Wednesday, September 26, 2012


It's been forevah since I've joined in on the 'ol hodgepodge at Joyce's page. So let's, shall we?

You can too. Everybody's doing it. Don't be lame. 

Yes, Mother. I'd jump off the bridge, too.
I'm a great swimmer.

1. The Wednesday Hodgepodge falls on John Chapman's birth date.  He's more famously known as Johnny Appleseed...what's your favorite variety of apple?

I like McIntosh, Gala, and we just had the best bag of Pink Lady apples. So they might be my new favorite. 

2. When did you last say 'ick'?

This morning when I was brushing Derek's teeth before school. I noticed a dark layer at the bottom of his bristles that I am fairly sure is Oreo residue, but I didn't want to look too closely in case it is moldy residue and so I just tossed the brush in the trash.


3.  Do you think there's a generation gap?  Explain.

Sometimes I think how odd life must seem to the oldest in our society compared with the "young folks these days."  I think I could blow my Grandma's mind just by showing her how to FaceTime on an iPad. Like, literally. Her mind might explode.
She still thinks that when we talk on the phone, we have to get off within a minute so as not to make my phone bill too big.
I bet if I took her to a high school she would wonder why there were so many prostitutes running around. I mean, have you seen what teenagers are wearing these days?

4.  What's on your computer screen saver?  Do you change it often or leave it alone?

I forget about it. I had to close my web browser to check just now. 
 It's this picture of Alex. I love this picture.

 5.  If you had the attention of the entire world for two minutes what would you say?

Oh, I'd be preaching. Heaven, Hell, Jesus.
You know.
2 minutes isn't very long, but I could break it down quick.

6.  Four fashion trends to try this fall are brocade/jacquard (fancy fabrics), peplum, lace, and printed pants...which of these four would you be most likely to wear?

Was that English?
Peplum? Jacquard? Should I know what that is?

I'm probably going to be mistaken for a bum on the streets of Madrid. From what I hear, jeans and sneakers are not commonly worn. So I'm just going to stay inside a lot. I mean, for me, to wear jeans is to dress up.

7.  What can make your bad day better?

Well, my bad days are rather predictable. Cyclical, you might say. I have about 2 a month, back to back, and the only thing that helps is to wait to 2 days.

Oh, and for no one to talk to me.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

We had  a rough morning getting ready for school, even before the black fungus of the toothbrush.
Last week we went to the Wharf (again) for clam chowder and crepes (again), and we let the kids pick out a magnet in one of the tourist shops. Josh has been buying them magnets of the places we've been or he's been for the past several years.

Except Afghanistan. Would you believe there's no souvenir shop there?
Not even a "My Dad Went to Afghanistan and All I Got Was This Magnet."

He did bring home some 20-mm casings from large bullets he shot at people, but that's not exactly the kind of thing you celebrate on the fridge, ya know?

Anyway, the kids picked a fun blue octopus that says Monterey and has boingy legs you can boing. Great fun.
The kids named him Oct the Octopus (despite my awesome suggestion of Ocho. Is that not a better name?). They have drawn his picture and relish his existence.

I knocked him off the fridge this morning and he lost a leg.
Alex cried.
I was already a little flustered by her slow as molasses movement all morning long, and this was the last straw. Crying over a magnet?
Alex: He's not an OCTOpus anymore! Wahhhh.
Me: You're right. He's a septopus, stop crying and finish your waffle.
Alex: Wahhhhh
Me: Alex, he's still fine, he's still a part of the fridge family. If you lost an appendage, we would still love you.
Alex: Leaves table in distress.

Josh tried to glue the leg back on to no avail, and finally reasoned with her that it's like some predator had bitten off the octopus' leg, and we have a special one now.

Special Septopus.
I guess it's good we didn't name him Ocho.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


well hallooo out there.

I realized it had been a long time since I uploaded pictures, and that I should probably throw some up here. Here's what we've been up to...

 Josh and Alex went on a date last Sunday. He took her to Carmel for a showing of Beauty and the Beast in an outdoor theater. Doesn't Josh look lovely with a man bag? It was a picnic lunch for during the show.

