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, 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!