Thursday, July 31


It has been a couple of days of ups and downs. Hannah had one event to swim yesterday. 100 backstroke. She added two seconds......

Today she didn't have any events to swim, but she was able to swim timed trials. Meaning she gets to swim after preliminaries are finished. We pay a fee for her to swim additional events and she gets to keep the time she gets. She did the 200 freestyle, shaved off 2 seconds and got a Junior Olympic time. Hooray!!
Tomorrow will be her toughest day. She starts off with the 400 freestyle and then has a little rest before she swims the 200 Individual Medley.

We are getting in some fun in between all of the running to and from the pool. The weather here is just gorgeous. Little chilly in fact. We should have brought long sleeves shirts for the morning and evenings! Nice change from the 112 degrees at home.

Between the beaches we have been visiting and the great food and shopping, Bill and I have been keeping Garrin and Connor fairly happy as well. I can't wait to get home and download all the pics from the beach!

Send good thoughts for tomorrow! Thanks for all the nice notes so far.

Wednesday, July 30

OK - so I lied...

I can schedule posts, remember?????

Are you sending those mental good wishes Hannah's way today????


Tuesday, July 29

An Equation

OK - so we are hoping that this:

plus this:
plus this:

plus this:

plus this:

plus this:

plus this:

plus this:


a few of these!!!!

Please, with all your telepathic powers, send Hannah thoughts of success at the Junior Olympics. See you next week!

Monday, July 28

Sugar and spice, and all that's nice,

that's what little girls are made of. (until they turn 11)...

(just kidding.....)

(sort of....)

Anyway. Had a shower for Chris and Allison this weekend. Bill and I have definitely had a little baby (girl) fever lately. So when we were preparing (shopping, mostly) for the shower we were thinking somewhat seriously about having a baby girl. Well, technically, I can't HAVE one. But maybe adopt one. Anyhoo.

Here are some of the the reasons why....
NO. Not the cake....

But look at all the freaking adorable clothes!!!!!!!! Buying for boys is just not the same. We were so excited thinking about all the cute stuff we used to get for Hannah before she became tom-boy-ish and wouldn't wear anything girly anymore, darn it all.

I admit that I am guilty for buying things for baby Ella that I would like myself for a little girl.
Tie Dyed Sequined really, it rocks!!

Rockstar - for instance.

A sample tattoo - for instance.

and for sure PEACE, LOVE AND ROCK AND ROLL, baby!!!!!
ohhh, baby girl fever....
I am sure Ella will be so stinkin' cute in this stuff.

Congratulations to Chris, Allison and James. The time is coming quickly!

Thursday, July 24

2 years, 9 months, 11 days

That's how old Garrin is.

So last night both Hannah and Connor were sent to in bed by eight so that way Mommy and Daddy could go upstairs and play the Wii alone . Garrin joined us and got into the game room first.

Long story short. We couldn't play Wii because he plopped his butt down and did this:

Speech isssues? Yes

Fine motor skill issues? No

Really good at Playstation? Yes

Do Bill or I know how our two year old knows how to do this? No

Wednesday, July 23

A blast from the past

Here is the problem with getting a new computer......and then another new computer....and yet another new computer. I end up with 3 or 4 computers with stored digital photos, which we have put on a disc and they are floating somewhere around this house, but when I want to go back and look at some oldies but goodies - who the heck knows which computer they are on or which disc they are on. Case in point - it would have been fun to find a baby picture of Hannah to post on her birthday. Oh well.
My mother-in-law e-mailed a bunch of photos I'd e-mailed to her quite a few years back. (Thanks, Mom).
Thought I'd put these three up. They are awesome.

We took a weekend trip to visit Thomas The Tank Engine in Arizona. It was in October of 2002. Wow! 6 years ago. Hannah was beautiful back then too. I don't think she talked back to us back then, though. No attitude. No wearing her jeans or shorts on her hip bone. No argument about wearing her hair pulled off her face. Oh, those days.......

And here is my boy. Only had one boy back then. Was pretty much ALL SET with having one boy back then. Oh my gosh. He has always had the blondest hair. His expression makes him look just like Garrin. And dang - he LOVED Thomas. Those days are gone. If it is not round and you can kick it, throw it, hit it.......he is not interested.

And holy mama, check out my short hair! Bill looks as young (you suck) and as handsome as ever!!!
Maybe this will inspire me to try to organize all our photos.
When I find some time.
Next year.

