Monday, June 30, 2008

Put 'em up!

BANG BANG! Country Party 1992, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

I'm just slowly gearing up for our day here... drinking coffee and pondering all I need to have done in a couple of hours... trying to decide if I really want to go to the park before driving to the beach. The kids would love to play, and I'd like to see my friends. I'd also like to chill out for the extra 1.5 hours not going would afford me. I guess I will see how things go once the kids are up. *Yawn*

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tea for two

Tea for two, originally uploaded by usova.

I like this a lot. All her stuff is great... such life in them.

Day 5 (Bad Eats)

Yesterday it was foggy and chilly at the beach. Not too chilly, but a nice day to put the boys in the stroller and push them around for an hour or so. Since the Boardwalk is adjacent, I went thataway. Same as I did a couple of days before, when I started to notice there are some crazy things going on foodwise at the Old Boardwalk.

So, I decided I would amuse myself with a little gastronomical journey of sorts. Midway Food!

What if you lived on this stuff? What would a diet comprised solely of midway fare be?

Well, let's have an appetizer (and these are in the order that I came across them, BTW).

Who wants some beef jerky to whet their appetites? No? How's about Pretzels? Washed down with the Pepsi product of your choosing. I suggest the Sprite -- the zinfandel of sodas. ;)

Here you have to make a choice. Do you go with the Churro and Icee or the Dippin Dots? There is no wrong answer... depends on if you prefer a cold treat or a cold treat *and* a fried treat together, is all.

Hope you chose wisely, because next you have a Carrousel Cone, which is a soft-serve cone with some swirl all around-around-around it in the flavor you choose, and then... an ICEE! Hope you like 'em! Ow, the brain freeze...

Next the obvious combination of Gyros (chicken OR beef, no lamb, what are you actually wanting Greek food here??) and Caramel Apple Chips (which appear to be wedges). Reeces was going to make his famous candy with this combo, but couldn't decide on beef or chicken, so he settled on chocolate/peanut butter, FYI -- little bit of trivia there, folks!

Oh dear heavens... another soft serve cone and Icee. My head and sinuses can only take so much!

Phew! Finally something warm. Nothing like fried batter with pie filling and whipped cream to keep you even-keeled. Hey, it's got fruit! This is pretty healthy by boardwalk standards!

Now this is actually the sign that, on Wednesday, got my attention in the first place. DEEP FRIED CHEESECAKE? In a tortilla? What genius invented this one? I mean here is the solution to an age old problem -- eating cheesecake while on the go! I can't tell you how many messy shirts this would have saved me over the years, people. Innovation at its best. And they say America is in decline. I present Exhibit A in the case against that right here.

Of course all the sugar may be giving you a rush now, but everyone knows a sugar high is fleeting, so you need some caffeine next.

You may have been concerned this was not a balanced 'meal'. Well, stop whining right now. Here is your vegetable! Actually, the healthiest thing I found, if you don't go too crazy with the toppings, which were butter, various cheesy-herby combos, etc.

Barnacle Bill has some suggestions for what to eat with your corn.

These probably go together, too.

To tell the truth, these smelled good. And I do like fish and chips frys (nice spelling!).

Oooh, oooh, oooh! More fruit! Gotta fight scurvy somehow.

I wanted to get a photo of this with the coaster streaming past. But I was blocking people's path to the hot dogs on sticks, and didn't want to incite a not-enough-meat-on-stick riot. So this will have to do.

Board Wok... get it, huh? Huh? More 'ethnic' food. Very authentic, I am sure.

At this point, I admit, my stomach was turning head was swimming with all the options remaining. So before I positively imploded from it all, I headed back to the beach.

Now, people generally smile at the boys in the stroller. I mean, they're cute, what can I say? ;) But after my queasiness calmed enough for me to notice things a little while, I had to stop and peek at what was making people point and giggle.

Aw, they do look just alike! I figured the first couple of comment to that effect were just, well, because they're RELATED and resemble each other. Not that they were performing a complex synchronized napping routine! My sons are so talented, aren't they?

I love pugs.

