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Friday, May 28, 2010


Last week KK and her fellow classmates went on a field trip to the Discovery Museum in San Jose.

Kayla and I (and self-portrait puma) on the way down.  P.S.  School bus drivers are SAINTS.  Really.  Not quite sure how they do that all day.  I was ready to kick out the emergency exit by the time we hit Mountain View.

KK and her bff.  Such a sweet little redhead.  They are two peas in a pod.

And here she is in front of one of our CCT rigs.  She was thrilled.  Can't you tell?

Water exhibit.  Kind of boring, to be honest.  And they had about 8 smocks for 108 kids so they were SOAKED.  Epic logistical fail, Discovery Museum.  Epic.

We then made our way over to the "Secrets of Circles" exhibit where KK spent an hour in the Vietnamese round boat playing Swiss Family Robinson with anyone that would make eye contact.  Wearing the special Vietnamese scarf  for added effect and because "the magic scarf may get them off the island sooner."  She was in circle heaven.

BUBBLES!  The kids loved this exhibit.  And left with soapy hands, faces, hair, upper torsos.  Considering most were still wet from the water exhibit, it was a sudsy mess.  But such fun!

During our time in the museum, I couldn't help but notice the atrocious face painting.  Most of the children resembled Piggy in Lord of the Flies.  My inside voice was thinking that the Museum should fire the face painting staff and hire someone more qualified.  Then, as we approached our final exhibit, I realized the kids painted their OWN faces.  Oops.  I took it all back.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Reflections: Point-Counting Bliss, Week One

Bad news.  Starting weight.  172.  Ugh.

Good news.  I only have 17 pounds to lose.  My goal weight is 155.  I realize that for some of you this is your crawl-in-a-hole-and-die weight.  But this is my 5'9" frame's ideal weight.  Teacher Jan says so.

More bad news.  I just returned from my first week's weigh-in and lost .2 pounds.  I ingested carrots like they were going out of style and covered more asphalt than Forest Gump, yet a .2 pound loss is all I have to show for it.  POINT. FLIPPING. TWO.

Teacher Jan says not to give up and that my body could be adjusting to the increase in fiber and water and just needs another week.  But I think this is what they say to all the fatties.  She also asked if I needed help with my Point Finder calculating slide to be sure that the values I am assigning to my foods are right.  No, Jan.  GOT IT.  Thanks.

Until next week...

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Balto Diorama: Kayla's First School Project

WARNING:  The following post is likely to bore you to death, and that's only if the title didn't make you keel over already.

Kayla completed her first official school project last week and I thought it was important enough to document.  To her.  And me.  And maybe dad.

For the 3 of you that are still here, a diorama is "a scene in a box.  The box is open on a side or on the top.  The sides are painted or decorated.  Stand-up objects are placed inside to show a scene.  You can show something that happens in a book or story you write."  Kayla choose her favorite book, Balto.

KK's teacher said our diorama should cost very little and that most items for our project could be found in and around the house.  Well, this diorama cost the Johnson's $86.74.  I took Kayla to Michael's with me.  Mistake.  We left with fancy snowflake scrapbooking paper, cotton batting, cotton balls, craft glue, sparkly fir tree stickers, miniature fir trees, styro-foam, snowflakes, dog figurines, dog stickers, etc.    Oh and new shoes for me.  What?  We didn't have any shoe boxes.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Face Painting Fun

My dear, sweet friend and co-worker Cara's son turned 2 earlier this month.  His birthday party took place on a beautiful spring day in a cute little park in San Francisco.  Christina, another co-worker, showcased her AMAZING face painting skills.  Isn't she incredible?  I LOVE these pictures.  L. O. V. E.  Just look at little Ashy girl.  So focused and patient, waiting to be transformed into a beautiful... um... flower, I think?  I actually forget what we were going for here.

And Kayla wore that awesome tiger face all day long and sobbed in the bath later that night as the stripes ran down her face.

Tiger was a little haggard by the end of the day (and looking more like a lion with that crazy mane) and Flower Child was primarily concerned with the cupcakes.  She swiped this one from big sister right after the picture was taken.

And here's the cute birthday boy with his precious mama.