Tuesday, July 22

The Blink of an Eye

In swimming, a second or two, is huge. Even a one-hundredth of a second makes a big difference. So one week before the Junior Olympics, Hannah is getting a little extra help with her dives. In that quick blink of an eye, she can either win or lose a race. She can either pull out ahead or try to play catch up. At that meet, there are no friends. Just competitors vying for the top spots. These swimmers are not fooling around and one has to be ready for that.

We aren't sure if Hannah's previous life here on earth was that of a dolphin, but her dives could use some work. Sometimes she is still floating up in the air (la di dee da), while the others are already in the pool swimming?!?!?!?!?

Do you see what I'm saying?

I took a lot of pictures to e-mail her everyday until JO's show her what she looks like. But took these shots (a pretty decent dive) that I just love the lighting in the pool.

I'm sure all her hard work will pay off.

Monday, July 21

Why not?

It is the middle of summer. And this is the desert.
So why not send your kid to Soccer Camp?

Check my little weather hoozey-whatsit to the left, take a gander at the temperature, and even if you are reading this is the middle of the night, it is probably still about 95 degrees out.

What do you think about that?

Connor is there all week - 9am to 4pm.

What was I 'on' when I thought camp was a great idea?

Sunday, July 20


This year, for Hannah's Birthday, we went pretty low key. After all, the older they get, the more they can actually do for themselves. And I must admit, backing off really paid off in the end. No mess to clean that I was responsible for, no games to pre-plan to keep everyone happy and occupied. It was rather FANTASTIC I must say.

Here's how I pulled it off.

Hannah invited 9 of her closest pals to come over, party, and spend the night. Here are all the girls opening the goody bags I provided. (Hint: each bag contained lots of fun things that would keep these girls quiet and content for a long time - tee hee hee)

Each girl got some nail polish, a magazine (OOOOOOHHH, The Jonas Brothers.....OOOOOHHH), some cute little boxers and tee-shirts for sleeping in, some candy, lip gloss, mad get the picture, don't you??
Then we bought lots of dough so the girls could fix their own damn dinner make pizzas and all the toppings one could want. And we told them, anything they found in the pantry.....go for it!

Here is the "anything-they-could-find-in-the-pantry" pizza. Looks like a ooey-gooey s'mores pizza......yuck! They actually ate some of it.

Here is Hannah opening her gifts from the girls.

And "the more stuffed animals the better", I always say. (Gosh darned it......more stuffed animals....grrrrrrr)

That was it folks. Bill and I really didn't do anything after that. Done. Over. Finito.....

Because they just did what they wanted to for the next 18 hours. There was some swimming. Nail painting. (and yes, even Connor got his nails painted by one of the girls) Movie watching. And here are a few other highlights.

Soccer, kickball, and softball are, of course, always played in the kitchen.

The kids made a list for a scavenger hunt around my neighborhood, to really get my neighbors to love me even more than, I am sure, they already do! Click on the list - they put some pretty interesting things on it:

This was one of the most popular activities. Sliding down the stairs in a sleeping bag. Sorry - to all the parents of these girls. Couldn't stop them from doing this - but no one got hurt!!!! I know they all are swimming in the Junior Olympics next week.....I know.

So that's it. Success without the stress. I am so proud of my over-achieving, over-board, over-doing-it self.

And as an additional little treat (in the form of a second birthday cake) Hannah wanted a marble pound cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes, to have with Chris and Allison and James, this afternoon. Yum.

I can't believe she is eleven.

And gorgeous to boot.

And her most special ending to her most special day. Her most bestest friend Alex is spending the night tonight.

Bill and I are lucky Hannah has such good friends. It is something you always want for your kids.


'Cause that's what makes a birthday a birthday, right? Got this recipe from Real Simple July 2008. Put my own little spin on it - Made it way bigger than the recipe and put more chocolate chips and chocolate shavings!!!! YUM!

As of this morning, the party is still going on. Will post more later!
Happy Day Hannah!

Friday, July 18


Now that I have had a couple of days to sit on this (get it? "sit on this/colonoscopy"??), I have decided to write about it. I know you are thinking;

OK - no posts for a couple of days.

Perhaps I should have considered waiting until SOMETHING ELSE exciting happened in my life, but bear with me and there will be a message in the end of all of this.

So finding the humor in

A. being 43 and

B. having a not so great family health history

can be difficult at times, but is an incredible motivating factor in staying fairly happy my remaining days on this earth. So here in lies the story of my colonoscopy.

I will admit, there are days when things just hurt. There are days when - 43 is NOT the new 23, after all. My shoulder hurts, my arm hurts, my stomach hurts, my left shin hurts, my head get the picture. Dammit though, I am just down right busy to let most of the little aches and pains of being on the upswing of elderly get the best of my days. So occasionally a little Tylenol is my best friend.

