Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Housefairy

In case you are not yet acquainted, you can introduce yourself to the housefairy by clicking this link.

Now beware! It looks super-lame, but Francesca loves it and yes it does motivate her. When I first saw the website I thought "Oh, come on" but there my daughter was soaking in every second of it asking to watch the same demo videos time and time again. She even likes the song!! The dorkiest song in the whole world! And she asks me to sing it! Oy.

So I bit today and sent the housefairy my $13 (see more money spending!) to get the program.

There are more videos Frannie can watch on all sorts of topics from cleaning her room to table manners and playing nicely.

The real reason I am going to go full-force with this housefairy thing is because it really truly has motivated her to want to clean up her bedroom. She thinks the housefairy could come at any minute. And she's excited. So rather than me having to drag an ox through mud, it's like the ox is skipping across the ravine in a ballet tu tu.

So in about two days I'll have my housefairy package and some official fairy dust and we'll have a special visitor for Frannie coming soon! Oh boy!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Movie Reviews

Jason and I get all of our movies from the library for free. Because of this we are typically drastically behind-the-times in terms of what is out on film, however the library does get some great movies, you just have to wait. And you can't be too picky.

This week we checked-out Spanglish, an Adam Sandler film, and Bridge to Terabithia a book adaptation. Both films were fantastic. Spanglish was a surprisingly complex story that highligted many relationships and didn't go for the easy out the way most films do. It was light-hearted and funny at the same time which is to be expected from an Adam Sandler film. Adam Sandler makes good movies! Anyways, we both liked it a lot and recommend it.

We are about 1/2 way through Bridge to Terabithia but so far it is very good. We had to stop watching because it was getting close to 11pm and Jason has to go to work. On Mondays we watch Dancing with the Stars, and on Tuesdays American Idol, so we probably won't finish the film until Wednesday or Thursday. He he. But so far it is following the heart of the book very well and is a great movie for kids and adults.

The other folks I know...

Dad- Well, he just bought a new car! Woo Hoo! A 2005 Toyota Highlander (I think). He bought it at a car auction for only $14,900 and I think the blue book price is somewhere in the low 20's. The car is in excellent condition w/ 28,000 miles on it. Black w/ grey interior.

So now the wheels in my head are turning turning turning because I want my mini van! Yes. I know others cringe at those words. Mini Van. Not me, I want one! I don't care if it is a "mom" vehicle, I am a mom darnit and the sliding doors sound so fantastic. Dad says a Toyota Sienna sold at the auction for only $12,500...

Bryan- He's a police officer you know. And a good one! He's funny as ever and still dating his cool girlfriend Stefanie. They just went to Vegas apparently and saw a bunch of shows.

Mom- Enjoys torture. My mom can't stay out of a leadership role for long. Even though she hates it. Even though the stupidity of others makes her squirm, she cannot help herself from getting involved. So recently she's been the head of some posse youth program that gives at-risk youth a day on horseback. Many pictures were taken in order to torture Mom even more. A few newspaper articles were written as well. So she does this on her off time and during her work hours she has signed up to help with some new operating system. No matter who my mom is working for, she can't stay far away from a new operating system. I spent many years of my childhood listening to my mother walk someone through a new system over the phone. I have learned that my mom's true skill is in reading the directions. It seems she does it, and other people don't. While she's talking to someone she has the manual in her hand and she is simply reading to them from the manual. Then she reads it to them more slowly. Then she reads it slowly, with an emphatic irritated voice often begining with the sentence "Nooooo, that's not what I said." Unfortunately for Francesca and Adam I am also very good at that same sentence, with the same tone of voice. They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

Tom and Carol- Cute as ever. My MIL is turning 50 soon and I'm very excited for her. I can post about this more on another day...

Doreen- She's getting her photography business going and I'm very happy for her. A lot of women from my moms club are hiring her to take pictures of their families. My little niece and nephew are doing well. Nicco is going to start AYSO soccer soon so I know I'll soon be spending some Saturday mornings at the soccer field watching him play. Francesca loves her cousins so so much. Catie and Nicco are her best friends and I think she has a little 3 year old crush on Nicco. She says he's her prince. She'll understand the whole "cousin" thing soon enough. But for now they are such great friends all of them and very sweet to each other.

Ryan- He's finishing his AA at Mt.Sac and still working out all of the time. I see him pretty regularly these days because he does some work at the house a few days a week. So I get to hear all the gossip of what girls he's seeing. Listening to him talk makes my housework go by faster so I'm very happy to have him here.

Jenny- She's working at Paramount and the Roxy. She's happy and is the official Auntie Who Always Brings Presents. You can imagine she's well loved! She's so sweet to the kids. Just last week Tom took Frannie and Catie to visit Carol at work and then took them to visit Jenny at Paramount Studios. I'm sure it was fun to have the kids surprise her at work. It was a fun day for Frannie and a strangely quiet day for me!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Spending Money

Something's going on with me in that I've been spending money right, left, and sideways lately. Those who know me well, know that this is unexpected behavior from me. I'm surprised by it myself! But I feel that several forces have converged at once to contribute to this.

