseball season seriously made me question the vows that I had made to my husband on our wedding day and if they were worth stickin' to.

Gavin has definitely gotten less obsessed with checking his scores/teams/ every 3.9 seconds for the ENTIRE LENGTH OF BASEBALL SEASON, but still really enjoys fantasy baseball (I know this because of the squeal with glee that he let out when he received an email today updating him on this season's draft).

Now, I like baseball. I enjoy eating my way through a handful of games every season and I have been a faithful fan to my home-team (Go Mariners!) for my entire life. Although, I'm not the kind of fan who knows all the stats (or the names of all of the players), but I always root for the M's and now for my hubby's favorite team, the Giants. I always attend a handful of games each season and keep up with who's playing in the World Series every year. My husband LOVES baseball. I like it, he LOVES it. I'm more of a "read a magazine/text message my friends/talk about what else we should eat while we watch a game fan" and Gavin is a real, true, baseball lovin' fan. It's not exactly a perfect match.

Last year, I had the idea that I should really put more effort into paying attention to the ol' MLB in order to be able to carry-on conversations with my husband and his family (TRUE baseball fans) without nodding like a robot and pretending that I care. It was harder than it sounds. I did learn most of the names of the players on the Giants, watched many games on TV and in the stadium (and paid attention!), asked my husband lovingly about his fantasy baseball teams (and actually listened!) and even attempted (mostly unsuccessfully) to keep up with a few of the baseball conversations.

I'm REALLY throwing it all in the ring this year and taking the "If you can't beat em', join em'!" attitude. My husband stared at me with adoration and awe (and maybe a teensy bit of doubt?) as I announced to him that I wanted to join a Fantasy Baseball League this year. He sweetly stifled a giggle and asked, "Why?"...good question. Answer: I love my husband and want to talk baseball with him because he loves it.

That being said, any other Fantasy Baseball Widows want to join me in an "all-ladies" league this coming baseball season? No more robotic nodding and pretending that we care!

This year will be different. I've even purchased my very own Giants t-shirt. My kids and husband are proud.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Biggest Loser is Bomb.

First of all, this is not going to be a funny post...just FYI.

Second of all, it really bothers me when people spell the word "loser" like "looser". Just had to get it off of my chest.

Third, today was a fabulous day.

I'm a HUGE fan of the TV show "The Biggest Loser" and have been watching since season 2. I had the privilege today of getting to meet, have lunch with, have dinner with and listen to a former Biggest Loser contestant speak publicly at our church. Eeek! Also, I hauled around her groceries and hung-out with her sweet, Texan mom.

I have to say, I was worried that I would be disappointed after meeting someone I had watched on TV and loved. I knew I would probably be disappointed that she wouldn't be as genuine as she seemed on television and prepared myself to expect a "diva" and knew I probably wouldn't end up liking her in the same way after having met her. Thank goodness, I was wrong about everything.

Abby Rike was a contestant on season 8 of Biggest Loser and is mostly remembered because you couldn't watch a clip about her without wanting to bawl your head off. She was the adorable, always smiling, beautiful blonde who had lost her husband and two children in a tragic car accident. I think she's probably the "most loved" BL contestant ever.

After meeting Abby and getting to spend many hours chatting with her today I am happy to say she has blown away all of my expectations. What a sweet, sweet woman! She's a funny, real, beautiful, straight-shootin', fiery girl who has a deep, genuine faith and love for Jesus. YAY!
AND, she was a fabulous speaker. AND, she may have caused me to become addicted to Sugar-Free Red Bull (did you know its only 15 calories???). Blame her.

Here are some fun photos of our day...

These cute ladies won a contest, so they got to have lunch with Abby. Best part: Only one of them has ever watched The Biggest Loser.


Pretty, fancy, healthy, delicious dessert...

Pretty table...

Abby's biggest tiny fans. Rebecca and Tricia...

Signing autographs for the cute ladies...

Okay, could Abby's mom be ANY cuter?

One of the cute ladies brought orchids for everyone...even me!

These ladies cooked the most amazing lunch...

Abby and her new BFF...

Doin' her thang...

The talented Deana Parkins, who put together this whole thing - including a fabulous fashion show. Yeah, I live in California now, so I go to fashion shows...haha.

