Friday, December 21, 2007

Stress and baking

I have been so busy lately! I think that December is the most stressful month of the year. I finished my microbiology class this week. Hopefully I did well, I am just glad it is over. It was the hardest class I have taken so far.

A couple of weeks ago I took Collin in for the developmental evaluation we have been waiting for all year. I was very surprised at how badly he did on the tests. He didn't want to do them and didn't focus. The next week I went back to the psychologist and she gave me the diagnosis. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PPD-NOS) . It is on the autism spectrum, kind of an autism light. It encompasses the attention problems, the sensory problems, the communication problems and the social problems. It was where we thought he would fit but we are still not sure if it is due to the hearing loss he experienced or if there is more too it. Peter had a hearing test a few days ago and he failed it (he passed six months ago)! I am glad we caught it early so that he can get tubes right away rather than waiting like we did with Collin.

While I was taking my final Wednesday night Des took the boys to the mall. Apparently they were coming out of the elevator in Sears when Collin decided he didn't like the lady who was in the elevator with them and tried to race her out of the elevator and ran strait into a metal bar. He cut and scraped his face around his eye and was so upset he refused to let the paramedics look at him. We spent the evening in the emergency room. They glued his cuts closed and his eye is going to be fine, just a nasty shiner for the Christmas pictures!

I have been doing a little baking. I made a few different kinds of cookies earlier in the month and my biscotti turned out really well. So I decided to make lots more for my friends. It is really easy. Just mix the dough and make it into a log and cook it.

Then cut the log into slices and put it back in the oven to toast on each side.

Then I dipped them in chocolate and sprinkled with nuts. I like to dip them in my hot cocoa.

I got almost all of my biscotti delivered tonight. Now all I have to do is pack for our trip to my parents house tomorrow morning!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Trees and Quilts

I had a busy weekend. I put up the Christmas tree and did a little decorating. We have a fake tree that Des bought in the after Christmas sales the year before last. He says we have to use it for two years to make it worthwhile. I hate fake trees because they are a pain to put together, they shed plastic needles and they don't smell like Christmas. Last year I got some fresh branches to put around the house to smell piney but it didn't work. They dried out in a few days. This year I am going to buy a really nice expensive candle to produce that Christmas smell (I am a little passive-aggressive). I am looking forward to next year's tree.

I also finished that baby quilt I was working on. It is a good thing too because Jennifer's baby will be here any day! She preferred the green and I thing it turned out really beautifully. I quilted leaves onto the green squares and I like the way it turned out. The green is actually a bit lighter in person. Now that this is done I can get started on my Christmas quilts!!

After we got back from our trip I had to do a lot of laundry. Collin and Peter kept themselves occupied with the baskets for a few short minutes.

I forgot to write about my trip to the dentist. Peter was happy to sit in the lobby and watch TV for most of my appointment but Collin was not. He preferred to sit on my belly throughout the entire visit. While Peter did really well but I don't think I would bring my kids again if I didn't have to.

More Thanksgiving

Here are some Thanksgiving leftovers. This is a video of Peter, Collin and Grandmama building sand castles. The boys get really, really excited each time a new tower is added. There is also a picture of the three littlest kids: Trevor Lizzie and Peter. That bucket of animals was a lifesaver. They played with it all day every day.

See how generous Peter is with his animals. He has gotten really possessive of his things lately. Especially his elephant. That he would not share.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Since we moved to California we always do thanksgiving with my family. Why? Because the British don't celebrate thanksgiving. This year my mom decided that we would all go to Mexico for Thanksgiving. Again. Granted, Mexico is fun and the beach is nice but it is a long way to go. Rocky Point is a full days drive (including the 2 hour wait at the border) from my house which is much closer to some very nice beaches. Des was especially disappointed to miss the Black Friday sales which he thinks are the best part of the holiday. But enough complaining. We had fun and it was nice to see everyone!

We stopped to get those frozen fruit bars whose name I cannot spell (you know, the ones that are actually made of chunks of fruit). Collin usually can't eat all of one and it makes a huge mess so we got him ice cream this time. Apparently it was cold!

