Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Weepy, Snotty and Drooly

"Mama," she says, "what're the names of the dwarfs again from Snow White?"

"Um..." I say, racking my 36-year-old brain. "Dopey [why is it that we always recall Dopey first?] and Happy..."

"Grumpy!" she interjects.

"And don't forget Sneezy and Doc," I add [admitedly more than just a little excited that my memory hasn't completely forsaken me just yet].

"And..." she ponders. "Sleepy!"

"Yes! And who's the last* one?" I ask.

"YAWNY!!!!" she cries victoriously.

[Yanni???? Um...not in MY fairy tales, baby!!]

*By the way, so that you don't cause any further injury to yourself, it's Bashful.

Monday, December 04, 2006


I totally forgot to leave a message here letting you know that we'd be on vacation for a couple of weeks.

But we're back now -- exquisitely tanned and really missing those mid-morning pina coladas (oops! did I say that out loud?)

Anyway, just give me a couple more days to unpack and upload the bezillion pics and videos I shot, and we'll be up and running again in no time.

Missed ya!!!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I can hear their voices rising, wafting over the sound of the Narnia audiobook (which they love, by the way), and piercing my ears as I weave in and out of the sea of stunned California drivers -- it's drizzling this morning, after all, oh what do we do? what do we do? And I'm calmly trying to tell them that I'm going to have to turn the story off if they don't settle down when Saia, obviously thoroughly exasperated with her brother at this point, screams at the top of her lungs...


And then she begins to weep. Uncontrollably.

And he, always indifferent to her overexpression of emotion (no comments, Elise), chooses simply to continue insisting in a very calm, very rational voice that yes, wolves can to dance.

She's over the edge now, kicking her legs all over the place and throwing her hands up in the air, and yelling over and over again, "Why won't you listen to me???" [yeah, I thought that one was a little funny, too.]

But he's completely unaffected, practically humming to himself some little diddy about wolves dancing. And she's just beside herself with frustration.

Keenly observing that an intervention is now definitely in order (and having reached a red light so that I can turn around and glare appropriately), I ask her to please explain why it is that she believes that wolves can't dance. [Yes, it's THAT important.]

"Well, Mama," she begins. [sniff, sniff] "It's because a wolf has 4 paws and walks on the ground, but a dragon can stand up on only his back two legs, so HE can dance."


"You see!?" she says, scowling at Santiago.

"Oh," he responds. "Ok."

[Oh, dear God, just 11 more days til vacation!!!]

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Here are a couple of pics of the pumpkin patch (plus giant slide) this past weekend, trick-or-treating, sorting through the booty, and a couple of corresponding video snippets. Enjoy!

If you can't see the bouncy house video clip above, click here.

If you can't see the trick-or-treating video clip above, please click here.

Giant Slide video snippet: [still missing, but check back tomorrow]

Wednesday, November 01, 2006



"AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" they both scream as they run from the dining room to the front door flailing their arms in the air and chanting, "It's the tricky treaters! It's the tricky treaters!"

Mommy tries to head them off at the pass, snatching up the bowl of goodies along the way, and flinging the door open just in time to hear a mass of black and silver and orange and white shout almost in unison, "TRICK OR TREAT!!!"

And I'm watching Saia's jaw drop (suddenly realizing that this is actually the first year they've been up late enough to experience this) as she stares in complete and utter astonishment at her Mommy just GIVING these complete strangers handfuls of treats -- FOR NO APPARENT REASON!!!! [gasp! the horror!]

And as the pack of sugar-infused muppets head off to hit the next house down, Saia turns to me, her eyes welling up with tears and her lower lip beginning to move into full quiver, and she asks, "But Mama, wasn't I a good tricky treater, too?"

[Yeah, we fell for it, too.]

Monday, October 30, 2006


No, I don't have any pictures. Hell, they're lucky they're still alive to tell the tale.

But in a nutshell...

