Thursday, January 29, 2009

We interrupt this blog...

to bring you

Our apologies for an inconvenience this has caused you.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Give it to me straight, kid

I decided to tackle more than one load of laundry today. This usually means I turn all of the dirty laundry baskets topsy-turvy, and clothes is then strewn everywhere.

Fast-forward to this evening.

Oh, one other important note: we keep the children's individual dirty laundry baskets in the kids' bathroom.

Okay, back to this evening. LittleMan is coming out of the kids' bathroom shower. I help to towel him dry. In the middle of my mothering and happy thoughts, LittleMan busts out with this:

LittleMan: Mom? I think you need to clean this place up.

Me: [I look around, and the kids' dirty laundry is all over the bathroom floor. I laugh aloud!]

LittleMan: It is a diSASter.

Me: [Smiling] Honey, you know a better way to say something like that would be to say, 'Mom? Can I help clean this up?'

LittleMan: [Thinking about that.]

Me: Or, you could just start cleaning it up yourself. That would really help me out.

LittleMan: But, I would be afraid that you would get mad at me.

Me: [Laughing] That's true.

Unfortunately, LittleMan was right on several accounts. Yes, the bathroom was a HUGE disaster. Yes, I really should clean that up. And, yes, I probably would have gotten mad at him if he had tried to clean up the dirty laundry.

Why, you might ask?

Because what child cleans up DIRTY LAUNDRY?! I would have naturally assumed that he was just messing with the laundry pile in order to make a bigger mess, if that's possible. So, really, I think LittleMan has pointed out several weaknesses in my character.

I think I've grown some...

... or I'll just put the child to work more often to make certain he doesn't say stuff like that again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's.. IT'S...

This morning when I was supposed to be enjoying my sleep-in day, I was instead bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 7:00 AM.  After tossing and turning in my bed while My Mukor took care of the kids' morning routine, I gave it up, and shuffled out to the dining room to find my son patiently waiting for his breakfast.

Me - Good morning, LittleMan.

LittleMan - Good morning, Mommy.

Me - You need to get dressed for school before you can have breakfast.

LittleMan - [Hopping down from his chair] Okay.

He walked through the kitchen to the playroom and faced the sliding-glass door leading to our backyard.

LittleMan - There are a bunch of big birds in our backyard.

Me - Yeah, those crows can be a loud bunch.

LittleMan - No, it is bigger than a crow.

Me - [?!?!?!?!?!]

I rushed to the playroom to look out the door, and I saw a juvenile red-tailed hawk standing in the middle of our grass. 

(Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk, but not the one in our backyard)

I noticed movement under its talons, and I see a wing poke out from underneath that I immediately recognize as a pigeon!?

(Pigeon, but most certainly NOT the pigeon under the hawk)

Of course I looked up information about this beautiful bird on Wikipedia, the Internet knower of all things, and discovered that these birds will in fact eat even large birds but usually not until they reach full maturity.

(Fully mature red-tailed hawk - no relation to the hawk in this blog)

The site also suggested that the hawks will pierce their prey's internal organs causing instant death.

Well, I would dispute the "immediate" part of that claim.

The hawk was patiently standing on the pigeon keeping it from moving - except for a time or two where the pigeon made some last-ditch efforts to free itself. Above the hawk on our telephone wire were about 5 crows making all kinds of racket. Meanwhile, our dog was trying to figure out what we found so interesting outside as I was attempting to restrain him.

I was amazed at how composed and lethal the hawk looked. The hawk knew we were there watching it since it kept turning its head toward us before looking back up at the crows... and then swinging its head back to look at us. But what really struck me was that the hawk didn't look like it was thinking about retreating or flying away. Instead, it looked like a hunter - ready to take on the world if threatened but willing to wait for its prey to die.

What seemed like too short a time (but perhaps mercifully so), the pigeon was clearly dead. The hawk suddenly flew away with its prey in its talons.

We looked back at the grass and sitting there in the middle of the yard was a huge pile of feathers.  How lovely.

Anyone know how to get rid of pigeon feathers short of using a vacuum cleaner?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Your Mama!

