Monday, December 31

I'm seeing a trend here..

I felt I should add my own, after the holiday shopping experience. Everyone surely has experienced the insanely long lines for returns, new purchases of stuff that is now on clearance, the crowded parking lots, even more crowded malls etc etc. Well, we opted to put ourselves smack-dab in the middle of all this excitement yesterday. The kids wanted to spend their gift cards and truly, I felt, we made them wait long enough, seeing as they of course, wanted to do this the day AFTER Christmas. So off to the mall we went.

So while we were at Tilly's and Hannah was picking out a few new things (thanks Auntie Kimmy and Uncle Dennis!), here is Garrin:

Yup, strips his shirt right off, in the middle of the store. The fun part was trying to get it back on. I was contemplating keeping it off, because the ruckus he was creating, was even more embarrassing than if he was on the ground, arching his back, kicking and screaming. (sound familiar anyone???) Now I know you can't tell by the picture, but he took his shoes off also.

After all the fun, 5 people can endure, we left the mall for Best Buy. or Connor Heaven. Which ever you prefer. Thanks to all of you that gave my son Best Buy gift cards, after all the Playstation games, and DS games he was able to purchase with ALL THAT MONEY, now we won't see him, until next Monday when he goes back to school. (Now if I can only get him to clean his room today....we are golden. Everything will stay nice and tidy for the rest of the week!) Now we are done, Hannah is miserable because she is out of gift cards and we are headed home, to nap after all that commotion.

After a nice homemade dinner of Rice Crispies, I made all of us steaming cups of hot chocolate with a (homemade, no seriously, it was homemade and not from the bottle) whipped-creamy topping.

Garrin was really enjoying his........

And what better way to take pleasure in a cup of hot cocoa than.....


Sunday, December 30

Gift Cards and Gerbils

A big "Thank You" goes out to Uncle Chris and Auntie Allison for the Christmas gift of a FIFTY DOLLAR gift card to PetSmart. $50.00. Yup. I said "50" dollars. Thank you. Let's add that to the $20 gift card that Connor got Hannah and that adds up to......

A couple of gerbils, the cage and accessories and food and treats and gnawing sticks etc etc......

Notice I didn't Photoshop out its red beady eyes - that's cause they ARE red and they ARE beady. This by the way is Lily.

Here is the other one - Chelsea - rolling around in her stupid little ball. How screwed up is this - Yeah, put me in a round ball with a few air holes and I'll roll around in it for an hour or so.

I don't know who is more fascinated, Garrin or Lucy. Well, I think Lucy just wants to get her paws on it....just for a quick sec....
Garrin has taken to "rolling" the ball thingy across the floor. Whew!! That's gotta give the rodent quite the headache!

Hannah has taken a liking to Lily only, while poor little Chelsea gets neglected. I can see where this is going already.

Isn't that sweet? A furry little gnawing mammal, with glowing red eyes, sharp little claws, razor-like teeth, just sittin' so dang pretty on Hannah? How cute is that????
So back to the gift card thing -
I was A-OK with Connor getting the $20 gift card - how much damage could a child do at PetSmart with 20 bucks? She has two Betta fish already - so I am thinking - some new little plants, new pretty rocks, some new food?? Maybe a cute little toy for Lucy? Let me take that back - my kids don't give two rats-patooties about Lucy - even though they promised THEY were going to feed her and water her and clean up her poop and PLAY WITH HER!!!!!! Anyway, off topic -
So when I didn't really pay attention to WHERE Hannah told her aunt and uncle where she wanted the gift card to......
well there you have it.

Saturday, December 29

S%&T that pisses me off

I go into a local bagel shop this morning to get the kids some bagels, because there is nothing but Christmas cookies, wine, unrefrigerated cheese and some bad ass crackers from a gift basket, left here for breakfast. Hannah just spent 2 hours working out and Connor is on his way home from an hour long soccer practice. Thought a couple of nice warm cimannin (as the kids say) bagels, cream cheese and chocolate milk would be a good kick start to today.

Any locals here - the bagel shop is Big Apple Bagels. I know some of you who like this place. I was one of those people. They make a darn good bagel.


I walk up to the counter with 2 chocolate milks and a tub of cream cheese. As I set the items on the counter, I noticed the expiration date on the top of the milks - SELL BY DEC 28. Ok - so that was yesterday. I go back to the little cooler to check on the 3 others - another sell by Dec 28th and 2 Sell By Jan 05. So I grab the newer ones bringing them to the counter to purchase. When the 'nice girl behind the counter who should be grateful she has a good job for a good company' came over - I tell her that the two milks have yesterday's sell by date on them. She brings them over to 'some guy who also should give two craps about the good job he has' and tells him about the date. She then comes back over and says -

"That is just the Sell By date. That doesn't mean it is bad."

