The Common Mommy Denominator

I'm a Mom. I need adult conversation. I need to talk about the banalities and the excitements of life, and be understood by the masses. Most of all, I need feedback. Let's chat. You about yours, me about mine, us about ours. Let's find and discuss the Common Mommy Denominator.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Caught in the Act!


I threw in a movie the other night so I could get some stuff done around the house (I use the term loosely) before bed, and BAM!, I caught my kids thusly:

When they noticed me noticing them, they just turned toward me and smiled.

That smile says, "We did it! Now she'll be all warm and fuzzy toward us for the rest of the night!" And it worked. Until she elbowed him in the ribs about 3 minutes later.

But I got the pictures! I have the proof! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA...(my maniacal laughter fades in the background...)

Yeah, They Can Sit on His Lap and...EEEEEEEKKKK!!!

Took the kids to see Santa at Disney this year...

I don't know who this guy is, but for some reason he absolutely terrifies me. I think Magoo had misgivings, too. Anyway...

Here's our family-with-Santa picture for 2009.
Anyone else see where I'm coming from?!

T-Day & Goo-Day

Thanksgiving this year was spent in AZ with the AZ fam...the Bradshaw side. You know, there's something about getting together with extended family that you only see two or three times a doesn't have to be "memorable", it's just nice to be TOGETHER. That's how this Thanksgiving was. Other than the bounce house we rented for Mom and Dad's backyard (which proved popular amongst the younger set, surprise, surprise), there wasn't really anything about it that stands out as a truly memorable was just plain FUN! And relaxing. Boy, does that make a difference.

We stayed and M&D's and everyone came to their place for Turkey Day, so we didn't really have to run around visiting...everyone came to us. Notably, though, Bonna and Dave were with us (Wendy's Mom and stepDad), and Kim, Bella, and Kathy joined us, too, which was super-fun. I even got to run out with KBK to take some photos, and boy, were they STUNNING. I took close to 100 shots, and a good 60 or 70 of them came out PERFECTLY. No retouching required, and the 30 or 40 that weren't PERFECT were courtesy of blinking or blowing hair, etc etc. (Check out the one I'm posting. That was the very last one of the day, when kids start to wind down, but Bella was a TROOPER!) Anyway, it was great, Jewels and RooRoo stayed over on T-day Night, kids bounced in the bounce house some more, was just plain great. (Plus, we got to hit up Pete's Fish and Chips right before we left for home...Mom and Dad met us there after their temple shift ended; GREAT food, GREAT company, VERY successful trip.) (I'm using the word "Great" a lot, I realize that, but I'm not in writer mode right now, so...there.)

That said, I'm feeling a little crappy about not getting Thank You cards to our extended family for all the gifts they showered on Goo for her pre-3rd birthday. (They held a combined birthday celebration for Haley and Mia, hence the bounce house...) Bonna and Dave, Keith and Wendy, Grandma and Grandpa, and Trina & Fam...THANK YOU. (It's been hectic. No excuse, I'm just not keeping up like I was, and I'm sorry.)

So Mia's birthday was that following Monday, and boy, that little girl scored. :) She has officially entered the "I'm a princess" phase, and so long as we don't let her ACT like a princess, it's really quite cute. I spent some money building up her dress-up stash after Halloween (75% ALL Halloween costumes at Target!!!) and there's this pink princess dress...well, anyway, Nona and Papa got her a set of 5 pairs of Disney Princess shoes and a crown to match and she doesn't want to wear ANY other shoes. Pair the pink pair with her PinkPwincess dress and her new PinkTwown and she's dressed to go public. (Why not? She'll only be able to get away with it for another couple years, right?) (Besides, one of the reasons I was so excited to have a girl was because I looked forward to dressing her up...and now she actually wants to!)

My baby is 3. My son is in kindergarten. Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is four days away...and all I can do right now is shrug. I wish I had something fabulous, brilliant, and genius to say or to report, but...enjoy the photos. (That's the best I can do.) Oh, and...merry almost Christmas!!!


Let's try this again.

I wrote a post the other day about Jay's new job and our house hunt, but apparently it set off a bunch of bells and whistles where he now works, and he was asked to have me remove my blog post. I never got to...Jason just hopped on and deleted it. It took me 90 minutes. Now it's gone. I'm a little sad, but I'm now going to spend...oh, about 10 minutes repeating myself in brief.

Brief. Yeah, right. We're talking about ME here.

I'll try.

Anyway, Jason now works for...a south Orange County. AND HE LOVES IT.

They treat him beautifully, he already knows everyone he works with thanks to some prior connections, and he's absolutely thrilled...particularly since he is no longer an accountant at a public firm. That means NORMAL hours (no more 23 1/2 hour days, Lord willing), competitive pay, and a couple bosses instead of 15 of them. It also means he has his own desk and work space, sees the same people every day, and so long as the company isn't filing with the SEC, knows when he'll be heading to work and when he'll be getting home.


Which means we're here for a while. (Possibly forever.) So we want to get settled. Which means buying a home. And the best bang for your buck is east of OC, meaning Corona, Riverside, or via the 74, a pretty straight shot from the new job, Lake Elsinore. We've chosen Elsinore, where we're hoping to find a home over 2500 sq ft for under 250k. There, that's not unreasonable. (Whoda thunk there would be a place an hour from OC where you could buy a home for that price?!)

Yes, yes, yes, the Ortega Hwy is treacherous. Yes, yes, yes, the people in Lake Elsinore are not your average Los Angeleans (Thank HEAVENS!). Yes, yes, yes, parts of the 15 are a pit. But outside of Mello Roos, we're in love, and SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL to Maureen and Bishop Christensen for their tireless efforts and boundless patience as our realtors.

If you're looking for a home in Southern California, boy, have I got a pair of realtors for you! They're educating us on the process, helping us weather the disappointments, and are eternally optimistic for our eventual settling...and we love them! THANKS, CHRISTENSENS!

So...yeah. That's all. Jason's been looking to leave the firm for a while, and when this came along, he was interested not only to get out of the firm but because the position is a really excellent position at a really excellent company. And I'm thrilled for him. From interview to hiring it took about a month, and Jason's patience paid off. In spades. Did I mention he loves it (at this nameless-but-fabulous company) there?

No honeymoon for a while, but a home is forthcoming, and we'll update you as we progress! Thanks to EVERYONE for your support!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Devastated by the Dr. Phil Show

About 18 months ago - EIGHTEEN MONTHS! - I wrote in to Doctor Phil to ask about post-pregnancy weight loss. (It might even have been longer than that!) As (most) any woman who has given birth to a child knows, "bouncing back" is kind of a joke. Then again, I hadn't started taking alli or going regularly (or at all) to the gym yet, so...yeah.

Anyway, I wrote it, never heard a thing, fixed myself, and that was that.

