Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Happy Chinese New Year! Every year I make an "authentic" Chinese dinner to celebrate, and every year my kids groan. I almost didn't do it this year, but far be it from me to break from tradition! So, I made the most yummy Oyster Sauced Beef, Dim Sum Ravioli with Special Sauce, and an Asian Salad. Of course we ate with chopsticks and Becca pulled the coffee table around so we ate sitting on the floor (I think it's only Japanese style, but I didn't want to ruin her fun since she wasn't ruining mine!)

Here is the big news: THEY LIKED THE FOOD!! at least two of them did, and one of them tolerated it, which means only one went hungry. :) Andd yes, these photos are among the reasons I am not a food stylist or photographer!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Dreaded Pinewood Derby

Ryan's first Pinewood Derby has come and gone. When my dad was here in December he helped us a little with the shaping and painting of the car, but we know that winning is all in the wheels. So, he offered to bring it to Alaska with him and he'd do the wheels and send it back to us before the race. It just felt a little to much like cheating, so Ryan and I did the wheels ourselves...and I guess they could have used some help.

I have to admit, we don't love the Pinewood Derby. We used to dread it. Now we have just learned to prepare our kids for the worst and if they don't totally come in last place, we are all pleasantly surprised! Ryan got an award for good sportsmanship and I couldn't be more proud. You could say that is like telling a fat person that they have such a pretty face or like telling an uncoordinated athelete that they have such potential, but we take it as a compliment!

Ryan was happy to cheer on his friend that got 2nd place and told him that he was still a winner to him.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Congratulations are in order for Barack Obama. Although I don't agree with most of what he stands for, I will say that I am willing to give him chance and I do hope for the best for our country. I was at the gym this morning, watching the inaugural ceremony, when I looked over and saw a friend who appeared to be moved to tears. Knowing that she is one of the few friends I have in the Bay Area who is not a member of my church who does have the same political values I have, I was caught off guard. I immediately went to her to see what was going on. It seems she is allergic to the gym and her nose always runs when she works out. I am just glad she was not crying out of grief!! So, with the 'audacity of hope', in Obama's words, I look toward the future, knowing that the past election didn't really have any acceptable options for a conservative gal like me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Flute Lesson (or what happened after)

Yesterday while Becca was at her flute lesson Ryan and two of his friends were playing in the fun back yard. Ryan loves to hide back there while Becca works with her teacher. The boys were actually pretty quiet and having lots of fun on their own. When Becca was finished, I had her and the boys hop in the van while I paid her teacher. Becca came running in with wide eyes and frantically whispered in my ear. The conversation went something like this:

Becca: He pooped on the property!
Me: Who did what?!
Becca: (nameless friend) pooped on the property!
Me: Ummmmm. Let me go talk to him and see what happened. Maybe you misunderstood.
(to the flute teacher) Can I have some paper towels so we can clean it up? (she laughingly gave me some.)

So, I go to the van to ask the boy if he did indeed poop in the yard. And that conversation went something like this:

Me: Did you really poop in their yard?
Boy: Well, I had to go!
Me: They do have toilets in the house...you could have come inside...
Boy: I didn't have time.
Me: Do you poop in the yard at your house when you have to go?
Boy: No!
Me: Well, lets go clean it up and next time, just come in, okay?
Boy: Alright (with a good attitude)

So we look for the poop for 10 minutes, until it is too dark to see. We didn't find it. The teacher kindly said not to worry about it and we left, hoping no one else finds it the hard way! If he comes to flute lessons again, I'll make sure to have him use the facilities ahead of time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Poodle People

Ryan and Cabo

It took the kids and I about 5 years to talk Dave into letting us get a dog. When I gave him a choice of a baby or a dog, he agreed to the dog, with the stipulations that he would never have to: walk it, feed it, pick up after it, touch it...etc. So, I found a fantastic breeder (let me know if you are looking a great standard poodle breeder) and we bought the best standard poodle ever! Except, he really likes to eat things. Like polly pockets and legos. And chocolate.

The kids love to dress him in my brothers old hockey jerseys.

A year ago he got into a bag of Valentine chocolates and ate all but 5 hearts, foil and all! Three days later, he threw up the foil so I thought he was fine. (He has an iron system and poops out whole socks, etc.) A few days after the foil came back, I noticed his eyes were swollen and red and he could barely move so I rushed him to the Emergency Vet. I'll just get to the end of the story...3 days in the ER, $6,000, ultrasounds, neck cone, x-rays, surgeries, smelly infections...after about a month, he was good as new! The ultimate diagnosis was dehydration because the chocolate hurt his stomach and he didn't want to drink anything. If he'd just been given an IV he would have been fine in a few hours.

