Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gotta Kick It Up!

I-yiy-yiy... however you spell it!

Got the massive headache going here, along with a stuffed head (nose, throat, etc.). It really sucks. At least I can write. I've been writing some articles for the freelancing I received last week. That is so fun. It is really interesting to see everything I have in my head down on paper (or the computer screen... hee, hee...). I didn't know I knew so much! Of course I did, but when you get all of the words written, it looks like so much more.

Yesterday was too much for me, though. I thought I was coming off the sick wagon. We went to Stacy's water polo game - NO, it didn't rain! - and the team played really well. It was slamming and dunking and really great fun to watch. When we first got there, I thought I was going to a pool party (a little cold for it, but hey!). There was rockin' music being blasted from the pool deck. Apparently, the home team plays music for warm-up, time-outs, and intervals between periods. It was all cool (cold, too.) The girls were really into the game, this time. They've started being a lot more aggressive, much like the other teams they've been playing. This is not a timid sport, and they were kind of shying away from the aggressiveness, almost like they were afraid. Naivety is not for water polo. But they finally went for it yesterday.

The other team, however, was super aggressive and had this one player who we nickname "the Submarine." This girl was pretty large, and would show her hands to the refs, to show she wasn't holding one of our players down, but yet was sinking our player with her feet. We (the spectators) saw it, so how could the refs not? Yet, throughout the whole game, she was not called on this. Amazing.

It's really too bad they started playing this way towards the end of the season. The beginning would have been much better. But, at least they are getting there. I believe they have 4 more games to play. Let's hope they stay playing at this new level of combativeness. They just have got to kick it up, and keep it there.

Marissa threw up between the game and getting home. I thought maybe it was just from over-activity on her part (she twirled around a tarp pole for a lot of the game). Now I'm not so sure, as this morning (and most of last night, too), I felt the stuffy head with queasy stomach syndrome. Yikes. Didn't I just get over the other end?

But, we all know, mommies don't get sick days. I still took the kids to school, did dishes, and have done 3 puzzles with Marissa, as well as began preparing Juan's lunch. I would love to lay down and rest my weary-achy-stuffy head and body, but there is just no way. And so, I've got to kick it up, too.

We will have to wait and see what the day brings. Even though I'm not feeling so hot, I'm still looking forward to Super Bowl. It's not necessarily the game, as the food, commercials and half-time show. Something to think about... I still need to finish planning what I'm taking. Hmm... let me think (and write some more)... Toodles for now! lisa

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Birthday for Marissa and a COLD Swim Meet for the Rest

Marissa turned 3 today! Yeah! She was snoozing next to Juan this morning and kept rolling over to cuddle with him. He would move her and seconds later, she'd be right there on his shoulder. When she woke up slightly, he told her, "Happy Birthday, baby." She said, "Tank you." (without the "th" sound) and promptly started snoring on his shoulder. Too cute for words...

This morning was off. It was supposed to be raining all through the morning, but it was beautiful and sun shiny, but cold. Off to Redlands for a swim meet. Both Stacy and Rey were competing today. Rey shaved 10 seconds (that is a lot) off her 100 backstroke time, and Stacy forgot to check her time. Both girls appeared to do well their first race. Stacy was nervous, as since she just a birthday, as well, she "aged up" into another level (older girls). Rey will continue at the 13-14 level for another year.

It was a small group at the meet, only 4 families out of the whole team (another group of younger kids had already swam in the morning, but many other families forewent this meet). So, we stayed together and we all cheered on each kid during the events until...

