Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Weekend in Clovis

Last weekend we headed back up north to visit Jeff’s parents in Clovis. I really wish someone would invent that “beam me up” thingy from Star Trek, because I love seeing my in-laws, but I hate the 290 mile drive. Tenley doesn’t like it either- heck- she doesn’t like going across town being restrained in a car seat, so the 4 hours to Clovis is a killer. But we had a plan this time: I was 90% packed a day in advance, we woke Ten up at 6, at 8:15 she got a little Benadryl, at 8:30 we went to the park to run and play until 9:30 when we left. It worked! Tenley was asleep before we got on the 210. But then I blew it by desperately needing to use the potty somewhere around Rowland Heights, and she woke right up as soon as the car slowed down and refused to go back to sleep.

She was actually pretty good (minimal whining and cranking) and was happier when we made our usual stop in Bakersfield for some McCrappy fast food lunch and a wander around the Wal-Mart to stretch our legs and change her. She was less than thrilled about having to get back in the car, but managed to amuse herself by playing with the holographic silver and metallic pink soccer ball we had just bought her.

We made it to Clovis by 3 and put Tenley in cute clothes so she could go with Grandma to Grandpa’s work to meet everyone. Jeff and I took off to run some errands that go better without Tenley like getting some new jeans at Old Navy. Of course, Jeff didn’t make it out of the Old Navy without 2 new outfits for his Monkey Princess. After our respective outings, we rendezvoused back at the homestead and happily settled into some yummy, but spicy, chicken enchiladas and the evil evil cake that Jeff’s Mom (whom is diabetic I might add) had baked for us.

On Saturday, we got up, dined, and let Ten get distracted playing with Grandma, and then around 11 we ditched her to go antiquing and have lunch like sane childless grown-ups. Of course, the only things we bought were 6 books for Tenley and a 2 qt. casserole dish that is part of my long-discontinued Pyrex. For her part, Tenley was having a fine day. Grandpa came home from the golf course, and they pimped the red Radio Flyer wagon that had belonged to Jeff and took Tenley to the park where she decided to try out the big girl swings. The only downer in Tenley’s whole day was that she refused to take a nap, so by the time we showed up she was one tired and cranky little girl. I finally managed to rock her to sleep around 5, so we let her have a little snooze and then disturbed her around 6:30 to go have some dinner at Marie Callenders.

The dinner itself was nothing remarkable, but something very sweet happened: we were seated in a booth with Jeff’s parents on one side, and Ten between Jeff and I on the other. We got the kids salad bar for Ten so we were feeding her, and encouraging her to color on her placemat, and playing peek-a-boo with the menus while we waited for our food to come. Suddenly, an older gentleman looking very dapper with his hat and bow tie came up to our table and smiled warmly at Jeff, Ten & I and said “ The love the 3 of you have for each other is so obvious...it’s just beautiful. I don’t see that very often, so I had to come over and tell you.” I was so moved. I think that may well be the nicest compliment I’ve had as a Mom.

On Sunday morning, Jeff’s parents got Tenley up and dressed her in the very chic and way too cute leopard jumper that Aunty Jen bought her and took her to church, thus allowing Jeff and I to sleep in. After they got home we went out to breakfast, and then it was time to begin the 290 mile journey back home. This time, Tenley fell asleep in Fresno and slept all the way to Azusa! Good girl!! We called Doug & Tina as we passed their house and they jumped in the car behind us to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Yummy!

Another good weekend at an end!

Bing and Bong

...There's a Tiny Planet calling....

East Coast parents with early risers know who Bing and Bong are. Frighteningly, so do some of us West Coasters. Bing & Bong are the heros of "Tiny Planets" on Noggin which is on at 6am EST...that's 3am for us in CA.

I like Tiny Planets, but we usually don't see it (which is good) except when Ten has a sleepless night....or she's sick. I'm sorry to say it's the latter.

My little baby is sniffling and sneezing and has a nice chest cough. The whining & whipering started coming over the baby monitor at 2:30 and an hour later Tiny Planets was over and I was in the car in the pouring rain heading to Rite Aid for infant's Robitussin.

While I hate it that Ten doesn't feel well, the nice thing about her not feeling too well is that she's a little less active and alot more snuggly...it's nice to get to snuggle with hereven if it's only because she needs comfort.