I was watching my children do pretend play today.

BoopaLoop - Okay, I'll be the Mommy.

LittleMan - [Pretending to wail]

BoopaLoop - [Walks over to LittleMan with her hands on her hips.] You need to calm down.

LittleMan - [Rolling around on the floor continuing to make high pitched noises.]

BoopaLoop - That does it. Go on time out! [Keeping one hand on her hip with the other pointing to the corner]

LittleMan - [Crawling to the corner while making less irritating noises.]

BoopaLoop - [Following behind him with both hands on her hips.]

LittleMan - Okay, pretend I went on time out and I pointed my sword at you.

BoopaLoop - No, I'm the good Mommy.

LittleMan - Like real Mommy.

BoopaLoop - Yeah.

LittleMan - Oh, I can't attack you.

I guess I find some comfort in that...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Squish Like Grape

This blog title is a quote from an 80's movie. Do you recognize it?

The main point of this quote is to highlight how you have to commit to doing something to the best of your ability otherwise if you hesitate or doubt for a second, you will get squished like a grape or maybe squish others.

That's a pretty harsh life lesson.

However, I was reminded of this quote today as I watched a tennis pro teach my children basic tennis.

I had to do a lot of questioning and networking to find the right tennis pro for my kids. I respect a pro who is willing to admit that doing a tennis lesson with young kids isn't their cup of tea. After all, it is better to admit your reluctance to the parent before the time and money are wasted - and possibly destroying my kids' interest in the sport.

So, I asked around at my tennis club, and several moms recommended a young, new-to-the-club pro who I've worked with a time or two. Working with adults already familiar with the game is very different than working with short-attention-spanned children who may kick the tennis ball, throw it or even do a cart wheel in the middle of the lesson.

My primary goal for these tennis lessons? FUN.

When I mentioned the ages of my kids to this young pro, he practically beamed! I was tempted to repeat their ages thinking that he must have mis-heard me. I SAID 4 and 6! Nope, he was thrilled at the prospect. That spoke volumes to me.

I'm not trying to cultivate tennis pros here. I just want to introduce my children to my favorite sport in a fun and active way where they end up completely exhausted and fall asleep on the way home!

For the kids' first lesson, we were a few minutes late. I failed to take into account the fact that 3:30 PM is the time that everyone is picking up their children from school. I'll know better next time.

The pro was already on the court waiting patiently for us, and he made no mention of our tardiness when we arrived. He just immediately greeted my kids, asked them to give him a high-five, and off they went. I snuck around the outside of the court to sit at the bench and watch.

My kids didn't stop smiling the whole time. It was awesome to behold - seeing my children that engaged and enjoying every minute. They didn't get frustrated when they missed the ball, and the pro kept giving them tips and slight adjustments without making them feel bad.

At one point, the pro asked LittleMan to hit as many forehands in a row without missing, and when the pro got to 7, he said Okay, they are going to come faster now - and he had LittleMan in a fit of giggles!

Now it was BoopaLoop's turn, and she couldn't hit the side of a barn, but she had perfect form with every wiff. And she was giggling the whole time. Either the pro is an excellent actor, or he genuinely enjoyed teaching my kids. The pro tossed the balls faster and faster at her too, and she collapsed in a fit of giggles!

I couldn't have been more pleased.

As we walked back to the car, I told my kids how proud of them I was. LittleMan said, "Are we going to do that again tomorrow?!"

Oh, honey, I wish all of your coaches and teachers had this enthusiasm. Because when they don't, "squish like grape".

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I did not know that in 1959 Martin Luther King, Jr visited Ghandi.

King reflected, "Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gonzo, Fozzie, Kermit, Ms. Piggy

Yes, we are watching "The Muppet Show" Season One in its completion. I claimed to buy Seasons One, Two and Three for the children, but the truth is, I really wanted to see these shows again.

I remember LOVING these shows as a child, and I wanted to see if the shows held up decades years later.

Most of the show makes me smile. The beginning of the show with Gonzo trying to bang the gong or get his trumpet to finally work.

