Tuesday, July 31, 2012


This is what Monday looks like around here.

It closely resembles most of the other days of the week as well.

Don't worry, all the beachyness is not causing me to neglect my studies.

We have the beach-going system down to a fine science now. We usually pull the wagon along to hold the towels, toys, and chairs. I study, and the kids do strange things. Like chase birds, and throw wet sand at rocks. Then, because it is not within the realm of possibility that we return to our house with only a moderate amount of sand all over them, the children are stripped of their sandy beachgear at the back door and sent right into the shower to rinse off.

Today during the 10-minute stroll to the beach, I couldn't help but think of how great this summer has been, and what a treat it is to live here. 
I really need to go for a walk with my camera one day soon just to take pictures of the beautiful plants and flowers that grow everywhere.

In other news, last week I got a call from the kids' school inviting Derek to take part in a Kinder-Camp for three days. He'll go on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings this week. Its purpose is to give a little taste of school to help make an easier transition.

Which is good, because I am definitely going to need the help transitioning.

Oh wait. It's for the kids' transition?

I guess that makes sense, but I think it will help me, too.
I can't cry dropping my baby off at Kinder-Camp. It's only for three hours. And then he'll have already "gone to school" for three days, so I probably wont feel the need to cry next week when it starts for realz.
Possibly. Maybe.

It's a win-win.

I'm also hoping that Kinder-Camp's first day includes a lecture on how to wipe your own bottom. I mean, we've been working on it and all, but maybe an outside source will have better tips.

I know I'm probably boring you all to tears with my school countdown. But seriously people, it starts in 8 days.
I don't even know how to feel about it. Both of my babies gone from me at the same time?

My pants are getting excited though, because each day that I've strained to get them buttoned, I keep promising them that once school starts I can return to the gym.
Let's hope they can hold out another week. 

What else?
Oh yes. Pat the Bunny has made it safely back to Michigan after gracing us with her presence for the week.

When she arrived, she showed me her new camera.
Have I mentioned about PtB and technology before?
I'm sure I have. Like here. And here.

Well this new camera was a source for all sorts of troubles this trip. First, her perceived need to photograph everything.
Who are these people that go to the zoo or aquarium and take a picture of every last living creature that exists?
They are my mother in law. She not only took photos of every sea animal, she also took video. Countless minutes of video clips of jellyfish floating in the water. I'm sure they will be very useful in the future.

The best part was when she would zoom in so far on her camera that she would lose sight of whatever it is she wanted to photograph. She was like a pirate with a spyglass combing the sea for a glimpse of what was right in front of her.
You don't want to watch her videos if you get motion sickness easily. They're a wee bit choppy.

She beat me at cribbage, but I schooled her in Bananagrams. Playing word games with her is like taking candy from a baby.
And I'm not above either of those things. I will play the games, I will dominate her, and then I will rub it in like crazy.

I'm nice like that.

I'll leave you with a clip of Alex proud of her new gymnastics skill, and Derek...who knows that it's better to be happy than coordinated. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

I would like some cheese with my whine.

I find I've been having less patience with things and people in general lately.
How's that for a blanket statement?

Usually I don't like to ruffle anyone's feathers or cause conflict, but I'm feeling ornery in my old age.
We've been dealing with military bureaucracy as we prepare for an overseas move, and on top of that I feel like we've been inundated with appointments and "stuff."

Here's an example for you... The military medical system  has a close relationships with their records. The records are like their babies who they want to cuddle and rock and not let out of their sight.
So when we moved from North Carolina to California, under no circumstances were we to be allowed to hand-carry our medical records. It's been a rule for a long time, since folks used to lose them.
Whatevs. I'm down with that.

Only the problem is that every time we move, "they" lose our records.

Once we got settled here, and enrolled to our myriad of new doctors and dentists, Josh inquired about our medical records.


Then found.
In Texas, I believe.

When they finally arrived, I wasted no time in calling the kids' new doctor to schedule physicals for them because I knew we'd be needing medical clearances for Spain. I called in early July and they told me the soonest they could get us in was sometime in September.


2 days ago, I stopped in to the kids' school because I hadn't received any info on school supplies or, well, anything. (It turns out that they post the teachers and supply list at the school, the day before school starts. Interesting.)
 I asked a few questions about how they deal with food allergies, and they gave me a form to have signed by the doctor so Derek can have his epi-pen at school.

Today I took that by the doctor's office. It didn't go that well.

Receptionist with an overly-friendly voice:  Hmmmm. Well it looks like Derek has never been seen here. 
Me: Nope. But he has an appointment coming up, and you have his records. But I do need the form before school starts. 
Her: Well our doctor can't fill out any form without having seen the child.
Me: Hmm. Well I don't need the medication, I already have it. You will find proof of his peanut allergy in his record. I just need permission to have his epi-pen at school. 
Her: We can't just go off the records. 
Me: Why not? I can assure you they are not forged, for I am not allowed to touch them.
Her: We are just going to have to get him seen first. 
Me: But I was told I couldn't get him in until September. 
Her: Well that was for a physical. This can be for an allergy check-up.
Me: He doesn't need an allergy checkup. I just need this paper signed.
Her:  He has to be seen.
Me: It seems like a waste of time for the doctor. And me. And now I'm curious. How does seeing Derek let the doctor know that he's allergic to peanuts? Is he going to feed him a peanut at the appointment to see what happens?
Her: Oh no. The doctor will look through his medical records.
Me: Exactly. 

