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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Finishing up AZ

So, Sunday and Monday were more or less "uneventful", which means we weren't "scheduled" to do anything but enjoy. In the "Alice" entry below, you'll see that we went to church and heard Mom and Dad speak, (and for those of you who know the intricasies of our ward, this is one of the first times I can remember REALLY communing with the Spirit in, well, YEARS!) and then headed back to Mom and Dad's to meet up with Stan and Katrina and Jason and Brandon and Zac and Jared and Crystal (all appearing at various times throughout the afternoon and evening) to enjoy some of Mom's always-phenomenal Pot Roast and some Molten Chocolate Cakes.

How my Mom-in-law manages to always make a perfectly-tasty, insanely moist-and-tender pot roast, I'll never know. I've watched, learned, taken notes, and duplicated to the best of my ability her technique...and still I fail. UGH. Must be a Polish thing.

Anyway, we got to spend a little more time with Crystal this trip, who I adore, and got some excellent shots of Brandon working his Ninja-esque magic, as well as Zac and his squeeze-them-'til-they-pop uber-cute cheeks! Monday we spent some time at the park, ate far too much Dairy Queen for a single week, and just had some quality bonding time with Mom and Dad. All told, it was a fabulous (and much-needed) break, and Jason came back (mostly) refreshed...and, dare I say, maybe a little more eager to give public accounting the boot, realizing that he could be spending ever so much more time with his own family. Sigh. It's a love-hate thing.

Oh, did I mention that Julie left Reilly with Mom and Dad and we brought her home with us on Tuesday night as a souvenir? Okay, maybe not a souvenir, per se, but a continuance of our vacation, and a beginning to hers. More on that to follow...and...DUM-DUM-DUUUUUUMMM...the Korean Bathhouse!!! (You KNOW you want to go!) Stay tuned!

More on AZ

So Thursday was spent at Mom and Dad's and the Ostrich Farm, and Friday including more (much-needed) relaxing at Mom and Dad's...and then a trip up to Mesa to meet up with Stan (Jay's eldest brother), Katrina (second-to-elder sister) and her husband Jason (yes, she married a man with her brother's name...still weirds her out a little, too...), their baby Zac, and Ninja son Brandon, and Jay's next brother up, Keith and his wife Wendy. We went to a funky place off the 202 called the Kona Grill, and it was UBER-BUSY...but Stan, in his brilliance and infinite wisdom (and like the concierge he was, doing all the planning for our trip! THANKS AGAIN, STAN!!!) had made reservations, so we were seated in no time.

Foodie that I am, let me say a quick something about the Kona Grill: yuuuuuummmm. Sushi in AZ is expensive, of course, considering how far they are from the ocean, but that doesn't mean they don't do a good job of it! And as far as a sushi place that serves other food, well, this place is as versatile as a chameleon at the zoo. My sis-in-law Wendy is the first to admit that her appetites for the odd are, shall we say, limited? so she's never been eager to head out to dinner with the group when we go for sushi...but the Kona Grill fixed that. She had pizza, we had sushi, the pizza was good (or so I hear) AND the sushi was good, and...TADA! Everyone was happy, and we got to enjoy Wendy's company AND sushi, all in the same meal!

I will say, though, that I saw a lot of CA in AZ at the Kona Grill: one of the host girls must've had a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon for her boob job, (uh...WHOA!) and, like any CA guy, one of the AZ sushi chefs had a thing for check-you-out eye-contact. (Okay, check me out. Not that I really minded. That doesn't happen very often.) I noticed years ago - within months of starting at the Y, actually - that the CA male's propensity for triple-takes is unique to Californians. In other words, when flirting, a CA guy will look, and look again, and look again, and make it really obvious that he's looking. A UT boy will NOT. In fact, you could end up marrying the same guy who didn't once present a single clue until you were engaged that he found you even mildly attractive. Not so with a Californian...or an Arizonan, it seems. Huh. NOW I learn that! (Again, not complaining!)

Anyway, after dinner it was back to K&W's to pick up the munchkins, then off to Stan's with Brandon for a semi-slumber party, complete with Wall-E and Stan's homemade cookies.