As you can see, Brock is a BIG boy.  Dave and his grandpa, Gordon spent most of the afternoon planning his football career.  Meanwhile, Ashy was taking quite a liking to the tee ball set-up.  Dave spent the rest of the afternoon planning her softball career.

Happy Birthday, Brock!  We had a blast! :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Biggest Loser

My little brother is getting married next year.  Kennah, his fiance, asked me to be in the wedding.  I am honored and excited.  Thrilled, in fact.

But, you see,  I am also portly.  Rapidly approaching my delivery weight with Kayla.  Mind you, I only gained 23 lbs with that pregnancy and the Good Lord blessed me with a 5'9" frame that allows for decent weight disbursement over my body surface area, it's still not a pretty sight.  Did I also mention his fiance looks like this?

Really.  This is her.  You're all dying to come to our Thanksgiving dinners, right?  AND she's genuinely nicer than she is beautiful, loves my kids and knows ASL (it's really cute when she and Ashlyn sign to each other) so I can't even hate her.  Not even close.

So as to avoid being crowned honorary Amazon of the bridal party, Weight Watchers  commences  this morning @ 0930. With Teacher Jan who weighed 350 lbs in 2008 and squeals with sheer delight when she gives the 0 point recipe for vegetable soup.  Stick a sock in it, Jan (how many points is that?) and hand over my new member bookmark.  Please also force me to share any and all ideas, thoughts, tips and tricks so I can earn gold star stickers.  All the while, I'd rather be home drowning myself in 100 calorie Lorna Doone packs.  Oh, how I love this whole process.

I'll keep you posted on my progress because I can only talk about my kids and tadpoles so much before everybody drops dead of  boredom.  And what's more interesting than me losing 1.8 pounds a week and telling you all about it?  Try and find something.  I dare you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Little Sister

Kayla has been very into Swiss Family Robinson (the creepy, Jesus TV cartoon version) as of late.  It's a tad Christian fundie (father goes out to kill dinner while mother preparest a table for the family) but her manners have improved significantly due to  the "moral lessons provided in an island environment..." so, we are tolerating it.

After bath time last night we were discussing the possibility of a live reenactment.  For the 4th time this week.  It's a hot topic.

Kayla: "Mama...  Cole (family friend) can be Ernest, the daddy."

Me: "Why can't daddy be daddy?"

Kayla: "Well, dad needs to be the one to put up the curtains." (aka stage crew)

She continues: "Also, I will be the mom.  Evan (Cole's brother) can be Fritz, the older brother.  But he'll have to try out first.  Austyn (another family friend) can be Jack, the little brother because he has dark hair."

Me: "Who do I get to be?"

Kayla: "You can help daddy with the curtains.  And set up the chairs.  And Ashlyn can be Mercedes."

Me: "Who's Mercedes?"

Kayla: "The pet ferret."

Poor little sisters.  Always getting the shaft.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mama's Day

I love this picture of KK, wearing a piece of fine jewelery she made for me in Sunday School that she hijacked for herself.  They also decorated cute little birdhouses that are hanging on our lemon trees out front.

Kayla and her classmates made sweet books for their mommies.  I won't bore you with the whole thing, but here are some of the highlights.  Speaking of highlights, no, I am not blonde.  There was no more brown yarn left.  It is true what they say about the California public school system.  Donate today.

Ashlyn's class made me cute little teapots and flowers with the hand sign for "I love you."

This Mother's Day was a little different than years past primarily because a large percentage of my body looked like this thanks to our tadpole excursion.

OK, so I am being slightly dramatic.
This patch is definitely my worst.  But the other parts are not exactly pretty.

Our day, for the most part, was mellow.  My mom and dad were in Maui and Grandmums was in Florida celebrating my cousin Ericka's graduation from UCF.  We had brunch with Dave's mom.  No pictures because I felt and looked like a leper.  My afternoon was spent at Immediate Care and then at the pharmacy to pick up Prednisone which is making me eat like a wild beast.  It's all very attractive.

Hoping that next year will be a little less itchy...  and that KK's school will stock up on the brown yarn.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tadpole Release Party

I think I've mentioned before that my girls' regard for living creatures could not be more opposite.  Kayla adores them ALL - giraffes to salamanders.  50% of the time she thinks she IS one.

