Thursday, May 30, 2013

Way Too Long Since our Last Zoo Visit

I forgot my camera in the car, but the pix on are better anyway.  The sloth cubs were out and riding on mama’s back, which is about as cute as the new Asian otters in the half-complete tiger/sloth bear/otter.  There’s a new play area (like my kids needed another one to distract them from actually seeing the animals) with a  mini-zip line.  It’s high enough up that even my tall Kyla needed my help grapping the handle.  Wesley loved riding the line, crashing in the tire, bouncing back, and then dropping down a distance greater than his own height.  He’d say, “I’m alright,” brush himself off, and run back the starting platform. 


And we finally found the secret of the 3-banded armadillo!  They are nocturnal animals so we’ve only seen it when we go right before closing and the zookeeper is feeding them.  In the middle of the exhibit is a fake rock, all but surrounded by real rocks and logs.  There’s a tiny hole in the back of the rock and it sleeps in there complete undetectable all day long.  The zookeep has to tickle it with a stick to wake it up for feeding time.  The four of us are oddly fascinated by this little guy and spend a disproportionate amount of time watching the animal bowling ball scamper around harassing the tortoises and iguana.

I’d Like to be Pissed…

…but I have such great friends that I can’t pout forever.  I know that a true friend “will lay down his life”—but that’s usually theoretical.  How about Marcie who came over to my house, grabbed three bags of dirty laundry, brought them home and washed and folded them by noon the next day? And then taught me how to make wheat-, corn- and potato-free pancakes that are so yummy that  my kids ate a dozen between them…right after eating lunch?  Wish I had a picture of my lovely friend, but at least I can wish her Happy Birthday once again. 

PS  The washer will really, truly be fixed on Saturday afternoon, I’m told.  Which is why Dwayne is staying home and I’m heading to the cabin this weekend. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Status Update: Still pissed

Unless Fredrick’s Appliance in Redmond decides to give me a voucher for a load of laundry at a local place that will wash, dry, and fold for every day my new washer sits in the laundry room actively not washing clothes (or the sheets that a child wet last night or the clothes that have another child’s vomit on from sorry-it’s-not-the-zoo McDonalds Playland we went to this afternoon), I will give this experience a huge thumbs down.  I have had to call at least twice for every eventually return call I got.  Okay, I wouldn’t want to deal with me, either, but truly, don’t take away Mama’s machine that is mostly broken and replace it with a fully broken one, and then keep her home with her children waiting for return calls and mythical service people instead of going to the zoo like said mother promised her now very disappointed children.  A service person would come out tomorrow if there wasn’t an all-day training scheduled, but they could come during a three hour window Thursday afternoon—which was my back up Zoo day.  If the parts will take too long to come in or the repair isn’t feasible, they can bring me a new washer on Saturday. 


Let’s see….that will be 8 vouchers for folded laundry and $10 worth of quarters for last Sunday’s laundromat adventure.  Not quite even yet, I’d say.


And, yes, my sentences do become nearly impossible to diagram when I’m this irritated.


*Remember that as a place to avoid, apparently.  Fredricks.  Not of Hollywood.

I Have a New Man!

I have known Dwayne for 14 or 15 years.  Over time, his hair has gotten a little grayer (not as gray as mine), and he annually goes from crew cut to Mohawk to cue ball.  Recently, he’s grown his perpetual goatee (technically, a Van Dyke) into a full beard. 

This morning, he shaved it all off. 

I told him from the start that when he shaved off his beard, he would look years younger. 

When he shaved off his goat, too, I suddenly became a cougar, preying on a man a generation younger than me. Before an hour ago, I had never seen him without his goatee.



Sorry, Taylor Swift, you can’t have him.  He’s still mine.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

How to Piss Off Denise

Deliver her new washer on a Saturday afternoon, tell her it is all set up and ready to go, and then that night, after showers, she starts the backlog of laundry and it doesn’t work.  No water.  I read the manual, I play with faucets, I check the manual again, and then I leave a very detailed message for each department: sales, service, and delivery.  However, they are closed on Sunday and for the holiday Monday.

I am typing this at a Laundromat that has free wi-fi on Sunday morning when the rest of my family is in church. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

My Garden, My Garden, My Be-YOU-tiful Garden!

Last October, Dwayne & CO completed this wall, Step 1 of my future garden.00 wall picture


It looks done, yes? 

Well, if you don’t count needing to build up behind the wall with with 2 yards of  drainage rock and 2 yards of  dirt (has to be done together with boards so that the rock is right up next to the wall—bucket by bucket, foot by foot).  Then another 6 yards of dirt hauled down in 5 gallon buckets to bring up the dirt level to match the walls.  Then haul down about 3 dozen cinder blocks and built a little wall 2’ inside the big wall.  THEN, I get to plant.  That’s why is Memorial Day weekend and I’m just getting my planting done.

But look at it—I planted everything I wanted (and I wanted a lot), and I still have a little area left to plant something new.  



