Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Better Than My Plan! My Baby is Now 5!

What a month this has been! 
Our household has celebrated three birthdays! (not to mention the unexpected arrival of a baby which is why this blog post is so late in being posted!!)

On Sunday we celebrated my miracle baby turning 5 years old!  Not only was he a child that doctors predicted wouldn't be conceived without surgical intervention, but he was one that just by showing up on his particular birthday, October 29th, created a blessing for the family.

I was three weeks early with Jackson so I didn't expect to go over my due date with Tyce, but I did.  This little guy had me doing everything to coax his arrival!  I went for walks every day, lugged a baby Lola on my back pulling carts through the sand, ate spicy food, had pedicures, and did everything people told me to help get things moving.  After three weeks of false labor every night from 3am to 7am I was ready to have this baby!

God always has a bigger plan that I seem to miss until after the fact!  I can now look back and know what that plan was, but sometimes I get so stuck in my own path that I miss the bigger picture! 

You see, the plan was for Tyce to be born on a certain day, October 29.  My Mom even predicted this weeks and maybe months before his birth!  He had to be born on this day because this is the day that my Mom's brother, Hendrik, was also born.  Hendrik was my mom's only sibling and older brother.  Sadly, Henk left this world when he was only 13 years old.  What a devastating loss that had to have been for the entire family!  My mom was here with only her parents as their extended family was still living in the Netherlands, which I am sure made it that much more difficult.

I'm confident that my blue eyed, blond haired, Dutch boy, Tyce Hendrik, was meant to be born on my uncle's birthday.  I can't tell you how it warmed my heart to have my Oma and Opa (grandma and grandpa in Dutch) be the first ones at the hospital to visit their new great-grandson.   To watch the pride they had as they snuggled the new baby close.  I know that all my children hold/held special places in their hearts, but I know that this little guy with his quick smile and dynamic personality is especially dear to them.

I'm so glad that God doesn't always follow my plans as His seem to be much much better!

Tyce and Opa!

Happy Birthday to my baby who is no longer a baby but a happy, healthy, and amazing 5 year old!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Baby Mama

Yesterday I met JJ's mom.

When we adopted Lola I honestly was a bit relieved that I wouldn't have to figure how to incorporate her birth mom in our lives.  We do talk about her birth mom and look at pictures often.  Lola likes to hear stories about when we went to Guatemala to bring her home and in time if she would like to find her birth mom we will do everything possible to make that happen.  However, right now it is nice not to have to figure out how we would include her birth mom in our day to day lives. (even though I'm sure we would be fine finding a balance)

When the teenage boys were here we didn't have to contend with moms either.  They were only a phone call away, but were not a big part in the lives of the boys.

With being a foster parent of a child born here in the states things are much different when it comes to the birth mom.  When we had our training to be licensed to be a foster parent I didn't pay too much attention to the information about visitation with birth parents.  I should have known myself well enough to know that I shouldn't have dismissed information I thought didn't relate to me!  It seems that if something crazy or unexpected could happen I would be a likely target for it!

At any rate, we now will be incorporating JJ's birth mom into our lives.  Really, I will be incorporating his birth mom into his life and my life!  We will either be going to see her three times a week for an hour at a time or two times a week for an hour and half at a time while the rest of the family is in school or at work.  I can not say that I am thrilled to be driving 30 minutes each way to hang out in a waiting room while JJ plays, but on the positive side it will be good for him and I will get a tiny break and a chance to read my book that has been sitting on the table for the last two weeks!

Yesterday, I wasn't sure how to respond or interact.  When JJ runs down the hall who should go chase after him?  It was just a little hard to gage what every one's roles were in that situation.  What makes it even more awkward is that we speak different languages!  I'm not sure yet if that is a good thing or a bad thing!  I'm sure with time we will get used to the situation (that fact alone is really very sad) and find our places.

Anyone have any good tips about this?  Do I share things we do with him?  Give her pictures?  Or just stay quiet and let her ask me things?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Partners in Crime! A Toddler and a Dog..

As I was cleaning up the kitchen after the kids boarded the bus for the day, I looked around and noticed that both the baby and the dog were unaccounted for.

