Poor Yellow Chair

I get pissed when Scarlett spits at me, scratches me, or throws a fit when I try to get her in the car. I cant stand it when she she starts screaming "owie, owie, owie" over and over in public. It really drives me crazy how whenever I make a phone call she decides to cry or freak out.

Kevin manages to keep his cool and calm her in most situations. He doesn't seem to allow her to ruffle his feathers, even when she says "I dont like you Daddy" He just smiles and ignores her.

You want to know what pisses Kevin off? When Scarlett does something dangerous and ends up hurting herself.

Yesterday, Scarlett brought this cute little yellow chair by the stove where she is not allowed to be for obvious reasons. Both her and Ava have both been burned and we have strict rules about being by the stove. She was trying to push me away while carelessly balancing on this chair. Both Kevin and I were telling her "No way, not safe" and then boom, she completely ate it, falling to the hard kitchen floor.

I thought, cool maybe she will learn not to do that. Kevin proceeded to grab the yellow chair and smash it on the floor. It broke into many pieces and then he threw it into the living room. I really liked that chair because my dad gave it to us and I think it was an antique.

Scarlett, did a double take and then threw a shit fit about how daddy broke her chair. He calmly explained to her that she should listen to us when we tell her not to do something. She continued to follow him around the house, screaming until eventually she wanted him to give her a hug and pick her up. The two of them ended up sitting by the fire, having a father daughter moment while burning the remnants of the chair...

I plan to use this to my advantage  by saying "Dont do that or Daddy will break it and then burn it"

Pregnancy is Freaky

I know some moms love being pregnant. They glow and resemble a beautiful goddess. Its not quite as magical for me. I find it oddly fascinating to be a witness to so many weird things happening to my body. Its like I have been abducted and have no choice but to go with it.

Jenny McCarthy pretty much summed it up when she described her lady parts as swelling blue Twinkies. I know TMI I'm sorry but she is on to something. WTF, I thought only my stomach and and maybe ankles were supposed to grow in size! Now I have a pair of hitchhiking Twinkies!

And whats up with the need to change my undies 10 times a day?! Pregnancy and fluids seem to go together like yin and yang. I understand that exercise is very important so I am regularly at the gym. But you see, I sweat like a pig! I am supposed to be a dainty flower, not a oozing mass of perspiration. I could really do without all the crotch sweat. I feel bad for when my fellow gym patrons accidently get an eyeful of my sweaty bits. And YES I always wipe off the machines.

Boobs! Boobs! Boobs! I know I am always talking about my giant tata's, but really I must. Pregnancy doesn't just make them bigger, it turns them into giant torpedoes with dark bulls-eyes. I understand this helps my bundle of joy not get lost when going in for a meal. But it is so not sexy. Did I mention I have sprouted a giant superhighway network of bright blue veins? Yeah, my body is readily preparing them udders for our future arrival.

You see I enjoy making babies, growing them is another story. I trip out when I think about all these crazy bodily changes. I am fascinated by how mammalian I am. I grow and nurse my young, I have udders for goodness sake! Moooooo!!!

1st child vs 3rd

Pre kids - What the hell did I do with all my free time? I honestly have no idea...

1st child
*When Ava was born we had a ton of time to bond. I would take a bath with her every single day. We did this for 4 years. Thats a ton of bath time!

*No formula, all breast milk.

*We would take long walks overlooking the ocean.

* I would nurse her down for a nap daily and when that did not work I would driver to holy hell and back to get her to sleep.

*I would make her a variety of healthy and thoughtful meals. I made sure Ava had plenty to eat and made sure she ate enough dinner.  I carried snacks and a sippy cup every time we went out, I had a mini grocery store in my diaper bag.

*I always stuck to our schedule.

* I rarely left her side because she was a major clingon. When I did leave she cried buckets.

* Ava did swimming, gymnastics, mommy and me classes, karate, dance, horse back riding, you name it she did it.

*No candy or sweets! I was super controlling about the food she ate.

*I would leave her dinner for her until she ate it all or save it to heat up for later.

*No coming in our bed, ever. Ava still always stays in her bed.

2nd child 
*Scarlett does get a bath about every-other day, sometimes every 3 days, but with her sister. I occasionally join them, but its pretty crowded! When she was an infant I would smell her neck folds to see if a bath was truly necessary. No cheese, no bath.

*No time for leisurely walks, but occasional  runs with me in the jogger.

* Gave in and gave her some formula, gave my tatas a break

* Naps? What naps?

*I try to keep something to eat in my purse, but usually it is an old bag of crushed goldfish. I never have a sippy, but she learned pretty young how to drink out of my water bottle.  I dont worry if she ate enough, I figure she wont starve.

* If she does not eat her dinner, someone else does. Better eat your food here in the Carney house or else someone else will.

*Her schedule is dominated by Ava's school, karate, and dance schedule and my gym classes. She has not done any toddler classes. Thankfully she is in daycare part time and gets to do a dance class at my gym while I work out.

*She happily waves bye when I leave. Happy to be on her own with Daddy.

*Sure, treats and candy arent so bad. Do cookies count as a snack? Chocolate chip banana bread for breakfast? Sure, I figure it has bananas in it...

* Sure if its after midnight I let her int he bed, sometimes if I'm super tired she sneaks in sooner.

3rd child - ????

My goal is to keep it clean and fed, not sure how much more I can promise.

Say hello to family bed, no room for a crib, the girls room is too small.  Good things kids are so adaptable...

Notes from the Womb - 16 weeks

I made it to my second trimester, thank the gods! I feel so much better, no more noxious urges to puke my guts out. I am starting to be able to drink water when I am thirsty, rather than just pining for it.  Drinking anything used to make me feel super sick.

My boobs are still growing, if that is even possible. They are crazy huge, and not in a sexy way. They have a freaky network of blue veins which make me look like a road map of an urban metropolis.

