Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Yep, it does hail in the Bay Area, California

Waiting on pins and needles

We are waiting to find out what our next move will be, it all depends on my husband's job. I am just so anxious to get the call from him, telling me where we will be going next. There are 2 places at this point we could go...I won't tell you, I don't want to spoil it! We should find out this week or next. Oh, why can't it be today?!

A garage sale can't be that simple, can it?

You would think it would be simple to go through piles of old clothes and junk to sell, right? But so many things hold so many memories. Part of the reason it's hard is that I really don't think we will have anymore kids. I just don't think I could handle anymore and be a good mom. And to be pregnant again...whew, I really think I'm passed that! I dunno, maybe adoption could be a choice down the road.

Although, I do feel at peace about this, it's just hard to hold up those cute little onsies and pretty little dresses, thinking about when the girls were so small. It kind of seems distant...the memories of when I brought them home, how small they were, how floppy they were, their disposition, of every discovery, of their developmental milestones. *Sigh*...my girls are growing up so fast...

Monday, February 27, 2006

No, Claire, the paint is not shampoo!!

So, I pulled out the rainy day activity....decided to be adventurous and go with painting. Claire decided she was the canvas! She painted on her legs, hands and rubbed some in her hair for good measure. She also taste tested the paint. I definitely think she is an artist, Olivia was never so bold with paint at that age.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

What I miss about where we lived in Texas

Really great Tex-Mex food and margaritas.

Cajun food.

Terrific indoor malls with indoor play areas for kids.

Big houses.

Nice neighborhood pools.

Central Market.

Children's Museum.

Houston zoo.


Our really close friends.

The cost of living there.

Good ole southern hospitality.

What I love about where we live in California

It is beautiful here.

The weather is fantastic...except for the rain and fog, but most of the time it is great.

The great food.

No smoking.

People are genuine (at least most of the ones I met).

Trader Joe's.

We are within 1-2 hours of mountains, vineyards, ocean, Bay.

We can walk to town from our house.

Great parks for kids.

We have a wonderful backyard.

We have a big pantry...snicker! Well, and lots of storage in this house, too.

Great neighbors.

Friends at church.

Am I a gypsy?

It occured to me the other day that the longest I've lived in one city was for 7 years in Dallas after I graduated from college. Even then, I lived in 3 different apartments.

Just desserts...

No, I'm not talking about food.

When I told my mother how Claire was such an artist, drawing on the floor, on her arm, basically anywhere but paper, my mother told me I was getting my 'just desserts'. She reminded me of how I drew on her lovely blue (fuzzy 70's)wallpaper in our foyer of the house I grew up in.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Pictures from our walk

What I love about where we live is that we can walk to 'town' to go to the library, farmer's market, grocery store, etc. We haven't walked too much lately, it's about a 20 minute or so brisk walk one way. It's a great walk on a nice day though. There's a trail that runs behind our house, goes over a bridge, ends on a street which leads to the local popular bike/walk/run trail in our region. There's a creek that runs underneath the bridge and a waterfall as Olivia likes to call it. I took a few pictures of our walk to town:

We walked to our local farmer's market today...

It's really tiny, but I just love going to our farmer's market. It was a beautiful day to go. It's every Saturday morning, rain or shine. It's one of those things that reminds me of when I lived in France during college. Olivia loves to go with me because she gets treats (samples of fruit). She also likes the 'cackorn' (popcorn)...it's kettle corn cooked before our very eyes. It's really sweet, but salty at the same time.

Today we bought: bread, broccoli, strawberries, kiwi, kettle corn, navel oranges.

There is quite a variety of things...flowers,small pots with bamboo, homemade soaps, olive oil, Middle Eastern foods, Mexican foods, seafood, fruits and vegetables that are in season, bakery items, honey, nuts.

Usually there is a musician who plays music while everyone is shopping and enjoying themselves. Today there was a strange woman playing a guitar, but she really wasn't playing music, she was making animal sounds...she had gathered quite an audience of kids! She is blind and has 2 glass eyes. I think she was originally from South Africa.

The caboose in the pictures is part of our local museum, also very tiny. The museum shows some small exhibits during the year.

Friday, February 24, 2006

This is me...

circa 1970's.
One of the few pictures of me as a child.

Making cookie bars!

A bunch more pictures from today of Olivia making Magic Cookie bars and both girls enjoying the finished product!

What to do when a playdate is cancelled...

Bake something! Olivia was so upset her friend, J, couldn't come over today. I made the mistake of telling Olivia in advance of the playdate and unfortunately, J, got sick, throwing up, etc. this morning. So I decided we would make some Magic bars, here she is crunching up graham crackers for the crust.

Can you tell, I like to cook?!!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

She fell in the toilet!