Using the cinder blocks gave me a lot of unique planting areas—squash are planted there so they have space to grow on the other side of the block.  The blocks and the wall make the most of what sun we do get through all those trees.  I’ve also planted strawberry plants on some of the cinders to see how they do—I’m keeping my fingers crossed for making strawberry-rhubarb jam with all home-grown fruit!


And check out the stairs that Dwayne started building today!  He had four steps done by dinner.  He rocks.

Yeah!  I am off to grow my first $1000 spinach leaf!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Why I Am a Very Expensive Upgrade

Do you remember the old email joke going around about updating your Girlfriend 1.0 software to the newer Wife 2.0, and all the problems and expenses it costs the user?  This week, Wife (read: me) required

1) a new used phone (remember that I washed my old flip phone last week?)—$30

2)  tires, brakes, oil change, etc on minivan—$1200

3) new washing machine (the old one, which probably is unrelated to #1, was going to cost about $500 to fix)—$800.

4) additional work on the minivan (door motor replacement, timing belts, fix leak in water hose, etc)—$1200.

5) a night out with hubby and friends at my favorite theatre to get over the week.  I love iPic because it combines luxury—waiter service, drinks, reclining leather seats, blankets, pillows—with efficiency—a gourmet meal while watching the new Star Trek. 

The End. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Miss Talent Show!

Kyla, with two school friends, were in the school’s talent show tonight.  I actually don’t want to talk about it at all, but I’d love to show you the pictures!

5-17 Kyla talent show

5-17 talent show

Sick Day(s)

5-16 Sick

My mom says you don’t remember all the sick days.  Which, of course, doesn’t explain why I know that I crept into Mom’s bed when I was 18 months old, laid down facing her and then projectile vomited on her.  Believe me, it’s not my own memory!  Smile


But the good news of having Wesley in Piper’s preschool class now is balanced by him bringing home a stomach bug that each kid got this week. Wesley came down with it Tuesday night at dinner time.  Kyla and Piper got it in the middle of the night the next day (alternating retching every 30 minutes or s0 until 6am) and then they were all sick until Piper’s last incident this morning. 

Upside:   1. I am so grateful I didn’t get sick (it feels like extraordinary grace).  2.  All major surfaces in house, by necessity, are now sanitized, steamed, scrubbed, and/or shampooed.

Downside:  After one of the times I was vomited on, I threw my clothes in the laundry without checking the pockets, and now I do not have a working cell phone. 

We just need to catch up on some sleep and get me a cell phone of craigslist, and we will call this week…

DONE (and hopefully forgotten).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Princess Update


Parents score as Disney pulls sexy new Merida

After getting bombarded with hundreds of thousands of complaints, the media company ditches the thinner-waisted version from its princess site.

By Aimee Picchi

Image released by Disney/Pixar of Princess Merida in Hundreds of thousands of parents have validated Walt Disney's saying "All dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them."

In this case, Disney (DIS -1.77%) has listened to the more than 210,000 petitioners who complained about the sexy makeover given to the fiery-haired Merida, heroine of "Brave." The media giant on Wednesday restored the original, more realistic version (pictured, left) to its official princess Website, although it hasn't yet released a statement about whether it will keep the original depiction for the long term.

As reported Friday, parents were up in arms over Merida's sexy makeover (pictured, right) to get her ready for her coronation into the Disney princess lineup.

The original Merida was hailed as a positive role model for girls because she was independent, active and outdoorsy. She also was an ace with her trusty bow and arrow, which were removed in her princess makeover, much to parents' dismay.

That caused parents to rally a rescue effort via a petition, which criticized the new version as "making her skinnier, sexier and more mature in appearance." The message, the petition said, is "that for girls and women to have value -- to be recognized as true princesses -- they must conform to a narrow definition of beauty."

For Disney, Merida's reception is more than skin deep. The princess line -- which includes Snow White, Cinderella and more modern heroines such as Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog" -- is a $4 billion franchise, helping to sell movies, books, and paraphernalia such as pajamas and tiaras.

Still, not everyone is convinced that Disney will stay loyal to the original Merida. The character's creator, Brenda Chapman, told the San Jose Mercury News that she's waiting for final word from Disney.

"I will stay dubious until they give an official statement about changing the image to match the original version of Merida," she said. Chapman had earlier given a stinging rebuke about the makeover, calling it a "blatantly sexist marketing move based on money."

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.

Monday, May 13, 2013

First Tooth!

Little Miss Shark Tooth finally lost that baby tooth!  It was very exciting. She came downstairs late at night, blood dripping down her mouth, very excited that she had almost gotten it out.  I asked her if she wanted me to take it out and she was so excited she hopped up and down.  I yanked it out and Kyla couldn’t have been happier…or braver.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother’s Day to Me!

My real Mom’s Day was yesterday, when Dwayne took the kids to get some building blocks, and then didn’t come home until 9 hours later.  (He took them on a very spontaneous adventure to Deception Pass for the day.)  I worked outside non-stop for not quite ten hours, wanting to get as much dirt hauled and blocks placed before the kids came home.  I can’t wait to show you pictures, but it’s not quite done, so I will wait to show it picture perfect. 

