Sunday, December 23, 2007

New Tenley Pics

Here are a couple of Tenley's three year pictures that we had taken just a little bit late. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bad Bloggers

Ok, so we're bad bloggers. It has been almost a month since our last post. So I thought I would put up this picture of Tenley and we promise we will have more pictures and an update right after Christmas.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Butterfly Girl

So its kinda cold outside for Southern California and even though the heat is on inside its not cranked up too high, so what's a 3 yr old to wear? Shouts of "I dress myself could be heard three blocks away. So I let her dress herself and this is what she came up with.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Amateur Parenting Mistake

A month or so ago I made the mistake of letting Tenley watch the remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. All was going along fine until we got to the part where the squirrels tossed Veruca Salt into the trash bin and then Tenley lost it. She was crying uncontrollably and was still sniffling at the end when we saw Veruca and her daddy come out of the factory.

Apparently, I didn’t learn because tonight I made the same mistake with E.T. I was 14 when I saw E.T. and they say that kids are more mature these days so I figured 25 years have gone by so that ought to translate so a 3 year old could see this movie.

Again, all was fine. She laughed at E.T. and the kids. She pronounced the Gov’t Men as being “Bad” and none of it seemed to bother her until E.T. up and died. You would have thought that she knew him personally with the way she was crying. This time she was truly inconsolable. She didn’t care that E.T. came back to life and she didn’t care that he was going home to be with his family. As far as she was concerned the movie ended when E.T. died.

I finally had to distract her with a sucker and Buzz Lightyear. The crying stopped, the sucker was eaten and 30 mins later she says, “But I want to watch E.T. again”! Oh no, I am not falling for that again, let’s watch Snakes on a Plane instead. (That’s a whole other story!)

Halloween 2007

Since we seem totally incapable of finding time to write a post about our Halloween festivities, I thought I would put up this picture until such time as we could catch up. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pumpkin Patch 07

Today was the day for the annual pumpkin pilgrimage. We packed up and headed for Live Oak Canyon in Yucaipa just after 10 for a couple hours of gourd admiration and fun. We knew it would be pretty crowded since this is the second to last weekend before Halloween; but LOC is so big that it never felt uncomfortable.

There were nice tall sunflowers that Ten admired, touched, and spotted bees gathering pollen from on the way in. Inside a trio comprised of a guitar, banjo and bass was on the small stage playing old time folk and country songs…right next to the organ grinder and his monkey who were raking in the cash as people schucked out $1 to shake the monkey’s hand. Jeff and I headed for the snack bar so we could schuck out considerably more than $1 for tickets so Ten could participate in all the patch’s activities.

She began with the petting zoo. First she politely held out her hand for the goats to sniff (the way you would for a dog), but the goats being goats just tried to eat her fingers. So we got her a cup of feed. Ten has never really grasped the concept of “keep your fingers together and cup your hand” – and as usual the goats managed to get a few pellets before the rest sifted through Ten’s fingers. Finally, one zealous goat had had enough and just took the plastic cup out of her hand and helped himself. Tears began, and Daddy retrieved the now empty cup from the momentarily sated goat and carried Ten from the scene of tragedy.

A pony ride makes everything better. So we washed Ten’s hands and trotted over to the ponies. LOC has this set up right: there’s a line for each pony (6 in all)- so you just go to the line for the pony of your kid’s choice. Tenley of course chose the only pony with a line in the blazing sun. But 10 minutes of sweat and $6 worth of tickets buys 3 minutes of (forgive the pun) unbridled happiness.

We dismounted Oats the Welsh pony and climbed the hay pyramid before we headed for the quad train. This is always a fun ride- one big quad with a motor pulls 4 smaller 2 seat quad cars like a train through the pumpkin patch and Christmas tree farm. Ten loves this because she says it goes “super fast” and it gets bumpy. I think it’s fun because I don’t have to drive the quad… I just wish I’d remembered to wear an industrial bra.

After that it was 5 minutes of bouncing and sliding fun in the circus train inflatable, and another spin on the ponies and then we were out of tickets and much to Tenley’s dismay, unwilling to buy more. We debated buying a pumpkin, but we know we won’t be home on Halloween night and since we have an electric jack o’ lantern (I know, it’s not the same) we decided to forgo the vegetable carving ritual this year.

So I feel like we’ve now celebrated fall, but I’m still having trouble feeling that it is fall. I’d better get on it though, because we’re 4.5 weeks away from Thanksgiving and only 66 days to Christmas. Ugh.

