Notes from California, Disneyland Edition

AWOL Mama checking in here! I’m still alive, just on vacation with the family. I’ve got a log jam of words banging around in my head from not writing for so many days, but this is going to be quick anyway. We’ve logged onto a wi-fi somewhere in Anaheim, and I’m doing a stealth posting on a pirate airwave on a borrowed computer from a hotel right, and I do mean right, across the street from Disneyland. We are here! Hooray! The babies are all asleep, worn out from their first day in the magic kingdom…

Pirating an airwave isn’t illegal, is it? I mean, it’s air, right? And pirates go with Disneyland, so Yo Ho, a pirates life for me! This is my first trip to Disneyland since new years eve 1999-2000- the longest stretch of my life without going to the park. My family are all Disney freaks- right now there are 10 of us in a family suite at the hotel, and uncle Freddy isn’t even here.

The best part of this trip is seeing my children light up with joy at the same things I loved as a kid. After a little trepidation, my kids were so totally gung-ho for all the rides. Jeffrey even rode Big Thunder Mountain, smooshed between my both brothers, with his hands high in the air. Eric was delighted with Dumbo and with the Buzz Lightyear ride. Abby slept and burped and didn’t care much for the blops of water that splashed on her in Pirates of the Caribbean, but otherwise has been most agreeable.

It is flippin HOT here, and I think I have sweated about a gallon pushing around babies in strollers, but I have a lot of help from my family, so three kids without the husband in Disneyland isn’t the disaster it has the potential to be. Tomorrow I’m seriously considering going out and buying a new stroller just for this trip- I have the new Silver Cross I bought a few weeks ago with us, and it is awesome, but Eric is using that and I have Abby in an older Peg Perego I borrowed from my cousin- and it’s not working so hot for five days in Disneyland. Dropping a hundred bucks on another stroller doesn’t delight me, but neither does being miserable for almost a week of walking all day. There is a Target up the street from Disneyland that opens at 8 tomorrow morning, and I may hijack my cousins car and make an irresponsible purchase. We’ll see…

The “shower” at the hotel when we got back tonite was actually more of a “spit and spray”, but after the HOT, I have never been so grateful for being “spit and sprayed” upon. Ah, cool water! Cool Anaheim water, at that!

I’m off to the Land of Nod- the babies are already there, and I go to join them. We’ll be in the park for a million hours tomorrow, so my poor feet and noggin need a bit on beauty sleep. Yo Ho, Yo ho, a mama’s life for me…. 

Notes from California Part 2, Chapter 1

Let me just state for the record, the DVD player was worth it’s weight in fruit snacks on our flight. Never has my little wild goat been so sedate on an airplane as he was yesterday… he walked down the jetway himself, entered the plane without leaving claw marks on the doorway, and buckled himself in his seat. He drank his juice, ate his contraband granola bar, popped his ear-buds in his little ears, and watched Stuart Little 2 for the entire flight. Hallelujah!!

In a mere two hours, we were safely on the ground in California and I was neither toally wiped out, nor ready to sell my children. My arms were not strectched out rubber bands from wrestling with a maniac child hell-bent on getting out of an airplane at 30,000 feet. It was the best flight ever.

We are all settled in, and had a super-crazy day yesterday, with all the travel and family goodness. I’m at Dumbs house right now, submersed in joy at his super fast, super gigantic computer and the delights thereof. He’s lying on his bed behind me, arguing about doing laundry with our cousin Michael, in his total bachelor room; huge computer, stacks of DVD’s, laundry, baseball gloves, history books and his funky hat he wears to play some game online. We like to tease him about his hat of funkness. but hey,I got me some free computer access!

My boys are sunburned already from playing ball in the backyard with Dumb and Dumber and half a dozen other friends and cousins. We have not real plans until next week when we head to Disneyland. I’m hoping my dad can sneak a fishing trip in for the boys- even if they don’t catch anything, who but a grandpa should teach boys to fish??

Being with family is so wonderful. It’s been two days, and no one has even gotten ticked at anyone else yet! Yehaw! Here’s to a wonderful week…

Going to California…

The new header is a picture taken about half an hour drive from my childhood home, in the Santa Cruz Mountains- Big Basin area. Trees like this are eveywhere, yet never cease to take your breath away. There is a bench, suitable for several people to sit on, in the foreground to give a sense of scale. These trees stood when Christ walked upon the earth, and stand still. They are awe inspiring, worthy of respect and reverence, and one of the things I miss most about Home.

Cue the Led Zeppelin: 

Going to California with an aching in my heart.
Someone told me theres a girl out there
With love in her eyes and flowers in her hair…

The kids and I are headed off to California- we’ll be gone for almost three weeks, and my computer access is going to be a little sporatic. I’ll try and post as much as I can, but with family immersion and a trip to Disneyland and birthdays (six family birthdays while we are down!) things are going to be pretty crazy…

I love going home, and no matter where I live or move to, Northern California, with it’s foggy mornings, golden sunlight and majestic redwoods will always be home. Not only will we have six family birthdays, but my one-year blogiversary is also this week! So, in a sort-of self indulgent personal best-of, I’m giving links to my favorite posts:

Notes from California Part 1

My kids birthday party

Notes from California Part 2

Dinner with Dumb and Dumber

The Birthday Fairy

Ode to Mr Fish

Bovine Emergencies and the first time I got noticed…

Bathroom Epiphany

Monsters Under the Bed

My Porch Pumpkin

Love Letter to My Grandpa

The New Meaning of Valentines Day

Grosser than Gross

Butter Snack

Maybe, Absolutely, Abigail

Drops of Heaven

Reading Charlotte’s Web

Punk Rock Girl

Cue up the Dead Milkmen- “…It’s just you and me, punk rock girl!”