The next morning was a minor bust...poor Stan had planned for us all to head to an air show out in Glendale (?), and it ended up being a total impossibility: over 100,000 people showed up in that 2 horse town, and after the drive out there, a mad wait in tons of traffic, and winding up aghast at the parking-and-tram-and-security-checkpoint situation, we gave up and headed to Pete's Fish and Chips.

And since I'm a foodie, allow me for just a moment to wax poetic about Pete's. You see, we MUST go to Pete's Fish and Chips every time we go to AZ, or it's just not a trip to AZ. Their fish is this wonderfully crunchy, wonderfully flaky, wonderfully un-fishy, wonderfully SQUARE deep-fried treat...with a dipping sauce I'd kill for. (Okay, maybe break a few arms for.) I'm still trying to put it together, exactly, but I'm guessing it's a mix of ketchup, apple cider vinegar, and either Frank's hot sauce or some red pepper flakes. Not sure, but I'll figure it out at some point, and when I do...ooooooooooooohhh, that'll be the DAY.

Then it was back to K&W's to relax a little and meet up with Jewels (Jay's elder sister), who drove up from Tucson with Reilly, and Jared and Crystal, Jason's younger brother and his girlfriend. From there we headed to a park where we met up with Mom and Dad and had a family picnic full of good times, good food, and noodle salad. (See As Good as it Gets.) We also celebrated Jason (Rogers), Stan, and (our nephew) Josh's birthdays, and got to see little Reilly's Cake Drunk expression when her mom finally stuck a forkful of frosting-coated cakey goodness in her little bird mouth.

A truly wonderful time was had by all...particularly our kids, who were THRILLED to be surrounded by familial playmates.

Anyway, please enjoy the picnic photos, and stay tuned for the rest of our vacation!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Ostrich Farm

While in AZ, Mom and Dad took us to the Ostrich Farm at Picacho Peak. (FYI, for those who've been asking, yes, I use the terms Mom and Dad for both my parents AND Jay's parents, but if I'm talking about AZ, it's the Bradshaw Mom and Dad, generally speaking!)


Okay, first off, those ostriches are SCARY. No, really. They're enormous, very strong, VERY eager for the pellets you have to feed them, and they have a pretty long reach, even from well behind the fence.

But I digress. You pay $5 admission - which includes a big cup of pellet-style food to feed the ostriches, deer, (yes, deer!) and mini donkeys, and a little cup of "nectar" for the lorikeets - and enter facing the ostriches, which is inevitably where everyone heads first. And they're huge. Did I mention that already?

So if you're a pansy, you dump some food into the funnels outside the fence and watch them peck like crazy at the feeding trough into which it the funnels empty. If you're as brave as Mom and Dad, however, you put a piece of that pellet stuff into your (VERY) outstretched palm as low as you can get their heads to go, and they peck at your palm to eat. And it hurts a little. Really, right now, open your palm and give it a good pinch with the other hand. It's not all that easy to pinch, but somehow those giant beaks manage to pinch your palm as they go for the food. It's not terribly painful, of course, but you may jump back a little in surprise. Seriously.

When you're done being wowed by the Scekzy/Big Bird crosses, there are deer to your left and donkeys to your right. The deer are beautiful, of course, and it's a unique experience to be hand-feeding animals that you generally find prancing through the forest. Bambi's mom, of course, was shot by hunters, as I tearfully reexperienced while watching Bambi with the kids at Mom and Dad's, so she was not present at the feeding area...but 3 or 4 dozen other deer were! One of the most amazing things about the deer to me, though, was that their pens - part of which were long, plastic-coated wires suspended between posts - had given them a neck-shave; it seems that when they stick their heads and necks through the wire, over time they rub off the plastic coating, and then over time that bare wire rubs the fur off their necks. Beautiful animals, of course, but that made me just a little sad...and I expended the majority of my feed on them.

The donkeys were adorable. We're talking ADORABLE. Feeding them was like placing your hand under a live soft-bristle brush. And they had these sweet little faces...seeing them next to the sweet little faces of my children, well, it was wonderful. Unfortunately, though, I think they mini donkeys get shafted; they have to compete with the insanity of the ostriches, the "oh my gosh!" factor of the deer, and the lorikeets. And when it comes to lorikeets, there IS no competition.