Until a few weeks ago, when I got a call from the Dr. Phil Show asking me about my weight loss goals, and if I used (specifically) Hoodia in my pursuits. I DO have a bottle (from which, over 18 months, I've taken make 4 pills) so I said yes, I'd used it, but preferred alli. Brian - the producer to whom I was speaking - told me that they were focusing on Hoodia, and I didn't "need to mention" alli. Was I still concerned about my weight, he wanted to know. Well, yes, I suppose; I never got down to my target weight, but technically I'm well-within my BMI these days, so... That was beside the point. I was still concerned, I was "taking" Hoodia, and would I be interested in asking Dr. Phil about the safety of Hoodia on the show?

Uh, go on TV? Sure, why not!

So he took down a brief criminal and psychiatric history for me, and then explained that another producer would be contacting me shortly. Okay, sure. 10 minutes later a woman calls, asking for my email address so that she can send me directions for "my video"...and a script to match. Yes, you read that right: a SCRIPT. The video instructions gave me very specific directions for the sort of shots they'd need - one with Hoodia in hand, one going into my medicine cabinet for the pills, one standing on the scale looking unhappy, one holding up clothing in from of my closet and looking dissatisfied with the options...etc, etc. And they wanted them before midnight. On a Thursday. When Jason was working late.

Jay filmed them, I uploaded them to their site on photobucket, and then I was emailed a release form, which I signed and faxed back. They confirmed they liked my videos, and that they'd received the fax.

I didn't hear from them again for 5 days.
When Brian called back, he said they were still considering the shoot, but did I have anyone in my immediate family "also concerned" about my "taking drugs" to help me lose weight? "Well, yeah, my husband, I guess."

"Good, can I talk to him?"

"He's at work," I said. Duh.

"Okay, well, when he goes on lunch or get home, ask him to give me a call at this number..."


Enough was enough, and Jason thought so, too. My image of Dr. Phil as the ultimate fix-it head shrinker had already tanked, thanks to deadlines, scripts, and just plain lies, and there was no way I was going on tv to lie to the nation about my obsession with weight loss and willingness to suck down appetite suppresants to drop a few pounds. That was that, and that, folks, is my story.

I really thought the Dr. Phil Show was legit. I'm devastated.

Back to relying on Dr. Laura to save the world, I guess. But I'm okay with that. She ROCKS.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stuff 'n' Nonsense

Dr. Phil, job, house, Thanksgiving, Goo's birthday. Just want to get straight what it is I'll be writing about next. For some strange reason, I feel some urgency about recording it all. Maybe it's because the world will end 3 years from now. (Adrienne?) Or maybe it's because I'm feeling sleep-deprived and the torticolus has flared up in my neck. (What am I, 80?) Anyway, this is a reminder for me about all the things I'm supposed to type about. (Like I said...80. I need written reminders.)
'Til then, enjoy our family Christmas Card photo! (My sister took it. Nice, huh? Unfortunately, I think it was the only one where we were all actually looking AT the camera, but nice nonetheless!) Merry 10-Days-'Til-Christmas!

One to Add to the Bad List

Turns out one of our upstairs neighbors - here in our courtyard - disappeared from her home yesterday morning.

She's 16 years old.

Her keys, wallet, purse, cell phone, clothing - everything - is still sitting in her room.

Her parents left for work. Her friends didn't see her at school. Her parents came home from work...and she did not.

They are mad with worry. I would be even worse off, I think.

There will be a press conference in a couple hours, the girl's father pleading for her to come home, or for anyone with any information to come forward. I pray that she does, or someone does.

After all, barring everything else, it's 10 days before Christmas.

Another check mark on that bad list.

My front door is deadbolted and my sliding glass door and sliding windows have chunks of pvc in their paths. And I am............soooooooooooooooo..............done.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Oil Painting. Hm.

I will never have Cory's talent for painting.

There, I've said it.

That said, I think - completely unexperienced as I am in the art of oil painting - I do pretty well for myself.

You can see other examples of my - dare I say, art? - elsewhere in this blog (and as fair warning, some of it is bad...REALLY bad...), but here are two of the more recent attempts for your viewing (pleasure? laughter? baffledom? Is that even a word?)...viewing...well, just viewing.

This one, of course, is SUPPOSED to be the Spring Sprite from The Firebird Suite in Fantasia 2000. So long as you don't have a reference picture, I consider it a fair enough likeness that those who have seen Fantasia 2000 would at least recognize who and/or what it's supposed to be. That makes me happy. But the true accomplishment, as far as I'm concerned, and as far as will ever be necessary, is that Mikayla likes it. After all, I did it for her. When we're (someday finally) in a home, it's for her bedroom. She wants princesses. I want fairies. Maybe we'll settle on fairy princesses?

And this one is for Kim/Bella. Kim likes blue. From what I recall, Bella likes yellow. They need original (artwork?) stuff to go on the walls of their beautiful, homey new...home. they go. (Does art have to match decor? Wendy or Trina might know! Input, please!) Did I mention that most of Kim's tats are star-related? And that Izabella's middle name is Star? Or that I admire Kim with every fiber of my being for her love of Bella and that strength she shows by doing it all herself as a single mom/student/employee? So Kim has reached for the stars as she climbs the slippery pyramid slope and pulled down the biggest and brightest for Miss Bella Girl to reach for...and looks mighty svelt doing it, I must say. What's that brick in the background?, asks Jason. I didn't have a good answer when he asked, but maybe it's the pedestal I put Kim on for her tireless efforts...or the foundation she's built for her Bella Girl...or the pillar of strength she is, even when everything else is such a mess. Whatever it is, it fits.

So...there we go. I just finished one for Kate's baking babe - and I'm not happy with it, so I won't post a photo, but I'm glad Kate likes it (or claims to) - and I'll start painting in the sketch I did for Tyler's painting: a Storm Trooper. (He wants a Star Wars room. I'm going to lean more toward general space exploration with that one, but if Tyler wants a Storm Trooper on canvas, by golly, he'll get...something resembling a Storm Trooper on canvas.) I also have plans for paintings for Jewels, Cory, and Adrienne in the works...hey, maybe I should start taking requests? Yeah, right. How about MAKING requests of Cory. That sounds SOOOO much better. After all, I need to get back to my book, right?

I AM partway into chapter 14...

And there I will stay while I play with oil paint just a little while longer.

Anyone else notice I'm starting to collect hobbies? Like that girl in The Brothers Bloom. Wait, was that R-rated? Never mind. You didn't see it.................and neither did I. Right. So, really, never mind. Because I don't watch such things. Even if they have theatrical merit. (But her character was fabulous, so if you have Clear Play...)
Okay, all right, enough is enough, and now I'm babbling. Goodnight, all. More in the morning...or something like that.

The BAD List

No, this has nothing to do with Santa, people...that's "the Naughty List." This, my friends, is a brief record of all the awful things that have happened - crime-wise - since we've moved to the great state of CA. Bear with me. I'll try to be quick.