Ashlyn's interest extends about as far as her Backyardigans fruit snacks.

Early last month, my mom and KK went on a nature walk up on Sawyer Camp Trail.  Lucky for me, they came home with 5 tadpoles.

Cotton Candy, Jelly Bean, Chocolate Bar, Candy Cane and Gum Drop.

Unfortunately we lost Chocolate Bar a few weeks in.  He/she is buried somewhere in the backyard.  OK, well actually he/she was flushed down the toilet but we are "pretending" he/she was buried somewhere in the backyard.

Their "habitat" (one of KK's favorite words) was a Rubbermaid container filled with fresh rain water.  Tadpoles do not tolerate tap water because of the chlorine and flouride content.

We also included rocks, sticks and strawberry tops (which they love to eat) and would set it outside for a refill each time it rained.

Cotton Candy and Jelly Bean grew up, overnight.  Literally.  On Tuesday they were happily darting underwater in the Rubbermaid.  Sometime late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, their tails fell off and they began to plot their great escape.

 Such rapid evolution (and preservation of whatever sanity I had left) necessitated their release.

Thus, the idea of a Tadpole Release Party was born (thank you, Kim).

Candy Cane and Gum Drop had not quite made it to frog-hood  yet but were invited to the party because the habitat maintenance was getting to be a bit much.  I began checking the weather forecast more often that one should (which is any time greater than once) and spending my free time scoping out freshwater sources in San Mateo County.

So I realized it was time for them to go.  Or for me to go...  to a home somewhere with a padded cell.

We packed up our precious pets and said the first of many goodbyes.  Ashlyn is only pretending to be interested because they are leaving.

My parents, the girls and I traveled back up to Sawyer Camp Trail for the big event.

We hiked a few 100 yards in and found a lovely freshwater stream just off the trail that would make for a perfect new home.

Kayla and I hiked down to the stream while Nan, Pops and Ashy watched from the trail above.

I thought the idea of having a "party" would make letting go a little easier.


Tadpole Release Party rapidly evolved into Tadpole Release Crisis.  Of gargantuan proportion.

She did fine saying goodbye to Candy Cane and Gum Drop.  Easier, I think, because they were still tadpoles and not as interesting.

Her face was looking a bit more troubled when Jelly Bean hopped away.

The thought of losing Cotton Candy sent her into a hysterical frenzy.

She held him/her in her hand and wailed LOUD:

"But, mama!   He is too LOVELY to let go-oooooooo"

At this point people are stopping mid-jog, looking down at her and staring.

Pop Pop mentions ice cream (normally our "ace in the hole" to right any wrong situation) and that didn't even help.

Ashlyn, the child that can barely hear anything, of course hears my dad speak of mint chip and starts frantically rambling and signing about ice cream.

Meanwhile, Kayla is still mourning the inevitable loss of Cotton Candy.

She has kicked off both pink Crocs and is standing barefoot in the stream.  And her screaming, only getting louder.

"Please, mama!  PAH-LEASEEEEE.  He is just so cute and lovely! SO gorgeous!  I just cannot bare to let him go-ooooooo!"

"Ice Cream...  Ice Cream...  Ice Cream...  Ice Cream..."
coming from the little one still standing on the trail, oblivious to the drama taking place below.

It was then that I noticed it.

Leaves of three.  Let them be.

Poison Oak.

Ever since Kayla's Bunker Hill preschool days, she has been abnormally paranoid of the poison oak plant.

Primarily because Teacher Kelly warned them about it as if it were the 21st century version of the bubonic plague.

I may have also told her that her arms and legs would fall off if she touched it.

Her fear of the lethal shrub easily trumped her loyalty to Cotton Candy.  She said one last goodbye and tossed him/her into the stream.

Still sobbing and shaking somewhat uncontrollably, she made her way back to her Crocs and placed them on her feet.

She sulked up the rocks and towards the trail.

Ashlyn was there waiting, still mumbling about ice cream.  She did, however, pause to help console her big sister.

Although I think she was just ushering her to the car to get to the mint chip faster.

And here we are, 45 minutes later.  Still noticeably distraught, eating ice cream at Nan and Pops.