The sky started darkening, the wind picked up, and it started to sprinkle. Then it started to pound. Like little nails, almost with the feel of hale; it was really cold! Finally, the sky poured out. It pelted the deck, and the swimming stopped. Did someone see lightening? I don't know. The referees blew their whistles, and the next heat mounted the blocks, ready to go. Stacy and Rey were going to swim one more event, but the rain started coming down even harder, and they changed their mind, as did almost everyone else. Two other families left at the same time as us, needing to get out of there. What can I say? We are all wimps. I can do a lot, but cold and wet is not one of them. (Well... maybe Marissa can... she loved it!)
So, we ran to my house, changed clothes, and went out to dinner. After all, it was Marissa's birthday, and she kept asking for a cake. Mimi's Cafe is a favorite place of ours, serving excellent food with excellent service. Marissa got her cake and a song, and we got to relax for a little bit. (By the way... I did get some more chicken soup there - Cream of Chicken Soup!)

The movies was next. We saw Enchanted again. Marissa asked for it, and it wouldn't hurt us to relax for another 2 hours. She still laughed and smiled for the movie, and wants to go see it again tomorrow. She came home singing the songs from the movie. She has only seen it twice, but has really picked up on the lyrics... Yikes! Help me... just kidding. It was a great movie, and we will probably buy it the day it comes out on DVD.

As for me... I'm feeling better today. We'll see how I feel after I sleep off the chill. Today was exhausting, and since I wasn't totally up to par, I'm not sure how much I drained out of me. It's time to hit the beddy-by... I have a lot to do tomorrow. Onward! (And thanks for all of your comments!) Toodles for now! lisa

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Chicken Soup?

Forget my soul! I want it for my sanity and budget. Even though I wasn't feeling good yesterday, I made a pot of chicken soup. After I boiled the roasted chicken, I added a miracroix (combination of celery, carrots, and onions) to the broth, then divided it into two pots, dividing the de-boned chicken, as well.

In one pot, I finished the evening meal, making it a traditional chicken noodle soup. I had started soft rolls already... It was hearty and filling and made me feel a little better. The rolls were soft and buttery and didn't make me feel any worse, so all was well with the world.

This afternoon, I finished composing the broth in the other pot. I added a can of petite diced tomatoes, a can of corn (drained), garlic, cumin, oregano, and zucchini. We grated cheese, chopped avocado, put up some tortilla chips and sour cream, and ate the tortilla soup.

I am extremely defensive. All of the above sounded good, right? Well, this afternoon, when I was putting the meal together, hubby asked me, "Didn't we have soup last night?"

Ok, all... there is something I need when I am not feeling well. It is chicken soup. It does not matter if it is traditional chicken noodle, Mexican chicken tortilla, Thai Tom Yum, or hearty chicken and wild rice... as long as it is chicken soup! This is one of my comfort foods, and it makes me feel better, at least mentally...

So, I say this: Let me eat my chicken soup in any way, shape or form, whenever I want, and live with it. Do not question me. I need it, I want it. It comforts me and keeps me sane, at least for the time being. Toodles for now! lisa

This is HELP?

Last night, I laid my head down on my pillow (after eating homemade chicken noodle soup) and went into dreamland. When I awoke, I thought I was in a fairly tale... the family room was cleaned up! Thoughtful hubby!

Imagine the world of Enchanted... I was Giselle (singing... I've Been Dreaming of Love's First Kiss...) in awe, thinking little critters were going to smile upon me (at least my husband) and be happy they helped... SCREEECHHHHH!!!! Halt! The needle ripped across the vinyl......

The dream ended when I saw that everything had been piled up in different places everywhere else! No, items were not put away where they should have been, but crammed into other spots, away from the room that was cleaned. This is NOT help!

This type of action just makes the room appear cleaner. And others much worse off than what they were. Even more, he moved stuff from my desk area and put it elsewhere! He put kid things on my sewing table. He shoved stuff on the kitchen counter that doesn't belong in the kitchen! This is NOT help. This is a lot more work for me.

And so... I have a dilemma... Do I clean it up now? Or go back to bed and hope this was all a bad dream? Toodles for now! lisa

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Blues and the Princess Ghost

I cannot seem to get rid of this horrible headache or fluttery/cramping stomach. Yuck! I've tried taking a nap, but Marissa insists I "watch" her.