1. We bought a house. Now I have a list of things that I want to buy to cute up this place. Now mind you, it is already plenty cute, but I can't help myself for wanting to get little things to make it special. For instance, two weeks ago I spent a bunch of money on new plants for the front and some planters and wood chips just to cute up the entryway. I guess that isn't a NEED but more of a want, but it is so nice! Now last week I got sucked into buying a comforter set for our bed. We have never had a comforter set, just random blankets on our bed. I figure, it's about time to have a nice-looking bed! Anyways, I've had my eye out for one for sometime and I found a pretty blue and white striped set at Marshall's (a very dangerous store!) for $119. Now that seems like a lot of money, but I couldn't resist because it came with EVERYTHING. It came with the comforter, all sheets, king-sized pillowcases, and three decorative pillows to finish it off. Now I have my eye out for a cute bathroom mat for the front bathroom and some matching towels. I'd also like to get a table and chairs for outside. So I've got dollar signs in my eyes for house stuff.

2. We eat more. Yes our grocery bill has really sky-rocketed. I don't know why. Maybe I'm not as efficient a food shopper as I once was, or maybe we're eating here at home more so it seems I'm spending more on food. Or maybe my Cheerio-eaters are breaking the budget. I'm not really sure, but I'm definitely spending more for groceries.

3. I'm getting sick of never looking nice. Now, some might say "Jamie! You look nice!" and they are being my friends and blah blah blah. But really, I feel like I'm getting to a point where I'm tired of always wearing my "uniform" of worn jeans, a solid colored v-neck shirt, tennis shoes, and hair in a clip. Really. I'm done with it. No more Kristy from the Baby Sitters Club. Well, maybe some days, but just not all the time!

So I've been spending a lot of money lately. On housestuff, and tons on food, and then the haircut and clothes...Just stuff stuff stuff.

King Corn

Is there such a thing as a documentary that isn't depressing? Can you think of even one? Is there something inherent about the format that it seeks to unearth a facet of human life that we thought was A-OK but suddenly Dun-dun-dun! we learn is truly a system with greed and opportunism at its core? Oy. Remind me not to watch documentaries late at night because it makes it difficult to go to sleep after watching one.

The one I happened to catch right before bed this evening was on PBS called King Corn. It is about two guys who go to Iowa to plant an acre of corn and see where that corn ends up. Sounds mundane enough. Well it turns out that almost our entire food system is fueled with corn and it has caused the cheapening of food both monetarily and nutritionally and has almost completely shut out the operations of family-owned farms. When the government stopped subsidizing farmers and encouraging them to limit their farm growth (which kept crop prices high), and instead paid them to produce produce produce, it caused the expansion of super-cheap corn. With so much corn in the system cattle stopped being grass-fed and became penned up and fed corn all day because it is cheaper and it fattened them up faster. It turns out cows were never meant to consume such large quanities of grain and many get very sick with ulcers from it. OY. Didn't want to know that. [It also turns out that unless you were born more than 30 years ago you likely have never tasted grass-fed beef.]

The other effect of so much corn in the system was to find a way to process it into a cheap source of suger, hence high fructose corn syrup. This corn syrup has no nutritional value but has become the staple for almost all processed foods. A can of soda is liquid candy. Liquid high fructose corn syrup. They make the point in the film that the fast-food industry is almost all corn-based. The meat is corn-fed, the fries are fried in corn-oil, the soda is corn syrup. They featured a cab driver from New York city whose entire family has diabetes. His father lost his entire leg over time, and eventually died, and several other family members have either died or suffered severe health complications due to the disease. It was noted that they were all overweight and ate this type of quick-to-get cheap food. The cabby himself lost 50lbs just from cutting soda completely from his diet. Wow.

So what's the answer? Well typical of a documentary, there isn't an easy one. The reality is that our American generation spends about 12% of our annual income on food, and this includes restaurant eating. This is far less than any other generation, not to mention what other countries spend, so we have more of our income to spend on buying other fun stuff. Americans demand cheap food. And with this demand there is the ever increasing reality that cheap food sources and the commercialization of farming will continue to dominate agricultural practices.

Sleep tight everyone!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Baby comparison

Adam at 10 months Frannie at 10 months
Both have 2 teeth on the bottom. Frannie was much more smiley as a baby. I don't have too many smiley shots of Adam. Adam is a happy guy though, just not as quick with the social smiles. He'll smile and laugh for me! He's a growler whereas Frannie was a singer. Adam started walking yesterday! Adam sure loves his sister and she loves him right back.

Monday, April 14, 2008

New 'do

Well I finally got my haircut. The last time it was cut was before Adam was born. YIKES! I have had the hardest time finding a stylist that I like that doesn't charge too much. Anyways, I did a
walk-in at Haircutters near Target and viola!

