Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Family visits Disneyland

After months of plotting and planning we finally made it to Disneyland! Pants has been watching Mickey's Clubhouse in preparation of our big visit. The Boy has been checking the rides on line to come up with his list of "have to go on that ride" rides. The parents charged up our camera batteries and prepared for an afternoon of chasing the kids through the park. At the end of the day we were all happily exhausted and enjoyed every minute of our visit. I will say the the Holiday Parade was worth the 30 minutes spent saving our front row seats.

The One and Only Santa Claus Miss Pants and her assistants (her parents) Goofy

The Boy (isn't he a cutie pie?)

Santa flew in to Palm Springs

The Boy who is all of 10 and slightly jaded when it comes to the whole Santa thing chose to stay home and missed out on Santa's arrival at the air museum in Palm Springs. Apparently the appeal of having some peace and quiet was greater than the appeal of standing in line to see the fat man in the red suit.
Fortunately Pants was willing to amuse us and we were able to use her as our excuse to go and see Santa. At the air museum one of Santa's Elves flies Santa in so he can visit with the kids (and give the reindeer a bit of a rest).

The Family went to the Aquarium of the Pacific

Uncle N (the Dad) has been promising Miss Pants that he will take her to the big fishes when she came out here on vacation. Of course she has been calling to remind him and give him a list of her demands. We were to pick her up at the airport with a brown pony and a cake. We compromised a bit and found a brown pony stuffed animal and a cupcake.
We made a quick stop at Seaport Village to allow Miss Pants to run off some of her excess energy. There were lots of choruses of "Steevie chase me" "Nate you run now". I am pretty sure we achieved our goal of wearing out the kids because Pants napped on the way back to our house and the Dad asked me to drive because he was too tired!
Our first adventure was a trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. We had a few minor problems with birds. The lorakets were a little too eager to drink the nectar we tried to feed them and the pigeons were very interested in our picnic lunch.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Shout out to my NS/CS friends

It has been a crazy year for us all this year. Lots of highs and lows. Beej brought us all to tears with her tribute and fund raiser for Lisa. Firebird lead us in a covert operation to cheer up startsmart.
Over the course of the year we have shared many laughs and good times. 2009 is on our horizon along with the much anticipated trip to Las Vegas. I fear that city will never be the same after we are through with it.
Happy holidays to each of you wonderful ladies.

Merry Christmas to All

Since our family Christmas cards include a link to this blog I figured I would be nice and post an actual Christmas letter of sorts.
This year has finally come to a close. It has been a long year. $4.69 a gallon gas out here for a while. A lay off for the Dad. A long hot summer followed by a fall with a couple of forest fires in our area. So far we have had a pretty rainy December too.
Through out this year we did still have a lot of fun and adventures. Camping trips to both the beach and the desert. Hikes everywhere from mountain tops to the valleys and lakes. Some nice trips to the beach for a little bit of boogie boarding and sand castle building too.
We have been fortunate to have a lot of visitors this year too. Nana and Papa try to make it out every 4 to 6 weeks. Early this year by brother, sister in law and goddaughter flew out for a long weekend and started off the year of visitors. Over spring break they brought my nephews out for a visit. This summer was saw my Grandma and my aunts as well. The Fall saw my sisters along with my mother too.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to visitors.
The one and only Miss Pants celebrated her 2nd birthday with us and a trip to Disneyland. She has decided to bring her parents back for Christmas now. Given that it has been an entire 7 months since her last visit it will basically be all new to her again.
On behalf of the entire Reynolds' family we would like to wish you all a wonderful holiday season.

The Mom begs for Forgiveness

I would like to apologize profusely for the lack of posts lately. Life tends to get a little hectic from time to time. To bring you all up to date:
The Dad has finished his current semester of school (with excellent grades BTW). He is in the process of looking for a new job as he was laid off a few weeks ago.
The Boy is still enjoying school and hanging out with his friends. He has a regular "gang" of kids that he plays with. They have been building a large river and battleground in our background. Makes for a lot of messy kids covered in mud but grinning from ear to ear.
I, the Mom, have stayed busy running the house and working. Between the Dad and the Boy it seems we are always on the go.
Hence the lack of updates. You will be happy to know that one of my New Year's Goals is to keep our blog more current. And since another Goal is to make Sundays family fun days we should have a lot of adventures to post about.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ode to Pana