The best part about being pregnant has arrived. Earth shaking orgasms, and I meant that to be plural. I learned that my blood volume has increased by 30% which is what I have to thank for these life altering moments. It makes me sad knowing this is my last pregnancy and I only have 6 more months left of debilitating orgasms in my entire life. I try not to think about that and just enjoy it.

I have a few hours of zombie like exhaustion that hits mid day and is gone by tea time. I have not given up my English breakfast tea, these 2 cups a day are what keep me going.

I am still running! This is my biggest accomplishment, other than getting preggers to begin with. My morning exercise routine is what keeps me sane in my busy life. Its like if I get to work out, it does not matter what happens for the rest of the day, I already had my me time.

Stay tuned to week 20 when I find out the gender!!!

16 Weeks 

Mosquito War

Mosquitoes have taken over our house! They sneak in during the day and hide in wait for us to go to sleep.

I climb into bed completely exhausted and just start to trickle off to sleep when it happens. ZZZZZZzzzzz right in my ear. I have to get up turn the lights on, get the bug zapper and destroy. Half the time I cant even find the little bugger. It can go on like this for a couple hours. Im telling you, it is worse than having a newborn.

Our nightly ritual involves the 4 of us going from room to room hunting these obnoxious bugs. The kids get really into it, flashlights and all.

Kevin and I have to sleep with our duel bug zappers in hand. The only light at the end of this tunnel is that winter is quickly approaching. I am hoping for a good night sleep as soon as we get our first frost.

Hot Sauce Anyone?

I received a 4 pack of Cholula Hot Sauce to test out. Another perk of blogging!

I invited our friends over and made a delicious Mexican fiesta with enchiladas, rice and beans. We took this job very seriously and tested each of the four varieties.  I was a bit nervous about testing hot sauce because I can only handle so much spice, but was surprised to find that they were not all that spicy but more flavorful.

My favorite was the lime and everyone else loved the garlic, followed by the original, last the chipotle. Totally delicious and not too spicy. My only criticism is that we used a bunch on one meal, I think we will mow through them too fast! Thanks Cholula!

Notes from the Womb - 10 weeks

Well, were still pregnant so thats great!

I am waist deep in the awesome side affects of pregnancy. I have not had morning sickness but it is more like all day sickness. I seem to be leaking gas which manages to clear the room. I turn into a grumpy bear around meal time.

I get crazy tired mid day and feel like I am sleep walking. My heightened sense of smell of my families breath is unbearable. My poor kids have to brush their teeth twice, floss, and use a tongue scraper before I am satisfied.

 My boobs are humongous and sensitive which isn't that cool considering they were already pretty plump to begin with.  No nookie in these here parts, sorry hunny I might puke on you.

That being said I am almost out of the gross stage, woo hoo!! I cant wait to feel human again!

School Pick up & Drop off Insanity

1 of the TWO No Parking signs
School is back in session and I have to vent about the insanity during  pick up.

The signs clearly say NO PARKING ANY TIME, so why does everyone park their fricken car and wait for their kids to slowly meander their way your direction? Even in the morning there is a line of empty parked cars. Drop off is mess.

I cant help by be irritated as I  park a couple blocks away, often waking my sleeping 2 year old to schlep her to Ava's class. As I carry my hot sleeping child, huffing and puffing, I peak into their cars because I am so curious why they couldn't park and walk. Maybe they have an injury or possibly a litter of sleeping babies, this I could understand.  Most are on their phone or not even in the car. Why cant they park and walk like the rest of us?

The few that do have sleeping cargo, I forgive. I get it, I personally would rather wake Scarlett than become one of those parents who park in the no parking zone. The signs are there for a reason, and that is to make drop of and pick up easy as pie.

 Now its just a big tangled line of double parked cars. Not to mention its unsafe for the kids and makes the jobs of the attendants who help kids get in and out  much harder... I want to give them a medal, they sure earn it, especially on Fridays which is the worst pick up day of the entire week!

Ok, I'm done venting, but puhleese people read the signs, park and walk a couple blocks, or keep driving in a circle, it sure help things go  smoother for the rest of us.

The madness at pick up

In God We Trust

I was driving Ava and her friend Tommy to the river today. Tommy was reading the script on a fake million dollar bill which said In God We Trust. Ava replied  I dont believe in God. Tommy asked her why and she said that she doesn't believe that He is up there floating in the sky. Tommy earnestly replied No, he isn't in the sky, He is in the clouds.

Then Tommy very seriously said - Do you at least believe in Santa Clause? Ava assured him that she does and that Santa is definitely real because he eats the cookies and milk she leaves for him...

I love the logic of children...

My new favorite things

Now that I am pregnant I have a new list of my most favorite things...

1. Unisom - This awesome, safe drug makes me function daily with out retching my guts out.

2. T.V. and DVD player - I am forever grateful for this cheap babysitter. Its doing a way better job than I am these days.

3. Macaroni and Cheese - I live in fear of running out of this neon chemically filled creamy meal.

4. My Husband - He manages to do the things I cant fathom doing such as changing the sheets  and cleaning up anything that smells gross.

Pregnant once again

We did it, literally. Were pregnant again after 4 months of trying. This time around I feel pretty gross like the 1st two pregnancies. Now when I feel noxious, it gives me a reassuring feeling that everything is going well.

During the last unsuccessful pregnancy, I felt great! I didnt have any of the unpleasant side affects. I was running 6 miles a day or getting buff in boot camp class. Now I am lucky if I can lift Scarlett into the grocery cart and get a dvd in the electronic babysitter.

All I want for dinner is breakfast or Mac and Cheese. You would think my kids would be happy, but they are weird and dont like Mac and Cheese or breakfast.

