Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Now, what shall I do?

Bridget went to sleep for the night around 10. Emma went down about 11 (for once!) Jeff asked if there was anything else I needed, got it for me, kissed me, and is asleep. This is a very unusual situation. Hmmm. I could watch a show only I want to see on tv. I could clean the living room up a bit. (Nah.) I could take a nice, warm bath and read a book and eat chocolate. Yes, that sounds nice! I think I will go do that.

P.S.-- Blogger apparently thinks my blog is a spam blog. Lovely. I guess I'm not a very good writer or something. My text must be "irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical." Sheesh. Fine, I'll admit it, my posts aren't very important to anyone but me. But to be TOLD that by Blogger is a bit of a slap in the face!

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Yep, that's what it was about! Well, we had a good chat first, our wonderful Bishop never just extends a calling when he can chat first. ;) And I will indeed get the calling I thought I would get. Which is good, I suppose, because our website is in DESPERATE need of an overhaul.

I also just went up and met our new (right above us) neighbors. It's a mother and son, very nice people. We offered them dinner but they are having pizza, so we exchanged phone numbers and I let her know she can ask if she ever needs anything. It's so nice to have neighbors you can get along with.

Friday, February 23, 2007


I just returned a call from the Executive Secretary, who called because the bishop wants to see me.

Now, I don't think I've done anything bad enough that the bishop would call me in if I wasn't getting a calling. So I think this means that I'M FINALLY GETTING A CALLING! I've been in this ward a year and a half without one. I'm soooooo ready to have a calling! (I have a feeling it might be Ward Webmaster, which I've been before and didn't love, but hey, it's a calling, and I would be good at it, and our ward website needs HELP. It hasn't been updated in about twenty gajillion years-- okay, so I exaggerate-- except for automatic updates, and I'm constantly forgetting that nothing is on the online calendar and trying to check and see what time something is. So I really wouldn't mind that all that much. At least I'd be useful! Of course, watch me be totally wrong.)

New job, now possible new calling? It's been a good day!

A very old meme.

This used to be an e-mail forward, I think. And before that, a game of some sort. Anyway, I hopped over to Millie's and she did it, and I wanted to play, too.

The Rules of the game:
1. Find the nearest book to you.
2. Name the book and author.
3. Turn to page 123.
4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page.
5. Copy out the next 3 sentences and post to your blog.
6. Tag three other people.

Mine was See Delphi and Die, the latest Marcus Didius Falco mystery from Lindsey Davis. Here you go:

"'Come on, ladies; this is important. I can't interrogate Milo, by the way, because he's died on me.'
Looking shocked, Cleonyma pressed a hand against her lips then muttered through her fingers, 'He was trying to lure Valeria to the palaestra to hear some poet reading his work.'"

Intrigued? You very well should be. I adore the Falco mysteries. (They're set in Ancient Rome and thereabouts, if you couldn't guess. The characterization is wonderful.)

I tag Dawnyel, Suzanne, and Guinevere.


I just got a job! A little one, but that's fine for now! I got a job teaching Preschool Art for the Spring session at McGroarty Park! I will be starting in April and going through June, Saturdays from 11-12. Pay is $25/hour for class time, which is not bad. I've worked harder for $200. And it will be doing something I love-- exploring the world through art projects with 3 to 5 year olds! I can take Emma with me, and I think it is going to be FABULOUS!

Thank you for your prayers.

Sorry I wasn't on last night to post this; I had a rough evening/night and didn't feel up to it.

Many, many thanks for your prayers for baby Morgan and her family. We found out yesterday that Morgan was taken off the oxygen yesterday morning and was expected to go home last night. I haven't heard anything else so I am assuming she is safely home. That means she only had to stay one and a half or two days in the hospital, which is a lot better than a week as the doctors originally thought. We are very grateful for your love and support; we firmly believe that all that prayer pulled her through. :)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Prayer Request

We found out tonight that baby Morgan, our new neice, is in the NICU with RSV. She may be there up to a week, according to the doctors. Heather is still recovering from her c-section, neither she nor LeCount is getting any sleep, Jaden is picking up on the stress, and while they fully expect Morgan to be okay, it's scary, of course. And aside from that, they now will have 20% of this hosptial stay and treatment to pay for on top of the hospital and doctor bills for her delivery, which they could ill afford to begin with. So your prayers for their family would be much appreciated. Their last name is McLaughlin for those who would like to pray using it or put them on a Temple prayer roll. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Mama to This Blogging Mama

Okay, so NCS over at More Cowbell did this, and I hopped over to Adventures in Babywearing and decided to do this too.