Here's where I got to be the "line monitor" and make sure people took their turn to see her.
I shouted things like, "No cuts, no butts, no coconuts!" at the masses...

I took this pic so Abby could see if that necklace looked good on her...Haha.
It did...

Friday, February 25, 2011

She's EIGHT, People! EIGHT!

I know that I just did a post about my little girl not too long ago, but today is her birthday and I just didn't think I could bring myself to post about anything else.

So here goes...

Today, my sweet Noelle turns 8 and I just don't understand how in the world that happened.

Here's some "fun facts" about Noelle:

*She's recently become addicted to Wheel of Fortune.
*You can often find her dancing around with her ipod blasting the soundtrack from the musical The Lion King or the songs of the Jackson 5.
*She LOVES, LOVES, LOVES animals.
*She also loves steak.
*She's extremely loyal - to the degree that she has a very difficult time getting rid of things - even shoes that she's grown out of.
*She is VERY athletic and I'm counting on a basketball/soccer/softball/volleyball scholarship paying for her college.
*She doesn't care about how she looks and is completely content going out in public in grubby sweats, unbrushed hair and her Giants baseball hat.
*Sometimes, she looks like a homeless child.
*She is the tallest child in her 2nd grade class.
*She eats at least one entire apple every day.
*She is the friendliest, funniest, sweetest, most generous child EVER.

And now, indulge me as I blubber my way through some of my favorite photos of her...

Cutest little preschooler ever...

Goofy's Kitchen...

Western Day at school...

She's no vegetarian!

There's that dirty hat...
And those amazing freckles...

And there they are again...

I just can't believe that 8 years ago she was a tiny baby pooping and barfing all over me.
At least the pooping on me has stopped since then.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Trader Joe's, How I Love Thee...

Trader Joe's, I really love you.
Without you I would feel so blue.

I love to cruise up and down your aisles
Wishing they would last for miles.

I love your curries, sauces and GMO-free milk,
Gluten-free items and chocolate silk.

Oh, your prices are so fair,
I always leave with change to spare.

I swoon to the back where they pass out treats,
and I'll never resist your marinated meats.

Your candies and sweets are so delicious,
Your ice creams and cakes fulfill my wishes.

I'll never regret those yogurt covered pretzels,
chocolate edamame or Diet Hansen's seltzers.

Two-buck Chuck I always love you,
Tamales, Salsas and Puttanesca too.

Your Honey-nut Oh's start our day off right,
And your pizza dough begins a very good night.

Your produce often leaves a bit to desire,
But of your Jo-Jo cookies, I may never tire.

Thank your for carrying my beloved Mache',*
And also for your spinach being triple washed.

Your endless supplies of hummus and cheese,
Cause me to drool and make me drop to my knees.

Pestos, yogurts and candy-cane tea,
All make me want to squeal with glee!

Your friendly workers, baggers and checkers,
love to give my kids millions of stickers.

Sometimes your parking lot makes me seethe,
I'll drive around patiently and wait for someone to leave.

Forever I will love you Trader Joe's,
Your endless goodies make me forget my woe's.

*Mache' is pronounced "Mosh" :-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My worst fear came true today...

It's true. I got food poisoning. In AMERICA.

I'm sorry, Honey, for ever doubting the level of torture you were facing all those millions of times you were stuck in the bathroom barfing. As I heaved every last ounce of everything that remained in my body today, I repented.

Darn you, chicken tacos from Islands. Darn you, Islands at 300 Del Monte Shopping Center in Monterey, California 93940 - (831) 655-1552.

Also, the service was b-a-d.

I've never been so happy to have a drink of Coke and not barf it up as I was tonight. AND I realized how disgustingly dirty both toilets in my house were today and gave em' a good scrubbin' in between bathroom sessions. At least one thing good came from this experience. Technically two, since there are two toilets...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Boys are strange creatures.

I think I'm coming to terms with the fact that I may never understand men. I'm okay with that. And I'm glad I'm a girl.

A few days ago I found myself spying on my sweet hubby playing on the trampoline with Jude after I heard Jude laughing hysterically. I was surprised to see that they weren't jumping at all and that Gavin was laying flat on his stomach on the trampoline. I watched as Jude would repeatedly stand-up and attempt to run around the trampoline as Gavin would stretch his arm out and trip Jude. Jude would fall flat on his face and the two would bust out laughing. I watched this repeat at least 10 times. Then, I saw Gavin punch Jude in the buns which made Jude laugh and then Jude body-slammed Gavin which made both of them laugh. Boys are SO weird.