Or the old guys sitting in the balcony constantly ripping on the show.

But, the part that always makes me laugh aloud is the Swedish Chef.

Yeah, I have a special place in my heart for Beaker, but I slightly prefer the Swedish Chef since he makes all of us laugh out loud. Plus, they did a tennis reference in the bit I included here, so that automatically makes it my favorite.

Yes, I can be bought that cheaply.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Potato Bug

A while back, I posted a comment on someone's blog about disgusting insects that most Southern Californians refer to as 'potato bugs'. If you don't like bugs of any kind, I apologize for the picture I've included of this bug.

Although it is called a potato bug, the actual name of this insect is the Jeruselum Cricket. It isn't poisonous, but it can pack one heck of a bite. You can read more about how to kill it fascinating details about this thing here.

Even as a grown woman, I scream at the sight of these nasty bugs. The photo I found doesn't really show how big these suckers are. Every one I've seen is about the size of my thumb from palm to tip. In other words, you can't miss them.

Just looking at this photo gives me goosebumps. I'm sorry if your dreams include this frightening creature. But, as you know, misery loves company. [*Shiver*]

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Feeeelings... Whoa, whoa, whoa FEELINGS!

In an earlier blog, I mentioned that I have the hardest time getting myself, my kids and mySELF (it is worth saying twice, I think) ready in the morning without something falling through the cracks AND arriving on time.

Well, thanks to some ideas provided by Michele over at, I am able to keep my head afloat.

One of the ideas was to be willing to make the kids' lunches the night before. I originally resisted this idea thanks to my very own issues with soggy bread (BLECH), but my kids don't seem to care, and it gets them out the door with lunches in hand... SO... who am I to point out the grossy-grossness that is soggy bread. After all, I'm not eating it.
I was also one of those parents that REFUSED to try a bite of baby food (Double BLECH).

As I enter my kitchen to make lunches for my kids, I realize that I can't find BoopaLoop's Princess lunchbox. No matter, I have brown paper bags for such an event. I'm in the process of making her lunch when LittleMan comes in to watch me.

LittleMan - Are you giving me a paper bag?

Me - No, that's for BoopaLoop.

LittleMan - Oh, good! I don't like the paper bag.

Me - (Surprised) Really?! Why is that?

LittleMan - It makes me sad to throw them away.

Me - (WHAT?!) Oh, I'm sorry. Why does it make you sad?

LittleMan - Because you put 'Love' on the bag, and I don't want to throw it away.

Me - (Tearing up a little.)

I had NO IDEA he even knew what I was writing on the bags! He is a beginning reader, so I wanted to put something on the bag to help foster his interest in reading. I'd put his name, a heart and something like "Love, Mommy". That's about it... but apparently my son was understanding the message more than I did.

Thank you, LittleMan, for reminding me that even the little things matter in life... now, get over yourself and throw the bag away.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Mom Day: So Close... And Yet So Far

Dear Mom:

I got back from my glorious weekend-away last night at 7 PM, and I hurt, but it was worth it.

I had never been to Indian Wells to see the professionals play, but it is no wonder the tennis center has been awarded "The Most Impressive Tennis Center" in the past. The center is HUGE. Even though I'm a drooling fan dork, I have also never been to Wimbledon or the US Open, so I'm certain this locale is much smaller compared to those tennis meccas. But compared to the college campuses and clubs I've played at, this place is gigantic.

And the scenery... OH! The sky was clear blue without a cloud in sight, the horizon was sprinkled with mountains with snow caps (in the desert!), with hills in front of them saturated in brown, with palm trees in from of the hills, and court after court after court under our feet. It was heavenly. Next time, you are definitely coming with me, Mom.

The trip down to Indian Wells on Friday wasn't too bad. Usually Friday nights in Los Angeles is rife with traffic jams on the freeways, but we took a less traveled route that got us there from LAX in 2 1/2 hours. Not bad at all.

Upon arrival, I was introduced to my room that I had agreed to share with three other ladies. We laughed at the size of the beds. There were two double beds in this room. I got to know these ladies very well thanks to the small arrangements. But I have to say, I actually enjoyed the rustic intimacy. I don't think we would have bonded as well as a team if it weren't for the laughter and banter this room created.