My mom and I have not always had the greatest relationship. In particular, she unfortunately has a twisted worldview and has created false memories because of this worldview, which makes her think that some things are true which are not true. She did some things growing up that severely messed me up. I know that she did this because she loved me, and that in her twisted world she was caring for me. But they hurt. I was only able to forgive her about a year and a half after I moved out of her house and wasn't under her influence any more.

That being said, except when you get on those few subjects that she has a false outlook on, she is a wonderful woman. My mom has lived for others practically her whole adult life. She works hard and she gives all that she has to give, more sometimes. She is a wonderful grandmother and our number-one babysitter of choice (we don't do babysitters outside the family.) As you can see in the picture, she keeps things around at her house to make it a special place for my girls, she loves to play with them, and she is wonderful with kids.

My mom loves her job. She is a Registered Nurse, Registered Occupational Therapist, and Certified Public Health Nurse, and she currently is the Nurse-Coordinator of Craniofacial Services for Kaiser Permanente Southern California. She runs all of Kaiser's craniofacial clinics in the region. She works with the parents and the patients. She remembers all of their names, lives, histories, family details. She sits with parents while their children are in life-threatening but life-saving surgeries; she teaches them how to feed their child, stretch the child's neck, care for the child's stitches, anything that the doctors don't take the time to do or the other nurses didn't do right the first time. She is the heart and soul of the Craniofacial Department, and the doctors all know it. Besides that, when the other OTs have a child who they can't get to eat-- even the feeding specialists-- my mom is the one they call. How lucky I was to have her when my second child wasn't nursing well when she came home from the hospital, and her jaundice wasn't clearing! I called my mom at work, sobbing, because you know how you get when you've just had a baby, the hormones make you completely wack-o, and the baby not eating is enough to send you over the edge. She dropped what she was doing, told her boss she was leaving, and drove to our apartment and spent about half an hour helping me get Bridey to nurse. (Turns out she had a small chin, and needed extra support and a different position for the first few weeks.) She is also the one who noticed that Bridey's chin was small and when we put her on her back or side to sleep, her tongue was blocking her throat, and that's why she was waking up to scream every half-hour. After we followed her advice and turned Bridget on her tummy to sleep, we found out she was a wonderful sleeper. Thank goodness for my very knowledgeable, observant mom!

I have really forgiven my mom more and grown closer to her since I got pregnant with Emma. I sometimes wonder how she took care of us after working long hours, like she always did. Before she worked Craniofacial she worked Newborn Screening, and before that Genetics at County (before that, Child Abuse at County, but I was not very aware of her work back then.) She used to tell us about interesting cases at the dinner table, and draw Punnett squares on the paper napkins to explain genotypes to us. By the time I hit Jr. High School Life Science, I was able to teach the TEACHER a few things about the principles of genetics. I also excelled in nutrition; my mom always explained WHY we ate what we ate and what about it was good for us, and when I started cooking for my own family I didn't have a problem serving balanced, delicious, nutritious meals on the cheap (she also taught me how to grocery shop.)

I see now that my mom went out of her way to encourage our natural curiosity and aptitude for learning. She is part of the reason that by the time we were 8 or so, we would rather take a vacation touring historical sites than a trip to Disneyland. (Not that we didn't love Disneyland, but we knew my mom hated it and would be grumpy, plus that was only one day, while we could instead choose to vacation for a week and see LOTS of fascinating stuff.) We did science projects in the back yard, and she either helped us or freely gave us the materials. We played math games in waiting rooms and logic and word games in the car. We learned to respect other people from the way she always talked about others, and to love other cultures from our trips to cultural experiences and friends' gatherings where we ate Filipino, Korean, and all other kinds of food. I learned to pray and love God from her, and I learned that being a good citizen and a good neighbor means both caring and helping. And all of this was so natural that it just was part of our life, nothing odd or strange or out of the ordinary. She has very much informed my ideal of what an education should be.