Often around our house Jude or Gavin will walk into a room and punch the other one in the buns/arm/leg/gut. The receiver of the punch will then grunt and groan until they both erupt in laughter.

If someone walked into a room and punched me I would cry. A lot.

Boys are also very weird about video games. The joke around our house is that "Mommy would rather poke herself in the eye than play a video game" - and its mostly true. I do like playing Wii Sports occasionally, but that's just about it. Something about sitting around and playing a video game like Star Wars Legos makes me feel carsick. The boys in this family would be completely content to sit around for hours and play video games (I'm thankful that it NEVER happens though!). And they don't just play the video games, they get totally into them whooping and hollering and swinging controls all over the place. In fact, today Gavin got SO into sword fighting on our Wii Sports resorts game that he full-force whacked Noelle in the side of her head as he was swinging his remote around. It was one of the saddest and most hilarious things I have ever seen in my life. My poor, poor husband. He felt awful. And my sweet, sweet girl was stunned that as she was sitting peacefully and cheering her Daddy on in his sword fight - from out of nowhere she gets smacked in the side of the head. Don't worry, it only left a little bit of a mark. We did have to create some new "boundary rules" when playing video games in the Brem home. I think everyone will be staying clear of Daddy while he plays from here on out anyway...

I love you honey! You are such a handsome, funny, super-extra smart, nice, kind, really, really, really good dad and husband, happy, extra funny, super-strong, joyful, fun, lovely man. Buttered up now? Good...

Love you!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Impressed with my man and his man-cold.

Some kind of nasty cold/sinusy virus has taken us out this week. I've been neti-potting away and downing vitamins, mucinex and dayquil by the handfuls and trying to get back to health as quickly as possible. It's not really working. Thankfully, the munchkins have been spared this round, but Gavin and I were not so lucky and have been waking up wondering who snuck into our house in the middle of the night and punched us in the face while we were sleeping. Yikes.

Typically, when Mommy gets sick in our house, things go less than smoothly. Laundry piles up, dishes pile up, and all of the food left on the kids' faces piles up. My husband is an extremely hard worker and does an amazing job providing for our family, but when it comes to filling the role of mommy when I'm gone/sick - let's just say that we fully understand that we are a perfect match for each other.

However, this week has been a strange twist on the usual happenings of the Brem sick routine.

In reality, I just didn't have time to be sick this week. Too many things to do. Kids don't stop eating/needing clean clothes/having birthday parties and friends from far away don't change their vacation plans just because I get sick. The world does not revolve around me and my health (although I sometimes act like it does). I may not be the smartest mom in the universe having gotten sick the week of my 8 year-old's birthday slumber party, but thank you Lord, the party went of without a hitch AND I got a full nights sleep (I have a trick for that!). It's a birthday party miracle!

Here's where my husband is the BOMB. Even though he was sick and stayed home from work on Friday (don't worry, I didn't make him participate in the 8 year-old girl mayhem) he sucked it up on Saturday and dragged himself to the basketball games of BOTH of our children (coaching one of them), WHILE SICK and without complaint, sent me on my way up to the city for the day. Even though I was feeling pretty poopy, my dear, sweet friend Jenny Muellenbach was visiting San Francisco for the weekend and I had made plans to see her and my other dear, sweet friend Jaime Greene. The lure of friends and good food in the city is too much to resist even when feeling sick as a dog. (Where in the world did the phrase, "sick as a dog" come from and what in the HECK does it mean anyway?)

In my Dayquil haze I made my way up to the city and spent the afternoon stuffing myself full of delicious city food ie: Deep dish vegetarian pizza, beer, coffee and pie. All in one deliciously good afternoon. Boy, I miss being close to the city and within arm's reach of city food. Oh, how I love city food. (I'll let you know exactly what "city food" means when I figure it out, but I know deep down in my heart what it is). Jaime is a fabulous photographer and she spent much of the afternoon tutoring me and my new camera (Yay for free photography lessons!). She is a GREAT teacher.