When we first moved here, within days, the helicopters started. They flew over our neighborhood at LEAST twice a week, spotlights glaring, searching for criminals running free amongst us. They still do, least now that's at the OTHER end of the street. So...about a block.

A couple months later, we got word that a flasher/molester was prowling our end of the neighborhood; one of our neighbors encountered him carrying her groceries back to her door and got a lovely view of his front. ALL of his front. 2 weeks later, our (DIRECTY beneath us and retired Marine) downstairs neighbor spotted the guy PASSING IN FRONT OF OUR DOORS and nabbed him, holding him 'til the police arrived.

Sometime in there we called our landlady (rather than the police, which admittedly would have been funnier!) in the middle of the night to come kick out a couple young 20-something guys in the spa RIGHT BELOW OUR BEDROOM WINDOW. They were both naked, by the way, and engaged in some patently offensive private activities when she interuppted them.

Then we moved down the other end of Glenoaks to where we are now...and a few months later, Jason's car was stolen. We got it back (it had been driven about 6 blocks away, and then they swiped the battery), forking over a chunk of money to meet our deductible to have the window replaced, the steering column replaced, a new battery installed, and basically just get it drivable again.

Meanwhile, my mother was the victim of a home invasion. Kid kicked down their front door while my mom was at work in her skivvies on the computer, told her he had a gun, made her show him where their jewelry and "rich stuff" was, forced to her lie face-down on her bed, and then he robbed her, leaving her blessedly unscathed...physically. She still sees a shrink from time to time for it (and who could blame her?!) and now my folks live in their own version of Alcatraz. Only safer.

A couple months after that, my sister's friend's dad was murdered in a mugging. I kid you not.

Then was the day after Thanksgiving, RIGHT before I delivered Miss Goo. My folks, husband, 2 year-old boy and pregnant self heard someone run full-speed past our window, followed a few moments later by two or three very big dogs. Then came the helicopters, lights, and police en masse, wearing full SWAT regalia and carrying semi-automatics. Kid had robbed a local restaurant at gunpoint and decided to hide out HERE. Guess what? They never found him. Someone in our complex did, though, and didn't think to call the police as she watched the kid hide in the filter area of the community pool. Can you say "Stupid Broad"?

A couple months after I had Goo, some crazy guy started pounding on my door, yelling something unintelligible, and then tried the door handle...about a split second after I'd locked it. I stood with my back to the door in tears with my kids napping in their room praying the door - and my back and weight - would hold and keep him out. After about 90 seconds he made a dash for the stairs and disappeared.

Back in May, our neighbors directly across the way - so, 50 feet or less from our front door - were involved in a murder-suicide. Older couple, lots of hospital bills, wife he ended the misery for them both. NO ONE heard the gunshots. They'd been dead a week (and the courtyard stank of rotting meat) when they were found.

Now we get the guy IN OUR CAR in our GATED parking garage.

Have I missed anything? Probably. Not sure what, off the top of my head, but there's GOT to be something. And even if I HAVEN'T missed anything, well, let's be real here: That's more than enough for one little family, isn't it?

Merry Christmas from us to you! :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Oh Dear, Oh's Been a While, Hasn't it?

What's my excuse? Really, I don't have one. In the last month or two I've just sort of checked out of life, what can I say? I'd been feeling discouraged and grumpy and just generally wasn't much fun to be around.

But all that's changed.


Really, though, I do have quite a few updates-and-reports, many of them just because I want to keep a record of our goings-on. Let me tell you a little about the last month and better.
  1. I did NOT have a tummy tuck. I WILL not have a tummy tuck in the future. Why, you ask? Are we having more kids? According to the doctor, that's a "no." But I got that really atrocious head cold right before I was due to go in and was complaining one night to my husband that I'd have to reschedule and couldn't just "get it over with" so I could stop being freaked out by the whole thing, and he pointed out that every time I talked about a tummy tuck, I sounded worried, stressed, and entirely put-out. He was right. The bottom line was two things: the benefit was not worth the cost, pain, and time...and I love the Korean bathhouse so much because they are perfectly comfortable in their own skin, whatever age and state it is, so long as it's healthy and well cared-for. How could I then convince my little girl a few years from now that she's beautiful just the way she is when I myself couldn't be happy unless I went under the knife and blew 8 grand to do it? What sort of standard of beauty do I cling to, anyway? It's just me, and I realize for most women it's reparative surgery rather than vanity, but...well, it's just not for me.

  2. I got to go to Stacy (A) K's bridal shower and bachelorette, plus the first half of her wedding ceremony. I know that the bridal bit doesn't seem noteworthy for blog posting unless it's family or best friend or whatnot, but with Stacy, it really is. She and I met back in high school, and she has forever been a strength and example to me of generosity, love and sincerity, with a willingness to fight for the little guys and the underlings. I was thrilled to have been able to share in her bridal experience - plus attend my very first "real" bachelorette party, hosted by Rita (who I've known since kindergarten 26 years ago!!! and got to also reconnect with) - and seeing Stacy walk down the aisle was truly amazing. I only got to stay 'til "I do" and the sand-pouring (I had the munchkins with me, and as is always the case when you really need them to, they just would not SHUT UP), but it was worth the insanity to see her so exquisitely happy. I'm so very thankful for her. It's not hero worship, really...but I WAS the underling. THE underling. And when someone stands up for you and treats you like a human being while all those around you - let's just say "don't" and leave it at that - you remember...and it means something. More than something. So again, soooooo happy for her, and so grateful FOR her.