She also taught us to love music and literature. I remember reading out loud before bed; I remember seeing her curled up with a book, same as we would; I remember the house always filled with music. Both of my older sisters were in A Capella Choir and also the All-State Honor Choir in high school. They sang constantly, and if they weren't singing, my mom was. We had a song for everything and songs for nothing. We sang in the car; on long road trips we would harmonize over folk songs and hymns and you couldn't turn the radio on without someone singing along-- unless it was classical music, in which case we played "what's that instrument" (when we were younger) and "name that composer and work" (when we were older.) Music made things fun; we sang while we cleaned, or raced a song on the radio to see if we could pick up all the toys before it ended. Mom played marches on the piano to get us to "march" off to our baths or to our bedrooms.

So in the end, I have taken more good than bad from my relationship with my mom. I know that she loves me, always has and always will. She loves my little family now, and she helps us more than I can say. She knows how to help even when she's not told what's wrong or asked for help, and that is truly a gift. I love having her near, even more having lived away for two years, and I don't want to have to do without her any time soon.

So that's my mom. If you're interested, post a picture and tell us something about yours. You can check it out over at Adventures in Babywearing. :)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fun in Downtown

So as I said, today, while my mom and sister watched the girls, we went for a late lunch at Philippe's and ate French dips, potato salad (Jeff's side), canned peach halves (mine), and lemonade. Mmmm. Then we walked over to Chinatown (only two blocks away and parking in Philippe's lot is free, while Chinatown parking costs), and walked around a bit. We stopped in my favorite Chinatown grocery store and got chocolate-filled Hello Panda, Emma's favorite. (Actually the ones they had today were marked for sale in Mexico as well as the U.S., so the name is "Hola Panda" instead. But it's the same thing.) We stopped at the store with the cutest shoes and I got new flip-flops (I've needed new ones for two years now, and the same ones with straw bottoms and black straps that are $12.99 at Payless are $1.99 in Chinatown.) For the girls, I got shoes for Easter:

(They are pinker than they look in that picture. Emma has the same ones except in black brocade with red flowers that she got to wear with her Christmas dress. They cost $5 a pair and actually hold up pretty well. They have some of them in adult sizes but didn't have any I liked in my size today.) Then we chatted, looked around a bit, and threw pennies in the wishing well. (Neither of us got them in the pots, which made for a lot of joking and laughs, even though we don't really believe in the "power" of wishing wells.)

We stopped after that to get some jin doi, which are donut-like fried balls of rice-flour dough filled with sweet red-bean paste and covered in sesame seeds, my mom's favorite and what she had requested when I asked if she wanted anything from Chinatown. I got four because I know she loves them so much, they were $0.60 and we figured $2.40 for two and a bit hours of babysitting for the two kids was not a bad deal. ;)

When we got there Emma and Bridey were happily playing and my sister (half-sister, whatever) Megan was down playing with them too. Emma really gets along well with Megan; I think it's because Megan is so comfortable with kids. (She has none of her own but likes them and did a LOT of babysitting as a teen, and two to four is just about her favorite age to play with.) Bridget didn't even notice us at first but when she finally saw me crawled over as fast as she could and "Uh, uh, uhn"ed at me until I picked her up. Emma was happy to see us and happier to see the Hello Panda. Before we left Megan gave me a very-late birthday present from last year that she never got a chance to give me:

(The front cover pic didn't turn out, so this is a view of one of the pages.) They're little "fold and seal mailers", with five different "yellow cover" Nancy Drew designs! Some of you may remember that I collect Nancy Drew books (and still sometimes occasionally read them.) My sisters have always picked up anything Nancy Drew-related for me, like Megan and I pick up anything Alice in Wonderland- or ladybug-related for our sister Erin, who loves them both. I'm very thrilled with them and am now trying to figure out who I can write, so they can share the awesome-ness. If you want a note on Nancy Drew stationary, e-mail your name and address to roguejaina AT yahoo DOT com. :D

So it turned out to be a very nice afternoon despite the virus we've all got. Hopefully we will be well enough to make it to more than Sacrament Meeting tomorrow (Emma and Bridget seem almost fully recovered so I have hope, since I seem to be about one day behind them.) And Target finally had lightweight spring/summer sweaters that matched in both their sizes, so I got those, too. (I've given up on the bonnet and hat. I'm going to buy those on ebay instead.) I feel like smiling even while sitting around just doing nothing much, which hasn't happened in a while. I guess we were really due for some time without the kids.

Friday, February 16, 2007

More Bargain Shopping

I know some of you enjoy this stuff, so I thought I'd share.

