Saturday, April 21, 2007

Red Light/Green Light

I wanna green light!
Alice does this thing when we’re driving where every time I stop at a stoplight or a stop sign—she yells from the top of her lungs, “Go mom, go mom!” I always have to explain that I can’t go until the light turns green. She just doesn’t get it, though, and she keeps on yelling until the light turns green and I finally “go.” So the other day…true to her assertive nature…she tells me again, “Go, mommy, go.” Again, I start to explain to her, only this time I keep pointing to the light and I say, “See, that light is red, when the light is red, we can’t drive…when it’s green we can go.” I looked at her face through the rear-view-mirror and she had this look of pure joy and understanding. She got it. I could just see her thinking, “Oh, it all makes sense now…she isn’t making random stops just to make me mad.” The rest of the drive she sang “I wanna green light…I wanna green light.” Wow. It’s amazing when they get it. It’s like when Alice started saying see ya. Lily was just flabbergasted. She thought it was so amazing that nobody taught Alice how to say “see ya” or when to say it…that she suddenly just started using it correctly. Lily said, “I can’t believe how she can learn about all these words…it’s so amazing.” Of course what Lily didn’t realize is that her wondering about this is even more remarkable as Alice learning to talk.

Anyway. This whole learning process is fun to watch, and believe if you will, I do believe I’m learning as much as they are. I know…you thought that I already knew everything. Lily seems so amazed when I know something that she’s learning at school, like where the big dipper and Orion’s belt are. Also that I know the order of the planets and that Neptune is made of gas.


On another note, Canyon’s birthday was a hit and the bucket and sea creatures greatly appreciated as well as a wooden treasure chest that he had buried and dug up over and over again. Trieste made a great Mr. Potato Head piñata, which was just what Canyon had ordered. Several weeks ago, Canyon emptied his Mr. Potato Head, tied a string to the top and filled it with toys. For days he carried around his Mr. Potato Head “piñata” and even impressed his little friends with it’s simple design and concept. Sometimes Canyon reminds me of that Sponge Bob episode (bear with me if you’re not a Sponge Bob connoisseur) when Sponge Bob finds a small piece of paper (I believe it was Squidward’s garbage) and does all of these neat-o things with it, in the process impressing an array of invisible, but audible children. Anyway, Squidward…who moments before was throwing it away, suddenly is trading his house, furniture, clarinet, and the shirt off his back…just to have that stupid piece of paper. Canyon’s kind of like that. He’ll sort of create something really cool and fun to have out of nothing…and suddenly his tribe of friends and cousins would do anything to have a broken Mr. Potato Head piñata, “moon rock,” rope tied to bungie cords, bucket-o-sea creatures…etc… Needless to say, the real Mr. Potato Head piñata was a true hit (see Trieste’s blog for pictures). Ah…the birthday season…Dustin and Lily, just around the corner.

By the way…we still haven’t learned the concept of yellow light. I think it means speed up.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Alice: The Criminal

The scene of the crime

Today during my free 2 1/2 hour preschool break (and by free, I mean only 2 kids instead of four), Alice, Jane & I went on a quest for Canyon’s birthday present (his birthday’s tomorrow…so if you haven’t sent a gift yet…better get on that). Now, let me explain: Canyon almost always gives very specific instructions on what he wants for his birthday or Christmas…this time being no exception. The gift, however, is a little quirky, a little odd—very much Canyon. He said that he wants a bucket full of sea creatures. That’s it. Simple, right? He has some idea that he’s going to fill the bucket with sand and water—and have his own private ocean to play in—I get it. So the bucket? No problem. A trip to Joann’s found us a really nifty ice bucket, green with a liner, a lid, and an ice-scoop (sand scoop in Canyon’s world) attached to the side. Perfect. Sea creatures? Different story. We went to one of the two toy stores in town and they were closed. We then made our way to the other store, which I had never been in. It’s a darling store called “Woopsie Daisy” and it’s a toy store and kid’s salon in one. The toy selection was a bit smaller, though, and I was disappointed to find only two sharks. Alice enjoyed the store and found lots of little cars and trains to play with as I searched. We finally made our way to Target…and that pesky chain store that we all LOVE pulled through and we found two tubes full of sea creatures.

The rest of the afternoon included Canyon pick-up, babies’ naps, Canyon drawing a “country holiday” scene with chalk on the sidewalk for us to jump into and have an adventure. It didn’t work as well without Mary Poppins, maybe it was because Canyon was dressed in Viking gear instead of Victorian upper class outing clothes. After picking up Lily, we were washing the car and I found two unpurchased toy cars from “Woopsie Daisy.” Alice.
I asked her, “Did you take these cars from the toy store?”
“You can’t do that, we didn’t pay for them.”
That was it. I guess it made sense to her. It just cracks me up that she just thought she’d take those home, slipping them into the stroller, and never saying a word. We took them back…but I’m not sure that Alice the Criminal’s days are over. I still think she was pretty savvy and though she acted innocent about the whole thing…I’m not convinced that she knew exactly what she was doing.
Oh kids.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Yosemite Nirvana