I left the city just as my Dayquil was starting to wear off, sadly saying goodbye to my sweet friends and making the trek back to my sick, bomb of a husband who had cleaned up the disaster left behind from the slumber party before crashing on the couch and chugging from the Nyquil bottle. What a good man. I grabbed the Nyquil bottle from our dresser, took a swig and we both fell asleep on the couch before dragging ourselves to bed last night.

Today, we are actually resting (and skipping church! Gah!) and letting our bodies try to regain some level of health before the chaos of this week begins. Praise God for the man or woman who invented Dayquil, Nyquil, Mucinex and neti-pots. And deep dish vegetarian pizza.

The birthday girl and her friends all cozied-up for bed.

It tasted as good as it looks. I'm drooling just looking at it right now. Deep dish pizza is really good for colds/sinusy viruses, I promise.

My beautiful friend Jaime and her trusty sidekick, Nikon.

Now, if I could only find one of these that said, "I left my heart in Tacoma". Has a great ring to it, huh?

The ferry building in SF and a cute Asian girl and her cute boots. I love cute, little Asian girls.

Jenny loved her Apple Pie!

Pear-Raspberry Pie is really, really good for colds/sinusy viruses too. I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Things I've heard this week

My favorite things that I heard this week...

From Jude:

In the sweetest soft voice, while staring at Bindi through the sliding glass door, "Bindi, you are my black dog."

Not sweet dog or good dog, but BLACK dog. My thoughts exactly.

After lunch, "But mommy, I’m still hungry. Can I have a banana?" (Me) "Yes." (Jude) "But it has banana cheese strings on it."

Translation: those stringy pieces of banana peel that look like string cheese.

Proudly, as he put on his coat at the end of the school day, "I am the Brem of the class."

"When I was a baby, I ate some food and then I grew up into a big boy!"

From one of Jude's classmates while I was volunteering in his kindergarten class today as she was wearing her bedazzled Hannah Montana shirt:

"Did you know that Hannah Montana took some drugs and then got all evil and crazy? But I still like her."

Slumber Party Survival Guide

Tonight, we are hosting a slumber party for Noelle's 8th birthday. I think the millions of nights I spent chaperoning at middle school/junior overnights, winter retreats, summer camps, fall retreats, lock-ins and sleepovers were the exact training I needed to host pre-tween slumber parties. We've held a handful of girly sleepovers here at the Brem compound and I've learned a few things along the way.

*Never, ever mop your floors before your party arrives. You will spend a bit of the night angry and/or annoyed as you watch your freshly cleaned floors promptly get all messed-up again. Food, drinks, barf, mud - a mixture of these WILL ruin your night. Don't bother until your party is over. You also may end up saying things like, "Oh no! My precious, clean floors! They're ruined!" which really isn't fun for anyone to hear, especially 8 year old birthday girls.
*Makeovers are a BAD idea unless Mommy is there to supervise. Otherwise, they seem to turn into "let's see how much lipstick we can get all over each other's faces" - which may seem fun, until you are the one trying to scrub lipstick off of all of the little girl's faces before they go to bed. Pink cheeks = cute in photos. Pink faces that have been severely scrubbed = not so much.
*If you are taking the girls to a movie, do NOT go without another adult besides yourself. Even if you've forced all of the girls to go to the bathroom before the movie starts, you inevitably have to take one or more children back to the restroom in the middle of the movie. This creates quite the dilemma if you are the only adult, because you don't want to leave small children alone in a movie theater, but you also create quite a scene forcing a whole group of girls to leave a movie that they are totally involved in watching so that one of their peers can go to the potty. Chaos will ensue and you will end up "whisper yelling" in the movie theater. It is not fun.
You may also be on the receiving end of some "whisper yelling" from other movie-goers. That's not fun either.
*Nail polish is great when heavily monitored. Once, I painted over 160 individual nails in one sitting.
*Girls love games. The end.

Tricks to get them to sleep:
*Tell them that they can stay up as late as they want; you don't care as long as they stay in their sleeping bags, laying down and you can't hear them. Works. Every. Time. AND they think they are so cool (and you are SO very cool too!) because they were allowed to stay up super late (but they NEVER make it very long under these guidelines!)
*Tire them out! Tonight we're going swimming. In the past we've had relay races, long games of tag, trips to the park - whatever you can think of to get them some exercise!
*Sugar rush leads to sugar crash. Use wisely.