My cousin Mark and his wife Hope just had their first baby, Jackson. You all know I love baby things, and I love shopping, and I don't have a little boy to do it for. So while we were out and about today, when we stopped by Sears, I noticed "Baby Sale" signs all over. It was another of their Clearance on Clearance things; I love those. Almost anything with Winnie the Pooh on it was on sale, some of it on clearance and some of it just regular sale, and Hope loves Winnie the Pooh. I called up my aunt, and she said to go ahead and buy things for Jackson on her behalf, and while we were at it, to pick out a few matching things for our girls, since she meant to get them some at Christmas and then got overwhelmed, and that she'd pay us back when she got the chance (it's tax season, she works a little this time of year and has a bit of extra disposable income.)

Since I took pictures to send to her anyway (she wanted to see them but my dad and almost-step-mom are going over to Flagstaff tomorrow and we sent the things with them to save on shipping and get them there faster, so she wouldn't get a chance unless I took pics for her), I thought I'd show you all, too, so you can bounce with me over their adorableness.

They're not great pics, I was in a hurry to wrap them, but I think they do the trick.

Here are some of the cutest things I found and also great bargains. My aunt said besides the little baby stuff to pick up some bigger things if I found them, so I got these for church next fall or winter. They're size 12 mos. and were just so precious! The little chinos were $1.59 and the little blazer was $1.99, best deals of the day!

This little gown was nice and warm for chilly Flagstaff. It was only on regular sale, but I figured that 30% off-- $11.20-- for a brand-new, 0-6 mos. Winnie the Pooh nightgown wasn't bad.

Such a cute little 0-3 mos. velour "jogging suit", with a hoodie, pants, and long-sleeved onesie, and it was $8.49.

I couldn't resist this one; every new baby needs at least one cute little outfit nice enough for church the first week they go, and it made me go "awwww." And the price tag, $7.49, made me go "Why not?"

Besides those I got a really luxurious little Carter's hooded towel, which was $5 off the regular price, and a only-two-dollars-off-but-worth-it Halo Sleep Sack, to be from us (we had also picked up a few little sleepers and things in like-new condition from the thrift store-- I happen to know Hope won't care-- and a onesie from Target that says "I'm With the Band" on it; Hope and Mark are both musicians, and Mark makes guitars, I saw it and couldn't resist.) So the gifts all got wrapped up in two bags (reused, of course, the tissue too; I save them because I'm cheap and, if they're in perfect condition, why not?)

The last two pictures are of the things I chose for the girls:

ADORABLE, are they not? Emma will love it when she and Bridey wear them to church. The 4T one came with a little purse, and the 12 mos. one with a headband. $9.99 for the larger, $8.49 for the smaller, original prices $40 and $36.

Also in sizes 4T and 12 mos, $8.49 each. Perfect for the park, hats and all! I can't wait to dress them in these.

So that was my excitement for the day. (I mentioned that we can afford to pay for this and let my aunt pay us back later because we got our $5200 tax refund this morning, right?) And tomorrow, KPC and I are going out on our belated Valentine's date while my mom watches the girls. We are going to Philippe's, inventors of the French-dipped sandwich, for lunch, and then wandering around Chinatown for a while. It will be fun, I think.

I hope you all are having a great weekend, too!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Three Happy Things

1) Yesterday, while Abba did schoolwork and Bridey napped, Ems and I went on a little mommy-daughter outing. We shopped at the thrift store (okay, I shopped, she played in the toys.) I got some more leotards and some tiny little preemie boy clothes to sell on ebay (this is the great thing about ebay, I can shop for things I would never get a chance to buy otherwise, and someone gets the benefit of it.) Then we went to Hallmark and picked out cards for Abba for Valentine's Day (don't tell KPC!) Emma picked out one from her and Bridget, all by herself. She also had fun with a frog that ribbited when you moved in front of it. Then we went and spoiled our dinners with Thrifty sherbet from Rite Aid (she had rainbow, I had apricot mango.) It was just really nice. She's getting old enough to be really fun to interact with when she's not whining and she whines a lot less when Bridget isn't around and she gets some individual attention (also when she's out somewhere instead of stuck at home.) I enjoyed getting to know the little PERSON she's becoming (as opposed to just a very smart, cute baby.) She has a lot of opinions and thoughts and questions about the world, and it's a pleasure to see that little mind discovering and figuring out.