Pana (Pants' Nana) is interrupting her busy life to make the 2 hour drive up to spend the weekend with her girls. I am adding the "s" to girl because technically Elle will be home and therefore her mother will be spending time with her as well.
Pana is the very definition of a grandma. She is the type of grandma that prepares for her visits days in advance of them. She will be bum rushed by Pants' the minute she rings the doorbell. Immediately after giving her Nana a hug Miss Thing will start that not to subtle slide toward Pana's bags. Why? Because she knows that it is virtually impossible for her Nana to get through the week without finding something that Pants just "has to have". It usually isn't anything big- sometimes a coloring book or a packet of stickers, her favorite m&ms, etc. She doesn't do this to spoil Pants, she does it because she never stops thinking about her granddaughter.
Trips to the grocery store become a game of "I wonder if Pants likes......" or "I hope that Elle remembers that Pants now likes green apples instead of the red ones". Trips to the Marts (large box stores with names like Target and Wal-mart) always include a trip to the toy and book aisle- just in case a manufacturer has invented a wonderful thing in the past week for her girl.
Please don't think I am teasing Pana. Honestly- Uncle the Dad is just as bad. Between the two of them that little girl will never want for anything. Fortunately Elle has started to learn this and assigned them each areas to cover- Pana is shoes and Uncle is purses- they split toys and clothes, however the Boy is all about stuffed animals for her.
This week in anticipation of her weekend with the girls, Pana will pack her bags (making sure Pants' gift is on top). She will likely start to go to bed a little earlier at night to prepare herself for the whirlwind fairy that is Miss Pants. The car will be gassed up and ready to go at least 6 hours before it is time for her to hit the road. The last day of work before her trip will be spent gazing at pictures of her girl and re-reading all of her blog posts. Finally (an hour earlier than she needs to) Pana will hit the open road and venture north (technically mostly east) to Pants.
All the while the Reynolds Family will be jealous- Pana gets to see Miss Pants and hang out with her for 3 whole days.

I dedicate this post to Pants' Nana who is one heck of a lady (and a really good mom to Elle too). It has recently come to my attention that when I fail to properly update my blog Elle will get a call from Pana instructing her to tell me to update my blog. Have fun with Miss Thing this weekend!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Mom is a Meanie

It was the Boy's opinion today that I am the Meanest Mom in the World-- and I am ok with that today. What heinous thing did I do to the Boy? Throw away all his toys- Nope, dress him funny- wrong again, make him eat Brussels sprouts for breakfast- strike three. Ready for the answer?
I made him go to school! Gasp if you must, but I did what I had to do.
And before you starting acting shocked as if I released a little Ebola monkey on to his unsuspecting classmates- He was not sick. The Boy will readily admit that he was perfectly healthy today. There was no reason to keep him home other than the fact that he "didn't want to go to school" today. Apparently he was sick and tired of being bossed around and decided he had earned the right to stay home.
I have wracked my brain today in order to come up with a list of ways in which I have wronged the Boy (or bossed him around). So far I have come up with the following:
1. Stopped by his school and tracked down a custodian so I could get his math book from his desk
2. Brought him to Target and bought his Halloween Costume
3. We went for a family walk last night (he wanted to come with)
4. I made him dinner (made him one of his favorites)
5. I helped him with his homework (did the typing for one of his reports that he dictated)
6. Let him go to sleep at 9 when he declared he was tired (it was his normal bed time)

So yeah, not sure when all of this "Bossing" around happened. Needless to say by the time he got home from school he had forgotten he was even mad at me. We even made a batch of cookies together this afternoon.

This whole "pre-teen" thing is for the birds!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Family goes Bowling

Since we are all (currently) healthy and our extended family is safely back in MN we had the opportunity to get back to our regular lives. And apparently our regular life now includes trips to the bowling alley.
On Sundays the Dad attends a meeting in Palm Springs with our dear friend Dave (more on him in a bit). Every Sunday we drive past a big Bowling Alley and think to ourselves "we should stop there one of these days". Well my friends, today was that day.
We planned ahead and had a quick picnic lunch after the meeting and headed to the Bowling Alley on the way back home. We had a blast! I did forget our regular digital camera so please excuse the poor quality from my cell phone's camera.

Dave- our dear friend Dave is on the winning side of his battle with colon cancer. He has completed both his chemo and radiation treatments. The Doctors have found the treatments to be successful but are continuing to monitor his tumor with regular scans.
Although the Dad sees Dave on a regular basis it has been a little while since the Boy and I have seen him. It was a huge relief to see him looking so handsome and healthy.
We did invite him to go bowling with us but he promised to spend the afternoon with his husband as it is rare for them to have weekend days off together.

Since we enjoyed our bowling adventure so much I am sure Dave will get a chance to come with us again.

PS- to Elle and Pants- glad that you loved your box and all the goodies inside. We always look for any excuse to spoil someone as adorable as Pants on the Loose!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Family Gets Sick

Sorry for the lack of posting and updating lately. Both the Dad and I came down with horrible head colds this last week. As in home sick from work sick. So bad that when people would call on the phone after I said "Hello" their comment would be "Oh my god, you sound terrible".

Worst part of the whole situation was the snoring. The Dad can take some cold medicine and pass out cold. Which makes "encouraging" him to roll over when he starts to sleep impossible. Trust me when I say impossible. Tools were involved in my attempts to get him to roll over and stop snoring.

Sick as I was, I had to watch tv until exhaustion took over so I could be sure I would be able to fall asleep. Had to be so tired that the snoring didn't matter. Trust me- tv at 2am during the week is beyond boring!

Fortunately we are now on the mend and the crud seems to have skipped the boy this time around. We haven't called in a CSI team but I am willing to bet that the Boy was patient zero this time around anyway.

Life should hopefully be returning to our regularly scheduled schedule soon.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Last Day of September

I can't speak for everyone but I can honestly say that as far as the Reynolds' Family goes- September flew right by us. We are now firmly entrenched in the routine of school/work/life. The Boy is thankfully still enjoying his class and this year's teacher. The Dad is enjoying his courses this semester. And I am making dinner every night and supervising homework and bed times. (The Dad always wants to stay up way past his!).
My favorite part of the evening is checking out the Pants on the Loose blog for updates on Miss Pants. Too cute for words.