I found the two of them under the dining room table.  Tucker was tearing up a piece of paper with his paws and teeth and JJ was tearing the paper with his little hands.  JJ was giggling like crazy.  They looked like partners in crime.  I swear Tucker appeared to have a sneaky look on his face!  Throughout the morning the two of them have gotten into everything as a pair.  I finally put the dog in his cage and broke up their crime ring!

That got me to thinking that although toddlers and teenagers are similar so are toddlers and dogs!  No wonder they get along so well!

  • They put everything in their mouths!
  • They will eat food off the floor.
  • They like to rip up and destroy things.
  • The things they aren't supposed to have are the things they go after time and time again.
  • They don't clean up their own messes.
  • Sometimes they need to be put in a secure area. (crate/cage for dog and a crib/pack and play for toddler)
  • You have to clean up their poop.
  • They like to get dirty and don't want to sit still to get cleaned up.
  • They communicate mostly with whines and howls.
  • They are easily distracted and wander off if they see something they like.
  • In crowded areas a leash is useful to keep track of them.  (Yes, I am one of those parents!  If necessary I will not hesitate to strap on a harness with a leash on my toddler!  You try flying alone with a toddler!  Fold a stroller, take off your shoes, sweatshirt, belt, and put the diaper bag and purse and toys on the belt to go through security while keeping track of a little one!!  It is impossible!)
  • I redirect them and say no more times during the day then I say anything else!
  • If they are out of sight and quiet, there is trouble!

The good news about toddlers is that they grow up and will begin to understand they they shouldn't eat a plastic bag full of candy, wrappers, bag and all!  The dog will continue to roll in gross things and eat disgusting non-food items and you will continue to have to clean up their poop!!  Lovely!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Toddler vs. Teenager

Now that most of our friends and family know we have a toddler in the house, a recurring comment has been about how different it is then having a teenager and probably a lot easier.

At first I was like, Hello?  Have you seen me chase this kid all over the house all day long every day?  Do you realize I have no time alone at all?   But then I was like, Wait?  He doesn't talk back or roll his eyes at me!  Or challenge my authority!  Which is easier???  That's a tough one!  I haven't had too much time to think about it so I thought I would take a minute to ponder...

  • Bedtimes can be a struggle for both.  One doesn't obey the rules, but is quiet about it and proceeds to do things that are also against the rules of the house like talk on the phone at 3am.  The other fusses or cries loudly, but is confined and falls asleep without getting into more trouble. 
  • They both can be picky eaters, but I have only seen one throw food on the floor when it isn't what they want. 
  • They both eat non-stop! 
  • And they both whine about eating until they are given some food!  Although one of them can get the food on their own. 
  • Neither one of them are very good at cleaning up after they eat however.
  • One of them can be given freedom in public to walk around on their own without too much worry. (but refer to the time I lost a 16 year old as that is not always true)  The other has to have an adult as a shadow everywhere they go!
  • They both leave a messy trail around the house.
  • Half of what they say is completely incoherent. (more so if they don't speak the language you speak)
  • You wonder ALL THE TIME just what is going on inside their heads.
  • They both go through more changes of clothing per day than you thought was possible.  My laundry has increased big time!!
  • They  both want to do everything themselves, except for when they want you to do it.
  • They both have tantrums that are at times so irrational you will laugh.
  • They both push for independence and will push boundaries.  JJ goes to the bottom of the stairs a million times a day and puts a hand on the bottom step with a grin until I say no!  Remember the instance with the earrings with the teenagers??
  • When caught doing something they should not, they will lie right to your face even though they know you saw them do it.
  • Things that are good for toddlers or teenagers, things that will help them grow or learn or are otherwise beneficial are useless unless they are fun or off limits.
  • Teenagers are usually a lot smarter than toddlers. In fact, they are often smarter than their parents - or so they will tell you!
  • They both take a lot of time.  Teenagers need transportation everywhere and help with homework and toddlers need an eye on them at every second! (especially when they of the busy variety and like to explore!)
I think the biggest difference in having a toddler as opposed to a teenager is that a toddler is much smaller.  If JJ misbehaves or throws a fit, I can simply pick him up and remove him from the situation.  I couldn't do that with a teenager nor would I dare to even try!!  I can physically make JJ go with us to family things or outings and if he protests I can give him a snack and all is good!

