Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Happy-nings

Here are a few things that are making me happy on this fine Saturday. In no particular order...

1) I can see a cruise ship from my bedroom window today.

In other words, I live in a place that other people visit on their vacations.
Not too shabby.

Have I mentioned that Monterey is beautiful? Because it is.
And it is still sunny and 60's. Seems so strange for late June weather, but I'm not complaining.

2) My claw-foot bathtub.

It's deep. I took my first swim in it tonight.

3) Our antique stove. Now, many of you will be surprised that I care anything at all about a kitchen appliance that doesn't directly put food into my mouth. But many of you also know my lifelong struggle with making pancakes.
Well, ye olde antique stove has a griddle right in the middle of it. And it makes pancake cooking delightful. Just ask my family, as we had chocolate chip pancakes yesterday for dinner

Do you know what Alex asked as she was wiping off the traces of chocolate chips from her nose? 

Can we have dessert?

 Josh had to break it to her that anytime our dinner consists of chocolate chips and syrup, you've already had dessert. 

Lookie here, quick and easy quesadilla.

4) Moss Landing Farmer's Market. 

I'm in inexpensive fruit heaven. 

This plus watermelons, peaches, bell peppers, asparagus...
So much food. $23. 

I want to go every day.

5) It's been 5 weeks since our mini-van arrived from North Carolina. We had to fill it up with gas that day, since it has to be transported on an empty tank. 
And the gas tank is still on full. 
From 5 weeks ago. 

Hermitting at it's finest.  

6) Sorry. 

You know, the board game. We picked it up the other day and have enjoyed playing with the kiddos. 

Well, with the exception of having to remind the children when it is their turn. Every time. And Derek has some type of inner mechanism failure that prevents him from being able to sit still by the game to wait his turn. 
I think the technical term is Fouryearoldboyitis.

7) Visitors! We're getting them tomorrow. Excited to show my Dad & Cindy the new digs. Glad to be in a place where there's plenty to do. 


Monday, June 18, 2012


I have concluded lately that there just isn't enough time in the day. Our laid-back, not much going-on schedules have picked up. We've had guests, and Spanish, gymnastics, and Spanish, other stuff, and Spanish...

I've begun my twice a week tutoring sessions con Carolina. We basically just try to have conversations together in español. The two sessions we've had so far have consisted of me nodding and acting as if I know what she just said, and then me responding with broken Spanish that probably is the equivalent of what a 3-year-old native speaker can say.
She said that she was impressed with how far I've gotten in self-study, but I'm pretty sure she's just being nice.

Tomorrow I start a once-a-week Spanish class offered by the city.
Tonight I'm going to lay out my clothes and see if I can get a new lunchbox for my first day of school.

Except it's just an hour or so.
And not during lunch.


Are you sensing a Spanish theme here? I'm really trying to learn, and I feel like I'm making the s-l-o-w-e-s-t progress imaginable. My goodness there is a lot to learn. I've spent a full two weeks now on the past tenses, and if I stop to think about every verb I use, I can almost have a coherent conversation.

Alex lost another tooth last night, which makes 4 in a row across the top that are missing. Hi-larious.
But not for long, because it looks like her two front teeth with be poking through soon.
I was hoping we'd get a toothless kid for longer, but I suppose it will save me time from having to cut her food up. 

Josh and Derek have taken up wrestling as their main hobby. They are always tangled up on the floor having a fight to the death. This is a quote I heard my husband say tonight as we were getting the kids ready for bed.

But first, let me interrupt that thought with a moment to reflect on what I just said. "My husband" said it as "WE" were getting the kids ready for bed. Oh, how lovely! Every night, people! He's home every night! Now that I know how the other half live, I might never be able to go back...

Now we can return to our regularly scheduled programming.

"Okay, Derek. We're going to have one minute of no holds barred wrestling and then you've got to go to sleep."
Certainly we all know that a minute of intense wrestling action is just what most 4-year-olds need to get them in the mood for sleeping. 
Sheesh. Boys.

In other news: Mango Quinoa Salad. If you don't like it, you're wrong.
Oh, but add salt.