A review of our September goals is as follows:
September Goals:Increase closet space in the playroom (by reducing the amount of toys by 25%)
Increase our ebay income (by selling unneeded items- especially extra purses)
Yes to family time on the weekends- a minimum of two family fun days this month
Yes to volunteering somewhere this month
Yes to developing a positive outlook on life!

The results:
The playroom closet is virtually empty. The Boy purged closer to 40-50% of the toys out of there. Some were set to be donated and some are listed on ebay.
The purses have been photographed and descriptions written for ebay. They will be listed as soon as the Dad has his next night off from school (Friday).
We did 2 fun family activities- went to the Zoo once and to the Apple Orchard and hiking once.
Still haven't found somewhere to volunteer (my bad)
Yes- I think I have cultivated more of a positive attitude this month. As always my attitude is considered a "work in progress".

When it comes to my NS/CS goals- I hit 23 no spend days which was my goal. The NS/CS ladies are planning a future get together in Vegas for next fall. Good times will be had by all.

I have to consult with the Dad and the Boy and will update with a new post when we have finalized our October goals.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The House is Quiet!

For what seems like the first time in over 10 years our house is quiet- both while people are home and awake. The Boy is quietly playing on the computer. He is looking up cheat codes for one of his XBox games so there is no volume to contend with. The Girls are either sleeping (dogs) or staring out the window (cat). The Dad is on his way home from therapy. I am almost at a loss because this quiet is disconcerting and very un-Reynolds like.
In 10 minutes the Dad will walk through the door and wake up the Girls. As a result we will get to enjoy a melody of barking. The Boy will have found some amazing code that will allow his character to be invisible or something. This will require a good bit of "Dad, want me to tell you something?"
And through it all I will find peace because once again my house will be as it should- our own Reynolds' brand of organized chaos.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Boy is a Dork

The Boy just finished his evening shower and had an announcement to make. Apparently his glasses are as clean as the rest of him. One might wonder why I even mention this. Seems my dear brilliant son forgot to take his glasses off while he took his shower.
Being a parent means trying really hard not to laugh at situations like this. Not an easy task let me tell you.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Family Picks some Apples

Sunday was the Dad's turn to pick the activity for the day and his choice was hiking and apple picking. We decided to return to the location of our first family hike from over a year ago in Oak Valley. The nature center is located next to a small apple orchard farm, gift shop and restaurant. On the return trip home we stopped by a pick your own fruit place. We loaded up on fruit.
Please enjoy the pictures from our weekend.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Lazy Lion

The Boy took this picture yesterday at the Zoo and I failed to add it to the previous post. Thinking these Kings of the Jungle are living the good life even in captivity.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Family went to the Zoo

I made an executive decision today and demanded (nicely requested) that we do something fun today. During a family meeting we voted on the options that we had brainstormed-- zoo, beach, Universal Studios, or hiking in the mountains. We settled on the zoo and hurried through our morning showers and that so we could hit the old dusty trail. We have annual passes to the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park. Since the Wild Animal Park is 30 miles closer to us we decided to head there. The Boy volunteered to be the Family Historian for the day (take the pictures). I have been instructed to state that unless the Boy is in the picture he is the one that took it.
I shouldn't be so happy for getting to pick the activity this weekend since the Dad has requested we finish the yard work next weekend.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Slow Week

It's been a relatively slow week and the Boy just scolded me for not updating our blog sooner.
Holly, my Dalmatian is home from the vet hospital. Her ear looks terrible (I can safely say this because she lacks the ability to read). Poor baby- stitches on top of stitches. She is still moving a little slowly but is enjoying sleeping on our bedroom floor rather than her kennel at night.
The Dad rocked his phone interview this week. Classes have been going well so far this semester. He did do a little re-arranging and dropped Biology in favor of Abnormal Psychology.

The Boy is currently busy doing his homework for the night. This
year's teacher is pretty consistent with one hour of homework per night. The only downside is that the Boy gets easily distracted (Shiny Object Syndrome). So I have to basically stay close to the kitchen table to make sure he stays on task.

I'd like to give a Reynolds' Family Shout out to our friend Miss Pants for rocking the Potty Training game. I know Elle has kept us all informed with her progress on the Pants on the Loose blog- but we wanted to give her a special woo hoo from us. So Woo Hoo Miss Pants- your uncle has been well reminded that he owes you a cake!

Now if the Boy would stop telling me about his video game and finish his homework I would be one happy Mom.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Dad is Famous

After being featured in a riveting article in the September issue of Men's Fitness the Dad was interviewed this morning by NPR. Both the article and the interview dealt with his struggles with depression and his recovery.