In the end, I would say that raising children in general is difficult!  The challenges are always there, but just presented in a different package with a little bit of a different twist!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Now Back to Having a Room without a Baby in it!!

The sweet baby snuggles, the cute little babbles, the shy smiles, the running into your arms just because, the squeals of glee as water splashes by flapping hands, and the smell of baby shampoo are all things I have missed now that the kids are older and out of that stage.  It is enduring and sweet and I love giving this little guy, who I will call JJ (which is not his name), as much as I can give, BUT it is a ton of work!

Oh my, JJ is on the go.  He is way busier then my other three were, or at least from what I remember!  I know that Tyce used to dig out dirt from the plants, but he also would sit on my lap for at least 10 seconds.  This little one will only sit still if he is eating or very tired!  And to think that yesterday I got a call asking us to take another boy only a month younger then JJ!  (Thankfully, I have a fantastic friend that is also a foster parent that I called and told about the situation who is taking him!)  This is very very rare as you rarely see children this young as refugees in a foster care situation!

Today, a case worker came over.  She brought his clothes, crib,  a high chair, and notes about his routine!  I never imagined that I would spend my Friday night putting together baby items, but I am happy to have my room without a baby in it! (he had been staying in the pack n play in our room)  If you had told me a week ago that I would have a baby in the house I would have told you you were crazy!!

Wow!  Am I ready to have a baby in the house again?  My freedom is now a thing of the past!  Sometimes I stop and think about this commitment and begin to almost panic until I think of that sweet sweet boy!  I feel selfish when I yearn for what my life was like only a week ago!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How Could I Have Forgotten All Things Toddler???

I had forgotten how time consuming toddlers can be!  This little guy is all over the place!  I take it as a good sign that he is adjusting well that he has opened every drawer and cupboard, climbed in the dog cage, tried to climb the stairs 100 times, played in the dog's water, found all of the curtains to be fun hiding places, checked out all of the books and magazines he can reach, and sat in the toy bin instead of playing with the toys!  All typical toddler behavior...

I wanted to bring in the hoses today and put them away for the winter, but then I realized that a simple small task like that would either require me to bundle him up and bring him with me in a stroller so he would be confined to one spot (which I have already discovered he does NOT like), wait for nap time (which is also a no no at this time), or wait until another adult was around to watch him!  With my kids being older I have taken for granted already all of the actual freedom I had!

It's ok though!  The hoses can wait!  I am happy to hear the silly babble behind me in the car and watch the little guy put toys in and out of the cupboards!  He has an easy smile that takes over his entire face and a laid back attitude as long as he can be on the go!

What can't wait is baby proofing this house!  I had totally forgotten how much those little hands can get into and how even if those legs are little, they are fast!

We still don't know how long he will be here, but given the fact that they are moving his crib and high chair here I expect I should at least plan on getting him a Halloween costume!  Now the next big question is where to put that crib since all three of the kids are arguing over having him in their room!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One Call...

I hate it when an unknown number calls and they don't leave a message.  I am much too curious to be able to handle not knowing who is trying to get in touch with me especially when they call multiple times in a short time frame late at night!

While I was at a Girl Scout Training - yes, I have become a Girl Scout for the first time at the age of 37 - but more about that later...  While I was at training, I had my phone on vibrate so I knew that calls were coming in over and over again from an unfamiliar number.  They didn't leave a message and it was driving me crazy because I couldn't answer the call during the meeting!

When the meeting was finally finished the number popped up again, but this time I was able to answer the call.  It's amazing how things can change that quickly for a person.  You can answer a phone call and things can get all topsy-turvy!  Thankfully, the call was not a distressing one about family or friends.  It was a call to ask if we would take a baby immediately!

Of course I had to call Ry and ask what he thought, but how could we say no?  At 9:00 at night a little innocent child wasn't safe and needed a safe place to stay!  My night took an unexpected turn and by 11pm I was pulling into the drive-way with a 19 month old in the back seat!

Many times foster parents get these types of calls.  Being in the Refugee Foster Care program we have always had time to prepare for an arrival of a child, but most times children are removed from a home without warning so that they can be safe.  It is truly heart wrenching to think of how many times this happens in one given day just in our county! 

So, our little house guest slept better then I did last night!  I have no information about how long he will stay or what brought him here!  We just have to trust that we will get some answers soon and if we don't, at least we know that he is safe and happy and he has brought a new infatuation with baby toys for the rest of the kids into the house!!

