Friday, August 12, 2011

Balloon Kids

So, I saw THIS today, and had to make one for the kids.  Required moving my dining room table and chairs out of the way, and making a trip to the store for supplies, but was totally worth it. 


Monday, April 18, 2011

All About Crazy Hair

My child, she is a good sport.  I won’t say she takes her mother’s word as gold, but I will say she trusts that she won’t get made fun of when following her mother’s crazy ideas.

Crazy Hair Day.  The preschool does a “Week of the Young Child” each year. They do a day of pajamas, a day of Crazy hair, usually a day of pizza at school or something similar.   We go for crazy when it comes to the hair.. Last year she asked for noodles and hair color… and I followed through, with washable markers and a Penne Pasta Teepee.  This year, she requested the use of glitter and for her hair to stand straight up… ok…OH, and a flower.  She would need a flower.  Right.

So, with the help of some more pasta (spaghetti noodle hidden inside) and lots of hair glue, I think we succeeded in getting some seriously crazy hair.

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Only problem was once she tried to get in the car… it was apparent her hair was too tall.  That is one tall spike!


I take advantage of this age.  I know, at some point she is going to realize I am plum crazy, and have no interest in participating in my obnoxious decorating.

(By the way, the lack of any sort of excited look on her face is strictly due to her being engrossed in Jake and the Neverland Pirates on TV, as I was taking pictures… she wasn’t even paying attention to the camera)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Clown House

As I had mentioned before, my sister and her family (3 kids and soon-to-be hubby) spent their spring break at our house…. a whole week of sharing 1200 square feet of space with a total of 9 people.  I won’t lie.  I was stressed before they came.  I am not one for large crowds, and appreciate my moments of down time, without the chaos.  Adding three more kids, none of which nap anymore, to the mix… seemed rather a rather suicidal endeavor. 

We spent the prior weekend decluttering as much as possible, trying make more space.  We took down Jasper’s bed, put it in the garage, and moved his mattress to Sharla’s room.  This provided a space for a guest room, since in our 1200 square feet of living space, there is no guest room. 

I worried about how 4 out of 5 of the kids would sleep in the same room, all with the same bedtime.  I remember as a kid being yelled at for at least an our after our bedtime to shut up and go to sleep.  This concerned me with such young kids, and again such a small house.  Kids up all hours of the night mean super grumpy kids the next day. 

Panic set in when I realized that Brandon didn’t even have Friday off the week that they were here.  How would I manage so many days with so many people all by myself?  Especially since, it wasn’t spring break for us, Sharla would have to go to school and Tball while they were here.  And church?  They don’t regularly attend church.  How was that going to work?

Food.  How do you feed so many people all at the same time?  Two of which need to be strapped down to a booster, in order be encouraged to eat on occasion, and the other three… picky eaters by nature of being kids. 

Oh the stress of it all!!

In the end, the week came.  We did tball, church, and school.  We did Underwood Family Farms and the Santa Barbara Zoo, We zip-lined at the Marina park, and went Avocado picking.  Because the kids begged, we did Toys R Us and Chuck E Cheese.  Did I mention that it rained 5 out of the 6 days they were here?  Not just sprinkled, we are talking flood watch rain!  This, while a disappointing fact considering we told these lovely people to come down to Sunny California to escape the snow, provided us with forced slow down moments for the kids to play happily in the bedroom, and the parents to recoup, ready for the next day.

To my great surprise, everything went amazingly smooth.  Was it chaotic?  OF COURSE!  Stressful, no.  The kids slept fine, dinner happened without too many hitches, and there was no fighting between exhausted, claustrophobic adults with nowhere to go.

I have a ton of pictures from the week, I will share them, next time.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Our Warrior

For the last 3 months Brandon has been training for a 5k race called Warrior Dash.  Its not any 5k, though.  Intermingled throughout the 5k are 12 very strenuous obstacles, including climbing a tower of hay bales, crawling in through mud, jumping over fiery coals, etc. 

