Monday, April 30, 2007

Here's to Emma, Helper of the Day...

(That's a song my brother's kindergarten class used to sing, and it's become part of our family's customary repertoire.)

We've been working hard now that Emma's 3 to have FHE EVERY week, especially since Jeff is out of work and we have a little more time together. Today Emma gave her first lesson. (She volunteered.) She came up with the topic herself. "We think about Jesus in Sacrament Meeting." After our opening prayer and calendar time, we talked about how we need to behave in Sacrament Meeting and why, that we think about Jesus when we take the bread and water, that we don't have toys or food in Sacrament Meeting because it's a special time, and that Jesus loves us and we like to listen to the talks and learn about Jesus and Heavenly Father. She led the discussion. It was totally awesome. Then we sang some hymns, and had a closing prayer and ice cream. I am amazed at how that little child can process adult concepts and at her pure love and solid testimony. She's a great kiddo, and we're very proud of her and love her very much.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Birthday party

We had it at Dunsmore park. Emma loved it. Bridget seemed to enjoy it pretty well, too. Besides my family (my mom, Grandma Katie, Aunt Linda, my sister Megan) and us, Max and Wendy, our upstairs neighbors, came. (Emma loves them, especially Max, and Max loves Emma and especially Bridget.)

We ate sandwiches (I made 4 kinds on 2 big loaves of french bread, cut in half), fresh fruit (Ems hogged most of it), lemonade, water, and cupcakes (broken oven, so we had to buy a cake.)

It was sweltering hot but other than that great. Emma made us all wear butterfly party hats. Emma and Max played on the equipment and then came in the shade and did play clay for a while when it got too hot. (Max made Ems a bracelet which she tried very hard to wear, it was so sweet.) Max also showed us his new skateboarding skills (he's taking a class at Sunland Park.) Bridey showed off her table-dancing (and standing) skills. Max hugged Bridget and Bridget tried to eat his nose and pull his hair (which he was not fond of.)

After the cake (and cleaning up from the cake!) they opened presents. They got some really cute clothes and some toys they will love. (3 kinds of blocks/building sets, a wagon, and assorted other toys and books, including a really annoying one from my mom which mercifully has an "off" switch!)

Then after we all went home and the girls had 1.5 hour naps (and I got a half hour), we headed over to the Stake Center for a Korean culture night put on by the (20 member!) Korean branch, which was awesome, delicious, spiritual, and touching, all in one fun bundle. :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More excitement than we actually wanted

We had a grease fire in the oven. (No one hurt, no damage, I put it out and I have a slight cough but am otherwise okay, smoke has cleared nicely.)

Our landlord is not responding to the call that he needs to fix our oven. Of course.

I'm very glad we practiced and all knew exactly what to do. Emma even knew how to "get low and go"-- thank goodness for Elmo reinforcing our home fire and emergency drills!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Bridget is 1 today.

She ate almost a whole turkey burger, with cheese and bun, for dinner tonight. Not to mention the cookies and apple juice. We were astonished. She sure does love her food!

Here are some pics of opening presents (from Grandma in Texas; she sent them a while back and we've been keeping them for today.)

She also got a toy bar for her stroller, which Emma actually picked out.

My aunt had given us some "scrip" to K-B Toys, and Emma used most of it to pick a present for Bridey. (It was, actually, a very astute choice. She looked at everything in the store-- it took an hour!-- and told me, "Bridget will like this." I asked if she knew what it was and she said, looking at the pictures on the box, "Toys on the stroller!" So I guess she knew. The reason the choice was so astute was that Bridey has been getting restless in the stroller lately and, for lack of anything else to do, leaning forward and pulling Emma's hair. )

Bridget likes it.

It also has a snack bowl, which the bar on Bridey's seat did not have. We have been thinking of ordering the part from Graco, but this works for now. Bridget likes the snack bowl, too!

First Day of Class

This morning was my first day of class at McGroarty (the preschool art class I'm teaching, remember?) I had a blast. The kids and parents seemed to like it, too. We had circle time with a story, some discussion, and talking about and looking at pictures, then we did paper plate self-portraits, they painted pictures of their families (our subject for the week was "portraits-- pictures of people") and then anyone who was done with painting played with play dough for a bit before cleaning up. I think next week we will do animals.