Later, a friend asked me if I hadn't known dogs shouldn't have chocolate. Like I put it in his food bowl with his regular food! I just hadn't realized how far he could reach on the counter, with his pointy nose. He is really a great dog, just a little curious and sniffy.

He needs a haircut.

A little while after he had recovered the 6 of us took him for a walk. I looked at Dave and asked him if he ever imagined his life would turn out like this...on a walk with 4 kids and a very expensive dog...he just smiled and held his tongue. And now we are poodle people. (Just for the record, we have caught Dave throwing an occasional ball for Cabo, when he thinks no one is looking:) )

Cabo doesn't mind wearing whatever the kids put on him. Isn't he cute?

Last Years Model

Have you heard the latest mattress commercials? "Closing out last years models! Hurry in for the best deal of the century!" Last years models? Since when is a mattress like a car? I wonder if my mattress is terribly out of fashion?! I'll have to keep it covered :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Every December we make lots of gingerbread houses. We usually give away a few with all the fun decorating stuff, and we keep four individual ones for the kids and a big one for Dave and I to decorate (not his favorite thing, but he is a good sport!) A tradition we started a few years ago is letting the kids bash theirs in on New Years Eve. Welcome to my zoo!
The finished masterpieces :)

Andy really gets into this demolition stuff.
Ryan looks like an angry elf, doesn't he?!
Alaina was a little more tentative at first.

Karate chop!

Becca in action!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Things My Kids Say...part one of many, I am sure!

"Mom, why are there holes in your face?"
"Holes in my face? What do you mean?"
"You know, all over...there are holes all over your face!"
I run to look in the mirror to see what they are talking about and find the problem.
"Oh, those are just pores. Yours will show too, when you get as OLD as I am!"

The kids and I often say our morning family prayer in the car on the way to school for several reasons. One, we usually forget to say it at home, two, the kids are confined and can't "be there in a minute", and three, I can make sure they start out their school day with good thoughts. So, a few days before the break Ryan offered the prayer and asked for the funniest thing. In the middle of his prayer, he said, "Please bless us that we won't be embarrassed by anything we do." I was able to hold it together until the kids got out of the car, then I laughed all the way home. I love the sweet innocence of their words. I realized I should probably pray for that, too!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Tahoe Fun

We went to our time share at Northstar for a few days and had the most incredible time. Poor Dave has a pinched nerve or herniated disc (we aren't sure which yet) so he wasn't able to enjoy anything, but I took the kids and did everything possible! We made s'mores in the firepit, went in the hot tub, swam in the heated outdoor pool, skiied, watched "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" in a private 18-seat theater, went out for dinner, ice skated, played tons of games, watched "Wall-E", finished the Book of Mormon, and had whipped cream , with a little bit of hot chocolate :)!! All in two days!
A rare moment with Dave out of the condo, with high hopes that the hot tub would make him feel better...it didn't.
In the incredible 18-seat private theater, enjoying popcorn and hot chocolate. All four of the kids loved skiing, especially because of the sunny weather.

Mom and Alaina at the top of the Zephyr Lift.
Becca is a little daredevil and only had a few falls. She had a great attitude!
Ryan and Alaina took a little break to build this snowman while Andy, Becca and I went to the terrain park.
The Skiing Sisters.The girls and I ice skated while the boys played with Andy's new phone and waited for our table.

We had dinner at the Rubicon and brought Dave some pizza. Ryan didn't want to be in the picture, but you can still see the top of his head.

We had the best weather and made some great memories. I don't think I have ever been so grateful to see a parking garage (I have a little phobia!) as when I saw the signs saying "lot full" and "paid parking lot full". We drove right up to the garage and were happily greeted with "Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Bain! Take any spot and we'll take your things up to your condo for you." And they did. They brought all of our ski equipment to the Ski Valet and in the morning they met us at the lift with it, so we didn't even have to carry anything! Amazing service...they even popped popcorn and brought it to us in the private theater. The kids were in heaven, especially since they could operate the movie on the huge screen and replay all of their favorite scenes. And their in house masseuse didn't have any time available after the lift closed, so she gave me a massage during the movie. What a perfect way to end a fun family trip. I only wish Dave could have enjoyed himself, but we think he is on the mend now, after 4 doctor visits.