Because I gave them to her and I needed her to argue some point with me? What the hell is that supposed to mean - that is just the "Sell By" date? I didn't see anywhere on that label that said

1. give or take a couple of days or

2. sell by Dec 28 of freaking 2008

And isn't a SELL BY date geared toward the friggin' SELL-ER?? To let the SELL-ER know when to take the s%*t off the shelves??

In this case - it is just an instance of people who just don't give a s#$t about anything. They would have felt perfectly OK with selling the milk to some shmuck who didn't happen to see the date on it.

That just ticks me off. In a perfect world, she would have just taken the milk, said "Sorry, we didn't notice the date on it" and then shut her mouth.
But no.

Friday, December 28

Me like-y like-y...

Nothing says "FRIDAY NIGHT" at home with Garrin and Hannah, while Bill and Connor are at a hockey game better than.....

a little Chinese food and a movie.
Happy Weekend everyone!

Wednesday, December 26

Hola. Aquí están algunos toques de luz de Navidad.

So anyone with a toddler will understand the title of this post. "Hello. Here are some Christmas highlights." It is in Spanish because this was a "Diego" kinda Christmas here this year, for Garrin. Cute pictures below.

Seeing as my last post was dated December 25th at 1:03am, I will pick up from there. Went to bed to only be awakened by Hannah and Connor at 6am. "Please, please - go back to bed - and let's wait until Garrin wakes up!! (which hopefully will be around 10am, we were thinking). 8am came and we strolled down the stairs to the delight of the kids.

Here is the letter Santa left. Notice how computer savvy he is - typing the letter to the kids using our computer and printer. Hmmm. Notice too, that he was unable to eat the entire, delectable, but a little dry whoopie pie that the kids left out for him. Also take note that Santa drank all the milk because he needed to wash down the somewhat stale, but still delicious, round cake of heaven.

This is the tree that Santa left all the gifts under. How nice and neat and organized Santa is. All packages are facing the right way. Hmmm.

Here is the tree that contains all the presents from our friends and additionally all the gifts we wrapped for the kids, hence our late bedtime of 1am.

Here is Garrin, getting his hands on the first of many Diego themed gifts that Santa and Bill and I graced him with for the holiday. Can he get any closer to it????

Here is Connor practically catapulting over the arm of the chair to reach his gifts. Nice tushy, Connor. Hannah is being a great sister by helping Garrin open some of his gifts. (OK the real story - "Hannah. Slow it down. Let's let GARRIN open a couple of things, before you are all finished with yours, OK??")

Anything sports related, which usually coincides with a ball of some sort, is what makes Connor the happiest. Can you tell???

Here are the two crazy ones, before having "at" the tree in the family room. They left Garrin to fend for himself in the living room.....

Later in the afternoon, Chris and Allison and James came over for dinner. Here is James opening one of the many Diego things we got for him too. My brother just loooooovvvves Diego, and is excited that the kids are learning another language so early in life. Could my nephew be any cuter?

Here is James trying to take pictures with my camera. He is such a little smarty pants.

Here's a cute little video of Garrin pushing the buttons on his new Diego tricycle thingy.

Hope everyone had the holiday they wished for.

Now its time to clean up all this crap and put it all away!!!!

Tuesday, December 25

It's Official

Its Christmas. It is 1:04am. Just finished wrapping. Merry Christmas to all.......and to all a good night - especially me. I NEED TO GET TO BED.

Sunday, December 23

Going Dancing

Garrin had to rest up today.....

So he could play DDR (Dance Dance Revolution, for those of you without Tweens) tonight.....

The Best Gift Ever

It is now 6:45am, the morning after a very, late night of partying. On the subject of the "best gift ever" - Bill is gone to go hang out at a store to get "it" when they open. Post to explain at a later date. But I know many people who have done this crazy thing to get their kids that "thing" that they want most. So here I sit, with a cup of coffee, squinting at the computer screen....wait...let me get my glasses..............ahhhh, much better, anyhoo - writing a quick post about MY best gift ever.

I always get this feeling, after our Holiday Open House that the holiday is over. It is sometimes disappointing for me to feel this, immediately afterward, because I feel I am short-changing the kids and what this is for them. But then I get over it and within the next few days, get back into the spirit again.