A lorikeet on your arm is like have a rainbow land on you: too cool. You bring in these (capped!) little cups of liquid and just hang on, because the next thing you know, the lorikeets have landed on you and are using their beaks to flip the lids off! They lap that stuff up faster than me with chocolate, and that's saying something! For some odd reason, they were particularly attracted to Jason's hair. I'm wondering if they thought the little gray bits were nesting materials. (Sorry, Jason!) They landed on his head, pecked at the side of his head, hung out around his collar...I don't know, maybe his hair just smelled really good. Either way, it was hysterical...more so when he got worried about them pooping on his head and tried to get them off. Those buggers can peck! The kids were impressed, Dad was inundated (primarily because he did a fabulous job FOOLING the birds into THINKING he had containers of nectar!) and it was all-around a very cool experience. Plus, the kids were free (we gave them our food), so all told for our little family of four, it cost about $10. I highly recommend it to you AZ'ers passing by Picacho Peak. (That, and the DQ on the other side of the freeway. YUM! Who knew you could fill up on half a basket of fries and fried shrimp?!)

Enjoy the photos, and more tales to come!

One for the Twilighters

So while in AZ we attended my folks'-in-law's ward in Casa Grande where they were both speaking that day. (Needless to say, they gave EXCELLENT talks; they are temple workers and got to speak about the value and blessings of the temple, and it was AWESOME.)
For those of you who know me well, you know my collection of wigs is, well, extensive, and that Sundays - particularly 9 AM church sessions - are easier-met by me when my hair can look fabulous without my expending ANY other words, I pull on a wig cap, plop on a wig, and VOILA!, fabulous hair in under 2 minutes. Mom and Dad have church at 9 AM. Therefore, I came prepared:
I confess, it helps to be able to match my clothes to my hair instead of trying to figure out what I'm going to wear and then do my hair to look nice. When I packed, I picked a wig, then picked an outfit to go with it. It just so happens that I picked a thrift store/Target outfit from top to bottom...the shoes were on clearance at Target for $8, the skirt is from Express and cost me $6 from the local Goodwill, which also provided the blouse...but it's not just ANY blouse. It is a bebe Collection blouse I got for $4...AND IT STILL HAD THE TAGS ON IT! I'm not into labels, per se, but I've learned, courtesy of Cory, that expensive clothing is, nine times out of ten, MUCH better-made and longer lasting, and this shirt sure was expensive (originally)...the (STILL ON!) tag read $189.00!!!!!!! Anyway, my whole outfit cost me about $18 ($20 with tax), which, after shipping, was less than I paid for the wig!

So here I am at church, and what does this have to do with Twilight? Uh huh. You know where it's going...

Sweet little teen girl approaches me (with caution) and asks, "Um, excuse me, have you ever by chance read Twilight?"

I'm blinking in confusion, thinking "Hated it," but replied, "Yes, as a matter of fact, I've read all four books."

So she smiles a little and looks all embarrassed and says - and, people, this is perhaps the single greatest compliment I've ever received from a stranger in my entire life! - "I just had to tell you that you look just like what Alice should have looked like in the movie."

I swear, I almost hugged her.

No, I'm not as svelt as I'd like, (worse since being on vacation...Audrey, I read that you can relate, and I feel your pain,) and I'm a little paler than I'd prefer, and I'm aging, it's true...but to be compared to a perfectly beautiful, delicate little vampire girl with impeccable taste? All of a sudden I find myself not hating Twilight QUITE so much.

No, wait, scratch that...I still hate it. I just don't object to being compared favorably to the mental image of a romantic teenager's stunning vampire girl. Don't mind that AT ALL.

Remind me to wear that outfit again, will you?

INFESTATION!!! three cockroaches in five days count as an infestation? Because I'm beginning to think so.

Maybe I'm jumping the gun...just a little. Maybe it takes one a day to be a true infestation. But doesn't three in the same apartment in under 120 hours suggest a serious least looming???