The Boy and I are so proud of him.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Thank God it's Sunday! After the week we had I am relieved to have the opportunity to start a new week.
Friday was a long and stressful day in court dealing with a hearing for a restraining order that we filed. We have been dealing with a stalker for the past several months and we are finally now able to move on. We had our day in court and emerged victorious. We are now the proud owners of a restraining order again a woman who was making our lives a living nightmare. So hopefully we won't have to change any more phone numbers or email addresses.
After getting home from the court house we noticed that Holly's ear looked swollen. Like significantly swollen compared to the other ear. Yeah- a trip to the vet to find out she has a hematoma that requires surgery. Her ear flap has a air pocket that is full of blood and it needs to be repaired first thing Monday morning. My poor baby....
Curious how stressful it is sitting in a court room 3 feet from your stalker and waiting hours for your case to be heard? We were so wiped we were in bed and sound asleep by 9pm.
Saturday was a day for running errands and catching up on our chores. With our week day schedules so busy Saturday is errand day for the Reynolds' Family. With the Dad in class from 8 am until 1 pm- family errand day is really the Mom's errand day.
Today was a very peaceful day for us. We drove to Palm Springs so the Dad could attend a therapy session. Since the temps are still in the 100's we enjoyed a nice dip in the pool to cool off. The Boy finished his book report while the Dad took an on line test for one of his classes and I made granola bars.
Reading over this I can see the peaks and valleys that our family has. Days of drama followed by days of simple, peacefulness. Thinking I much prefer the boring yet simple and peaceful days more.
The Dad's 15 minutes of fame continues tomorrow. He has a 6 am phone interview with NPR to discuss depression issues. The interview is a result of a magazine article in which the Dad was on of the men that discussed their depression and therapy. The magazine's marketing department has been discussing a possible tv interview with CBS on the article as well. Who knows what will happen with that, but I do know that the Dad will be up and on the phone at 6 am tomorrow. I should probably be a good wife and wake up that early too.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Girls

Within the Reynolds' Family I am the only female so to keep from being out numbered I factor the "Girls" into the equation. The Girls are our four legged family members.

our 12 year old Dalmatian was my First Christmas present from the Dad. She is my Dog and spends all of her free time in whatever room I happen to be in. When The Boy was younger Holly acted as a nanny to him. We don't have a single picture of him crawling or walking in the first 2 years of his life that doesn't have Holly somewhere in the Background.

Zoe- is The Boy's dog. She is a 6 year old Pound Puppy Lab Mix that we adopted from the Humane Society. If Zoe were a human she would be of the "short bus" variety. By far the sweetest pet you could ever want but a few cards shy of a full deck if you get my drift. The girl will play fetch until she passes out in exhaustion.

Bella- the newest member of our clan. She was a stray rescue that the Boy adopted in lieu of the reptile he wanted to get for Christmas. Thank you Bella! She is my first cat and enjoys tormenting the dogs every chance she gets. The Dad is just relieved to finally have a pet of his very own in the house.

The Dad suggested that I add the Girls to our blog since "hello they are family members".

Monday, September 1, 2008

New Start September!

September- the month of new starts for the Reynolds' Family. As a family one of our overall goals is personal improvement.
The Boy is back to school and so far having a successful first month back. He has been taking his school work very seriously and devoting a period of time every night to school work. He has made a commitment to expanding his personal library. The last book he read was "Animal Farm" and he is currently reading "The Hobbit".
The Dad's fall semester starts tomorrow. This semester is going to be very busy for him. In addition to his Monday through Friday full time job he is taking 5 classes. He has a combination of evening classes, a Saturday class and 2 on line courses.
Myself- most of my days revolved around work and the Boys. With the DH breezing in a out briefly for dinner before he heads to his night class it is my responsibility to oversee the household side of life. Dinner, clean up, grocery shopping, the Boy's homework etc. are all items on my to do list. I am happy to do these things since it was only a couple of years ago that the Dad did them all for me while I was working and going to college full time.

As a result of our busy schedules, previous goals and frugal lifestyle we have designated September as the Month of Yes. Rather than police ourselves and establish a series of "No" goals we are going to flip things around and establish only positive goals.

September Goals:
Increase closet space in the playroom (by reducing the amount of toys by 25%)
Increase our ebay income (by selling unneeded items- especially extra purses)
Yes to family time on the weekends- a minimum of two family fun days this month
Yes to volunteering somewhere this month
Yes to developing a positive outlook on life!

Day one- so far a success as we have ear marked some sale items for ebay and started planning our first fun activity for next weekend.

August Roundup

All 31 days of August have come and gone and it is now time to review and evaluate our August Goals. To review- our goals for August were:
Buy nothing new
Work out 20 times
Play games with Boy
No candy for the Boy
Find a Volunteer Opportunity
Build Compost Bin

In theory the goals looked to be as easy as 123. In reality we had more obstacles than we imagined we would.

Buy Nothing New: Pretty much a success. We did purchase the 3 new beach towels at the very beginning of the month. Towards the middle of the month we did purchase some school supplies and school shoes (on clearance) for the Boy. This weekend I purchased a new purse for myself with the birthday money that my parents sent me.

Work out 20 Times: Complete failure. Other than family activities and yard work we didn't work out at all. This goal will be forwarded to September as well.

Games with the Boy: Didn't play any traditional board games with him but we did spend quality time with him this month. We did the beach, mini golfing and swimming. The Dad and the Boy have a computer game in common so they have been playing that together on a regular basis.