Canyon & Lily at the falls

Dustin riding into the valley

Lily Canyon & Alice in the Meadow

Well, we made it to Yosemite and back…all six of us managed to make it home in one piece—full of fantastic memories, that at the time, didn’t seem so fantastic. Dustin left on his bike Wednesday morning and the kids and I spent the rainy day hanging out at home—packing and doing laundry. It rained on Dustin and co. and I believe that the first day of 100 miles, soaking through their skin, was, needless to say, miserable. Thursday morning I packed the kids into the car (it’s amazing how easy it was to write that sentence and how hard it actually was to get everyone, the stroller, the bike rack, the duffle bags, crib, food, and four cantankerous kids into the van). Once in the car—restrained in car seats and seat belts—we had a pretty good ride. It took us about three hours to get to the hotel which was a few miles outside of Yosemite and where Dustin and the others were camping. It was a beautiful drive full of blooming trees, flowers, greenness, the beautiful Merced river, canyons, valleys, lots of vineyards, and a few deer. It must have been amazing for the bikers to see it all in slow motion—as it was, speeding through in the car—it was staggering. The kids were surprisingly good and Alice sang the last half an hour, to a little tune she invented, “Daddy on his bike…”

We had a great camping dinner (everything tastes better when it’s cooked outside), and then, gratefully, checked into our hotel. I was glad that we weren’t camping…it was just too cold. Dustin left early the next morning for the last 20 miles of the ride and the kids and I killed a few hours at the hotel so that we could arrive at the same time. As we were driving into the valley and I still had no glimpse of any of the riders, I had this panicked feeling that we missed them and that they were already finishing and setting up camp at Upper Pines campground. We drove through to the campground, only to find, that we were the first car there and that, obviously, we had not missed the bikers…but, in fact, had left before them. So, here I am in Yosemite with four kids and possibly a few hours to kill. We went back to a meadow and I let the kids out to walk around while I nursed the baby. I sat on a rock and watched them…Canyon insisted on bringing some goldfish with him because, “walking makes me hungry.” After a few minutes I noticed a deer in the meadow, nibbling at the grass…then I saw my three kids venturing very close to the deer…just looking at it and munching their goldfish as if it was the neighbor’s horse. Then I noticed the deer noticing the goldfish and getting closer and closer…needless to say, I was a little nervous and quite helpless with a baby attached to me, and about 100 yards away. After a few minutes of calm observation on both sides… the deer decided to go to the other side of the meadow…and the kids, out of goldfish, came back to me and baby Jane.

There was still no sign of the bikers and so, as it was getting past lunch time, I put down all the seats in the mini-van, got out the snacks and everyone was safely installed…eating some snacks and taking sips of the coke I was saving for Dustin. Minutes later, Dustin rolled in and we were happy to welcome him with cookies and backwashed coke and lots of hugs and smiles. We followed him into camp and the kids spent the day playing in the creek, hiking to Yosemite falls, watching deer, sleeping outside—under the trees (Jane), and playing with friends and eating great food. After dinner we made our way back to the hotel and slept wonderfully (with exception: Lily—see her blog for details).

We went back into the valley in the morning for a campfire breakfast and then packed up one more time for the trip home. It was raining as we left the valley and climbed up 120…as we got higher, we noticed that it got colder and colder. Dustin and I looked at each other each noting the possibility of snow. Now, let me explain. To those of you who live in the mountains and spend your winters shoveling, cursing, and freezing—snow is not very romantic. To our California grown kids…snow is like going to Narnia, Disneyland, and the Beach all in one day. Sure enough, the temperature dropped and the rain turned to snow. The kids were thrilled and I found myself reaching this point of nirvana. Despite all the difficulties, the logistics, of pulling off a trip like this, the fact that we have four kids and two of them are babies, and the exhaustion that inevitably follows motherhood…I found a moment of peace and contentment. I looked back at my bright-eyed kids (Lily & Canyon) who were discussing that the show looked like stars at light-speed and somehow wondered what a snow fort in space looks like, at Alice, repeating the phrase, “Look at this, mommy,” and baby Jane sucking her fingers and staring out into the soft contrasting light of snow and trees and muted sunlight. We were listening to music and the white light of snow and sun was all around us…and for just one second, it seemed all worth it. Maybe I’ll feel like this again someday…hopefully…because these moments seem far and few between.

So we’re back and real life starts tomorrow and we’re counting the days until the next Yosemite trip.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I just got back from a much anticipated trip to Logan for Sadie’s bridal shower. Jane and I left the rest of the family here…and we had a little break from all the bustle of the “daily grind.” We had a great weekend with everyone and realized in a short amount of time that we had nothing to talk about, because we already knew so much about each other from reading the “blogs.” It was nice to see everyone and by that I mean the parents (of course), Sadie, Daisy & Maggie, Ike & Elise, Marty, Bonnie, & Angie. It was great to spend some one-on-one time with Jane and to be able to shop and get a haircut without having to find a babysitter (next to impossible).