Six 8 and 9 year-old girls tonight for sugar, tie-dye and mayhem. May the force be with us.

How in the heck did she turn 8?

Here she is when she was 4.
No, I'm not crying. I've just got something in my eye...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I just found out that umbrella's really work.

I'm having a debate with myself right now about whether I've actually become a "weather wimp" since moving to California or if the weather here recently is in reality, awful.

The facts in favor of me NOT being a "weather wimp":

*The only umbrella I've owned since childhood (until recently) was a gag gift sent from relatives in California when we lived in Washington.

*My kids and I don't own rain boots.

*I walked my kids to school this morning when it was just drizzling.

Little tiny things that make me doubt myself and my "True Northwestness":

*I drove 1.5 blocks to pick the munchkins up from school because it was too rainy.

*I do now own an umbrella (and so does Noelle) and I've already used it multiple times today...and I liked it.

*I forgot to wear anything fleece today (which I think is a perfect thing to wear on a day like today).

*I don't own any Gore-tex right now.

*All day long I've been running to put my dog outside when its not raining and hurrying to bring her in when it starts raining (maybe it's Bindi that is the wimp?).

Dang it.

Well, in my defense it is really, really, icky outside right now and has been all day. Also, the schools around here don't have any covered areas to stand under to avoid the rain while I waited for the kids to get out of school, so I had to use an umbrella to keep Jude dry (So what if he had a hood and a raincoat on? The umbrella was SO necessary!).

Also, Californian's DO NOT know how to deal with rain. This place is totally unprepared for rain even though it rains here every year! Who knew? Not me. I may have questioned my desires to move here had I known. Did you know that none of the elementary schools have gyms? We had to cancel the kids' basketball practice because of RAIN since the basketball courts are all outdoors. So very weird. No one here has ever heard of a "play shed". That's where we played dodgeball or stood around at recess when it rained! You mention a "play shed" around here and you get some very strange looks.

So, I'm blaming California. Its not me who's softened, its just that California is unprepared. Let's just go with that.

I'm going to go put my super (un)sexy 10 year-old pullover fleece on, now that I've reminded myself how awesome fleece is on rainy days.

See??? It's really yucky out! I'm not makin' this up!

Also, Uggs in the rain = bad idea.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sometimes I'm forced to eat ice cream at noon.

I will be the FIRST to admit that my boy is quirky. I'll also be the very first to admit that I love him that way.

Also, bribery works on my kids.

Jude is one of those socially awkward genius kindergartners. I know everyone thinks that their child is a genius, but I'm pretty sure it really applies here. Jude taught himself to read when he was THREE. He memorizes scriptures/entire books/movie quotes/tv shows on a daily basis and can perform on command. He is quite the party favor.

Sometimes, this creates quite the dilemma for his Kindergarten teacher (who we love) and who has been teaching for 30ish years. She's never had a kid quite like Jude, she tells us. Everyday after school, Jude reports to me and tells me if he got a "happy face" or a "sad face" for the day. If he got a "happy face" he gets to play the Wii for a little while when we get home and if its a "sad face" day, he doesn't get to play. This system works pretty well for keeping Jude on task at school except for one part of the day - story time.

On most afternoons, Jude's teacher finishes the school day by letting Jude sit in her chair and read a story to the class (See, I told you he was smart!) and he LOVES it. But, if Jude's not reading and has to sit and listen to his teacher read the story, he can be a bit of a distraction. He likes to loudly point things out in the book, correct the teacher, talk about the pictures, shout things out like, "Hey! Look at that!" and be an adorable disruption that annoys everyone around him. So, I bribed him. Last night I promised that if he could sit quietly through story time today that he could play the Wii AND we would go for ice cream after school. Worked like a charm!

As he marched up to the ice cream counter and proudly shouted at the high school student working, "I NEED A BLUE ICE CREAM WITH SPRINKLES AND ONE CHERRY ON TOP!" I was beaming with pride.
I wanted to yell in the streets, "My baby can quietly sit through story time!"
Sweet, sweet victory.

One quirk down, and only a few handfuls to go...

Also, my stomach kinda feels yucky from eating ice cream so close to breakfast.