That means I watch her do EVERYTHING! From Play-doh to playing with her friends (she has every single stuffed animal lined up on the couch), she is non-stop. She keeps coming and asking, "Are you happy?" If I say anything about a headache or hurting, that is how she responds, by asking those 3 words, and running over to lift my chin up in her hands, while looking into my eyes. How precious that a child this size (she'll be 3 on Sunday...) can have so much compassion and caring, although she might not understand things, is beyond me.

She thinks that if I go to sleep or bury my head, that I'm not happy and she does everything in her power to make me feel alright. So I have the sickie blues...

She comes to me with her Disney Princess blanket draped over her, saying, "Boo... Boo..." Isn't Halloween long over? Well, she seems to think she can scare these blues out of me. Of course, I never tell her that I'm not happy. I am happy; I just don't feel good. But, alas, she is not understanding of this, and so... I have the Princess Ghost trying to scare the bejeezes out of me. It is funny, though. I see all of these princesses, Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), and Belle (Beauty and the Beast) with a splendid castle hanging down to the ground. She cannot see out of the blanket and puts her hands in front of her trying to feel her way. She trips unexpectedly (to her) on the dragging blanket and giggles. "Boo... Boo..."

No, I'm not unhappy. I'm very happy. My child is glowing with love, and it makes me smile... even though I don't really feel like doing it. I just want to take a nap... But instead, I think I'll finish making my chicken soup... Toodles for now! lisa

Everybody Has a Bug!

Yikes! I didn't feel well last night and didn't sleep well at all... didn't get anything done, either. What a way to spend the night. I couldn't sleep, just tossed and turned, and got up, paid my respects to the throne room, came back and went through the whole routine again.

I know friends of mine have been ill, and I know I was ill (and still partially feeling it this morning), but... did you guys have to pass it on to my computer?

I think it's sick, too! Yesterday, items weren't going to the printer. It (the printer) kept "refreshing" itself. I mean, come on! How much does the printer have to primp to make things come out pretty? Pretty much, it took forever to print something, then took forever to cancel it.

Then, I tried to "crop" a photo. I had accidentally left Rey's full name in the photo (see Wednesday's entry) and had to take that out. Silly me. I know better than to put that kind of information in a post, don't I? And I preach so much to my girls about internet safety... You would think I would've thought of that before I posted the picture... Nevertheless, it is fixed, now. However, it wouldn't "fix" at first. The ill thing (the computer) kept telling me I did not have enough memory, and shut down the program. "You've got to be kidding!" ran through my mind. So, I did a system clean out and freed up enough space to fix the photo. Posted it (everything ran extremely slow), and moved on to more tasks.

I consider myself fairly computer savvy. Mind you, I'm no tech-y, just a normal average "joe-ette", who can do a lot, but not everything. So, I thought I'd clean out my system even more and ran some bot checks. Something that usually only takes a half hour to an hour took over four! Since this binds up the system a lot, needless to say, I didn't get much done on the computer yesterday. The bot checks got done, and I restarted the computer, only to have...

THE PRINTER GO BERSERK AGAIN! Hey! I just deleted and cancelled every pending document in that thing. It just started doing what I call "the slug." It prints out a little bit on one page, pauses (for a long time), then prints out a little, and on and on. And the stupid thing keeps blinking, like it's actually working! P-shaw! Ugh!

So... I shut everything down. Then I felt ill.

This morning, I try a different tactic. I am (tired and grumpy) but trying to "act" like I'm calm and serene. It's really easy when you are very tired... So I calmly walk to the computer and turn it on. "There, now, baby... you've had a long night's rest..." (Sigh...) It decides to wake up slowly and takes its time to boot. (Sigh...) Log in... (Sigh...) "My this is taking a long time!" The hour glass (cursor) seems to be in that position for much longer than normal, and most of the Desktop icons are still in their larval state.

Some things just never started. Skype didn't start up automatically, neither did Yahoo Messenger, or the WeatherChannel (but hey! I already know it's cold outside!), or Smilebox... then what happens?