This is so cute. Soooo cute.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Day 4

Yesterday we headed to a different beach a few miles further south for 5 hours of Little Guards competition versus the nefarious cross-town rival Guards. Yeah, I am NOT kidding. Gots to represent against those Capitola Guards. ;) I came up against traffic on the way there, so the closer parking was full by the time we arrived, and I had to park at the top lot on top of the cliff. Good News: beautiful view. Bad news: had to get down, then back up this cliff via a steep switchback. Good News: check mark on my exercise for today! ;)

Those dots are the LGs, all grouped together before the battle began. For the record, Bunny was on time -- I sent her down the steps, which were a direct shot, with a fellow LG and that child's family, while I pushed the boys on the much more circuitous stroller friendly route.

We (boys and I) got down just in time to watch the first race for the 6 yr olds. That orange flag in the distance was the halfway point. Bunny is on the far right, wearing her hood up and black pants. It was chilly and foggy the first couple of hours. She was well within the middle finishing this race, a respectable finish for someone who prefers a sprint to a marathon.

There were rather large breaks between events, so I took the boys to the sand and set up our 'camp' for the next 5 hrs. I goofed and forgot the camera for Bun's next event, whic ended up being the one she did best at. Boo me! It was called the 'flag race', but really, I think they wee evoking Golden Retrievers. Huh? Well, lemme tell ya.

They separated into ages and also genders. A line in the sand was drawn. The kids had to lie on their bellies, feet towards the water on the line, heads down on their hands (arms akimbo... kind of). One less tennis ball than there were kids was thrown into the surf. A whistle sounded and they were off. They ran in, grabbed a ball if they could, then ran back to the line and returned to the prone position they started in. There were about 11 'heats', each time eliminating one child. Bunny came in third! She may just have at least been in second place had she realized a ball was still out there her last heat, but she thought both were found and headed back to the sand, despite the ball being near her. Oh well, she did great, and that was her favorite race. Probably because she did well, but I think also because it involved sprint running, which is her 'thing'. She can be pretty fast in bursts! Plus her hair stayed dry--no diving. :)

There were, man, like 100+ 6-8 yr olds in red swimsuits on the beach that day, but all I saw was this.

It was a very tiring day for her and me, both. I was up at 6, busily doing what little housework I would have time for that whole day, packing lunch and getting ready for the beach, leaving the house at 8:45, getting home at 4:00, leaving again for class at 5:30, getting back home to a thoroughly trashed house at 10... I know my husband is still figuring out how to manage all 3, and he's not exactly the multi-tasker type, but I sincerely hope soon I will not return to as many or more hours of cleaning than I was gone for. Ugh. I'd complain, but I know he was managing as best he could, since apparently Bunny was in a MOOD last night (she was tired from her day *and* she doesn't like me not being there when I am at class, so she picks on her brother, and basically pulls stuff that would NOT fly if I were home).

Anyway, today is normal schedule, so I don't have to hustle much. Just have to leave the house at about 11:15. Easy peasy, and I hope to be able to swim with the 2 big kids after dinner. Carter is doing so well in the pool. He LOVES to 'swim' with me and is jumping in like a pro. Okay, like a 2 yr old.

One last shot for today. Cole fell asleep like this. I love how his little arm is tucked in. :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bumper Car Demon

2008-06-25 058, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

Bunny really enjoyed the bumper cars at the birthday party yesterday evening. It was her first time on that ride, and it took her a little while to get how to move, then she was happily bashing away. :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day 2

We've made ti through two days, and there was not a lot of "I am never coming back!" at the end of yesterday! She's still concerned (to put it mildly) about the water and its inherent vastness, but she was in it 4 times yesterday and did the boogie board relay. This was new to her, as she's only paddled in a pool on a surfboard... and once again, that ocean (really a bay) moves on its own!

You can see in that first photo how NOT DEEP the water is. But that's not what matters. She did something new, and didn't look like she was about to cry afterwards. She's also becoming used to the cold water. I didn't get photos, but they did mud puppies yesterday! What, you ask? Well, they roll in the sand, then run into the water to rinse off. After running a lap back and forth on the beach. They also did push ups, sit ups, up/downs... she's getting a serious workout, and I am LOVING the fact that she's tired enough to go to bed and sleep in the morning, haha!

