The Sharks Were a No-Show

13 08 2012

It’s the time of year when the leopard sharks come to San Diego’s shores. I’ve always wanted to go and now I have an underwater camera so I pretty much have to go. Also, I think it’s good therapy fodder for when my kids are grown: “And this one summer? She made us SWIM. WITH. SHARKS.”


Only the sharks didn’t show up (my kids may or may not have been somewhat relieved). So instead we had to, like, just enjoy the beach or whatever. Meh.


Kidding. It was lovely. A tiny beach with clear water, a sunny day, excellent parking provided by the parking gods, and the water wasn’t even as frigid as usual (it was only slightly frigid). At one point I forced the kids to sit with my purse safely away from the waves while I took a short turn swimming by myself. It was either win or child neglect. One of those.

and then i made the kids sit with my stuff while i went to swim.

Days like this make me remember that I don’t hate the beach. Days like this even make me wish I owned a house on a beach. Days like this? Are totally weird. But wonderful.

goofy kids


Day o’ Snow!

22 02 2011

these people asked to pose with my snowman

I spent Sunday afternoon eating chocolate and walking on the beach with Summer. It was perfect. And then the next morning my family and I drove up to the mountains to play in the snow. This is what I love about San Diego. We have it all, but not at the risk of having to actually deal with major weather issues. In fact, we don’t deal well with snow on the whole, but this weekend it stayed up on the mountain where it belongs so there weren’t any emergency situations.

sand and snow together

Many years ago I’d taken a friend and her kids to the snow on a weekend. BAD IDEA. Traffic was so horrible, it took us two full hours to make a 20 minute stretch of road. So I was apprehensive what we’d find yesterday which was sort of a weekend due to the President’s Day holiday. It turned out to be awesome. We went to William Heise Park again, which is where we’d camped during the Big Scary Thunderstorm back in October. There were people around, and Alex was disappointed to find the snow already full of foot prints, but based on my previous experiences with bad traffic or just a crapload of people, the park was really pretty empty and we had a great time to ourselves.

baby oak

We threw snowballs and made snow angels and crunched around and admired the ice on the trees. We made a snowlady. A pretty damn kickass one, if I do say so myself. I’ve never made a serious one before and I took this one very seriously. I originally wanted to make her bigger, but turns out snowmen are a lot of work and I’m kind of lazy. Even today my left butt cheek hurts for all the squats I did gathering snow and forming the body. After she was all built and carved into a lovely snowlady shape the kids hunted down some accessories to make a face and arms. Margie decided she needed green eyes so she plucked two oak leaves. Alex grabbed two acorn tops which Margie made into cheeks and Elliott found the perfect smile. I was proud.

Happy Thing: The Best Snow Lady Ever

The snowlady was so awesome, apparently, that a group of people walking by asked to pose with it (the top photo in this entry). I think that’s awesome. So I took my own photo of them and I think it’s one of my favorite photos of the day.

sparkly snow

And then we headed home. It was a long day for my sensory kids who don’t have proper snow gear. Margie had more than one meltdown and Elliott was not at all pleased at the fact that snow turned out to be cold and wet. Despite a few moments of discomfort, they both had lots of fun, too. And I’m left with the glow of these happy memories. And all without having to shovel my own driveway!

Halloween Craftiness

2 11 2010

For the first time ever I dressed my kids in homemade costumes. And it was FUN. My kids looked great (if I do say so myself), and so much less commercial than the store-bought costumes of the past years. Not that my kids aren’t commercialized. They went as Princess Leia and Indiana Jones, and I’m not sure you can get more commercialized than anything from the mind of George Lucas. But, aside from free advertisement, we didn’t put any money into his pockets this year and for that I think we get a prize. The prize is a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup that I swiped from a loot bag two nights ago. I shall enjoy it momentarily.