Next week, Pepaw and Grandma Cindy are coming to visit from Michigan! Derek wants to be their tour guide. He tells me often that he really likes it here "because of the aquarium and the beach and because of all the big hills we get to walk up and down." 
Future postcard for Monterey.

Not gonna lie. I really like that kid.
He still wakes me up every morning at eight o'clock with a big smile and the same question, "Mama, do you want my snuggles?"
Yes. Yes I do. Every morning for forever.
He is so sweet and tender-hearted I almost can't take it. He's promised me he wont turn 5, but I don't believe him.
I could listen to him speak Spanish all day. Probably because he only knows how to say "I love you very much mom."
But it's the cutest little Te quiero mucho mamá that you've every heard.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My girlie

Love this girl.

We get lots of snuggle time together these days. We finished Because of Winn Dixie and now we're reading A Little Princess.

My little princess complained to me the other day that she was never going to get to be a real mermaid. Because apparently she thinks real mermaids exist.
She cited objective evidence of having met Ariel multiple times.


 She had her first gymnastics class today. 


She said it was the funnest thing she's ever done. 
 (Disregard the wrestling going on in the background)

Well actually, she said it like this:
Mom. Remember when I told you that the Awanas awards night was my favorite night ever? Well if that night was a person and you made my gymnastics class a person, and you put them right next to each other, I would almost hate the Awanas person because the gymnastics person was so much more fun.

Yeah. You figure that out.
But I guess she liked gymnastics.

This is a jello fish. Alex has been wanting to make this for a long time. Like, well over a year.

The "recipe" was in her princess cook-book, and finally I said "Ummmmm. Okay."

I was on a roll that day, jello fish and painting.
Home economics and art: check.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


On Friday, our first day with no school, the kids picked another visit to the aquarium for the afternoon outing. This was convenient, as we were out of milk and there is a grocery store on the way home.

Alex likes the part of the aquarium where you can touch the starfish, decorator crabs, and especially the sea cucumber. It is satisfactorily smooshie. It would make a good stress-toy, if it did not constitute animal cruelty.
This visit we learned that sea cucumbers breathe out of their anus. Don't say you never learn anything here.

Derek does not like touching any of the aminals, even the ones that hilariously breathe out of their butts.

Today we had lots of fun around town. Today also happens to be our eleventh anniversary!
We are so old

It has been a lovely eleven years, and I think we are in the best season of life to date. I will undoubtedly think this even more in 2 months when the children are in school and I am experiencing the sound of silence for the first time in 7 years.

Hello darkness, my old friend...

Only without the darkness. Just some dang peace and quiet.

Back to today.
We started our day with me sleeping in until 9:39. Holla!
Then we drove north about 20 minutes to go to a farmer's market that everyone keeps talking about.
I love me some fruit, and the young ones do as well.
Here was our spread...

2 bags of cherries, 1 bag of grapes, nectarines, apricots, a bag of kiwi, a bag of plums, a bag of avocados, bell peppers, strawberries, and buried under all of it were a couple containers of raspberries.
All fresh and yummy, and all for $25!

This afternoon we ventured out again, this time back to the library.
Instead of driving we took the trolley.

It runs all summer long, and it's free. I love free.

We hopped on and rode it to downtown Monterey, where there is a stop near the library.

In my defense, Josh did not give the "say cheese" command. I certainly intended to smile, and not look as if I have a lazy eye.

City Hall is across from the library, and this bear was calling their names.

This is Alex. 

Then we decided that since it's our anniversary, and since I'm no good at moving to a new town and finding a babysitter, we would just take them along for our anniversary dinner.

What could be more delightful, I ask?

Nothing at all.

Except maybe a dinner without them.

Happy Anniversary to my love! I would marry you all over again!
Because I'm obviously a glutton for punishment...


Friday, June 8, 2012

First Grade, check.

You may recall that dear, sweet Pat the Bunny (who shall be gracing us with her presence in July) maaaaaaaybe wasn't such a big fan of the whole homeschooling experience.

Possibly because she's taught school for 30 years. 

And maaaaaaaaybe I like to torment her a little.

So now and again throughout the school year, I would say things like:

Oh, we saw a squirrel picking up a nut today at the park. I told Alex it was a mammal. Science, check. 