The first day of tennis was nerve wracking! We were scheduled to play three matches of doubles at 11 AM and three at 2:30 PM. Our captain made certain everyone who wanted to come play got a chance to play. How great is that?! Yes, we all wanted to win, but not at the exclusion of any player. So, that first day, everyone had a chance to play one time. However, we only had 10 ladies on our team who were able to go, so two of us had to play twice in one day. The captain made an executive decision: she asked me and another lady to play together at 2:30 PM right after our 11 AM matches. She said she wanted the best players to play twice.

Although I was extremely flattered and excited to play twice, it struck me that I'm no longer in my 20's. How would I perform back-to-back? Also, I have never played under such competitive circumstances before. The intensity was... INTENSE. Walking out for the first match, I was actually shaking from nerves, and the first set represented that: 2-6.

My partner and I got over ourselves pretty quickly after that. Mostly I was angry at how awful I was playing. I'm certain if the captain saw me playing that first set, she would have re-thought putting me in the next match. But, we got our collective nerves under control, and our training took over: 6-3.

At these tournaments, the third set is a "Super Tiebreaker". That is the winner is the first team to reach 10 points, winning by two, using the Coman Tiebreaker system. We won the tiebreak and the match 10-7. Woo-hoo!

This match up was against Santa Barbara. They were by far the most lovely players I have had the experience to play against. They didn't call close balls out just to get the point. They laughed and enjoyed themselves, and they laughed with us! It was so much fun. During play, I would look around at the beautiful scenery again and feel the desert wind on my face, and count my blessings that I have an awesome hubby who lets me do things like this.

At the end of the first match up, our team won 2 of the 3 matches.

The second match up was against Temecula Valley.

Now that my nerves had settled, I was ready to get down to business. I was playing with the other player the captain deemed one of the best on our team, and we won in straight sets to a tough team: 6-4, 6-3.

I mentioned that the Santa Barbara ladies were so awesome. Well, I'm pleased to report that the Temecula Valley ladies were even more so. During a match, I usually make silly comments that cause my partner to laugh or smile, but rarely the opposition. On top of which, we had drawn a respectible crowd (about 25 people) who were watching and laughing at our antics. I have to admit we as a foursome were hilarious. My stomach hurt more than any other muscle after this match due to all the laughter. I wished these ladies lived closer to us, so I could play doubles with them all the time.

We had to wait to see how the other teams did. The final result was that our team won 2 of the 3 matches again. Woo-hoo! The only way we wouldn't make it to the finals is if one of the teams we played beat the other team 3-0, and then we would have a tie. Well, that didn't happen.

Off to the finals we go!

We went out to dinner Saturday night to celebrate our first arrival to the finals. The reason this is so mind blowing to us is because we are playing the other winning teams in our district. Which ever team wins will go on to play in the Sectionals later this month. I don't think I can fully describe this feeling, Mom, but it was really cool.

The next morning I was up early, naturally due to being a "morning person", and realized that I wasn't very nervous for the finals. I was a little worried about that since I usually need nerves to get my juices flowing in a match, but I didn't think much about it. Sure enough, as soon as I stepped onto the court at 11 AM, my heart was pounding.

We were playing Bakersfield in the final. They were really, really tough. Not just as a team, but they were tough mentally. The first set was well fought, but my partner and I (the same partner I had for the 11 AM match yesterday) got the critical break in the middle of the set: 6-3.

Then something happened. We were up 2-1, we were up a break, and suddenly, we allowed the significance of winning tighten us up. I mean we shanked returns. We shanked overheads. Mom, you would have walked away with your stomach in knots over how we let that second set slip by: 2-6.

Now we were in the critical Coman Super Tiebreak. We lost the first point: 0-1. We held serve: 2-1. They held serve: 2-3. We held serve: 4-3. We got a mini-break! 5-3. We held serve: 7-3. Home stretch time. Shanked return by us: 7-4. Another shanked return: 7-5. Double fault: 7-6. Forced error: 8-6. Excellent serve: 8-7. Excellent serve: 8-8. Double fault by me: 8-9. Ace by me 9-9. Excellent serve: 9-10. Match point! Amazing volley: 9-11...