Coming home was also great because I’d spent enough time away that I was excited to get back and see the kids. They were all happy to see us and we had a nice dinner last night…and then I spent several hours last night and today trying to reverse the damage to the house and laundry. We are off to Yosemite in a couple of days and so I’ll be busy getting ready for that. Dustin is going to ride his bike there and the kids and I will meet him and then spend a couple of days in the valley. We’re looking forward to it…we love Yosemite this time of the year. I’ll post pictures of us when we get back.

Daisy & Maggie, Me & Alice, Bonnie & Angie

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Easter Baskets II

A better picture of Sweet Baby Jane.

Ok, I had a peek at Trieste’s basket and I have to say, “WOW!” So, that being said, I finished my last basket today—and I have to say, before judgment, a few things:
a. Unless Trieste weaved her basket, I think that she officially just “added” embellishments (as impressive as they are).
b. I completed four baskets and Trieste, though she has two kids, is only making one for her favorite child. Tough breaks little Derek.
c. I completed my baskets without purchasing anything from the store.
d. I have four kids to contend with.
e. I’m sure there are lots of other reasons…but this is the best I got.

So, I don’t love Lily’s basket, but she loved it so we stuck with it. The baby girls’ are cute, however Canyon’s is my favorite…mostly because it took the least amount of time. If I’d done his first…I would have done them all denim…but he was last. Anyway, I’ve got to post these so I can get ready for my trip to Logan. See ya’ll soon. Signing off.
Oh, check out Trieste’s masterpiece (and I do mean masterpiece). Her basket is truly worthy of Martha Stewart…and I’m not just saying that.

Her blog is

The FOUR baskets.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Easter Baskets

My homemade Easter baskets.
What do you think Trieste…do I have a good start?
April Fools (a few days too late)…these are Martha Stewarts’s.

So Trieste and I are having this Easter basket “challenge” and I have to say…I don’t know what I got myself into. Lily’s mini-masters is killing us, because I have to load up all the kids to go to the club for 45 minutes. All, and I mean all, of my energy is in trying to organize the kids, all their swimming gear (towels, goggles, diapers)—plus the usual baby entourage (stroller, diaper bag, pacifiers, etc). People here, especially at the club, just stare at me. Four kids is pretty much an anomaly and I get quite a few comments. We had a great time once we were there, though. Lily swam with her team, Canyon swam, swam, swam in the kiddie pool and Alice and I slowly got comfortable in the water (by the end she was fairly comfortable and attempting to try some Canyon tricks). Jane watched the festivities happily from her stroller. So I was thinking, as I’m playing with my kids in the water, in early April, in California, that money can buy happiness. That a membership to this exclusive club is just what we need and then, inevitably it happens, we have stayed 30 seconds longer than the kids can handle. Suddenly the sun is going down, the wind is picking up, Alice is freezing and wants nothing more than to put on her pajamas. Canyon doesn’t want to get out. Jane is starting to realize that she hasn’t eaten for a few hours. Lily’s energy disappears in one instant and she turns into a popsicle. And everyone, especially me, is STARVING. So, due to poor planning, we end up grabbing some fast food and just trying to survive through dinner, putting Alice to bed an hour earlier than usual—because she is exhausted. Then we bathe Canyon and baby Jane, finally coax Lily out of the shower (she is still hypothermic at this point), pajamas, brush teeth (yes Daisy, we brush teeth every night), and bed. Deep breath. Then, laundry, clean kitchen…I guess at some point I’ll have to work on those damn baskets. Thanks Trieste. I hope you win. Actually, with this blog—I’m attempting to get the sympathy vote from the judges.

Monday, April 2, 2007

A Lesson on Shoes

After dropping Canyon off at school, Alice, Baby Jane, and I decided to go for a walk. I’ve been running on the treadmill, but my knees are sore…so we decided to take it easy and go for a little walk. For the first half, I did the walk and talk (on the phone with Krisanne). In the midst of my conversation Alice kept on yelling to me that she wanted to get out of the stroller or something so I finally got off the phone to see what she needed and as I did—I realized that she had no shoes on. Normally I would have just kept on going and left the shoes to be someone else’s trash or treasure. I mean, lets be honest, those shoes only last a few months before they’re into the next size…however, these are Alice’s favorite pink crocs, that cost a small fortune (as far as kid’s shoes go). So, I turned around and walked a 1/2 mile back to where they were quietly resting in the shade of the bike path. Alice screamed the rest of the extra-long way home. Despite my efforts to keep her entertained with bouts of:
“Look at the flowers, what color are they.”
Singing the abc’s.
“Look at the baby sheep (goats, kitties, birds, squirrels).”
“You want an apple (cracker, water, etc)?”
“You want to get out of the stroller?” A whining, sobbing, hysterical, “Yes” “Ok, one more minute.” Even though we were several minutes away from anything remotely familiar as our house.
How do you explain to a 20-month-old to KEEP YOUR SHOES ON!! At least Jane slept soundly through it all.
I’m posting some more pictures because Krisanne (the croc losing culprit), is anxious to see my kids. She doesn’t believe me when I tell her how absolutely beautiful they are. We should be able to get a lot of money for them on ebay.

Canyon, Lily, & Alice

Me & Baby Jane