THE PRINTER WENT BERSERK AGAIN! What the heck? It starts spitting out stuff I could swear (but I won't) that I deleted yesterday. And guess what... I had even turned off the printer to clean out the cache. Yikes!

Hmm... let's review the symptoms. When did they start? My computer is old in comparison with a lot of others. Put it this way... there is no USB port on the outside of my tower. Uh, I had to add a card to get a USB connection to hook up the printer, when we got that. My memory is almost full... too full to do a defrag... Ok, so I have not exactly contributed to the health of my computer. However, all systems were go until I added Skype the other day.

No, don't get the wrong idea, it is not Skype's fault. I noticed that my headphones didn't work, so I can only "chat" through the keyboard and not actually talk aurally to someone. The sound would not register, and my computer did not pick up audio hardware. Could this be the beginning of something serious?

I will have to take it for a check up, especially since more things happened yesterday and today. For now, I will just have to baby my computer, and take it slowly. I think I'll let the two of us "sickies" take a little nap. After all, they are such children, and growing so quickly!

Toodles for now! lisa

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Here Comes the Rain Again...

That may be so, but it is sunny inside! I feel great. I feel wonderful. I'm probably annoying you. Oh well, such is life!

Tuesday's water polo game was a gripper! It was actually the most exciting game I've been to all season. The other team was extremely aggressive and totally tried to overpower our players. However, our girls took it in stride! It was a hairy game, with lots of "dirty" things being done by the opposite team (like face slaps), but our girls lost. They did play an awesome game, though!

Monday night was an all-nighter. I have a "bug." In the scrapbooking world, that's what it is called. In the general public's world, it is called a "personal die cutter." It is way too cool! Anyway, I used my bug (called a bug because of its name -Cricut [pronounced like cricket]) to create lettering for one of Rey's book reports that was due. It turned out fairly cute. The book was about hockey, so I input letters and numbers for section titles, her name, date & the period into a "ticket" form. Cute, if I don't say so myself. She said everybody liked it, but she had not yet received a grade on it. She doesn't strive for perfectionism, but at least she did a better job than last time. (I had a cow last time! It was handwritten and SLOPPY!... not a good thing for a child with crafts in her genes!)

I made a new friend yesterday. We met online via a job center and have much of the same likes, even the same television shows! This will be a good relationship, both business and personal. Please wish us well together, as I will be writing for her about something I love to do... SCRAP! My kids are excited for me, as well.

Yeah! I am finally beginning work as a freelancer! How can it be "working" when it is so much fun! I am doing what I love to do... writing, researching, etc. and about topics that are near and dear to my heart! Hopefully, we will get my name out there and all will be well with the world, at least in our part of it!

Today is a Sylvan day with practice for both girls. So... while I have lots of spare time sitting in the car, I will be reading and learning knew info. It is always fun! Toodles for now! lisa

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ugliness, but Beauty (too) Rains Outside

It has sprinkled off and on here for most of the morning... Juan turned the sprinklers off this morning when he got home. The sky ranges from a dull grey to a brilliant blackish-silver with puffs of smokiness in it. The cold air chills me when I walk outside, so I do absolutely everything I have to do (outside) quickly. I don't do cold well... It is ugly when I look south, but looking to the north, I see the beauty I described above. We need the rain. My plants need it, and the whole city needs to be washed, fresh and clean again. The wind and the rain clear the air, leaving it crisp and cold, but invigorating, ready for something better.

I look at the new pink blossoms on my peach tree (there's finally more than one, with many blossoms ready to burst open). They are so pretty, such a light pink color... so new, so young... Hopefully, this year, the peaches will reach maturity. The squirrels have been my enemy for the past two years, letting nothing on this precious little tree survive. I'm sure it's the squirrels and not the birds, as when I lost all of the new fruits, the branches were broken from the weight of them climbing the wood, not yet strong enough to hold something so large and heavy.