I love bed-head.

Reading to his class.

PS - The ice cream bribe also works on my 2nd grader for her Friday spelling tests.
You're welcome.

Monday, February 14, 2011

What would you do?

There is this TV show that airs on Friday nights right now called, "What Would You Do?". It puts people in different/strange situations without their knowledge and then films their reactions to them. A situation they might film could be a fight outside of a bar (using actors) and they film those who pass by to see if they will ignore the fight or try to break it up. Once, I saw a situation (again, actors) that took place in a restaurant where it looked like a polygamist family was eating with a teenage girl who was about to be the "newest wife" in the family. They filmed the other patrons and their responses to what was happening. After a few people speak-up or say something, the film-crew barges in and the host of the show explains what is going on.

Currently, I have my own "What Would You Do?" show going on in my own life along with another one called "Guess what I'm thinking". She's called, "Noelle" and has recently caused me to scrutinize what exactly I would do in a million different weird situations and guess what she's thinking about...All. Day. Long.

N - "Guess what I'm thinking about."
Me - "Um, candy."
N - "But what kind of candy?
Me - "Chocolate?"
N - "No. I forgot what its called."
Me - "How am I supposed to get it right if you don't even know what it is?"

Driving in the car today:
N -"Mommy, what would you do if Daddy died?"
Me - "I'd be devasted!"
N- "Would you be really, really sad? Or really, really, REALLY sad?"
N - "But what would you do with his body?"
Me - "Ummm...whatever is least expensive."

This morning:
N - "Guess what I'm thinking about?"
Me - "Candy"
N - "How did you know that?"
Me - "Lucky guess."

At the aquarium:
N - "Mommy, what would you do if the glass on this tank broke and all of the fish came flooding out?"
Me - "Probably, grab you guys and run as fast as I can."
N - "But what if you can't get to us because I shark is biting you?"
Me - "Ummm...punch the shark in the face?"

At home while she's staring at the candy bowl on top of the fridge:
N - "Mommy, guess what I'm thinking about?"
Me - "Candy."
N - "How did you know that?"
Me - "I'm really, really smart."

At Costco today after seeing a stuffed toy duck tied the bumper of a car (weird, I know).
N - "Mommy, what would you do if that was a real duck?"
Me - "I don't know, call the police?"
N - "But what would you do with the duck?"
Me - "Call animal control to come and take it?"
N - "But what if he was really cute? Would you bring him home as a pet?"
Me - "No way."

At Target yesterday:
N - "Mommy, what would you do if you saw a cute puppy in this aisle and nobody was around it?"
Me - "Probably look for its owners."
N - "But what if it didn't have any owners?"
Me - "Take it to customer service?"
N - "But what if it was really, really, really cute?"
Me - "You already have a dog honey."

After 9873983 of these questions today, after dinner:
N - "Mommy, guess what I'm thinking about?"
Me - "I don't know."
N - "It starts with a "D"."
Me - "I don't want to play this game. Please, I beg of you, just tell me..."

I'm tired. Where is that camera crew????

My beautiful, curious girl...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Biggest, Scariest Fear In The Whole Wide World

I'm not really afraid of much. Spiders and snakes are gross...but I'm not afraid of them. I'm not scared of being mugged or someone hiding in my car. VERY occasionally, I might spook myself out on a night where Gavin is away for work, but that only lasts a minute or two. I'm not afraid of heights, but you won't find me jumping out of an airplane anytime soon. I can't really think of anything that really makes me scared...except for the possibility of getting food poisoning.

I can't tell you how often I think about it. In fact, just this morning Gavin was rifling through our fridge and talking about the possibility of making burgers for lunch because he found some ground beef in there. My first question, "What's the date on it?" It really annoys my husband.

Sorry honey. I've just heard you barf WAY too many times.

I wish I only had one story about food poisoning, but I have many.

When we were newly married, Gavin had purchased what I like to call a "log-o-beef" from the local grocery store. Also, when we were first married I didn't eat or cook beef. At all. So, when Gavin had realized that the beef was still in the fridge a couple of weeks later, he panicked and not wanting to waste his precious log, proceeded to cook up some chili-mac (grody). I begged him to throw the beef away and even made a phone call to his mom asking for clarification on what "bad beef" looked like. Gav and I argued back and forth a bit until I finally said, "If you eat that and get sick, I will be SO mad at you." After assuring me he would be fine, and again not wanting anything to go to waste, Gavin ate an enormous amount of his log-o-chili-mac. The next 24ish hours were a newlywed nightmare. And there began my fear of food poisoning.