No Candy for the Boy: Failure- sort of. We try and so far have limited his candy snacking down to an occasional treat. He doesn't have things like candy bars but he does having a pack of sour patch kids from time to time. Progress but still have room for improvement.

Volunteer Opportunity: We continue to struggle with this. We participate in a community organic produce club and donated school supplies this month. However, we continue to try to find somewhere to volunteer. We have contacted local elderly homes and a local aids project but so far no one is calling us back.

Compost Bin: Cancelled this goal because the Dad donated his comic book money toward the purchase of a compost bin. We have found one that will allow us to compost the dog waste and kitty litter. A home made bin does not "cook" at a high enough temperature to allow for this hence the manufactured one we will be purchasing.

Bring on September!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Family goes to see Jack Johnson

The first time the Dad and I saw Jack Johnson in concert was on my 30th birthday. Since then we have made it a family tradition to take in a concert every year around my birthday. Last year the Boy joined the tradition with his first concert- Jimmy Buffet. This year we were fortunate enough to see Jack Johnson again (the Mom and Dad) and for the first time (the Boy).
It was everything an outdoor concert should be. Beautiful weather, clear sky and bug free! Jack goes above and beyond to make his concerts as eco friendly as possible. This year Jack created a area called the "Village Green" were concert goers could learn about eco causes, register to vote and donate to various charities. We all had a blast and can't wait to pick our concert for next year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's My Birthday!

Today is my 33rd birthday- I am here to tell you that I got sh*t for my birthday!. Told the Dad I was going to say that because he bought me a compost machine for my birthday. Given our growing commitment to a green lifestyle it is a welcome present.
Even more touching is the fact that the Dad used the money he earned by selling his comics and brewing equipment for my present. Previously the money had been earmarked for a new laptop so he sacrifice is very touching.
The Boy had a modified day at school today (half day) and he made me a grilled cheese for lunch. So sweet of him. He is all about helping out in the kitchen these days and learning how to cook.
It was such a treat today to get happy birthday wishes from my CS friends across the country.
I received a wonderful phone call from Elle and Pants as well as cards and pictures in the mail from them. Pants sang me a beautiful rendition of "Happy Happy" which is her version of the Happy Birthday song.
S.R. my sister in law also called to wish me a happy birthday. It was fun hearing about how big my goddaughter is getting.
Sadly tomorrow marks the end of my birthday-palooza until next year.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Squirrel on the Loose

The events of today provided me with further proof of the theory of karma. Not sure exactly what I have done recently to deserve all of the events that happened today. I have some ideas- nothing major but I have probably been a wee bit too snarky this week for my own good.

The day started off with the discovery that $445 worth of debit charges that weren't mine on my account. 4 charges to Target and one to Toys R Us. The result was a couple of hours worth of phone calls to the bank, Target and Toys R Us. The lovely people on the WIR gave me a few suggestions on steps to take to protect my bank accounts.

Just as I was finally able to control the panic attacks from the banking mess, my partner Derek yelled "shut your door!" So of course I left my office to find out why I should shut my door. Lucky me I was just in time to see our new friend scurry across the floor.

You know it's never good with the word "scurry" is used in a sentence. Seems some wayward squirrel has decided that my place of business makes an excellent rodent hotel. A quick Google search on "squirrel trapping" answered most of the questions that I had on evicting my new friend.

Awaiting to see the effectiveness of our attempts-- one live trap cage baited with a Reece's peanut butter cup. Not sure why we landed on a candy bar to lure the squirrel but the convenience store was much closer than the grocery store.

Fingers crossed in the hopes that the squirrel likes chocolate and has his bags packed for his new home (at least 3 miles from the office as per Google)

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Mom likes to Brag

So far the new school year is off to a smashing success. The Boy proudly came home with his first two tests of the school year- both A+. It is wonderful to have the Boy so proud of school and happy to be back in the swing of things.
What a relief to have us in the third week of school with no breakdowns, no arguments, temper tantrums etc. He is still showering without much complaint, doing his homework and going to bed without a fight. It is so great to see him growing up and getting older but it is a little sad to know that my baby is nearly a teenager.

The Dad is feeling a bit guilty about the Date Night that never was and has some secret plans for my birthday on Wednesday. Since we have virtually eliminated eating out from our lives I have been having a terrible time trying to pick a restaurant to have my birthday dinner at. I solved that little problem quite easily tonight.
The Boy is now scheduled to make dinner (with supervision) one night per week- he has decided to make dinner on Wednesday for my birthday!