Most of the day's preparation was smooth sailing. I even had time to get Michael to color my hair at 1pm. Bill picked up all the food, and the Starbucks - and we were underway. The type-A in me, was proud of how the house looked, everything in its spot, floors gleaming, couch was clean and looking like new, the kids looked terrific - Garrin with his Grinch shirt, Hannah, a beauty before her time, and my Connor looked rockin'.

Here are a couple of "before" pictures of the house.

Family room tree:

Dining room:


My North Pole Village in the living room:

The mantle:

So onto the party.

Amazing. It was amazing. I love opening our home to our family (that would be C and A and J, because no one else will move out to the desert with us!!!) and friends. I spent part of the night just stepping back and watching everyone, just plain ol' enjoy being together. I love bringing together our family, our "school" friends, our "swim" friends, our neighbors - and see how, when they are all put together -they intermingle - they get to know one another. I love watching everyone enjoy the food I didn't prepare. I love watching people share with everyone, goodies they actually DID prepare. It was a fabulous night all around.

That's the best gift for me - family and friends here with us - eating, drinking, laughing..It is worth every moment of never-ending decorating, hassling with Starbucks 'cause the order wasn't ready when it was supposed to, questioning myself whether or not I had ordered enough food etc. etc. Worth everything we put into it - the reward was everything!

PS Now don't get me wrong - diamonds are lovely, as well as any other form of jewelry, or fuzzy socks, or a new cozy blanket that is just a little bigger than the one I use now, or Photoshop for Dummies book, or a new handbag, or some cool sunglasses, or a new scrapbooking paper cutter......

Friday, December 21

we call it "sleep sleep"

The only thing worth stealing is a kiss from a sleeping child. ~Joe Houldsworth

This is Garrin this morning. He decided last night he wanted to sleep with Hannah. When we went upstairs for bed, we checked on all the kids and didn't find Garrin in his bed. So after climbing the ladder to Hannah's loft bed, there he was. I took this shot this morning before I woke Hannah. How sweet.

And this is Garrin this afternoon, after a little snooze with Lucy. He is most beautiful when he is asleep as well as when he first wakes. He "loves" me the most then. He hugs me and doesn't let go.

Thursday, December 20


PIES. Making whoopie pies......not what you people are thinking that I would actually write about here.

Get your minds out of the gutters.

These things.
Moist chocolate cakes with a creamy whipped filling.

Anyhoo - This was my commitment to the kids this year. I was going to bake homemade whoopie pies for them to take to each kid in their class for the holiday.

Much to my surprise on looking in Connor's agenda yesterday, I saw that his party was scheduled for today and not tomorrow as I assumed - (never ASSume anything, it just makes an ASS out of U and ME, remember that saying???). So my perfectly well laid out plan on what had to be done this week, to make my life run perfectly and smoothly, like I like it to - was now all screwed up. Thursday was no longer Whoopie Pie Day - I had to at least get Connor's baked and packaged for today. All 19 of them.

So about 10 hours later last night (because A. I am not much of a baker and 2. This is my very first attempt at these delicious discs of decadence) job completed, whoopie pies packaged and delivered today.

I must say - today's execution went much more smoothly, considering I had to make double the original "double batch" I made for Connor. All 40 - done and ready to go. And the filling came out soooo much better today. There are even a few extras.


'tis the season' - isn't it?

"To all my Democrat /Liberal Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To My Republican, Independent and non-affiliated Friends:
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!"
I don't know guys -
Whatever you are celebrating, hopefully you are spending time with people you love, take time to reflect on whatever it is you reflect on this time of year, be happy, and attend a
Holiday Open House that's GONNA ROCK!!!!

Wednesday, December 19

The reality of it all...

Today it is cookie baking day, in our house. Now this is usually a task I like to do on the weekend, where my kids can help me for - let's say 10 minutes tops, before they are bored and can think of a ton of other, more fun things to do than bake cookies. But the swim meet this weekend, left me without a choice but to make this a during the week project. So in between trucking the kids to school this morning, and Garrin's noon time swim lesson, and then again before I pick up at school and make the pool run - I need to pretty much, scream out as many cookies as possible.

Here is batch number 1.

