Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The sad state of our kitchen.

Grandpa noticed the sad state of our kitchen, including our cookware, when he visited. We have the necessary tools and appliances, but they are mismatched, and old. There just has never been a good time to buy everything new and have things match. When we began living together we were both in school, and were raising a teenager.  Our big expense and priority was braces for JJ. Once we started working we needed decent living room furniture, a good bed for JJ, a decent mattress set for us... Our big kitchen purchase was a set of pots and pans, then P gave me a good set of Henckels knives for Dia de Reyes.  Wow, that was such a long time ago. Then we made the decision to bring SS home, and saving became our focus.  Add to that the fact that we didn't have a wedding, forgoing the opportunity to make a list of pretty things we wanted, and have others buy them for us. It is really obvious why our kitchen is in sad shape. Grandpa suggested that we should think about what we want and start replacing. We reminded him that we had just moved, which was not cheap, and there is a possibility of private school looming.  Nope, not the time to indulge in pretty things for our kitchen. Grandpa then decided to gift us pretty things, and we are grateful. Although we really have limited space.

First we received the pretty blue pots, nice enameled cast iron dutch ovens. We did not have one dutch oven, and all of a sudden had three, and away cooking we went. Grandpa had mentioned a fourth one he wanted to send, but it was not available in blue. P said that it is obvious we are not attached to matching things.

They actually had an eggplant color that was close enough for us. Grandpa sent this one next.

He added a set of storage containers. Funny because I had my eye on a similar set, but was focused on finding containers that SS could open. I thought the snaps would be more difficult than a Z*ploc lid. When SS saw the containers she asked if she could use the little ones in her lunch box. I explained that she would need to open them herself. SS surprised me by easily opening and closing the snaps. Score one for Grandpa, without even knowing what we needed.

Grandpa later mentioned that he bought P another gift, and threw in he had never spent so much on a kitchen item.  That's scary because Grandpa owns every kitchen gadget available. P asked me to open the box before he came home, because he was really curious. Holy cow, a freaking Le Creuset whatever. When I allow myself to dream about cookware, LC cookware is what occupies my dreams.

As soon as I opened the box it made perfect sense. Grandpa loves food in general, but he has a great fondness for a good steak. That is why he gifted P a grill, to make sure he would have a nice steak when he visited. Grandpa likes his steak rare, which is a rather difficult task to accomplish well.  Luckily P had watched an episode of Master Chef where the three finalists had to cook steaks rare, well done, and medium. P paid really good attention, because Grandpa declared his steak the best rare steak he had ever had. It appears that Grandpa was worried about P depriving himself and his family of steaks during the winter. And yep, that is how P became rewarded with such an expensive grill pan. So we could rough it inside during the harsh southern California winters.

The day before SS's Thanksgiving break began, we arrived home to find two very familiar looking boxes.  I sent P a picture and he texted back, "Oh G0d, we don't have any more space!"

This time we received a baking dish.

We also received a roasting pan. We have one, but have no idea where the rack is since the move. Problem solved. We thanked Grandpa profusely for his generosity, and thought that was the end of it.

We received another baking dish today, to match the previous baking dish.  Man, our kitchen must be in even worse shape than we thought.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


We bought tickets for Pirate's Dinner Adventure in May, and life just got in the way of using them. Their expiration date was looming (11/30), so last night we did what any parent of a kindergarten child, enrolled in a rigorous immersion program would do on a school night.  We treated SS to dinner with pirates, not even thinking for a second that we would have to drag her tiny body, with a teenage attitude, out of bed this morning for school.  Once again, we are thankful for another fly by the seat of your pants parenting blessing, because we had an amazing evening.  SS even got her first glimpse of Knott's Merry Farm before dinner, and her first picture with Snoopy wearing a Santa hat.     

SS was beyond stoked, and we were both surprised and grateful that her pirate costume was still intact. It has been worn quite a few times. Here she is ready for whatever awaits her inside.

What awaited us inside was pirate merchandise galore.  We were glad that SS came fully prepared, because we could have been in for a major hit to our wallets. We had appetizers while waiting for the show to begin.