The big event was held on Saturday in Lake Elsinore.  We drove down on Friday evening, stayed in a hotel that night, and got up Saturday, ready for the big day.  It was hot outside, and there was a ridiculous amount of warriors dressed in even more ridiculous costumes.  We met up with some friends that were also competing.  Here they are getting ready, looking like warriors.

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Brandon and Jamie walking to the starting line…IMG_0491 (Large)

Sharla and Jasper keeping entertained, waiting…  waiting for Daddy to cross the finish line.
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And there he is!  With a time of 36 minutes 47 seconds…IMG_0496 (Large)

Walking back, having been awarded his participant medal, and a banana to refuel with.IMG_0500 (Large)

Brandon and Jamie, muddy and exhausted.IMG_0502 (Large)

The man of the hour… (nice picture of him!).IMG_0510 (Large)

After the race, the participants are allowed to jump in the lake to rinse off.IMG_0516 (Large)IMG_0521 (Large)

There he is, clean… er, cleaner, and refreshed! IMG_0531 (Large)

Mr. Dawson finished in the top 13 percent of the 5400 runners in attendance with a time of 36.47.  That is 36 minutes to run just over 3 miles and do 12 obstacles.  We are very proud!

  Way to go baby!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sad Adventures in Gardening

We have two beautiful above ground planters growing veggies on our back patio, for a total of 30 square feet of gardening space.  Its wonderful… or it was.  Last week, I went out to water, only to discover that my 16 cute little beet plants, raised from seed, were missing.  Seriously, missing… mowed down all the way to the dirt.  It was strange.  Nothing else was touched. 

Until the next night… when two spinach plants both turned up missing.  Seriously?  Again, all the way to the ground.  I knew it wasn’t snails, as we use Sluggo to deter those creatures.  And besides, this is some hefty work for a snail.  We looked all around our fence… seemed unlikely a rabbit could fit through the slats.  Completely mystifying.  And frustrating.

Then, two out of three of our pepper plants lost all of their leaves.  All that was left was the main stump.  Sad little plants they became.  Covered in little pepper buds, lacking any way to get sun.  Still, no sign of earwigs, or any other creature.  Someone even suggested our children were attacking our plants.  But since they would have to sneak into our bedroom, climb over our headboard, and open the sliding glass door just to get to the patio… that seemed darned well impossible.

Tonight, I went to water the garden that is starting to look rather pathetic.  Only to see half of my sweet pea plants are gone or their tops gnawed off.  Then, it happened.  This fury little creature skittered right over the top of the planter and hid by the fence, out of reach, almost out of sight.  Upon further inspection… my garden thief is a field mouse, or two… or maybe a hundred.  The little boogers have eaten so much of the garden, its hard to imagine less than ten little tummies being fed.

So, now I have to figure out how to keep my garden safe.  Hubs is heading to the store for traps tonight.  A friend suggested an outdoor cat or a boa… both seem a bit unlikely.  But… I might get desperate enough. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools!

I sent Sharla to school with a snack to share with her class today… Mini Cheeseburgers…

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Also known as nilla crackers, grasshopper cookies, cake icing, and colored shaved coconut.  I also sent her with cups of juice (jello with straws) which will really excite the kids (then disappoint) since her class only drinks water for snack, and never juice!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

And… Its Summer!

A week in rain, and today it was if spring got skipped and it was already summer.  A trip to the store for a new pool was necessary!  Its in the pictures, people, those kids are having a blast!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011


After adamantly refusing to take our kids to Disneyland until both were at an age to adequately enjoy the experience in comparison to the price of admission, our friends managed to drag us kicking and screaming (not really) to the Happiest Place on Earth.  Their ploy?  They were taking their family for a 5 year old birthday event and wanted to invite Miss Sharla as his guest.  Which meant, we were only responsible to pay for two passes (Jasper is under 3, and therefore free).  No other time in the future could we possibly take our family to Disneyland for the price of two admissions!  And… with that… we were sold.

The Good:  A ridiculously huge amusement park with a ridiculous amount of rides to choose from.  Many options for the little kids.  The weather was not too hot.  The atmosphere was pretty neat.  Friends who take pictures for you!  A fabulous hotel that we managed to inherit due to a scheduling snafu.  Jasper met the two most important Characters of his young life:  Handy Manny, and Mickey Mouse.  California Adventure 3D shows were very entertaining for the whole family.

