• For Husband, truly the love of my life
  • For my kids, they are the best thing I have ever done
  • For my family, as dysfunctional as we may be, we love and have one another
  • For my friends - for the very same reason
  • For my in-laws who are great anyway but even more so because they agreed to come to CA for Christmas!
  • For Maria who loves Christa and Casey as her own
  • For Casey's daycare who teaches him so much
  • For Betty and The Bun and the happiness their fuzziness brings me
  • For Oxnard, you know, because I know everyone here and it is HOME
  • For my job that allows me the flexibility to be an actively involved mom
  • For Husband's job because it is in our county and its bomb insurance!
  • For the mess in my house because it means I'm probably too busy playing with or taking care of my kids to clean up.
  • For my cleaning lady, and the gardener and the guy who washes my car. Seriously.
  • For my house! Having a roof over my head!
  • For the loads of laundry I have to do because it means my family has clothes on their backs
  • For the dishes in the sink needing to be washed because it means we have had food
  • For the price of gas going down
  • For our cars that seem to keep doing a bang up job not failing us
  • For good music and the few good TV shows I watch and good books and EW. 
  • For stupid Facebook and Words With Friends and Instagram because they let me keep up with people I normally wouldn't


Christa Tuesday - 40 Weeks

Today is the second week of Christa's ninth month. We still have plenty of time to master the selfie-game but here are a couple practice shots. These were taken before we left the house this morning. After she snacked on some banana and bread, chugged a bottle, took a poop, tore up brother's toys and proceeded to crawl all over the entire house like a mad woman. Mind you, all of this occurred in a matter of two hours. I swear I will need to chain this child to her crib because she never stops moving and that means many a red forehead.
Despite my predictions, this chick still isn't walking on her own but Lord knows she's close. She pulls herself up on anything and everything. Her Gaga had intended on giving her this stand-up/push/walk toy for Christmas but Husband insisted that he have it this past weekend instead as she will have out grown the need for it by December. She is definitely making the most out of it right now. Nothing is safe in her path with her octopus grabs. What we thought was a baby-proofed home is quickly proving not to be.
Her top teeth are popping through the gum now so that means many a night - almost always at midnight - where she wakes herself up crying. She has found her voice and it gets louder with every passing day. She's not much of a crier but she loves to babble and ramble loudly. Casey loves to repeat her sounds to her and that just gets her going even more. He is the one person in our family that makes her laugh the most. Her personality is just the best and I hope she doesn't turn evil. Ha! 


Weekend Pics

 Betty & I got to go to work on Saturday
 So we all got Starbucks and I wished I had a coffee as big as me
 Then I bathed the bunny before I went to a funeral
 And the rest of Saturday was spent at home.
 On Sunday I woke up to a cotton candy sky and had to take this picture
 Then I watched Christa put more beverages that don't belong to her in her mouth
And Betty remained starved for attention.


Haiku Friday

Seems impossible
That Thanksgiving is next week
I just can't keep up
This weekend is my
In-laws' anniversary
And Christine's birthday!
And then we will blink
And it will be Christmas Eve
And Twenty-fifteen


Christa Tuesday - 39 Weeks

Today is the first week (and first day!) of Christa's ninth month. It is a bittersweet day for me because it is the one-year anniversary of my dad's death. Because Christa was born three months to the day he died, the 18th is always going to connect the two of them. I really feel being pregnant with her when he was dying and having her so shortly after I lost him has aided the grieving process. I can't get lost in sadness when I have this little ray of sunshine in my face all the time. There are so many characteristics Christa and her grandpa share, particularly in the eyebrows and her smile. Every so often she will throw me a look or arch her eyebrows at me and I think "there's my dad." It's quite a gift.
I got my monthly email from babycenter talking about separation anxiety and I don't really notice that with Christa so much but that could just be because we are together so often. Maria is the only one she doesn't mind being handed off to when I'm leaving or even if I'm in the room. If I'm holding her and someone tries to talk to her - mainly women - she will act all coy and shy, though, tucking her face into my chest.  Her little personality is really shining through these days and she laughs at our little games and gets super pissed when she wants something and doesn't get it immediately. And let me just say this: Christa is in EVERYTHING. If her brother has it, she wants it. If something is within reaching distance, her octopus arms are reaching for it.
Those stubborn top teeth still haven't popped through the surface of her gums but I know that she is bothered by them. She isn't walking yet but she is very mobile and crawls with determination. She is pulling herself up to stand and I even see her lifting her little legs as if she thinks she is going to climb onto a surface. We really need to watch out now. I also think she's going through a growth spurt because I have noticed her 9-month clothes are already getting kind of snug. On top of that, her hunger is insatiable and she's taking many naps. On Sunday night she went to sleep at 6:30 pm and I was afraid of what ungodly hour she would awake on Monday morning. Imagine my surprise when she slept all the way to 5:30. Mind you, I kept waking up imagining she had died in her sleep. Typical.