  3. Speaking of friends, Adrienne came to visit!!! I don't remember if I posted about this before, so if so, well, here it is again! Adrienne is a dear old friend of mine from my student teaching days, believe it or not, and lives with her hubby and adorable little boy in American Fork. I actually met her within a couple weeks of meeting Jay, to line up the time frame there. Crazy stuff. So...she came down for a few days' vacation, and we did it all...but the best part was threefold: 1) spending time catching up with a friend I fear I depend on more than I should, 2) comparing novel notes (she's writing both a series and a - dare I say brilliant? - take on 2012), and 3) the Korean Bathhouse. It all comes back to the Korean Bathhouse, doesn't it? Adrienne knows what I mean. It is both bliss and rebirth, and I couldn't have shared it with a better or more apt friend. Love ya, lady. Thanks for coming...and for putting up with our craziness!
  4. For that matter, Jared and Crystal came to visit, too...and gave up on Disneyland after only half a day. Really...can you blame them? :)
  5. The Kindergarten thing continues. Tyler won an award (did I blog about this?) for knowing all his letters, numbers, and sounds. Jason echoed Mr. Incredible: "Finding reasons to celebrate mediocrity." Not that our son is mediocre, OH, NO! What boggles our minds is that, though very bright, our son is apparently among the top two or three kids in his class...which means that other parents obviously aren't doing their jobs. 5 years old and not knowing your letters? 5 years old and can't count to 10? I'd scream, but I might wake up the kids! So, anyway, Tyler's ahead, doing very well, (If you have kids and want them to get a jump, Audrey directed me toward "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons." Search it on Amazon. It's about $10 with the shipping. GENIUS.) He loves the social aspect - recess is his favorite - and I'm currently working with his class on a for-assembly "performance" of Twas the Night Before Christmas. More on that after it happens. (That's what I get for telling his teacher I was a Drama teacher a lifetime ago!)
  6. Roman has worked his magic yet again: my cut is completely different from all the other cuts he has given me, and equally as fabulous as each and every one of them my color is AWESOME. I confess, though, it was a temp color, and as of this weekend was looking more brown than dark chocolate like it was a month ago, so...I re-dyed it. Brown-black. And I love it. Permanent is a commitment, and the roots will suck...but I can always re-dye it again...and have Roman fix it when I see him again in a few months. Never thought I'd be able to pull off this color...but I LOVE it. Should've known from the wigs, really. Good stuff. But enough about my hair...
  7. The Dr. Phil show called. That's a whole different blog entry. Remind me. It's good.
  8. Jason got the job at Hardie. He had last week off and starts tomorrow. Da-da-da-DA! Another blog entry!
  9. We're house-hunting in Lake Elsinore. ANOTHER blog entry!
  10. Roy's is our new favorite restaurant. If you have one in your area, GO. Just be prepared to fork over some dough. It's waaaaaaaaaaaaay worth it.
  11. Still trying to get out the rest of the Christmas cards. If I've missed you so far, don't be offended...still working on it. Working on lots of things, really...
  12. Still painting! ANOTHER blog entry!
  13. Hung out with Hannah and kids...and Bridget and kids. Love 'em all. So nice to see another mother with similarly-aged kids every now-and-again. Wish I saw more of them.
  14. THANKSGIVING! You guessed it...another blog entry.
  15. MIKAYLA IS THREE!!!!!!!!!! And another one. Blog entry, that is. And year. Whatever.

So...that's a wrap for now. I'm going to go lie down. Maybe go to bed. On the couch. I don't want to disturb Jason - he's a super-light sleeper who starts a new job tomorrow - and let's be honest, the couch is better on my (31 year-old) back anyway, so other than body heat and the knowledge he's beside me, well, cest la vie. That, and he'll probably (albeit unwittingly) enjoy the starfishability of NOT having me next to him in our little queen-sized bed as my overly-indulgent coming-up-on-Christmas weight catches up to my waistline.

So. Yeah. Goodnight. And cheers.

Sometimes Things Just Don't Line Up...

We all have those moments, right? Where you're lying in bed wondering whether to let yourself fall asleep, to scream and cry and rip open the pillow, or to throw in an old movie and eat yourself into a frenzy on the couch until 3 in the morning while you wait for a prozac to kick in. Those moments.

Okay, we don't all have those moments.

But I have them every once in a while. Like right now. For a plethora of reasons, and no reason at all. And Christmas is 12 days away. And Sister Kidd passed away this morning. And what if that man had been in my car just a couple hours earlier when I took the kids on a sick run while Jay was still at church? And why...why not me? And how can someone claim to know, anyway?

I know I'm not making sense. Really, it's not that late, so I don't have a good excuse for not making sense, except that I'd really rather you now know exactly what I'm talking about, but I want to remember for myself. Sigh.

Maybe I'll wrap this up and move on to the update I've been meaning to finish. Good idea. Enjoy that one instead. This one's pretty much just for me. Hope you understand.

More of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It's been a while, I know.

I'll do an update another time.

But for the moment...the Good: LOBSTER. We cooked a lobster this weekend. A live one. A BIG live one; approximately 3 lbs, actually. That crazy miserable fool put up a serious struggle sitting there in our sink (and it splashed a healthy amount of water onto the floor, as well...) but was no match for 12 minutes in the steamer...or the hammer that smashed its dead red body into managable cracked bits. Add some drawn butter and mmmmmmmmmmm. The Good.

The Bad: House hunting. You all warned me. It sucks. You have this mental image ahead of time that goes something like this: You chance upon an MLS listing for your dream home listed at just the right price, so you lay down your best offer...which happens to be tens of thousands of dollars below everyone else's best offer...but the couple selling the home is old and adorable and they're moving to live full-time at their Summer home off the coast of Italy, so they thumb through the offers, see you're a sweet, small family in need of a break, and they choose YOU to take your dream home off their hands...for half the price of your offer. Needless to say, it doesn't work that way - I TOLD you it was needless - and it seems we'll be home shopping for a very, very long time. At least Ryan and Maureen are our salespeople, if you will. It makes home shopping a LOT less painful if you're good friends with your realtors, I'm discovering. But other than working with the Christensens? The Bad.

Finally, the Ugly. Goo was sick this weekend. She finally started to pull it together today, and we figured, hey, what a great time for a little family Christmas Light Drive-Around. So we skip the elevator in favor of the stairs (because the car is actually directly at the bottom of the stairs) and as we exit the stairway toward the car, Jason stops us all: THERE IS SOMEONE SITTING IN THE PASSENGER SEAT. Jason walks toward the car while I collect the kids and yells - as the door opens - "What are you doing in my car?!" Out steps an intimidating-looking hispanic guy with a mustache, sideways ball cap, dark sunglasses, and baggy dark track suit, carrying our car's trash bag. For the life of me I can't remember what he said, but he was walking away with our trash bag, and I pointed out to Jay that there might be something we own IN that trash bag, so Jason called out to the guy to drop the bag right where he was or we'd call the police. The guy reached in, held up something-or-other and told Jason it was "just his CD", and dropped the bag, continuing on. Jason went to retrieve it, and when he handed it back to me, it contained our registration, insurance cards...and a little travel-sized bottle of Febreze I keep in the glove compartment. Why the heck the guy wanted Febreze, one can only guess, and what he thought he could do with our registration and insurance cards is beyond me, but there it was. Can I get an EEEK?! So that one definitely qualifies as "The Ugly."

I'd review all the crazy crap that's happened to us since we've moved to Anaheim, but I think I need to go take some Valium. Geez-louise. Only in AnaCrime. Anyway, hopefully more soon...but I've been bad lately, so don't count on it! And if I don't get around to it, MERRY CHRISTMAS! (Quick, someone send me a Round Tuit!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Quintessential, Perfect, World's Best Peanut Butter Cookie

I found this recipe years ago - heaven only knows where by now - and my husband loved it. That said, being the baking perfectionist and peanut butter cookie devotee that he is, he has since improved upon it. Following is the recipe he just emailed to his mother, offering his reasons behind the belief that these are indeed the best peanut butter cookies in the world.

Personally, I don't think they need the chocolate. Furthermore, I don't think they even need to be baked. (This dough is Peanut Butter Heaven on a Spoon.)

But here it is. Merry Christmas, and don't say we never gave you anything. More updates soon!