Oh! So close!! We ended up losing the final 1 game to 2. It was a bittersweet pill to take. We soon discovered that if we had won this final our team would have to be disbanded except for 3 players. The rest of us would have been moved up to the next level.

I'll accept this loss knowing that...

but wait until next year!

I'll call you to talk about more play-by-play stuff later this week, Mom.

Love you,


Friday, January 9, 2009

Be back soon!

Wish us luck! Our team is heading off to Indian Wells to play in the USTA Sectionals.

(Indian Wells Tennis Club)

This is so exciting! I'm hoping we'll play well enough to stay until Sunday since we are staying in one of the various resorts located there.

Hopefully, I won't be blogging until Monday. If I blog on Saturday it means we didn't make it to the finals.

I hope your weekend will full of exciting challenges too.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why God Made Moms

There is an e-mail being circulated by my friends and family that highlight some funny answers 2nd graders gave when asked questions regarding their moms. Now, I am a skeptic. I have no doubt that these were the answers that some 2nd graders gave, but I can't help but dilute the joyous answers by asking my own questions like: 'who is this child', 'how was the test administered', and 'how much coaching did Mom and Dad do'.

Yes, I agree I need to rest my brain and just enjoy the intention of the e-mail. I'm working on it. To help me, I decided to ask my 6-year old LittleMan these questions. I was curious to hear what he had to say.

I asked these questions (with no threat of punishment if he should say something I don't like) to LittleMan, and I wrote exactly what he said - eliminating the "um"s and "uh"s. I told him there were no right answers, and that I would not think him silly or stupid for any answer he gave. These questions were for fun. I offered no prompting, and I sat staring at my laptop until he came up with an answer that I typed. He smiled at me a time or two to see if I would react to an answer. I did not. I merely said, "Thanks, sweetie", after the last question was answered.

Here is how it went...

1. Why did God make mothers?
LittleMan - "To take care of children"

2. How did God make mothers?
LittleMan - "I only want to give one answer. Maybe he gives hearts as blood."
Note: I have no idea what other answers he had swirling around his head.

3. What ingredience are mothers made out of?
LittleMan - "Blood... and brain."

4. Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
LittleMan - "God really had to pick who is nice and not a mean one. You were one of the nice ones."

5. What kind of little girl was your Mom?
LittleMan - "Like my sister. She loves cheese."

6. What did Mom need to know about Dad before she married him?
LittleMan - "How to behave at him, and he had to learn to be almost like a mom... but not quite."
Note: ?!?!?!?!?! I almost broke my vow to be impartial to ask him what he meant. I still haven't asked LittleMan. It seems better off unexplained.

7. Why did your Mom marry your Dad?
LittleMan - "He was nice to you, and you loved each other and liked each other... and all that stuff."

8. Who is the boss at your house?
LittleMan - "You. Mom and Dad."

9. What is the difference between moms and dads?
LittleMan - "Mom has long hair, and Dad has short hair. Mom has different socks than Dad."

10. What does Mom do in her spare time?
LittleMan - "What is spare?"
Me - "What do I do when you are at school?"
LittleMan - "Wash the dishes and do the laundry."

11. What would it take for your Mom to be perfect?
LittleMan - "Have lots of brains"
Note: Oh, man that's funny. Either my son is saying that I'm not the brightest bulb in the lot, or he thinks it takes a lot of intelligence to be perfect. Whatever - both answers are funny.

12. If you could change one thing about your Mom what would it be?
LittleMan - "Make the house more clean."
Note: Brutal! Out of the mouth of babes...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Student Has Now Become Arrogant

I'm certain most of you are familiar with the "High Five" game that goes something like this...

Raise your hand up to your child, "Hit me five!"
Child slaps your palm.

"On the side", holding your palm to one side.
Child slaps your palm.

"Up high", holding your palm face down, high enough for the child to barely reach.
Child slaps your palm.