It's a lazy Sunday morning. We're not really wanting to pop out of bed at our usual 5:45am, but, of course, the dynamic duo began chatting (loudly) before the sun ever even came up. Usually, we'll pick a Saturday or Sunday to sleep in a little, and I'll leave out on the kitchen counter a couple of bananas, some cheerio snack bags, granola bars, etc. and their milk/juice sippy cups ready in the fridge for them to snack on before we eventually roll out of bed to make breakfast. But something caught their attention that particular morning, and neither one of them ever actually made it past the hallway.

Instead, atop their 4-foot dresser and right next to our very tattered and torn copy of Winnie-the-Pooh (which we've been reading pretty religiously of late) is a small plastic bottle of honey (as twisted coincidence would have it) with a very long teaspoon. I tend to keep it on hand for those evenings when one or the other of them is racked with a hacking cough, which, unfortunately, seems to happen more and more with these Northern California autumns, although, thankfully, it doesn't ever seem to turn into anything more, and almost always (not surprisingly) seems to dissipate immediately after a 3am dose of bee poop.

Just as we must have both drifted back to sleep for a few precious minutes, I'm suddenly awakened by the deafening silence (all parents of toddlers know this frightfully well), very shortly followed by pitter-patters past our bedroom doorway, down the hallway, into the bathroom, up onto the step stool, and then the sound of the faucet.

"Saia, is that you?"

"Yes, ma'm," she says. "I'm washing my hands."

"Oh, okay, baby."

"They're sticky," she lets slip.

[Okay. Roll over. Pillow on top of head...]


To their credit, they very clearly tried to NOT make a mess, as it was their very obvious intention from the look of their cheeks, hair and clothes that they meant to devour the entire jar in one sitting, and while I was standing there, mouth agape, processing, they were both on their way back from the bathroom with dripping wet towels (bath towels, mind you; not hand towels) trying desperately to remedy the gooey situation. And I just stood there with my hands on my cheeks looking around for some semblance of the bedroom I'd left the night before as they scrubbed and scoured and tried to sop up all the sweet gumminess from their carpet, the floor, their bed posts, their sheets, the mouths of their babies, their newly painted mini-pumpkins, their stuffed animals, the step stool propped strategically against the dresser, and maybe a book or two -- I really couldn't tell at that point.

But as luck was very clearly on their side that day, I must've stood there just long enough to come down the other side of Mount Eruptus because I really could hardly contain my laughter at the point that I finally was able to will myself into Mama-mode. So, rolling EVERYTHING up into the fly-paper-like rug, I tried my very best to frown and scowl and lecture them all the way to the washing machine as they tearfully dragged their nasty little pillows behind them, but by the time I realized that there were a million little honey-laden footprints covering every square inch of the house I was nearly rolling on the floor in tears.

So, no one got punished. No one lost any animals. Everything's been degummified. And all is right with the world again.

But it's only Monday.

Friday, October 27, 2006


"One, two, three," she says. "Four, five, six...twelve, thirteen...twenty-one, twenty-two..," she continues.

"Thirty-four, thirty-five...forty-three, forty-four...fifty-nine, sixty," and then she inhales deeply. "Sixty-one..."

"Saia?" he calls sweetly.

"Sixty-two, sixty-three...seventy-seven, seventy-eight..."

"Saaaaaiiiiiiaaaa?" he bellows across the console.

"Eighty-niiiiine, ninety, ninety-one, ninety-two..." she continues unaffected.

Then drawing in a deep breath, he yells, "SAIA!SAIA!SAIA!SAIA!SAIA!SAIA!SAIA!SAIA!"

To which, thank God, she finally replies, "Yes, Santiago, what is it?" although she's glaringly exasperated.

"Aren't you tired of counting yet?"

[By the way, in case you were wondering, you can, apparently, count to 100 TWENTY-FIVE FREAKIN' TIMES between the time we leave our house in the morning and the moment I come screeching into the drive at the school, which, as I may have mentioned once or twice before is FORTY-FIVE MINUTES AWAY!!!!!!!]