I was told the date was a sucess.

My little guy wanted his own special afternoon while they were gone. He requested a whole bag of popcorn all for himself, a movie, and then a bubble bath. We get along quite well.

The other night when I didn't feel like cooking dinner (also known as Sunday through Saturday), we opted to let the kids bike over to Fisherman's Wharf for bread bowls of clam chowder. Yummy.

Here they are on the bike bath.

I love the water!

Josh and Derek were leaving me in their dust, so I stopped to get a picture of the wharf.

Kids watching the taffy being pulled.

Dinner is served. Just watch out for the pigeons and seagulls. They're ballsy.

And ice-cream covered crepes for dessert.

Derek's started soccer now. He's not very good, but he's a happy sort of chap and he doesn't realize that athletics are not our family's strong point.

I'm not sure what is our strong point.

Ooh. Maybe it's doing nothing. We excel at doing nothing. It's my favorite kind of day.  Even one event, like grocery shopping or a dentist appointment, is enough to ruin a perfectly good nothing day for me.

Happy to have an audience.

Love him.

He might not be good, but it could be worse.

Here's a video clip that's only about a month old, but I thought it was cute. 
Derek opening the gift of a lifetime...

Friday, September 14, 2012

A year

It was exactly one year ago today that Josh left for his 6-month deployment to Afghanistan. I went back and read the post I wrote that day and got a little teary-eyed when I remembered the way it felt to say goodbye. It also gave me a craving for Oreo middles, but I'm resisting. Trying to drop a few pounds, you know. I'm doing it the healthy way-- replacing meals with coffee and hoping the jittering counts as activity.

What a crazy year it's been! He was gone, the kids and I traveled quite a bit, and then there was a whirlwind of activity as Josh arrived home and just a couple weeks later we were moving across the country.
Now we are making preparations for an even bigger move.

Plans are starting to come together a little bit. Since our report date for Spain is in early January, we're hoping to be able to make it back to Michigan along the way and see our family once more before heading overseas.

(And maybe pawn our van off in one of their garages. Dad? Mom? Got room for a swagger wagon to hang for a year and a half?)

The last time that Josh was home was for his sister's wedding-- which was on the same day that Derek turned 2 years old. So, I'd say he's long overdue to see his family. I've been back several times during those 3-plus years, but it's always been when Josh was out of the country.

If those plans work out, we'll be packing up here sometime in December and saying adios to Monterey before the year is out. 

And let's recap this week, shall we?

- On Monday, I was flossing Alex's teeth and noticed that something looked wrong with her upper back molars-- the teeth that are the anchors for her palatal expander. They were pushed out of line and angled funny. How had I missed this over the last month?
She already had an appointment scheduled for the next day, so I spent the rest of the night googling "when expanders go wrong" and picturing her wearing headgear at her wedding to correct the mistake that I hadn't noticed happening.

- On Tuesday, we went to her appointment and were told that everything was perfect.
So there's that.

- Derek accidentally had some papers in his school folder that belonged to another kid in his class.  Either Daniel's parents should be very proud of how advanced their son's writing is, or we need to be working with Derek a little more. Is it wrong to hope that Derek's papers didn't end up in Daniel's folder? Or at least hope that his name was as unrecognizable as the rest of his writing?

- Both kids had regular dentist appointments yesterday. Derek's x-rays show that his teeth will be even more crowded that his sister's.
For Christmas this year, we'll be requesting that he receive no toys; instead you can make a donation to his future orthodontic fund. 

- Last night I had a dream that Josh was having an affair with some hot young Hollywood actress. I woke up mad at him. I might still be a little mad.
Does this happen to anyone else?


Friday, September 7, 2012

Character Profile

Hello Pat the Bunny. This is for you, in response to the guilt trip in my inbox this morning that began with:

"Now you know I am not one to complain..."

and ended with:


Okay, I'm making that last part up. It was worded quite politely.