My dad took Collin and Bonnema out in the boat. Collin was apparently silent the whole time. When they got back he told me that a big wave came in the boat and got them all wet. I think he really enjoyed it despite the bath.

The first time my family went to Rocky Point - many years ago before I moved out and they stopped camping and started renting beach houses - some people told us about this great little bakery. It is a little place that bakes rolls and pastries in a wood fired oven. Here we are with our bread.

This is my Uncle David playing the guitar. He is a great musician and he even made that guitar!

Here is Collin playing in the sand. Surprisingly he was really good this year and stayed close to the house. Last year he made it halfway to the water, at night, before we noticed he was gone. Fortunately Peter is terrified of the ocean so I didn't have to worry about him.

Here is Trevor! He is the cutest little chunk ever, and happy as well! Aren't I a lucky auntie?

Eventually we did get around to thanksgiving dinner but we forgot to take a picture of the actual meal. I guess we were too busy eating all that good food! Here is one table of happy full people!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

At the Park

They boys and I had Veteran's Day off on Monday. We decided to go to the park to get a little energy out. It seems that many people had the same idea and the park was really busy. It has been so hot here lately. I know that it is California but I really don't think that it should be eight five degrees in November. I am sure those of you who have very cold weather might disagree but it just isn't right.

Here are some pictures from the playground. Notice Collin's new haircut. I finally found just the right moment and was able to cut it without a huge fight.

Later in the week we had one of Collin's friends over. Here they are playing quietly in the back yard.
And so the holiday season begins. I scheduled a dentist appointment for myself for Monday morning foolishly thinking that I would have a few free hours as my children would both be in school. Not so. Both my children are off for the whole week for thanksgiving. I called the dentist's office and told them that I needed to reschedule my appointment because I didn't have anyone to watch my kids. The woman said that I should keep my appointment and bring my kids. They watch kids in the lobby all the time. It would be fine, they watch kids all the time. But my kids are difficult, they run away! She says it will be fine. We shall see.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Chalk Monsters

I pulled out the sidewalk chalk so my boys could color outside and not make such a mess. This was the result.

New quilts

I finally finished the baby quilt I was working on!

I have an endless supply of quilting projects waiting to be started (or finished). It seems that I like buying fabric more than I like actually quilting. I have made a rule that I am not allowed to start a new project until the last (more urgent) one is finished. So, as soon as I finished this last baby quilt I got started on a new one:
So should I use a pink or green fabric with these flowers? I think life must be easier for those who use patterns. I usually just make it up as I go which is probably why I am so slow.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Halloween Leftovers

This is a picture of Des' Transformer costume. He was a teeny bit embarrassed when he saw the pictures but he did proudly wear it to work. He even won a $25 gift card in his office costume contest!I made a pact with my friend Care that we would both throw out all our remaining Halloween candy today so I am going to do it now.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I am not the biggest fan of holidays because they are generally so much work. This picture shows why I bother making my kids costumes. The other three boys in Peter's class all wore the same Thomas costume! Where is the fun in that?

Here are the boys in their costumes. Peter was an elephant and because he loved playing with the cape from last year so much I let him wear it again. Super Elephant!! He loved it so much he wore the nose all through preschool (they took the rest of the costume off). Collin is Alpha Pig from Super Why. I never actually got to see him in his costume because I had class last night.

Des took they boys to the Trunk or Treat. Here are the boys in the back of the van eating candy.

Letters and Dancing

Peter has gotten very interested in learning his letters. He loves to type on the computer. He is kind of hard to understand but he is actually saying the names of the letters before he types them!

The boys have been dancing to the beginning of Super Why. They are so funny trying to copy they actions in the song. Who says that TV makes kids into couch potatoes? This was during the fires so all the bags in the background are waiting for the evacuation that didn't happen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


We are still safe and still not evacuated. There is a lot of smoke in the air so we can’t take it outside. This is a picture of our smoky sunrise.