"She's been out as long as she was in." - Husband remarking on the 40 week/9 month thing.

11/19/14 Edit: Christa met her new pediatrician this morning for her 9-month checkup. Her top teeth have broken through and she is in good health and looks great. She is in the 75th percentile pretty much across the board at 28" long, 44.5" head circumference and weighing 19.1 lbs (which is exactly how much I would lose from my body. Ha!).


Weekend Pics

 On Friday night my super handsome 8-year old nephew spent the night. On Saturday morning at breakfast, he rocked this smooth milk 'stache. Casey worships the ground Ethan walks on to an almost disturbing level so he was on cloud 9 having 1 on 1 time.
 On Saturday afternoon we went to a potluck so my super handsome son helped me back cookies after his haircut. We made a big mess and added way too much vanilla and maybe not enough egg or flour but they were still delicious hits.
On Sunday we had lunch with BFFs mom and dad at Toppers! 
 Here's my wee fam bam.
 And Gaga even joined us!


Fed Up Haiku Friday

Kim Kardashian
Maybe you should take a break
The world's seen enough
If you don't believe 
In vaccines then don't get them
But why recruit peeps?
Internet fatigue
A platform for ignorance
Thoughts but no thinking


Veterans Day Getaway

Husband started a new job recently but he still managed to get Veterans Day as a paid day off so I asked my work if it would be okay if I worked a short day so we could spend it together. He and I had talked about having lunch locally but I decided to surprise him and take him to Santa Barbara. I believe on the way there he said that because I wouldn't tell him where we were going, it was considered kidnapping so I told him if it was kidnapping I'd just tie him up and leave him somewhere rather than bring him home. Now if that's not a good old fashioned love story, I just don't know what is.
Since the decision to go up north was a last minute one, I decided to try my hand at yelp to discover a new place where neither of us had eaten before for lunch. I quickly plugged in the key words "lunch" and "Santa Barbara" and found a spot with five stars, plenty of positive reviews and pictures of patio seating so I jotted down the address. Bossman recommended a brewery that happened to be on the same street and there was another brewery in Ventura I had never been to that I figured we could hit on the way home. A plan was hatched and we were on our way! BOOM!
When we arrived at our first destination address, we found ourselves at Antioch University. Husband said "We're in a library." But? I saw the sign for Book Ends Cafe which is where the yelp sent me so we took the elevator up to the rooftop patio. This alleged cafe was the size of my cubicle at work and was basically just a counter. So yeah, we didn't eat there because this was supposed to be a date, not a lunch break. We decided to take the long and winding walk to Figueroa Mountain Brewery - what was to be our second destination - and eat there instead. Naturally, when we arrived we found they didn't have a kitchen but would bring in some "not what we were looking for" food if we wanted them to but nope. Time to improvise!
We took a mosey over to Enterprise Fish Company and ate there. The beer was cold, the chowder was thick, and the food was delicious and plentiful. Our poor waiter forgot to bring us some unneeded calamari that we ordered and insisted he buy us dessert to make up for his error but we were so stuffed we settled for him buying Husband a beer and we called it even. Afterward, we walked back over to Figueroa Mountain Brewery and each did a flight of four beers, all of them very tasty. Plus the atmosphere was nice and cozy and the staff was very friendly. If you can believe this, we walked out of that place for a mere $12. Holy smokes.
Since we can't go on a date without ending up running errands or going to Target, we got on the road and headed back home in a timely manner. Naturally, I found myself closing out our date spending twenty minutes in the Target toilet. It reminded me of our first date when I ended it with a migraine. I think the second date I closed out with diarrhea. Oh, Husband. Thank you for loving me despite my faults. Naturally, our final destination, Surf Brewery in Ventura, was closed. I guess that's what I get for making plans in haste, am I right?
 Part of our walk from that silly cafe to the brewery
 Husband getting ready to kill some cioppino
 Husband and his flight
Yours truly