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Being a little crafty over the weekend with our new caterpillar and crocodile scissors, talking about the weather and Halloween and how mine is better than yours, no mine, no MINE, NO MINE!!! And then Chago starts talking about Narnia (his new all-time favorite movie) and he asks me to explain why the children were running into a shelter in the beginning of the movie. So, very carefully, and not particularly liking these waters all that much, I tread through a very vague definition of war (i.e., groups of people who disagree about something so much and have become so frustrated because the other side won't even listen anymore that they don't know what else to do except to fight with each other about it even though there's very little chance that this will actually solve the problem that started the whole disagreement in the first place), which seemed to be satisfactory enough at the time until we're driving to work this morning and I'm listening to NPR and there's some reference or another to the current administration's ridiculous take on "staying the course" (see my other posting) in Iraq to which, in a moment of unreserved aggravation partially due to the sun reflecting directly into my eyes off the shiny new Escalade with the too-dark tint in front of me, and partially due to the fact that NO ONE should be allowed to drive in the fast lane unless your speed is only evenly divisible by, oh I don't know, 50!!! so I furiously punch the button to change the station and mumble something relatively incoherent about "this damn war," and that's when Chago says, "Mama, don't be sad. Saia and I won't fight anymore so you won't have to worry about the war."

[Oh, baby, if only that's all it took.]

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


On the way home from school yesterday, the kids decided they wanted to tell jokes. Well, yes, isn't that cute and all that, but what you don't realize is that their idea of a joke is from a Baby Einstein video in which a stuffed carrot appears, and then a second stuffed carrot appears, and then a stuffed parrot appears -- and the whole joke is..."carrot, not parrot!!!"

[Yes. Really. Try to contain yourself.]

This "joke" has been on the top of their list since they started talking. They think it's freakin' hilarious. So, this is how they tell jokes...

"Okay, Mama, are you ready?" he asks.

"Go ahead, boy," I say, bracing myself.

"Dog, not frog!!" and he breaks out into hysterical laughter.

"Cat, not bat! Mouse, not house! Sky, not fly!" and he goes on and on, both of them squealing with delight at each new rhyme, and it's a 45-minute commute home, let's not forget.

And the whole time, in between her own peals of laughter, she's trying to get in there, trying to be heard, trying to do her own set, you know? But her mind works differently than his does, and she comprehends differently than he does, and she interprets things and digests things and regurgitates things very differently than he does. So what, in her mind, was exactly the same kind of joke, actually came out...

"Okay, Mama, my turn, my turn! Are you ready?"

"Go, babygirl," and I glance up at the rearview mirror.

"Pelican.." she says, pausing to build the anticipation, "...not wildebeast!!!"

[Aye, Saita. Thank God she can cook.]

Monday, October 23, 2006


It's not really child labor if you smother them with kisses afterwards.

If you can't see the video above, click here.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


"Mama, I want to go back to England," he says a couple of nights ago.

"You do, baby?" I ask. "And why's that?"

"Because you don't yell in England."

[Ugh. Okay, so I may be just a little overdue for a vacation.]

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006


"Mama, where'd the bouncy house go?" asks Chago as we drive by the pseudo pumpkin patch recently planted at our little neighborhood nursery.

"Oh, they must let the air out at night, son. I'm sure they'll re-inflate it in the morning," I reply.

"What's rainflate?" they ask in eerie unison.

"To inflate is to blow something up with air -- like a balloon, or a floatie," I explain. "And to re-inflate is to do it again."

They nod their heads together like little penguins.

The next evening as we pass by the nursery again, he confirms, "Oh, yes, Mom, you're right. They've re-outflated it."

[Such smart kiddos. Too bad the English language sucks.]

Monday, October 16, 2006


"Hey, baby, so have you made any friends at the new school?"