Anyway, it's official: I've killed three in the last five days as of this morning. Did anyone else know that they could hang UPSIDE DOWN underneath a desk? Makes me wonder if one will leap onto my knee when I'm sitting at the dinner table tonight. Nastiness.

At the same time, at least I didn't wind up with one crawling out of the drain in my bathtub, like my friend Audrey (as per her comments on my last roach-related entry...check it out.) EEEEEEWWWWW.

Okay, enough with the roaches already (literally and figuratively). AZ reports start in just a few minutes! Oh, and speaking of Audrey...and Teresa, and Jared & Kathy, and the half-dozen other people I grew up with that I didn't call when we were there...I'm sorry. We were just so wrapped up in family stuff...well, anyway, I'll be sure to phone next time!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wall-E and the Roach

Tyler loves Wall-E. (We're back, by the way, and more on that asap!) I think the little roach in Wall-E that springs right back to life every time he's run over is adorable. In fact, I can still hear Eve chuckling as said roach roams through her circuitry.
That said, in the last 4 days, I have killed 2 roaches in my own home.
NOT adorable.

Never had roaches before, though I confess, we had one in the kitchen once sometime last year, and that was shortly after I'd seen another down by the elevator, but since then? Nothing. And I was hoping to keep it that way.

Not so today. Roach # 2 reared its ugly head on my desk as I sat down at the computer anticipating an hour or so of blogging. I chased that bugger around the desk until it fell to the floor where I summarily crushed it with a folder...only to see it run when I lifted the folder off the carpeting. I should have known better - never try to kill an insect on carpeting! - but I kept at it, beating it again, smushing it with the flat of my hand between carpet and folder, then lifted the folder to watch it scurry toward the table. A third squashing left a dead roach on my carpet...or so I thought. I turned around again to see the hobbled, dirty little beast making its way as quickly as it could under the desk, where it finally met its end (or, rather, lost its end) thanks to my chair leg. I went to scoop it up with a tissue, of course, only to see it drag what was left of its back end farther from my looming form, and scooping with a tissue rapidly became crushing with a tissue.

And I'm afraid of spiders. Aaaaah, the irony.

Wall-E's roach? Cute. Roach in my home? DIE, NASTY LITTLE BUGGER, DIE!!!!!!!

More soon. After all, I've got two weeks of AZ and Julie here to catch up on...not to mention the Korean Bathhouse! (DUH-DUH-DUUUUUUUUMMMM.) Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AZ Trip

Yeah, not yet. We're leaving this evening, but I've still got all the stuff to do that I didn't get done in the last couple days to get ready, including some packing, foodstuffs, car swaps (we're taking my parents' [THANK YOU!] van), you name it. And why didn't I get it done? Because TYLER WAS SICK, OF COURSE!

No, I'm NOT kidding. Life is just that cruel. Oh, did I mention BOTH of our DVD players broke within 36 hours of each other and 12 hours of Tyler getting sick? The attached photo is of my sweet son - and Bella and Miss Magoo - enjoying (primarily He-Man, originally dubbed "Ho-Man" by my son, since corrected to "Hey Man"...can't win) shows on Hulu on the tilted computer screen while lying on a bed of stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, and a sleeping bag. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and when your son's fever is 102.5 and he has no DVD player, you start feeling just a little bit desperate.
To add insult to injury, for the first time in my life, my undereye area on my left eye is puffy. Looks like I got punched in the face, actually. I know no one feels any pity, and you've all suffered it before, and BooHoo, Jessica has a puffy undereye, but it's just one more thing where I'm thinking to myself, "Aging sucks." Now where's that cucumber...? (And don't tell me you don't see it in that picture. I see it, and that's what matters.)
Kim explained to me today that I am so expertly managing to incur a massive acne breakout and new crow's feet wrinkles at the same time because I am a) getting old(er), and b) my genetic propensity for oily skin and zits sucks. I thought having oily skin would prevent dried-out wrinkles, but she reminded me that wrinkles don't come from dried-out skin, but from a loss of collagen production.