Monday, October 15, 2007

More Fun, Less Money

Nothing brings a smile to a child's face like a visit to Disneyland! However this weekend we found that we don't have to drive for over an hour and spend $60 per person to have that kind of fun. We took Tenley to Lowe's where she happily played in the carpet samples for free.

Now, for those of you who think we are cheap, we did spend money for her to have fun as well. We put 50 cents in the rides at Toys R Us and she had a grand time.

So for a total of a dollar and some travel time, Tenley had just as much fun as if we were at Disneyland for a day. The pictures don't show it too much but she was all smile from ear to ear during these rides.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Conversation with Tenley

So there I was minding my own business, actually sitting down to do some business, when the bathroom door comes flying open as Tenley is yelling "Daddy, are you in there?" She was carrying this catalogue from BBC America with her. Following is what was said...
T: Daddy, is the doggy ok?
D: Yes the doggy is fine. Go back out to the living room!
T: But she is laying down, is she ok?
D: Yes she is fine.
T: Who is that man? What is he doing to the doggy?
D: He is petting her and she is laying down. She is fine!
T: Does she own him?
D: Yes, he probably does own the doggy.
T: Why is she laying down? Does she feel ok?
D: They were probably hunting and now she is resting. She is fine.
T: What were they hunting?
D: Birds.
T: Are the birds ok?
D: Probably not since they were being hunted. Go out to the living room!
T: So the doggy is resting?
D: Yes the doggy is resting.
T: I will give her a kiss to make her feel better.
D: That's nice. For the love of God, please go out to the living room!
She left the magazine with me and trotted off happy in the knowledge that even though there was absolutely nothing wrong with the doggy, she made it all better by giving her a kiss.
Meanwhile, I forgot why I was in the bathroom in the first place. Better luck next time!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Disneyland Birthday Party

What do you say about a day at Disneyland that involved 11 kids?? Well, the best thing about the day was, as usual, getting to see everybody. The bad thing was that as a group of 20+ people it was too hard to move together, and as a result we didn’t get to see some of the group nearly as much as we would have liked to.

We did all come together at 2 o’clock for “My Disneyland Birthday Party” where everyone (adults included!) got to decorate a small (dry, oversweet) birthday cake, be harassed by Pat E. Cake and visited by the giant rats. The kids loved it.

Tenley used her pretty smile and birthday girl status to full effect. By day’s end she had a sucker, a balloon, a pointy princess hat with mouse ears and her face painted.

My notes on the day:

1. Many thanks to Uncle Kev who not only signed us in, but used his Disney Slave discount to even things up at the birthday party when we found out that they raised the pp price from $10 to $18 between the time we made the reservation and the day of the party. Additional thanks for the plush Cinderella doll which Tenley spent the rest of the day clutching and is cuddled up with in bed as I type this.

2. If you attempt a gathering such as this, make sure everyone has your cell phone number. My apologies to Natalie who only had my home number, and who we didn’t find until the party at 2!!!

3. I brought 36oz of Costco trail mix with me on Sunday. Why? Because last time I brought 1 measly sandwich size ziplock and the kids (and parents) mowed through it in .2 seconds and were begging for more. This time I brought most of it back with me. Those of you who attended and did not eat your fair share of the 10g of fat per oz trail mix will be held personally responsible for my new CK jeans not fitting. My thanks to the girls at Jeff’s office who are “doing me a solid” and disposing of the offending snack.

4. Do not ride the Matterhorn unless you have a reliable chiropractor.

5. My sincerest thanks to everyone who came. It was quite the drive for some of you, but Tenley talked about seeing her friends and “China Sisters” the whole week before, and the 3 days since: you were the people she wanted to see and she (and we) were so excited that you came.

Ok, here’s the part everyone wants: the pictures. Here are just a few of the pictures we snapped during the birthday party. Enjoy!

Tenley & "future husband" James

Lauren wonders "What's in this??"
Answer: Lemonade on crack

James & Mommy admring his party hat

Unlike James, Jaxon is only happy about a hat when it is not on his head.

Lila does big sister duty and gets Ten's party hat just right.

Mmmm...frosting for lunch

James recieves artistic assistance.

Lila & Roxy: Cake decorators

Amanda & Katie: Cake destructors

Alexis (who undoubtedly had the best time) on sugar overload.

