Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Very Spidey Christmas and a Batty New Year

Well, we did it. All the dreams of being ultra prepared were not quite realized, but still things were much better than they could have been - most gift shopping was done a week in advance, big improvement. Ashley did try to go to Toys R Us the Saturday before and couldn't get any where near the place which was predictable, but elsewhere in town I was still asking where is everyone?! That Saturday, the 23rd, I went to Trader Joes, Gelsons, Ralphs, and CVS in less than 2 hours, had no trouble parking (there were TWO parking places right by the door at Trader Joes which NEVER happens) and there was only one person ahead of me in line at every place except CVS where there was no waiting.
I can't believe this happened, but we really didn't get many pictures of Christmas Day. Ashley took video this year and things happened so fast. Theron woke up later than expected, 7:30, but Ash and I had been up until midnight wrapping presents and making the living room presentable. We told him he had to wait until 8:30. So Theron sat on the bed watching the digital clock and announcing the minutes: "It's 8:07. It's 8:08..." So we got up. Theron had all his presents open in record time. In years past he would open one gift, then play with it, then open another and the whole process seemed endless. He was probably in his room watching new videos in about 15-20 minutes. Then we got ready to go to Grandpa Flip's, where there was more bounty. Also, Theron really love staying in hotels so when he heard Grandpa had reserved us a room he was extra excited. The next day we went to breakfast with Grandpa at Carrows and while waiting for Grandpa to meet us Ashley mentioned that the coffee was the worst he's ever had. So when the waitress came back to refill his cup Ashley was just barely able to get Theron to stop talking before he pipes up, "DADDY SAYS THAT'S THE WORST..."

These are pictures Theron took because he wanted Grandpa to see what our room looked like.

We had a happy and safe holiday and we are just happy to all be mostly healthy (Ashley's jaw is still not quite right) and together. We wish you all a happy new year and we look forward to hearing how everyone is doing.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Real Santa and Where is Everybody?

Well, I suppose we've finished shopping though the chaos continues. Theron and I did make a batch of sugar cookies for Santa but we ate them all, they were delicious. Even Ashley, still on soft or liquid foods, figured out he could nibble them with his front teeth, so all gone.

Theron's Christmas pagent was last Friday night. He and his class sang Feliz Navidad and a Hillary Duff song about Santa Claus Lane, or something. Feliz Navidad had about 5 verses and apparently they are all exactly the same. After the show the kids went downstairs to get a gift from Santa and eat some food. There was absolutely nothing Ash could eat since he didn't want nacho cheese without chips. Theron declared that the Santa was good, but not real. He was Santa's helper.

The very next day he and I went to Bakersfield for a Santa party at the house of a friend of Grandma's. The kids put oatmeal and glitter outside to tempt the reindeer and Santa came in with a bag of gifts. Theron got a Spiderman video game and he was so amazed because he hadn't said he wanted a game but Santa knew. Theron says this was the real Santa.

Anyway, for all the advanced planning I suppose Christmas preps, at least in our house, will always take exactly as much time as you have, though I have been getting lucky. I took packages to the post office last week and there was only one person ahead of me. It was a business man paying in pennies, but they were almost done counting when I got there. Then I went to Target Sunday night and again, no one was there. I took my car in for a service and normally I am idling in the street at the end of a very long line but this time there was, again, only one person ahead of me. But the strangest one of all was my trip to Trader Joe's last night. I even parked around the block to avoid the usual havoc of the parking lot and when I got there the lot was half empty! Never. I have never seen that. Where is everyone?!

Santa's Helper

The Real Santa

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

12 more sleeps to Christmas

Well, in spite of vowing to be done Christmas shopping in October here we are still scrambling to finish up. I have packages to mail, so much for a family portrait card, and we still have to clear a space for the tree. Between Friday and Saturday we have 3 holiday events, including Theron's school pagent. Theron has been practicing - he walks around the house singing Feliz Navidad. Theron went to a co-worker's party with me Sunday and accidentally knocked the one year old over onto his face. When I told Theron to go apologize he said, "But he doesn't know how to talk".
One person who will not be overeating this season is Ashley who, while recovering from dental surgery, dislocated his jaw. The surgeon had a look and said to give it two weeks. In the meantime he is very hungry for meat and crunchy things, and just food in general. And in pain.
Theron helped me make sugar cookies. He says he likes helping, just like Spiderman.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Last Days of Vacation

It went so fast, but it was so nice and worth it. One day we went to Avila Beach where they have a fruit stand/petting zoo. All the little goats were happy to see Theron and his corn husks. We all definitely love goats. Ash says if we ever get some he will make the cheese if I will milk them. Sounds like a deal.