I like the format I finally settled on, which is circle time with a story, some discussion about our subject or "theme" for the week, and then two or three short projects centering on the theme, using several different media, with play dough or another free activity at the end if kids finish early.

All the kids are great, although a few are a bit shy, that's fine. 6 of my 8 students showed up this week and I also let an older sister participate; all but one of the moms stayed. Actually, the one mom who left had the brightest, best-behaved kid. Turns out he's 3 of 4. He was so well-behaved that I jokingly asked his mom, "Does he go to preschool, or do you just enforce good listening at home?" She was pleased that he did so well and I honestly was too; he even went to the toilet and washed his hands all by himself! I wish MY three-year-old would do that!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


We went to Chinatown today on the train from Pasadena while Jeff helped my Aunt Marilyn out with some things.

We went shopping and found some "koala cookies" (they were out of Hello Panda), and some shoes for my sister (she had admired Emma and Bridget's shoes at Easter and said she wished she had some like that, and when Emma saw the bigger ones she said, "Those are like Bridget Emma's shoes! Aunt Megan would like that!" So we bought some for Aunt Megan-- who liked them very much when we gave them to her tonight.)

After a while I realized that none of us had really eaten much, and I was starting to get really hungry and thirsty. We stopped in at what is probably my favorite (and the cleanest-- they always have an "A" health inspection rating in an area where most restaurants get "B"s on a regular basis) Vietnamese noodle shop in Chinatown, Pho 97.

Emma has been using chopsticks on her own for quite a while now-- about a year, I think, maybe a little more-- and she's getting much better at it.

We got a big bowl of noodles, well-done beef, and broth, with yummy things on the side to mix in (a huge bowl for $5!), and I got a soda, too. Emma shared with me, and Bridget got jealous, despite having some baby food. So she got some beef, too. She liked it.

Then Emma fed Bridget a few noodles and some more beef.

And of course, then Bridget wanted to try them. She had fun holding them and looking at them and tapping them, even if she can't do anything else with them yet.

Emma had so much fun with the chopsticks, she really loves them! (I did too at that age. In fact, I still do. And they're good for hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.) So we picked some up, pretty ones with pretty covers, and some kid-sized ones too (I tried to get her to choose the pretty ones that went better with ours, but she wanted the bright green and blue ones with some funky cartoon character on them.) She's thrilled with them. :)

And to end the day, before we got back on the train, I let Emma play on the kiddie ride-ons (she doesn't like them to be on, just to climb on them when they're off.)

My aunt got us sandwiches, which is what we had for dinner. All in all, a fun day-- and I only spent about $28, including train fare and a shopping trip. I love Chinatown. :D

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I signed up for this meme over at Guess What the Kids Did a little while back. Here's how it works:

The Rules: Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me.” I respond by asking you five questions (left in my comments) so I can get to know you better. If I already know you well, expect the questions may be somewhat personal! You can update your journal/blog/whatever with the answers to the questions (please don't leave your answers in my comments unless you don't have a blog). You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Here are mine:

1) What has been your best ebay transaction--most fun find or greatest profit--however you define 'best.'

Hmmm. Well, I like all of the things I buy and get excited about them, but none of them are really SPECTACULAR finds. So I'm going to choose this pattern. Now, it's not the highest I ever sold an item for, although it was an excellent profit margin, but it was one of the most exciting sales I did because of these factors:

a) Okay, the profit margin. Consider that I got the pattern for $0.25, and listed it starting at $0.99, so if it had gone for that, I would have covered my loss and made about $0.16 profit. Consider also that the envelope was not in perfect shape (although I did personally inspect the pattern and was able to assure buyers that all pieces were intact.) But honestly I expected it to go for around $5 or so.
b) It was a lot of fun to watch that price go up and up and up, most of it happened in the last few minutes so as I was checking in on it it kept going up and up, and then I went to do something I came back and it had ended at $16.50!
c) I know the buyer was just thrilled to find it (based on the feedback she left.) It makes me really happy to make people happy with the things that I find and they buy, that way everyone is happy; I make some money and they get something they really enjoy!

2) What would you do (or do more often) if you had daily access to a car?

