Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Vacation Meets The Partridge Family

Chevy Chase and Shirley Jones? No, it's us going to San Diego for Christmas. In an effort to cut down on all of the STUFF that these little people have (Really, what do they need?!), we have instituted "experiences" as gifts, as opposed to lots of stuff that accumulates and fills up the rooms and then I hear Aurea swearing in Spanish about all the STUFF she has to put away. Santa showed up a little early this year to accommodate Mom and Dad's schedule (that's me and Kevin, not Linda and Perry or Cathy and Paul to those of you who may be siblings and get confused easily). We left on the Tuesday before Christmas without telling the children where we were going. They had their suspicions that it might be San Diego, but we drove by a few signs that pointed to Mexico, and Olivia flat out refused to go there because that's where one of her classmates, Isa, went for Christmas, and she did not want to be anywhere near her. I told them we were going to Yuma. which is along the way, so when we stopped there for lunch, they were thoroughly underwhelmed. If you've ever wondered what the term "lone and dreary world" might look like, may I suggest a trip to California. Not the coast, because that's beautiful, but the trip from Phoenix to LA or San Diego is very brown and boring. We got to San Diego (there were a lot of "I knew it"s! coming from the back seats) and drove in to our friends condo, which they very graciously allowed us to stay in. He's has a sink company and is an interior designer. The sinks are beautiful that he sells, not just dull porcelain sinks, so the inside of the condo is decorated exquisitely. But not child friendly. I saw the floor length mirrors, white leather couch AND white leather dining bench and shouted "Don't touch anything! Put your hands up!" for the first ten minutes we were there. Then I relaxed a little and decided that they could put their hands down. But still not touch anything. We got settled in, but then had a hard time finding a grocery store. The condo is in downtown San Diego, so we saw a 7-11 on every corner, but no grocery stores. We finally found one, but realized, it may have been cheaper just to shop at the 7-11. We went to Legoland, which is very interesting and fun. They had their version of the teacups, which of course, all of my children, except Blake (too little) went on. Kevin happily stayed on the sidelines, which meant that I got to spin that little cup as fast as my children could handle, which is pretty fast. Dillan got a lego set that he doesn't have at home (is that possible?). The girls got their faces painted when Dillan and I were on a ride they didn't want to go on. Those girls can talk their dad into just about anything! There was a Sea Life Park attached to it, that of course Jr. Marine Biologist wanted to go to. He pointed out and identified all sorts of sea life. That's when we discovered Jr. Marine Biologist Jr. Blake seems to be falling in his brother's footsteps. We could have just gone there and he would have been happy.
The next day, we did just that. We went to Sea World, which I love. It was all Christmas-y with everyone saying "Happy Holidays" to each other. I have often wondered about theme parks being open on Christmas and Christmas Eve, because I thought it wouldn't be as crowded. And it wasn't with people like us. We were in the minority. More teacups at Sea World!
This one, Blake could go on, and I feel it important to introduce him to spinning action early. He loved it! My favorite part at Sea World was when we were at one of the aquariums which happened to have a ship in it, and a 7 year oldish boy comes running up and says "Look at all that shi-, I mean fish." We all got a giggle out of that little slip up.
A Christmas tradition that we have is pajamas left at the door by Santa the night before. Olivia squealed with delight when she discovered that Santa had gotten her pajamas with long sleeves. How did he know that's what she wanted! She sang to the tune of Santa Claus is Coming to Town "He knows what size you are." That's my girl.
Waking up on Christmas morning and not having the chaos that usually ensues is quite an odd feeling. It was much more peaceful and enjoyable. Kevin took the kids down to the beach while I cleaned up any trace that the Partridges may have left at the condo. Have I mentioned how much I love this boy?

Or that this girl has just a touch of sassy in her?

The drive back home was like a little Christmas gift to me: no arguments or whining/ complaining. That could be because I told them that it was up to them how quickly we got home to see if Santa had shown up. If there was discord, Kevin would slow down, but as long as there was peace, he would drive at a high (safe) rate of speed. I may try this tactic more often.
Santa did show up, thanks to Morgan and Geoffrey Waldrom. Blake's exciting toy was a train, Olivia's was a bike. They got a joint present of an outdoor playhouse for them. Chloe got another American Girl doll, Dillan got Legos.
Your eyes are not deceiving you. That is a halo on Kevin. I finally caught it on camera. My exciting present was a Snuggie! No joke. I squealed with delight. Kevin did not get the surfboard he wanted, but floor seats to the Suns vs. Lakers game the following Monday (the Suns won) which he took Dillan to. Plus, I now have TWO copies of Handel's Messiah, thanks to my mom.
Now it's over and the part that I dread the most about Christmas is here....putting it all away. Ugh. Someone should come up with a business where they will take the tree down and organize it. Man, that'd be awesome.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Christmas Miracle