This fear has plagued me. I once spent an entire week's vacation in Mexico eating only dry cereal and tortillas because nearly every restaurant we ate at/walked past/drove-by/talked about came with some story of a family member having gotten food poisoning from it. I couldn't bear to expose myself to that possibility or to the possibility of me getting sick in front of Gavin's mom, dad, sister and brother on our first trip together. I was safe that trip, but Gavin's brother did not fair so well.

Our first trip to Hawaii, Gavin spent the first 1.5 days holed-up in our hotel bathroom.

We had to cancel our flight home from California one Easter because Gavin couldn't leave the restroom.

And that's just the TIP of the iceberg.

Oh, how I wish I could describe what it's like to stand outside the bathroom door when my sweet husband is going through this torment, but I think he's been embarrassed enough.

And now, I'm neurotic about fully-cooked (dry) chicken, never past their date dairy and making sure there isn't a speck of weirdness on anything I eat. And sometimes, I just choose to go hungry.

I love you honey, and I hope I never have to hear you barfing again. Please and thank you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Broken Brain

Usually, Gavin works from home about once each week. The rest of the week he is traveling all over the states of California, Washington, Oregon or Nevada. His work-at-home days aren't necessarily as nice and relaxing as you'd hope and are generally just a tease for us. He's home, but he's not really home because he can't really enjoy being here and participate in our normal "home things".

A couple of weeks ago, I had a super busy day and it was a day that Gavin was working from home. I was running all over the place, working in Noelle's classroom and preparing a talk for our high school group. Jude was already home from school that day (he's only in school half-day) and because of our crazy, busy day he was allowed to play an abnormal amount of the Wii. After a while, Gavin told Jude that he had played enough and it was time to turn off the Wii.

Jude's usual reply: "Why?"
Gavin: "Because it's not good for your brain to play so much."
Jude: "Not good for my brain?"
Gavin (trying to help Jude understand): "Playing too many video games could break your brain."
Jude (VERY loud, dramatically and in tears): "OH NO!!! MY BRAIN IS BROKEN!!! MY BRAIN HURTS AND MY BRAIN IS BROKEN!!!"

Thanks honey.

Since then, Jude has talked about his brain every single day.

"My brain hurts."

"Will that break my brain?"

"I bonked my head on the trampoline and now my brain hurts."

And my favorite...
"The sun is making my brain hot."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Firehouse field trip

Today, I got to go on a field trip with Noelle's class to the local firehouse. The firehouse is located 1.36 miles from the school and probably because of financial reasons, this was a "walking" field trip. In fact, all of the field trips except for one that my kids have gone on since we moved to California have been "walking" field trips and both of my kids have had field trips cancelled because of RAIN!!! Coming from the Northwest, that just seems absurd! I honestly can only think of a few field trips from my entire school career that weren't in the rain.

1.36 miles in the beautiful sunshine isn't really that far, but for 25ish 2nd graders, walking this round-trip before lunch seemed crazy.

Highlights of the trip:
*One pinecone thrown into a busy street.
*One child in tears.
*One child whining about how they are "oooonnnlllyyy goood aatt exercise and spoooorts on my xbox 360..."
*878978987 questions about the firehouse dog.
*20ish times when a firefighter called on a child who was raising their hand, but then forgot their question.
*I learned the difference between a fire TRUCK and a fire ENGINE.
*I learned that there is a Swap Meet in East Salinas.
*2 times having to drag a child across an intersection.

And my favorite part: Three of Noelle's classmates quizzing me on Spanish vocabulary words for everything in sight - including teaching me the Spanish word for "booger".

Class photo with the firemen/1 firelady (is that what they're called?).

Salinas Station 1

It was really heavy. Also, notice that I'm not wearing my "Mom Uniform"...

They wouldn't let the kids slide down the pole...something about insurance or casualties or blah blah or something or other...

If you look closely, you'll notice that one of these things is not like the others...

Apparently, this one is a fire TRUCK and not a fire ENGINE. Who knew?