Cakes and Pies! Cakes and Pies!!

I have a huge sweet tooth!  I have actually declared dessert before dinner only because I wanted something sweet!   When we go to conferences there are times I will visit the dessert table before the others to be sure I am not too full to partake in the treats!  I also am guilty of hiding sweets in the house from everyone so I can indulge once in awhile.  (because all of that sugar is definitely not good for the children!)

So I know my sweets!

Lola just had her 6th birthday and each year I let the kids pick out what kind of birthday cake they would like to have.  It used to be that my brother in law would make all of the cakes for the kids and he even made my wedding cake.  I have to be completely honest and say that I almost cried when he told me he didn't have time to make cakes any more.  Nothing compares to his cakes!  Some of those store bought cakes have frosting that is hard and just much too sweet.  If you try to eat all of the frosting on your piece you begin to bounce off the walls and your gut starts to rot!  Not Jim's!  I sometimes suspected that relatives came to the birthday parties just for his cake!  The cake was moist and made your mouth water.  The frosting was fluffy, melted in your mouth, and had just the right amount of sweetness that you could indulge in eating all of it!  My mouth is watering right now thinking of it!  Oh how I miss that cake!!

Being that Jim no longer makes cakes I have to find alternatives.  For Tyce we had dirt cake on his last birthday and Jackson had an ice cream cake.  I couldn't quite bring myself to start buying the typical store bought stuff and there is no way I could follow Jim's cakes by making my own!

This year, Lola wanted a cake with Tucker, our dog, on it.  I went to Meijer Bakery to see what they could do.  Let's just say I wasn't impressed with all of the hoops I would have to jump through and the people behind the counter who were making the cakes.

I did a search online and found Simply Scrumptious Cakes and Bakes which happens to be close to us.  I checked out her site and decided to take a chance and have her make us a cake for Lola.

I put in my order about 3 days before I wanted the cake.  We arranged a time to pick it up and Lola loved it!  Jennifer used fondant to decorate Lola's Tucker cake.  Fondant is the stuff you see on shows like Cake Boss where they make elaborate cakes!  You can form fondant into shapes and color it and eat it too!  Fondant isn't as tasty as frosting, but it wasn't bad.  It had a nice marshmallow taste to it.  Anyways, the cake was adorable!  There was a face on it formed out of fondant that looked like Tucker.

The real test was how would it taste!  She had made it a double layer cake.  The cake itself was chocolate with white frosting under the fondant.  It even had frosting in the middle.  It was moist and very tasty!  Everyone enjoyed it completely!  In fact, we only had about 2 pieces left when all the guests headed home!

I highly recommend Simply Scrumptious Cakes and Bakes!  Jennifer did an excellent job!  I still miss Jim's cakes, but Jennifer's are fantastic!  We will definitely be ordering from her again!

You can take a look at her facebook page here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Taking up Golf....

This past summer I thought I would join "high society" and take up golf.

I bought clubs on craigslist, got hand-me-down outfits from my mom, and signed up for lessons at the club down the street!  I was ready to go!!

I would just like to say that I think golf is one of the most frustrating sports of all time!  I had times where I had more patches of mud on my legs from hitting the ground then balls I had actually hit! (and it was a dry dry summer!)  No wonder one of the most important aspects of the sport (or so I have been told by more then one person) is drinking alcohol!  How would it be fun otherwise!

It wasn't all frustration however, I did have some fun golfing with girl friends and my mom.  I prefer to play where we take the best ball or where I get to take "do-overs"!  Those are proper ways to play right?

I think my biggest problem was the lessons.  I know absolutely NOTHING about golf!  I knew what a tee was, a club, and that all the ladies wore cute outfits.  That was the extent of it.  If you are clueless about something don't take group lessons!  The terminology was way over my head and I didn't want to be the stupid one there.  When things like birdie and eagle were mentioned I looked around, snickered, and wondered why a grown man would say "birdie"!  They also had two different instructors that showed up on different nights.  One pro would tell me to hold the club and swing one way and the next week the other pro would tell me to do it a different way!  If I had any knowledge of golf and had played a little bit, I may have been able to take their suggestions and use them to my advantage, but as it was I would have to start all over again each week.  I had no base-line so what did I know? 

