About Me

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I'm a hand-holding, swing-pushing, story-telling Mama with a creative streak and a nurturing spirit. I like growing food and flowers (and people, hehe), sewing clothes and quilts, cooking and eating and running, a long, tight hug and the color yellow. I love date nights at home, spontaneous trips to the bookstore and hearing my babies laugh. I am indecisive, exaggerrative and I overuse parentheses. I am reflective and sentimental and quick to laugh. I think I still picture myself as a 22-year old, yet every year my life gets more fulfilling. I am still figuring out exactly who I am. :)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Memorable Moments of the Year

10. Barack Obama's acceptance speech (lots of tears and joy)

9. Noah's team winning the Buchanan tournament!

8. Closing escrow on our house!

7. Moving Claire to her big-girl bed.

6. First annual Minton family camping trip (the four of us in a two-man tent!)

5. Teaching/listening to Claire spell her name.

4. Seeing Alex for the first time...he was tiny, he was having trouble breathing, he was bloody, he was mine. :)

3. Having a child old enough to be excited for Christmas (ok, mostly Santa and snowman decorations on people's lawns)

2. Holding Alex for the first time...four days after he was born.

1. When they told us Alexander could come home from the hospital- I cried and laughed and couldn't contain my joy!!!

11 months!

He wasn't awake at 9:01am, but Claire and I were, and of course we whispered "Happy birthday, buddy!" as we peeked into his room.

p.s. the faux-hawk is completely au-natural, hehe. Maybe someday his hair will lay down!

Monday, December 29, 2008

In no particular order...

...my favorite pages of 2008. (click each one if you would like to see bigger!)









Goodbye Christmas



The lights and decorations are taken down and boxed up, the tree ready to be taken away and composted, the needles cleaned up from the carpet, the packaging of our goodies in the recycle bin.

Goodbye Christmas! We'll see you next year!

the girl loves to eat...

...always has (you don't become a 23 pound six-month-old by just munching), and I suspect, always will. Fine by me- I'd rather teach her how to eat healthily than worry about whether she's eating enough (been there, done that with Alex when he was born. Not fun.)

Her latest thing is "crackers in a bag," which I have her once when we had to get to an early morning doctor visit. She loved it and it stuck. The crackers can't be in a bowl; they have to be in a ziploc bag. Now she's branched out to raisins and blueberries, but wheat thins are the perennial favorite.

Even now, at 9pm, she's standing at her door begging me for crackers in a bag. "Hungry, mama, hungry," she whines. So I go in with a cup of water and she says "crackers in a BAG!" (you have to picture the arms shooting into the air and the head turning upward when she happily emphasizes "bag." It's her thing, and I love it.) "No, sorry, Claire," I say. "We already had dinner, no more food tonight." So she tries again- "breakfast?" accompanied by a sweet smile and inquisitive head slant. Does she think she's already slept and it is morning already? Tee hee, she cracks me up.

Water sufficed, but only, I suspect, because I told her she could have two crackers in a bag tomorrow.

(And right now she is singing Jingle Bells- "jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, hey hey!") I'd say she's happily looking forward to said crackers in a bag. :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Would You Do?

I feel for telemarketers. I do. But this one I had today seriously got on my nerves.

For starters, we were eating dinner. Then the very nice gentleman gives me his schpeel (what is that word anyway, and how do you spell it?) about PAL (Partners at Learning), and how it is so worthy and helps keep kids out of gangs...I know it's a great program and I would love to donate hundreds to every worthwhile organization I happen across, but there are not enough dollars in the bank account.

Then he says, "You're in Fresno, right? I hear there are lots of gangs up there, PAL could really help in your neighborhood." Should I have taken offense to that? I don't know.

I politely let him tell me all about this program and then politely say, "I'm so sorry, but no I cannot commit to any donation at this time."

You think that would be enough. But no. He keeps talking, like telling me another aspect of the program would change my mind.

Again, "I'm very sorry, but we already give to several organizations (not a lie- we give money to March of Dimes, Children's Hospital Central California and one other one which I'm blanking on...) and we just cannot afford more right now."

Again, more attempts at persuasion; "How about just $25.00. It sounds like a little but it really does a lot of good." So I say "Actually, that is a lot of money for us right now, so, no, I'm sorry not today. Could you possibly send me some information and maybe we can help out then?" Apparently they don't do that.

He must have reframed the same question, and I my same answer at least five times (Noah says ten).

I just could not bring myself to hang up on him.

One time I did hang up on a telemarketer. Both kidlets were crying and this woman was incomprehensibly droning on and on about something after I had politely refused to contribute (several times) so I said, "I'm very sorry, but my kids are crying and I need to take care of them." She says something like, "I understand, but for just $15..." I couldn't take it anymore. "I'm very sorry but I'm hanging up, I need to take care of my kids..." and as I was hanging up she was still talking. It about killed me to hang up on someone still talking to me, but I was incredibly annoyed.