In other words, I need acne meds AND collagen injections. That, or I could just learn to age gracefully, I suppose...Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

And then there's what I learned from Cory about the easy way to tell a woman's REAL age: just look at her neck and upper chest (decollete). Seriously, try it. No one moisturizes there, and everyone exposes it to the sun, (at least women,) so I'm making a concerted effort to start moisturizing that area...10 years too late. Sigh.

Well, enough of this...time to go get some stuff ready to, well, go. More posts in a couple weeks!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Check Out...NINJA BRANDON!!!

Okay, I have some seriously cool nephews. (Neices, too, of course, but right now I'm talking guys.) The older ones, especially, because they've had so much extra time to become so cool.

Take, for instance, Brandon, my Ninja Nephew. Oh-My-Holy-Freakin'-Cow, CHECK THIS OUT! He leapt, like, 10 feet in the air and was unwittingly caught by some kid with a camera phone trying to take down a sneering wanna-be ninja kid.
Well, okay, so it was like 5 feet in the air, and it had to have been a pretty good digital camera, and they happened to be step-cousins he was hanging out with, but that's all ENTIRELY BESIDE THE POINT. I mean, SERIOUSLY, CHECK IT!!!
SOOOOO...A big warm, icky-miserable-schloppy-kiss THANKS! to Brandon for including us lone CA Bradshaws on the photo of a lifetime, and we can't wait to see y'all this week! (Barring any further family illness; Tyler's temp randomly hit 102 this afternoon, so keep us in your prayers!)

Thursday, March 12, 2009


In this particular case, like mother, like son.

I was always a really sensitive kid. Okay, make that kid, tween, teen, and sometimes adult. Hey, I'm a Cancer, that's how I'm supposed to be, right?

Anyway, I was easily embarrassed, squirmed (or just plain shut down) when corrected - particularly by any "authority" outside my family - and sobbed when criticized by peers, and was often possessed of tummy aches and tiredness when found to be doing anything "wrong," even if I didn't know it was wrong.

Enter my sweet son. It was incredibly simple, really, and he's never had a problem at school before, and this wasn't necessarily a problem, either...but it does give me insight into myself.

Yesterday a new toy - a racetrack, to be specific - was introduced at school. He was THRILLED. Apparently that kept his attention for quite some time...even through my arrival. Not that he hadn't heard his name called or been informed that his mom was there; he'd heard and he new, but he was excited and didn't want to stop playing. When one of the teachers approached to kneel next to him and remind him to listen because it was time to go, he brushed past and said he couldn't talk because his mom was there.

In other words, he didn't want to be scolded, not that that would have been a scolding. He knew he'd heard, he knew what he was supposed to be doing, and he didn't want to discuss it.

Another teacher caught him and told him it was important to stop and listen to the teacher no matter what was happening, and he immediately shut down. He wouldn't look at her, speak to her, or give any signs of life, really. When the first teacher approached to talk to him again (I was holding him by this time, and he was dead weight in my arms and on my shoulder), I turned so he had to at least face her and she explained that he is a really good listener, but even if the toy is really fun, he still needs to stop playing when his mom comes, and reminded him the toy would be there tomorrow to play with. No response from him.

On the way to the car I held him (and Miss Magoo summarily biffed on the concrete, so I ended up holding her, too, of course) and talked to him a little. I asked him if his feelings were hurt, and he nodded in my shoulder. I asked him if he had a tummy ache when a teacher had to talk to him about listening, and he nodded again.

Just like his mom, poor kid.

So of course I did all the "we love you" reminding, and the "please listen" requesting, and the "you're not in trouble" reassuring, and a few minutes later he was fine, but the point, at least for me, was that my son and I are more alike than I sometimes realize. That, and I re-learned the lessons I have learned over the past 30 years:
  • There's no point being embarrassed.
  • It's okay to recognize and own up to your mistakes, and those wise folks trying to help you see those mistakes really mean no harm.
  • Shutting down, getting a tummy ache, or needing a nap is a natural response.
  • It's the best-behaved kids - and the perfectionists - who have the hardest time with correction.

I just hope it doesn't take Tyler 30 years to pick up on the same things...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cold & Flu Season...REALLY?!?!