While Bun was worked hard, the boys and I hung out on the beach. I have a nice little set up going, and am getting down the packing and pushing of a stroller that, if I think about it, has about 20+35+30+15+10+15 lbs of child and gear in it. I DO NOT want to be stranded for 3 hrs without something I could need, haha!! So I pack the tent, a largish cooler, my diaper bag, the Ergo (backpack carrier), another bag with towels/ change of clothes for boys, sand toys, beach blanket, *and* I even bring the boys, too. ;)

This is what I schlepped to the beach.

This tent was a really good purchase. I got it back in 2006 and it was well worth the $20 at Target. :)

So, while Bunny does this...

We do this.

And this. And we eat a lot of snacks.
Yesterday Carter played with other small children who were the younger sibs of Junior Guard kids. A lot of families have made beach days of it so far. I love this beach because it's so intimate that way. Yes, it is in a pretty famous beach town, but it's on the 'local' side of the wharf. The beach the MASSES go to is a very easy walk under the piers, but it's worlds away.

However, I have plans to let Carter ride some rides at the Boardwalk one day next week. That will be fun!

In other news, Cole is pushing up his massive body rather well now. :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Little Guards, Day 1

2008-06-24 038, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

She felt The Fear yesterday. Not big fan of the fact that the ocean is very big. And deep. And it moves. But today is another day.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bikini Beach Bear Cupcakes

Bikini Beach Bear Cupcakes, originally uploaded by Bakerella.

OMG these are too much. I want to make some. In about 4 weeks! OR, maybe as a treat for Bun's LG mates to take home the last day. Hmmm. We shall see. The innertubes are those lifesaver gummis, FYI. The bathing suits are made with candy writers.

My own litle hoarding disorder going on here...

You would think I am stoking up for Armageddon. Or a big snow. Or at least a good ANTM marathon on MTV or something, going by the insane amount of foodstuffs I have brought into this house today.

But no, I am preparing for something far more taxing. Every single weekday from tomorrow until July 18 (or whatever the end of 4 weeks is), I will be leaving the house at about 11:30, driving myself and 3 kids to Santa Cruz, pushing the boys in a double stroller to the beach to drop off Bunny, and not going to be home until probably about 5 or 5:30 each day.

If it were just me, I'd know what I need. Some water, maybe some wheat thins and the makings for a ham sammich everyday. But for my kids? The ones who eat all. the. time?????? Egads. Not having access to the kitchen *and* having to feed them basically 1 meal and 2 snacks everyday means I have to have my shit WAAAY together.

So I stocked up on things that are packable. 3 jars of peanut butter. 5 packages of trail mix. 3 boxes of crackers. Cereal bars. 3 cans of Pringles (which were a moment of weakness, as they were on sale and Bun was holding them with that puppy dog look). Dried raisins and apricots. Cheese sticks. 3 cases of bottled water. Plus our usual groceries for dinner and breakfast food. Paul had a hard time figuring out where to put it all away, haha. (He puts away the groceries--I figure if I have to go out running errands with 3 kids, I am going to do it on Sunday when he can put it away for me.) I've planned meals to the nth degree. I have my list of what to pack into the car (stroller, beach blanket, sand toys, etc etc etc)... I even went and changed the oil last week, haha!

Now to just do and enjoy it. It'll be like a month-long vacation at the beach, but where I have all my home stuff at the end of the day. Yeah, that's what it'll be like... vacation! (repeat repeat repeat...)

One HELL of a day at the beach!

So it was like 372 degrees yesterday. More or less -- hey I'm no meteorologist; I'm simply going by what my gut tells me it was. Weather Underground says it topped out at a mere 105.

I had decided the day before that no way, no how was this woman standing in a sunny park with her small kids for the birthday party Bunny had. Was calling the child's mom to say sorry but we have to run away from home, and the friend's mom offered to have Bun come and hang with them for the day. Since they were having a lot of water play at the party, and they also have a/c, I said, "Sure!" and dropped her off on the way out.