The Bad:  There were way too many frickin’ people there (on a Sunday).  Very few character sightings, and no Princesses except for Princess Tiana’s performance.  My camera died at some point during the day, after taking no pictures (great Job Mom).  Hour long waits for the best rides.  The California Adventure family photographer didn’t know how to use the Flash on his camera. 

Conclusion:  Will we go again?  Sure, but not until the kids are older, and probably never on a weekend.  We will enjoy our season passes to Magic Mountain this year, who knows what we do next year.  It was a great experience, and I know the kids enjoyed themselves.  But, I still stand my opinion that its too expensive, for what can be accomplished in one day’s time.  We will wait till family passes are feasible in our budget and the kids are both old enough to not need a nap (and a parent to babysit said child), and can go on the good rides so we can all enjoy the trip.

Pictures: Graciously provided by our friends, The Padgett family.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Psycho Bed

The air circulation in our house is rather nonexistent.  In order to cool the house down or get rid of cooking smells we have to open the sliding glass door way back in our bedroom.  This would be fine, except it gets forgotten about and when we head to bed at close to midnight on most nights, its not unheard of to be close to 60 degrees in our room.  BRRrrrrrr.  In comes the heated mattress pad. 

We have had ours for close to 2 years and it is AMAZING.  We turn ours on Preheat as soon as we come in the room at night.  By the time our bedtime routine (ie.- brushing teeth, etc.) we can climb into a warm welcoming bed.  Its at this point we differ.  I usually turn my side off, while Brandon keeps his side on low or at 2 (it can go up to 9).  All has been wonderful… until about 2 months ago.

For some strange reason, I have been waking up in the middle of the night feeling like my side of the bed was hot.  I would stick my feet off the side of the bed to cool off.  On some nights, I would open the window in our room, even though it was a torrential rain storm outside.  I was so uncomfortable, and confused.  Multiple times a night I would wake up, just to look down at my mattress pad controls, and confirm, that yes, mine was off.  But, why was I so overheated???

In comes crazy ideas of night sweats and heat flashes… what the heck is wrong with me, and why does it only happen at night???  Is there something wrong with me hormonally?  That is a road I didn’t want to go down.  Then, last night it happened again.

It was 70 degrees in our room, and I opted to not turn my side on.  Brandon decided that, since he had just come in from outside, he wanted his heat on.  I climbed in, he climbed in.  He kept complaining about being cold, and I kept tell him its all in his head, I was comfortable.

He scooted over to my side of the bed, to discover it warm…. and not just where I was laying.  That is when it hit us, and the light went on.  Not just the figurative one.  All those nights when I was overheated and opening windows?  Brandon was freezing, and kept jacking up his heat.

So… rewind about 2 months ago.  We rearranged our bedroom and added a newly made headboard to our bed.  Somehow, our controls had gotten switched.  Which means, every time I woke up overheated and opened a window, Brandon turned up MY side of the bed because he was cold, making me hotter.  And every time I went to bed without turning my controls on, I was dooming him to a cold night, not me. 

We got a great laugh about it last night, a HUGE a-ha moment for us.  I am glad that is over because seriously, I was starting to think the bed was possessed and had a mind of its own.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Oye, really?


Today we spent most of the day outside, enjoying the sunshine and planting some new flowers.  This meant lots of digging in the dirt, finding worms, potato bugs, and snails for the kids.  Or… should I say, for Sharla?  Because Jasper is just not that into it.  The dirt, yeah, not really.  And the bugs?  Nope.  He is scared of worms… and snails.  Seriously.  He kept requesting to “keel’m” (kill them) because that would make him less scared.  Sheesh.

I overheard this conversation between Mr. Jasper and his Daddy.

Brandon: "Jasper, just look at the worm, its not scary”.

Jasper: “No, Daddy, I scared”.