OK, so I’ve never pushed the punk rock fold. Not even close. Maybe the Biker fold, the time I rode from California to South Dakota on the back of a boyfriend’s Harley. Maybe the Librarian fold when I have my hair in a bun and my glasses on… maybe the Hippie Chick fold when I followed the Dead (Man, I’ve had a busy life for a young thirty-something mama!), but about as close as I’ve come to Punk Rock is seeing Primus at a tiny club in San Jose, and a sicko appreciation for the Dead Milkmen. Until tonight.

My regular hair cutting gal was all booked up, and since we are leaving at O-dark-thirty on Wednesday morning, I needed to get in bad, so tonight I went to a colleague of hers. The cut is cool, and she flat-ironed it and “textured” the bottom, which as far as I can tell meant jaggedy scissoring the edges to be all spikey- you won’t be able to tell as soon as I wash it and it’s curly again. But the COLOR- Oh my stars!! She highlighted me, and boy howdy, I’m colorful! It took her two hours just to do the foil, and my hair is a United Nations of colors; lots of blonds, my natural brownish color, strawberry, and some total ORANGE that she was saying would match my kids hair! It’s kinda freaky, but since the cut is good, I really can roll with wacky color- it doesn’t last forever like a bad cut. But I LOOK way Punk Rock, way edgier than I am!

When I got home, Jeffrey was still up, and he stopped when he walked in the kitchen and just stared at me. 

“Mom, you look PRETTY!” Awwww…. Nothing like a boy who loves his Mama.

Procrastinating

Today, I am the Evil Genius and the Princess, according to my sons. They are playing dress up and imagination, and I am fulfilling many rolls and wearing diverse hats. I love it when they do stuff like this- I have been given a Tinker Toy sword, and am glad to be an armed Princess. Abby is also a Princess, with which I heartily agree, as she naps in her swing I keep nudging with my foot to keep it going.

Really, I should be packing. We are leaving in, like, 36 hours for three weeks, and I haven’t even begun to think about it, let alone dig the suitcases out of the garage. I’m a late-packer. At midnight tomorrow night I will probably still be packing. We have to leave for the airport at like, 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, but I don’t need any sleep- who needs sleep? Me and three kids- at least it’s a non-stop, and only two hours. We picked up a portable DVD player the other night, in hopes of making Eric less of a wild goat on the plane. Here’s to high hopes!

And so here I sit, boing, boing, boing…. I still sit on the ball I got when preggo with Abs- just became a habbit and my back loves it. Procrastinating….procrastinating… 

Organic! And on a Budget!

Almost 6 years ago, when I found out I was pregnant with Jeffrey, we decided I would stay home with our children. On one hand, this was not an easy decision, as we were giving up the larger salary (like most executives, I was overpaid for not much hard work)- but on the other hand, it was easy, because we inherently understood the importance of raising our own children. For the record, a dad staying home is just as good as a mom, but in our case, I wanted to be the one home, and my husband supported my desire.

There were trade-off’s. We no longer had much disposable income. We had to live on a budget, and sometimes, making ends meet was more than just a stretch. We haven’t taken a family vacation since before Jeffrey was born. We drive older cars and don’t go out to eat often. In order to buy a home, we had to move away from family to a more reasonabley priced area. All of these things we accept as consequences of our choices.

But there is one thing that has consistently bothered me about budgeting: the quality of food and goods available to families living on a budget. Back when we had double incomes, I did all of our grocery shopping in organic and natural markets- I love the idea of supporting local growers and pesticide free farming. The problem is, when your income is reduced in half, those sweet, green markets become outrageously expensive and out of your reach. But I still want to provide good, quality foods and renewable goods for my family. What do you do?

There is a certain snobery of sorts in the green-foods markets. They seems to like being elite and set apart from the everyday markets- but I have to wonder if that snobery is really furthering the aims of making organic and natural products available, at an affordable cost, to everyone.

So last night, when I ran into Waldemort (Yes, I go there sometimes- see the aforementioned “living on a budget”) to grab a few things for our upcoming airplane trip, I was pleased to see that Waldemort, the big, evil empire that it is, is embracing Organic. Not only in the produce section, but in the clothing department, too. There were many things to choose from, including a large selection of very cute, very stylish and trendy tee’s that teens and young women tend to like. All 100% organic. And made in Canada. For $10.

This seems like an important step; like it or not, Waldemort has the big-bucks bargaining power to help drive the organic market even more, and if they get the ball rolling, other big retailers are bound to follow suit. So even if you hate Wal-Mart and the things it stands for, you have to love that organics might be getting a big boost. If you still insist on being a snob and saying you should only buy your organics from small local markets and independents, well, you don’t have three kids and one income. Or, you really aren’t about organics at all, but about elite consumerism as opposed to an open market.

I for one, am tickled pink that I can buy organic t-shirts, socks and even bedding for my kids without having to sell a kidney to do so. This seems like a good thing to this mama.