The rest of us went to Santa Cruz and decided to go to Natural Bridges, since it was so hot, and NBs tends to be the coolest spot (usually I'd skip that beach, since it's not warm on a mild day). We set up and just as I was putting the shade tent up, it started to... rain? RAIN? Who ordered that? It was only spotty rain, and we figured ti would pass. But then BOOM, BOOM!

Lightning! Funnel clouds! Evacuate the beach! At least that's what the freaked out lifeguards told us.

Soooo, we packed up (thank goodness I have a lot of practice at it) and walked to the car. It was weird, since off the beach there was no evidence of the storm, really. We drove to en outlook and watched the weather fireworks (which also started more wildfires, yaya). Then we diceded to go get something to eat at Las Palmas.

Carter wolfed down a whole serving of chips and guacamole, Paul had 4 tacos with rice and beans, and I had a burrito. Yum. Oh, and we each had a beer. Cole was really good, and chilled out making cute faces and noises at everyone, and then we went to a playground for a while.

So, it was not a very normal day at the beach, but we made lemonade and enjoyed ourselves nevertheless.

Tomorrow is day 1 of 19 weekdays in a row--except July 4--going to the beach for Bun's Little Guards. I have bought a lot of snacks, bottles of water, and about 3 gallons of sunscreen. :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Another 109 day. Boo.

I accidentally gave myself heat exhaustion today. Whoops! See, apparently, you should drink more than a cup of coffee and about 2 ounces of water total in a day if you plan to go to a park where it is in the upper 90s to low 100s. Go figure! Man, heat exhaustion SUCKS. First I felt dizzy--whenever I turned my head, I felt like I was spinning (it was actually like those spins you might remember from being really drunk in bed after a party in high school or college). Now, that shoulda told me something. I figured I was a wee dehydrated, but Carter did me the favor of dumping my water. Then when I refilled it with ucky fountain water, he begged all that off me. See, now he's smart enough to know when to drink water!

Also, I only planned to be at the park for 2 hours. But a friend called who I had not seen all week and we stayed so she and her kids could play with my kids (and so we could chat). So I ended up being there for 4 hours. On 2 sips of water. AND I nursed the baby. And I'm sure I sweated plenty.

So, yeah, that is how you get a nice case of heat exhaustion. After the dizziness came a someone-hit-me-square-in-the-forehead-with-a-hammer headache and nausea. I barely felt okay to drive home. Then my husband suggested maybe I was about to have a heat stroke. I looked it up, as I drank some water and um, yeah, I could have, seeing as I was also sweating profusely.

Anyway, all's well that ends well. I took a shower, put the baby down for a nap and took advantage of the 2 yr old ALSO SIMULTANEOUSLY napping, and slept for an hour, after asking/pleading with Bunny to, please, for the love of all that is holy be good.

So I'm fine now.

Oh, and it's going to be hotter tomorrow. Nice. We're going to the beach, since it'll be 15-20 degrees cooler there. Which means Miss Thang will miss 2 birthday parties, but I am sorry, there is no way I am taking her to a birthday at a park tomorrow. I'll buy her some ice cream or something to make up for it. Sister gets invited to more bday parties per month than I did annually anyway. ;)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What Nothing is... a relative definition.

Sometimes, when you have had 5 hours sleep, you just gotta let the 6 year old take a 15 minute long shower. Because then she's happy and not asking me to do anything for her. Which she does a lot. Especially this BOOORING week between end of school and beginning of her lifeguard camp at the beach. Bunny does not suffer inactivity well. Man, she would have been a pip growing up where I did.

For some reason the word indolent pooped into my mind when trying to figure how to describe my summer days as a child and teen (and quite a few of them in college, too). Then I became worried -- do I really know what that word means? I have a killer vocabulary, but a lot of words I know only from context of having read them and I have to think for a long time when my husband asks me for a definition. So I looked it up. Yeah, I do know that word. And yes, my summer afternoons were indolent. ;) To the point of sloth, I tell you. But hey, sloth is green, right? Not going anywhere is green, heh.