The first part I crafted was Margie’s Leia wig. I knew there was a pattern somewhere online, but before I’d got the chance to look into it for myself, a new mom joined our Fiber Fridays group and, by an awesome coincidence, happened to be knitting her daughter a Leia wig for Halloween, too. So I pretty much just watched her as she made it up (she said the pattern online is adult-sized anyway) and I looked over her work to see the methods she used and, when I finally began, I pretty much just pulled it out of my butt.

finished wig

Basically, what I did was purchase the fattest brown yarn I could find (because I needed to whip this up in a quick way) (and I wasn’t thrilled with this yarn, I think it already looks old even though she’s only worn it twice at this point) and I made a hat. Then I made two long, thin snakes, stuffing them with fiberfill as I went along. Once they were finished, I sewed them into a spiral and then onto the hat. The entire project took probably less than seven hours (which means about three weeks, the way I knit), and I’m stoked with how well it looked when finished.

Next project: Indy’s Satchel. Both projects I started twice and then frogged before I finally stuck with it. Must have been a theme. Anyway, I began this Wednesday night, worked on it all day long at the pumpkin patch the next day, and finished up on Saturday night at a friend’s fifth birthday party. Because I am teh awesome. This one also just fell out of my brain this way – no pattern involved.

finished, ready to felt

I planned to felt the bag the following day, but instead my body decided to get sick. So I didn’t get around to felting it until Friday afternoon, but it worked out quite well (thank GOD, because I didn’t have a Plan B).

finished felting

indiana waits

The day before Halloween, I played with duct tape. I’d found some super shiny silver stuff that would make a kickass belt for Leia, but wasn’t able to find white for her boots, so she got silver boots instead. I cut the pattern for the belt out of some Trader Joe’s bags and covered it smoothly in the tape (which watching Raising Hope on Hulu). Perfect! The boots required a little more thought. She had some galoshes, but I didn’t want to ruin them. I joked about covering them in saran wrap first, and then figured it was actually worth a try so I tried it. Not bad, actually. Awkward, yes. But definitely possible. I even made a little strap at the bottom to make sure the covers stayed in place.

shiny silver boots

The rest of the costumes I did buy (and borrow), but they are CLOTHES so I don’t think it counts as a commercialized Halloween (you know what I mean – less commercialized). Elliott got a new pair of brown pants and both kids got long-sleeved white shirts. Margie already had a white dress we’d bought for her birthday photos and party (“Girls in dresses with blue satin sashes…!”). It was shorter than Leia’s and full of lacy eyelets, but, I frankly thought that was a CUTE twist on the dress and perfect for a little girl. The borrowed item was Indy’s coat – plaid is back and therefore there are no plain-colored shirts or jackets in the world right now. All in all, it came out super cute. See?

halloween 2010 preview night

The costumes were well-received by all the houses and people we met. Many were impressed by the retro costumes my kids had chosen. It was such a great evening. I only hope I can gather enough creativity to make more Halloweens homemade.


17 06 2010

This week our friends were in town on vacation so we made a date to meet at a local sprinkler playground with them and our mutual friend, Sandy. It’s been a couple of years since Sara and her family have been here so the kids weren’t too familiar, but it didn’t take them long to become fast friends. We spent several hours there, the kids running in the sprinklers, off to the playground, back to us for snacks, and then repeating the cycle. After the sprayground, we all hit Trader Joe’s, naturally. This was particularly exciting for our Utah friends since they don’t have such luxuries in their state. While driving from one place to the other, Margie asked me, “Is their last name really Skywalker?” I could not stop giggling. When I relayed this to Sara and Jay, their oldest daughter brought her hands to her mouth and confessed, “I was just kidding!” Sweet kid. I told her that, frankly, I thought it was awesome. Sandy and her two younger kids didn’t get to stay as long which was sad, but at least they live in the county so maybe we can make it up soon.



happy kids

The Pox

10 04 2010

Most of my readers know, I’m sure, that we don’t vaccinate our kids – at least not based on our current place in space and time. Well, this week, my children reached an important childhood rite of passage: chickenpox. (BTW, who knew it was all one word?? I’ve been spelling it wrong all week!)