Tenley does candy shooters.
Someday you'll make Mommy's sorority proud.

A bad case of Frostingitis

"That tickles!"

Flutterby face

Mirror mirror on the wall...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tenley Turns 3!

So 1 week ago today, the Tenster turned 3!

The special day was marked with a visit from Grandma & Grandpa who drove all the way down from Clovis just to be with her. Actually, they kicked things off the night before and brought Great-Grandpa over & we all had dinner at Ruby’s. Unfortunately, Ruby’s is in the mall, and not too far from the Build –A- Bear store. So it was while I was scoring a “birthday princess” t-shirt (for only $10!) from Gymboree, that Jeff walked in and told me I had better hurry up because George was about to get a new friend. Oh, God no- another stuffed animal is the last thing Ten needs- as it is there’s barely enough room in the bed for her. It was no use: a WWF cheetah had already been selected and was being stuffed. Tenley selected a fairy outfit for her, and named her Sarah- so at least she’s not a cross-dresser like George.

On Thursday morning, Grandma & Grandpa came back over and whisked the Tenley away with them to run errands. I have no idea exactly what they did, but I know they went back to the mall, because a stuffed Bambi (oy vey!) came home, courtesy of funds provided by Great-Grandpa. She returned home in the afternoon in time for a nap, but she was far too wound up. So instead we opened presents. Tenley really didn’t care too much about the contents of the box or bag; it was all about shredding the paper and throwing the tissue everywhere. Among the things she could have cared less about: Backyardigans color-by-number, a wild animal peg puzzle, a San Francisco 49ers track outfit (from Grandpa, of course), 2 new pairs of jeans (she was excited about those) and a giant floppy stuffed (here we go again) moose (from Aunt Beth & Uncle Bill).
Leave me alone. I'm busy.

Hey! Where's the rest??
With Daddy home and the shredding concluded, we headed off to the day’s main event: the LA County Fair. Having learned from our trip to the OC Fair, this visit was dedicated solely to Tenley activities. We headed straight for the livestock to admire the swine & cows and drink some of the yummy chocolate milk. Then it was off to the cheesy carnival rides. We hit kiddie midway number 1 and took a spin in some rocket ships and then a psychedelically painted rocking train.

The train reminded Jeff that there are some vintage trains that live at the fairgrounds (who knew?) and that they’re open for climbing on & whistle blowing. So we trouped off across the fair to see the cool trains…and grab some Hot Dog on a Stick on our way. Tenley liked the trains until someone blew one of the horns, and then that was enough of that.

However, we could see kiddie midway #2 from the trains, and that was where we spent the remainder of our visit. Ferris wheel, tea cups, carousel- she did it all. Eventually we were broke and exhausted and decided to pack it in. But the fair was a huge hit.

After we got home from the fair, I stayed up and baked cupcakes to take to her pre-school class the next day. I was gratified to see frosting smeared faces when I picked her up.

We didn’t get to see Grandma Suzie on the day, but she popped over on Saturday to present the surprise she’s had hiding in our garage for the last 3 weeks: Tenley’s first bicycle. It’s this adorable little 12” Schwinn Tigress. She loves it. As soon as Grandma wheeled it out she tossed her trike aside and hopped on. She then happily rode around the driveway & up and down the sidewalk for a good 40 minutes. Once again, Grandma Suzie shoots & scores in the gift game. We’re still working on the steering and getting her not to try to pedal backwards- thus engaging her brakes rather abruptly, but she’s doing better with the bike than she ever did with a trike!

All in all a good 3rd birthday for Miss Tenley Grace! And it’s not over yet! This Sunday we’ll be having a party at Disneyland with 25 of Ten’s (and our) closest friends. Plus the gifts just keep rolling in! She’s also received a cool matryoshka doll from Bumpa Don & Banana Beeps (she’s played with it daily and may already have lost pieces), and cute t-shirts and pearly pink tennis shoes (which she immediately decided looked like her ballet slippers) from Aunty Kim, and from Grandpa Duke a gift card to buy fish for the aquarium we got her. I may be writing thank you notes until next year!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Hello? Hello? Anybody there??

I know, I know: it’s been really quiet over here and where the heck are all the cute pictures?? The answer is: the cute (but really really annoying as of late) kid has been with her grandparents all week, so we currently have no good stories or pictures. I wish I could apologize and tell you how sorry I am about this…but I’m not.