We have been a bit bored stuck in the house all day. Yesterday my Grandma and I tied the quilt that I made this summer with my humanitarian quilting group. When it was finished I took it over to our local evacuation center/high school where it sat for about five seconds before being scooped up and taken into the gym. I had originally started the quilting group to send quilts off to far off places that needed disaster relief. Who knew they would be used for our own disaster?

My boys have also been very bored. However they have been a little less constructive in their activities. I found this in the boy’s room. My husband came in while I was cleaning it up and I asked him if he had seen it. He replied that he had and that he had taken a picture. So here it is:

Collin wanted his picture taken and I think he is pretty cute!

Schools here have been cancelled for the rest of the week. It is going to be a long, long week.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Just in case anyone was worried about us we are OK. The areas to the north and east of us are evacuated but we have not been asked to leave yet. My Grandma had to evacuate and she spent most of the day with us but has gone to stay with a friend in a safer area. My Bonnema also evacuated to stay with my Aunt. We will go there too if we have to evacuate tonight. Many of my friends have evacuated areas where there has been substantial damage and many people have lost their homes. Our hearts go out to those in danger and those who have lost their homes.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


The sky was its normal blue this morning but when I got out of church there was menacing brown smoke on the horizon. There is a big fire burning north east of us and the Santa Ana winds are blowing smoke to my house. I like fresh air so having all the windows shut is making me a bit stressed. I hate fires. They are the only major natural disaster threat we have here. This area is not as affected by earthquakes as other areas so they are not a big worry for me. The current fire is far from us and would have to burn through many houses first but the smell of smoke still puts me on edge.

Or maybe it is the Mario music that is making me edgy. Collin is obsessed with Mario and it is all he wants to do. I have limited it too weekends (although I think they play it while I am at class) and hearing that music over and over again is making me a bit crazy.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The week in pictures

We have had a lot going on lately so I haven't had time to post. So here is the week in pictures:

There was an Ice Cream Party at Peter's preschool. I couldn't go because I have class but Des took them. I think this was their dinner.

We had Collin's friend Shayne over after school. The boys had a great time riding bikes in the back yard.

Collin drew his first picture that looked like something. I asked him to draw a person and this is what he drew! All his art in the past was mostly scribbles. It is nice to have some success with his goals. Peter is getting close to drinking out of an open cup by himself. The potty training still needs work. We had a few accidents yesterday.

Last night we did our kid swap. We watched our friend's boys so they could have a date. Next week we get one! The boys love having friends over. Collin was really upset when they had to go home.

Those were the highlights! I didn't get any pictures of myself taking my microbiology test, of Miss Vicky coming over (maybe next week) or of today's rain. We actually had a power outage as well and Des took video but it is all black. Surprise, surprise.

Never watch Barney again

We recently got cable TV and a DVR. I don’t really care about the cable but I really wanted the DVR. Mostly because I watch too much TV and if I record my shows I can go to bed earlier and watch them later. And I have watched much less TV. It turns out that when I go to bed earlier I don’t have as much time to watch TV and the shows just pile up on the DVR. I might never have time to watch them.

So far the best application has been with my kids. I set the DVR to record some of my favorite new PBS shows. Have you seen Word World, Super Why and Peep? They are really great (as far as children’s TV goes). Now there is no more whining about not wanting to watch what is on during the brief time I let them watch TV or having to listen to this months favorite movie over and over again. The best part is that Collin loves Super Why and has actually attempted to learn some letters. And I never have to watch or listen to Barney ever again.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


I spent an hour and a half in the Social Security Office yesterday waiting to change my name. Last year, after 6 years of marriage I finally changed my name at that same office. I did it because I needed to get a new driver’s license and they wouldn’t give me one because my full name wasn’t on my social security card. So I thought I might as well add my husband’s last name while I was there. I decided to hyphenate. I knew that it was obnoxious and kind of long but I figured it was a compromise between keeping my old name and dropping it all together. My husband actually thought it was silly and has never wanted me to change it at all.