Kids have colds again...petering out as I type this, of course, but colds nonetheless.

I did say AGAIN, didn't I?

So that's Mikayla ahead of the rest of us, having had the flu twice...Tyler and I still standing at only once...and Jason falling behind, having escaped the flow of vomit.

Tyler and Mikayla are tied for first in the cold realm, however, finishing up their third - count them, 3!!! - bout of stuffy-head, coughing, sneezing, and basically gooing all over everything, while I've only had a cold twice thus far, and Jason? Yeah. He kinda-sorta had a cold for a day or two there.

But seriously, everyone I know has been sick this (late in the) flu season. Bridget's got a cold. My folks have been trading it back and forth for weeks. Kim and Bella are praying it doesn't hit...again. Cory's family has been passing it around, basically, if you have kids or you're around kids, you've been nailed this season.

Sometimes I wonder if maybe there is some sort of really awful disease being developed as a weapon by a terrorist group that our government has been made aware of and their method of dealing with it is to infect the entire nation with a teeny-tiny dose of the illness to build their people's immunity, and that's why people sometimes die of the flu or from colds-turned-something else. Conspiracy theorists, GO! But really, all those flu strains? They're just the next crazy disease someone in a lab is putting together to kill us all, and the CDC is just as busy trying to counter them.

Yeah, yeah, I'm full of it, but you have to admit, I have a pretty awesome imagination.

Anyway, we're well on the way to a full recovery (at least for the next 3 days, until someone picks up some sort of NEW bug!) and should be a go for an AZ trip a week from tomorrow! So Bradshaws (and Rogers and Robbins), prepare yourselves, because the CA Bradshaws are (almost) on the way!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Be a Winner

My friend Audrey posted this today. I just found it today, but I found it in time. Perhaps you've seen this before. I've run into this before, but I've always been too late, but not this time! So, the first five of you to respond (and follow all the other rules) to this will be hooked up. Here's the rules:
The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you. This offer does have some restrictions and limitations: 1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make for you! 2. What I create will be just for you. 3. It'll be done this year. 4. You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be a card. It may be a scarf or maybe even some creation I haven't yet dreamed up. I may draw. I may bake you something and mail it to you. It may not be big or impressive. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure! But lets be honest here. This is me and I will likely do something amazing. =) So come on, sign up! 5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.
The catch? Oh, the catch is that you must re-post this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same on your blog. The first 5 people to post this same blog on their blog and leave a comment telling me they did will win a FAB-U-LOUS homemade gift by me! Let's keep the chain of love going around!!
AND, if you weren't one of the first five, feel free to post about how devastated you are because you realize how cool I am and you wish you could've gotten some really sweet loot from me. Or you could just post and tell me you think I'm funny or cute. You can only tell me I'm cute if you're a girl or my husband might get mad. He won't get jealous though 'cause he's not like that. In fact, it's really quite hard to make him mad even. Anyway, post away!

BTW, I didn't actually write any of the above except part of the first paragraph, so no, I'm not really that big a self-involved twit...much. :)

Aaaaaaah, Controversy...

Got the following from my mom, and whether or not it is real and true (though my guess is, knowing the OC papers, it's real and true), I liked it and want to share. Enjoy your daily dose of controversy!

Orange County California Newspaper

This is a very good letter to the editor. This woman made some good points. For some reason, people have difficulty structuring their arguments when arguing against supporting immigration revisions. This lady made the argument pretty simple. NOT printed in OC..............

Newspapers simply won't publish letters to the editor which they either deem politically incorrect (read below) or which do not agree with the philosophy they're pushing on the public. This woman wrote a great letter to the editor that should have been published; but, with your help it will get published via cyberspace!

From: 'David LaBonte' My wife, Rosemary, wrote a wonderful letter to the editor of the OC Register which, of course, was not printed. So, I decided to 'print' it myself by sending it out on the Internet. Pass it along if you feel so inclined. Written in response to a series of letters to the editor in the Orange County Register:

Dear Editor: So many letter writers have based their arguments on how this land is made up of immigrants. Ernie Lujan for one, suggests we should tear down the Statue of Liberty because the people now in question aren't being treated the same as those who passed through Ellis Island and other ports of entry.

