Friday, March 31, 2006

Icky weather

The weather has been aweful here, we've had a record 25 days of rain in the month of March. We are getting stir crazy, I hope the rain ends soon!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Down on the farm

We went to my husband's aunt's farm near Sacramento on Sunday for lunch. Their main crop is walnuts, they used to do strawberries, too. My husband calls it the 'end of an era' because they stopped doing strawberries this year. It's really a shame because they had the best strawberries, red, sweet and so juicy the juice would drip down your chin.

Here are pictures of the girls at the farm (just inside the house):

Public Education

I've been thinking about this recently especially since we are moving to a new area. I'm disappointed with the education system in California, no offense to Californians, but I just don't think the public schools are all that great here. There are some terrific private schools, but they are outrageously priced. I just don't think the public schools get enough funding to provide a highly academic environment. This is just my observation from hearing other parents talk and from visiting high schools when I used to work in college admissions.

My feeling was the schools in Texas where we lived were much better. Of course, Texas schools aren't "all that" either, but I was looking forward to Olivia going to our neighborhood school in Texas that was ranked high for that state.

We are moving to a town of 250,000 and I'm worried what kind of education my girls will get there. I just want them to be challenged and given opportunities to excel in the areas they are good at and improve in the areas where they might be weaker. I also think about how we move so often that they might miss out or fall behind in subjects. This actually happened to me, I totally missed learning about fractions and never learned fractions really well.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Thinking about my friend's twins

My friend, E, gave birth to and lost her twin boys at 22.5 weeks on March 24, 2005, so I was thinking of her all last week. We sent her flowers on March 24th. The good news is that she is pregnant with one boy and she is almost 34 weeks, but she has been in the hospital on bed rest since the first week of December. I just wanted to share with you this poem I sent her about her babies last year.

Brian and David

For 2 little boys,
Who were too little to stay.
For 2 little boys
With whom we will never play
For 2 little boys,
Who would have played ball.
For 2 little boys
Who will be missed by all
For 2 little boys,
Who tug at our heartstrings.
For 2 little boys
For now the angel sings
For 2 little boys,
We will never forget.
For 2 little boys
That we never met
And for 2 loving parents,
Who will hold them forever in their hearts.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Fun with cupcakes

Olivia was very proud of the cupcakes she decorated, she had so much fun making a mess!

Look at this one,it really cracks me up. You can really see bits of cupcake shoved up Claire's nose!

Congratulations to my hubby!

Okay, so those of you don't know what all the fuss is about, my husband applied for a job in February and just found out this week he got it. It is a promotion and I'm so proud of him. This is the reason we will be moving. Moving is just a part of our life. Because of his career, we expect to move about every 2-3 years. Last night, I made reservations at a local Italian restaurant so we could celebrate. The girls got all dressed up. Olivia got to make a pizza for her and Claire and then they got to share chocolate ice cream!

Our waiter brought us a free dessert because there was a mixup with whoever our waiter was supposed to be so we had to wait a little bit before we ordered. Anyway, it was so interesting, it was 2 scoops of caramel ice cream made with balsamic vinegar. There were also sliced strawberries sauteed in balsamic vinegar on top. I know it sounds weird, but it was really delicious.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

We are moving!

Looks like we will be moving about mid-May for our new home. Of course, something could always come up.

See if you can figure out where we are moving:

~One of the largest Basque communities outside of the Pyrenees is found in this county in the U.S.

~Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, members of Korn, live or once lived here.

~It is one of the largest oil producing counties in the U.S.

Tahoe this weekend

NOT :( . We were planning to go to the mountains at Tahoe this weekend so the girls could play in the snow. This would have been our first trip with the girls to Tahoe. Unfortunately, Claire has had a cold this week and my hubby is feeling a little sick, too. Darn, I even borrowed all the bibs, etc. for the girls. It would have been so much fun. Maybe some other time. It's just hard because we have plans about every weekend till mid-May

Lunch at a Olivia's friend's house

Tuesday, Olivia's friend's (A) mother invited us over for lunch. She was so nice to invite us over, she is from India and she made a delicious, nutritious lunch. I felt like an inadequate mom since I usually just make sandwiches for my kids. She actually made a hot lunch with rice and vegetables...that my girls didn't eat :(. I ate it, of course, and loved it. I hope I can try and make it sometime, it was delicious. I will have to buy coriander powder and tumeric, I already have cumin seeds. She also showed me how to make homemade yogurt. I'm going to attempt to make yogurt today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

To my hubby...

Good luck today! ;)
I love you!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Woo hoo!

No more surgeries on my hand! I just saw my hand surgeon today and he said it looks really good and that I won't need any more surgeries. He was surprised at how well my nerve regenerated, too. I have gotten alot of feeling back in my finger, he said it will continue to improve. He wants to see me in 2 months to see the progress. Yippee! I am SO happy!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

We are taking in a teenager

And I'm a little nervous. Ok, well, actually, we are going to host a French student next month for about 2 weeks. I'm excited, but kind of nervous as we don't have much experience with teenagers. I actually lived with a family in Versailles during college for one whole year. Now that I have a family, I really admire and respect my "french mom" for all the work she did making sure the house was clean, the meals were always terrific and the family was very warm and welcoming. And they hosted American students for over 10 years!