Book Review

I do not know how I came to own The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve. I have to assume it came by way of a random yard sale purchase because the sheets and the cover were yellowed with age but it very well could have been given to me. The name sounded familiar and apparently it's because it was a movie over a decade ago starring Elizabeth Hurley and Sean Penn. Maybe the familiarity of the name is why I decided to grab this particular title off my shelf though I can't say I ever saw the film.
I hesitate to use the word "gripping" to describe a book but it seems to be a perfectly acceptable adjective to employ for this one. This book tells two tales sort of simultaneously; Shreve weaves in and out of thoughts and memories so often and unexpectedly that it was confusing at first. The first story is about Jean who is on a boat with her husband, daughter, brother-in-law and his girlfriend. They have set sail in a small boat to take Jean to photograph a former crime scene on the small island of Smuttynose, off the coast of Maine. The close quarters seem to brew feelings of jealousy and insecurity in Jean that parallel emotions found in the second story which is the historical account of the sole survivor of a double axe murder that took place in the late 19th century. Interestingly, the murder is based in fact but the survivor's account is fictional aside from the court testimonies. At the time this book was written, the OJ trial had just taken place so there is that double murder casting a shadow over the story as well.
Shreve uses language that had me checking the dictionary more than once. Her voice for Jean versus her voice for Maren, the survivor, was distinctly different but they were both just so lyrical. While the story of true crime appealed to me, I wasn't sure how I would respond to the themes of incest and jealousy and lust. I'm not really a big reader of romance novels, so to speak. However, I read this book over the course of a mere three days because I was pulled into these stories so strongly and was so very curious to see how things would turn out. Although Maren's ending was a bit predictable, I have to say I was stunned for poor Jean. This book was very well written and left me nearly breathless after many pages of exasperating suspense.


Christa Tuesday - 38 Weeks

This is the fourth and last week of Christa's eighth month. I chose the series of photos above because it best represents what happens to her when she is tired. She is literally melting down and it is hilarious to be a part of. She squishes and rubs her face with her hands or whatever happens to be in her hands and ends up making the "pffffffffth" sound until she is literally on the verge of falling asleep where she sits. I then proceed to take her to her room where I wrap her in her soft pink blankie with the lamb on it, pop in a chupie, and she instantly nuzzles into my chest to pass out. It's adorable and I love it.
She is crawling crawling now. No more of that army-belly-scoot-crawl hybrid she was up to last week. She can now pull herself into an upright seated and/or standing position with ease. She can now stand for brief moments at a time unassisted. I find her climbing up the wall like Spiderman so I suppose walking will be in the near future. I can barely keep up with her now so I have no idea what we will do when that happens. For the most part, our home has been baby proof because of Casey and even dog proof because of Betty, but we still have our rookie moments like this weekend when we caught Christa chewing an electrical cord. Awesome. Good thing she only has those bottom two teeth still otherwise maybe we would have found a scorch mark where Christa once was on our carpet. No. Not really.
Her appetite is admirable and she eats basically anything we are eating so that makes life very easy for me for now. She is sleeping like a champ and I make sure not to take that for granted. When I check to see if she is awake now, I often find her sitting up in her crib playing with her little stuffed animals. When she wants me to pick her up, say after changing her diaper, she waves her hands and feet wildly and squeals with glee at the prospect of being in my arms. She's most ticklish under her chin and about her collarbones so I make sure to nibble her often when I blow on that little tummy of hers. She's just delightful, this daughter of mine.