Jess & the Fam

World's Best and Most Perfect Quintessential Peanut Butter Cookie (makes 4 dozen-ish)


One 9.5 oz. bag of Dove Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate Promises (OPTIONAL!)
1 ¼ Cups of creamy peanut butter
1 Cup of unsalted butter (softened)
1 Cup of granulated sugar
1 Cup of brown sugar
2 Large eggs
3 Cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (do not omit this)
2 teaspoons vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, peanut butter, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in both sugars. Stir in ½ of dry ingredients, add eggs one by one, beat and mix in remaining ingredients. Place one inch balls on a baking sheet and cross hatch with a fork. Bake for 11 minutes. Remove from oven and add 1 Dove Dark Chocolate Promise to each cookie by gently depressing the chocolate on to the cookie. Place the cookies back in the oven for two more minutes. Remove cookies from oven and immediately transfer to cooling rack with gentle care (I have found using a fork to remove the cookies from the baking sheet to the cooling rack works best. Do not man-handle the cookies at this point or the chocolate may run and lose its shape).

Note: When cross-hatching the cookie, do not flatten out the cookie too much. A thick cookie will keep it soft hours after it has cooled and prevent excessive crunchiness. Plus, you don’t want a lot of peanut butter cookie surrounding the chocolate. A modest lip of cookie surrounding the chocolate after it has baked is what is being sought after here so that each cookie is almost bite-sized (but not quite).

Why I Like This Recipe

Most people will use milk chocolate Hershey’s kisses (I call these people “amateurs”). The milk chocolate makes the cookie too sweet. Also, they add the Hershey’s kiss after the cookies have finished baking. This makes the cookie difficult to bite since the chocolate has never had a chance to begin the melting process and soften. If they do add the kiss during the baking process, the tip of the kiss will burn or over-cook in the oven. I call this a lose-lose scenario. The Dark chocolate dove in this recipe is a uniform square shape, so it covers a good portion of the cookie and will evenly soften during the baking process. The dark chocolate is not excessively sweet. Allowing it to “bake” with the cookie for two minutes starts the melting process but isn’t enough to make the chocolate “runny” (unless the cookie is aggressively handled after baking). This will make the chocolate soft hours after it has cooled. Because the cookie has some thickness to it and has not quite browned in the oven, it retains its baked shape and is cooked through, though it will remain soft long after it has cooled. The result – a soft, melt-in-your mouth marriage of chocolate and peanut butter in a perfectly balanced, nearly bite-sized bite.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Ubiquitous Update

In case you hadn't been apprised...I'm supposed to go in for a tummy tuck this Thursday.

That said, I have a RAGING head cold, and have been informed that it is entirely up to the doctor whether or not he wants to cut me up while I'm sick. They'll get back to me this afternoon once he's out of surgery (on someone else).

If I were a plastic surgeon and my 31 year-old might wind up hacking up a lung a day or two after I cinch together her stomach muscles (ever notice just how much work your abs do to make you cough?), I might decline until she were better...but that's just me.

So here I am, all nervous, and even worse now that I have the possibility of postponing my agony...not to mention the fact that I'm just plain miserable thanks to sinuses stuffed full of mucuous. Ugh.

I'll keep everyone abreast of the plans (if I were having a boob job, that would be really funny!) and we have even borrowed my dad's video camera to create a vlog of the you'll get to see the nastiness in all its grandeur...IF it happens this week. We'll see. Until then!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

When I Have a Wife, Will You be Dead?

This morning, while I sort laundry in our bedroom, my daughter grabs hold of my light-up rose that my sweet husband bought me at Disneyland a few weeks ago because I'd once mentioned that I'd always wanted one, pointless as they were. She races into the living room and hits the button to turn it on and change the bloom color, and my son, sitting at the table doing some Kindergarten workbook pages, says to her "When I get a wife and I'm a Dad, I'm gonna get one of those flowers at Disneyland for my wife!"

I come out of my bedroom thinking "aaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwww" and tell him how much his future wife will love it, and what a wonderful thing that is that he's willing to do.

So he looks me square in the face, sweet little guy that he is, and asks, "When I have a wife, will you be dead?"

"No, honey," I answer, "but I'll probably be about 50 years old."

"Woah, that's REALLY old," he retorts.

Maybe to him, but I'll be one thrilled 50-something when my son follows his dad's example and buys his little wifey a light-up rose at Disneyland. Love you, Jason. :) Thanks for being such a good example to our son!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oil Painting Efforts, # 2

MOST unfortunately, I will never be as good at oil painting as my dear friend Cory, but at least I'm having a bit of fun with self-expression, right? Betwixt writing a book, messing around with music-making on Acid, (and no, that doesn't mean that I'm dropping acid, it means that the Sony program I use is called Acid Music Studio!) oil painting, urban gardening, studying photoshop, video editing, developing my author-website (I am now the proud "owner" of, which will actually have something on it in the next few days, I hope!) and gearing up for Halloween this year, I guess maybe I DO have a talent or two after all...or maybe they're not talent, so much as interests I'm pursuing. Yes, that's probably more accurate.

Anyway, the first couple paintings I did were indicitive of a couple of the characters in the book I'm writing...and yesterday I did another abstract, which is an "update" on one of the characters and where she "is" now as I'm writing her. Things seem to be looking up for our heroine!

Then there are the other two I did yesterday...both attempts at landscapes a la Bob Ross, but if I'm being honest with myself, neither of them very good. Cest la vie, right? It WAS my first shot, and ironically, my first shot was better than my second shot.

I've learned something else about myself with painting...I am not creative. No, seriously, I live by the rule of theater: Steal. In other words, take someone's elses ideas and put them to work for you. (This doesn't apply to my book, by the way...that's all me.) Where my painting is concerned, I'm not painting me or my feelings or even really expressing MYself. Instead, I thought of a family member I'd like to do a landscape for, and got busy. Mom # 2? A desert landscape...during a monsoon. (You know, so it's cooler outside that way.) Jewels? An "asian" waterfall. (Well, it was SUPPOSED to be an asian-style waterfall. I told you I suck at this!) (Note: If I had even a modicum of shame, or the slightest tendency toward embarrassment, I wouldn't show you this next one. But I don't. Lucky you.)

What if I were to paint one for myself? Mmm, yeah, that's just it...nothing really reminds me of myself, so...if I'm going to paint, I have to paint for other people and "steal" from their lives. I'm okay with that, I guess. As long as it means I get to have fun painting - and, Lord willing, improve! - well, why not?

Speaking of which, I'm out of canvas, so I need to run to Michael's this morning and fetch a few more. Oh, and get back to my book. And develop a more effective pitch for it. And get busy building my website.

All while being a mom and wife and running a household. Wish me luck, and try not to laugh too hard at the paintings!

One for the Grandparents

In Tyler's kindergarten classroom, his teacher moves a clip with each child's name on it up a behavior chart of sorts...and when a child's clip makes it to the top of the chart - thanks to tip-top behavior - the child is awarded a "Super Star."