The grapevine is finally dry, waiting for me to cut it down. I don't want to throw it away, once cut. I read somewhere the wood from the vine lends a different flavor when smoking meats. I think I might give it a try. Either way, I hate to see such an effort of nature go to waste. I hate to waste, yet sometimes I have no choice...

Cilantro is now abundant, growing tender and young, ready with pungent fresh flavor and aroma. This crisp greens are tasteful, even while only smelling them. Yum... now if only I had some tomatoes... Unfortunately, the squirrels destroyed those fruits as well, and they hang half-eaten on the vines. The cold has not killed them off yet. Hopefully, this will be another year where they can over-winter, as they are really good plants. The squirrel problem should hopefully be resolved by spring when the tomatoes will blossom once more. I hope that I will not have to pull them all out again; I hope they stay green and continue to thrive.

I realize some of you may be thinking I'm crazy, that your fruits and vegetables are long dead, due to the weather... But, that is (used to be, at least) one of the benefits of living in Southern California - the weather is fairly nice to us here. We can enjoy the cold (snow) when we want to "visit" the mountains. We don't have to endure the more harsh winters that some of you do. Like I said, I don't do cold well...

Happy birthday to MLK! He was a man with a dream... this year's presidential election sure does look like his dream coming to life... I guess dreams really do (and can) come true...

As the schools were closed today (and so was the library - so no "Storytime" for Marissa), I managed to get Stacy to practice and the rest of us to my friend's house. So, it was a different friend, as the original plans got put to rest. Poor Karen got sick... I wish you better! But, after Marissa cried that she wasn't going to see her little friend, Margaret came through and said we could visit with her. Marissa was instantly joyous once more. Isn't it amazing how resilient a child can be? I wish it was that easy for the rest of us.

I'm sure Stacy was quite frozen, but they needed the practice. They have a big game tomorrow against a team they had previously beaten. The "other" high school claims our team only beat them because they "hadn't practiced that day." Yeah, right! Their team has been practicing together since the summer. Our girls only started right before the official season started! You go, girls! Stacy's unsure if she wants to play again next year. I think she should. It really suits her, and she's good at it.
Rey, on the other hand, simply states she is not going to play water polo, at all. "I don't want to get hit in the face!" is her response. I think she would enjoy it, as well. She doesn't realize that so far, the only person she has seen get "hit in the face" is the goalie. That comes with the territory of the position. It is a very aggressive game, much more so than I originally speculated, but extremely fun to watch! It would be good to see the girls together again on a team, playing at the same time, and not running back and forth between swim heats.

Don't get me wrong... I love to watch them swim, but that is more of an individual effort, not a team effort. Team work is very important to me. I believe it involves more than the sporting issue, but prepares our youth to work together to build better futures, as well.
Time to kick them into "teamwork" gear and get their room finished... Toodles for now! lisa

Weekend's Almost Over... boo hoo....

This was a cooking weekend! Yummy! On Friday night, I made my famous pizza! My bread machine is one of my most useful (and time-saving) tools in the kitchen. For all of you Atkins (Adkins... whatever!) fans out there, WE LOVE CARBS! As long as we (I) eat them in moderation, I will be ok! I usually top it off with some fancified Prego, some mozzarella cheese, and other toppings.

Pizza dough:
1 c warm water
3 T olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 1/2 T granulated sugar
1 t salt
3 c bread flour
1 1/2 t active dry yeast

Put it all in the bread machine (in the order stated above) and set to "dough" cycle. Voila! In approximately 50-75 minutes, you will have pizza dough... ready to roll!

Trust me! It is absolutely fabulous, and inexpensive to make, too! Try it... You'll like it!

And Saturday morning, I made pancakes, both traditional and banana, with bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, and orange juice. Heck no! I did not squeeze the oranges myself! Frozen concentrate works just fine for me... However, the banana pancakes were not IHOP style... the bananas were actually mashed with a fork and added to the batter, prior to griddle-baking. I would like to thank my wonderful workers who helped with breakfast - all three of the older girls helped, Renee, Stacy & Rey-Rey! Congrats ladies!!! You did a great job.