Our last vacation dinner was of fresh mussels. I only bought 2 lbs because I didn't think Theron would eat them, but I was wrong. He even sucked up the left over broth.

This first week back was far from normal. All 3 of us went to the doctor, Theron and I for checkups and flu shots, Ash for dental surgery. He had all 4 wisdom teeth out. He's doing great, but then he has the highest tolerance for pain in the family. Theron takes after me. When it was time for Theron to get the shots at the doctor's office Monday he ran all around the exam room in his socks and underwear trying to hide. I finally caught him and he sat in my lap for two shots shouting "Help! Somebody help meeee!!!!" Now we laugh about it. The doctor also took out a huge wad of wax from one of his ears which I though might explain a few things but the doctor said not really.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Montana De Oro State Park

Theron's favorite part of the day was walking on the rocks.

Here's Theron teasing the waves then running away.

Theron took our picture.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Lethargy Sets In

We are really relaxing now. We can barely move.
Not Theron, though, he is all fired up.

Friday, November 17, 2006


I don't have any pictures to put up today, but surely tomorrow. We're housesitting for family friends who have a house overlooking the ocean. They also have 3 little boys with a cool room and toys and so many shared interests with Theron. He has found himself in a a sort of parallel universe - the same and different superhero toys. An identical Spiderman costume and mask only he says this Spiderman costume itches under the arms. All his life Theron has either been in the same room with us or right next to us. Here he is in the boy's room, up and down a small flight of stairs and around the corner from us. We did a practice run the first night to make sure he knew where to come look for us. It went fine but we both agree we like him a little closer.

We're trying to make ourselves relax. Today was mostly spent getting situated. Doing a little shopping. One of the goldfish died (actually we think he was killed) (we didn't do it). Okay, I should explain, - the other fish were nibbling his fins and when we found him he was vertical. He wasn't actually dead yet, so I guess we did kill him. I'm sorry, Joan, we didn't find him until it was too late.

Okay, time to relax!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Batman's Birthday

Batman and Spiderman were together again Saturday for Batman's birthday.

There was an inflatable jumping room (I don't know what they're called) and a couple of older boys that were really great villians to our tiny superheros.

And this is the picture Theron took of his friend, who subsequently got in trouble for making the mud you see featured in the photo. Behind him you can see the water bottle he used to help him dig up the garden. Needless to say this little friend is Theron's usual partner in crime at school.

Theron's favorite part of the day was attacking the older boys in the jumpy thing. My favorite part of the day was that Theron was not the worst behaved child at the party.

Theron's been reading on his own A LOT. Before school, if he gets dressed in time, he gets to watch a little tv. Last week I actually found him on his bed reading. Out of our 3 bedtime books he now reads one all by himself.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Post Halloween

As I mentioned, Theron is in Christmas mode, but I wanted to add a few more pictures of his exciting day. Here are some of him with Batman before the fight.

Still in love. Looking at ants.

And after. Sitting as far apart as two members of the Justice League can be.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


We are so tired this week and we have more or less decided that answering the phone in the evenings is pointless until next Wednesday. We're already starting to lose it with these poor people making $6 an hour. Ashley is right now going through the propositions and trying to make decisions. We both took the quiz on NPR to help you decide who to vote for for Govenor and we both had Angelides #1 tied with the Peace and Freedom candidate, Arnold last. Which is good because I was afraid I might actually agree with that guy.

Anyway, we are returning to normal after the build up to Halloween. The decorations come down tomorrow and I'm sure that will be a relief to the mailman because the box is pretty well webbed up and even I have trouble getting the mail out. Theron is taking it well. He's a well trained consumer and has started to make his Christmas requests.

Recently Ashley introduced Theron to the joy of having his hair washed in the shower. Usually I do it during his bath and we have this complicated routine where he holds a washcloth over his face while I dump huge cups of water over his backward leaning head. We agree before hand how many rinses we will do that day. Anyway, Ashley had such great success last week with the shower that we tried it again with less stellar results. The good news is that he asked to try it again this weekend, so we are moving in the right direction.