Well, I really don't like to drive, especially in L.A. traffic, so we'd still probably stay home a lot. But I would honestly love to be able to schedule doctors' appointments for days when my mom can't take us if I want to, and I'd like to go to the zoo once in a while, and we'd probably go to Descanso more often, and we'd go to Chinatown a lot (I still wouldn't drive and try to park downtown, but we'd go park at the Pasadena train station and take the commuter train there, and/or to Olvera Street, which is a few blocks from Chinatown and right across the street from Union Station.) And we'd be at IKEA and Target (not necessarily buying, just looking) a lot. Also, just being able to do errands once in a while would be nice.

3) If you could hire one of the following, would you pick: Driver, Maid, Chef, or Stylist?

Well, I wouldn't care for a chef or stylist. I like to cook enough that it's not worth paying someone to do it, and *ahem* I'm not into hair or makeup (yes, okay, I'm a slob and I don't care. But it makes my life a lot easier.) Maid or driver is a hard one, but I can live with what's in walking distance a lot easier than I can live with the messes Emma is constantly making and we never seem able to keep up with (the child is a demolition MACHINE; I swear she can undo three hours' work in thirty seconds flat), so I'm gonna choose maid.

4) If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

Green. Just 'cause that's what I always answer to these questions, and it's my favorite, and it seems to describe me; not a hot color, but not too far into the cool spectrum; just kinda mellow. Also I TRY to be very environmentally and socially conscious, so that's what I'd be. Green.

5) What's in your CD player/playlist right now?

Gosh, a whole heck of a mixed up list! We've got some Kate Rusby, some Kate Wolf, some Vocal Point (an a cappella group from BYU), some classic country (think Hank Williams), some assorted pop miscellania from our childhoods ("Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper; "All That She Wants" by Ace of Base), a little Beatles, some funky stuff (TMBG, Cake), a little Iris DeMent, and a few selections from Handel's Messiah as performed by the London Philharmonic.

I've mentioned my taste in music falls under "eclectic", right?

So those are my answers. If you'd like to participate, just leave a comment saying "Interview Me!"

Let me know if you want to play!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Frazzled and Kind of Down and Stuff

It's one of those times when I feel like so much is going on that I'm just overwhelmed-- even though not that much really gets done. Sunday, of course, was Easter; the day before we went to my aunt's for an egg hunt, and on Easter proper we went to my mom's and did another (indoor-- it was raining Sunday) egg hunt and dinner (just us, my mom, my sister Megan, and my Grandma Katie.)

Thursday I taught my crockpot cooking class for Enrichment, one of three (the other two were housecleaning tips and gardening), and it was a lot of fun. Everyone loved it, I felt kind of silly telling women older than me how to cook and especially mentioning the information I did about eating balanced meals and observing proper food safety protocols, but I felt the need to and at least one person, a visitor no less, thanked me for it. So I guess it wasn't so silly. And I did like the eating part afterwards (we sampled all kinds of crockpot dishes. I made three. Everyone LOVED them.)

I guess I'm kind of stressed out right now. Between Jeff not working (he's looking for something part time and of course promoting the new business, but we have no clients yet despite assiduous fliering and networking and an awesome domain name for the website; there's a job fair Tuesday and AccounTemps, an accounting temp firm, will be there, so he'll be heading to that) and my stuff going on (I have bad cramping this week and my bleeding, which just finally stopped, has now started again, AND a cold, AND I was getting started on a UTI; I just started cranberry extract for that) I am just physically and emotionally drained. And frustrated. And Ems is not helping-- I think she is picking up on the household stress and it's contributing to her rambunctious, clingy, contrary behavior. And let's not even talk about potty training. Jeff losing his job means we can't afford preschool right now; we're still getting the registration process started (she needs a physical anyway and we have to have her doc fill out some forms) and hoping that it's going to work out that she can go (we had settled on 2 days a week and my aunt and dad were each going to pay a third each month, but right now we can't scrape the $80/mo. together for it.) Bryan and Amy are having a lot of trouble (she ran a fever after the c-section, and James ended up back in the hospital with blood in his stool; after a lot of tests they thought it might be something Amy was eating, like he has Celiac disease or something, and they put her on an elimination diet), but they aren't really telling anyone so we hear about it, with very frustrated overtones, from Jeff's sister Heather, who feels left out because she kind of hears about it more by accident than by inclusion. We feel REALLY left out because if it weren't for her we wouldn't hear about it at all. (What, just because we moved away because that's what we had to do, we don't belong in the family any more?) And then I get all judgmental because I hear this stuff and think "gee, they really need to learn to accept help", not thinking that, well, having a baby is a hard adjustment and we all do it differently and I know Amy has had some of the same problems with our mother-in-law that I have and maybe that's the root of it. *sigh* I really need to stop judging so quickly. I do think they could at least let us know to pray for them, though, but then I have to smack myself because there I go judging again.