I realize it's only Monday but I really hope the rest of this week flies by.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Date Night that Never Was

After surviving the work week I can home from work on Friday ready to enjoy the weekend. The Boy was invited to a sleep over at J-Dog's house. So like any reasonably minded female I started thinking- woo hoo date night!
I should have known from experience that when The Mom comes up with a little mental plan things always go awry. The nerve of the men/boys that live at my house with me!
The Boy decided I should feed him before his sleepover so The Dad decided was should have dinner a a family. Ok- nice family time but that canceled any opportunity to have a nice quiet meal at a restaurant with the Dad. No big deal.
So I get back from dropping the Boy off at J-Dog's and start thinking- "Ok maybe now we can go out and do something". What a fool I was.
While I was driving the 4 blocks to J-Dog's the Dad was putting on his pajamas and getting comfortable for the night. Ok- cancel leaving the house. So I start thinking- Oh maybe we can watch a nice movie together. Again- what a fool (you would think I would learn my lesson).
The Dad claims the remote and suggests we watch Zodiac. No big deal- not my first choice but I can deal.
All was going along smoothly until I scolded the dogs for snoring so loudly and found out it was my "date" aka The Dad who was snoring!
So my Date Night schedule was as follows:
6:00 Made dinner for the family
6:30 Drove the Boy to J-Dog's
7:00 Started watching Zodiac
8:00 the Dad fell asleep on the sofa.
10:00 Zodiac ended and I woke up the Dad and sent him to bed.

I tell you what- he owes me do-over on Date Night!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Case of the Blah's

Today I am experiencing a small case of the Blah's. No discernible reason for it other than "because". I'd like to imagine that I am not the only one out there that just wants to stomp there feet and march back to bed.
I heard today that our own Miss Pants had a case of the "my day is going terribles" and voluntarily went off to take a nap. As I sit here and type this I am pretty jealous of Miss Pants. She had a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day and sulked in her playroom until Elle came home from work. As a grown up I don't really get that option.
I fought the urge to go shopping today since the "I wants" go hand in hand with the Blah's. I want new clothes because all of my old ones are ugly. I want new books because the ones I checked out from the library are boring. The list can go on and on but you get the basic idea.
I text The Dad to warn him and tell him to not let me go shopping under any circumstances. His solution "You can always go to the store and buy me a graphing calculator". Not sure how driving to the store to buy him something for school is supposed to cheer me up.
So I am resigned to the fact that I can't very well get away with a croppy flop of a temper tantrum. When I get home from work I won't be able to take a nap since the Boy needs to do his homework and will want to have dinner.
You know, it's days like this when being a grown up is no fun at all. I am calling this current mood "Frugal Fatigue" I am tired of being responsible and mature dammit. I want to...... honestly, I don't know what I want. I think I mostly just want it to be Friday.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Boy Goes Swimming

On Saturday we spent the day hanging out with The Boy's Nana and Papa (The Mom's parents) at their vacation home in Palm Springs. As with most of our visits at their house- the day wouldn't have been complete without a quick dip in the swimming pool.

Nothing says afternoon fun with your grandpa quite like using him as a diving board!

Of course with the temps hovering well above the triple digits a trip to the pool becomes all most mandatory.
Sadly the weekend came to an end and Nana and Papa have flown back to MN.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Successful School Week

We have nearly reached the end of the first week back at school for the Boy. I believe we can chalk this week up as a successful one.
Highlights as follows:
According to the Boy:
Teacher- super cool because she went to adult space camp this summer
Room- biggest classroom in the school square footage wise (apparently that's a good thing)
Students- same kids as the last 2 years so all of his friends are there.
According to the Mom:
Parents- the Dad and I both made it through the first day of 5th grade dry eyed
Teacher- let the parents see the classroom (much to the Boy's embarrassment)
Room- towards the front of the school so when the Boy forgets something I don't have to wonder through the entire courtyard to get to his classroom
Students- same as last year so I am used to the parents

The Boy has taken this whole being a 5th grader seriously. As previously agreed upon he has taken all showers without complaint, gone to bed on time every night, started his homework exactly at the pre-agreed upon time, and started riding his bike to school.
The bike thing was almost worse than the first day of school for me. He took off while I was still locking up the house so I had to yell my good-byes when he was half way down the block. I did follow behind him in the car but was able to resist the urge to park and help him lock up the bike. I will admit I was a nervous wreck waiting for him to get home from school yesterday (first bike day) and call to report he was safe and sound.
Today watching him ride off on his bike was a little easier- especially since the Dad and I decided that the Boy isn't allowed to drive until he is 30 or date until he is 40. PS. please don't tell the Boy because he is still under the impression that he'll get his license at the same time as everyone else.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Boy goes to 5th grade

Today was a sad day for me and the Dad. Our boy went off to 5th grade this year with hardly a backwards glance. In fact when the teacher gave us permission to go into the classroom to say good-bye he was borderline embarrassed! The nerve of that kid. Of course we had been harassing him all morning long about being a 5th grader.

He is in the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) class again. Actually kind of nice since there is only one GATE class in every grade he has had the same kids in his class since 2nd grade. There are 160 kids in his grade so being with the same 30 year after year has it's advantages.

The downside of GATE is that the kids have a LOT of homework and extra projects that they are expected to do. Plus since they have all tested at Gifted Level the teachers have no patience for laziness. Their motto is "there is no greater shame than a bored gifted kid". Needless to say homework becomes a battle some nights at our house.

So the Boy is now a 5th grader. He has once again abandoned the nest and ventured out into the world. We did manage to get some action shots of a 5th grader before he started just giving us dirty looks. You can tell by the time he was at the door ready to leave he was done being amused by his parents.