My kids are used to a lot more activity. So we go to the park everyday (even this week when we're doing 'nothing'). Nothing is a highly subjective term, I have learned. To me growing up, nothing was pretty damn near NOTHING. Maybe my sister and I would walk to the stables or around in the woods or to the creek. Maybe we'd pretend the shadows of all the old trees in my yard were houses and just pretend all afternoon. We had a really well, I'm going to go ahead, be un-pc, and call it a retarded game of tag, that somehow was one person inside the house and another outside the house, and we'd try to figure out which window the other was at and scare each other by screaming and jumping into the window. Maybe we'd really get bored, dig up the little 'onions' of onion grass, and piss off my parents by making 'soup' in the bird feeder. There was a lot of playing in the pool. Many afternoons we HAD to be inside because of thunderstorms. So we watched movies and maybe my mom made us tea and cinnamon toast with butter an sugar (yum). We'd go weeks without seeing other kids besides me and her, really.

To my kids, nothing is going to the park for 2-3 hours, playing in the pool every evening after dinner (and much of the afternoon on weekends), having friends over to play, going to friends' houses, tons and tons of crafts. I don't know, their nothing sure is more something to me! But then, if I asked Bunny, she might find the concept of wandering over acres and acres, and ACRES of land, and getting to see horses exciting. I guess familiarity breeds 'nothingness'.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Afternoon at the park

2008-06-17 034, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

Today I schlepped the kids to Jiffy Lube for a not-so-jiffy-quick oil change, then checked out a park that's actually rather near our house, but whic we'd never tried. A nice mellow time was had by all. Not much to report, but it was very pleasant, and everyone got along, which is always nice.

And Cole is a cutie-- this was taken while I was lying on the blanket with him on my belly. Baby and leaves against sky... what more could you want to look at?

Already bored.

Hahahaha! I knew it. It's not even technically day 2 of summer vacation, since Bunny is still asleep, but she's been officially bored for about 24 hours anyway. My evil plan is to have her bored this week whilst I drag her and the kids around on errands like -- Ooooh! -- the oil changer place and -- aaahh! -- the DMV (actually AAA, but even their shortish line drives Bun up the wall). Then the following 4 weeks we'll be far from bored as we go to Cowells Beach every weekday for Little Guards.

In the meantime I have administrative things to take care of here, and they're going to be booored. Well, except that we're going to the park for a couple of hours every afternoon. And after dinner I get in the pool with the big kids and play and teach Carter to swim. Which is not nothing, but there was a lot of TV yesterday, too. Bah, it was probably easier when there were not Noggin, PBS Kids, Sprout, Nick Jr., Disney, and the plain PBS stations (which show kids shows most of the daylight hours anyway)... they have too many choices to fight over. Oh well, no TV on the beach. ;)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Red Bow Ties Were COOL in 1973.

Paul_John_Portraits_0002, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

So I broke out the box of hilarious photo badness that is my poor husband's legacy of childhood portraits again tonight. This one is pretty fantastic.

First: my brother in law is the older child. The one who looks like a girl. For the record, he's not a girl. My mother in law must've missed the memo on that one when she was styling his flowing locks.

OR, she was so baffled by how to work with my husband's crazyass hair that she didn't even notice the older child. I mean, oh. my. goodness. That poor child's hair is all over the place. Seeing this makes me very okay with him losing his hair. The 1/2 inch of hair that I keep cropped close is actually such an improvement when you look at it that way. So, yeah, he's lucky to not have to deal with that stuff anymore.

Now, please try to work your eyes to their necks. I know, it's hard to focus there -- there is A LOT going on pattern and texture-wise here. I was so distracted by the fact that both boys have wide wale corduroy jumpers on, by John's awesome shiny shirt so cleverly clashing with Paul's criminally ugly diamond pattern that I didn't even see the ties for a while.

See now, my mother in law is a lot of things. She's really kind. She has a good sense of humor. But oh MAN is her fashion sense suspect. Remember when those terrible matched nylon running suits were in fashion in the early 90s and how people who never broke a sweat were wearing them? Well, she had a few sets of those, the most memorable being a teal and pink number that made a swish-swish noise as her arms and legs moved. All I'm saying is, I'm certain she spent a lot of time picking out these outfits and was not even drunk when she did it. I suspect she felt the ties were the element that really brought together this look.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

The other evening Bunny and I were talking and she asked me something about how breasts work. hey, I nurse a lot, and she wanted to know why women have larger boobs than kids and men.