So wish us luck, keep those fingers crossed and I will keep you all posted.

Trip to the Country

The Wild Animals
We had our annual summer trip to our friends house in Laytonville, Mendocino. As always, it was amazing and it is Ava's favorite place to visit. The kids run wild all day long catching lizards, frogs, and any animal they can get their hands on. They play in the cattle trough, the mud puddles or take a trip down the zip line. These simple activities engage them for hours and it reminds me to take a deep breath and forget the trivial things that crowd my mind.

The day starts by milking the goats, feeding the chickens, then watering the garden.  We spent a day at the river, butchered a few roosters for stew, and had so much fun. My kids are natural country bumpkins and easily adapt to this slower paced lifestyle.  Coruna and Celena mesh so well with my girls, like true cousins.  We sure miss it there and will count the months until we can make it back! We love you guys!

Scarlett moments before getting bucked by a goat
Playing in the dirt

Cooling off in the cattle trough

Rooster Soup

We recently visited our friends Colin and CC in Mendocino who live on "The Land"  They are considered family and our kids are like cousins. We always look forward to our annual trip to their property and this year was no exception.

We were lucky enough to visit when they had a surplus of roosters. You see, one of their hens hatched 4 eggs and 3 of those eggs ended up being boys. Too many roosters in a pen is allot of noise and expensive to feed. I was hoping we could kill us some rooster and make rooster soup. I really wanted my girls to see the process from animal to the dinner plate. CC was more than happy to oblige and do the dirty work.

She hung them by their feet and quickly cut off their heads. I know chickens supposedly go crazy after their heads are chopped off, but I didn't know how crazy. They really flap and flutter, so much they sprayed blood in a giant radius, giving us all a fine dimpling of red splatter. The kids decided to stay away for this part.

After the roosters stilled, the kids came for me to collect feathers. It is fricken hard to pluck the darn things out. CC  began the arduous task of skinning and gutting them. Thankfully she has done this before and I didn't have to help as I am sure I would have been all thumbs.  It is quite a messy and time consuming task.

A couple hours later we had two beautifully cleaned roosters ready for the stock pot.  We composted the third one because we ran out of time to skin it. Later than night we feasted on a rich rooster soup. The meat was too tough to get off the birds so we gave the carcasses to the dogs. The soup was delicious!!!

I love that my kids got to see what is really involved in making a chicken dinner. Thanks so much Colin and CC!

Tying them up

One on left ready to get it and one on right already got it

Coruna & CC skinning the chicken

Safeway is Cool

The reason I created this blog was to record those awesome kid moments that I always forget to write down. I also wanted to keep the long distance family connected. So far its been fun and one day in the far away future my kids will have an arsenal of stories to remember me by.

A month ago a Safeway/Vons rep contacted me asking if I could do a review on the Mom to Mom pull-up and diaper brand. The funny thing was, that same day I bought a pack of Safeway pull-ups because Ava is still struggling with wetting the bed. The rep said she would send me a pack to try out.

I was so excited because we have been struggling with wet sheets for so long now that I make sure Ava is always in a pull-up. It doesn't seem to be getting any better and we have visited the doctor to be informed that nothing is wrong and that this could go on for years. YEARS!! That is a lot of money spent on pull-ups. So naturally that was why I bought the Safeway brand, called Mom to Mom, in the purple package. They are way cheaper than the rest. I bought them today for 7.99 when all the other packs were 11.99. They work equally as good and save me a bundle.

The coolest part of the story is that Safeway sent me TWO 25$ Safeway gift cards in the mail. The perks of blogging are great!

The Happiest Place on Earth

Tea Cup Ride
Disneyland is truly the happiest place on earth. I recently took my girls with their grandparents to this land of wonder. I grew up going to Disneyland and it was a big part of my childhood, but this was my kids first visit.

Walt Disney was a genius when it came to kids having fun. Everything about the place is magical. I know I may sound like a dweeb, but I am a true believer.

The trick is to get there right when they open and do as many rides as you can before the mid day crowds and stifling heat beat you down. After hours of fun we said goodbye to the parents, and head across the street to this awesome hotel my dad got for us. He convinced me not to drive back to Santa Cruz after a full day at Disneyland. Thank goodness, because we rested up and got our second wind before heading back to max out on fun.

Fairy Land
My favorite part of the day was watching the parade. Ava was shocked to hear they do it every single day, twice a day. The parade is such a spectacle that it seems like you are a part of the magical world of Disney. And for all of you non believers out there, Ariel really is a mermaid, I saw her tail. Both my girls were awestruck by the princesses who make eye contact as they pass. A chimney sweeper from Marry Poppins came over and gave Ava five and said, Hello love. I dont know what got into me, but I couldn't keep the happy tears from flowing.

Ava's favorite ride was Autoptopia, she drove that car like her daddy's daughter, in other words like a bat out of hell. Scarlett loved the Buzz Lightyear ride, which we got stuck on for 10 minutes shooting the giant robot at the end.

That night we head back to our hotel, wash off the grime and sunscrean, and climb into our king size bed where we giggled and tickled until we fell asleep. It was a trip of a lifetime and I hope my kids remember it as vividly as I do.

Thanks to both sets of parents for making this happen!!!

Nana and the girls

Lunch at the Blue Bayou

Closet Barbie

Ava has never been interested in barbies, dolls, or princesses. When ever we go to the toy store she prefers the boy sections.

The other day I found her in the bathroom playing with Scarlett's new Cinderella Barbie, brushing it's hair and getting it dressed. She had this guilty look on her face when I walked in and it took me a few seconds to figure out why. Then I saw the barbie behind her back.  I told her the hair looked great!

She is hesitant to embrace her girlyness that seems to be coming out these days, so I am trying to help her foster it by encouraging her.