Maybe we should turn to our history books and point out to people like Mr. Lujan why today's American is not willing to accept this new kind of immigrant any longer. Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the United States, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in New York and be documented . Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new American households and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home.

They had waved goodbye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity.

Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father fought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany , Italy , France and Japan. None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan. They were defending the United States of America as one people.

When we liberated France , no one in those villages were looking for the French-American or the German American or the Irish American. The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country's flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl.

And here we are in 2008 with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules; one that includes the entitlement card and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country. I'm sorry, that's not what being an American is all about. I believe that the immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900's deserve better than that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life. I think they would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags.

And for that suggestion about taking down the Statue of Liberty , it happens to mean a lot to the citizens who are voting on the immigration bill. I wouldn't start talking about dismantling the United States just yet.

Rosemary LaBonte

Monday, March 2, 2009

Catching Up...Again

Who says the market is suffering? Albeit he didn't want it, Jason got a job offer today...for $30k more than he's making now. Why doesn't he want it? Well, the company he'd be working for, for one, but most importantly, it's HERE, in Southern California, and WE WANT OUT.

In other news, I'm writing a book. Sorry to go all Stephanie Meyers on you guys, but hey, I had an idea and I'm running with it. Check back...oh, a couple months from now, when I have more than the first couple chapters.
Mikayla learned, thanks to a petting zoo in San Juan Capistrano, that you shouldn't pick up a Muppet (ie bunny rabbit) by the throat because they tend to flail and scratch in an attempt to unblock their own windpipes. She has a tiny scratch on her face and quite a few small scratches on both arms. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way that Mom is right.

Tyler's loving preschool, and loving having Bella over Monday and Wednesday afternoons for a couple-hour playdate. Most of his friends are girls...I think it's the eyelashes...though he does have a host of rough-and-tumble boy buddies as school. One of them asked his mother last week if he could get glasses too, just like Tyler. And I was worried he'd get teased for his glasses! Too cool.

I've realized something about no longer being on Facebook...I don't want to be that accessible! We, people, are the last generation ABLE to escape finding...the last age group who only reconnect with people with whom we WANT to reconnect. We are also the last generation who can comfortably say we've moved on and maintained ONLY the connections we've selected. And I think that's incredibly healthy. Maybe others have no regrets, or have loads of time to waste on Facebook, even if it's only 3 minutes a day, and want to put themselves out there to hook up with their best friend from 6th grade...but I also wonder how many relationships and/or marriages have been ruined by people "reconnecting." Anyway, I'm glad to be among the last of the Gen Y'ers (I missed Gen X by 5 - 10 years, I think) who can maintain old friendships that I CHOOSE to maintain, who isn't competing like a high school girl to see how many friends I can make (or how many I can reject), and who makes friendships NOW that are appropriate to my age and stage in life.
Little rant.

Anyway, Jason is taking some time off work the middle of this month...and rather than invest it in what we'd originally thought, for those in the know, we are reconsidering and may be taking a short family vacation, probably including a visit to AZ. So, Phoenix/Casa Grande/Tucson, look for use mid-month-ish...probably the weekend of the 19/20/21, but there will be more details to follow as we get closer and actually make PLANS.

I'm including a few San Juan photos herein for your visual enjoy! (It was our "entire" CA family, including my folks, sister and hubby, and me, Jay and the kids...good times!) (The significance of the ring and pennies, by the way, is that my sister randomly decided to see if a couple of pennies fit inside her husband's titanium wedding ring. They did. And then she couldn't get them out. Did I mentioned the ring is titanium? But then my husband came to the rescue. Victor made a crack about "how many men does it take to get 2 pennies out of 1 titanium wedding band?" "Three. The husband, his father-in-law, and his brother-in-law!")

And honestly, I have nothing more intelligent to report at the moment, except that homemade pesto spread on a hunk of ciabatta, then topped with fresh tomato slices and 1/4" hunks of fresh buffalo mozzarella and dipped in balsamic vinegar make just about the best sandwich EVER. TALK about a cheese sandwich!

Love to all, and hopefully more soon!