The show began with a literal bang, simulated explosions, and barrels falling above us (safely into nets).  Then the pirates made their aerial entrance (look at the ceiling), leaving SS speechless, but ever so more in love with a pirate's life.

We were divided in groups by color, and were instructed to follow our designated pirate. SS was immediately disappointed when we told her blue pirate was not our guy. We think she took a fancy to the pasty fellow. 

Then SS got a look at our orange pirate and she was sold. Quite frankly, our dude could so beat the tar out of the other pirates. Plus, no sun burns while toiling on the ship deck. Gotta love a pragmatic girl.

It was soooooooo cute to see SS grab her sword, and follow our pirate, her eyes wide with wonder.

That sword was up in the air so many times last night. And we were encouraged to scream and holler at the top of our lungs.  SS is never one to turn down socially sanctioned mayhem.

Not much of a crowd on a Monday night, and a school night.  The big plus was that SS had the opportunity to participate three times. She was able to be on deck twice.  I had to break the no flash rule, because there's no way we could leave without a picture of SS in the mix. We were discussing on the drive home how P and I would do anything to go unnoticed, if asked we would rather dive under the table.  But SS was very comfortable on stage. She was asked to detonate the cannons, and allowed the other kids to do the task.  Too loud for her taste. 

Orange pirate posed for several pictures with SS, he said "she EARNED it."  Look at the happy mug on our girl.

The final picture for SS with Captain Sebastian Black (we think) and his wife.  We had a blast, well worth the wait. SS was the perfect age to withstand the noise, simulated violence, and length of the show. We had a choice of turkey or ham for dinner.  Turns out we had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and vegetables.  A belated thanksgiving dinner, and no clean up involved.  SS hardly ate, as expected, so much going on, and she had to take it all in. I sneaked her bites when I could get her to open her mouth. However, once the apple crisp topped with vanilla ice cream arrived, SS miraculously managed to get it into her mouth, while still taking in the show.  It was very rewarding to see and hear SS's unadulterated joy, so much that P and I were swept into the cheering and booing. It was good for the soul after the uncertainty of surgery. Big kudos to SS, for rocking that pirate outfit and not feeling the need to justify her gender. A lot of people commented on "the little dude/boy," with the cool costume. A lot also commented on the "dude's/boy's really long hair." SS and a boy (only two in full pirate costume) were kept on stage at the end of the show, to make a pledge to be pirates.  SS has a lisp and is rather shy when asked her name. Plus, not many people are used to her (nick)name, not that common. We held our breaths as the guy asked her name, and man, he got it right! That is when it dawned on a lot of people around us that the little dude, was simply an awesome girl.   

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

We have a lot to be thankful about, but this is definitely a very low key Thanksgiving. We did not even get to celebrate early with JJ as in previous years, and we are understandably bummed out.  Also, P is working, but he is whistling while he works. After kissing me goodbye this morning he reminded me how much he was making in overtime.  Plus, he will be home in time for dinner. P's job made our move back home possible, and is of course paying for my surgery and my seemingly endless medical appointments. I'm also thankful that SS is transitioning into kindergarten well, although she misses her old friends, school, and of course, her big brother. It would have been too much to add after care to the list of changes our moved entailed. 

Grandpa had a baked ham delivered to our home, the thing is huge. Since there's only the three of us, it seemed a waste to make a turkey as well. We will have the traditional turkey dinner and fixings when JJ visits next month.  SS had a good time watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, with The Amazing Spiderman and Buzz Lightyear floats being her favorites. And the bands, my gosh, our girl loves her marching bands.  Since it's never too early to plan ahead, SS has decided on her costume for next Halloween. She comes up to me every so often telling me what she wants in terms of accessories, and scary factor. She is most definitely P's child, he's passed on the Halloween love to SS.

One thing I miss about our old home is the trees in the front yard, because at this time of the year we would have a beautiful blanket of leaves for SS to play on. One of my favorite pictures of SS was taken on that front yard.  This is my pathetic attempt at recreating that picture.