When we were at the baby resale shop she found an old misfit looking Ariel Barbie. After the Barbie purchase I offered to make it some clothes because the ones she came in were gross and falling apart. A couple hours later, Ariel was a new woman, dressed up in ocean blue. Ava then made me a happy mamma by showing all her friends and their parents the outfit I made. She really liked it!  I plan to make many more Barbie outfits and let my inner girlyness come out too!

Long dress transforms to short

Cocktail dress 

Ava's 1st Roller Coaster

Ava HATES fast rides, and I dont use the H word lightly.  Her fear of fast is great because her and Scarlett like the same kind of rides at the fair, Boardwalk, or Disneyland. Makes it easy for me when I can take the girls on the same thing at the same time.

We recently spent 2 days at Seaworld with my sister and her kids. By the second day, Ava worked up the courage to go on this ride called Atlantis, as long as I went with her. I was surprised because this ride is a roller coaster and has a huge drop. I dont think she saw the coaster part of it when we were in line.

My sister watched the babies while Ethan, Ava and I went on Atlantis. You see, I have never been on this ride so I didnt know exactly how fast it was. Right out of the gate it is fricken fast and a full on roller coaster. Ava is hysterically screaming and crying and asking to get off, spewing giant crocodile tears. She is truly afraid. I am holding her as best I can but there are these big U shaped bars over each of us, so it is hard to get to her. I cant help but laugh as we coaster onward. Ethan is in front of us cracking up as he spins around to see Ava's hysterics.

I distinctly remember when my mom took me on Space Mountain. I recall being nervous in line and her telling me it will be fun. Then I remember screaming and crying for the entire ride, feeling terrified. Note to self - 'Do not take my child on a roller coaster if she cant even handle the pirate boat at the boardwalk.'  I have a feeling that ride will be one of Ava's permanent memories that lasts until adulthood.

In Line Before the Ride

The Scary Ride

Sticker Chart

We just got back from our annual two week trip to San Diego which was a blast. The hard part about traveling is the aftermath of behavioral problems that young kids exhibit from being way off their normal routine.

Scarlett is no exception. She has perfected the art of letting us know things are out of whack. She has been spitting, scratching my face off, refusing to get dressed or get in the car, and flat out refusing to go to bed. She has brought me to tears on numerous occasions and we have only been back for 4 days now.

I am trying my damnedest to be a good mom and not respond with hysterics and spankings. I made up this fancy chart with 25 empty boxes on it. I explained to Scarlett that every time she does something good, like get dressed or get in the car with out a freak out, she earns a sticker. When every box is full, I will take her to buy a toy. She seemed to be very excited by this new reward chart and very proud when she earned a sticker.

The 2nd day of the chart, I walk into the kitchen to see why Scarlett was being so quiet. I found her with the reward stickers, filling in the empty boxes. I couldn't help but laugh as I explained to her how she cant fill in the stickers but she has to earn them. She then tried to explain to me, how she wanted to get a toy so needed more stickers...

My mom did that

As I get older I find I do more and more things that my mother did when I was growing up. The weirdest part is that these things drove me nuts when I was a kid. How did her behaviors get ingrained in who I am today? Will the same thing happen to my kids?

My mom has a thing against bright lights. She was always telling me to turn off the huge, bright kitchen light. You see I liked the lights and thought she was odd to have such an aversion to them.  Now I am the one who walks into the bathroom to find the super bright light smacking me in the face with its illumination.

My mom always made me wear socks in the house, which drove me crazy. I did not understand why she even cared. Now in my ripe age of 33 my feet feel icky & gross when they are sock free. I cant handle the feeling of the cold kitchen floor with dust bunnies and god knows what sicking to my naked feet.

When I was a kid my mom had this annoying habit of making me 'boogie' on the way to school or pretty much anywhere. She would turn the music up and  poke me over and over to the beat, telling me to 'boogie'. Ava knows that she is in trouble when my favorite song comes on and she is ordered to 'boogie'.

One special memory I have is how my mom and I would always go to the book store and she would always buy me a book. Often we lived frugally, but books never fell into this money saving category. The book store was always a place of fun. Now I find myself taking Ava to the book store and telling her she can pick a book. She is just starting to read and I am following my mothers example.

I wonder if my kids will grow up and find themselves doing things that I do?

# 862

Three years ago I embarked on a long journey to get on the Cabrillo College wait list for their nursing program. Scarlett was 4 weeks old when I took my 1st class, Medical Terminology. I remember thinking it would take forever to get all the required classes completed.

I then took Anatomy, Physiology, and then Microbiology. I lucked out and met an amazing friend, mother, and study partner, Renee who helped me make it through the madness with a positive outlook. Anatomy and Physiology were the hardest classes I have ever taken in my entire life. Hard, is an understatement, these classes were debilitating.

I remember being sick on and off throughout the year. This was also a really hard year on our family and marriage. We had a 1 year old and I was at school all the time and when I was not in school I was studying and when I was not studying I was thinking about school. Oh and I was also a T.A. for Anatomy while also taking physiology. Now that I look back I can see why it was so hard on Kevin. When I was in it, I just thought he was being unsupportive, but now I can see he was overwhelmed.

This is when Scarlett got her burn. I remember having to beg the doctors to make a special time to see Scarlett that did not conflict with my midterm. The burn clinic only saw patients the same days I was in school. It was the most challenging year of my life. I have been told these classes are much harder than the courses in the nursing program itself. That is a comforting thought.

Luckily we made it through and I finished the required classes with Microbiology which was packed full of fun and hands on stuff like E.Coli, Strept, and so many other infectious agents.

 I sent off my application and it was returned 2 times for errors. Long story short, third times a charm and I received my acceptance to the nursing program waiting list. I am lucky number 862 which is equivalent to 3.5 to 4 years until my number is up. Its been a long journey and stage one is finally complete. Hallelujah!!