What is a Super Star?, you ask. It's simple, really: it's a paper star cut-out. But that's beside the point. To the kindergarteners, it's a HUGE deal.

And Tyler got one.
GO, SON!!!!!!!!! You EARN those stars!!!

Jason made cupcakes with the kids last night: "sprinkle" cake with chocolate frosting. They were yummy, but true to Bradshaw form, Mikayla preferred the frosting to the cupcake, and ended up looking like Papa...mustache, goatee, and all. (Or at least, looking like Papa did before he shaved it all off again...)
GO, DAUGHTER!!!!!!!!!!! You EAT that sugar!!!

Yeah, okay, they're two very different things, and perhaps I shouldn't be encouraging the ingesting of sugar, but we thought the grandparents would enjoy the pictures, you are, grandparents! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


1 pair of London Jeans: $4
1 pair of Express Jeans: $4
2 pair of Guess Jeans: $8
1 pair of Ann Taylor Jeans: $4
2 pair of designer-knockoff sunglasses: $8
7 well-fitting items I love & $28 for $500 retail therapy at "rewear": PRICELESS

Monday, September 14, 2009

2 Quotes from Tyler

First and foremost...the kids are sick. Very sick. As in, 10 minutes ago Tyler barfed into a bowl while watching Shrek on the couch, and an hour before that Mikayla was barfing into the same bowl while Tyler barfed in the toilet.

Since I'm a naturally self-centered person, now is the time to insert a comment revolving around me: I know I'm totally gonna catch this flu from them...which is ironic considering I'm still getting over the grown-up version of croup. Aaaaaah, kid-in-public-school. Can't wait. My throat feels like sandpaper even as a type this...and tomorrow I get to look forward to throwing up. Good times.

Back to the kids, though...

So at 2:21 this morning, Tyler comes careening into our bedroom yelling, and I quote:

"MIKAYLA'S POWERFUL-SICK!" (Magoo's retching and cries could be heard in the background...)


If it hadn't been for the puke noises, I'd totally have started to laugh.

What year is this? "Powerful-sick?" Is my son a farmboy from the 1800's? "Gee, Ma, I don't know...she's powerful-sick. Mightn't we truss her up for a trip to the doc?" "Naw, son, we're still in the days of housecalls."

And speaking of quotes from my son, we're in the car as a family a couple days ago, and from the back seat we hear Tyler: "I WANT TO FLIP OFF THE WORLD!!!!!!"

Uh, really?

He immediately followed it up with "I want to flip our car off the world!" meaning, of course, that "flipping off the world" translates to "jumping really high and doing a flip so as to leave the atmosphere" - admittedly an odd thing to excite a five year-old - but I like his original quote best. The innocence of children. Cool.

He then asked what Mommy was laughing about, and I told him I wasn't laughing, I was coughing. I lied. Shoot me. But YOU try explaining to your kid what "I want to flip off the world" means to your average adult, and tell me that you wouldn't claim coughing, too.

Wish me luck with my sickies! Entry for Tyler's birthday soon!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

HE DID IT!!!!!!!!

Oh, YES, he did! My husband bought a motorcycle.

A 2000 Buell Blast 500, to be exact. And he loves it.

You see, my husband has been searching, well, since we got married, really, for something "fun" to call his interest he could pursue that might help him reclaim - just slightly - a youth devoted to God, Work, Education, and Family. Something to excite him, to make him feel alive and eager...something to look forward to doing, and all just for him.

He has now slaved for 5 years at a thankless, exhausting job, with no serious outside interests - or time to even FIND an interest - of his own, and has found that incredibly depressing. Who am I to deny him a ray of sunshine in his otherwise dreary world of work, work, work?
SOOOOOOOO...he researched and researched and researched, took a five hour book-learning class, got his motorcycle permit at the DMV, took a ten hour practical class - which he passed with flying colors - so stringent that, once passed, the DMV only requires evidence of passing the class to license a student to ride a motorcycle (no on-bike test at the DMV!) and he has an appointment a week from now to add the motorcycle class to his license.

He has also purchased a motorcycle...AND motorcycle insurance...AND VERY SUBSTANTIAL additional life insurance...AND a full-head helmet, gloves with added knuckle and wrist protection, a motorcycle jacket, motorcycle pants, and large, substantial boots to seal the deal.

He has driven his own motorcycle exactly twice now...once around the parking lot the day he bought it, and once up and down some local residential streets. He plans on doing the same this coming Saturday morning, Sunday morning, and Monday morning at the crack of dawn.

I say good for him! For LESS than HALF of his meager bonus this year, he is suited up and ready to done everything in his power to make sure his family will be taken care of if anything should happen...whether while riding a motorcycle, or crossing the street. That's a lot more than I can say for most husbands. Plus, he will not be riding on the freeway for SOME TIME yet, and even then, only for a single exit or two. He has not yet gone over 35 mph, and doesn't plan to have to go much faster than that. He will not be riding between cars, but staying in the flow of traffic. In other words, unlike your typical 18 year-old (or your typical 50-something Harley rider), my husband is responsible.

So I'm happy for him. I confess, I'll worry just a bit every time he leaves to go for a little jaunt around town, but this is important to him - and a great stress reliever - so it's important to me. A happy Jason makes for a happy Husband and Daddy, and that makes EVERYBODY happy.

Oh, and did I mention he looks SUPER-HOT in his moto gear? That makes me happy, too! Go, Jason! (Just...carefully, please!)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Okay, so...we may not have gorgeous, fantastical old structures like my blog friends Hannah and Simon in the UK...and we may not have a whole lot of history here in CA like my friend Marcus in VA...and we may be shy a few temples like Cory and Adrienne have in UT...or beautiful, wide open spaces like Kelly has in TX...but we DO have something that no one in the world can claim because they only exist in a very specific part of California, in a few small groves at a specific altitude: Sequoia trees, the biggest trees (not by height like Cameron has in Northern CA or by circumference like my blog friend Denis in Africa, but by VOLUME!!!) in the entire world. CHECK OUT THIS PUPPY:

So Jay and I took the kids for a family vacation to Sequoia National Park. We spent the first night "down the hill" (ie MOUNTAIN, 7000 ft down!) at the Lazy J Ranch Motel, a PERFECT place for a family reunion: it had a playground, a swimming pool, individual cabins (some with kitchens that sleep 8 people!), the Kaweah river next door, the family's animals (for a mini "petting zoo"), tether-and-volleyball and badminton and charcoal barbeques for making dinner outside your cabin (we cooked our Hobo dinners that I'd made up earlier in the day), and a continental breakfast to boot. It was great, reasonably priced, and the kids had a it broke up the 5 1/2 hour trip nicely, so they only had to stick out 4 hours in the car.