Anyway, I just hate saying "no" especilly when it is not well-received.

At the library

I love taking Claire and Alexander to the library.

Today I told Claire that she had to take a really good nap because when she woke up we were going to go to the library, and she said "OK!!!" (that's my girl). When we were about to leave, I said "Claire, here's your book bag," and gave her this canvas tote bag. I didn't realize until we got to the library and she handed it to me and I found a book inside...she must have gotten it from her shelf when I told her it was her book bag! Hehe.

We loaded up her book bag and mine with lots of books (some noteworthy, some strange, all fun!), all of which we pored over before dinner and then again before bed.

I had $15.00 in fines (wha????), which I promptly paid because I heard on John Tesh's Intelligence for your Life (don't laugh. ok go ahead, I'm laughing at myself) that libraries can report your fines to the credit bureaus thus potentially adverselly affecting your credit score. This I did not want to happen as we have worked hard for that number and would be furious if a library fine lowered it. Eeek! What is it with me and library fines? I probably still have one at the Moreno Valley library. Ooh, I should try to pay thay...wouldn't want that coming back to haunt me. :)

over the (Tehachapi) hills and through the (Mojave) desert, to grandmother's house we go...

...aka, the time we survived eleven hours in the car in a single day with a two-year-old and a ten-month-old!

Yep, we did it, and it was worth it to see Gramma!
Claire fell asleep for a bit on the way to Palm Desert, but most of the time, she was awake and singing and/or looking outside and exclaiming "Snow!" and "Dirt! Lots of dirt! I climb dirt with Opa!" ("dirt" referred to both distant mountains, nearby hills and roadside dirt. And she did indeed climb dirt with Opa, last week at their house.) (I've been looking at the word "dirt" so much the past few minutes it no longer looks like a word. I love when that happens!)

And this little buddy was pretty content the whole way (all five-and-a-half hours), occupied by Claire's Elmo backpack (every square centimeter of which he examined with his index finger and thumb), the passing scenery (to which he was not privy when he was in the middle seat) and Claire's shenanigans. He thinks she is the funniest thing, always laughing and smiling at her, and this ride was no exception.

Pictures by the huge Christmas tree in the clubhouse


Alex in the highchair at dinner...he enjoyed sharing my delicious salad and his (and my!) very first crepe. It was delicious, filled with chicken, spinach and (gasp!) mushrooms. I always say I don't like mushrooms, but the truth is that I had never tried them before. I judged a mushroom by it's cover and didn't give it a chance. :) I may not ever eat mushrooms again, but that mushroom-filled crepe was delish. My prejudice has lessened. Somewhat. :)

Pretty girl, pretty party dress, pretty ribbon. Lots of prettiness.


Back at Gramma's condo, Alexander Bo-Bander Banana-Fanna-fo-Fander showed off his standing skills...

...until he crashed on my shoulder after a long day.

And this little girl...well, lets just say she probably consumed more sugar this night that she ever has in her 27 months on this earth (it probably came close to that day at Nana's when she gorged on candy canes, much to my chagrin). So many delicious sweets were set out on the table, and she could reach ALL of them. I wanted to hide all the desserts, but other people may have gotten upset. :) I figured, hey, it's the holiday season, we'll go back to refusing her sweets of any kind after Christmas. :) She was not shy at all, which surprised me, considering there were many people she can't possibly have remembered meeting two years ago. Dancing all around, driving little cars across the carpet and couches and people (eek, I did NOT approve of that!), playing with Uncle Nathan and Cousin Porter...I think she had fun.

One of my favorite moments of the night came during the gift exchange. This year we made it simple and all brought either a cd or dvd for the exchange. Gramma opened "Mama Mia," and I was like, "ooh, I really want that one, but I don't want to steal it from Gramma." Then I thought, "hey, that's the name of the game, and I REALLY want that movie." So on my turn I politely informed Gramma that I was going to steal her movie (all in good fun). Then Gramma picked a new gift, which turned out to be..."Mama Mia"! We were all cracking up at the coincidence. Next up, Courtney. She says she would like "Mama Mia" but is too nice to steal from either me or Gramma, so she picks a new present from the pile. She opens..."Mama Mia!" No lie. Next up...Elke. I can't remember exactly how this one went, if she had one stolen from her and had to pick a new one or if this was her first turn, but in any case, she opens a new gift from the pile and gets...you guessed it, "Mama Mia!" I mean, seriously, what are the odds??? Hehe, it was fun. And I got to keep my choice!

Noah picked "Kung Fu Panda," which he stole from Isaac, but hopefully Isaac wasn't too mad because then he stole "Friends: Season 10" (one of the ones we brought) from Aunt Julianne, who had been trying to get someone to take it off her hands all evening, hehe.

