Sunday, October 23, 2011

October Round-Up

Recently, all the activity in our house seems to be swirling around Maddie. She's visited colleges on the East Coast, been filling out the college applications and enjoying the Senior Year activities at school. While it's been fun watching her grow and mature before our eyes, our little Josie is also providing lots of excitement. I decided to start off with what Josie's been up to these past few weeks- which is plenty!!

Josie and James have slacked off a bit on the Disneyland Sundays. In the past 6 weeks I think they've only gone twice. As soon as Labor Day hits, Disneyland starts decorating for Halloween. Josie loves Halloween! She's still not thrilled with the increase of Disney "villian" characters that stroll the park during the Halloween season, but she's getting better about running into them. James reports that she no longer hides behind his legs or makes him take detours around the characters when they are within her general vicinity. Here's Josie enjoying Disneyland 2 eeks ago:

James seems to be branching out with his 'Father/Daughter' outings, at least with Josie. Last weekend James took Josie and BFF Katie up to Cal Poly Pomona for their annual Pumpkin Festival. All kinds of fun stuff for the girls to do. However, it was a sweltering day. You can see in the photos below that the girls were just roasting!

To take a pony ride, the kids had to wear a helmet. To wear the helmet, you had to wear a disposable shower cap :-(

Back at home, we're seeing less and less of Maddie. Josie is taking it pretty hard. We are blessed in the fact that our girls truly love one another. They have the best time together! And, they never leave the house without giving each other a kiss and an "I love you"... Ever! Sometimes, they can be quite devilish together, teaming up to make me feel a bit steamed. Case in point: I was folding laundry the other night while Josie was in the tub. (She gets 10 minutes of playtime after she's washed and shampooed!) I asked Maddie to go in and help her sister out of the tub. I hear them laughing and giggling and then Josie screaming, "Mom!" Maddie comes running out of the bathroom, without Josie, to show me what they were up to. (I should say, 'what Maddie talked Josie into doing...'):

Sometimes, big sisters are just so mean! Josie objected strongly to the photo once she saw it, but then just started laughing. I had a good laugh myself!

Last night was Maddie's Homecoming Dance at school. It is the first and only formal dance she will attend at this school - the Prom is held at the Disneyland Hotel in late May. A bunch of friends and their dates got together and rented a 'party bus' for the occasion. They met in the school parking lot and took the bus to Laguna Beach to take photos and to have dinner together. The bus returned them to school in time to attend the dance. Afterward, they had an 'after party' at Madie E's house. I have to give a big shout out of thanks to Madie's Mom, Nori, who fronted the kids the cash for the party bus, followed the bus to Laguna Beach to take photos of the kids and held the 'after party' at her home. She really went all out to make sure the kids had a very safe and enjoyable evening. I promised her that I would take the lead on whatever plans the kids want to explore for Spring Break. Here are a few photos from the evening, a few of which I posted on FB:

The whole gang in front of school, just about to board the bus.

Maddie and Israel

Maddie giving her "Aunt Claudine" pose! (Any event photos we have of Claudine include a pose like this...:-)

Madi E and her date.

The Party Bus

Inside the Party Bus - And Yes, that is a stripper pole in the middle... (*shaking my head!*) Thankfully, no reports of anyone taking a swing on it!

And finally, the next time I post here I will be in Ireland with my older sister, Suzanne. We're headed to the Emerald Isle to walk the land our ancestors plowed and to visit with our Irish cousins. We will also be spending two days in the previously 'off limits' Belfast, Northern Ireland. We'll be touring the dockyard where the Titanic was built; viewing the political murals of both Protestant and Catholic neighborhood previously torn apart by war; and finally experience the natural beauty of The Giants Causeway, the Inishowen Peninsula and the rugged western coast in County Sligo. We are so excited to making this trip together! I can't wait to share the photos and experiences here as well... Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Six Weeks of Chaos!