I'll post pictures and stories from our sick-free weekend in Clovis as soon as my sick baby is sleeping.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Well, We Tried

Here's Tenley looking positively evil with glee over the giant pinwheel she's holding. It's a shiny confection of red and hot pink mylar on a bright gold frame with various characters celebrating the New Year and a pair of red metallic flags with dragons on top. We aquired this fabulous $2 trinket last Saturday at the Lantern Festival street fair in Monterey Park just a couple of blocks from USAA's office.

We figured that since Monterey Park has a large Chinese community, and on their website they indicated that the event had offsite parking with shuttle service, was several blocks long with kids crafts, food, rides, wares for sale, and everything from Lion Dancers to Chinese pop groups as entertainment this would be fun and cultural to visit and give Tenley lots of input.

Not so much.

The event was actually about 3 blocks long, and had one stage which we got to see some pre-teens fan-dancing on for a couple minutes (Tenley liked the music!). There were some rides, but nothing of interest for a 17 month old. If you were in the market for DVD's or CD's in Chinese- this was the place to be; beyond that there was the generic Chinese junk stall where we bought Tenley's pinwheel, a booth of knock-off hand bags, and one booth of procade dresses and tablecloths. The rest of the booths were "community service" booths with information for the good citizens of MP about the LA Times, bottled water, Maggi Chinese cooking sauces, LAPD, and various other things of interest to the local community- but not in any way culturaly related. There were a couple food stalls with BBQ and Boba...but that was it!!! We had toured the whole thing in 30 minutes. Rather dissappointing.

On the bright side, the weather was fabulous and it was great to be outside. We popped into the very local supermarket and I got a super huge totally yummy fuji apple and some of my favourite soy milk. We also stopped at this little Chinese conveinience store where I bought red envelopes before our trip to China and bought Tenley some cute melamine bowls and spoons, some green tea for Jeff, and I got some cheap shower caps that work so much better than the Goody ones from Sav-on.

The day was still young enough, and we were starving so we stopped at Victoria Gardens on the way home for a nice stroll in the balmy evening air and some delicious all-American BBQ at Lucille's.

Not quite what we had planned, but a good day none the less.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Terminator IV

As we survey the damage caused by baby destructo in the toy infested wasteland once known as our living room we are reminded of these facts stated about the Terminator...

It can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with, it doesn't feel pity or remorse and it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead!

The resemblance is uncanny!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Thursday, February 09, 2006

We're Sorry About Your Restaurant

Yesterday at lunch, Aunty Meg and I were discussing the fact that we're getting an El Torito Grill closer to home, and that while we know the menu differs from the regular El Torito, as long as they have the Mexican Caesar Salad, we're cool. It's something about the dressing that makes it addictive. And we went and talked about it...so now I needed one.

Dining out with Tenley is an experience. Ten's never been real fond of highchairs, and our eventual solution to this was to request a booth and block her in so she could move back and forth and stand up and eat. Sometimes this is not so good of a thing since a) Tenley is not shy about eating off anyone's plate that might have something she's interested in, b) she has no idea what a napkin is for, and c) sometimes she'd rather just sit in your lap and eat whatever you happen to have. You don't have leisurely meals either, because when Tenley's done she's ready to leave and she expects you to be too.

So like a nice enabler, Jeff took his addict wife and overactive kid to the El Torito for dinner. We had to wait 15 minutes for a booth, so that meant I spent 15 minutes chasing Tenley out of the cantina. I tried to explain that the sign that said "No one under 21 admitted" meant 21 years not 21 inches, but all she knew was that those people had chips, and they were playing something funky for a sister to dance to.

We finally got our booth, and 5 minutes later Pedro the Uninterested Waiter came by to tell us he would bring us chips. No problem- Tenley was happily coloring and that gave Jeff and I time to figure out what we were going to have besides the salad. A busboy brought the chips and salsa and narrowly missed getting nailed by the blue crayon that Tenley threw out of her way as she lunged across the table for the chips. Pedro finally came back for our drink order, and we would have ordered then too, but he was distracted by the table across from us with 7 kids of varying ages and 2 oblivious adults. Five minutes later the drinks finally came and we got our orders placed. I can't tell you how long it took for the food to come, but I can tell you that we said "Tenley! Take bites!" "No, too much!" and "Chew that one first!" about 3-5seconds apart and no less than 30 times each. When the salads came, she happily plopped down in her Daddy's lap and stole all the tomatos and tortilla strips out of his.

