Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Helmet Law for Kids

Tomorrow morning Eric and I are leaving for a 4-day trip to Catalina Island on our boat...just the two of us! Yipee! Eric's parents are coming to our house to watch the girls. So, I've been writing out instructions and leaving little notes around the house. I was getting tired of writing yet another note, so the very last one I wrote--and taped to Amber's bicycle helmet--said this, Amber must wear her helmet if out front--it's the law!

I inadvertently left out the words while riding her bicycle. After I taped the note to the helmet, I laughed when I read the misprint! If I hadn't caught my mistake, Eric's parents might have wondered just what sort of strange laws we have in our little town.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the...

I had an epiphany the other night. The word epiphany is such a weird word, isn't it? But I've always wanted to use it in a sentence.

Seriously, though, I did have an epiphany...a revelation, if you will, about my use of the words good and bad when referring to how my day went. Almost every night during dinner, Eric asks me how my day was. I usually answer that it was a good day or a bad day, depending on the events that happened, especially in regards to my two daughters.

It was a good day because the girls were good. It was a bad day because the girls were not so good. Is that really the way I should view my day? There are going to be good days and bad days and mediocre days. The real question for me is, "Was my day glorifying to God? Was I in God's will today?"

Thursday, July 26, 2007


When was the last time you laughed out loud? Really laughed? For no reason other than just to laugh? This afternoon I watched my two girls outside as they played in the kiddie pool. I sat in a chair and dipped my feet in the pool. The water was cold, but it felt so good in the almost 100 degree weather! Amber got a little scoop and poured water over my leg. I shivered and then laughed out loud. I actually squealed. Amber thought this was so funny, and so she proceeded to pour water onto my other leg. More squeals from me. More water, now on my shorts. More squeals, now from all three of us!

"Oh, what the heck," I thought, "We are having so much fun!" And with that, I was in that tiny kiddie pool, clothes and all, letting my girls pour water all over me. We haven't laughed that much, in unison, in a while! It was great!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Heavy Ever After

Two blog posts in one that allowed? : )

This afternoon, Amber was "reading" to me out of her Cinderella coloring book. This is what she said:

* One day there was a beautiful princess named Cinderella. (turn the page)
* She had two mean stepsisters who were mean.
* They tore her dress...mommy, you don’t like this part do you? I’ll skip it.
(turn the page)
* Her fairy godmother made a beautiful blue dress for her, and horses for her and a castle...wait, she didn’t make a castle for her.
* Cinderella went to the castle and danced with the prince. (turn the page)
* She married the prince and they lived HEAVY ever after.

Yeah, HEAVY would describe marriage better than HAPPILY, even in the best of marriages! : )

Another Mommy Milestone

I’ve been spit up on, thrown up on and peed on. I’ve had runny poop shot in my direction as I changed a diaper. I’ve gotten into bed to cuddle with my daughter and discovered I was lying on top of dried boogers (that’s another story altogether!). I’ve had my shirt used as a snot rag and a napkin.

Well, today I added another item to my not-so-glamorous mommy resume╩╣. I got my toddler out of her crib after her nap, and as I was holding her, she grabbed ahold of my long hair and used it to wipe her runny nose. Nice!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sock Heaven

Ever wonder what happens to all of the socks that end up missing? Musician Steve Taylor has a song about that called Sock Heaven. Bill Cosby has a theory on the subject, too. On a Cosby Show that I recently watched, he said that the pair of socks get together and one sock says to its mate, "I'll go hide out somewhere for awhile." When the owner can't find the other sock, he puts the lone sock aside for months, hoping that its mate will show up. Finally, the owner throws away the lone sock, and a few days later, the sock's mate re-appears just to drive the owner crazy! Then it becomes a dust rag.

The other night, I dreamed that I opened my dryer door and found a little trap door at the back (sort of like the lint trap). I opened the little trap door and started pulling out clothes. First it was a sock, then another, then a pair of Amber's jeans, and more clothes, and stuffed animals and plush toys. I kept fishing them out with a pair of tweezers. When I finished, I had pulled out a whole load of laundry! Then I woke up and realized that it was laundry day. My funny dream became a nightmare, as I looked at the piles of dirty laundry on my bedroom floor!

That was last Wednesday. Today--almost a week later--I have just finished putting away the clean laundry, and the dirty clothes hamper in our bedroom is almost full again!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sand Art

Our neighbor, Doug, does these as part of his photography business. He actually goes to the beach and writes the names/message in the sand and takes each picture! He said sometimes he'll have to write it several times because by the time he finishes the message, the waves come and wash it away! People use these as wedding announcements, Christmas cards, etc. Anyway, he just made this for us. What a nice neighbor and friend! To see more of his sand art, go to

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Bright Yellow House

Late last year, when Eric told me we needed to start saving money to get the house painted, I said, "It looks fine. It doesn't need a new paint job." Then he explained to me that it needed repairing and painting because of dry rot, etc., and not for cosmetic reasons. Ever since then, I’ve surveyed houses while walking or driving around town, looking for the perfect color combinations.

Two weeks ago, it was finally time to pick out the paint. I was so excited! We all went to the paint store and it only took me ten minutes to decide the exact colors; Highlighter Yellow for the house, Charmed Green for the trim and Scarlet Past for the door (I’ve always wanted a red door!) I wonder who gets the fun job of naming all of the colors?