From September through mid-October our family life is always hectic. We have the first days of school and many birthdays. We start the month with my sister Claudine's birthday on the 4th, then my Dad's; my Grandmom's (she's passed, but not forgotten!); our niece, Kate (who just turned 13 Woo Hoo!!); and I celebrated (I use that term loosely :-)) my 49th birthday on the 30th. My nephews Zach (19) and Liam (14) are our October babies. One would think that at my advanced age I'd have things a bit more organized. Still, I find myself making multiple trips to the card store, shopping on line at the last minute and then completely forgetting my own birthday! I honestly jumped out of my skin when James woke me up with a kiss and "Happy 49th Birthday" on Friday. Yikes!

We started the month off with a really pleasant visit with James' parents in L.A.'s Chinatown. It's a great halfway point for all of us - about an hour North for us and an hour Southwest from Mom & Dad's home in the desert. Like most Chinese families, we shared a weekend Dim Sum meal. I love having Dim Sum because it is instant gratification - the carts loaded with goodies come to you and all you have to do is point to what you want! It's great when you have hungry and impatient kids to feed.

Here's our spread:

No waiting for a meal as the carts circle the dining room

James and his Dad usually make the selections for all of us

Here's Maddie watching BF Israel try Chinese noodles for the first time!

And of course, Josie and her Ma-Ma get caught up on the news of First Grade!

Mid-September brought a well deserved indulgence for my husband... After hemming and hawing for nearly a year he finally purchased a new BMW convertible for himself! We had a 2001 BMW convertible that James purchased about 4 years ago in anticipation of Maddie getting her driver's license. It was a manual transmission car. Once Maddie got her permit James made the fatal mistake of having Maddie drive the car without any practice - he just put her on a busy road and said "drive". Not a smart move. Maddie was so scared and intimidated from the harrowing 6 mile drive home that she refused to get into the car again - EVER. So, James has been driving the convertible ever since. Here's is James' New Baby:

This car has a Turbo 'something' engine and it is a SWEET drive!

This past Wednesday, September 28th brought more excitement - but not the kind we like. James returned home from a business trip that evening and jumped back into his routine of washing each of our cars. (He washes 3 cars EVERYDAY and details each of them on the weekend!) The girls and I believe that washing the cars keeps James sane - his own little therapy session in the driveway! Anyway, James walks into the garage, comes back in the house and says, "Where's the water in the garage coming from?" Of course, I have no idea - I only go in the garage to grab my gardening tools and to pull my car out. I walk out to see what he is talking about and see a nice little stream coming from the roof and dripping down between the cars.
"Didn't you notice that?!" he asks.
"Um, No I didn't. I don't hang out in the garage. There's a reason they're called Man Caves..." I reply.

The muttering under his breath begins. It continues as he places a call to the Home Warranty company, shuts off the main water supply line, and finally makes his way to bed. Such are the burdens of a man who lives his life surrounded by females.

The next morning the plumber, Mike spent about 2 hours trying to locate the source of the leak. He cut 4 holes in the drywall ceiling of the garage before determining that the leak was coming from the master bathroom shower supply line on the second floor. Bad news was that the line was only reachable by cutting a hole from the outside of the house. So, up the ladder went Mike:

Finally, my big day arrived. The last year of my 40's began on Friday and I was looking forward to having a nice relaxed celebration with the girls and James... Pepperoni and Mushroom pizza dinner followed by birthday cake. It was not to be, though. Maddie informed me that afternoon that Israel was taking her out to dinner to celebrate their 'anniversary'. (They have been dating for 4 months!) And, to be fair to Maddie, I will divulge that she did ask me in advance if I wanted her home for my birthday dinner. So, my birthday song was sung by Josie and she helped me blow out my candles. It was a nice birthday celebration for me just as I liked it - quiet and low key.

Here's Israel waiting for Maddie... and being entertained by Josie and BFF Nyra.

And, the happy anniversary couple!

I'm looking forward to a quiet October before leaving on my next adventure on November 1. I will write about that in my next post... Have a great weekend, everyone!