Saturday night, we had... (drumroll please!)... fettucine alfredo with grilled lemon-marinated chicken breast, broccoli on the side, and two types of bread (love that bread machine!)- rosemary-olive oil french rolls, and soft butter-top rolls. The kids (and Juan, too!) absolutely loved it all. Marissa ate her "own" food... but the rest of us filled our tummies. I know this is a totally fatty dish, but once again... in moderation, all should be ok...

This afternoon, we had chicken and dumplings (one of my all-time favorites for comfort food). It was totally delish! Easy enough for me to make, some people find it daunting. It was good, and we all enjoyed it. I pretty much only like dumplings "strip" style. I really don't like globules of uncooked dough that comes in the center of "drop" dumplings. Yuck! Anyway, we all liked it, except Marissa, who once again, ate her own food.

I've never had a picky eater. This is absolutely remarkable to me. I am astounded that Marissa could "not like" some of the things we eat. Way back when, I used to think picky eaters were developed from parents not giving their children a variety of foods. However, due to recent circumstances, my thoughts and opinions have changed dramatically. Marissa loved and ate everything as an infant. New foods that were introduced were not a problem... However, now they are! Yikes... what to do!

Tomorrow is MLK's birthday, so the kids have the day off... well, sort of. Stacy still has practice in the morning, so the rest of us will spend time at a friend's house scrapbooking and/or crafting for 3 hours, then come back home to complete some more decluttering.

Yahoo! Everything I listed on Freecycle is GONE! EVERYTHING! Now I can start on another little pile...

OK... enough rambling! It's almost 4am here, and I'm kinda tired... don't even realize what I'm saying or what I've already said... Did I forget to mention those yummy Krispy Kremes that Juan brought home Friday night? Uh... that's probably because there aren't any left! Those dang kids! lol! Yeah right... I didn't eat a single one, did I? Hmmmm........ Yummmm....... 'Night, 'night... Toodles for now! lisa

Friday, January 18, 2008

More De-Cluttering...

Hopefully, the people who say they will pick up my stuff will pick it up! Yay! Less for me to clutter my home and less to dust (or collect it!).

And while I was doing that computer updating (phone numbers, addresses, e-mails, etc.), I happened across some belated birthdays (they weren't in my computer!). Got those cards addressed and sent out, too! I'm on a roll... (don't roll your eyes!)

However, from this little itty bitty stint, I found 3 more things that should have been put away with the Christmas items! Yikes!!!!!!!!! Does it ever end? It is almost like an invasion of the Christmas stuff! I thought, once again, that I had it all taken care of, but no! That snowman candle just had to come out of hiding on my mantle. I think I've gotten it all now. I'll put the "found" items up when we "rearrange" the rafters next month.

I missed the boat on a sale I forwarded to everyone else! How does that happen? It's called procrastination. I could have paid only 10 cents for each photo, but didn't bother to take the time to finish them and upload prior to the sales' expiration on the 12th. Sorry me! Next time. I will put it on my calendar and have the event "pop" up at me as a reminder. Otherwise, I will just keep overspending $$$. And who has that? Not I!

It's tax time! Don't forget! And the sooner you file (if you are getting a return...) the sooner someone else can stop collecting interest on your $$$. Don't let it happen to you, and don't let them charge interest and penalties (which they do...) on money that should be returned to you. Make sure you file on time!

Well, back to work... Toodles for now! lisa

De-Cluttering Me Finding Freebies

Today I am finishing up the laundry (oh fun!), and other miscellaneous items that I've been neglecting...

One thing I really like is http://www.freecycle.org/. This is a wonderful site where you can get rid of (or find) items that you don't want to through away, but don't want to pile up for a yard sale, either in hopes that someone else may be able to use it. It is a great way to help someone else help you. I was "piling up" items to "freecycle" items and finally realized... I need to get rid of it, not just store it, so... I finally posted things that have been sitting here, just waiting for me to do just that. Hmm... maybe next week I'll finally get to taking pictures and listing stuff on e-bay or another site... One thing crossed off my list!