I was just thinking how am I going to cook meals every day while keeping my kids happy? And how am I going to keep my kids from turning the house upside down every day?!

The students are coming as a group and I think we will be hosting a 15 year old girl, my next door neighbor will be hosting her friend. My neighbor has 2 teenagers so that will be nice, my neighbor will probably also help out with transporting our student.

The students will be spending the weekends with the families and will be sightseeing as a group during the weekday and then will be home for dinners. I think the girls will love it, I'm not sure how my husband will be...I had to talk him into it! I think it will be fun, I really want to share our culture and also show how beautiful California is.

Our day at a festival

Today it was gorgeous weather again so we went to a St. Patrick's day (I guess weekend) festival. Just your typical festival with carnival rides for kids, corn dogs, sno cones, arts and crafts. I'm sure they must have had green beer too. We ate lunch, walked around, Claire fell asleep, Olivia bounced around in the bouncy houses and we watched some Irish dancing. I can't believe we stayed all day, we are exhausted!
Claire, exhausted:

Olivia sliding:

Irish dancing:

The girls watching the Irish dancers:

Olivia showing off her 'ladybug':

Dressed for St. Patty's Day

I finally was able to upload some pictures from Friday:

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Oh what a beautiful morning...

It was so beautiful this morning, I actually got off my butt and went for a walk. This is a major accomplishment! I love when the weather gets so nice here in the East Bay. And I even got to go without the girls, so it was very peaceful.

Our St. Patrick's Day

This year we actually dressed in green. I was thinking it would be nice to start a tradition, after all, I have a little bit of Irish in me. This is why the Leprechaun came to visit.

This morning, we went to Oakland to drop off some donations from my moms' group to a charity. Afterwards, we planned to go eat breakfast in Berkeley at La Note, Walt's recommendation. First of all, when we got there, it was hard to find parking. Then when I spoke with the hostess, she looked at me like I was from Mars...seeing me, a preppy dressed suburbanite, soccer mom, in Berkeley which is known for hippy, artist, and student types. It turned out it was too busy and it really wasn't kid friendly anyway so we ended up going to our local diner. Maybe we will try to go when my in-laws are in town next time.

After lunch, I went to my very last hand therapy appointment...yippee!! Although I still need improvement since my grip isn't 100%, they released me. My hand therapist says it could be up to a year to see full improvement. She gave me a 'home program' of exercises to keep up.

Then, later in the evening, I went with a friend to see 'Failure to Launch', it was a pretty funny movie. Then we went for appetizers and visited for a while. I have to say, it was so nice to get out with a new friend. Later, when I got home around 8, my husband wanted to watch 'Two for the Money'...I have to say, I have Matthew McConnaughy's just too much!

I was going to post pictures of the girls in their green, but this dang Blogger won't let me upload anything...argghhh!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Something is amiss...

Hmmm, look what happened to our sugar cookies! I guess it was the Leprechaun that came to visit our house last night. He caused all kinds of mishief. Olivia first found these cookies and came running to me...'the cookies are green!'. Then she found the chairs turned around, some toys upside down, pictures turned around, the wall calendar upside down and the toilet water was green! I told her next year maybe we could make a trap to catch him.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The hot spot

So when we moved into the house almost 2 years ago, I kept burning and overcooking food. It was really weird because I've never burned things before. A couple of months later, I was telling my neighbor about it and she said I should get an oven thermometer since the oven is so old. It's original to this 1979 house. So I got an oven thermometer and lo and behold, the temperature could be off anywhere from 50 to 150 degrees! And I have to try and turn pans around so things get cooked more evenly. The bottom of the oven is more hot, so when I put pans on the bottom rack, things...such as sugar cookies...tend to overcook. So now, I've learned to adjust the temperature and constantly keep an eye on the thermometer. Sometimes, I've checked on food that is supposed to be at 350 and the thermometer says 500! I hate this oven! I know the owner won't do anything about it till it just dies.

Another rainy day activity...

It was an icky day yesterday so I thought we could make some sugar cookies. Olivia likes to roll the dough out and cut the cookies out. She has actually gotten really good at cutting the cookies out. We frosted some too, but they got eaten and some were really over done (black) so there is not as many.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Which city?

I got this from Rambling Muse. Wow, I've never been to Honolulu. Sounds nice though! Maybe we'll move to one of these places? You'll need to stay tuned to find out!


American Cities That Best Fit You:

65% Honolulu

55% Boston

55% Los Angeles

55% Miami

50% New York City

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Oh..the horror of it all!