And dear, sweet PtB's blood pressure would inch up.
So I'd do it again.

The kids drew with chalk on the sidewalk earlier. Art class, check.

Today I made Alex count to 500 while giving me a backrub. Math, check. 

I'm so mean, it's a wonder she's still alive. There were probably a lot of deep breathing exercises going on.
Well, I'm hear to announce that it is safe to exhale, Grandma. You have survived!

We finished up the curriculum today-- First grade, check!

I sat down and made a schedule for the school year when we began last summer.  Originally slated to finish up on May 31st, I'm pretty happy with being only one week off. When I made the schedule, we didn't know that we'd be moving across the country.

Homeschooling was a little bit of a stretch for me; something I had never planned to do. Looking back, I am happy with the decision, and think it was the best fit for our family this year.
Without it, Alex would have been taken out of school so we could travel to visit family during Josh's deployment, and then pulled out altogether for our move west. I think it provided more flexibility for us in general, while at the same time reducing the amount of transitions she would have needed to make.

And it was a learning experience for me, too.
Doing it for a year gave me some insight, and my takeaway is that there are great aspects to homeschooling that you can't get in a traditional school environment. And there are great things about a traditional school environment that you can't recreate in homeschooling.

I can see why parents choose both avenues.

I'll be surprised if I don't ever homeschool again. And I'd be equally surprised if my kids don't spend more of their school years in traditional schools after we leave Spain.

And to quote my sassy-pants daughter: "Gee mom. You made that about as clear as mud."

(The first time she said that to me I could only laugh. I know exactly where she's heard that before.)

Here she is posing with all of the readers and read-alouds we went through this year. (I didn't put the three main history texts in the pile, as we didn't read them cover-to-cover.)

Her love for books really grew a lot this year, and we read together so many different types of stories. Many that I never would have picked on my own, but was surprised by how much we enjoyed them.

Our list for summer reading keeps growing, as I find recommendations everywhere as well as a bunch of titles that I loved as a little girl.
(Buster's Derek's attention span isn't quite ready for chapter books yet, but don't worry, he still gets plenty of short stories in.)

We're going to take a week off and then do a science unit together, since I didn't include that in the past year's curriculum.  And I plan on having her keep up on her math with worksheets and games from time to time. Those math facts did not come easy for her, and I'd hate to have her lose them over the next two months.

And two months is all we have-- school here starts on August 8th. Which is good, because I really need more time to work on Spanish!

And now I can add a credential to my name:

Erin Schore, RN, BSN, Certified Experienced Teacher. check.

I'm kidding PtB, I'm kidding! ;)


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Some catching up...

Josh has been home from Afghanistan for 12 weeks now, and I am about 12 weeks overdue in saying thank you!
After he got home, we went through all of the things he brought back with him.
(Thankfully, his sheets and towels did not come home. You don't want to know how many times they were laundered in the 6 months he was gone.


Okay, I'll tell you.
The sheets-- ONCE.

Once in 6 months.)

Anyway. Among the things he brought back were cards and letters that people had sent him. And I was so touched by how many of you, dear blog readers, who have never met our family in person, wrote to Josh and sent him packages.
How kind and thoughtful!
Thank you so much. 

Here are my myriad of excuses for why I have neglected to say that any time in the past 12 weeks:

(But not eating children)
Other stuff

I am really good at excuses.

And now that we're settled in and I can make up for lost time-- we're starting the process for our next move.
Clearances and paperwork that we quite literally just did have to be done again. The calendar has to be consulted, and Josh has to work with his current and future bosses both here and in Europe to arrange for this transition to Spain.

We have a 6 month window between December and May in which we could be moving, and I have no idea when we'll know for sure.
In the meantime, we'll keep enjoying Monterey and all it has to offer. Which is a lot. Holla.