Yay for free field trips!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


My mom left today for a long drive back to Oklahoma. Boo. I begged her to stay, but she thought it was a better idea to return home to her husband, house, exchange students and 9873947934 dogs. Boo.

We celebrated her going-away by shopping yesterday (her favorite past time) at Cost Plus World Market - which I LOVE. We didn't spend much, but it sure is fun to drool my way through the food and candy sections.

We did, however, buy a couple gifts for my munchkins. Noelle REALLY loves giraffes. She is our "animal genius" and loves to study all animals, (remember how we own WAY too many pets? Blame Noelle) but her favorite by far are giraffes. World Market carries all kinds of cutesy giraffey things, so this is a place I should really avoid (I have a hard time not buying presents for my sweet, sweet babies).

Knowing that she was leaving soon, my mom grabbed a giraffe mug for Noelle (it is SO cute!) as a little gift. She told me that she needed to get a gift for Jude since she had one for Noelle, but in reality - Jude could care less. Seriously, the boy wouldn't even notice if he didn't get anything. I tried to tell my mom this and free her from the pressure of buying for my kids in equality. My mom reminded me that even though Jude wouldn't notice, Noelle definitely would. Not since Noelle was born has she EVER gotten a treat/gift/snack/meal/drink of water without making sure there was one for her brother. On MANY occasions, she has even come home from school and declared that ""So-in-so" had a birthday and they brought cupcakes to school and I saved one for Jude!" as she pulled out a mushed-up cupcake from her backpack. And I am so thankful. And I love it. And she is the cutest.

So, Jude got a water bottle with a monkey face on it. And he likes it, but hasn't looked at it since.

Look at my cute Mom. (Sorry mom, I couldn't resist posting this photo).

Noelle and Grammy at Noelle's favorite place in the entire universe...a candy store.

My sweet girl and her cousin riding in the car at the ranch (seriously, who could resist that face???!).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mom Uniform

Yesterday, as I was throwing my clothes on and ready to run out the door with the kids, two words flashed into my mind: "Mom Uniform". These words were describing my outfit for the day (and most days) as I got dressed.

I refuse to be "that mom" that walks her kids to school in her bathrobe (although I would LOVE to do that). I know "that mom", and I was "that mom" when my kids were in a very private, small Christian school in which I only saw my very close friends when I dropped my kids off. But now, my munchkins attend a public school and I try to look a little bit like I didn't just roll out of bed, give my kids a pop-tart and jump in the van (PS - I have NEVER given my kids pop-tarts and I don't drive a van).

I do, however, wear yoga pants and running pants an awful lot. NOT pants and running pants. I'm at the point where I think it would be really great to own 14 different warm-up suits and rotate through them bi-weekly (they're cute, right?). As things stand right now, I often throw on yesterdays jeans or my running pants along with a cute (in my opinion) t-shirt and some running shoes and then head out for the day.

I DO NOT understand how those glamorous moms do it. I've tried cute shoes and/or boots for the day...How in the heck do they possibly clean their homes, do the laundry, walk the doggy, volunteer in the classroom and run/walk to the school to pick up their children 3 times each day in those things? I've tried. I just seem to move MUCH slower in those things than I do in my trusty sneakers. I get things done in my sneakers. I LOVE my sneakers. They are a vital part of my mom uniform.

I'd love to be a beautified mom (I do wear earrings and lip-gloss with my running/yoga pants...that counts, right?). I just don't see how it's possible.

PPS - Please don't confuse "mom uniform" with "mom jeans"...that's an entirely different problem altogether.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Beautiful Roof

At our church, we drop Noelle off first and then we take Jude into an adjoining building and drop him off in his classroom before we head-off to the main service. This morning as we exited Noelle's classroom, Jude looked up at the church and exclaimed, "What a beautiful roof! Just like Noelle's middle name, "Roof"".

Noelle's middle name is "Ruth"...I'll tell him later.

Also, here are some adorable pics of our visit to the family ranch yesterday and one from the aquarium visit today with our new camera...

Seriously??! Can you imagine this kid at 22? He's gonna melt some hearts...

At the aquarium in the waterfall...
Noelle and her cousin Jonas who is not eating a cow-pie...
Cowgirl Noelle...