After I changed it I discovered how very irritating it was. First it was really, really long. So long that it didn’t all fit on the college form or on the ID printed from said form. It is also weird sounding; two long last names don’t exactly roll off the tongue when you mash them together. When I make phone calls to my kid’s schools I have started introducing myself as Marie Hislastname. It just takes too much time to explain to frazzled secretaries that even though my last name is different I actually am Collin’s mom. After doing this for a while I realized that I could use my “married” name socially whenever I needed to even if it wasn’t the one on my driver’s license. So yesterday I went back to the Social Security Office and had the hyphenation removed. I am back to my maiden name and it feels great. So unless it is on a binding legal document you can call me whatever you want. I really don’t care. Unless it is Mrs. Hisfirstname Hislastname. That drives me nuts.

Oh! If you comment on my blog please don't mention any of our last names. Or where we live. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I have a new nephew!

I have a new nephew! Conor John was born to James and Anne (James is Des' brother) he weighed 8lbs 7oz. Isn't he a cutie? I can't believe how big he is! Collin was only 6lbs 6oz and Peter was 7lbs. He is lovely and healthy looking.

Here is a picture of him with his proud Auntie Collette:

Monday, October 1, 2007

Street Fair

Our little neighborhood had a street fair on Saturday. We brought the boys and had a great time. Collin got to meet a fireman

and go up into a huge dirt moving machine.
I swear it was the size of a house. I think Collin really enjoyed it he is absolutely obsessed with trucks and firetrucks.

We walked to and from the fair. Peter fell asleep in the stroller and missed all the fun.

Peter's last day of Preschool

Peter had his last day of his summer preschool this last week. It was a special preschool that helped him talk more and catch up in the areas were he was a little behind. We really loved his teachers but he will be going to another preschool closer to our house and one of his old teachers will do home visits. This is a picture of Peter and Miss Anna.

I took a little video of Peter talking on the phone. First he says that we wants to watch the truck movie and then he gets a phone call.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Autumn in Southern California

This is the time of year that I miss seasons. Having lived in places with seasons as soon as September arrives I feel a sense loss. Where is the crispness in the air, the colorful leaves, the anticipation of snow and hot chocolate? For about a month and a half I want to move. But then I see snowstorms on the news and remember being without power in the dead of winter and I get over it. Our favorite playground has an ocean view. It isn’t so bad living here.

We went to the beach a few nights ago. Here is Peter on the playground. This is Collin on the monkey bars. He can actually do the whole thing, those girls were in the way and he didn't make it and then my camera batteries died. He can even do the ones with the swinging handles. How old is this amazing little monkey you ask? He just turned four. Isn't he amazing?

In other autumn related news both my kids are sick. As soon as they started their new preschools they picked up coughs. Peter even picked up a nice high fever to go with his. Because of this both boys missed school yesterday and I don't think Peter will be going back until Thursday. His preschool has a very strict policy on illness. He has to be fever free for 24 hours before he can return to school. I just hope my kids aren't sick all winter this year like they were last year.

Friday, September 21, 2007

We were supposed to have a storm today. A big storm. With rain. This is a big deal here because it never rains. So this is what a big storm looks like out here. I am very glad that I ignored the forecasters and got a couple loads of laundry hung out.

We are child swapping with some friends tonight. The boys have so much fun playing together! It is crazy having four boys running around. This is Collin and Owen on the slide.

Last week we went to the aquarium with some friends on our last free Wednesday before my boys would be in preschool everyday (I love preschool). We managed to get all five children into the shark cage together for long enough to take a picture. We love going to the aquarium. It is big enough that there is lots to see and do but still small enough that we can see everything in a couple of hours. They also have a tide pool where you can reach your hand in and touch sea creatures. My boys love it.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

This the quilt I made for a friends little baby boy. I really love the fabric - it is Peas and Carrots from American Jane. I have made three baby quilts using this fabric and now it is all gone! I only make baby quilts and lap quilts these days because I don't have the attention span for anything bigger.

I have finally given in to peer pressure and created a blog. Now I just have to find time to actually blog. And think of something to say.