Claire that is! Not sure what she was doing, maybe she thought she would try to use the potty. Her feet got stuck in the toilet somehow...can we say, yuck!

Hide and Seek

So Olivia likes to play 'hide and seek', mostly she likes to hide before her afternoon nap. So today, she runs in her room saying 'wait...wait...I got to hide'. So I walk in and as usual exclaim 'where are you?' 'where is Olivia?'...meanwhile I hear giggles coming from a lump under her covers...she thinks she thinks she has me fooled! I keep asking where she is until she pops out from under her exclaiming 'Here I am!!'

Claire is a mimic

Here she is wearing one of Olivia's shoes...only one! And also trying to get it off! You probably can't tell, but she is bawling her head off because she is having trouble getting the shoe off.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cook it and they will come, right?!!

Not! Ugh, it's been so frustrating lately. Olivia has been incredibly picky lately. Sometimes she will skip dinner completely, put on a gown and go play in her room till bath and bedtime. I thought I was a pretty decent cook, but now I'm being to question my abilities in the kitchen. Please,please tell me this is a phase. Now, Claire is following in her footsteps. She used to really put away food, but lately she just hasn't been eating as much and is more picky. And we can forget about any kind of manners, despite all my efforts, they eat like Neanderthals!

At physical therapy today...

So at physical therapy today, I took a couple of pictures. Last week, the hand therapist had me dip my hand in paraffin wax about 6 times, it created a cover which warmed up my hand. See, at every appointment, she will do something to warm up my hand before we 'work' on it. It used to be just something like a heat pad, but last week was the wax, it was funky so I wanted to take a picture. The wax is heated to 130 degrees (farenheit) so the first dip is pretty hot. It really felt good though after all 6 dips.

Here I am dipping:

Here is what it looks like:

Here, she wrapped the heat pad around my hand:

Here is something else freaky, a few weeks ago, the therapist started hooking me up to a machine with electrodes which make my fingers more. It was so weird the first time. I felt a rush of tingling run down into my hand and my fingers moved by themself! It's to get the tendons to move better.

Here I am doing that today with a ball of 'theraputty':

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

For the more mature palates...

Roasted oregano chicken with potatoes and tomatoes. This is one of my favorites because it is so simple and it tastes so good. Just chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, salt, pepper, dried oregano, olive oil and roasted at 450 for about 45 minutes. My girls, on the other hand, hardly touched it.

I'm such a sneaky mama

Olivia chowed down on a brownie today after eating her lunch. Little did she know that it had spinach in it...buwahaha!! (learned this from my sister-in-law in TX who is a professional chef and also mother of a picky eater)

Claire is sick this week

Poor baby, she has bronchitis. She is starting to get better though. We got a prescription from her pediatrician for Zithromax yesterday and I also started her on albuterol. This is her 2nd bout with this, first time was in late October. Here are some pictures from today. In one, she is trying to put her sock on, she got it partway on backwards...valiant effort I'd say!

More 'Oliviaisms'

Olivia was telling me on the way home that she didn't eat the snack today because she didn't like it. They have been making salad at school and really, she used to eat salad occasionally so I told her she used to like it. She said she only liked the 'toucans'.


I almost forgot this one:

I can't know=I don't know

Olivia will not wear pants

It is so hard to get her to wear pants, she loves dresses. What can I say, she is a girlie girl. Here are some poses in her new dress I got on sale this weekend at a local store. If you want to see a picture bigger, just click on it.

Monday, February 20, 2006

More about my hand surgery

The names of the tendons I cut are FDS and FDP flexor tendons. One makes the tip of the finger move, the other makes it bend at the next joint above the knuckle. I also cut the ulnar digital median nerve. The tendons act like rubber bands and run down into the arm to allow the fingers to move, the tendons that work the fingers all work together. One flexor tendon runs along on top of the other one, so it's necessary I do lots of physical therapy to prevent the scar tissue from making them 'stick' together. The surgery to reattach the tendons and nerve took about 2 and a half hours. I was lucky the tendon did not retract into my arm, the surgeon only had to cut about a 1/2 an inch into my palm to retrieve the tendon.

The accident wasn't too painful, I think because I was in shock and had adrenaline rushing. The recovery from surgery was a bit more painful (I was knocked out for the surgery). Thank God for Vicodin! The Vicodin helped but I didn't like taking it because it made me nauseous.