High Fructose Butt Leakage

My nephew, Alexander eats super healthy. He chooses to not eat high fructose corn syrup claiming it is not good for us. I found it a pain to find products without this ingredient. I thought he was being silly and just a young pre-teen needing a cause to stand behind.  I mean come on, are you going to die from a bit of freaky syrup?

I am now converted to the cause. I have banned all the cereal with this strange man made additive. I know that it wont really hurt us, but I figure if I have a choice, I prefer to not eat it. According to most naturalists, this is a really bad additive for us to eat regularly.

That being said, Scarlett saw the commercial for Tony the tiger selling his frosted flakes and begged her daddy to buy them for her. So of course, Kevin comes through and brings home sugar cereal dusted with high fructose butt leakage.  Oh well, I figure a little bit now and then wont kill us, but I am forever converted. Thanks Alexander!

Durbin Day

Ava and I have awaited this day for a while now. I was naive enough to assume James Durbin would win American Idol and for sure make the final three. In my opinion he was and is the best on the entire show. When we found out he was eliminated on Wednesday night we were both shocked and sad.  Surprisingly, American Idol gave him the ok to do his Santa Cruz homecoming show.

Kevin drove us close to the boardwalk and we walked the rest of the way.  We were over an hour early but it was already extremely crowded. Luckily, we found a great spot up on the upper level where Ava could sit on top of a recycle bin. Right when we get settled in, the security told everyone on the top level that they were not allowing any more people in, so we could not leave.

We patiently waited for an hour and a half for his arrival. It was a truly awesome moment. I know this sounds so cheasy but I could feel the unity of Santa Cruz in the air. So many people of Santa Cruz flocked to the boardwalk to support out local inspirational rock star.

I was proud to take Ava to her first concert of her life. We had a memorable time and are forever James Durbin fans.   Here are the three songs he sang. He is such a gifted artist!

Santa Works at Trader Joes

Scarlett is convinced that Santa works at Trader Joes. There is this man who works there who has a classic long gray beard, bushy eyebrows and the glasses too. Scarlett looks for him each trip to TJs. He plays along and gives her stickers.

Today on a quick trip to Traders, she saw him and screamed at the top of her lungs Santa Santa!! So we had to get into his line and she hides behind my legs when he talks to her. He even wished her a Merry Christmas and a Ho Ho Ho. How lucky are we to have Santa all year long at our favorite store. I guess even Santa has been hit hard by the economy...

Rolie Polies are the Best

Scarlett is taking after her bug loving sister more and more each day. Her newest form of entertainment is to find bugs and carry them around until she looses them or accidently kills them. We have armies of rogue bugs living through out the house.  She loves her bugs so much that she cant even put them down while she eats her peanut-butter and jelly sandwich.  I made a rule that says - If your eating, your bugs have to be in a container.

You know how some parents use the TV as a babysitter? Recently I have been finding  a few rolie polies from the compost and setting Scarlett up with some bugs and some toys. I can then get a pile of dishes cleaned. I swear I get about 5 minutes per bug and for all you mommies out there, you know how precious these 5 minutes of uninterrupted time is. I can do anything from dishes, computer work, to laundry.

I love bugs. Rolie polies are the best because they have a hard time getting away. Lady bugs are great too, but they fly away so fast. Baby spiders are one of her favorite, even though they keep making webs and diving out of her hands. Luckily our house is full of baby spiders, we are practically breeding them. (I am not the best housewife, buts thats for another blog) She loves stink bugs, but they are too fast for her. Snails are way to slimy and gross. She loves pincher bugs and so far has not got pinched. I am trying to keep her from bringing the bumble bees in the house even though she thinks they are sooo cute.

 So, I recommended to all of your bug loving kids out there to find them some rolie polies, they are the best!

Its Just Nature

We recently gave Beasty her first pinky mouse, an adorable, pink, soft creature. Ava carried the baby mouse the whole ride home from the pet store begging me to keep it. I had to explain that it cant live with out its mommy.

After 20 minutes with the cute naked creature, Ava changed her tune and said come on, lets feed it to Beasty. I was surprised how fast she dismissed the idea of saving the poor defenseless creature. I asked her if she was sad and she said No, its just nature...

No More Burn Doctors

Good news! We had Scarlett's last appointment with the burn specialist, Dr. Karanas. She said that Scarlett's arm and skin graft area should grow fine and she will not need any more graft surgeries. Woo hoo!! It has been one year since she pulled down the cup of hot tea on her arm, causing a 2nd degree burn.

She no longer has to wear the pressure garments but we do need to keep it 100% protected from the sun for the next 2 years if not longer. No more Dr. appointments in San Jose. Daily lotion massages on the graft area are necessary. Dr. Karanas said the raised textured scar will be there forever, but once she is old enough to care they can do corrective surgery. We have a long time before we even have to think about that.

I am so thankful for the awesome care of the burn specialists at Valley Medical, we are so lucky to live near  such a great hospital. Now we just need to get through the rest of her life with only minor booboos and scrapes.

Ewe Gross

Why does Scarlett always poop in the tub?! This is Scarlett's signature tubby foul. Ava never ever did this.  The girls bathe together so Ava has developed lightning fast super powers which allow her to do a flying leap out of the tub.

Ava yells Mommy, Scarlett is making the poo face!  I run in and sweep her out and put her on the potty where she sits for a while and then says she is done. But nothing happens. I put her back in the tub and then bingo she lets loose and drops the kids off at the pool. Ava flies out of the tub quick as lightning. Then it is my job to fish out the poop. Us moms have to deal with the grossest stuff.

I Blew It

I was kid free today so I went shopping for Easter basket treats. I got some fun yummy things and left the bag on my bed. I meant to put it away, tucked up out of sight in the closet, but I forgot.