Now before I go any further - click here to see my sister-in-law's posting on her blog yesterday. She too made cookies and had a great time with my nephew James, with their baking experience. Adorable pictures, capturing a special moment between mother and son!!
OK, now back to me.
It is just not like that here this morning. Garrin sometimes shows interest in helping in the kitchen, but being I am short on time, short on patience, and short on the sheer joy of this job, I have put no pressure on him to be part of this experience. As I began, he enjoyed a quick breakfast of a Hostess cake of some sort and some chocolate chip muffins with an orange juice to wash it all down. He then caught a quick episode of Little Einsteins. Me, well I am mixing, measuring, scraping, melting, draining, sifting, creaming etc etc etc.
Next Garrin played chase with the dog. He zoomed around the kitchen on his ride on car, screaming and driving after the dog in the hopes of clipping her hind legs, I'm sure. How fun for him. Then things got quiet for a while. I knew it - he was in HANNAH'S ROOM.
Here he is.


Tuesday, December 18

Dear Bill

Hi Honey. I hope your trip to Ohio is going well. I know it is cold, so just bundle up. I know how important work is and traveling is a part of it. I wanted to say I miss you and I can't wait to see you and give you a big ol' hug when you get home.

I have thought this morning - hmmm, I am finally noticing a trend here. You always seem to book a work trip - I don't know - THE WEEK WE ARE HAVING A CHRISTMAS PARTY!

I am writing you this quick note, because I know that when you are away from your family, you like to jump on the net real quick, and read the blog to get a quick little "fix" - you miss us so much.


Anyway - I have a lot going on. Not only have we just come off a very stressful swim meet weekend, the kids are wrapping things up at school getting ready for a 2 week break, school holiday parties, I have to order the food for our party, order the plates, wine glasses, and utensils, go to Costco, bake cookies and whoopie pies for the kids to take to school, get the laundry done, go to the Doctor this morning, shampoo the carpets, wash the kitchen floor, finish decorating the family room Christmas tree, still do the garlands on the banister, take Garrin to a swim lesson, get the kids to and from school and then to and from the pool, pay some bills, find timers for the lights outside so I don't have to keep plugging them in and them unplugging them when it is 11pm and about 30 degrees outside, finish up the Christmas shopping, get a gift out to the Wilson's that they will get for New Year's probably, start to think about what we are going to make for our actual Christmas dinner, make sauce, and probably one or two things I am not quite thinking of right now.

I just wanted to send my love to you, across this big ol' U- S- of A, baby. I can't wait to see you and snuggle up with a warm blanket in front of the fire with you....


Love love love - Gini
PS Check out the ticker to the right of this post - 7 days to Christmas - no pressure.

Sunday, December 16

you know it's time to go back to church when...

.......your middle son, asks your oldest daughter - "Did you drink wine that time you got dressed up in that costume and were up on stage?"

Catholic translation - "Did you drink wine the day you were up at the altar making your First Holy Communion?".

Saturday, December 15

Talk about being stressed out!!!!!!!

hannah and melanie It really is kind of crazy to go to a meet and have your kid seeded in the top 8 - a little added pressure to an already teetering on the edge screaming maniac of a mother on a wet slippery pool deck with a quick re-cap of today. Hannah swam her 200 Freestyle and took off 2 seconds, which we were pretty pleased with. She is NOT, I repeat, NOT a freestyler. So, great swim, for sure. Next she had her 100 IM (4 x 25yards - one of each stroke) - seeded 2nd. Is totally pumped. Feeling good. Gets up on the blocks. "TAKE YOUR MARK....(horn blows)...." Hannah slips on the little metal plate with the lane number, does a pike dive (if she was in a diving event would have scored a perfect 10), and pretty much kisses the bottom of the pool. So by the time she finally came up after seeing how deep the pool was, to begin her butterfly, she was pretty much dead last out of 10 lanes. Long story short - she caught up slightly, taking 4th place over all. Needless to say - it was not one of my calmer moments, cheering on my daughter. Last event for her today - 200 Freestyle Relay, with 3 other girls. They actually broke the NV state record last month and DROPPED ANOTHER SECOND, today!!! Way 2 Go!!

Now to the STRESSFUL part of my day.

Bill entered the Scorpions in a 3 vs 3 soccer tournament, which started today. They were playing 3 other same-age-group teams, for championship. Typically they play 4 vs 4, on a bigger field, 20 minute period, 10 minute break, and a second 20 minute period. Today is was 3 vs 3, smaller field, 10 minute period, 2 minute break, 10 minute period.

Bill, having high expectations for the team because they were undefeated this year, was a bit nervous, a bit excited, a bit anxious. This was not a (read this in a sing-songy type of way) lets have a good time, boys, and go out there and have some fun today. It was more like a (read it like you mean it) when went this whole flippin season undefeated and we are not out here in the cold all day today to do anything other than win ALL FOUR GAMES. So there you have it.