Movie Review Monday

On Saturday morning, Husband and I took Casey and my nephew to see Big Hero 6. As with any Disney movie, I feel like if I don't see it on opening weekend, there is something very wrong with me. And for some reason I get stupid emotional just being a part of a Disney movie in the theater and my body becomes abuzz with juvenile excitement. Even the wee short "Feast" had me in tears and it's essentially about a puppy eating food. Yeah. I have a problem.
But? Back to the movie. I have no familiarity wit the Marvel comic it was based on. This particular story focuses on a wonderful marshmallow nurse of a robot named Baymax (unless you are Casey and decide it is pronounced Faymax despite any attempts to convince him otherwise). Baymax's brilliant creator, brother of our protagonist, dies and Hiro plans to avenge his death by converting the big softie Baymax into a karate-trained super hero. And of course, Hiro and his brother - the first hapa Disney characters I am aware of - are orphans because that is how Disney rolls. He recruits his brother's ethnically diverse scientist friends and the Big Hero 6 superhero group is born.
The movie was full of adventure. The antagonist is a super scary dude in a kabuki mask that rolls around on a wave of tiny robots and I have to admit, both Casey and I were spooked by him. I apparently am a big ol' weenie. My 8-year old nephew said "Why is there always a sad part in Disney movie?" Yes, this movie is emotional as well as exciting and funny.
I was having a talk with the car after on the drive home and if nothing else, Big Hero 6 stunned me on a different level. A level that made me in awe of the human imagination and how limitless it is. I pondered how anyone could come up with a huggable vinyl robot for healthcare. How could they imagine a marriage between cities as beautiful as San Fransokyo: a hybrid city so visually stunning that it made me wish it could exist so I could vacation there often. And as 8-year olds do, when I exclaimed "WHO THINKS OF THIS STUFF!?" he casually replied, "Apparently the people who brought you Frozen and Wreck-it Ralph." Sigh.
And since we Fridays love to overdo everything, we went to the Disney Store on Saturday night to stock up on Big Hero 6 figures and a nice squishy plush toy for me to snuggle. Of course, Casey is under the illusion that it is his stuffed animal, but no. But no. And for the weekly "Friday Sunday Pancake Breakfast," Husband got super creative and made Casey a Baymax pancake. Because that is how we roll.


Squishy Tummy Haiku Friday

October challenge
Was not very effective
Despite my efforts
I could have walked more
But packed my lunches and snacks
Beer my only vice
The scale is not down
But I quit the candy dish!
Honestly? I'm shocked

This haiku was brought to you by my super snug jeans and the following conversation had this morning with Casey:
Casey: Mommy, I love your tummy.
Me: Okay... And why is that Casey?
Casey: Because it's so squishy! How'd you get so squishy?!


Christa Tuesday -37 Weeks

It is week three of Christa's eighth month. I chose this picture of her because it kind of sums up what she's up to lately. She's always in the middle of everything and is totally on the move now. Her crawl is not so much a crawl but a scoot and roll technique. She is, however, able to get up on her hands and knees now. She can go from lying down to being in an upright seated position in a moment's time and if given the opportunity, she can pull herself up.
One thing about her that I admire is how stubborn and determined she can be. She's super strong for a baby friend and will twist and turn and grunt until she gets what she wants, which is usually something she shouldn't have like the remote control. In the morning she sits nicely with her brother and her little box of toys and plays so contently. If I'm in the room, though, she wants nothing more than for me to stand her up against the ottoman or couch for support so she walk around and around and around. If we're willing to hold her little hands with our fingers, I think she'd be willing to walk a mile with big old steps.
Teething is also happening and I won't be surprised if her top two teeth show up within the next few days. Because she is also fighting a bit of a cold, she's been snotty and congested for a week now so giving her a bottle has been a real struggle. Surprisingly, she has lost all interest in a pacifier for sleeping which I think was actually providing her some comfort so there have been many teary wake-ups in the middle of the night. She wants to sleep face down so I can't imagine a pacifier shoved in your face is very comfortable. If I give it to her any other time, she bypasses the soft rubber sucky part and just proceeds to shove the hard plastic in her mouth to chew on with her tiny lower teeth a.k.a. razor blades. Little weirdo.


Weekend Pics - Halloween Hangover Edition

 Here's Christa as Tinkerbell
 My niece as a Victorian Lady
 Casey as Frankenstein and my nephew as a soldier
 Casey handing out candy, way more teenagers than littles this year.
Our pumpkins in action
We really didn't do much for the rest of the weekend, just chilled out at home. Ran errands. Took down Halloween. Visited my Grandma. On Saturday, though, Casey decided he wanted to draw some army guys (green above) and then just casually wrote his name on the top of his picture like he does with his school work - all by himself, completely unprompted. There's an extra "i" in there for decorative purposes between the "e" and the "y" but otherwise I think it's pretty damn good. That "o" is really an "s" between the "a" and the "e" plus he threw in a heart for good measure. And that random looking letter at the far right is an "f" with one too many horizontal lines but goddamn I'm proud of him and how far he's come.