Ava gets home around 3 pm from a day at the Boys and Girls Club. She was in a super grumpy mood so I ignored her and did some gardening outside. I asked her to go get her gi on for karate class, which is kept in my room next to the bed. I rush in a bit later to get going to karate and see the opened goody bag on my bed. When I ask her if she saw the things I got for Easter, she said yes like it was no big deal. I tried to act casual as I tell her I got candy for the easter egg hunt, hoping she did not see the little things that are supposed to be from the Easter bunny himself. She said mommy I saw you got us chocolate bunnies! Damn, those are not supposed to be from me!

Now that the cat was out of the bag, I was still trying to save the quickly disappearing image of her friend the Easter bunny. I told her I got some surprises for her and Scarlett to add to their baskets, but at least she will  still be surprised by the treats the Easter bunny will bring her. She totally bought it and said yeah she cant wait to see what he brings her.

Now I have to go buy more chocolate bunnies and candy for their baskets so the farce can continue for at least one more year. Thank goodness kids want to believe the unbelievable.

Multitasking Mamma

I have this awesome skill (curse) that makes me excel at multitasking. I am eating my breakfast as I write this blog. There are many positive aspects of this trait for example I get a ton of stuff done.

I have been told I may not do the best job when I combine tasks, but it gets done and thats what matters. The problem with this gift is that I cant relax. I dont allow myself to watch tv in the day unless I am also cleaning or folding laundry. I cant eat breakfast with out also checking e mail or picking up the house. I literally take bites of my oatmeal while I clean, or get the kids ready for school. I listen to my lectures from school while I run or do dishes. This is the best use of my time because I HAVE to study and the dishes NEED to get cleaned, so its a win-win situation.

I  think that every moment of my day must be productive, until the kids are in bed and then I can finally relax. I know it must be a family trait because my sister is the exact same way, if not worse. Even though I have a hard time relaxing, I cant begin to imagine being able to enjoy a quiet moment of quietness doing nothing or sitting in a coffee shop relaxing. This thought makes me nervous thinking about all the things I could be doing in this quiet moment to myself. This is when my amazing trait becomes a crutch, like I am a super robot who never needs to re-boot. Go Gadget Go! If Data can do it, so can I!

I am perfecting the art of multitasking


Scarlett has been going through a new phase and it is not pretty. She has taken the terrible twos to a new level. This spirited child needs to do everything herself and has to call the shots. This is normal and age appropriate but when she decides to not change a wet, soppy diaper, or wear shoes to school, I have to step in and make her do it. I have a genuine fear of making her do anything. I literally cringe because I know what is about to happen.

This is how it goes down.

Me - You have to change your diaper, if you do not let me, I will make you.
Scarlett - NO!!! (run away)
Me - You need a fresh diaper (Kevin helps me hold her down while I change it)

Then all hell breaks loose, which usually involves screaming, crying and yelling and there is NOTHING I can do to get her to stop. She usually takes her diaper, shoes, pants or whatever was forced upon her off and we are back where we started.

I have tried all the positive parenting strategies.

*That hurts my ears when you scream
*It hurts when you hit me
*Hands are for playing
*You can choose your diaper and I will put it on
*If you dont get dressed you will loose your desert privilege

After I exhaust these tools I count to 10 and tell myself to stay calm. Kevin can get her to calm down more often than I can, but not always. These episodes now occur daily if not a few times each day. Maybe I used to employ slave children in my past life and now I am paying for it?

I swear she drives me to drink. When she is having one of her episodes I wish I had a closet I could go hide in. I know I make it sound funny but its really hard and I feel like she loves me but doesn't like me. It just sucks and nothing seems to work. I know all kids have fits, but Scarlett takes it to a new level.

Ava was super hard when she was 3 and we got through it. Believe it or not, Ava used to physically attack me when she had her fits, which happened daily. I seem to have have forgotten this stage and now I am back 100%  in it. Kevin and I  make really spirited children and I love them dearly, but this stage sucks.

I have been told Scarlett is just like Kevin when he was a baby, so its all his fault! I hate to complain so much so here is a clip of Scarlett being cute as a button. Cute or not, I am going a bit mental...

Flashlights are fun

I was at Home Depot and bought the girls a 2 pack of red flashlights for $3.50. Deal of the day! I thought it was such a great idea. I got the same color so they would not fight over them. Hours of fun for less than 5 dollars, what a cool mommy I am.

What was I thinking? Getting Scarlett to bed is hard enough. Now I added a bright light to to the mix. 45 minutes after I put the girls to bed, I can hear her laughing away and then Ava comes out to say, she wont stop putting the light on my face. When I glance in their room it is like the lazer show at the I Max theater.

 It gets so bad, Ava says she feels like her eyes are going blind. At this point I tell her to go into our bed to fall asleep. 30 minutes later both kids are asleep. Note to self - Giving Scarlett a flashlight to take to bed is a really bad idea...

Crazy Day with Scarlett

Sometimes the mornings can be challenging, and I am saying that nicely. Most days we get out of the house just fine. But a couple mornings each week, Scarlett has her own agenda and it has nothing to do with mine.

Take this morning for example.  Scarlett chooses her clothes every day, I gave up that battle a long time ago.  She chose to stay in her Minnie Mouse pajamas but still needed a fresh diaper and pants. I let her choose her diaper which is just silly because they are all the same. Then I attempt to put it on her and she runs away. I dont have time to play the chase game so I hold her down and she screams bloody murder. She is too darn strong so Kevin has to help me hold her down to dress her. She is now having a fricken crazy freak out. Try brushing a toddlers teeth when they are spitting venom, its not easy.