The games started while Hannah and I were at the pool. Unfortunately we missed the first three games, but I was able to see the final, playoff game.

Let me just say - a 10 minute period goes by incredibly fast - holy soccer balls! And the opposing team was not giving up that easily. In the end we scored the only and winning goal of the game. It is a wonder that all us parents, Bill and his assistant coach Jaime, did not ALL get red carded, be were all way crazier than I ever could be on the pool deck! Whoooooo. I can't take that kind of stress - well I guess we will have to - the boys are in a championship playoff in January - dang it.

Here is my beautiful Connor with his 1st place medal!!!!

Friday, December 14

Putting things in perspective

So I definitely admit to having a problem doing it....putting things in perspective. I am writing about my thoughts on this after today's swim meet.

Hannah swam two events today - 100 Breaststroke and 100 Butterfly. Both strokes she calls - "her best" strokes. So she swims the breaststroke and swims her seed time. So I say - "how is this possible? you have been working so hard at workout, and you haven't dropped time on this in a while." was a good swim. So she then swims the 100 Butterfly and again, swims her seed time. She is disappointed and we talk about it a bit more. Whatever......great swim.

So we are packing up and talking a little about the meet tomorrow and Hannah says she is going to work even harder on trying to drop some time.

It takes me until I get home to realize the following:

1. Hannah placed 5th in the 100 Breaststroke out of 40 girls. Not too shabby.
2. She placed 5th in the 100 Butterfly out of 31 girls. Ditto!
3. She is swimming with girls that are HUGE compared to her tiny little body.
4. She had all her Junior Olympic qualifying times over this past summer for the upcoming Spring JO's that are in February.
5. The goals she has had for herself for the past few months are National Record Times and Southern California Record Times - she has achieved all others already.
6. She goes to workout 6 days a week, ready willing and able to work hard for 2 hours without one complaint.
7. She has maintained straight A's in school.
8. She has many friends, and is a good friend to all of her teammates.
9. She is always there to cheer on everyone - even those that are on other teams.
10. And lastly - she wears a suit for racing that is so stinking tight it leaves marks on her skin. (see photo above)

I love her dedication to this sport. She has taught ME so much through all of this, and I love her for that even more. I am proud to be a swim mom and am pleased with myself when I do put it all into perspective. That makes her an even bigger winner in my book, when I do that.

Love you Hannah. You rock! Looking forward to tomorrow.

Thursday, December 13

Finding Nemo? I think I found him..

Here he is in a few little his swim lesson today. He is doing so awesome with Debbie. Bill just thinks I sit and chat with Debbie for 45 minutes, so here is proof that Garrin is actually learning something.

Sorry the quality is not very good. I have to keep a good distance from Garrin, so he doesn't get tempted to come OUT of the pool.

Debbie teaches them to swim to the edge and then climb out.

Jumping in and a little back floating.

This is what she teaches them to do if they fall in! How cool.

Wednesday, December 12

What The HELL Is Taking So Long????

I am STILL decorating the house for Christmas. Our party is next Saturday, so why am I not done yet? That would be Garrin.

As I am scurrying around this morning, putting trees here and candles there, I find Garrin in the kitchen. Apparently he went into the garage and got out the watering can. Now what there is to water IN the house I don't know. But here is what I am wondering as I am snapping this shot. How does this kid know A. what a watering can is? and 2. how to get water into it. He can't talk, but he can figure this one out. I don't know.....

That is the little spout for our reverse osmosis water that he is using to fill the can.

So after he was done doing that, I guess he was thirsty because here is what he did because 1. I was ignoring him for most of the morning while I decorated and b. he could pretty much just do it himself since I was now busy taking pictures. Did I say he can't talk yet???


So the day flew by as I continued to decorate the house. I stopped quick to feed Garrin some lunch, but I guess I forgot to get him a drink, because he was thirsty yet again........

I should appreciate the fact that my 2 year old is pretty self sufficient while I am knee deep in whatever it is I do all day.
A little interruption to the day was at 3:00 when it was time to start the daily drive - to school and then to the pool and then back home. Here is how I ran out. Who was going to see me anyway??? For some bizarre reason, I felt like getting Chinese take out............

So here it is the end of the day. The guy who was putting up the outside lights finally came today and here is the finished product. The inside is not quite done yet. I do have 9 more days, right???