No, I’m really not sorry at all. Why?

1. Very peaceful 5 hour drive home from the grandparent’s where we were not forced to listen to The Wiggles or Between the Lions, continuously hand over toys, and I got to recline my seat and take a nap.
2. I have slept the sleep of the dead and have not stirred before 9am on any day this week.
3. We had a 2.5 hour fondue dinner at The Melting Pot on Tuesday night. It was divine. No one climbed on us, sat in our laps, or tried to get under the table…and we didn’t have to share- except with each other.
4. We rented- and watched- 2 movies this week. They were not animated.
5. I have not seen Little Bear for 7 days.
6. I got to have breakfast with both Auntie Meg & Auntie Kim this week. We walked in to these restaurants and said “2 please”. Not “2 and a highchair” or “2 adults & 2 kids”…just “2”.
7. I read an entire book from cover to cover.
8. Jeff took Wednesday off and we went to downtown Orange and went antiquineing. Lots of stores with cthokies and knick-knacks…and we didn’t have to worry about who was touching what.
9. I have swept and mopped my floors. Cleaned and re-filled the pool. Sifted through and culled from Tenley’s clothes and toys. Started watching “24” on DVD (finally). Got satellite TV. Taken a nap every day.
10. I have not said “What are you doing?!” “knock it off!” “that’s one” or “Hey! Listen to me!”…except to the dog. I have had a chance to relaaaax.

A rest has been needed: Tenley has decided to begin the pushing and testing phase. You know: the one where you tell her not to do something so she looks right at you and does it just to see if you actually meant it and what you’ll do. This phase also brings some of my least favourite verbal reasponses: “no”, “I’m in charge!” “I get choice!” “No Mommy, you wrong” “I don’t waaant to/that” “Stop it-mine-now”. Trust me, she’s still adorable (which is why she, like most children, will continue to live) and she has moments where she’s sweet and cute as heck…they’re just greatly out numbered at the moment.
Don’t get me wrong- I love my little girl. But sometimes you need to breathe and remember what life was like before them, and know that it will be that way again one day.

If you want to see what we were up to before Ten went to Camp Grandma, visit to see us (finally!!) meet up with the Mager’s and Double Happiness Donna with her virtual twins at Kidspace in Pasadena!

Plenty of exciting stuff coming up: Ten begins pre-school on 9/5, Ten’s 3rd birthday which will involve trips to the OC Fair and Disneyland, and we’re already making Haloween plans!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lauren's 5th Birthday Bash

Saturday brought another trip to Scott & Gaynor’s for Lauren’s birthday party. Miss Lauren was turning 5, and the invitation stated that there would be hair braiding and face painting…and that turned out to be quite the understatement.

It wasn’t hard to spot the birthday girl: she was in the one in pink with several hair braids, a painted face, glitter in her hair, lipstick, painted nails, flowery “tattoos” and 2 crowns on. By the end of the day, you had to work harder to find her because all the girls looked like that. “Hair braiding & face painting” turned out to be this nice lady with her daughter and 2 helpers who painted their faces, applied all the tattoos they had skin for, painted their nails, gave them bracelets & necklaces, put temporary color in their hair, and did Jamaican hair wraps and braids. I applaud Gaynor’s internet sleuthing skills for finding this woman- she was a huge hit- even the boys were lovin’ it. Simultaneously they were being entertained by Professor Playtime (another internet find!) who had them launching foam rockets, making giant bubbles, playing with a parachute, and enjoying the stash of toys he brought with him.

Lauren requested ice cream cone cupcakes (which I hadn’t seen since 3rd grade), and Gaynor’s sister baked ‘em up and arranged them on faux presents. It was a cute and tasty centerpiece. We did at least gorge on pizza, fruit, and finger sandwiches before we tackled the cupcakes and ice cream cake.

All the kids played amazingly well together and it was at least a good hour into the party before I saw tears or heard whining. Even then both were short lived.

