Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Bumblebee Boogie

I couldn't resist posting a photo of Julia all decked out and ready for her very first dance recital. I'm sure all parents think their children did a wonderful job, but Julia really did!

She danced the "Bumblebee Boogie" with about a dozen other children, many of whom froze when they saw the audience (looking adorable nonetheless). Julia never missed a beat and even helped direct the girls who forgot what to do.

I was not in favor of this recital, as I thought it was taking itself way too seriously. The dance studio rented out the Lancaster Performing Arts Center (a real theater) and the list of rules we parents had to follow in readying our children for the dress rehearsal and performance were extensive. We even had to pay $18 a ticket to watch the show! At age 5, I would far prefer to see her perform in her studio, watching from a folding chair. But, no, we were swept into this "professional performance". Julia was so excited, however, that it was difficult to not go along with it.

As I sat there this afternoon, watching not just Julia and the tiny bumblebees, but hundreds of other children ranging all the way to high school age, my attitude flipped. How nice for the kids that someone thought highly enough of their efforts to put together such an organized and polished show. I could see on their faces that they thought they were a really big deal and, you know what? They were!

So, congratulations, Julia on your dancing debut. You were truly the bee's knees!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Last night I went with my mom to see Wicked at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Wow, what a show!

I have always liked musicals, especially big productions like Les Miserables, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, and The Lion King, but it has been many years since I have seen one as wonderful as this. Great material, incredible performers, and amazing sets made for a truly fantastic night out.

I didn't know much about the story before we went, which made it all the more surprisingly wonderful. It is the untold story of the friendship between Glinda the Good Witch of the North and the Wicked Witch of the West (who really isn't wicked at all, just misunderstood).

It was fun, too, to be out in Hollywood. Although we live quite close to Los Angeles, I don't get there much. Each time I go I am reminded how fun it can be to catch the vibe of a big city. We had a great Italian dinner (Gnocchi Quattro Formaggi, mmmm) and went people watching at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. The feeling of old-time Hollywood is alive and well there on the Walk of Fame. Although not a fan, I was touched to see the flowers, candles and cards left on George Carlin's star.

If you get the chance, I definitely recommend Wicked (and a night out in general). It is well worth your time!

Monday, June 23, 2008


I have been battling big, fat, green worms in my corn. They are attempting to spread to my tomatoes as well, but so far I've kept them at bay. Each morning I go outside and, while I'm watering, I conduct a thorough worm inspection, removing any I see. At first they were decimating the corn leaves, but for the last few days I have been thinking that I have, at last, the upper hand.

Today, as I was admiring the new, healthy growth in the center of the corn stalks, I noted the biggest, fattest worm yet, just getting ready to eat a lace pattern into the same healthy growth I had just been gazing fondly at. How dare he! As I bent over to locate a stick with which to remove him, a giant wasp buzzed by my head. I was horrified and immediately began to wave him away. Until I saw where he was headed.

He ignored me and nose dived directly to the corn stalk where the worm was perched. Before I could blink, he had bit that worm in half and was busy sucking up his juicy, green body. HA! I was positively delighted.

The wasp community has a new!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Kids Run the Ballpark

Regular readers of this blog know how much I enjoy our local Class A ball team,The Jethawks. I have mentioned before how down-home and community-oriented the games are, yet with big-league quality baseball. Well, the Jethawks have impressed me again!

A few nights ago was "Kids Run the Baseball Park" night so, of course, I signed my kids up. As members of the Jr. Jethawks Club, they got to chose which job they might like to do at the stadium for the evening. When I arrived at the park the four older kids were whisked off to their jobs and I sat down with the two little ones and watched the show (Jay was traveling and unfortunately missed it).

Lindsey was a ticket taker and enthusiastically ripped tickets for nearly two hours. She got to greet everyone entering the stadium but later mentioned that she didn't get to see much of the game. True enough!

Julia worked the cash register in the gift shop and earned a Jethawks cap and a baseball for her efforts. She also got to see the super-secret inventory room upstairs that, apparently, was quite a big deal in the eyes of the other participants.

Joey was security detail for Kaboom, the mascot. He escorted him everywhere he went, handled crowd control for autographs and hugs and had fun tossing out balls and prizes to kids around the park on Kaboom's behalf.

Sam got to be in the press box, announcing the upcoming batters. "Batting for the Jethawks, number 17, Josh Reddick." He got to do this for an entire inning and did a fantastic job, even with the hard names. He had the headphones on, worked the buttons himself, and looked completely professional in the booth. Unfortunately, the great picture I took of him at work did not get saved (I only had my cell phone and I'm not too adept at taking pictures with it) so I can't show you. Next year!

As it turns out, I, too, did not see much of the game as newly-potty-trained Tony dragged me to the bathroom six times in the first three innings. Just for fun. (His, not mine.)

Next up for the Jr. camp. They get to spend a morning working on their baseball skills with the Jethawks players. Can't wait!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Nonconformist

Lucky is breaking the mold, setting a new trend, already an individual.

Apparently, no one told this baby that, according to Di Silvestri pattern, it was supposed to be a boy. Because, you see, she is a beautiful, perfect, adorable girl!

So, the incredible boy-girl pattern has come to an end, and the girls, for now, are dominant in the family.