I wish I could take a break and just get away for a day, but my mom is insanely busy and a little depressed herself right now-- her boss, who is also one of her best friends, and another of her best friends both have breast cancer. That means, on top of the emotional load, she's shouldering a ton of work that shouldn't be hers right now, even going in Saturdays. And it's tax season so my aunt isn't able to help watch even one of the girls. And, well, I am hesitant to leave the girls with my dad and Sheri until they're older, because my dad can't even remember what they can or can't eat, and their house is the most un-childproof one I've ever been in, and Sheri, for all she loves babies, feels helpless around them, I think. Plus my dad can't understand a word Emma says. It doesn't make me confident leaving the girls with them, even if they WEREN'T busy all the time. So there go our babysitters... Maybe my sister would take them... But even so, Bridey is going through a clingy, separation anxiety phase. *bangs head on wall*

Anyway, I feel frazzled and a little down, and I think everyone in our house does now. I am excited about all the eBaying I get to do lately, though, it's always fun to watch my stuff sell. Kind of thrilling, an adrenaline rush, you know? I have all our neighbor's dresses and stuff up this week and I'm hoping that they'll sell well, for her sake and mine, 'cause I get half the profit... Sadly, anything I make goes into the household account right now (well, what doesn't go back into my eBay business in the form of inventory or shipping supplies) instead of being my "mad money" like it usually is. But that's kind of nice, at least I feel like I'm contributing something. But I still miss my "mad money." All luxuries are now no-nos, except a little treat for Emma now and again when she's been helpful and we have recycling money (my mom and aunt save cans and bottles for us.) My trip to see one of my bestest friends ever, who lives in OK, this summer, is on rocky ground; there's no way if Jeff doesn't get a job in the next month or so I'm going to be able to make it, and I was really, really looking forward to it. *cries*

Well, what are you going to do? That's life. There are good times and rough times, and sometimes you've gotta have the rough. I just hope things cycle up again really soon.

Friday, April 06, 2007

New Nephew

Baby James Nunn Hamilton was born at Dallas Presbyetrian Hospital (the same place Emma was born) to Bryan and Amy, my brother- and sister-in-law, at 4:42, via emergency c-section, after about a day and a half of labor. He weighed 9 lbs., 3 oz. and was 20 inches long.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Emma is three today!

She got a bike.

She is so big!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

For Guinevere well as anyone else who wants them, here are the recipes I will be using in my Enrichment class next week.

I'm not on the computer as much as I had been right now and we're kind of busy because KPC lost his job again. This time we have decided to just pick up odd jobs how and as we can and start a home-based business (more on that forthcoming soon.) So when I'm on the computer it's mostly eBay related, because that makes at least a little money. If you know anyone who is planning a wedding please keep an eye on my forthcoming auctions; I will have my Temple-ready wedding dress up soon (been meaning to get rid of that for a while) and I am selling my upstairs neighbor's non-Temple-appropriate, $3,000 new dress for her (as well as a whole bunch of her bridesmaid dresses, since it's prom season and they're nice I think they'll sell, and a flower girl dress, and some various wedding accessories), and may be selling my sister's dress for her soon, too. If you have a daughter going to prom any time soon I will also have a modest formal that is perfect for a prom dress up soon, and I'll have other stuff... I've been finding great stuff at SunThrift lately, but it does mean a lot of work in listing them all on eBay. Between that, and Jeff working on his part-time job hunt and us both working on the website for the business, helping my aunt when we can (she's swamped with tax clients right now), and Emma's birthday on Thursday (I still haven't even started planning her party), and Jeff needing to do schoolwork (luckily this week is his week off), and Easter next week, I just haven't had as much time or energy for blogging or reading everyone else's blogs. *sigh* I am psyched about Jeff being in firmer control of his own employment soon. It is a loooong story what happened at his work but suffice it to say that it wasn't really anything he did... *growl* Stupid people bother me.