Speaking of tears…I may, or may not, have mentioned in a previous post that my daughter lacks spatial awareness of any kind. She frequently drops things on the dog or a cat, walks right in front of oncoming shopping carts or herds of pedestrians, trips over her own toys and walks into walls/signs/counters/opening car doors. For those who may doubt this, or think it’s just part of being a toddler: Lauren & Amanda have this nice play structure in their backyard that has a tower, slide, 2 swings & trapeze bar. All playset manufacturers will tell you that you are supposed to have 6’ of clearance on all sides- I presume so kids can get around other kids swinging. This is wasted on Ten. What does my kid do? Walk right in front of one of the boys swinging and get a sturdy Nike right in the middle of the back sending her face first into the rubber mulch. She wasn’t hurt at all- mostly just scared- and after some wailing all was right in her world again. She went back out to play, and I reassured the boy who caught her that she was just fine, it was an accident, and it was not his fault. We all laughed that that would teach her…she wouldn’t be doing that again. We spoke too soon. A half hour or so later, Ten is playing on the tower with some of the other kids, and I’m pushing Lauren on the swings. What does my kid do? Yes, again, she walks right in front of Lauren. But this time she wasn’t so lucky. I had just given Lauren a substantial push, and on the upswing, Tenley took a knee to the left temple. It hurt her and she doubled over, but not far enough: Lauren’s feet caught her in the shoulder and head on the backswing. Now she was on the ground doing the silent scream. I caught the swing, and having arrested Lauren’s motion went to pull my child up from the heap she was lying in surrounded by an open mouthed crowd of grade school onlookers. As I picked up the now loudly screaming child, I noticed Lauren was crying too. I was about to try to pick her up too when Scott came up to rescue his birthday princess. No permanent damage was done: just a cut on the temple and a bruise on the shoulder. So, apparently she didn’t learn.... and there is no way all toddlers can be this clueless- the human race would be dying out or severly brain damaged! I won’t even elaborate on the fact that later she fell off a chair and whacked the back of her head on oak cabinets.

We were, as usual, the last to leave. We always overstay our welcome there by at least an hour, partly because we love visiting them and don’t get to see them very often, and partly because we always dread the drive home- which is foolish because it always takes half the time to get home than it did to get there!

It was a great party- a huge success! I only hope I can pull off Tenley’s next month with such flair!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Like Hearding Cats...

Tenley had her second ballet class on Friday. There is very little about this that resembles an actual ballet class- but hey they're only 2!

Regardless, it's hilariously funny and awfully cute.

They begin class by walking through this tiny toddler size door that sits by itself on one end of the room. This week the cute little African-American girl in the pink was very concerned with the door and spent most of class opening and closing it. Last week it was Tenley and another little girl who had a silent war going: Tenley would close the door, and as soon as this little one saw it was closed she would open it. Repeat.

Their ballet mistress tries to teach them to stand up straight and look ahead by telling them to imagine an animal in any color they want, and to put it on their head. Then she reminds them to keep their chins up so their animal doesen't fall off. This week they had no sooner put them on their heads than Tenley turned to the little girl standing next to her and said "yours fell off."

They do try to get them to do some elementary dance stretches like the "butterfly" where you put the soles of your feet together and bounce your knees. Tenley just sat indian style and picked at her finger nails. The little girl in the blue tu-tu to the left of the picture refused to do anything with the class-she just kind of wandered around and twirled...and she certainly wasn't going to hold anyone's hand.

The ballet mistress was trying to get them all to stand in a straight line facing the mirrors. For 2 year olds, this is a straight line. Then she was tring to get them to hop on one foot. Most of them just stood there looking stunned, and then they would start jumping up and down with both feet as though they were trying to kill roaches.

One of Ten's favourite parts of the class: the scarves. Last week she pushed kids out of the way to get a pink scarf. This week she decided to hang back & be polite and ended up with a white one. You should have seen the look on her face when she was given the last scarf and it was white "you want me to use this??"
The cutie in the pale blue with the pink scarf to Tenley's right in the picture was also adopted from the Hunan province of China just a month and a half after we got Ten! So cool to have another Red Thread girl in the class!

Eventually Ten got over her disappointment with the white scarf and happily waved it around and mugged for daddy & the camera.

Tenley got obsessed with ballet after she saw 5 seconds of it in a PBS ad after an episode of Sesame Street. She lucked out in getting to take this class: the ballet school offered it through the city, and it was only supposed to be for 3-4 year olds...but the city misprinted it and said 2-3 year olds, and the ballet school was flooded with 2 year olds wanting to do they honored the mistake.
So far she seems to really like it, we'll see if she continues to show interest. And I think it might be time for me to bust out my old ballet slippers & practice with her at home!
But I still want to know who thought it was a good idea to make the 2-3 year olds uniform pink shoes, pink tights, and a white leotard. Who puts a toddler in white?!