I had to keep my arm elevated for a week after surgery, thus I couldn't use it to do anything. My hand and forearm (except for my thumb) were immobilzed for 2 weeks. I had to relearn how to do things one handed for a while. Have you ever tried to change a messy diaper one-handed? Or get dressed one handed? Or fold laundry? Or open a jar? It really made me appreciate my hands more!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Random entry: Purging

So about 2 weeks ago I decided to start cleaning out our deep freezer, regular freezer and pantry and try to eat through everything. We should be moving in about 2 or 4 months, so I wanted to start clearing this stuff out. We've been making pretty good progress. The deep freezer was full to the gills about 2 weeks ago. I swear, I think it's going to take months to eat through everything. And it doesn't help that my husband just stocked up on cream soup cans, some frozen Morningstar foods (for the girls) and boxes of flavored rice dishes. Apparently he forgot I'm trying to clear things out. Here are pictures of our deep freezer in the garage and our pantry in the kitchen. Really, I have made some progress!

What's for dinner...

I call this Chicken&Biscuits.
2 cups cooked chicken
1/2 cup or more of milk
1/2tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg frozen mixed veggies
Cook the above ingredients about 10 minutes on medium high heat and then pour over cooked biscuits.
For the cooked biscuits, I usually use the frozen Pillsbury kind. It's a pretty family friendly dinner (with the exception of my picky eater-Olivia). It's a really easy meal to make and tastes pretty good, kind of like chicken pot pie.

Wasian=Half White, Half Asian

That's what my kids are in case you haven't noticed. Yes, I did give birth to them, they just look more like my husband who is Japanese-American. After I had Olivia, I was sometimes asked where she was from or what country she was from. One woman didn't believe me when I politely said, "Oh, can't you see she has my chin!" She insistently asked where she came from! The nerve! Now that we live in California (at the moment, anyway), I have never been asked. At least Olivia and Claire look like sisters.

Here I am with both girls

This was taken back in November at Olivia's preschool. The had a Stone Soup Feast..based on the book of the same title. All the kids acted out the story of the soldiers coming to a village to ask for food. The villagers were selfish and hid their food. So the soldiers decided to make stone soup. They put stone in a pot and started cooking. One by one, the villagers decided to add something...celery here, onion, there, etc. So when it was finished they all shared a wonderful bowl of stone soup. It really is a neat story. Afterward, all the parents and children were served stone soup and pumpkin pie. Olivia enjoyed the pumpkin pie and muffins rather than the soup. Claire, on the other hand, ate everything!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Curious George

Friday evening, I took my oldest, Olivia, to see this movie. It was such a cute movie. It's terrific for young kids, there's nothing scary at all about it. George is just such a cute monkey, he actually reminded me of Claire a little bit or any other 16 month old for that matter. There is just such an innocence at this age. George kept getting into trouble, but he just wanted to have fun. Reminds me of finding Claire's 'drawing' on the floor...she just wanted to have fun, too.

Olivia posing and some 'Oliviaisms'

Here are a couple of pics of Olivia posing for the camera. Here we were having lunch with 'Grandmere' and Uncle J during the holidays.

Some 'Oliviaisms':

counteter = calendar
last year = any day but today, i.e., yesterday, last week
you guys = y'all (my mother would have a heart attack, how could my child not say 'y'all'? It's as Texan as chicken fried steak!)

My left hand

Here are some pictures of the progress I've made since my hand surgery. I can't quite make a fist yet and my middle finger is still a little bent. Before surgery, I couldn't bend my middle finger. Here is the splint the hand therapist made for me beginning 2 weeks after surgery when I had my stitches removed. I wore this splint for 4 weeks. It allowed me to do a little more than with the splint I had right after surgery.

Warning: Do not be an idiot with knives!

Can I tell you what an idiot I am? This is so stupid you won't even believe it! Back in December, I had an accident in the kitchen. On Sunday, December 18, I was preparing this absolutely delicious meal of fajitas with all the trimmings. I had planned this wonderful dinner since my brother-in-law and his wife and son were visiting from Japan and I also planned to take leftovers for a friend who had recently had a baby.

So the girls are having a snack at our kids' table in the kitchen and my husband it outside grilling the meat. While everyone is occupied, I decided to make my homemade guacamole. I cut the avocado in half...now this is the stupid part...I then hold the half with the pit IN MY LEFT HAND and tightly grasped a steak knife in my right hand. Then I proceeded to STAB the pit, but while my hand was in motion, the avocado slipped...gasp... The knife instead went into my hand at the base of my middle finger and was stopped by bone. I screamed like I never screamed before...not from pain, but from the realization of what I did. I started cursing like a sailor, stuck my hand under running water and yelled for my husband. My finger immediately went numb and I kind of was in shock. My level-headed husband wrapped my hand in a clean kitchen towel and had me hold my hand up in the air. Meanwhile, the girls are completely unfazed, thank God...they just continued eating their pretzels. I was going to drive myself to the ER, but we called a neighbor who came over till my husband's family could come (his brother-in-law and family who were visiting relatives elsewhere). So my husband drove me to the ER, he is my rock, let me tell you! I knew it was bad.