I used the heat as an excuse because my frustrations got the best of me during lessons.  I ended up at the pool with the kids instead.  I've tossed around the idea of taking lessons again, this time privately with one instructor, but we'll see.  For right now I like the golf game we play at my parent's house.  We hit the golf ball into an inter tube in the lake!  I don't need to know which club to use at which distance, or wear a cute outfit, and I don't get mud all over my legs.  If it is hot I can just jump in the lake and if I get tired of trying to hit the little ball I can just do as my kids do and throw it in!
My Mom giving the kids instructions on golf



Monday, October 15, 2012

The State of Dogs

I guess I am on a roll about dogs here lately!  Being a dog owner myself, one of the things I am appreciated more and more in California is how dog friendly of a state they are!

I do not agree with this, however....
Restaurants have open deck areas where dogs are allowed, many hotels allow dogs, and there are a ton of beaches that allow them as well.  I know that not everyone likes dogs and some people don’t train them all that well, but don’t you think that if I could bring my dog everywhere with me I would be more apt to train him and have more opportunities to do so?

It’s just a thought.  I like my little guy and would love to have him hang out with me all day and I know that if he did he would be a better dog for it and I may be a calmer person as well! J

Friday, October 12, 2012

Like Part of the Familly

A pet is part of your family.  Well, maybe not every pet feels as a part of your family as a dog or a cat would.  I doubt I would feel the same about a fish as I would about my dog.  At any rate, when you bring a pet into your home to love you often are faced with decisions you never thought you would face.  If the pet were a human there would be no question to what extent you stretch yourself, but being that they are an animal there is always a grey area....

Back in December we adopted a little rescued Boston Terrier.  He was a cute little thing who has now grown to be a cute 20lb cute thing.  We (or rather I am) are still working on teaching him manners, but he really is a good dog.  Of course we all love him! (even Ryan who pledged he wouldn't like him at all is often caught playing with him or snuggling with him on the couch)

After we did the responsible thing and had him neutered he had to have a cone on his head.  He did not approve and it was the funniest sight when he tried to run and that thing swayed back and forth on his head until he ran into something with it!  Anyways, I think that stupid cone was the culprit of our months of vet visits and decisions of how far we would go.

Tucker ended up having what is called a salivary mucocele.  It is basically a blocked saliva duct.  Since one or more ducts are blocked the saliva gathers in a different area.  The result was that our little puppy looked like he had a goiter under his chin!  He didn't seem to mind until it became so large that it looked painful and impeded his sleep positions, bone chewing, and eating!

I brought him to the vet on many occasions to have it drained.  They simply put in a needle and sucked the liquid out.  Unfortunately, within six hours it would fill back up again!  We discussed surgery, but it was really really expensive and the outcome wasn't guaranteed.

The final straw came when one morning Tucker wouldn't get out of his cage.  He wouldn't eat, take treats, and just stood and shook.  I took him into the vet and found that he had an infection where we had been draining the saliva.  The vet had to put in a tube to drain it out.  It was miserable for him and for us to see him in such a state!

It was time for me to start researching the surgery and possible vets to perform it.  I was referred to one office who didn't want to give me any information over the phone.  They wanted me to pay $150 to come and sit in their office so they could tell me how much surgery would cost!  No Thank You!  The girl on the phone ended up grudgingly giving me a range of $4,000 to $6,000!!  (I later called back and told them they lost my business because of their less then helpful attitude on the phone)  You have got to be kidding me!  I called MSU as well.  They were much more helpful and forthcoming and gave me a price range of $2,000 to $2,500.

These prices for a surgery that wasn't guaranteed to fix the problem were frustrating.  We spent a lot of time talking about what to do and how much would we do for a dog.  In the end, there really was no question at all that we would do what we could to help our little guy!

After surgery - it was a drainy gross mess!
We were very fortunate in that I was able to get a referral from the rescue group where Tucker came from.  They referred me to a vet that would do the surgery at a discount!  The only catch was that they were a two hour drive away one way!  The price and kindness of the staff and doctor, however, made it worth the travel!