"Mm-hmm," she says as she finishes her toast just as we cross the bridge.

"Well," I pry, "so, what are their names?"

"Cake-lyn," she says as she shoves a handful of Kix into her mouth. "She's my favorite." [lick, smack]

"What about you, son?"

"Yes," he says, a little annoyed that he has to look up from his book. "I only have one friend. Her name is O-labia."

[Oh, Freud.]

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Leo, The Veeeeeerrrrry Grateful Lion

On the way home from school yesterday, the kids were telling me about a new story they read called "Leo the Lion" (or some close approximation thereof). Chago (the true Garcia in him shining through) left out no details, remembered everyone's name, and prolonged the punchline to build the anticipation.

[I was so proud.]

"...and then after Leo carried the mouse on his back to his own home, the mouse said 'thank you' and Leo said 'it was my pleasure'." [And this apparently happens throughout the book, Leo helping some stray animal in the jungle and the animal thanking him and Leo saying 'it was my pleasure' because...]

Saia then interrupts, "Okay, Santiago, now it's my turn."

"Okay, Saia," he concedes [more often than not].

"So then, Mama, after Leo pleasured all the animals..."

[WHAT!?!?!?!?!? What exactly are they teaching them at the new school!?!!?!?]

Friday, October 06, 2006


Big, big week for the kiddos. They said good-bye (finally!) to their old, not-so-stimulating, in desperate need of some good teachers, wanna-be-a-real-school-when-it-grows-up daycare that they've attended for the last year, and started on a brand new adventure at a real live preschool with real teachers, real academics, and a real developmental focus (oh, my). They were a little sad saying their goodbyes and got lots of attention from the teachers...on their way out the door. Needless to say, I'm ecstatic. Their first week at the new school has been a pure joy. No tears at all. Not even once. The commute's a pain in my backside -- a minimum of 45 minutes (one way!), but it's totally worth getting up at 5:30 just to hear them so excited, so exhausted, and so eager to go back the next day.The new school has only 4 teachers and less than 30 students, only half of which are full-time like the kids. They get so much more one-on-one attention, and the whole atmosphere is just calmer, more organized, competent, and productive. It's in a renovated old two-story home, so it's got that familiar feel, which I think has made the transition that much easier. The playground is, well...heaven if your a 3 1/2-year old. Swings, jungle gym, pirate ship, b-ball court, and the biggest sandbox you've ever seen. This last picture is their first day. The school asks that they bring their nap things in a pillow case, so that they can learn how to fold and put away their sheets, blankets, and pillows after nap. They've also got gymnastics one day a week, which they seem to just love (Saia, for the activities, and Chago, for the break in the day), and with our new schedule necessitating that we eat dinner on the drive home, we're also actually gaining a little time in the evening and no longer having to rush to get changed, teeth brushed, stories read, songs sung, and off to sleep, off to sleep, I said OFF TO SLEEP! DON'T MAKE ME COME IN HERE AGAIN!!! [ahem] Anyway...all in all, it seems like this was a really great move. It does mean that we live in one place, Mommy works in a whole other town, Mama works in an entirely different city 30 minutes away, and the kids go to school in yet another place. Ugh. How times have changed. But what ARE we gonna do when they start kindergarten???

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


"Mama, Lexi bit Santiago on the lip today."

"WHAT!?!?" I whip around while driving over the bridge in the middle of traffic going 80 miles an hour (please don't try this at home) to get a better look.

"Is that true, Bubba?"

He nods, but never looks up from playing with his dinosaur.

"Yes," Saia continues, "and it was for...for...for no reason."

"Is that true, son?" (he nods again)

"Yes," she says again, "and I told her not to do that to him anymore because he doesn't like it, and then I told him to run, run away as fast as he could because that's what you're supposed to do when someone wants to hurt you."

"Well, yes, Saia, that's true," I confirm. "Although, the only time we've ever instructed Chago to run away was when YOU were trying to drop kick him and pound him on the head with a tractor!"