The following is excerpts from my complaint letter to the hospital:
"After we arrived at the hospital, and I was called back, I told the triage nurse the details of my accident. I told her I accidentally cut/stabbed my hand at the base of my middle finger of my left hand while trying to get the pit of an avocado out. I told her it was very deep, the knife hit my bone and my finger went numb. She had me bend my finger, I was able to touch my palm while bending my middle joint.

Then I was brought to a bed to wait for the doctor. Dr. S examined my injury and after my wound was cleaned, he injected a local anesthetic and put 2 stitches in to close the wound. A nurse put ointment over the wound and a band aid. I complained to the doctor that my finger was numb; he touched it and asked if I could feel that. I told him I could feel pressure, but it was numb as if it had fallen asleep, he said it would be fine. Dr. S told me to have the stitches taken out after 7-10 days and he even gave my husband the scissors and tweezers so we could take the stitches out ourselves. The discharge paperwork advised me to have my stitches taken out after 7-10 days.

That night and the next day, I notice I was not able to bend the tip of my middle finger and my finger was still numb. I was able to see my primary care physician, Dr. J, on December 20th. She got me an appointment with an orthopedist with M Orthopedists on Thursday, December 22nd. I saw Dr. W, who told me a tendon was cut, as well as a nerve. She then proceeded to get me an appointment the same day with a hand specialist, Dr. S, who ended up performing surgery on my hand on Friday, December 23rd. He repaired 2 flexor tendons and a nerve in my left hand. One tendon was partially cut the other tendon was completely severed, as well as, the nerve.

The ER doctor should have called the orthopedist on call to look at my injuries and a splint should have been placed on my hand/wrist to prevent the tendon from retracting too far down my hand. At the very least, he should have advised me to see my primary care physician the very next day which he did not. He was very nonchalant about the whole deal. I know that it was not a life threatening injury, but my expectation when going to SR Medical Center was to receive a more thorough and more knowledgeable exam.

If not for a chance visit with a friend’s husband, who had a similar injury in the past, and his advice to see a specialist to determine nerve and/or tendon damage, I may not have full use of my finger and/or hand at this time and still do not know if I ever will. I am undergoing weekly physical therapy after my surgery and may face another surgery to remove scar tissue. Again, if not for luck, it would probably be too late to have any chance of regaining full use of my finger/hand."

It's been 8 weeks since surgery, I've been going to physical therapy for the last 6 weeks. I have only been allowed to use my left hand/arm in the last 2 weeks, life has been hard taking care of 2 kids and my husband while being one-handed, but it's getting better.

Friday, February 17, 2006

As requested, here are a couple of bigger, happier pictures of Claire!

But I don't want bangs, Mommy!

Claire looks like she was not happy with her new haircut! I finally took the girls for haircuts, their hair was getting so long. I was supposed to take them on December 23rd but ended up having surgery that day (more about that another time). I decided to try bangs with Claire and I think they are cute. The stylist just did 'wispy' bangs so we could see how they work out. Actually, the reason Claire is upset is because we closed the gate to prevent her from getting in the kitchen while Daddy was cooking.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Olivia was so excited to have her friend, K, over after school. K is almost 5, Olivia is 3 1/2, but they seem to get along great. Olivia is always asking when I pick her up "where we going to?" "are my friends coming over?" "can I go to J's house?" so it was nice for her to have her 'older' friend over. Olivia was so excited to show her house, and her backyard. The played in the backyard and discovered the fort hidden in the corner with a stepladder. When it was time to come down, it was as if Olivia was frozen in fear. I had to help Olivia down the first time, but K watched out for her the next time she climbed down the ladder. I pulled out our picnic table for lunch in the family/play room. I had to smile because they were just having so much fun. I'm not sure I have heard Olivia laugh and giggle so much. Both girls were being so silly. I feel like I was catching a glimpse of future teenagers sharing secrets and having fun.

The beginning of my blog

So I decided to jump on the bandwagon and start a blog about my life as a mom to 2 girls and also about my terrific husband. I'm new to this so bear with me. I'm not sure exactly what I will be writing about, definitely about my princess, Olivia, and my little monkey, Claire. Maybe I'll write stories about my "eccentric" relatives. And of course, I'll write about our travels and our moves...we tend to move about every 2 years.

Claire, the artist...

You know the day is off to a rocky start when your 3 1/2 yr old comes to you and says her sister who is all of 15 months old is in trouble and is drawing on the floor. Not again! Yep, I found her 'drawing' on the pergo floor in our family room in our house (which we are renting, btw). Apparently it was not a washable marker, I had to use a scrubber to clean it up. So, while I was setting up my blog, unbeknownst to me, Claire (15 month old) proceeded to get out the glitter glue (thankfully, the washable kind) and attempted to put make-up on one of our baby dolls. Argghh, she is always getting into something. She had taken all the caps off,but was unable to squeeze much of the glue out.