Another... today is the 27-fling paper clutter boogie! (Check out the link of the FlyLady to the right...) And so, I boogied 2 sets of 27 items, some of them being magazines! Yay me! I checked out one of the magazines, though... I just got it this week. It is called Successful Living. Very interesting, had some quick tips and thought to get yourself organized, had some easy recipes and a little bit about a lot. If you would like a FREE charter subscription to this magazine, subscribe to it online: www.tslc.com/magazine. It is pretty good for free...

Also, on the inside cover of this magazine was an ad for Coleman Natural Foods. If you go to their website, and fill out a quick survey, you get a booklet of coupons and a FREE apron: http://www.colemannatural.com/. The survey only took one minute of my time, and for those of you who like it really organic, they are the brand for you!

And those scraps of paper that I had written phone numbers, addresses, and e-mails are NO MORE! Typed them into the computer and waa-la! Gone is the little clutter of little papers... By the way... send me your phone number, address (e-mails, too!), and birthday, if you don't think I have it. Technology makes it so much easier to keep in touch, free of charge!

Love those freebies! I'll keep going... Toodles for now! lisa

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Another Day with Calliou

"Who's 'Calliou' (pronounced Kie[like pie]-you)?" you ask? He's a bratty little four-year-old on the PBS stations who whines all of the time to his parents and learns good lessons. I can get through his whiny-ness, since he does learn to respect and share, laugh and learn, etc. Otherwise, he is really annoying! But Marissa loves it and laughs and plays well (well, sometimes).

She likes to listen to the show as she plays, like now. At this very moment, she is playing with her new Little Tikes kitchen, a gift to her from her friend, Ashley. How it came to be in our house is a cute story... Ashley's mom had asked Ashley if it was time to "move" the kitchen to another area (she hardly ever played with it anymore - she's 8!) or was she done with it... much to Ashley's mom's surprise, Ashley announced, "Mommy! I only keep it so Marissa can play with it!" And so, they asked if we would like it for Marissa, and we all know what I said... "YES!!!" It is quite a little gem, and Marissa loves it.

Today will be another busy day. I think all people's days are really busy, even though they don't think so. There are lots of people who felt they haven't accomplished much during a particular day or any other time... I say to them, write down each and every thing you did, even your normal routine things, like making lunch, making breakfast, putting away the dishes, getting ready (even in that there are a whole bunch of little itemizations...). Do you see how much you truly do? It is a lot! So, if you are feeling blue and having "one of those days," do this. It is sure to make you feel a little bit better.

As for my day... I've just finished making Juan's lunch/our dinner and putting it away for further packing/consumption. Other than that, I've been playing with Miss Marissa, doing dishes, reading a couple of articles, getting ideas, and have so much more to do. I keep going back and forth to this entry! Don't think it all gets done in one shot! Sometimes, it does, but today isn't one of those times. I still have yet to pick up Rey (I cancelled Sylvan for today-sitting on the west side of town for over almost 5 hours just really does not appeal to me...), then go pick up Stacy/take Rey to practice. Thank goodness I've gotten my menu planning together and am on the ball with dinners! Yeah!

I actually have everything until my menu is up on Friday! I'm on a goal to budget better and am actually putting a dent in my frozen food stash. I am gradually getting to the bottom of my freezer, I hope... But we all know that I will still put stuff in, but I am using up what I already have and am only buying what I truly need. Not bad, if I do say so myself! This has been in effect since last Tuesday. ...and I'm still hangin' in there.

As for other things, yeesh! Okay, I started fairly early last year (July) with my making of Christmas presents. I went through moods where I got nothing done towards that, and didn't get everything done that I had planned... Whelp, folks... as soon as I get another project done that I'm currently working on, I'll be off on this year's presents, much earlier. I figure this should give me time to go through my "moods." I have so much in my brain with things I want to do, it's hard to get them all done. I mean well, and maybe I'm just dreaming, but I hope to at least partially succeed with that goal.