When pelvic pain hits though I pretty much have learned to not ignore it because

1. It isn't going to just go away and

2. hello??.......I've had a hysterectomy for a reason.

Getting back to that very bad family history.............the doctor orders a colonoscopy. Thanks to Katie Couric and other members of the Today Show, you can all get a visual on what one entails. Typically it is a standard test that anyone 50 and over should have. So let's just say I've had mine 7 years early. After all is said and done - the prep is way worse than the actual procedure.

I will start off by telling you that EATING is highly over-rated. The morning prior to the procedure I started off by having a bottled water for breakfast. My mid-morning snack....oh...just some water. Sat down to lunch with my kids and had a tall, wet, cold, icy glass of .....water. By this time I am thinking....."how the hell do people fast for entire days and survive?" But 47 glasses of water later and 3 pm, the hunger pains were gone and I was now thinking "Day-umm....I could lose a couple of pounds doing this.......SWEET!" Dinner was...well, you know...water.

So part one of the prep are two pills and as I am typing the word laxative, the words too much information is coming into my head so I will leave it at that. 4pm I downed the pills. Then I had to mix
this jug,
yes, jug,
no really, a jug,
did I say jug?
yes a jug
full of water and some sh-tuff that apparently really cleans you out. You get to add a FLAVOR PACKET (yum) to the sh-tuff, so between shitty orange, shitty cherry and shitty lemon-lime, I opted for the orange. I was trying to relate it to the orange crap I had to drink during some test when I was pregnant and was thinking that the taste wasn't that bad. Hopefully the same would hold true for this.

You have to wait between 1 to 6 hours for the action to start and when it does you begin drinking 8 ounces of the sh-tuff every 10 minutes. Two things - I ended up waiting until the sixth hour to begin the drinking (which folks, puts me now at 10pm), and the sh-tuff turned into POISON. Let's just say I would have preferred giving birth 3 times by C-Section with no anesthesia, than drink this crap. So 1 1/2 hours later, and my most valiant effort at not vomiting, the liquid poison was gone and I was in for a long, sleepless night.

Fast forward to the next day.
Pretty short and sweet. Drive to the hospital two hours before the procedure. Put on one of those pretty dresses with my butt hanging out. Verify that I am in fact, Gini Herbst, 14 times. Get painfully hooked up to an IV by a not-so-proficient-at-IV's nurse. Lay on my stretcher and chat with Bill about this that and the other thing knowing full well that we both just want to sleep (for lack of, the night before). Meet my hero - the anesthesiologist and realize that there is a God and that I will be out for the whole thing. Get wheeled into the operating room. My hero says: "Now Miss Herbst - I like being called Miss - I am just going to start putting this white liquid into your IV and


Sure, I could post the (awesome, actually) pictures of my colon, but I have to face some of you in the near future so I will spare you that. The message is - dang it, sometimes you have to do what you have to do to ensure staying healthy. I have an amazing husband and 3 amazing children that I must do everything in my power to stick around for as long as possible.

Colonoscopy. It is not such a pain in the butt. (get it?? pain in the butt/colonoscopy?)

OK - I'm done. I'm outta here.....oh, and I have a clean bill of health in the colon department.

Monday, July 14

What's scary is.... much Connor and Hannah look alike with a swim cap on!

Anyway. This weekend was the last official Long Course meet for Connor. He went out with a bang for being a seven year old. Took time off of all four of his events. He is pretty happy with how he did this weekend - as he should be. I am kind of wishing soccer wasn't starting up so soon, because he swims so much better when he can really dedicate his time to just swimming....What do you think, Coach Bill??????? Hmmm???
Connor's breaststroke....he loves breaststroke!

And this, for Hannah, was the last meet to get qualifying times for the Junior Olympics that are in two weeks. She was able to pull off one more time - the 400 freestyle!! And for those of you that know my daughter is NOT a freestyler.....I know.....what the hell is up with that??? Whatever. She worked so hard for it. Congrats to her and Mission Viejo - here we come!!!

Hannah's backstroke - Nice start!!

And a quick note to my Photo-Taking Photo-Shopping Phriend (love you Trish): Thanks for the last 4 shots here of the kids (and all the others you took) since it is hard to take photos while you are trying to wave to your kids with something brightly colored from up in the bleachers to get their attention so they know that you really want them to swim a little bit faster to make their JO cut and you hope they can respond to your persistent yelling to make looking like a total jackass insane parent, worthwhile.