Because I am a Mean Mommy, I purposefully exposed them. After carefully weighing all my options, I felt it was the best one. So we went and shared germs with some friends who had it and pretty much exactly two weeks later I found one pok* on my daughter’s neck.

the first pok

We’ve tried this before, to get The Pox. It didn’t work. But I respectfully kept my kids inside for three full weeks just in case we might happen to catch it. Three weeks of unnecessary quarantine suck.

This time around, probably because a bunch of elementary school friends found me on Facebook not too long ago, I thought back to one particular outbreak when I was in second grade. One girl caught them and not two weeks later, the rest of the class started dropping like flies. Children who hadn’t had them yet weren’t pulled from school during this, and they certainly weren’t kept home from school in case they might come down with The Pox – they only stayed home once they showed symptoms.

What changed? The vaccine. I’m not going to talk about vaccination versus the lack thereof, but the fact that our society’s attitude about chickenpox has changed – even among the natural hippie folk who avoid vaccinations – is, well, interesting. And this bothers me. For something that has, in the past, been considered a primarily harmless disease, to be changed into something dark and scary is a little unnerving.

And I don’t mean this to sound like one of those rants our elders share with us about walking uphill both ways in the snow and that if thalidomide was good enough for them it should damn well be good enough for us. ┬áBecause in this case, really – it didn’t hurt us. (I realize there were, on rare occasions, horrible complications – but so is true from vaccines, even the most mainstream doctor cannot truthfully deny that.)

foot pok

So this time around, I didn’t quarantine us. I let us live our lives – I tried to be respectful and shared this info with people in certain cases, but I didn’t stop us from enjoying life in the mean time.

And, besides, I’ve learned that adults need periodic exposure to chickenpox to keep shingles away. So you’re welcome.

eye pok

*I’m not exactly certain what the singular of “pox” is and I don’t care because, frankly, “pok” is better than whatever the actual term is. Unless it is “pok” in which case, good job, English language.

My Children are Clearly Allergic to Thursdays

11 03 2010

Here is what happens when your friend makes some offhand comment about how kids sometimes puke randomly and it’s totally not a big deal if you take them out to play the next day after a non-illness vomit.

You kid randomly vomits in the car on the way home from said friend’s house.

THANKS, Claire.

Here’s what happens when your kid suddenly and with no warning at all vomits in the car while playing with your iPhone.

You scream, “GIMME THE PHONE NOW!” And realize what an asshole you sound like since you should probably, technically, be comforting this child.

Here is what happens when the vomiting child happens to be your mellow child, leaving the spirited one with nowhere to run.

The Spirited One starts screaming and crying so loudly you cannot help or talk to the boy. She begs for a bowl for herself, and, after she calms down claims, “No one cares about me tonight!” The boy just sits still and quietly until he gets home.

Here is what happens when you get home.

Your recently-puked child will eat not one, but two, dinners. Go figure.

The girl child did something similar about a month ago – on a Thursday. I’ve long known that Thursdays are stupid. And then I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide and one of the first bits that changed my life and made me know that Douglas Adams TRULY UNDERSTANDS ME was when he said that Thursdays are stupid (in his own words, he doesn’t plagiarize). And now? It’s clear that my kids are allergic.

I am pretty sure my son is a genius.

13 01 2010

Today’s project has been to create a zoo. It’s not just any zoo, it’s Zoo 2. Why? ‘Cause he likes it that way. You can see he’s created a ticket booth, an entrance arch, and several exhibits complete with signs directing you there.

my son made this zoo this morning

this way to the cat(s)

this way to the chick(s)

Unfortunately, this afternoon, I stumbled across this scene:

massare at the zoo

Clearly, something horrible happened. I think it’s probably a mass gassing by The Hostiles. If you will look closely, you will notice the zoo has been closed. Surely due to the mass murder in the parking lot. Also the dog has gone missing. Perhaps he was stolen? Perhaps he was the perpetrator? We may never know. At least the people all seem to have died happy.

closeup of the massacre