I traveled there and back a total of three times.  It was worth it!  The surgery was in August, the doctor took out 4 of his 6 salivary glands and his chin has yet to go back to having the look of a goiter!  He does have a soft bump that could be fluid filled, but for right now it isn't growing and we are going to leave well enough alone.

I'm sure non-pet owners may roll their eyes at all of the time I spent on the phone, Internet, and road for the sake of a dog and the money spent.  It was all worth it though.  Think of it this way;  If I locked both my husband and Tucker in the trunk of a car, when I open it back up again three hours later to let them out, I can guarantee you that only one of them is going to be ecstatic to see me!
How could you say no to this face!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Crazy California

I was born and raised in  Michigan.  I know that being from Michigan people around the country already have an idea in their heads of who I may be or what I may be into.  I'm sure they assume that I point on my hand to show where I am from, that I LOVE the cold and ice fish, ski, and play hockey, (because it is always cold and snowy in Michigan - in case you don't know, that is not true...), that I talk and dress like a "Yooper", that I decorate my yard with deer statues, carry a rifle to hunt all the time, and that perhaps in the winter we sit around all day in bars and drink to stave off the blizzard blues.  (these are assumptions I found online by the way)

I am, of course, guilty of assuming things about people who live in states outside my own as well.  We recently traveled to California and I have to admit that in some ways it lived up to what I had pictured in my head.  One stereotype I had in my head is that an average Californian's life consists of tofu, marijuana and Botox.  They are into fitness, all see therapists, hug trees and save whales in between adult film acting jobs and running into celebrities!  I also always think of California as a place that people run away to.  It is somewhere where they can be an individual as well as hide in the mass of others being individuals.  It is a place to find oneself.  Based on some of the things I heard, observed, and experienced while in California, I wasn't too far off.  Check out the signs I saw in the Ritz Carlton posted on the walls!  They made me laugh and think "only in California" would I see this!

Well, that makes me feel super confident about eating their food!

No that isn't your eyes - it is out of focus - I thought it was fitting given the message...

Just for fun I thought I would share how people from Michigan see the US and how people from California see it!  What do you think?  Accurate?  Do you have some ingrained notions about how people behave in other states?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why didn't any of you Mom's tell me!?!!

I have been duped!  All of this time I had been believing one thing and today it finally dawned on me that my belief was all wrong!

Being that I stay at home with the kids,  I like to venture out to the stores mostly in the mornings.  I like to get all of my chores done and over with so I have some time to myself to relax just before all the chaos begins in the later afternoon. 

On each of my little shopping excursions I have seen at least three women in their workout clothes.  I always feel a bit guilty when I see them with their hat, yoga, pants and t-shirt appearing to be on their way to workout or completed with their daily workout routine.  Here I am all dressed and ready to go with no work-out under my belt and no plan for it anytime in the future!  Not good.  Not good.  I mentally scold myself, envy their discipline, and think about working out for a few seconds before I am distracted by something else!

Today I have been set free!!  I no longer have to feel the guilt or feel like I am the only woman out there not working out!  No, it isn't because I went and worked out because that would have done it.  No, I have discovered their secret!  They aren't really working out or planning on it at all!  They just woke up late, threw on workout clothes and a hat to appear to be working out and rushed to the store.  Or it could be they are lazy.... 

I know this because I did it this morning!  I got up late and threw on work-out clothes and a hat in an attempt to disguise my non-showered appearance.  I ran into four other mothers lugging their kids along the cart in my same outfit!  We all shared the "no make-up, hat on head, workout clothes, the kids got me up all night long" look!  I don't know why I never noticed it before!  Why didn't any of my friends tell me about this!  You mean to tell me I could have skipped my shower at 6:45 every morning, slept in, and still appeared to be a super mom?  What a revelation!!!

Please note, however, if you do see me in the store and I look like I have been working out... I absolutely have!  It was a very long and strenuous work-out too! ;)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Roof! The Roof! The Roof was on Fire!!

Back in March I posted about a house that was on fire in our neighborhood.  You can get caught up  here.  It was an ugly house and it was in foreclosure so unfortunately, no one was sad to see it go.  I wanted to give you a little update about it.  Yes, I know that was forever ago, but it has taken forever before anything was done about it!  - about 4 months!!!

This is all gossip around this area so nothing I state here should be taken as hard facts!