I went to Los Angeles today for a Level 2 Ultrasound (warranted by my "advanced maternal age" of 36) and could not believe how detailed the imaging is now compared to the Level 2 I had just 3 years ago with Tony. We could clearly see her little body, her perfect nose, even the expressions that passed across her face. All fingers and toes were counted, the chambers of the heart were shown to be functioning properly, and the umbilical cord vessels were accounted for. She looks wonderful.

How blessed we are to have an evidently healthy new little daughter. Even if she is already refusing to follow the rules!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Summertime and the Living is Easy

No one loves summer more than me. Not even the kids who hate school, I'm sure of it. Because they don't have to make themselves lunches, fill out permission slips, keep track of school supplies, communicate with teachers, make sure it's not a special uniform or free dress day, and be the homework Nazi in the evening. So they have to sit there and learn for a few hours each day...BIG DEAL! It's nothing compared to what us mothers have to endure in the name of their education!

Today was our first official day of summer and you know what we did? Nothing! That's right, nothing. And it was wonderful. The kids and I just hung out, doing our regular chores in a nice, relaxed manner. We pulled some weeds, took out the trash, swept the patio and did some laundry. We read some books, watched some Spongebob and laughed a whole bunch. How wonderful it is to slow down and enjoy these amazing gifts that are my children!

Here's to many more days exactly like this one during this all-too-short season of the year.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Burning Love of the Brotherhood

As I have mentioned many times in this blog, Jay is an active member of the Knights of Columbus. He belongs to a particularly vibrant council, and many days of our month are filled with Knights-sponsored social activities for our whole family to enjoy.

Jay feels as if these men are his brothers. He feels secure knowing that if anything ever happened to him that our family would be surrounded by their care and support. The Knights take care of their own; they watch each others backs and those of their loved ones.

Case in point:

At the Knight's family BBQ on Saturday afternoon, Tony had the misfortune of stepping on a red ant hill that had emerged under the kids' swings on the back lot of the Knights' Hall. This was our first outdoor event of the year and, evidently, the ants had really established themselves over the dormant months.

Poor Tony. He had a literal case of ants in his pants. Those things were running up his legs, over and in his diaper, and all over his feet and legs. Now, under normal circumstances, Tony is extremely squeamish about bugs. In this circumstance, he was hysterical. I stripped him, brushed them all off and finally calmed him down. They weren't fire ants, thank goodness, just really large (1/4 inch) and scary looking, so he was back to playing with the other kids before long.

As far I was concerned, the event was over. One of the Knights had put up yellow caution tape around the swing set to keep the kids out and I figured that was about it. But then I noticed the rumbling, the activity, the electricity in the air. Those ants had bothered the WRONG kid. The Knights were mobilizing.

First came the ant poison. One of them marched right up the hill and poured a hefty amount of some toxic powder down the hill. Five or six Knights gathered around to see how effective this was and the general conclusion was that it was not enough. Next came the shovels and spray hose. Again, no satisfaction. Hoards of Knights were now gathered around the ant hill, arguing and gesturing wildly. Finally, out came the gasoline can and the torch. I kid you not.

Those Knights, bless them, poured gasoline down that ant hill and torched it. You should have heard their roar of satisfaction as they crisped the ants that had dared to hurt our Tony. They were men on a mission and they were not going to stop until those ants were obliterated.

Clouds of black, probably toxic smoke poured downwind (away from the rest of us, thank goodness!) straight to the neighboring fire station. We all watched semi-frozen as the door to the fire station opened up and emitted a fire engine. Which, of course, came straight to us.

Now it was back to the shovels. That sand was flying. Before the truck arrived the fire was out, the ants were finished and the Knights were looking innocent, milling around the yard as if nothing had ever happened. The fire truck slowed down, looked at us all suspiciously and then returned to the station.

You have never seen a pack of men more satisfied with themselves. There was back slapping. There was high-fiving. There was, of course, much celebratory drinking.

You've gotta love those guys.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Burned

It's a good thing when an 8 year old learns to make brownies all by herself, and that's just what Lindsey did yesterday. She did a great job! I supervised, but from a distance, letting her do everything all by matter how much it made me cringe to see things spill.

It's a bad thing when you think your supervising is done and you step outside to water the garden, convinced that all is well in the oven. After all, when you left the temperature was set properly and the brownies were safely baking away. All you asked was that your 10 year old set the timer for 30 minutes, something he assured you he knew how to do.

It's a burned thing when you return inside 15 minutes later to a horrible smell. A quick check of the oven reveals that someone pushed the self-clean button instead of the timer button. You discover that you are locked out of the oven due to the obscenely high temperature within. There is nothing you can do except turn it off and wait the 20 minutes it takes for the oven to cool enough to release the door lock.

It's a miracle when you discover that, underneath the black crust which is easily peeled off, lie the moistest, most delicious, gooey brownies you have ever tasted.

It's totally predictable when Joey, the oven culprit, claims genius status for discovering this new brownie baking strategy. Everyone can't wait to repeat it. Except me.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

To Be Counted Among the Questions I Thought I'd Never Be Asked

In the middle of a lesson on fossils, Joey asks...

"Mom, are there still places where people get slapped with fish?"

Huh?! It provides, I'm afraid, only a hint of how far his mind wanders during our lessons.