So we'll be going in for an appointment on August 1st.
And another one on September 5th.

And Alex has had 4 dentist/orthodontist appointments in the last 2 weeks, has 2 more scheduled as well as her own physical in September.
Of course, not on the same day as Derek's physical, as that would violate their regulations banning convenience.

If you need me, I'll either be at the pediatrician's or the orthodontist's.
They obviously don't care that I want to hermit with the little time I have left of summer.

So we've taken the plunge and gotten Alex started on "Phase 1" of orthodontics. Which is a fancy way of saying that she needs twice as much work as the average kid, and will cost us twice as much.
She's now the owner of a semi-permanent lower retainer and in a couple of weeks will have a palatal expander put in. Then she'll be getting some more baby teeth pulled.
Poor kid.
But hopefully this will help make room for all her permanent teeth to come in and make the "regular braces" easier down the road. We have just enough time to finish the prescribed course of treatment before going to Spain. It should buy us enough time to be back in the States, or at least at a base with military support services, when she's ready for braces.

Speaking of expensive things, do you know how much it costs for a family of 4 to get passports?

I'm wondering who can afford to travel overseas after they pay for passports and procreating a child with a small mouth?

I think I'll stop whining now.
Overall, things are good. Monterey is still beautiful, and slightly chilly. Pat the Bunny is in town visiting us, and Josh and I have been sneaking off on little dates here and there. Holla for free babysitting.

Since I like free, I'm sure you do, too. Here is your free Spanish lesson for the night.
The word ganar means to win in Spanish. If you conjugate that verb in first or third person singular,  future conditional tense, you would add an ía to the end of the word.
This leaves you with ganaría.
If you need help with the pronounciation, here's a hint-- "the clap."

Don't say you never learn anything here.
"I would win!" in Spanish = "gonorrhea" in English.

 Y ahora, tengo que acostarme. Adiós y buenas noches.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Things we've been doing.

 I'll start with the obvious:

- Learning Spanish.  
Tú ves, se necesita mucho tiempo para estudiar un idioma. En vez de tiempo, yo tengo dos hijos. Así que, no hablo muy bien español.


- Appointments, meetings, classes. The stuff life is made of.

- Raising children. You know, being responsible for whether or not the little spawn live or die. No pressure.

- Trying to make difficult (and expensive) decisions about our eldest's too-small mouth and what is to be done about it in light of being overseas for the next little bit.

- Attempting to figure out where he puts it all:

- Contemplating the universe and other intelligent undertakings. (I felt that I should throw that in to make me sound smart. Did it work?)

- Watching my hair grow. Slowly.

- Wondering if I will really be able to leave my baby at school for 6 and a half hours in a row in 2 weeks and 6 days.

And now we're all caught up.
Oh, except for the weather forecast.
10 day forecast highs are as follows: 66, 65, 69, 65, 68, 65, 65, 64, 64, 66

It's like we're not even living on the same planet.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Let's dust off this 'ol blog, shall we?

Schools starts for the kids in 3 weeks and 4 days!? Can you believe that?!
It's right around the corner.

I will have to give up my slovenly mornings of sleeping late and then nursing my coffee cup for an hour, followed by a decision to remove the children from their pajamas before feeding them lunch.
It's a hermit's dream, really.

I don't know how I became so fortunate, but there are many days that the kids decide to just play in their rooms after they wake up. Today was one of those days. I woke up on my own at 8:45.
I know. It's ridiculous. But it's only possible for the next little bit, so I'm just going to push away those guilty feelings and enjoy it.

In other news, our español is coming along. I'm "post-it"ing our casa with labels, lables, everywhere. It's a nice decorative touch, don't you think?

Yesterday we had our passport photos done. My picture is seriously terrible. I didn't realize exactly how uneven my mushroom was until I saw it in that picture. Oy.
So now we have to go through the process of getting both our military-issued passports, and then turning around and getting the regular kind. (You aren't allowed to use the military ones for personal travel; they are just for our entry into Spain.)

The little guy got a haircut yesterday. He only has 33 days left of being 4 years old. I'm trying not think about it.

Alex has bumped up to twice a week gymnastics for the next couple of weeks since she enjoys it so much.

We'll drop back to once a week when school starts, I think.
We're still making our way through lots of books. We finished The Ordinary Princess, which is a great read if you have girls around her age. Then we read Ramona, Age 8. Now we're into a book that I used to love when I was a little girl.
Only parts of it are sad, and I might have made her go get me a tissue last night while I was reading.