2) I am wearing a pair of pants I have not managed to wear since I was first married, before I started getting big with Emma. They are size 10. (I was a size 9 on my wedding day, the smallest I have ever been in my adult life and, given my bone structure and the size of my hip bones, probably the smallest I can ever hope to be.) I knew I had lost some weight, but I also know I have a bit yet to go before I'm down to the smallest I was after Emma (about 10 lbs. more.) What I didn't realize, is that it's coming off in the right places, namely around my middle (hips and waist.) The weight that I put on with Emma seemed to stay there and I wasn't aware that it was starting to come off after the 20 extra lbs. I had after Bridget. Now, granted, the pants are made of SLIGHTLY stretchy fabric, and the fit is tight, but I was able to pull them on without a problem and zip them without laying down or anything. Even though I'm not, tonight I feel thin and pretty, just because of a comparison with what I felt and looked like a couple of months ago. No special effort, by the way; just making sure I exercise at least a little every few days, such as walking to the park or something, and trying to be aware of what I'm eating and sometimes make a healthier choice when I want a snack, and opting for seconds on dinner if I'm still hungry instead of dessert, or cutting the dessert serving in half. That, combined with approaching the magic 10 months post-partum (the time, for me, when continuing to nurse the baby really starts to pay off in the weight-loss department), and making sure I drink enough water, seems to have done the job without me feeling deprived or like I'm exercising really at all.

3) The big one: we got a dishwasher! Yes, after a year and a half with no dishwasher, we bought one (a portable, of course) on ebay. Jeff and my brother picked it up today and now we are going to go watch NCIS while the dishes get done. WOOT!!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Emma Cuteness

Emma has been even more adorable than usual the last few days. Last night she wanted a drink of water. I got it for her, and she drank what she wanted. Then she went and put the rest on the table for later. She happened to put it next to two other cups and a box of graham crackers. She called out, "Look, mommy! Look! One of these things is not like the others! One of these things is not like the others! Right here on the table!" She then proceeded to sing the song (having good taste, she prefers the "One of these things is not like the others" song to the "Three of these things belong together" one), and then pointed at the graham cracker box and clapped. :D

Today she was sitting by Abba while he opened some mail. She said, "I want help!" So he gave her some opened junk mail. She said, "No, not this one! This one is torn! I want a NEW one!" So he gave her some unopened junk mail. With a big grin on her face, she explained to us before she proceeded to rip open the envelope, "This is my favorite part! Because I love it SO MUCH!"

Also, this morning Emma did this:

Precious, no?

That should be your Emma cuteness quota for the week. Not that I might not post more if she continues with the adorableness. ;)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Why is it so much harder...

...for me to accept service than to serve others? Well, I know the answer-- pride. But it's still hard to let people serve you, even out of love, sometimes.

I've been having a really bad couple of weeks. I'm on the 17th day of my bleeding, which has progressed from spotting to "soaking an overnight pad every two hours." I was sick for two weeks, and so were the kids; we're just finally getting over it. I haven't been much up to moving around, including cleaning. I'm not the world's greatest housekeeper to begin with; we tend to just about keep our heads above water, vacuuming every week or so, picking up enough to be able to walk, doing enough laundry to have something clean to wear, doing enough dishes to have room to use the sink. When those things don't happen because one or both of us are sick, well, things can get pretty bad pretty fast, since we don't have a lot of leeway. In any case, I have been starting to feel really overwhelmed, seeing as I've been stuck in a bed or chair where I can curl up with a heating pad for several weeks now.

My mom had her day off today. She called and asked how we were doing. She brought burritos and horchata for lunch, and then took a ton of dishes to wash at her house (she has a dishwasher), helped empty the trash in the kitchen, helped me pick up and take out trash from elsewhere, swept and mopped the floor, and did some dishes here. And she brought cookies, too.

I feel bad when she does this. But she never judges me. I know she understands (she's never been the world's most perfect housekeeper, either, and it was worse when we were kids; she's told me before that her mom used to help her out when she was in my situation.) She does it willingly, because she loves us. She's probably the only person I would let do this-- because she's the one person I know won't secretly think that we're awful slobs or incompetent parents or something. But I still feel bad that I can't handle it all (even when I'm both sick and periodizing.) I guess there's no real point to this post except to say that I feel lucky that my mom is around, and loves me, and helps me when I need it, even when I don't tell her I need it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Fifty Cheap Dates

This seemed like a fun idea from Shalee's Diner, so I thought I'd participate! Here are some of our ideas for cheap dates. Some of them are L.A. specific, but let them inspire you to find similar things in your community!