The next day was perfect; it's about 70 degrees up the mountain, and the kids were wowed by the giant trees. We climbed to the top of Moro Rock (slowly...for our sakes) and Jay made super-delicious bratwursts over a charcoal cook stove. We checked into our room at Wuksachi, the "resort" up there (read: moderate-to-expensively-priced basic hotel) and then went exploring, running into some deer...the kids were thoroughly thrilled. Jason made dinner again (grilled bbq chicken drumsticks, grilled veggies, and roasted red potatoes), and we crashed that night...late. The kids went without a bedtime the entire trip; they just had to go to bed when Mom and Dad did. Surprise, surprise...they LOVED it.

So we also went for a hike around a big, BIG meadow, past some controlled burn areas, to Tharp's Log, a fallen Sequoia that a man with the surname Tharp had once hollowed out and lived in every Summer (with fireplace, bench and table, and bed!) and cooked the requisite hot dogs for lunch, then headed down to the King's River for some rock hopping, butterfly petting (I kid you not!) and fish spotting (meaning "OH, LOOK! THERE'S ONE!"), while Mikayla walked into the river up to her knees...with her pants, socks, and shoes still on.

We had dinner one night at the restaurant (which is incredibly overpriced but very good) and then went out to Sunset Rock (Beetle Rock, according to signs, but Sunset Rock for, well, the Sunset) for...the sunset. Jay and I took turns hiking the kids up and down the rocks and we'd planned to hang out and star gaze once the sun went down...until a mama bear and two cubs sauntered past a hundred or so feet away. Minutes later, a papa bear appeared and then swung around toward the parking area, so we decided it was best NOT to be on the rocks out in the open in the pitch blackness, or trying to find our way back to the car in the dark - flashlights or no (but we DID have them) - with a papa bear around. Jason took Tyler out later for stargazing after we'd returned to the hotel.

All in all it was a wonderful time, and when we were driving back down the mountain and I told the kids to say "Bye, Sequoia!" to the video camera, Mikayla yelled, "No, I don't WANT to!" In other words, we ALL had a GREAT time...and will certainly make that beautiful, peaceful, undertrafficked corner of the world a recurring theme in future Bradshaw family vacations. Enjoy the photos!

Monday, August 31, 2009


Yes, it's not-quite-5-year-old has begun "formal schooling."
Or as formal as you can get in Anaheim, CA.

See, he's attending the school around the corner (that we SWORE we'd NEVER send him to, and that we'd be LONG GONE from this state before he EVER began Kindergarten!), which started back on the 20th. His teacher WAS Mrs. Henson, and there WERE 38 kids in Tyler's class...until Friday.
Friday afternoon we got a call from the principal; she left a message asking if we were comfortable putting Mr. Man in a different K class, and I had my doubts...until she called this morning before school started to let me know Tyler would be with a Mrs. Forsythe tomorrow for school...and that Mrs. Forsythe's class would have 20 kids instead of 38.

We'll take it.
So as sweet as Mrs. Henson was, tomorrow we're done with her and moving on to greener pastures (read: a much smaller student-teacher ratio).

That said - and my son is a very capable boy, so I'm not at all concerened, but - have y'all heard about the new expectations for a Kindergartener exiting Kindergarten? I remember learning LETTERS in Kindergarten, but know they are expected to PROPERLY write their names (first letter capitalized, following lower-case), sight-read some 30-some words, be able to count to 100, write to 30, add to 20, and subtract from 10, and a whole host of other things (though I hear in most schools - particularly those outside our district - the Kinder expectations are actually MUCH HIGHER).

After the formation of this class, my son will be one of two white kids there each day (and will therefore, Lord willing, grow up racism-free), and will attend school approximately 17 1/2 hours each week. If after the first month, however, I feel like he's not being challenged (ie. he gets BORED) or I find out he's being given a hard time because he's a bit smaller or younger or paler than the other kids, I'm yanking him and we're beginning homeschool. Check back around the end of September for the verdict.

Anyway, Tyler's in, I shed no tears, and I love the stuffing out of our little man (now wearing uniforms, believe it or not!) and am so thankful that my son is still excited to wave to me and give me the ASL sign for "I love you" with his peers around. I'm enjoying it while it lasts. Wish us luck, and enjoy the "Tyler's First Day of Kindergarten" photos!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Celebrating Anniversary # 8

That's right, 8 years. I could go on and on about what a wonderful hubby my hubby is, how much I love him, or how grateful I am for the past 8 years...but that would be my usual, and we can't have the usual! Suffice it to say my husband is the perfect man FOR ME, and I cannot imagine any part of my life - from the moment he entered it to the end of eternity - without him. That said, we did some serious anniversary celebrating this year! :)

First we spent a weekend in Oxnard, a quiet little beach-and-ag-town just south of Santa Barbara (my folks kept the kids AGAIN, God bless them!) and stayed (thanks to his million Hilton points) at the Embassy Suites beach resort in Oxnard. The had a manager's reception each evening (which supplied the popcorn I fed to the bird on our porch) and a breakfast buffet every morning (which supplied our fuel for the balance of the days' activities), but the best part was our location: Jason has the highest membership status possible with Hilton Honors, so we were instantly upgraded free of charge - on top of our free room! - to their very best category (outside of the presidential suite, yeah, I know) oceanfront, first floor walkout. No, seriously. There was NOBODY closer to the ocean than we were, and we left our windows open both nights so the sound of the waves lulled us to sleep. Plus we ate at Capistrano's (their fine dining restaurant) one night, which was delightful/delovely/delicious, and then at a Japanese teppan-style steakhouse the next night, both of them obscenely yummy and romantic and QUIET. Aaaaaaah. The best part of the trip, though, was traversing a farmer's market to reach - here it comes! - the waterside Segway rentals! (You know, those gyro-based standy-uppy-things...) (Note I had to add the part about the farmer's market...oh, and the to-die-for tacos and tostadas at that little stand; if you've been there, you know the one!) The Segways were SOOOOOOOO much fun (and once or twice just a little scary, you're zipping around so quickly!) and not nearly as expensive to rent as I'd feared they would be...and I can honestly say there's nothing like zipping around on a Segway along the beach with your husband (almost) at your side grinning like a skunk. Fabulous. Highly recommended. Highly.

So a few days later was our ACTUAL anniversary, and we spent (an hour of) it in a gondola in Newport Harbor being paddled through the peaceful, sparkling canals just after sunset to the sound of Andrea Bocelli, glasses of sparkling cider in hand, munching on salami, cheese, and bread. (That was a really long sentence.) Our "motor" - Mike the Gondolier - was awesome, and it must take some SERIOUS effort and skill to manuever those puppies, let alone move them steadily along! I wasn't in a position (nor had I the desire) to check out his guns, but I'm guessing he had Schwarzenegger-style biceps. Back to the romantic part, though...I can't explain how awesome it was to be able to sit alongside the love of my life quietly discussing our lives together with the lights from Hoag Hospital (where I delivered our baby girl almost 3 years ago now) reflecting on the black water beneath us as we sipped cider to Con Te Partiro.