Eventually, the food came and that was when my good intentions of rice instead of fries went horribly awry. Tenley loves rice, but the concept that food does not stick to the fork like velcro is lost on her. So she was very adeptly scooping up forkfulls of rice and then turning the fork upside down as she crammed it into her mouth and the rice went cascading down the front of her all over the table and the seat. Feeling that that technique wasn't working so well, she threw the fork down in disgust and began cramming handfulls of rice into her mouth with the excess going everywhere. She took a few bites of chicken out of her taco...but then her eyes landed on my plate and lit up.

There they were: 2 huge dollops of sour cream. Ten came right over and started dipping her fingers in the sour cream...but that wasn't going fast enough for she so then she was trying to grab handfulls of it like the rice and getting it all over her face and sleeves as she licked it off her palms. Jeff and I grabbed our napkins and started damage control as Tenley turned around and started finger painting the wall behind the booth with the leftover bits on her fingers. As Jeff was wiping the left hand, she used his distraction as a chance to examine his plate and discover that he had more sour cream and guacamole. She dove for his plate as soon as he was finished with her hand.

Fortunately, Pedro the Uninterested Waiter chose this moment to come by so Jeff and I practically threw our plates at him. Robbed of sour cream and guac, Tenley decided to have some of her fruit. Well, she decided to put the pineapple in her mouth, suck all the juice out, and spit the flesh of the fruit back out into our hands. At our next Pedro sighting we gave him her plate. Pedro went to get her sundae that comes with the nino meal, and I think he may have churned the ice cream from scratch himself of the length of time it took him. This gave us a chance to survey the damage. There was more rice on the seat of our booth than I saw in some of the paddies in China. Tenley was trying to pick it out of the crack between the cushions and eat it. The floor was covered in rice, fruit pulp, and bits of tortilla chip. There was rice in my shoe, and enchilada sauce on my shirt. Jeff had sour cream smears on his shoulder. Tenley was trying to lick a smudge of guacamole off the table.

The bowl of ice cream arrived and she flopped into Jeff's lap with her mouth hanging expectantly open like a codfish. The problem with feeding Ten (particularly at that angle) is that she wants to see the food going into her mouth, so she continually drops her chin, and you miss. So within 5 minutes Tenley had sundae all over her nose, chin and cheeks. We pushed the bowl out of reach and attacked our daughter with wips the way a pride of lions attacks a sick zebra. As soon as she was fit to face the world, I grabbed her and made a break for the lobby while Jeff began waving his credit card and stalking Pedro.

We politely suggested to the manager that he just dynamite the booth we were in, and I think he thought we were kidding. We weren't.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Evil Mommy!

Hmmmm...do you notice any simularities between these 2 pictures??? Yep, I gave my daughter the "Instant Martian" hairdo. I'm sure she'll kill me when I drag these out everytime there's a 1st date (along with the naked bathtub pictures).

I'm sorry we've been so quiet over here...we've had a whole lot of nothing exciting to say! Here are all the less than exciting updates:

Tenley has found the playground. Our trips to the park, until this last week, have mostly consisted of Tenley toddling everywhere, and becoming very nervous on playstructures and crying on swings. Suddenly this week, she figured out the steps and got all excited about the steering wheels at the top platform. She was interested in the tunnels and the slides and it took a couple visits, but she got over her aprehension and today went down 2 of the 3 slides all by herself with musch giggling and clapping at the bottom. She also got on the swings and had a good 5 minutes of happy swinging- it was a breakthrough!

Jeff is having cruise withdrawl, so he got all excited and booked a nice little 6 night cruise from San Diego to Vancouver. Then we lost our minds and upgraded into a junior suite because we decided to take Tenley with us. So we're trying to decide on what we can fit in our port time from the myriad of tempting things to do in San Francisco, we're looking forward to tea & sweets at Murchie's in Victoria, and we'll be spending a few extra days in Vancouver so we can take Ten to Grandville Island and Stanley Park....but can someone out there tell us what there is to do in Astoria, Oregon??? I know it's pretty...but what should we do??

The income tax return is looking good, so I'm plotting a trip to London in the fall with the hope that the tax man comes through enough so I can fulfill my promise to my Mother-In-Law of giving her at least 1 week a year with Tenley.

Just last Thursday we headed out with Doug & Tina, 2 of Doug's sisters, Uncle Sean (and his new paramour)...whom we all saw on the exact same day a year earlier as we welcomed James into the world. WOW. I can't believe our little Puxter is a year old!! In one way, much like Tenley, I feel like he's been here forever...and in another I can't believe that a year has passed. Someone told me that once you have kids, time passes faster than ever- I think they're right.