One other thing I realized that I haven't blogged about-- Derek has been eating more and more milk products these days. For those of you who didn't know, he's had food allergies to milk, eggs, and peanuts ever since he was a peanut. 
But currently, as a more grown-up tiny infant baby toddler, a mature nut if you will,  he has been able to eat more and more things. In the past couple of weeks, he has developed a love for cheese (like his mama!) and has even had regular yogurt, and a small bowl of ice cream!
We are so happy for him :) I still remember the day I got the call from the allergy clinic with his test results. I was so sad.
If you could have only seen how sweet he has always been about not getting the treats that his sister gets, or how happily he would eat a fruit-snack when the other kids had cake and ice cream; I just love that he's able to indulge more now. 

Friday, June 1, 2012


I don't know what's in the air in California, but something has happened to my children.
They're crazy.

They have a lot of energy these days. A lot.
They run around the house, screeching and wrestling. I've never seen them quite so...physical...before.

So I try to make it a point to get them outside every day to burn off some energy. This is a sacrifice for me, as I would prefer to stay in my robe keeping my coffee cup company. Leaving the house is so overrated.
Is it too much to ask that a 4 and 7 year old simply want to sit quietly, read books, and play board games after which they would clean up all associated games pieces?

I was afraid of that.

So we either walk down the hill to the beach, or a couple blocks up the hill to the playground.

Remember how glad I was to get the minivan? We'll we've driven it twice in 2 weeks.
I really like being able to walk everywhere. Things we can walk to: beach, aquarium, grocery store, drug store, restaurants, church, parks, and 7-11. Holla, slurpees.

Oh, and the Baskin Robbins. Which is not a good thing.

A couple days ago the kids and I decided on the beach. I brought my Spanish workbook along and they brought some buckets & shovels. They have a great time out there. I love to watch them run and explore, and even yell a little (while not within 3 feet of my ears).
We had the spot all to ourselves since it was the middle of a weekday. Unfortunately we had to cut our time there short when Buster fell in the Pacific.

Have you seen Arrested Development? There's a character in that show who is an adult man who is totally dependent on his mother, and not all that sharp either. Josh often refers to our dear son as Buster since he's kind of a mama's boy and he occasionally shows his, well, less intelligent side.

And that day on the beach, my little Buster was climbing on some rocks because his sister insisted he come and see the starfish she had found. A rather sizeable wave came in, and though he was safe from getting wet on the rock, instead of waiting for the water to abate he panicked and took a leaping dive toward the shore, landing in the water.
It was in the low 60's that day, and windy, so we had to wrap him up and walk home for a warm shower.

Poor Buster.

Today we walked to the aquarium again; it still hasn't lost its appeal with them.
It even makes Derek seem a little smarter.
He may not know if he pooped or not*, but his little mind can wrap around the undersea world.

 He gets amusing smiles from other aquarium-goers as they overhear him using all the ocean lingo.

Mom! Over here-- we've got to find the Mediterranean jellies! They have the short tentacles. Next can we see the kelp forest? Oooh, the alligator pipefish!

He's my little aqua-nerd.

* Poop story: So Derek announced that he needed to poop. He always announces this. He can't possibly go poop without letting me know.
Mainly because I'm needed to do the wiping.
(We have not yet begun wiping training, but it needs to be completed by August 8th. Any volunteers?)
So he announced, and I told him what I tell him every day:  

Derek, go poop. You don't have to tell me, just call me when you're done.

D: Okay mama. 

Me (pop quiz): Derek, what did I just tell you about pooping?

D: Huh?

A couple minutes later he calls out, Mama! I didn't have any poop.

False alarm.

Hours later, I go into the bathroom and see a turd floating in the pot. No toilet paper.
So I question the wee lad about it.

Oh. I didn't think I had any poop. I fought it was just a toot.

Well, you fought wrong my love.
But what's a few skid marks among friends?

I love my little Buster. He is still the sweetest thing around.

Here are my crazies after a fun last night at Awana.

They had their awards banquet. Alex had been nervous about doing a song on stage, but as soon as she got up there she was waving and singing her heart out.

Derek was that kid that yells from the stage the whole time. First it was just saying hi to mom and dad. Then after he got his ribbon and bag with candy he had to tell his sister all about it. Alex, there's candy in here! Alex! Alex! I got a ribbon! 

I might be biased, but I thought it was really cute :)

Next year he'll be moving up to Sparkies! I can't believe they're going to let a tiny infant baby into the Sparks group...