Apparently on the morning of the fire the resident was seen in the garage with a gas can which he placed on the top of his car while there was smoke billowing out of the upstairs windows.  Another concerned neighbor stopped to see if all was ok and the resident said it was fine, he was just  going in the house to get some important papers and the fire department had been called.  The neighbor thought this was odd and called 911 anyways.  According to gossip, the fire had not been called in.  Due to these stories and other neighbors coming forward about things they witnessed that day there was an intense investigation that lasted a long time!  It is rumored that the fire was ruled as arson, but I don't know if this is true.  I do know that after sitting for months with a microwave hanging out in the open off a charred wall upstairs, the house was finally torn down!  The kids and I parked the car and watched it fall!  Neighbors clapped when the eye sore was no more!

This is how it has been sitting for months and months and months!  It was finally torn down in the middle of summer!


Monday, October 8, 2012

P is for Plane

I don't know why it surprises me each and every time.  I should just come to expect it by now.

What I am talking about is how each and every time I go to the bathroom on an airplane something happens that does not help make the peeing process easy.

Those rooms are so tiny and cramped that I can barely turn around in there and I am not an overly large person!  I have had the bottom of my sweater or some piece of clothing go in that small toilet before and that is not pleasant!   I now tie everything above my waist that is hanging down so it is secured.  Why don't I just leave those layers on my seat?  I get cold in there and who knows how long I will have to wait in that line because there is ALWAYS a huge line when I can't hold it any longer! The person in front of me always takes 10 minutes in there at least!  I just get lucky that way!

Then there is how the toilet bowl is shaped.  Maybe it is the fact that I have to go so bad that it always seems that pee sprays back up between my legs.  Yes, gross I know, but don't pretend something like that has never happened to you before!!  I always want to hurry because of the line and I don't want people to wonder what I am doing in there after they see me tie all of my clothing up under my arms!   I suppose I have to either slow it down or hold toilet paper in place to prevent a fountain!

Turbulence is a given as soon as it is my turn to use the toilet on a plane as well.  Every. Single. Time!!  Seriously!!  How can that be?  That really doesn't not help my fountain situation either!

I won't even get into the times that I take my kids in there with me because they have to go and want help or I am traveling with no other adults and I have to take them with me while I go!  It is just a catastrophe waiting to happen and it rarely disappoints!  I also refuse to change a diaper in there!  I have simply layed the baby on my seat and change him or her right there if needed!  There just isn't enough room!

Moral of the story for me;  skip the free beverage, wear less and tighter clothing, and go before I get on the plane at least 5 times even if I don't have to!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Come Sail Away, Come Sail Away.....

Our final day in San Francisco was spent sailing on San Francisco Bay.  The sky was filled with fog and the air had a chill to it, but it ended up being a fabulous journey.

We boarded our boat at Pier 39.  Pier 39 is the famous pier where the sea lions bellow and snort as they battle each other for a position on the floating docks.  In fact, there were some sea lions on the docks where the boats were tied up!  They are not cuddly and cute up close, however.  They are huge, smelly, and intimidating!  I hear it is the cute little Pacific Harbor Seals you have to look out for though. 

Our crew on The Adventure Cat was friendly and helpful.  They were ready to give us details about the boat and the area and happy to take pictures as well!  The vessel itself was gorgeous!  It even had a large netted area in the front where you could sit and relax.  If you were chilly the inside was very comfortable and was equipped with two clean bathrooms ("heads" if you want to use sailing terms).  Sitting inside I never felt like I missed out on the scenery going by because of the large windows.  The crew had thought of everything!  They even had a closet filled with coats in case people chose to sit on the deck and weren't prepared for the chill in the air.  We were served snacks, lunch, and drinks as well. 

The scenery was phenomenal.  I even spotted a porpoise and a little Pacific Harbor Seal in the Bay near the boat!  The crew tried to tell me that what I saw was a shark and we would most likely be surrounded by them soon.  I, however, have seen enough Jaws movies to know that sharks don't move the same way as porpoises do!  In reality, they have seen some sharks in the Bay at times as well as Orcas!  We sailed by Sausalito and under the Golden Gate Bridge giving us fantastic views of other boats and the San Francisco skyline.  It was wonderful to have a different view of the entire area while relaxing on board!

The fog was always there!


Bay Bridge

San Francisco