We hired our next-door neighbor to do the job. He’s the head of landscape and maintenance at Villanova School in Ojai. He’s a hard worker, and it was fun watching him prep and then finally paint. Amber sometimes pulled a chair up to the window and sat and watched him. He didn’t seem to mind. It also was cute to see his daughters come running over with breakfast or lunch for him to eat. And it was really neat when his brother and sister-in-law came over and painted with him. It’s rare these days to see families working together as a team. It looked like they were having fun, too! They did a great job!
Well, yesterday the project was completed, and we now have perhaps the brightest house in Ojai. We absolutely love it, but I was telling Eric that I hope our neighbors don’t hate it. He said that we shouldn’t worry about what others think when it comes to the color of a house. "Besides, every other house on this block is brown and tan," he said, "Boring!"
Our neighbors can now thank us for providing a landmark for the street. I can just hear them on the phone giving directions to out-of-town guests: "Okay, once you get to our street, we’re the fourth house on the left, two doors down from the really bright yellow house." We’re probably going to get a "thumbs down" in the Ojai Valley News (which I think is the stupidest column ever!)

Anyway, for the past two days several people driving by have slowed down to look at the house. Two people, whom I’ve never met, yelled out their car windows at me, "I love the color!" Here’s what a few other people have said to us about the color:

* Did you choose the color? –said a neighbor’s friend. (Yes, we did!)
* Are you a Green Bay Packers fan? –said a friend driving by. (Who are the Packers?)
* It reminds me of Dr. Seuss. –said a friend who stopped by. (I love Dr. Seuss!)
* You can probably see the house from the sky. –said our mail carrier. (Maybe it’ll become part of a helicopter tour!)
* It looks like a giant sunflower. –said our babysitter. (That’s fitting, because the sunflower was our wedding flower and I have sunflowers in my kitchen.)
* Oh my! –said a friend. (That’s all she said!)
* It reminds me of Mexico. Houses are painted bright in Mexico. –said our next-door neighbor. (I’m glad it reminds you of home!)
* You must like the color yellow, your car is yellow and now your house. –said our neighbor. (The color of our car is coincidental. We didn’t set out to buy a yellow car.)
And my personal favorite:
* It’s a good paint job. –said our neighbor across the street. (Code for: I don’t like the color but I don’t want to tell you that.)

So, now’s your chance to comment. What do you think? You may also vote on which of the descriptions below best fit our house.
Dr. Seuss
Mother Goose
Veggie Tales
Sesame Street
The Green Bay Packers fan club headquarters
This last one is a "Before" pic of our house.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fabulous Fourth!

Okay, it's a week later and I am just now posting a blog about the Fourth of July. It's been very busy around here with swim lessons for Amber and parties to go to and our house being painted (I will soon be posting about that, too). What a life!

Although a week has gone by, I still want to tell you about our Independence Day activities. It was perhaps the best 4th we've ever had as a family. We started the day by sleeping in (yes, the girls cooperated on that one for once). Then we decided to go to Carrows for breakfast. It was almost 10:00, and we knew we'd miss part of the parade, but it usually lasts for three hours. We got the best seat in the corner by the window with a perfect view of the parade. Our good friends Cindy and Candy served us, and we had a nice meal while oohing and aahing over the band and floats and cars and horses. Amber ate her meal standing up, turned around and looking out the window (ya gotta love small town restaurants).

When we finished eating we walked outside to find a spot to see the rest of the parade. It was 11:15, and we got outside just in time to see the firetrucks (and Amber's favorite part: Smokey the Bear), signifying the end of the parade. What? That has got to be the shortest parade in the history of Ojai. One man walking by said, "Man, the parade gets shorter and shorter every year!"

Oh well, our kids didn't know they had "missed" the parade. They saw a lot from the restaurant. And then I got to thinking, "We should do this every year...sit in an air-conditioned restaurant eating yummy French toast with strawberries and whipped cream, and watch the parade." I'm glad we weren't out there in the heat. The long walk back to the car was hot enough!

When we returned home, the girls and Eric took a nap and I read. Then we went across the street to our neighbor's party. They had a Jolly Jump water slide that Amber went down about a hundred times!

Later that evening we moseyed on over to the Ojai United Methodist Church for their festivities: crafts, games, food and a great view of the fireworks (all for $5). Amber and I made several crafts and Eric played badminton. The fireworks were fabulous, and so much fun to watch with our good friends (the Gonzalez, Frisk, and Rodriguez families, Miss Sherrie and Miss Gloria--Amber's preschool teachers).

When I finally went to bed that night, I thought, "This was the best 4th of July we've ever had."

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Meaningful Touch

Tonight I went to Vons by myself (what a treat) to grab a few groceries and some Skinny Cows. (Yummy!) It was a mad house, especially considering that it was the day after a major holiday.

I was standing in a rather long line that curved to the right (as all lines were tonight so that people still shopping could pass by) when a man walked right up and got in front of me. I wasn't too concerned, except that there were several people behind me, and I wanted him to know where the line ended. So, I kindly informed him. He not-so-kindly barked back at me. So, I as-kindly-as-I-could-muster told him that it was no big deal. He not-so-kindly ignored me and started making jokes with the cashier. Inside, my emotions went from anger to hurt because I felt I had been stepped on by this rude man.

I shrugged it off, and returned to the conversation I was having with the woman behind me whom I had just met. She didn't see what had happened between me and the man, but as I was putting my Skinny Cows on the conveyor belt, she reached over and, ever-so-slightly, rubbed my shoulder blade and smiled a "have a good evening" smile. She didn't even know that I needed that little bit of meaningful touch just at that moment. But God knew!

Now, I'm not saying we should go around patting strangers on the back (they may not be as receptive as I was tonight), but we shouldn't underestimate the power of touch, or a smile, or an encouraging word. It could be just what someone needs at that very moment.