After the cut I didn't wash my hair for three days because Maria did such a good job styling it that I wanted it to stay that way. It took her about 20 minutes to blow out my hair. It makes me think that if I could take the time to really style my hair properly, then I could save myself three days worth of work. Typically I don't style it at all but I'm always brushing it and throwing it back in a pony-tail or clip, and I'm never really happy with it. But for three days I didn't even need to brush it! I just slept on it, woke up and fingered it a little and that was it. So last night I finally washed it and tried to style it myself. I slept on my freshly styled hair and this picture is the result after a full day. Not bad really. It isn't the same as the way Maria did it though!

Friday, April 11, 2008

An Update on Us

Jason just celebrated his 32nd birthday! Yay! He was able to get the day off and we went to Disneyland. We were also able to go with my friend Lorelei, her two children Clara and Sethy, and my other friend Jamie and her husband Paul and son Andrew. This is pretty much a major miracle because we never have time off at the same time like this. Lorelei and Jamie are teachers and their Spring vacations happened to be the same week for once. A miracle! Of course we had a great time together, I only wish we could do things like this more often. Thank goodness we schedule coffee dates once a month.

Jason is busier than ever with work. Ever since the dog food recall Canidae has doubled its business and it hasn't stopped since. (Canidae was one of the safe foods not affected by the recall.) It seems they are beginning to build some brand recognition and are involving themselves more and more with NHRA racing. They now sponsor their own car and his boss Scott races about once a month. What all this means for Jason is that he is busy busy busy at work and he leaves early and gets home late. It is job security for the family so that feels good to me. We still eat dinner together every evening so it hasn't affected our nighttime rituals much, except that we sometimes don't eat until 7:30pm.

Jason's stress reliever from his work-week is to go bike riding on Saturday mornings. He goes out from about 8-1pm and has a great time. Sometimes he does mountain, sometimes road, it just depends on the group of guys he's going with and the kind of ride he's after. I'm happy for him that he's found his way back to biking because it sure makes him happy! We now have 5 bikes in our garage. He has officially claimed the garage as "his". I guess I'm allotted a measly corner for doing laundry. When Jason isn't riding his bike, he's cleaning his bikes, or tweaking them, or rearranging them, or looking at bikes online, or visiting bike shops, or thinking about which next one to buy. He's already thinking about what kind of bike he wants to buy for Adam when he's bigger. I suggested that poor Adam will have to ride hand-me-down purple and pink bikes that his sister has outgrown.

As for me, I continue to teach Bradley classes. I hold the class on Sundays at my midwife's birth center. It is very rewarding work and I am getting busier and busier involving myself with the birth community. I have a reunion coming up with the couples from a series I held a little while ago. Once everyone has had their baby and they are out of the newborn stage, then I host a get-together at the house. It is so much fun to see everyone. I love it.

Frannie and Adam keep on growin' and changin'. Adam is my little dinosaur who likes to growl at me "WRAR!" I spend much of my communication with him growling back because he loves it so much. He also enjoys saying "DAT!" in a very loud baby voice. I think he just likes the power of his voice and all the fun things he can now say. His true language vocabulary is Da da, Ma ma, and Boo!

Adam loves: oatmeal cereal


Grandmas (he's such a Grammas' boy: both sides)

stroller rides

being carried

when Daddy comes home from work

putting any and all objects in mouth

Adam hates: getting clothes put on

having his diaper changed

getting his nose wiped

getting crusty boogies picked

sitting in his highchair

when I don't pick him up

Frannie is her same little self. She's going through a whiney stage at the moment. Eh (shrug).

Now my real job is taking care of this household. I'm trying to get myself back on a schedule because when I do it, I get so much more done. I've never been a fan of housework, but it is the daily beast that must be conquered, and a schedule is my sword. When I'm weilding my sword I can keep the beast at bay. Once I put it down, the monster creeps back inside. The trick is, I have to have my goals planned the night before. If I forget and just wait until morning then it is like I walk aimlessly around like I don't quite know how I should best be using my time. This is when I can easily get sucked into too much phone chatter or computer time and then I've frittered away my chance to get good things done. I end up stressed out at the end of the day trying to do it all. Anyways, I've been slowly getting better over the years. Moving here has helped a lot. It's a lot easier to keep a bigger place clean than a tiny apartment with no storage. Even if it isn't really cleaner, it looks cleaner because it isn't so cluttered.

Anyways, that's my update. I don't know who all reads this blog (except for my Dad and friend Lauren) but I'll include an update on the rest of the family in another post.

Have a great day!

More Easter Pics

Easter Pics

Yes yes yes, I know I don't update much. But better late than never! Here are some pics from Easter!

Spring Surprises

The previous owner of our home was an amazing gardener. I believe she had a horticulture degree (if I remember a certificate I saw when touring the home). Her gift has been a real treat for us living in this townhome because there are always new surprises. There are many plants back here that I've never seen before, and it seems that I'm always discovering a plant that I thought was "nothing" will suddenly turn into a beautiful flowering goddess. We love you Susanne!