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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The real frog

My daughter had a pink and blue rubber frog.

You've probably seen these in toy stores, they're shiny and goopy and come in all sorts of shapes- frogs, lizards, bugs. They're stretchy and fun to mush up.

This frog made an appearance last night. It's probably been many months since she's played with this frog.

She brought it out to me and announced that her frog was real.

"What's her name?" I asked.

"She's real, Mom."

"Yes, but what's her name?"

She had to think about it for a minute. She even turned her over to see if she had a name written on her.


"That's a very nice name."

"Be careful, Mom. She hops."

"OK," I said. "Ribbit," I said to the frog.

"Mom, she's not hopping because she likes to play dead."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving Palm Trees

* Photo copyright

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I hope you and your families were able to enjoy a similarly delicious meal as to the one we consumed over several hours today.

This year, I said I didn't want to cook. My daughter was going to be in Philadelphia over the holiday with her father's family. We got tickets to a fancy buffet.

Then I started thinking about all of the traditional foods and was worrying we wouldn't get them.

I decided to make some of the side dishes, and then decided to heck with it, and it become a full blown meal. We ate this big turkey dinner last night. We made a 3-lb turkey breast on the grill using a recipe from the Food Network, more sides than you can shake a stick at, and one particularly delicious pumpkin pie.

Last night. So I spent over 4 hours cooking a meal, and it was worth it. I love the smell of Thanksgiving dinner cooking, and many things just taste so much better homemade.

Today, we went and stuffed ourselves silly again. They had shrimp, crab legs, lox, pate, baked brie, a huge cheese and fruit platter, turkey, prime rib, lobster ravioli, stuffing, mashed potatoes, salmon, veggies, cranberry sauce, and a dessert buffet that would've made your pants burst just looking at it.

They had so much food, I didn't even have room for one bite of each dish. That's a lot of food.

It was unusually warm today, too. It hit 74 at one point. We sat on the deck by the beach. On one side of the deck, you could see vacationers swimming in the pool. On the other side of the deck, you could see people ice skating. On the beach. Yes, really.

After dinner, we also enjoyed a spectacular sunset.

The only thing missing today was my little one. I miss her so much, she made it to Philadelphia and then got sick. I hope it is just a cold, but what a huge temperature change- last week it was 93 degrees here, and it was 41 in Philly today. As cold as that sounds, I do find it weird to celebrate Thanskgiving on a day when I could wear shorts outside.

And I'll never get used to seeing Christmas lights on Palm Trees! They lit up the hotel grounds today in the official start of the Christmas season. The huge Christmas tree was on display, and ornaments were for sale in the gift shop.

Now we're sitting back at home, and football is on the TV. I can't believe the shopping frenzy that is about to take place- several stores are opening at midnight tonight, and I hear one store is even opening at 9pm to try to catch shoppers.

If you're one of the 137 million shoppers expected, here's hoping you find a parking space.

*Photo courtesy of

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Happy Feet

We went to see "Happy Feet". Hubby, daughter, and myself. My daughter is 8, and it was this or "Santa Clause 3". I jumped at the chance for an out.

I had laughed uproariously at the previews for "Happy Feet".

Unfortunately, the first half of the movie, the only laughs are directly from the trailers. The first half was INSUFFERABLY horrible. From the get-go, when Nicole Kidman's character Norma Jean begins singing, I'm thinking "Oh, crap."

But then, something amazing happens. In the middle of the movie, when I think I can barely tolerate any more- it becomes a frickin' FANTASTIC movie.

This movie is a kid's movie with something incredibly important to say. No, it's not the "flu facts" from the commercials you've probably seen.

Who knew?! I sure didn't. I've gotten so fed up with spoilers in movie reviews that if it's a movie I know I'm going to see, I skip the reviews until after I've seen it.

So I won't spoil anything here except for this- there is a cameo by Steve Irwin, and I missed it because I didn't know it was coming. It was only when the credits were rolling that my husband told me about it.

If you go see it, if you feel like you're going to pull a Joel Seigel and storm out- don't. Give it a chance. I was really, really impressed.

As for the kid's point of view, there were several moments where my 8-year-old got so scared she buried her head in my arm and didn't come up for air. There were parts she didn't understand, and probably the movie's message is lost on her. But it doesn't matter- she loved the movie, she laughed out loud many times, and was extremely happy that we took her.

If you can believe it, and I can- this flick beat out James Bond this weekend. You go, Mumble.

Movie website here
*Photo is a download from the movie website as referenced above. Lovelace, my favorite Penguin- in real life and on screen- a Rockhopper.


I was helping the teacher in my child's classroom the other day.

It was the end of the school day. They had about 20 minutes left. It was time to go to "gym"- which was just playing on the playground, apparently.

The kids were very excited to be done with their assignments, and began packing up their backpacks.

Then my daughter's voice piped up.

"Mrs. Smith! Mrs. Smith! You haven't given us our homework yet."


You could hear the class collectively.


"We almost got out of here with no homework!"

"Thanks a lot!"

And then Rachel pipes back in.

"What? I want to be smart! If you don't want to be smart, that's your problem!"


If I ever had any doubts she wasn't my child, they're certainly gone now....

Friday, November 17, 2006

First Wedding Anniversary

Wendy and Shawn

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Safety Sense

This week I started working on a new badge project for the Girl Scouts. Their topic is Safety, and the badge includes everything from street safety to fire safety to first aid. It's a huge job, and I'm admittedly under-educated in this arena. I was actually shocked when I started going through all of the information for the different sections of the badge, to find how much I didn't know.