Action shots:
This is how a 5th grader eats breakfast

How a 5th grader brushes his teeth
And how a 5th grader barely looks amused as his mom begs for one last picture before he leaves for school.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Proud Mommy

I recently ranted about kindergarten stealing my son and making him grow up. Apparently I may be having a slight change of heart. This weekend the Boy reminded me why his growing up isn't necessarily a bad thing. My parents used to tell me that one day I would be punished with a child just like me. I am finding it isn't as much of a punishment as they would have hoped.
The Boy is starting to really grow in to his personality and it is an amazing thing to watch. Our parenting philosophy has been to expose the Boy to as many cultures and lifestyles as possible and raise him to be an open minded person. So far we have surpassed our expectations.
The Boy is growing into his opinions and wears the hat of an environmental warrior, champion for gay rights and political dynamo.
There is something magical about the Boy. I saw that knowing full well that it sounds like parental bragging but he really does have this inner glow. People want to talk to him and be his friend. This is a skill that he uses only for good. When the kids on the playground at school use a derogatory term for a homosexual he scolds them. Tells them that it is a disrespectful term and that he can not be friends with people that use those terms. So far 100% of the time the offending kid has apologized and stopped using that term. They aren't calling the Boy names just using things like the phrase "that's so gay."
As a environmental warrior and animal rights activist he is finding his footing there as well. He recently announced his desire to only wear vegan footwear. He doesn't feel it is right for animals to die just to make his shoes. When we became vegetarians we let him switch on his own and he continued to eat meat a couple of times a month but has now decided that he doesn't want to eat meat at all anymore.
It makes me proud of the Boy to know that he is willing to have his own opinions and stand up for them. I am looking forward to seeing what the next chapter brings.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Trying to Give Money Away

As part of the save the world and our pocketbook campaign, the CS ladies have a weekly challenge. Some weeks it's about putting money into savings, other weeks it's about clearing out the clutter in our homes, etc.
This week our challenge is to purchase and donate school supplies to those in need. Sounds like an easy challenge right? Yeah, that's what I foolishly thought too.
Had I just gone straight to Staples and done an in store purchase I could have dropped items off in their collection bin. But, no that was too easy for The Mom. I was determined to ensure that the donation would go straight to local schools and kids. Not an easy task mind you.
I started with the Salvation Army, thinking maybe they were collecting school supplies. After trying to reach them via phone half a dozen times I gave up trying.
Apparently no one answers the phone at the Boy's elementary school during the summer months. The school district office assumed I was a nutcase.
Finally I found a number for a local charity and called them. They put me in touch with another charity that was exactly what I was looking for.
It's a small charity called Operation School Bell. They collect school supplies and hand them out to families in need. I spoke with the organizer and have a list of items they are looking for. Step 2 is to actually make it to the store and stock up on the items they requested and drop them off at the charity.
This fiasco reminded me of our Christmas experiences. In an effort to teach the Boy about the importance of helping others we tried to adopt a family at Christmas. This proved nearly impossible as well. Again, charities refusing to return phone calls or not answering their phones.
Why is it everyone that I don't want to give money to wants my money? And those that I would gladly donate to don't answer their phones?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Don't let your kids go to Kindergarten

I am really not trying to rob your children of an education. I just want to warn you of what will happen when your sweet innocent child will leave the nest for his or her first day of kindergarten--- they will start to grow up!
Yes, it is sad but true. I remember so naively thinking how wonderful it would be when the Boy started school. The adventure of buying new school clothes and school supplies. Meeting his teacher for the first time. It all seemed so pure and wonderful. But it is basically the beginning of the end.
From their first day of school time speeds up to a hectic pace and all efforts to slow down and smell the roses are useless. Trust me, I speak from experience.
I remember the day like it was yesterday (mostly because I am convinced it was)...
I dropped the Boy, who at the time was still my Baby off at school- safely in the care of his new teacher. I drove to work with tears streaming down my cheeks, determined to make it to 3 pm when I could have my baby back.
I rushed to the school to pick up my Baby and a 10 year old boy walked out the door and hoped in the car. I swear it's true- because there is no way that 5+ years have passed since he started school. Where on earth did the time go?
Today when I go home from work I will not be greeted by a vibrant 5 year old. In his place will be a handsome 10 year old. A full on pre-teen kid!
In the past week I have been informed that:
1- he no longer has owies. He has bruises, scratches, etc. But not OWIES
2- he is too old for the kids menu at restaurants as they are for "little kids"
3- cartoon type movies are "Boring"
4- he has also informed me that he will be picking out his clothes for school this year.

Knock me over with a feather I tell you. It all started because of that fateful first day of kindergarten. My baby went to school and started to grow up. I have begged him repeatedly to stop growing up and to stay the age he is. Unfortunately he just laughs at me like I am kidding.

So, yes- I blame kindergarten. If I had it to do all over I wouldn't let him go.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Challenge Failure on Day #2?

I posted our family monthly challenge goals just yesterday morning. One of our first goals was to not purchase anything this month other than food items. Day one- success. Day two- bump in the road.
As a family we have decided to head to Laguna Beach tomorrow to do some body surfing and play in the sand. Sounds like a nice free day right? Wrong, as we haven't been to the beach yet this summer we forgot that our beach towels are somewhere in Mexico. We packed them on our vacation to Mexico last summer and sacrificed them when our luggage was too full. So one trip to Target to pick up some beach towels later our "buy nothing except food goal" has hit a snag.
However, we rebounded well and found some nice towels on end of season clearance. Success! Unfortunately our elation id not last long. After we returned home we discovered that one of the cables on the computer needed to be replaced as well.
But alas, never fear, I am not ready to throw in the towel for the month yet.