Olivia broke down in real tears this morning because her cereal bar broke in half and I couldn't fix it. Sheesh, sometimes she is real particular. First I took the bar completely out of the wrapper and she started to have a fit because she wanted it still in the wrapper. So I put it back in the wrapper. Then it broke and she started bawling, tears pouring down her face, her eyes turning red. She eventually calmed down when I told her she could eat it the way it is or I could eat it.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


That's what my husband says when Claire reaches in the bottom of her diaper and sticks her hand in her mouth. Grossss! Yep, my child has eaten her poop. I don't know, I guess she has developed this fascination with her bottom and is often sticking her hand down the back of her diaper. I guess I will have to try and dress her in onsies now.


I put pigtails on Claire, so, of course, Olivia wanted the same:

Friday, March 10, 2006

Still in limbo

So, now, there are 3 places we could end up. You know my husband applied for a job in February, it becomes vacant April 1st. His boss has still not made a decision, but maybe there are some other things in the works. Anyway, it's just soooo stressful not knowing where we will be in the next couple of months. I want to get Olivia signed up for preschool, and she needs to have some sort of classes during the summer. I realized today (since she doesn't have school on Fridays) that I can't possibly deal with having her home all day every day. What am I to do with a child that has boundless energy and a toddler who needs her naps?!

I would also like to host a French student at the end of April which my neighbor does for 2 weeks, but we just don't know if we will be here. We would like to plan our trip to Disney World for October when we are going with another family. There are just so many things we want to do, but's it's all on hold since we are in limbo.

Pictures from our day at the park

Here's my little 'jail bird' Claire:

These pictures kind of remind me of that scene in The Karate Kid, you know the scene with the 'Crane Kick'.
Here it looks like she is getting ready to do the crane kick.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

One of my favorite pictures of the girls

Taken almost a year ago. They both look so content.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Role reversal

When I was growing up, I looked up to my brother who is 6 years older than me. I followed him around with his friends and pestered him. He helped me to read. I remember he had such imagination when he played with me. We played in a fort, in outer space and in a time machine. He is so smart, too, he has alot of knowledge. When he gave me advice, I took it.

However, now, I see myself driving in this thing called life and I see him sitting on the roadside...just sitting...not doing anything. He has not done anything with his life. He just can't seem to find himself. He has been going to school off and on for about 24 years with absolutely nothing to show for it. He is working a lowly job and is just existing in life.

The last advice I took from him was when I was a freshman in college and he told me to ignore what our mother wanted me to do and to do what I wanted to do. That was the best advice ever! I'm proud of the fact that I finished college in 4 years. I think I am successful in life, in having a support system, in having jobs that I enjoyed, and in having a wonderful family. Although, I never made much money in my career, I can say I enjoyed most of the jobs I had.

I've tried to give my brother advice, to motivate him to live up to his potential, but he is still sitting by the road...just sitting...

What I want for my children

To enjoy life and make the most of it.

To be what they want to be.

To explore beyond their own backyard.

To know that what's inside a person is more important than the outside.

To be close to one another.

To make good decisions.

To be giving.

To stand up for themselves.

To fall, brush themselves off and try again.

To go beyond their comfort zones.

To make the most of their opportunities.

To learn to manage money responsibly.

To share their lives with someone they love.

(notice, none of these things are material things)


That's how much I got from our garage sale yesterday, I think that's pretty good considering how slow it was and I didn't even sale half the stuff I had out. Although I expected people earlier, they didn't start coming till 8am. I started packing up about 12pm, but had about 3 sales before I shut down at 1pm. I only advertised it on Craigslist since that's free and I put some signs out, but they were hard to see. Someone told me I was the only sale listed in our town and people don't want to go out of their way for 1 sale, so I guess that's why it was slow.

Most of the people were fairly reasonable when bargaining with me. I'm so NOT good at haggling with people. I think I got ripped off by one guy, but oh well. He insisted he only had so much money...but then he went to my neighbor's and bought more stuff.

And speaking of my neighbor...we had 2 totally different ideas about this garage sale that I took the time to make signs for and advertise. I saw $$ in my eyes, on the other hand, my neighbor just wanted to get rid of stuff since they will be moving in a few months. So I see people walking away with armfuls of clothing and I wonder why I'm not able to sell clothes. He was GIVING them away, that's why!! He said he wasn't competition since I was selling baby clothes. Umm, hello, I'm trying to sell men and women clothing, too. I didn't say anything since they are really great neighbors, always watching out for our houses.

I made most of the money from baby clothes, toys and stuffed animals. I had a ton of books, mostly novels, which I thought people would buy, but I think I only sold about 5 books, and none were novels! Go figure, I guess you just never can tell what people want to buy.

Before pictures:

After pictures, look at all the stuff I still have left:

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Our little monkey!

Need I say more?! (please excuse all the messy clutter in the background, really, I did clean up after I saw how cluttered it was!)

What's for dinner in a Japanese-American home

Stir fry veggies, white rice, fried chicken teriyaki, sushi and nori (no-tee). I can't take credit for the sushi!

Can you believe picky Olivia eats nori? It's seaweed!