Once I get her dressed I have to lock her in her car seat to keep her from taking off her clothes while I get the rest of our stuff ready for school. She screams the entire drive to school. Scarlett also holds a grudge. She was so pissed at me she wold not let me carry her or hold her hand as we walked to her classroom. Once inside she broke down and clung to me like a spider monkey. As I say goodbye she cries crocodile tears for me at the door. Crazy mornings suck...

After day care the suckyness continued right where it left off. I tried to change her exploding poop diaper and she fought every second of it. She squirmed like a fish and managed to get poop on her foot and on the changing table, so gross. At this point I am truly pissed off. She is stinky and has poop up the puss, or as Scarlett calls it poop octopus. I mange to clean her off and have to put her in her car seat yet again to restrain her while I got our stuff together to go to the bank.

Fast forward to bed time. After the tubby Kevin is getting Scarlett dressed  which involves putting lotion on her arm scar and slipping on her arm band. Of course Scarlett has to do it ALL herself. She gets a handful of lotion on her hand and instead of putting it on her arm, she lotions her vagina. I try to hold back my laughter but it leaks out. She is such a wacky, stubborn, strong willed little girl. She often makes me crazy mad, and then she will do something super cute or funny I cant help but smile.

Men in Uniform

I dont know why, but I love men in uniform. I love any and all, anything from the classic firefighter, mechanic to the local PG & E guy. I dont think I am alone in my appreciation of these hard working men.

One afternoon 4 years ago, Ava and I just got out of the tubby. I was still toweling off and threw on some boy short panties and a teeny tank top when I heard a knock at the door. I peek out to see a strapping young police officer at my doorstep. Whats a girl to do but answer the door? Did I mention he had his motorcycle parked in my driveway? No pun intended.

He asked me if I called the police to report some kids throwing rocks. I said no, not me officer. Really I didnt.  He seemed a bit uncomfortable and I was surely blushing. He said I'm sorry to bother you both and turned to leave. I then remembered Ava peeking out behind my legs at the finely clad officer so I picked her up to say Hi to the police man and his motorcycle.

I seem to turn to mush when I am around people in uniform. I couldn't help but blush and think naughty thoughts throughout Ava's field trip to the local fire house. One of the firefighters was a woman, and I thought she looked lovely in her uniform! I tried to avert my stairs, but I think they thought I was just a very interested parent. I guess you could say both men and woman are super extra attractive in uniform. This timeless notion seems to cross both genders. Just walk by your local lingerie and adult store and you will most likely see a French maid or scaled down sailor suit in the window. Now if they only make a scaled down version of commercial fisherman attire, I would be in heaven!

Toddlers and Giant Sticks

Scarlett and Ava were playing with sticks. Big long sticks. They were being pretty cute and safe, not hitting or poking each other. I grabbed Scarlett's stick which had a sharp part on the end and broke off the sharp tip and handed it back.  I made the stick a safe toy.

Warning, warning, ESP, listen to your inner warning beacon, but no I handed the stick back thinking I made the 2.5 foot stick safer 2 foot stick. A moment later as I am making a dinner salad, I hear the dreaded scream. Not the you took my toy scream, or even the I fell off the table scream, but the I seriously hurt myself scream. I run and see her open mouth of pain and ask Ava what happened, like I even need to ask.

Ava says she poked her mouth with the stick. I grab Scarlett and start giving orders to Ava. Stupidly, my first order was for Ava to throw the stick out the front door. Yeah, this really helps the immediate situation. Then I demand a towel which I prompt Scarlett to spit what looked like a mouthful of blood. I can see it is mostly spit and a bit of blood. I start to feel a little better. I ask Ava for the mag light which lets me assess the damage. I see two little cuts in the back of her throat on the roof of her mouth. Thank goodness we dont need to go to the hospital. When things like this happens it takes a minute to figure out the plan of attack.

I calm her down and give her some Tylenol, but she keeps whimpering. She manages to eat a bit of polenta and then bed time is an utter mess. Scarlett keeps sobbing ow, ow, ow and I wish I could do anything to help her. I get out the big guns - Tylenol with codeine left over from her skin graft. I try my best to give it to her, but it ends up all over my face. She cries not stop for the next 45 minutes while I conjure my inner nurse for the courage to shove 2 more ml of codeine down her throat. I pretend she is someone else's kid and I manage to force it like giving medicine to a cat. She literally chokes it down as she gasps for air.  I could write a whole blog about the horrors of forcing Scarlett to take her medicine.

We have to put Ava on the couch so she can get some sleep. Scarlett manages to fall to sleep by 11pm and is up again at 1am. I give in and bring her in our bed where she tosses and turns saying ow, ow, ow. I move to Ava's bed where I finally get some sleep. At least Kevin got to stay in his bed. It is like musical beds these days in our house.

The moral of the story - DONT LET YOUR TODDLER PLAY WITH GIANT STICKS. Especially when they are crazy daredevils like Scarlett.


The phone rings at 4:53am and I hear Kevin's dad leaving a message. I jump out of bed, immediately assuming something is wrong. He tells us about the giant earthquake in Japan and how there is a tsunami warning for Santa Cruz.  I remember the last tsunami warning and I brush it off thinking it wont be a big deal.

We get up a bit later and Kevin heads to the harbor. I am waiting for him to come home because we have many errands to run today. After a couple hours I call him to see what the hold up is. He tells me in a stressed and rushed tone that he cant talk because he is trying to save his boat. What?! Is he serious? I put on the news and see live footage of the first surge rushing in through the harbor. I cant believe it, this isn't just an over-hyped event, but a giant body of water is literally surging into and then out of the harbor. I kept the news on and when they showed areal footage of the harbor, I would press pause when they panned over S dock to see if Kevin's boat was still there.

The huge amount of water caused many boats to break free from the ropes that secured them to the docks and float down the channel, banging into other boats as they made their way toward the ocean. Some entire docks broke off, boats and all and floating away like a ping pong down the harbor channel.