This really happened last week, so it is a preChristmas miracle, and if I was a good mom, I would be blogging about the fun the kids had for Christmas, but that is not what this blog is about. So, for a little background, for those of you who are new to this blog, I am training for a marathon, which is scheduled for January 17, and as part of my training, I have a few long 20 milers that I run through Scottsdale, which has been called "Snotsdale" by Phoenicians and elsewhereians because of its higher income residents. About five miles into the run, I had to stop for a carb boost, opened my Camelbak, saw my phone, and kept on running. I run all along this path, which is quite beautiful and serene and makes me forget that I live in a desert and that I am considered crazy by those who know and love me. There are all kinds of people along the path, bikers, fellow runners, kids, grandparents watching the kids because the parents are at work to afford the lifestyle that they choose, and lawn maintenance people (I usually give them an extra special wave. They could be Kevin's employees one day). There are also a couple of golf courses and man made lakes. When I got back to my car, and inhaled some Twizzlers that I had in the car (no joke. Not the best recovery food, but it was the only thing that I had on hand), I reached into my pack for my phone to call the family to let them know that once again, I had not been mauled by a javelina. Or golf ball. It was at that point that I discovered, it was gone! Those of you who have done an endurance feat like this can empathize with the idea of having to retrace my steps to locate the phone, which I happened to need that night to work. Instead of freaking out and running back, I said a prayer and drove home. I would now like to mention how nice that drive was home. There was not the slightest potential of a phone call. I should have driven slower. The second I walked in the door, Chloe was there to announce that a gentleman named Karl had found my phone and that Kevin had picked it up from him! It had fallen out by the lake, but fortunately, on the side of a very fancy restaurant and not in the water. Which made my babysitter question if I had eaten at the fancy restaurant after my run. Thank you, Karl, for calling "Big Daddy" (I don't know how he knew that was my husband), and not throwing the phone in the lake. P.S. The next post will have something to do with the children and not me. I promise. Even if I have to make it up.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Fears of Running

I had a 20 mile run on Friday as I prepare for my nice friendly 26.2 mile run with Emz which my favorite sisters will be there to cheer me on. I found a new route that I was so super excited to find, because even though it is in Scottsdale and I worry that I may not fit in there with my post four children untummy tucked tummy flashing (horrors!) loose skin, (it was covered, but sometimes my shirt creeps up a little and I get self conscious because of said loose skin in a nonloose skin area), the path was flat, little traffic, and looooong, which is important for that length of run. As I ran I thought about all of the things that I fear during a run, which change when I run in Phoenix as opposed to Scottsdale. Here they are in descending order, least to most:
Lizards (Just a little startling)
Bad guys
Speeding drivers
Serious runners making me look bad

Old drivers
People walking, talking, and texting on their phone
Bad guys (they are not indigenous to Phoenix)
Runners who are just trying to look good
Javelinas (given way too may rabies injections to post Javelina attack victims from Scottsdale)

These things will not stop me, because once I set my mind to something, that's it. Nothing's gonna stop me now.
So, you better get used to seeing untethered skin,Scottsdale, because now that I have found this run, I will be there once a week to burn it up.
Speaking of loose skin and burns, on more than one occasion when I was working in the burn unit, we had people call in to ask if they could donate their leftover skin from their tummy tuck to the burn victims. In case you were thinking of doing this, the answer is no.
P.S. For those of you who are not long distance runners, I do think Forrest Gump while I'm running. It's hard not to.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Handel who?

A tradition in at the Phoenix Symphony, and many other places around the world, is to participate in the Christmas classic Handel's Messiah in a sing a long, because it is so beautiful and is all about our Savior and his birth. It truly is a masterpiece and glorious. I invited my dear daughter, Chloe, to come with me to the sing a long this upcoming Sunday (initially she questioned me on this action until I assured her that it is Sabbath appropriate since it's all about Jesus) and then set out to find the music so she could familiarize herself with the lyrics and melody. This task did not seem difficult because it is the Christmas season, so I felt this would be easily acquired. I started at Target, not there. Next, Best Buy, since they have a larger selection. Blake and I perused the holiday music section, and I saw plenty of "A Cowboy's Christmas", but no Messiah. A seasoned Best Buy associate (fiftyish in age) walked by and asked if I needed any assistance, and I told him I couldn't find Handel's Messiah. "Is it new?" he asked. Dumbfounded pause. "No," I said. "It's been around for a while." Are you kidding me?! He was PLENTY old enough to know it. So, he called for back up, since this was beyond his area of expertise. Along came a twentyish year old associate. The older associate asked him if they carried Handel's Messiah. "Uh, I haven't heard of that one, which isn't a good sign that we have it." I couldn't take it anymore! I did what I know best. I started singing "For unto us a child is born/ Unto us/ A Son is given...." They both lookd at me, clueless. I tried a diferent song. "Ha-lellujah! Ha-lellujah!" "Oh!" says the younger one. "That's from Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswoll plugs in the lights and they finally work!" My faith in all that is good and decent in this world plummetted. He said he would check the computer to see if they had it, which I knew meant "No". Hmph. I left there empty handed. Tried Borders. Nope (but at least this fortyish year old associate knew what it was.). I came home and relayed this story to Kevin and he reminded me that my father in law had experienced the same difficulty a couple of years ago when he was here visiting (feel free to post your experience about this, Paul) and came up against the same ignorance of this masterpiece. So, now I am left wondering, Is this a Phoenix phenomenon, or is it nationwide? If any of you have experiemced this outside of the great state of Arizona, let me know. Fortunately, I know where to allocate said CD. New Zion, aka Mesa, which is where I happen to be going tomorrow anyway, has it for me.