"Down low...", holding your palm face up but around the child's waist.
And just when you see the child putting everything into slapping your palm, you pull your hand back at the last minute and say...

"... too slow."

Now, most children love this game, but you have to know your child's personality. If your child doesn't like being tricked or can't give up even after becoming increasingly frustrated at being "too slow" then you may want to pass on this game.

My children like physical challenges like this one, so I did it too BoopaLoop first.

She loved giving me "High Fives" especially seeing how hard she could hit my palm. When it came to "too slow" she giggled. LittleMan immediately clamored for a turn.

So, he slapped five, on the side, and up high with full gusto! I put my palm down and said, "Down low...". He knew what was coming, so he waited just a beat, and before I knew it, he hit my palm.

With a twinkle in his eye he said, "...too fast."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This

The other day I was having a conversation with my mom about dreams. She asked me,

"Tiffany, do you fly in your dreams?"

Me - "Fly? Not really. I sort of... bounce."

Mom - Aghast, "Really?! Me too!"

Me - Aghast as well, "Really?! I can't believe it!"

That's just weird. I don't know anyone else who bounces in their dream. I mean seriously, what is that about? It isn't like I'm a fan of the movie "Flubber" or anything. In fact, I think I've seen that movie exactly one time... years ago... I might have even fallen asleep since I don't remember much of the story.

I wish I could attribute it to having watched some strange movie or having read a sci-fi book, but the fact is that she and I have the exact same dream for no apparent reason.

There is one difference between our two dreams: my mom is wearing special bouncing boots. I guess I think of myself as special enough to not need boots, Mom. Either that or I'm secretly jealous that I don't get to wear cool boots in my bouncing dream.

The dream goes like this, and it is EXACTLY THE SAME:

Standing on the sidewalk. The jump turns into a bounce. Higher and higher until the curvature of the Earth is seen. At this point, I get a little scared by the height, but my mom is thrilled by it in her dream. The end.

So that's the psychic connection my mother and I share: we have the same bizarre dreams at different times.

And I ask you, what kind of lame psychic power is that?!

You don't see the X-Men with silly powers like this. Couldn't you have tried at least ONE kind of wacky drug while you were pregnant with me, Mom? Just one?! Sheesh...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday Mom Day

Dear Mom:

Happy New Year! Thank you for letting us come, visit, and generally make a complete disaster of your home. I've been thinking of advertising the children as demolishion-ists, but I doubt any reasonable company would insure them. Anyway, I want you to know that I always have the best of intentions to clean your home once I've gathered all of our stuff and packed it away for departure, but somehow the anxiety of getting on the road and going home propels us out of town before I can make good on my intentions.

That's alright, I know you'll say. You've always wanted all of the bathroom items strewn about in the living room, and the kitchen appliances full of kitchen tools. How many suprises did we leave you with this time?

Which reminds me, I need to throw away reorganize some of the children's toys to make room for the new toys they got for Christmas. And, what a wonderful Christmas season we had, Mom! I know you credit your parents for instilling in you and your sister the value of family, but I credit you two with continuing that legacy. I'm blessed to have three cousins who I view more like brothers rather than distant, extended family.

I'm also so pleased we got to see so much of AllThingsBD's family. Thank you for sharing her blog posting with me. I agree that our dog, Travis, has never looked better than that photo she took.

For New Year's, we spent the evening with MamaDB's family. We played a wacky board game while watching the ball drop at both 9 PM and Midnight. Nothing like watching the young kids ring in the new year with a complete lack of understanding as to what all the brouhaha was about. But, what does it matter? The kids had a blast playing with their friends and enjoying the atmosphere.

The trip home from your house was uneventful. BoopaLoop and LittleMan watched their new movie from Boodle and Loodle, "Barbie's Princess and The Pauper". BoopaLoop declared that the bad guy in that movie was really mean, but she wanted to see it again. I can't imagine where she gets her propensity to rewatch movies.

You can see it during our next trip to Grandma's, BoopaLoop.

Until then, know we love you and miss you, Mom.

Love, Tiffany