1. IKEA. We love IKEA. If you live near an IKEA, you have got to check it out. The food in their restaurant is delicious and cheap. You can spend hours "window shopping" the store, and even if you do pick up something small, it's not going to be a lot of money. It's fun just to walk around, try out the furniture, laugh at the more outlandish stuff, spend time with your spouse. And if your kids are 3 or over and potty-trained, they provide FREE BABYSITTING! That's right, leave your kids in "Smäland" and they watch the kids, there's a ball room, usually craft tables or other activities, and they've got water and snacks as well. If your kids are younger, not potty trained, or not up for that, and you can't get a sitter, take the kids with you and just hang out while they play in the toy area in the Children's department.

2. Picnics. Picnics may seem trite, but they don't have to be! Don't limit yourself to the normal sandwiches in the park (although that can be fun, too-- bring a kite and have fun giggling, cuddling, and reliving your earlier years!) Go to the beach, the mountains, the public courtyard of an art museum where you can sit surrounded by beautiful sculptures, anywhere that you like that is a little shut off from the outside world, bring a blanket, and feed each other while you lounge on it. Some ideas for picnic food: soup in a thermos; appetizers; spanikopita, pita, hummus, canned giant fava beans and olives; or pick up take-out from an inexpensive local restaurant.

3. Olvera Street. We love to take the train down to Olvera Street (it's right across from Union Station; you can park at your local train station for free and a day pass on the train is only $2.50 a person, I think.) We walk around, enjoy the noise, the smells, get some candy from the little cart with the good dulces de calabasas, there are often free art exhibits to go to, and if not, the folk art all around is fascinating in itself, my husband holds up dresses or points them out and tells me I'd look sexy in them, we listen to the street musicians and hold hands. If you go on Saturdays, there are usually folklorico or Aztec dancers performing, all for free. And if you get hungry, no need to do a sit-down restaurant, there's a taco stand there or just hop across the street to a cheaper Mexican place. If you really want a sit down meal, I suggest walking a block or two to Pollo a la Brasa, a Peruvian place where you can get a whole chicken for less than $10 and sides for a few more.

4. Chinatown. L.A. has a great Chinatown district, with cheap delicious food, fun architecture, fun little shops, historical sights, LOTS of cultural interest, and is also accessible by train. Don't think you have to buy anything, although if you do haggle for it and it won't cost you much at all. Grocery stores in Chinatown have all kinds of fascinating snacks to try, or there are Vietnamese-Chinese noodle shops, or restaurants where the cost per person is usually less than $5. As an alternative, check out the Little Tokyo district just a few blocks over.

5. Free night at the art museum. Most major cities have a decent art museum-- and most of them have a free admission night. I know LACMA does, although I have not personally taken advantage of it and I'm not sure exactly when it is. In Dallas we used to go Thursday nights because Thursday nights at 5 admission starts being no charge, and they're open until 8 so you can get a good 3 hours in.

6. Historical sites. There are a ton of historical sites in California, and I love visiting them with my husband! So many fun things to look at and talk about, whether it's a mission (San Fernando is the closest to us), the Mormon Battalion Visitors' Center (about 20 minutes from us), or El Pueblo (on the afore-mentioned Olvera Street; the oldest surviving house in L.A., I believe.) They have given rise to many of our family jokes, and we love to just wander and feel the sense of history. Admission is usually either free, a voluntary donation, or less than $5 each.

7. The library! We have a HUGE central library in L.A., and they (as well as some of the branches) often put on events with low or no cost admission. From cultural events such as folk music or dancing to "history of food", local history, or other fascinating lectures sponsored by local societies, they can offer a world of low-cost and no-cost entertainment. Last year we enjoyed a bagpiper in full Highland dress, no cost, at our local branch, part of the cultural awareness program, they have one event every month. Plus it's fun to just wander around afterwards and maybe find some new books to read (free, of course, as long as you remember the due date! ;) )

8. Santa Monica Pier. What is more romantic than a ride on the Ferris Wheel at sunset, followed by ice cream at Ben and Jerry's a few blocks down? After a certain time of day most days of the week, parking is free. My dad sometimes comes with us so he can stay with the kids while we get a few minutes alone together on the Ferris Wheel while he spends time with his granddaughters. This idea, I think, could carry over to other activities-- do a "group activity" with someone you trust watching your kids for a little while here and there and the pressure is off for both of you-- they don't have to babysit all night, you don't have to be with the kids all night.