Of course the thing we are most thankful for is JJ and SS, and the fact that they are both healthy. I'll take one for the team each and every time, as long as my babies are spared. Below is SS four years ago, on her first Thanksgiving home.

And this one is just too good not to repost.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Last game of the season.

SS played her last game of the season on Saturday.  P took a few hours off to be there, and SS was a happy camper. We really lucked out with Coach K, he treated the kids so well, and we are thankful that SS's first experience with organized sports was so positive. P also noted that all the parents meshed well, in terms of wanting their kids to have fun, not being obsessed with winning, or urging the kids to be aggressive. The result is not only fond memories, but all the kids want to return. 

Team Dynamo was on fire for that last game. N, the rotund boy who can hardly move scored three goals. SS made contact with the ball a few times, and she got cheers from all the other parents. It was a neat way to end the season. We had not told SS that she was going to receive a trophy, and boy was she surprised and excited. She even pledged to sleep with her trophy. The only reason she didn't was because she slept with us that night, and the heck if I was going to have that trophy poke me all night. 

At the end of the game Coach K's mom approached us to tell us how much she enjoyed watching SS play. She said "SS is the happiest little girl I have ever seen." We thanked her for her kind words, and smiled politely. But we were both thinking, lady come home and try to wake her up before she is ready, or oversee her doing homework. We are certain that she would change her opinion. 

These pictures are now on P's desk at work. He asked me a while ago to get him some pictures and I finally got around to fulfilling his request.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mi famlia.

Last Thursday I had my first post op appointment, and it was not fun. When the first thing your surgeon says upon entering the room is "Please tell me your husband is in the bathroom, or I'm going to be pissed." it just can't end well. Dr. M did say in no driving in P's presence, and I did not think claiming that SS drove was going to improve his mood. We both thought he was referring about me not driving while on Percocet.  I do not take pain meds when driving, and very rarely when caring for SS alone. Who knew the man really meant NO DRIVING until he lifted said restriction. It would have helped to have specific instructions. His concern was about those silly motions one engages when driving;  the steering, putting on and taking off a seatbealt, turning to look in both directions and over the shoulder. And the remote possibility of slamming on the brakes, or a fender bender, and what the seatbelt would do to my already tender torso. And although it does not seem possible, P and I encountered two extra incisions before the appointment. I have thirteen incisions, which makes sense, since he cut thirteen adhesions. Somewhere during the lecture were he made perfectly clear what I could not do, I decided it was not a good idea to ask why was I still hurting so much.

P likens my surgery to having thirteen bullet wounds, and Dr. M liked that. P would have gladly driven me, but I did not think it would be such a big deal.  I'm pretty much under house arrest now, just drive SS to school and back. No lifting, bending, etc.  Not driving around is not so bad, just annoying, boring and demeaning.  What hurts more than the surgery aftermath, is not being to do the little things I usually do with SS. It's weird going to a store and having her walk by my side.  No way can I lift her into a shopping cart. No picking her up when she's hurt, or just wants a cuddle.  I was not this good during my previous two surgeries. But I do not want to walk into his office is a few weeks, with my intestines out of place again.

So not doing so well, physically and mentally. P made up by the lack of picking up by allowing SS to sleep with us starting my second night home. We sent her to her own bed two nights ago, because I have taken one too many kicks to my gut. But this too shall pass, and I can't wait.

SS's family portrait. From left to right, SS, Mama, and Baba.

Another post Halloween find.

SS's last practice was today and her last game is Saturday.  She really had a blast and wants to play in January again.  We are waiting to hear if Coach K will return, because we loved his let's have fun approach. We are not sure about other coaches, since what we have witnessed id appalling.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The littlest voter.

When I posted yesterday I looked for the post from four years ago. No post, and I could not find the picture I knew we took outside the polling place either. We thought we had transferred all of our pictures from the desktop to an external hard drive, since the desktop keeps crashing. That is why P gave me a laptop for my birthday. Turns out that we did not transfer all pictures, and we did not post about election day four years ago. Not surprising since we had been home from China for less than four months.  We were still on that sleep deprived, trying to find our way haze. I was so happy to find the pictures below, and many more from those first months home.  OMG, at twenty months she was still a baby.