Brandon:  “Jasper, you are a boy!  You aren’t supposed to be scared of worms.  Seriously, if you are afraid of worms, just hand over your Man-card… come on, hand it over”.

Jasper: flipping over his hands to show them empty, “I no have man-card!”

Oye, Jasper.  There is only so much a dad can take.  And, when the little man keeps twirling in his sister’s skirts, and announces in bewilderment that he doesn’t actually have a man-card… I am thinking he is making Daddy rather concerned.  I am pretty sure Brandon looks forward to when Jasper starts playing football and doing other boy stuff.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Beautiful Sight

This last Saturday the sun was shining, and it was warm.  (Unlike today, and the rest of the week.  In which we have rain, and lots of it.)  Daddy spent the morning at the T-ball fields prepping the grounds for the new season, which starts on March 5th.  It was a long 3 hours for him.  Three hours of blisters, a sunburn, and not nearly enough volunteer help.  But, that is all another story. 

The real story is the weather and the kiddos.  It was Warm.  By 9:30am they were outside riding bikes, and when sweat and boredom set in, the pool was filled and bathing suits were donned.  By lunchtime our children were exhausted.  The heat alone can do that.  All of this is to premise this sight…

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A rare moment, Sharla sleeping in broad daylight.  She is usually so stubborn when it comes to taking a nap.  It is so rarely asked of her… on those days when she is uncharacteristically grumpy.  Even on those days she is likely to come out of her room 15 times, complaining that she is bored, not tired, hungry, thirsty… you get the idea.  But, on this beautiful day… she slept.  She actually slept.  Pure bliss for mom, and for the blistered, sunburnt, exhausted dad.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Completely Disturbed

As parents it our job to teach our children how to exist in this world… without us.  Create self sufficient human beings.  I am constantly wondering how I am doing in that department.  For example, I can’t remember how old I was when I no longer had supervision in the shower, and was expected to be proficient in shampoo, conditioner, and soap.  Was I 5?  Should this be something that Sharla can do by herself yet?  As it stands, she can’t.  The soap, she can handle, except for her face.  If it wasn’t for her face, she could accomplish the shampoo.  But, for complete fear of getting water or soap in her face or eyes or ears, it’s a complete no-go.  She wants to do it by herself.  But, upon careful inspection, I notice only the back of her head gets wet, shampooed and rinsed.  That is just not going to work for me.

Another one.  Kids brushing their teeth.  Sharla and Jasper can usually do pretty well here.  I do a teeth check when they are done, and Jasper usually has mom or dad do a quick brush before his is considered clean.  So, the brushing isn’t ever an issue.  BUT, what is an issue is the toothpaste.  Seriously, I am constantly cleaning toothpaste off the counter, rinsing the sink, mopping the dropped then stepped in paste off the floor.  I even notice that sometimes the bathroom mirror gets brushed.  Its ridiculous.

Now, I would like to think I have taught even my two year old about germs enough to know we don’t play in the toilet.  But, upon my discovery today, I am thinking there is a major disconnect in this area.  While cleaning the bathroom this morning, I lifted the toilet seat to scrub said toilet.  There, on the underside of the toilet seat, in bright blue kid toothpaste, is obvious toothbrush smears… YUCK!!! YUCK!  and more YUCK!!!  So… he brushed the underside of the seat and THEN his teeth…. definitely back to the drawing board on that one. 

Major fail as a parent.  Clearly, that one is not ready to be unsupervised while brushing his teeth.  I just can’t get over the mental image of him scrubbing the seat and then his teeth… its too much.  Blech!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Because he has an older sister…

This little man is pretty much doomed to be dressed up, kissed on, and taught how to twirl. 

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And those cute little pink shorts he has on… doll pants.  So proud, so loving attention from his sister. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


So our computer has been on its last leg… completely freezing up and making it unusable.  While this hasn’t really prevented me from playing on Facebook, it has sure discouraged me from blogging, or doing anything else productive on the computer.  Anyway… we just purchased new parts, and Windows 7.  Our computer works!  Stay tuned for some great blog posts. 