And Grandma comes to visit in a week! We shall see what manner of mischief PTB can make while she's here.

We are enjoying every day of our time here in Monterey. ¡Es una buena vida!

Friday, July 6, 2012

El Hongo Habla

Hey there. It's me. Your friendly neighborhood mushroom just checking in.

I'm glad you can't see me.
My inter-friend Taylor sent me a text asking if I still looked like a mushroom.

My reply--
There's a fungus among us.

Oddly enough, I've gotten 4 complements on my hair since that fateful day. Either it's not as bad as I think, or I really need to be surrounding myself with people who have better taste.

The mirror tells me to go with that last option.

Is anyone else thrown off by the holiday-in-the-middle-of-the-week thing?
Josh got the 4th and 5th off work, and he'll go back in tomorrow, and then we get the weekend together. I'm not complaining, it's great. But I keep forgetting what day it is.

Sometimes I even forget that it's summer. Like when I have to rummage through the kids' closets for some patriotic clothes that include pants and long sleeves. The companies who make children´s 4th of July gear tend to stick with T-shirts, tanks, and sundresses. They obviously aren't thinking of us poor, miserable wretches here in sunny, cool, and gorgeous Monterey.

What? You don't feel bad for me?

We rode the trolley downtown to the parade. The kids watched from on top of the newspaper stands. Afterward they had fun playing a few carnival games.

Here is a picture from a couple weeks ago. Josh went diving and the kids and I played/laid on the beach. (I'll let you figure out who played and who laid.)

Why is it that my husband's pastimes always center around going off into the wild blue yonder? Can't he ever keep his feet on the ground?

Today Daddy and Alex headed off on another date. They saw Brave and went to Cold Stone for ice cream.

 Derek was happy to get a bubble bath and some playtime on the iPad while they were gone. I love that sweet kid, he never once complained about staying home while they were away. He just said, I hope Alex is having a good time. Melt my heart.

I'm still meeting with my tutor twice a week, and I'm really enjoying learning Spanish. It's kind of like a puzzle that's slowly starting to come together. I'm able to laboriously make it through some elementary level books, so you can pretty much just call me an expert now.

And I'll leave you with some pictures of Derek enjoying his gymnastics class.

Ladies man.
Don't worry, there's at least one other boy in his class, so he's not totally outnumbered.

What can I say? We arrived too late for T-ball or soccer.

I'll have to get some shots of Alex at her next class.

Adiós por ahora!

-- El Hongo

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's Just Hair, Right?

Let's get down to brass tacks folks:

I stink at blogging.

I am aware.

Allow me to catch you up.
First, we enjoyed a nice visit from Pepaw & Grandma Cindy.

We were out and about all week, experiencing the sites and sounds of Monterey.

Like the sunset over the Pacific.

...and two trips to the aquarium, the Fisherman's Wharf, Carmel, Point Lobos, Pebble Beach, parks, Cannery Row...
I'm going to need to hermit for several weeks to make up for all of the out-and-about-ness. 

This is what every morning looked like:

Poor Pepaw couldn't get any personal space. And he didn't even like Busytown Mysteries.
Derek is still dumbfounded by that fact, as there is nothing more interesting to him than the mystery that Huckle and Lowly are investigating.

Speaking of Derek.
He is almost unbearably loveable.

It is a fact.

Even when he's dressed like a tiny-infant-baby, preppy dork.

I don't know from whence this outfit came, but it takes a special kid to pull off a tie-sweatervest-shorts combo. I think he gave it a fair shake.
This outfit kind of says to me that I'm more likely to be sporting a "My kid's on the honor roll" bumper sticker, than a "My kid beat up your honor roll student" sticker.
I wont make him wear it to school.

And no, my bed is not made. Who do you take me for? Holly Homemaker?

Also. The Spanish subjunctive. It's a mood, not a tense.
But it's making me tense and moody, so if any of you understand it feel free to give me tutelage.

Did you know that my children start school in 5 weeks and 3 days? 'Tis true.
Alex and I finished A Little Princess, and have moved on to The Ordinary Princess.
I'm beginning to sense a theme to our reading.

So Friday evening was not my finest hour.
I had just about had it with my hair. I've needed a haircut for several weeks and kept forgetting to ask around for recommendations for salons. I googled a few in the area, and then promptly weeded them out because I'm too cheap to pay 60 dollars for a haircut.
My hair is really not that complicated.
So when Josh got home from work, I decided that I was just going to walk to a family haircut place around the corner. What's the worst that could happen, right?

I would provide you with a picture of the worst that could happen but my vanity prevents me.
I have never cried after a haircut before, but I was wee close on Friday.

People, I look like a mushroom.
 And I like that tasty fungus as much as the next guy, but I don't want to look like it.

Oh, and guess who has a passport appointment coming up?
It's going to be 10 years before I can live down my mushroom 'do.

I realize that there are real problems in the world, and so after I take another moment of silence for the small-scale tragedy that has befallen my follicles, I will move on.


This is me moving on. To bed.