Last week we finished Trumpet of the Swan and now we are reading A Cricket in Times Square. Currently Theron gets 3 books before bed and he's been wanting to read along with the easier ones. He's actually a very good reader, but we take turns reading to keep the pace up. Tonight he gave me his Superman coloring book with no words in it and asked me to read it as a story. So I tried to make it sound like his other coloring books, and then after he had saved Lois Lane twice for no apparent reason I told him how Superman had to put his suit in the washing machine because the neck was all dirty and then it shrunk so he had to be Clark Kent for awhile. Next was a picture of Jimmy Olsen with his arm around Clark and I said, "And Jimmy said, Gee, Superman, your hair smells really good, you must have done 5 rinses in the bathtub" and Theron cracked up so hard no sound was coming out and we had to take a little break. He has the most infectious laugh and he has the best sense of humor. Then he went tucked in all his many stuffed animals- he calls them his friends, or kids - and they all went to sleep, excited that tomorrow is the weekend.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Countdown to Halloween: Ding, ding, ding!!! At last!

Festivities at Lumbini began at 10:30 today. The kids trick or treated in Little Toyko and because he is in the big kid class now they went last, after the preschool classes. Theron is the Spiderman sitting down in the group picture.
Miss Leslie asked them "What do you say when you get the candy?" and they all said "Thank you!" and Theron pipes up, "Or arrigato!"
Theron's friend Jonathan was also Spiderman and his favorite friend Alan was Batman. They had a grand time until he and Batman had a falling out and that's when I think things started to go downhill. It wasn't terrible but there was just a little too much excitement and he was having a little trouble controlling himself. Right now he is back in costume, helping Daddy distribute candy. He says his favorite part of the day was when he got grape Nerds in his bag. My favorite part of the day is that Theron doesn't care much for chocolate. Ashley's favorite part of the day was the hope of setting his computer up with voice recognition software, but there are still some kinks to work out.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Countdown to Halloween: 2 more sleeps. Are we so excited?!

Well, the time finally came to carve the pumpkins. Theron's pumpkin - the squat dark orange one, based on his own design.

It has been a busy weekend. Saturday we all went to a carnival-themed birthday party for one of Theron's classmates. Saturday night I went out with the girls to see ESG (a sister band from the Bronx, first formed in the early 80's that now includes 2 of their daughters). Our tickets said 8:00, but they changed the venue and when we got to the next place we were told the doors didn't open until 9:00. By 9:30 even 25 year old Elly exclaimed 'It's past our bedtime!'. By the time the two opening bands were done and we waited almost an hour for ESG it was midnight. It was very fun but I had to take 2 naps today. Ashley spent the weekend recovering from a punishing work schedule that has lasted for at least the last month. Ash has been husband and daddy extraordinaire, present wrapper, and pumpkin technical support.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Countdown to Halloween: 5 days

We took the bag of candy we were required to submit for the Halloween party in to school today and left it on the teacher's desk. Theron was proud to report and demonstrate that when Miss Leslie asked who left it he raised his hand and said it was him. He wants to bring candy for Mr Rodney, the security guard, who gives him and the other kids a treat just about every day.

Theron is doing great with reading. We finished James and the Giant Peach last week. It has been so fun to see him laughing himself silly while we're on pages where there are no pictures, just his vivid imagination. He likes to read to me now, from his simpler books.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Countdown to Halloween - 8 days

The boys were on their own this weekend while I, my boss, and my colleague Rebecca went to Tucson for a conservation conference. It was interesting, but it was most fun seeing certain old friends. I love Tucson, it is so pretty, cactii and palo verde trees and rock gardens. Really lovely. Rebecca and I both got in trouble at security over the new fluids/gels regulations. I found myself forced to mouth off to the lady and ended up having my bags dumped and searched. Rebecca was told her shampoo and toothpaste were illegal and they were confiscated. On the way back we almost didn't make the plane because our flight was cancelled and we had to wait for volunteers to give up seats. It was a long, long day. Anyway, the boys were fine and the house was cleaner than I left it.
I had my cello lesson tonight and I learn a little more each time, but it is very humbling. My last teacher emphasized notes in tune. This teacher feels it is more important to first get the rhythm correct. It will be slow and I guess that's okay.
I heard a GREAT interview tonight on Fresh Air - it's ALWAYS great, of course, but this particular interview with Andre Benjamin, aka Andre 3000 from the hip hop duo Outkast was especially hard to turn off after parking the car. I'm going to listen to the rest of it later - have a listen.