So here's what the crew has been up to:

Josh-- recently got over a man cold. going to school. taking tests. looking sexy. putting me to shame as parent of the year.
Seriously. I think the ages of our kids appeal more to him now than ever before. The evenings are a non-stop flow of board games, card games, book reading, wrestling matches, homework helping, fights-to-the-death, etc. I'm no longer sure that our kids are responsible for the majority of the noise in our house.
I've taken to trying to stay out of the way lest I have to join in on the games.
Not to be a jerk, but the 5-year-old's attention span while gaming is enough to make me run away screaming.
Josh is in charge of the oldest group of boys in Awana. He was a little nervous about that age group, but I think they like him already. I told him just to mention that he's a fighter pilot and they'd be eating out of his hands. Finally, a group of children old enough to care. Ours are so used to it that it doesn't seem so cool. What a waste, no?

But then he reminds me that he's not a fighter pilot, he's a Spanish student.
Details, details. 

Me-- spending way more time in the car than ever before. grocery shopping. dinner cooking. lunch making. book reading. appointment making. appointment taking. laundry queen. thinking about how I should clean the house. cleaning it only right before we have company instead.
We did have company this past weekend. Josh's friend Alex and his wife, Cat, came up from LA to spend the weekend with us. Monday was an incredibly beautiful morning, and we walked the mile down to Fisherman's Wharf and had crepes. The kids saw the bird man and got to hold his parrots. Alex held a bird named Seven, which thrilled her to no end since she is seven, and her classroom at school is also number seven. Will wonders never cease?
Tonight we're having some friends over for dinner who are visiting Monterey. We met them many moons ago while in Alabama for one of Josh's schools.
We all went to Alabama from Idaho for the 6 weeks of school, because Josh was deploying shortly after and we didn't want to miss him for longer than we had to. Alex was 2 and Derek was 8 months old. We lived in one room. The walls were thin and the carpet was dirty.
Derek didn't sleep well and I couldn't let him cry himself to sleep because of the thin walls and the 2 year old in the room. So I took to nursing him in the night again as if he were still a newborn. He was in hog-heaven. The rest of us were tired and miserable.
Good times.
But now he's 5 and he brings home pocket-fulls of playground mulch. On purpose. They are his swords and knives. Maybe he wants to use them in the fights-to-the-death?

Alex-- Alex has been going through a rough time ever since she acquired a brother. We keep thinking she'll grow out of it, but I'm starting to wonder. Five years is a long time...
But alas, she is doing well. She is constantly getting "blue bucks" at school for being helpful and well-behaved. She must just use it all up there, I suppose.
She is still enjoying gymnastics. I stopped turning the key in her palatal expander, and we go back next week to check on the progress. She is now in the oldest group of Sparkies at Awana. La creme de la creme.
Today was "dress like a character from a book" day at school. She is pink from head to toe, my Pinkalicious.

Derek-- Derek was pretty sure that the first school day of September was Apple Day, where they would taste different apples. He woke up with apples on the brain. It wasn't apple day. Neither was the next day, or the next. He's finally stopped talking about it now, but I'm afraid that his inability to distinguish days will cause him disappointment in life. He still hasn't figured out if tomorrow comes after quiet time or after night time.
He's kind of special.
The other day he got a band-aid on his finger and asked if he would still be wearing it when we moved to Spain.

He is the bottom of the barrel in Sparkies now. I have to remember to keep him far away from his sister, lest he be bossed to death in every arena of his life.
He's had lots of appointments lately with allergists, labwork, regular check-ups, etc.
Turns out that he's outgrown his egg allergy, his milk is as low as it's ever been so he's probably close to outgrowing that, and he's wicked allergic to peanuts.
He's almost perfectly average in weight/height for his age, but way above average in cuddliness factor.
He goes to bed at 7pm, for his little mind is overwrought with the excitement of life in general.

Another picture from my bedroom window.
I love seeing the water.

This is what the non-bay side of the Pacific looks like on a foggy evening. It gets chilly with the breeze off the ocean.

There are lots of little tide pools full of living things.
Like hermit crabs.

If it's clear, you can see the sunset. It wasn't clear.
But I still love hearing the water crashing on the big rocks out there.

 How's that PTB?