Anyway, I was explaining about how the glands themselves grow, and also how there are 'tubes' inside the breast where milk forms, which also takes up space. She interjected, "Oh, yeah, I know, those are the ducts!" I said, yes, that was the right word.

Carter, meanwhile, was playing right near us. He perks up his head and says.... wait for it....
"I yike-it ducks! Yellow ducks!" (I like ducks. Yellow ducks.) He had the biggest, most open smile on his face, and clearly was very happy to have something to bring to the conversation. Man, I love that kid.

Beans, beans, good for your heart...

Made taco salad for dinner the other day and made for the second time ever, homemade refried beans. Really easy and yummy.

Take one can of whole pinto beans, undrained, and dump into a saucepan. Add about 1 tsp each of garlic and onion powder... and 1/2 to 1 tsp of cumin. If, like me, you only had garlic salt, be careful. ;) If you did have plain garlic powder, then add a little salt, too. Now, you could be done here. If you're making tacos from scratch (and not a taco seasoning packet), then you probably have some tomato sauce lying around. I always buy the 14.5 oz cans, and the recipe only needs 8-12 oz, so I dumped the rest of the tomato sauce into the beans. It was good! I made it once without, and that is fine, too. They're different, but both good.

Whatever you add, bring it all to a bubbling boil, then mash the beans until they're of the right consistency. No lard, no weird ingredients... I read a recipe that calls for chopped onions, but I have NEVER actually seen onions in refried beans, so I went the powdered route.

Enjoy. No photos of this. Refried beans ain't pretty, folks.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Not quite Pompeii, but...

Yesterday evening there was a grass fire nor very far from home. Weirdly, I'd driven by it as it must've been starting, going by the start time of 3 p.m., since it was in the dry grass by an off ramp I used to come home from the park.

We enjoyed a mellow afternoon at home, and I spent a good little while with the bigger kids playing in the pool. By the time that we were going inside, I noticed the sky was getting dark. Since it's nearly the summer equinox, it's generally still sunny at 6:45, but not yesterday. The sky was sepia.

The light inside the house was unreal. Creepy, really.

This is the REAL color of things. The sun was also a crazy glowing red.

This morning the sky is promising to look much more normal as the heavy fog we got last night burns off. However, everything outside is covered in a very light layer of ash. I went out to pick some apricots and noticed white flakes on everything. I'm so glad we are washing Paul's car for Father's Day today or tomorrow and that I hadn't already gone to that effort!

Friday, June 13, 2008

No more teachers, no more books...

It's the end of an era, people! Bunny has finished Kindergarten! I'll talk some about her final moments leaving the class another time. I'm still too close to it, and the stingy feeling might come back to my eyes... :)

After "The Final Pickup", we had a lovely meal of Happy Meals for the kids who eat real food, and a chicken sammich washed down with about 2 quarts of sweet, sweet Diet Coke for me. That celebratory feast finished, we went to the park for a few hours.

Bunny and all her classmates were given a parting gift of bubbles as they left the room. Thank goodness I loves me some bubbles, too, and had 2 bottles in the car, so there was parity.

Carter's bubble blowing skills are still nil. Gets soapy lips and little else. :)

So he happily played in the shower of bubbles Bunny made. As did quite a few other children. People like bubbles. Bubbles make everyone happy, pretty much. You show me a person who hates bubbles, I'll show you a grump. Or maybe someone who had a bubble pop in their eye as a baby. I dunno...

Then the kids put on their swim stuff and played in the sand and water for a good long while.

Me? I sat in the shade, thanks. Cole?

He did this.

Then some of this.

And this. You get the gist. He scooted around on his back a lot, and looked at the leaves against the sky.

After about 3 hrs we went home and now we're in the home stretch until bed time. I'm hoping they all sleep in tomorrow. That would be AWESOME.


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