Please direct your attention to the right hand.  Pretending, wishing, dreaming she is still holding a frog.  Such a sad life.

Moral of the story, as I type with blistery, rash-covered, oozing arms on Mother's Day.

Tadpoles are like poison oak leaves.  Let them be.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Our Little Movie Star

My not so baby cousin Frankie Bourne is a very talented film student who graduates from UC Santa Cruz next month.

My daughter (and my other cousin, and my cousin's neighbor and my dad's tugboats) starred in one of his final short film projects.

You can watch it here.

Yes, the opening scene is in a bar and yes, there is a swear word.   Don't melt.  She didn't hear it.

And yes, we're working on the horrific crayon grip.

Is it summertime yet?

Because we are definitely ready!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


A friend or acquaintance approaches (usually at church) with a request you'd rather not agree to (usually ministry related).

Outside voice:  "Ummm, can I get back to you?  After I pray about it?"

Inside voice:  Pass the tweezers.  I'd rather pluck out my fingernails at a geriatric pace.

I loathe it when people (myself included) use prayer as an excuse for inaction.  If you don't want to do something just say you'd rather not do it - in love, of course (probably best to leave the whole tweezer part out).  But I get it.  "Praying about it" sounds much nicer.  And more spiritual.

Recently, I've been giving a ton of thought to prayer and its' purpose.  I often wonder how my futile words change a God that doesn't seem to be changeable.  I, in fact, find comfort in that fact that He does not change.

But we cannot ignore the fact that there are passages in scripture that clearly support the idea that our prayers may have an affect on God and His course of action.  For example, in Exodus 32, Moses prays for mercy on the rebellious Israelites and God hears and alters his original plan to destroy them for their idolatry.  In the New Testament, I Peter 3:12 says "for the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayer."

On the flip side, there are a myriad of passages that speak of God's sovereignty over all things and that the order of the universe and all that goes on within it has been preordained by Him alone since the beginning of time.  Malachi 3:6 says "I, the Lord, do not change."  James tells us that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (vs. 1:17).

Wrap your head around that one, right?  Bottom line.  I don't get how it all works and probably never will, this side of glory.  It's one of the great mysteries of  faith.

What I DO know is that scripture commands us to pray and to do so often.  Paul tells us to "pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17).  He also tells the Philippians (vs. 4:6) "do not be anxious about anything, but in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God."  Prayer brings us closer to Him, brings us a sense of peace and changes US, His followers.

I pray daily (sometimes hourly, sometimes minutely) for patience in dealing with my girls.  So when I find live snails tucked nice and cozy in every bed and crib in their dollhouse (yes, I said snails and yes, I said I have GIRLS), I am more apt to be patient in my response.  If I am struggling with gossip, consistent prayer that I would keep my mouth shut, usually keeps my mouth shut.  Because I am bringing these specific requests to Him often, they are always fresh in my mind.  God keeps them there.  Accountability on steroids.

Same goes in my prayer for others.  If I am praying for Dave daily, I will treat him differently.  I will be a more loving, attentive and Godly wife.  If I am praying for a friend, I will be a better friend.  I will think of those that I pray for more often, respond and be more aware of their needs.  And somehow God uses all that to bring glory to Himself.   I don't understand how it all works together and I look forward to asking Him one day but for now, I hang it on my spiritual coatrack and have peace that it brings about change in my life.

And thank goodness God does not grant ALL our requests as we ask for them.  Ryan Seacrest would most definitely be out of work (sorry, but the guy BUGS) and I would living in Salt Lake City.

With triplets.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Kid Party

Ashlyn had her 3rd birthday party yesterday and it was cute.  Slightly white trash (thank you, Bel Mateo Bowl) but cute, nonetheless.

14 of her closest little friends came ready with pint-size, mad game.  Most took the competition very seriously and waited patiently for their turn, in their assigned lanes.  Others (the birthday girl, included) bowled in lanes that did not even belong to us.  But they had fun.

After such a strenuous hour of competitive bowling, the kids were quite hungry.  We had pizza and cupcakes in the special birthday room (that definitely smelled like bowling shoes).  The birthday girl was more interested in the pink cupcakes than the pizza so Pop Pop distracted her with ice cream in the game room while all the other children ate.  But she's not spoiled.