Sigh. I love my husband.

Anyway, we closed up the anniversarial activities a few nights later (the only seats we could get!) at Topol's farewell performance (he's going into retirement) of Tevya in Fiddler on the Roof at the OC Performing Arts Center. For those not familiar, Topol is the guy who played Tevya (the lead) in the movie! AND HE'S PHENOMENAL!!!!!!! He really IS Teyva...the ONLY Tevya...and I feel very sorry for anyone who has the misfortune of trying to pick up where he's about to leave off. His performance, even at ALMOST 74 YEARS OLD, left us speechless. Needless to say, the entire Segerstrom Hall gave him a standing ovation, and we're thrilled that we were able to attend and enjoy one of his very last performances before retirement. (In case you were wondering, he sure doesn't look or act 74!)

So our anniversary this year was spread out, fun, and full of festivities that celebrated us as a couple and the things we enjoy, and I loved every random moment of it. A big thank you to my sweet husband for all his planning and effort, but more than that, for being MY Jason. Love you, Jay. Always.

The Rumors are True...

I'm pulling a Stephanie Meyer, though Lord willing, it won't be so...Stephanie Meyer. I'm writing a book. Three books, really: a trilogy. I'm only partway through chapter nine, but I'm thinking that if I mention it here on the blog, maybe one (or a few) of you will give me grief about my break from writing and encourage me to get back into it so I can finally finish more than just the research. :) So, yes. I'm writing. Thanks for your curiousity (you know who you are) but that's all I'm saying about it for now.

No, that's not true; I'll also say this: It's NOT about vampires. I'm leaving that one to Adrienne, and SHE can rip it up!

Thanks to all those of you who've been so supportive thus far...always great to be able to bounce around ideas!

Aaaah, Summer...and Vacation...and School...and...It's been a while, hasn't it?

About 6 weeks, to be exact. I'll post a bunch of photos after this entry (when I get around to it...anyone got one? A Round Tuit, that is), but for now, the rundown.
Life has been busy for the Bradshaws these last few weeks:
  • The kids "graduated" from swim lessons, meaning Tyler can now stick his face (briefly) in the water. That's something, especially compared to the fact that he didn't even want me to WASH his face in the tub before!

  • We've spent some time with Bridget (and Catherine and Ashleigh) this Summer, the last visit at their house being a chance for the munchkins to splash and play and make mud (sorry, Bridget!) in the adorable inflatable jungle-theme ("with sprayer tunnel and slide!") pool in the Johnson's back yard, as well as a few Disney visits with Bridget's VIP seating at Playhouse Disney! Looking forward to more of that! (Being with Bridget, that is. We're a little Disney'd out for a while!)

  • Speaking of which, we've been doing Disney...a LOT. Once you pay that initial massive amount for Premium passes, date night is (sorta) free!

  • Jay finished up in Beverly (thank heavens!) and the Academy Awards audit is (almost) done. I even got to sleep over (in his SUITE, rough life!) and eat with him at LA Food Show one night, thanks to my folks watching the munchkins...

  • ...which munchkins they also watched so BRANDON, who came to visit at the beginning of August, and I could go up to Magic Mountain and scream our lungs out on Tatsu and X2. I hadn't been there since BEFORE I get pregnant with Goo, so Tatsu was new to me, and X2 was new all over again...and honestly the first time in recent history I can remember being nervous to ride a coaster. Oh, and get this: I can ride X2 (thanks, Brandon!) but the teacups make me want to puke. When did THAT happen? Gettin' old, I guess...

  • Brandon also accompanied us to Disneyland, (don't ask me why I didn't take any pictures when he was here...I suck!) and then again to Disney that same evening with me and Jay to hit up the "big people" rides. Basically, we just had tons of fun with our nephew-and-cousin, and he's TOTALLY invited back next Summer...providing we're still here. (Sigh.)

  • I had a birthday...31 years, in case you were wondering...and Jason made me this insanely awesome birthday cake...I'm drooling just thinking about it. It was a buttermilk-based chocolate cake FROM SCRATCH with this chocolate ganache homemade icing and a million colorful sprinkles...ooooooooooh, I can't talk about it anymore, or I'm going to go into a chocolate coma...

  • I got a henna tattoo! (Henna is TEMPORARY, people!) Found a local artist online, went to her place, and sat for 90 minutes while she drew the most awesome art on my upper back...and then, once we'd scraped it off and waited 24 hours, I found out my skin doesn't absorb henna pigment, so you practically couldn't see it. THAT led me to buy black jagua (a South American plant-based pigment) online, and Jason drew some Asian symbols on my back with it. It took beautifully AND looked like a REAL blue-black tattoo, but it took a lot of pigment for not a lot of coverage. Not a fan of tats anyway, of course, but it was fun to try out the temp stuff.

  • Mom and Dad and I took the kids to Oak Glen to go raspberry picking...and Mom and I managed to get all pricked and scratched up - and sweaty and sunburned! - for the priviledge of bringing home 8 cups of fresh, ripe raspberries, which we immediately made into the world's tastiest freezer jam...and ALL of my mom's half is GONE! (We're planning at least one more trip up there before the season ends...with better raspberry-picking attire, trust me!)

  • We registered Tyler for a week! That meant he had to go to the pediatrician for his 5 year checkup...and about a gazillion shots, poor guy, but BOY, was he brave! The tears were more beforehand with the anticipation than because of the myriad jabs...and we're so proud of him!!!

  • Speaking of doctors, I had an EHE exam (an "executive health exam" provided yearly through Jason's work) and found out that I'm healthy as a horse...except for those joint aches and the night sweats. Cest la vie! (I'm blaming my good health on all the farmer's market food we've been eating, by the way...just check out that dinner! Oven-roasted FM corn, FM heirloom tomato salad with basil from our concrete jungle, and our very own homemade pesto slathered on wild-caught salmon filets...what a meal!)

  • We have a crazy-growing garden! Yellow pear-shaped cherry tomatoes out the ying-yang (YUM!), chives and green onions galore (although they're on the small and shabby side, I admit, but what can we expect on concrete?), more zucchini and pumpkin flowers than we know what to do with, (no, that's a lie...I stuff them and fry them and eat them. THAT'S what we do with them...ALL...) but no pumpkins or zucchini as yet, unfortunately, and a sunflower that has turned brown and just about died...which means it's going to seed, and any time now we'll have a couple hundred sunflower seeds to roast! Our "real" red tomatoes aren't all that big, (about roma sized, only round,) but they're starting to ripen, and we're super-excited about that! I love growing my own food!!! (And making dinner with the food I grow!)
  • I have (once again) been released from my calling at church (maybe I haven't been there enough recently, as often as we've been out of town?) and am awaiting another call...but enjoying the lack of responsibility in the meantime. :)
There's tons more, but they will be their own entries, so I'm going to sign off here and work on the next one...and hopefully I'll stay more up-to-date! Cheers!