On a side note, I treated myself to three new bras yesterday… maybe they can help my general lack of motivation?  Not likely, but at least I feel brand new!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Grandma’s Visit

Last week, we were privileged enough to have my mom come stay with us.  This was definitely the longest amount of time spent together, since… we lived in the same house, high school, maybe.  My kids have very little exposure to her, as our Oregon visits get split up amongst our various relatives and commitments.

For me, last week was more than just pleasant.  My mom and I share similar ideas in childrearing, television, foods…  her visit was comfortable.  Other than the mad dash to clean my house before she arrived (I did not get her cleaning genetics), she blended rather well in our family. 

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And, for the first time in 6 years, and 4 states, she got to see our home.  Which is to say, we love Ventura, and was excited to share it with her.  I know, when she packed her bags and boarded the southbound plane (her first flight in 25 years), she had no idea she would be borrowing a swimsuit, sunbathing in 80 degree weather. 

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Pretty sure she didn’t expect to look up inside a bees’ nest or dig for ancient artifacts, though I am confident she enjoyed herself while at the Noah’s Ark Exhibit at the Skirball Center.100_4439 (Custom) 100_4463 (Custom) 

Never in her wildest imagination, did she plan on getting to know some snails while in SoCal, but she did just that.

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Nor did she know she would be laughing hysterically over whoopee cushions…

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Thank you, Mom, for spending your vacation with us.  I hope we didn’t wear you out too terribly.  And know, you are always welcome to visit us again. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Little Video

I am sharing this for a few reasons.  One, I am constantly amazed at how differently Jasper is developing compared to how Sharla developed the same skills a few years ago.  And two, because my kids have two very different personalities, and as seen through this video… even if the spotlight is supposed to be on Jasper, Sharla makes sure to be noticed.

Translation: “Up above…. sky… I wonder… Quiet Sharla… Twinkle twinkle star… I night-night.  Abye baby, a baby, a baby…(I think the record broke here!)… Diego! Diego!..”

And seriously Sharla, we see you… can you ever hold still??  No.  No you can’t.

And, one more…

“Translation: “Happy birthday to me… to you (blow) candles!  candles Mom!  Santa Claus coming Coming coming down, coming down (points) a coming down.  I AM IRON MAN! (some guitar riffs…) Iron Man! (them more guitar…)

It amazes me that he is even willing to sing.  It took Sharla till she was almost 4 till she would do any singing, and now she will belt anything as loud as possible.  As a baby, she was all about dancing to the beat… to drum sounds.  Jasper prefers the voice. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Our Christmas

No traveling, no huge meals, no entertaining… pure bliss.  This year we stuck to our guns and chose to stay home.  Every year we travel to Oregon for the holidays to be with Family.  After doing that drive 3 times in the last 12 months, we didn’t want to do it for Christmas. 

So, like a normal family on Christmas Eve, for the first time ever, we got the privilege of last minute wrapping and assembling of gifts, and stockings.  We took our bundled-up, pajama-wearing kids to see Santa’s sleigh (aka a helicopter pulling a sleigh light display) flyover our neighborhood in super cold weather (50 degrees).  We baked cookies and left a plate out for Santa and his reindeer.  We opened presents in our pajamas, and even cooked a holiday dinner… also a first.  It was laid back, and wonderful.

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Don’t get me wrong, we missed the big family hoopla, but it was a nice change of pace. 

As for the presents.  Miss Sharla has been Begging for a pillow pet for a good six months.  Thankfully, Santa came through with that darned Ladybug Pillow Pet for her, and a plush football pillow for Jasper. 

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Sharla also received a Leapfrog Leapster Explorer (not from Santa, the expensive stuff always comes from Mom and Dad), which she has been completely glued to since opening it.  Jasper got the Little People Wheelies Rampway, which he enjoys, and thinks is cool that it is the same as the one at his friend, Liam’s house. 

Our holiday is over, Brandon goes back to work tomorrow.  I have been mourning the end of his vacation since this last Wednesday, which is pathetic, but we really enjoy him getting to spend so much time at home.  Time just chilling around, instead of driving, being on someone else’s schedule, with all the post-travel exhaustion.