But... on another note, I'm currently looking for inexpensive Valentine's Day-type crafts to do, so send me your ideas and/or links! Thanks!

Stacy's game was pretty good. The other team was way aggressive. One player from the visiting team even head-butted one of our players, in an effort to get the ball. It wasn't necessarily "legal" but she was only called foul, not ejected from the game. I thought it was pretty dirty, but hey... those are our kids out there...

Rey didn't anticipate going from school to game to swimming and so was not prepared with swim bag in tow. Bottom line: she didn't swim. But! She will swim tonight. We are back in the water, people!

As the first day back, both of the girls were happy. They didn't get much homework assigned and got to see all of their friends. I sure hope the "happiness" with school will last! Here's hoping. Toodles for now - lisa

Monday, January 14, 2008

Did Ya Miss Me? Yeah... RIGHT!

My girls are back in school today. It was an earlier morning than usual, even for school time. Since today marks the first day of the new semester, the high school kids had to be there by 7am to pick up schedules. Thank goodness I get up when I hear an alarm... usually...

And so... the busy schedules begin again. It gives me more time to catch up with my blog, update all of you... and do things with Miss Marissa.

Today we started something different. Our local library does "Story Time," as I'm sure most of them do... but we (Marissa and I) had never gone. We walked over there before the 10 o'clock start time and they had already begun when we entered. I got Marissa seated, and she stared in rapt attention. The librarian's voice enchanted her. It also helped that the first two stories were two of her favorite characters (Clifford-the Big Red Dog, and Spot). She appeared pretty amazed that someone else knew the stories, too! Then they all got up and sang "Farmer in the Dell." It was the shorter version, but made simple for small children. They gathered around in a circle, and tried to move the circle... Marissa, my socially sheltered child, kind of stayed put (although she did hold hands with the others) and let the circle kind of move, but awkwardly around her... She'll get the hang of it eventually. They read a few more stories, sang some more songs, and played with musical instruments like maracas and tambourines. Marissa didn't smile once (probably because she was surrounded by total strangers), but stayed put and didn't come flying to me. So... I'm guessing she had a REALLY great time, as she keeps talking about it. I think we'll go back on Wednesday!

We checked out a couple of books, and bought some, too. In case you don't know about it, most libraries have a "Friends of the Library" section. Books are donated to the "Friends of the Library" and are sold, with the funds going directly to purchase new books for the library. Don't say, "Whatever..." Check it out! They are usually really inexpensive. I walked out of there paying $.50 each for one hard back and three soft covers. It is an awesome deal!

Stacy has a water polo game today. She's really good at it. She starts almost every game and has gotten quite aggressive. (That's her - #3, attempting to make a goal.) Luckily, a friend was there to get this great picture. If not, I wouldn't have gotten it... I'm not really good with the digital yet...
What you can see in the background is our previous "home" pool. Right now, we are relocated at another pool (for the swim team, as well) until this pool gets completely re-done. I'll try to snap a picture of that soon, before they finish construction. It currently looks almost ghostly. It took a while to drain the pool, as it is around one million gallons of water. What did they do with it? Got me! I've been wondering myself...
As for the swim team... Rey is getting back into the water tonight (I think...). Both she and Stacy are in a meet at the end of January (Marissa's birthday, to be exact!). It should good and cold, but Rey actually wanted to do it, so, kudos for her!
The vacation was nice, kind of still busy, but nice... And I sure am going to miss "sleeping in" and being semi-lazy, if that's what you want to call it. But, it's time to get the show on the road! Juan's lunch (and our dinner) awaits fixing, as well as an early pick up for Rey and Stacy's game, then a Board meeting and swim practice! Gotta go! CHARGE!!!!! Toodles for now - lisa