Friday, August 1, 2008

August Goals

As it is the first of the month it is time for me to be accountable for the month and put our family goals in writing.
  • No purchases other than food
  • Workout 20 times this month
  • Find a volunteer opportunity for the family
  • Build our green compost bin
  • Play 10 board games with The Boy (his suggestion)
  • No sweets for The Boy

Doesn't seem like a lot, but you would be surprised how quickly time gets away from you or how quickly you forget and give in to temptation. We have netflix so we shouldn't need to purchase any movies, right? Wrong, we failed on that goal by the 2nd of July last month.

One might wonder the reasons or logic behind our 30 days challenges. It all started with a bet between the Dad and I that we couldn't go 30 days without eating meat. That bet was made exactly one year ago. Since then we have decided to make it a monthly family tradition. Others have joined in with their own goals and challenges. It isn't about depriving yourself or punishing yourself. It's more a matter of finding out what in life you can do without and what changes you can make that will help you become the person you truly want to be in life.

The success rate of our 30 day challenges has varied. We have given up meat, soda, paper towels, plastic bags, cleaning products (store bought), etc. But, we still have problems with sticking to our workout goals and no eating out goals. Baby steps people. I can honestly say, that we all enjoy our challenges. We discuss our progress and plan out our challenges as a family. It has proven to be a rewarding experience for us and I would invite anyone reading this to try something similar in your daily life.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


I realize I posted already once today but after having a discussion with Elle I felt compelled to post again. Elle and Miss Pants will be driving down to Elle's hometown for her grandma's birthday party tomorrow. Miss Pant's Nana - or Pana as she will now be called gets a little excited about all things Miss Pants related.
As it now stands, Pana has left work for the day to mow the lawn and get things ready for her "girl". No not her daughter- her granddaughter. Not sure that a 2 year old will notice whether the lawn is mowed or not but it strikes home the point that once we have children our parents will pass us over for their grandchildren without a backward glance.
As Elle drives the 2 hours to the house she grew up in she will likely receive multiple phone calls from Pana wondering how far away they are and how is Miss Pants doing. No questions will be asked about how Elle is doing, so long as she is doing her job as chauffeur of the precious cargo all is well.
Not that I am complaining really. It's just shocking to see how our parents interact with our kids. If I scold the Boy I am "being to harsh on him". When we became vegetarians my parents started sneaking the Boy out for dinner to feed him meat. They built their dream home after all the kids were married and out of the house. The dream home contains a special playroom for the kids with hidden doors and everything. We never had a playroom growing up, but now the grandkids have one. Actions like that could almost hurt a person's feelings if it wasn't so obvious that they loved their grandkids.
So I will be thinking of Elle tomorrow as Pana spoils Miss Pants rotten and looks up with an "oh, are you still here" look to her only daughter.

End of July

Given that today is the end of July it is a day of accountability. Every month we set goals for ourselves as to what we want to accomplish. As we move toward a more environmentally conscious lifestyle a lot of our goals seem to have a green slant to them. The desire to reduce our eco footprint has had the added bonus of reducing our monthly expenses as well.

Our July goals were as follows:
No eating out in restaurants
No purchasing new items (except for groceries)
Find a place for the family to volunteer

The results:
We ate out 4 times in July. Once when we had company and 3 times on our own. We plan to carry this challenge over to August, with the exception that we will likely eat out during my birthday weekend.
We purchased 2 new cookbooks and 2 new dvd's at the very beginning of the month. To "punish" ourselves we purged out 6 old cookbooks and a dozen old movies and donated them to the thrift store.
Finding a place to volunteer was more difficult than I had imagined. I placed numerous calls to a local elderly care center and didn't receive any responses, same with an AIDS charity in the desert. I will have to carry this challenge over to August as well.

Awesome August-- that's the new theme for August. I would encourage you all to view August as a fresh start to and make it awesome in your own way.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Welcome to our blog

I have been trying to come up with something witty and insightful to write as our initial introduction post. Unfortunately, I have found I am neither witty nor insightful. As the title of our blog states- we are a family in progress. In 2006 we moved from Minnesota to Southern California and that set off a chain of events like we have never before experienced. Over the past 2 years we have had the opportunity to really examine our lives and that which is truly important to us.

The cast of players includes:
The Mom - that would be me. I am a 32 year old interior designer
The Dad - my husband who is 35 and a quality control manager
The Boy- our 10 year old son who will be entering the 5th grade in a few short weeks
Elle - my dear friend from Minnesota who's name starts with the letter L.
Miss Pants - Elle's adorable 2 year old daughter
The CS Ladies- I belong to a wonderful on line group dedicated to solving all the worlds problems and supporting each other in our endeavors. It really isn't as strange as it sounds.

I believe that each and everyone of us is in a constant state of progress. Every day life throws us curve balls that we have to react to. The reaction is a form of progress.

Welcome to our family's blog, please enjoy.