Claire and Alex got some really cool gifts too, from Alexander's Steiff Santa bear and dragonfly sleeper to Claire's Steiff Clara bear and twirly patchwork skirt (which, by the way, will match perfectly the light blue mary janes I bought her not too long ago!)

We left at 7pm and got home around 12:30am. In the interim, Alex fell asleep and was awoken by a wound-up Claire singing songs and being loud in general, we stopped at the gas station at the bottom of the Grapevine to feed Alex, we stopped at a gas station about 40 minutes from home when the fuel light went on, we listened to Joe Satriani's "Strange Beautiful Music" far too many times ("Songs!" Claire asked if we turned down the volume) and hoped we would get home before the expected storm hit (we did).


We all just about fell into bed when we got home. It felt like we had been gone far more than a day. I can't imagine how tired Noah must have been (he drove the entire way).

A memorable day. :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

hehe.

That's all I've got to say about that. :)

Ni-Night Angel Girl

Thumb in mouth, sleeper unzipped so the shoes can go on, puddle of drool, a book close by...yup, that's Claire Bear at bedtime. Sleep tight, Angel.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

well that sucked.

Here I am making brownies for 150 students for Noah to bring to work tomorrow (last day before winter break). That's a lot of brownies people.

Mistake #1: making them from scratch

Mistake #2: tripling the recipe

Mistake #3: talking on the phone whilst mixing ingredients

Mistake #4: Not letting the eggs (9 of them) sit at room temperature before whipping them in

Mistake #5: whisking in sugar and eggs at the same time instead of sugar first, then eggs

Mistake $6: lining the pan with wax paper (I think I thought it was parchment paper? Yeah, we'll go with that)

Result: A sheet of brownies ruined by the fact that the wax paper melted into the brownies. (And even if they didn't have melted wax in them, they still don't taste good, so I wouldn't send them with Noah.)

DUH!!! How did I not anticipate that??? It's like when I was a kid and mom had me put the enchiladas she had prepared into the oven. Only I didn't take the saran wrap off and, well, similar situation to my brownies. What is it with me?

Sometimes my lack of common sense appalls me.

Now I'm off to make 150 chocolate chip cookies as my replacement baked good. I just know I can't mess these up...

...or can I?

laugh out loud funny...

...seriously, I'm tearing up from laughing too hard and trying to keep it quiet because the kidlets are asleep. :)

Check it out. You won't be sorry.


www.cakewrecks.blogspot.com (copy and paste because I can't figure out how to link it up here)

sounds pretty unlikely to me

In general, I adopt a reasonably optimistic attitude regarding contests and giveaways (with the exception of the lottery. Thinking you might win is never reasonable). I mean someone's got to win, right?

The local radio station playing the Christmas music advertises one they call "Have yourself a green Christmas." All you have to do is call in and have a driver's license whose last four numbers match the randomly chosen numbers in the super-secret envelope, and you win $50,000. Are they kidding us? What are the odds??? Think about it. There are ten digits (o-9) to choose from, and they have to not only be the same as the four in the envelope, but also be in the same order! I should know how to figure out the exact odds of winning (something with permutations adn combinations, right?). I might ask Noah when he gets home tonight, because I'm dying to know my chances of winning. :)

On another topic, I have considered being a P.C.E. (Professional Contest Enterer). I mean think about it. I could scour the radio, the internet, magazines, for "no purchase necessary" contests and enter them. I'd be bound to win!! It would be awesome, hehe.

I busted out with the "young lady"



I mean just look at that face, the hand about to rip that poor angel ornament off the tree...she's trouble.

So last week, she was having a 'tude and I told her she needed to go to her room if she was going to cry because Alex and I didn't want to hear it. Instead, she walked over to the mi-mas (Christmas) tree and yanked out the lights plug from the socket.

"We do NOT pull out plugs from the wall, YOUNG LADY!!!" I boomed from the kitchen, which freaked Claire out (mission accomplished) because I rarely yell, and she went racing off to her room, crying all the way.

Totally brought me back to when I was a kid and how mom and dad called us girls "young lady" when we were in trouble (not that we ever got into trouble or anything...)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oy

he just barely (it seems) figured out how to pull himself up to standing and now he's already cruising (aka taking steps while holding onto something for support)? Wha????

What's next? Ok, I know what's next. Walking. EEEEEK!

Christmas Luncheon at Nana's

She loved this Christmas tree. Why, you ask? Well, because it's got a super cool train that drives around and through the mountain (always reminds me of the matterhorn :)

Love this even through the blurriness!

Lining up Uncle Nathan's cars and trucks...she played like this for hours!

What can I say, the girl loves bread!

More of "the pose!"

What a mischief-maker, getting into the candy canes, hehe.

Let me tell you, she had a few too many candy canes. It's ok, sometimes the rules are stretched at Nana's. :)

photos from a hailstorm



Hey, I've got some hyacinth bulbs underneath that mud- be careful hail!

Wow, our backyard looks kind of cute in this one. Maybe someday it will in real life. :)