I've slowly started putting together some child-friendly kits for them to work on, we're going to have the girls build their own first aid kits, and I'm looking to take the girls to a fire station or a police station for a tour. Our troop first-aider will do a presentation on first aid.

The aim is to help the girls, even at this age, become better prepared with dealing with life's emergencies.

Then I ran across this article... which talks about a 9-year-old boy who saved his family's life, through some very quick thinking and lots of maturity.

To say I was impressed is an understatement. I think back to when I was 9. Yes, I was a scout, and I was still playing with Barbie dolls, and my biggest memories of being 9 are of getting glasses, going to Sea World on my birthday, and well, that's about it. I can't imagine being 9 and doing what this boy has done.

A true hero, what a good kid. I only hope my lessons for my scouts can give them a good start in learning safety sense.

*Thanks to and Roger Sinasohn for linking to the article.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Veteran's Day

In years past, even though my grandfather and many of my relatives were veterans of wars, I never observed Veteran's Day. I never lived in a place with a significant military population, I hadn't yet worked on a military base where it is hard to ignore the realities of war.

This weekend for Veteran's Day, we drove out to Point Loma. We drove past the military cemetery where my great uncle and my great aunt (my namesake, even) are buried. There was a parade, but it was not heavily advertised and I didn't even know about it until I saw it on TV.

We went to the Lighthouse on the very tip of Point Loma, which is a national park- Cabrillo National Monument. The Old Point Loma Lighthouse hasn't been used in over a century, but it is still beautiful to behold. The New Point Loma Lighthouse is like many in the country- automated, no one is needed to man the lighthouse. It's an interesting piece of American history, and there's also military history there as well. It's the gateway into the western United States. If you ever have the chance, I strongly urge that you visit.

Even though I am a local, I find I meet people from all over the world at this park. Not only is the lighthouse beautiful, but it offers unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean, San Diego Bay, the downtown San Diego skyline, Coronado, and on a clear day, Mexico.

*Old Point Loma Lighthouse. Photo copyright

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Good People

Friday, November 03, 2006

Rachel at Sea World Posted by Picasa

Birthday Cupcakes Posted by Picasa

Rachel's 8th Birthday Posted by Picasa

Happy 8th Birthday

To my sweet 8-year-old,

I cannot believe how fast time has gone by... you are getting so tall, so smart, so sweet. Every time I look at you, I'm overwhelmed with pride. You are my daughter, and I am proud to be your mother.

This year has been quite a year. You've seen both your parents get re-married, so you were a flower girl twice this year. You went to Philadelphia and to Idyllwild- twice! You went to Sea World and Disneyland this year, too. You're a better traveller than most adults I know. You love to see new places and to meet new people. You do love to try new things, and are amazingly open to trying new foods. Some of your favorite foods this year have been pasta (a long-term staple), sushi (you started eating the raw fish this year!), and of course, chocolate anything.

You began playing soccer this year. Every week you get stronger and better, and braver. I'm so proud of you for keeping things going even when they are tough. You might cry, but you've always pushed to the other side. Last week you even saved the game by blocking the opponents' goal!

You kept up with your piano this year, and became very good. You practice without being asked! I love listening to your music.

You went swimming with the dolphins at Sea World this year- wow! What an amazing experience that was. Next time I'll squeeze into a wetsuit and get into the water with you. It was a joy watching you- with your friends, on an adventure of a lifetime.

You saw snow this year for the first time you can remember- the last time you were just a baby. While you found it awfully cold (it was April, we weren't exactly prepared to see snow), you had so much fun playing in the snow, making snowballs, watching the dog run in the snow like a bunny rabbit.

We still are in Girl Scouts together. You are such a good Girl Scout, a sister to all of your other scouts, you learn quickly and love to earn badges. Your Girl Scout vest is full already, and no matter where we go, you're quick to make new friends.

You went to Day Camp at Girl Scouts this year, learning to cook. You also went on field trips with them, even though you didn't know anyone, you made friends within minutes. You went to Girl Scout overnight camp for the first time, and you didn't even need my help. In the dark of night, you took my flashlight and explored the campgrounds with the camp counselors, and loved every moment of it.

You wore a poodle skirt in the holiday parade this year- you looked so beautiful, and you've always enjoyed being in the parade.

We got our puppy Kiki this year, you had fun with your little girl puppy.

You continued with ballet this year, and performed in a recital in the spring. You've lost your fear of being on a public stage, and I think you are very happy when you are performing. You went to drama camp this summer, and were so in love with the experience.

You've also enjoyed art, and hiking, and Padres games.

You started third grade this year, and even though the beginning of the school year was a tough transition, you're doing wonderfully as a third grader. It's so much more work, but you work awfully hard! I'm proud of you for the hard work you do- you sit down at the table, you focus on your work, you push yourself through the tough questions.

You're still a big reader- you'd read for many, many hours each night- which you do, most of the time. You read at least an hour a day, every day. You're on to chapter books this year, you've gone from Junie B. Jones to Ramona.

You've got a lot of friends and family who love you very much. You've kept your friends at your old school, and made many new friends at your new school. I'm impressed by how well you've adapted, even when we joined a new Girl Scout Troop.

You went on your first sleepovers this past year. I thought for sure you would call me, wanting to come home- but you loved the adventures, the chatting with friends, the late-nights. You are definitely a night owl like your mother!

I'm so enjoying watching you grow up. You're growing up into such an impressive young lady. Happy 8th Birthday, I love you!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Free Hugs Campaign. Inspiring Story! (music by sick puppies)