Monday, September 25, 2006


For those of you who haven't read it yet, and of those, for those of you that care to, you can read a small tribute I wrote on my other blog to the late great Ann Richards, who would've, could've, and should've been a phenomenal president!! CLICK HERE.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Wish we could be there to celebrate. Hope you're having a wonderful day!!!

All our love,
Jo Anna, Amy, Saia & Chago

Monday, September 18, 2006


My beautiful girl is driving me up the freaking wall!!! She's stuck -- just STUCK -- on starting most of her sentences with "Mom, could I..." -- which in itself is already a pre-existing sore spot 'cause we've been working on the "may I please" for quite some time now. But what's driving me particularly insane of late is that she's gotten into the dreadfully bad habit of slurring her words in order to get things out quicker than her brother. So, this already annoying little gem is now coming out as "Mom, coo-aye...," "But Mom, coo-aye just...," "Mom, coo-aye, coo-aye, coo-aye...."


"Coo-aye is NOT a word, Saia!!!" I must've said at least 3 million times in the last two weeks... which is technically not true, I realize, so I just want to qualify my ranting with the following allowances:
Ka‧u‧a‧i  [kah-oo-ah-ee, kou-ahy]
n: an island in NW Hawaii. 38,856; 511 sq. mi. (1325 sq. km).

kwai [kou-ahy]
n: the basic unit of money in China [syn: yuan]

But betting all my kwai that neither of the above meanings has ever been her actual intent, I'm afraid I must resort to my original grievance and woefully shout one last time at the top of my virutal lungs, "COO-AYE IS NOT A FREAKIN' WORD!!!"

Friday, September 15, 2006


Went to Vegas this past weekend to celebrate Uncle Steve and Tia Gilda's 60th wedding anniversary!! Holy sh*t, is right!!! That's a really really long time to put up with someone's stinky feet, cold toes, morning breath, and bed head.

But they looked really amazing together, and everyone seemed to have a really great time. Plus the kids got to see their Mema again, and that was a lot of fun to watch (click below to see incriminating pics of Mema on the dancefloor -- video coming soon!!!) And even though it wasn't quite there, this time around the kids under the age of 16 really did almost outnumber the adults (and for the purpose of this statement, and because it's Friday, this includes the 17-to-24-year olds, even though that's being REALLY REALLY generous in some cases).

Anyway...nice time overall. Mommy and the kids had never been, and I think we've definitely got plans to go back. We didn't make it out to the strip or out to any clubs this time around, but the kids had a wonderful time in the pool, and Mommy and I got more than a little distracted by the 50 million outlet malls within a 10 mile radius of the resort!!!

You can also CLICK HERE to see a few more pics from our quick getaway weekend.

Happy Friday, everyone!!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I tried to call you all evening, but I got a busy signal, so I hope that means that you had the phone off the hook to celebrate!!! ;P

Many many wonderful wishes for your new year!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Long time coming, I know, but I just figured out that, of all things, my damn cellphone takes videos and, duh, has a mic!!! So, here's what we do at red lights on the way home from school:

Saia singing "Sunny Days, Rainy Days"

If you can't see the video above, click here.

Chago singing "Down By the Station"

If you can't see the video above, click here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


AHA!!! My friend Sandy has finally found a solution to our "spillage" problem (click here to refresh your memory).
Click on the photo above to enlarge.
Hey, I'm thinking this might really work. You think the landlords will notice when we move out?

Friday, September 08, 2006


A couple of (still) soundless videos of the kiddos enjoying their new chopstix from Tia Sonia & Tia Jamie.

If you can't see the video above, click HERE.

If you can't see the video above, click HERE.

Thank you soooo much! We really love them, and make it a point to ask Mama if we can use them for EVERY SINGLE meal. [Yes, this includes cottage cheese, yogurt, hotdogs, and soup! Remind to thank you personally a little later for this one.]