As you all know I am officially in Christmas shopping mode, so I was delighted to browse the SkyMall magazine, looking for treasures, like this grumpy golfer wine caddy

And this lovely hidden toilet paper holder. You can paint it to match your brown bathroom. Is the bathroom brown to match the fake dead flower arrangement or the other way around?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

13 days to Halloween:

Today I picked out the candy we have to take to Theron's school for their Halloween celebration. I hate feeling like my choice of candy is a reflection on me. I want to do it right. Plus I just don't know what the kids want. I know what I want. I browsed Kmart - they had some funny gummy candies called Body Parts - eyeballs, teeth, noses - and they come in a coffin-shaped box. I couldn't do it because to me they didn't look like they would taste good, but maybe I'm wrong and maybe the kids don't care anyway. I ended up getting Nerds because they come in cute white and orange boxes. The parents at his school are kind of competitive. He's had some pretty impressive gift bags celebrating his classmates' birthdays. Look at these beautiful gummy candies he recently got:

My dad sent me the obituary of my Grandma Hope's first cousin, Chuck Rio (Danny Flores), who was famous for writing and performing the song "Tequila". This is what he didn't tell me, listen to this, "In 1957, Flores was playing with rockabilly singer Dave Burgess in a group called the Champs - named for Gene Autry's horse, Champion - for Autry's Challenge record label" !!! I am speechless - I have been six degrees separated from Gene Autry all this time and I did not know it! He performed as Chuck Rio and the Champs.

Here's a nice picture Theron did today. He draws a lot, everyday. He is a true artist. I'm curious why he misspelled "Green" because he's known that word for a long time. Oh, well, he's doing a lot of writing currently.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Countdown to Halloween:

Theron had a good day. We went to the dermatologist this morning to figure out what those things are on his face - just warts. No biggie. The doctor was great and Theron agreed to the treatment. I think he was just happy there were no shots involved. When they called us to come in Theron said , "How do they know my name???" and everyone in the waiting room cracked up.

He and Ashley decorated the front of the house for Halloween. Theron's had his Spiderman costume out for days, ready to go. He wants me to put it on a hanger and take it to school.


Today's Harvest.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ashley and Theron took a trip to the zoo today.

Here are some pictures Theron took himself.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The letter "V"

Here is Theron's homework from the other night. He had to practice the letter "v" and on the back he had to draw 6 things that start with "v". He did vacation, visit, vitamins, vanish, volume, and villian - he thought of them all by himself. He said he knew how to write "hi" because it is on the show he likes "Hi 5".

Vegetables: The garden is getting its Fall makeover. I put lettuce in the raised bed and we're planning for snap peas, but there are still a bunch of things left over that are producing. The zucchini, of course. The beets are still going, as are the bell peppers and the jalapenos. Oh, and there is one watermelon that will make it to the finish line. The zucchini is so funny - I'm glad we only planted one. The day before I got sick, I watered the garden, picked everything that was ready and then didn't see it again for a week. In one week the zucchini to the right (17") and another just like it were ready to be picked. One week. I asked Ashley if I should take them to work and he said "No! It's embarrassing! They're inedible." We just ate all the ones to the left for dinner tonight.

Visitors: We had a tour today with some senior architecture students. They were politely interested in everything. When we got to the floor where the archaeological collection has recently been removed one of them noticed what looks like an old briefcase in a corner. They asked what it was and I explained that a lot of objects had been stored in things like grubby old cigar boxes. Then they really got interested - they wanted to know what happened to them. I said I think they were probably thrown away, and that's when the ruckus began. They finally settled down when I told them that maybe they had been kept - I frankly don't know - but they were ready to start looking in the dumpster.

We've actually found quite a few things like that. There was a trunk, not locked but sealed as tight as a mummy's tomb, that smelled like a litter box. It was full of random artifacts. I guess the cigar boxes aren't that bad - If we did keep them they would make good hostess gifts - one for you, and you. For this crowd it would have made their whole day. You should have seen how buoyant they were at the very idea.

Vexed: Theron got a timeout before we left for school today because he backed-talked. Then he pointed his Green Lantern ring and me and said BZZZZZZZZ. Nice try, superhero, have a seat.

Volvo: Did we tell you Rose was violated? Some junkie broke her window and stole the cheapo radio. The cop said they use them like $20's out of the atm. Ashley had to take the whole day off work, but he got a better radio - with a detachable face.