Here’s my tribe at a Thai dinner:

5-12 Mom's day 1

5-12 Mom's day 2


Followed by ice cream:

5-12 Mom's day 3

5-12 Mom's day 45-12 Mom's day 55-12 Mom's day 6


But the best part of Mother’s Day?  Having this guy as the dad…

5-12 Mom's day 10

5-12 Mom's day 12


And a quick shout out to my parents—

Happy 40th Anniversary!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Really, Disney?

Hey, I have Disney Princess issues and I’m going to make my reader deal with it.  I am not pleased with this makeover. 

Princess Merida (from left) in 'Brave' & from the Disney Princesses collection (© Pixar; Disney,

Disney gives the heroine of 'Brave' a Barbie-style makeover

Young girls looking for a positive role model in Pixar's animated adventure "Brave" will soon find a much slimmer, prettier version. The film's star, Merida, will soon be officially dubbed a Disney princess. She has gone under the Disney knife and has been given a skinnier waist, higher cheekbones and a liberal supply of hair conditioner, making her more Barbie than Artemis. No longer the frizzy and fiery protagonist that both girls and boys identified with, the new Merida has come under fire by parents who prefer strong female protagonists with a more earthy look. There's even an online petition asking Disney to please keep makeup and liposuction away from the feisty Scot.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sunset at the Homestead

I love the sunlight, the floral explosions, and the dramatic sunsets at this time of year.  Of course, I don’t know how to use my camera well enough to actually do the sunset justice, but here’s what I’ve got.

5-9 sunset 45-9 sunset 1

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Look What Wes Can Do Now!

Riding his bike sans training wheels! 

I decided that he was more than ready to ride a two wheeler, so before we went to our friends’ house tonight, I took them off without him seeing and threw the bike in the car. 



When I got his bike out later, he wasn’t too happy about the new look, and the first two times he tried it, he went a few feet with some help.  Then he took a two hour break and came back to it.



The third time he got on, he told me to let go and anyway he went!  He needed help getting started for about five more minutes, and then he figured that out, too.  He’s riding with the big kids now!  IMG_2219

We’re now out of diapers and done with training wheels.  What’s next?  Afternoon cocktails instead of popsicles? (Okay!)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Happy Mother’s Day to Me!

I’ve got to do this differently next year—nothing can ruin a sunny Saturday like getting 3 kids ready to spend hours at the mall to get pictures taken.  I didn’t put Wesley into his white shirt until we were ready to get in the car.  Then he picked his scab and bled all over his face, hand, and white shirt.  Sigh…

But look what we came home with!  (I do usually curate better than this, but I’ve got a lot of cute pictures of the kids.  Not so many of me.)











Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sunny Days

Between the sun, the new camera, and just the way kids dress, I got some pretty colorful shots today at the skate park, where we met some Kindergarten friends for lunch and play.


I distinctly remember my mother telling me that red and pink do not match, while I wore my pink shirt and red shorts as often as Mom would wash them.  Mom, I’m sorry.

5-2 skate park 1

5-2 Skate park 135-2 Skate park 145-2 Skate park 17

5-2 Skate park 20

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wesley’s Busy Day

Wes was in rare form today.  I began well, starting my day 5 minutes earlier than usual.  Which I immediately wasted by spending 2o minutes putting a nylon sock over our vacuum cleaner and suctioning toys out of Wesley’s vent today.  (Brilliant way of fishing for small items without having to go through the dirt bag later.) His preferred item to put down a sloped vent was, appropriately, cars.   Yep, things with wheels.  My right arm bears longs scratches from the jagged metal edges.  Wesley can now say, with a perfectly straight face, “I will not put anything down the vents.” 

This is what I pulled out of his air vent.



This is what he looked like as he was announcing his intention of traveling the straight and narrow path.  (The nasty cuts are from a spectacular bike crash at the skate park that actually cracked his indestructible bike just 15 hours earlier.  More later.  But he had already asked to go back to the skate park to try again.)016


Then an after-lunch conversation we had.

Me: Wesley, where do we go poop?

Wesley:  In the potty!

Me:  Why did you poop on the sand box lid out on the back deck?

Wesley:  Uh, I just wanted to.

Me:  Where are you supposed to go poop?

Wesley:  In the potty!


Later, I had six yards of dirt delivered, which was like have a whole new play set brought right to our front yard.  025


For some reason, Piper decided she needed roller skates and wood scraps to climb Everest.  Wesley saw the wood and raised her two badminton racquets.



You didn’t see this coming, did you?


Yep, down to their underwear.


And then I stopped taking pictures, because they got a hold the full water barrel and chaos really reared its head.  I literally hosed them down outside before carrying each child at arm’s length into the house and dropping each in the bathtub.


Wesley at 3:30 in the afternoon.