9. Hanging out at a relative's house. My aunt lives in a "planned community" with nice paths to walk and a swimming pool that's open in the summer. My kids love playing there and she has toys and videos and books for them. She's always happy to watch the kids for an hour or so while we walk, swim, go to the store, or whatever we want. It's good for quick "alone time." And let's face it, sometimes it's just nice to get out of the house, even if it's just someone else's house and you're in the same house as the kids-- at least you don't have to be in the same ROOM and there's someone to watch them!

Finally, don't forget to take advantage of the little moments here and there when the kids are occupied or somewhere else, and you can just hold hands and sneak a kiss. It may not be a real "date", but it sure makes for good memories. I cherish those little moments when I find them, and I hope you can too.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Best Part About Having Two Girls:

Matching outfits.

I'll admit it. I'm one of those moms who just adores any outfit I can find that comes in sizes my daughters can both wear. My first foray into the land of matching outfits was when I was pregnant, actually; two turquoise jumpers with tiny white polka-dots in sizes 0-3 mos. and 2T at Once Upon a Child. Luckily for me, Emma LOVES matching Bridget, and we have gone off on a whirlwind of matching outfits that I am enjoying while it lasts!

In the last few months, we have had several purchases in the "matching" category-- off-white sweaters suitable for church and fancy occasions; coordinating (not quite matching, but both black velvet tops and red skirts) dresses, both with red hair bows, for Christmas; black stretch leggings and blue-turquoise tops from Target (actually, I have a turquoise top in a matching shade and black stretchy pants myself, so we can ALL match); several colors and styles of matching tights; green tops with butterflies on them from the Clearance pile at Target; matching Easter dresses from Sears (green and soooo adorable, and on a "sale on sale items" sale so they were about $13 each; I'll be buying a white bonnet for Bridey and a white hat for Ems as soon as Target stocks them for Easter); and yesterday, sky-blue stretch pants and coordinating butterfly shirts (purple with appliquéd butterfly which contains the same sky-blue) at Mervyn's (less than $10 for all four pieces, clearance again.)

And like I said, Ems seems to love it. She is a HUGE fan of matching outfits. I always wished, growing up, that I had a sister to match with (my sisters are 10 and 13 years older than I.) I guess I love living vicariously through dressing my kids up. I'm just glad that Ems is as much of a girly-girl as I always was, if not more, so I have someone to enjoy girly things with (my mom was not into really "girly" things the way I was, and your little brother will only let you put him in a skirt and clip-on earrings for so many years before he rebels.) *sighs contentedly* There's just something kind of sweet about putting your little girls in matching outfits and getting to enjoy the "Oh, how cute!" comments even more than usual. *grin* Another life-long dream accomplished. My husband rolls his eyes, but I will not be swayed from the path of matching clothing. At least, not until one or both of my girls rebel. And by then I will probably have other vic-- er, daughters to subject to my matching whims.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Bit of a Slump

I'm not much in the blogging mood this week (despite having much to blog about.) Stake Conference was last weekend, and was awesome, and after SC on Sunday we went to a shinda at my friend Rivka's place, but I just haven't had the energy to write about them. (Heck, I haven't even been checking all my bloggy friends' blogs every day, and usually I check almost all of them at least twice a day!) I hope I will get to it soon.

I'm low on energy for several reasons. First, the normal end-of-the-month stress. Then, period stuff (it was late, and the cramping was severe; I had some pregnancy symptoms and a very faint positive last month, and then they abruptly stopped. I think it may have been another very early pregnancy loss/non-viable pregnancy. I was going to wait and do another test because the one was so faint, but I ended up losing all the symptoms and cramping and bleeding instead. But it's finally over, so yay!) On top of that both kids have been sick (but at least they're sleeping a lot, which is a relief for me.) And I've been busily listing some of the stuff I've been collecting for ebay (again, check out the widget at the bottom of the page!) After all that writing of descriptions, I'm just not much into writing some more, somehow.

Anyway, that's why I'm not around much this week. Hopefully I'll be back to my hyper self soon. :)