Kevin later tells me how the harbor patrol were trying to keep all the fisherman off their dock (good luck). They even went as far to put a locked chain on the gate to S dock. This of course provoked Kevin to climb over the fence, which made it so they had to unlock it as he was now locked on the dock. The sheriff was called to deal with the unruly fisherman who would not stay off the dock. For all of you who know Kevin, you can just imagine him being told he cant go save his boat but must remain a safe distance from the danger. Hah! Yeah right, silly to call the sheriff, he couldn't do anything.

The crazy thing is that this group of fisherman who have boats on S dock were saving not only their boats but busting their ass to keep debris from crashing into the other boats on the dock as well as securing the many broken lines. They should have been paid to be there, rather than treated as law breakers.  After all the surges had passed Kevin came home and his boat was still afloat, with no damage. I cant even begin to think what we would do if it went down...

 That being said I cant imagine the extent of the tragedy in Japan. I see photos and news broadcasts, but it seems so unreal. Their nightmare is just beginning and I feel so small and insignificant when confronted with the power of the forces of nature. All the day to day crap really doesn't matter but the fact that our families are here with us is what is important. I hate that it takes a tragedy to remind me of how lucky I am.

I miss my bunny

I remember the old days when I had a nightstand next to my bed full of fun toys. My long lost friend the spinning pearl rabbit, the bright assortment of cock rings, tingly lubes, and various buzzy things. Its not like I am now an old maid prude or anything, but having kids running around kinda kills the allure of owning spicy toys.

The moment that really convinced me to say adios to my toys was when Ava was two years old and walked out of our room chewing on a bright pink stubbly cock-ring. I first freaked out and then bust out laughing. I immediately wrestled her new found treasure out of her mouth and threw it in the trash. This spured me to clean out the closet so to speak. I have no secret place left in this house to hide things from my kids.  I said goodbye to my faithful playthings and ever since it has been me and my five fingered friend.  I guess you could say I am now going old school without all the bells and whistles.

Its not a big deal but every now and then after a few drinks I find myself pining over my long lost toys... I dont need them, I am fine with out them, but to be honest there are days when I miss them.  I dedicate this blog to my special rotating purple bunny, how I miss you.

The Land

When I was in high school I had a very specific vision of my future. When I grew up I wanted to be a stay at home mom, have a huge garden and be independently wealthy. I planned to marry my high school sweet heart, buy land and make a homestead. I figured the money would some how materialize. My wish did come true, but not at all how I thought it would. Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

I was with my high school boyfriend Ian for a total of 7 years. We shared a dream with his brother Colin and Colin's girlfriend CC.  This dream was to buy property and start a permaculture farm, which is a type of sustainable agriculture combined with a sustainable lifestyle.

When I was 17, the 4 of us drove to Mendocino in search of our future home arriving at dusk in the beginning of a snow storm. After driving on countless back-roads with our Topo map, we realized we were lost and it was getting dark, cold, and slushy.  Luckily, a man named Pete came out and explained to us where we were and how it is best to travel to the property in the morning. He so graciously offered us his guest bedroom instead of our tent. We stayed with Pete that night and shared a lovely dinner. The stars were aligned and we had not even seen the land yet.

In the morning we said our good byes to Pete and arrived at the amazing 29 acre parcel of raw land which had all of our criteria. Our property needed to have water, be south facing, have a flat site for building a home, and have a mostly drivable road.  It was everything we wanted, almost too good to be true, almost...

After much time and thought we made the decision to purchase the property by pooling all of our savings.  Part one if my dream was completed. Ian and I were still in college so we would make weekend trips up to "the land" when we could. Colin and CC moved up there soon after and build a hoop house to store their stuff and lived in a tent. We put in a garden and planted fruit trees.

In our senior year of college Ian and I went our separate ways.  You would think that would be the end of the story, but it was just the beginning. You see CC and I were best friends and I was also very close to his brother Colin. I continued visiting them every year on my own. "The Land" as we called it was like a sacred refuge to me. I could get away from the fast paced life I lived and live simply when I was there.  Colin and CC were my heroes because they were living the lifestyle they believed in.  They never passed judgment on others who lived a less earth conscious life, but they did their part. Living in Santa Cruz I hear so many people preach about treading lightly but it is so rare to actually see someone practice what they preach.

Over the years they put in a large pond, finished the road, and built their dream house. They built their home themselves using much lumber and mud from the property. The materials purchased were sustainably harvested and recycled. They have since had two amazing little girls, Coruna and Celena,  who are like cousins to my girls. Ava looks forward to our annual summer trip to visit our Mendocino family. She says it is her absolute favorite place to go to. She says she would rather go to Colin and CCs house than to Disneyland.

You may ask how this story relates to my dream coming true?  My original life plan did happen but through a twist of fate. Somehow my dream did materialize. I married my soul mate, had beautiful children, and have an awesome garden. I still am working on being independently wealthy... "The Land" was the first chapter in this story and I am so grateful for our decision to follow our dream and buy this property.  I recently read a quote that inspired me and it said - "What would you do if you could not fail?" I dont want to sound like a super Santa Cruz hippy, but I think we should all follow our dreams because they will most likely come true!

Colin, CC, Ian and Myself 1998

The main flat area which will soon be full of lush gardens 1998

Building the road

The Cabin is being built and the early garden 1999

Ava, Coruna, and Celena - Cute Cousins 2008

Me, Ava, and Coruna 2009

The cabin where the 4 of them lived for many years
until they built their dream house 2008

Years later, their cob/straw bale home is finished 2010

Colin, CC, and Scarlett 2010

Coruna, Ava, and CC milking the goat 2010

Lost in the Woods!

Big Rock Hole Trail One sunny day we drove to Henry Cowell State Park to meet up with some friends who were camping there. They told us ...