The littlest voter getting ready to get her vote on.

Baba, did you get it right? It's my future at stake.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

SS fulfilled her civic duty.

SS fulfilled her civic duty and voted this afternoon.  This is SS's second time voting in her short five years.  Four years ago, an almost twenty month SS, at almost the four month mark home, cast her first vote.  I was offered the option of voting electronically, and that seemed easier, since I was holding SS.  My baby girl has never been able to resist a screen, and she happily lent me her finger.  This time she was more in control, and since I can't hold her, she stood on a chair to complete her task. I hope that four years from now I am once again voting with my baby girl, who will be nine on her next election.

As far as my recovery, just taking it one day at a time. Once you surrender to the inevitability of constant pain, the rest falls into place. Four of my incisions are red and a bit swollen, and it is uncomfortable as hell, but it's nothing major.  I have an appointment Thursday with my surgeon and I'm sure he will notice.

Patiently waiting her turn.

Taking over, as usual.  Good thing our political views are the same, otherwise I would have had to knock her off that chair.

Her eyes make her look possessed, but still cute.  SS is very proud that she voted, and has the sticker to prove it.

Monday, November 05, 2012

She's a clever girl.

Children are like the proverbial box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.  SS is constantly amusing us by the many simple things that stump her, and the more complex tasks that are a breeze to her.  We noticed early on that her Spanish pronunciation was superior to her English pronunciation. Counterintuitive, because English was her primary language.  There will probably be more of a drastic contrast by the end of the school year.

The same child who forgets what she was told a minute earlier, will out of the blue bring up a memory from a few years ago.  Most of the time it takes us a while to recall what she is talking about. There's also her sense of direction, which amazes me.  I manage to get lost even with the help of a GPS. That is just plain shameful. SS remembers directions after visiting a place just once.  She is always telling me where to turn, and as we drive on the freeway, she will tell me what is on a particular exit.

We think her sense of direction is related to her above average spatial orientation. Not bragging here, because we had nothing to do with her gift. It's probably why SS is so interested in building, order, reading and following instructions. It is why Legos are her favorite toy. We love watching her assemble them in record time, while carefully following the instructions of the ones way above her age. P sees math prominently in SS's future, and probably engineering. I would not go as far, it's just too early to tell.  Especially when she starts to hear that rubbish about math and building being for boys. For the time being, I'm just enjoying watching SS being true to herself.

Last Friday SS wore this cute outfit to school.

I gave her a choice between her purple skull head band, and her blue skull clips, both matched her shirt. SS said both, and while mindful of not stagnating her creativity, I did not see how it would work.  Before I could voice my thought, SS picked up a blue clip and clipped it to the headband.

Easy breezy, SS got to wear both, and she did a darn good job.

SS found one of my post Halloween clearance finds and wanted to try it now. I bought Mr. Potato Head parts to use on a pumpkin, like the Snoopy parts I used this year.  The idea was to get them in the Halloween bin to use next year. But SS plead, and we had a pumpkin to be used, so what the heck. I told her we could try it after school, and SS could not wait to come home.

That is when we realized that unlike the Snoopy parts, which had sharp metal to penetrate the pumpkin, these parts were soft plastic. Just like any regular Potato Head part.  I was trying to figure out what to use, when SS said "we need a screwdriver, but not a flat one." Darn, girl was spot on, but I did not know where the tools were, so we waited for P. This afternoon, before P went to run an errand we set out to work on SS's project. P moved the pumpkin to the backyard and set a screwdriver, and body parts next to it. I locked the front door after him, grabbed my camera and water. Before I made my way outside SS said "I'm doing your job Mama." Much to my horror she had started on her own, had the eyes and the mouth in. Ah, what the heck, let her do it on her own. I did make it clear to SS that she is never again to use tools without Mama or Baba.  SS finished her pumpkin and was very proud of her handiwork.

This picture cracks me up, my sweet, innocent child stabbing a pumpkin between the eyes. Wonder if Rockwell ever captured such innocence in one of his works.

Our beautiful, clever girl. Never a dull moment with you SS.