Sunday, November 29, 2009

Etnies is so serious about safety...I might actually let my son skate. Maybe.

He wants a skateboard. I want him to keep his body intact. So, for years, I have vetoed the skateboard requests. Well, not exactly vetoed, I have simply said, "When you're older." He doesn't get that I am putting him off. He first started asking when he was 7. Visions of scrambled brains fanned across the sidewalk filled my head when I answered: "When you are 10." It seemed a long way off at the time. Now that he is 11, he is asking again, repeatedly. We're at an impasse, and I have to take him seriously. But I am worried.

EtniesImage via Wikipedia

Understand that I am the mother who made her oldest daughter sit in a booster seat until past the 6th grade because she wasn't tall enough or heavy enough to sit without it. When they say 8 years or 80 lb. I take that seriously! My littlest one, at 8, is still in a booster seat and will be for the foreseeable future. I was the mom who made the kids wear bike helmets long before it was law. I have seen too many of those brain-crushing YouTube videos to feel comfortable otherwise. And what about stubbed toes, broken feet? I am thinking of ordering bubble wrap to wrap around the kid to keep him in one piece.

So when Etnies, an Orange County-based sports shoe and apparel company, invited the bloggers from OC Family to visit their headquarters, I have to admit I didn't know what to expect. I know many swear by skateboarding, but when the force for skateboarding can be 17x that of standing still? Well, call me over-protective, but I am not a happy mama. I am concerned about safety.

Fortunately, so is Etnies. With the only biomechanics lab for skateboarding in the world, they are concerned with safety and performance for skateboarders. With features in their shoes like a reinforced toe box to protect feet from impact, and patented cushioning in the shoe as well, it helps me feel just a bit better about protecting my son's extremities. The owner Pierre was a professional boarder, and many who work there are serious about the sport, too. The company is all about innovation. The employees at etnies clearly are passionate about what they do. Clad in jeans and flannel (oh, the flannel!) they seem happy to be there. They were kind, helpful and gave us cupcakes!

And? The shoes are nice looking, with a ton of variety. Because face it, it doesn't matter how well-made or what safety features are involved if the kid thinks the shoes are ugly and won't wear them. Once I get a chance to get pads, helmet and bubble wrap, my son may just find a skateboard underneath the Christmas tree this year.

Even mama couldn't resist the shopping spree and I had a hard time deciding which shoe I wanted. (I will tell you that their womens' shoes seem to run a bit narrow, so if your foot is on the wider side, like mine, you might want to order a size up, or even try on a pair first. Because they have such a molded footbed, they don't give a lot of room for wider feet. However, because I love the shoes so much, I'm ignoring that. I have to do that with a lot of shoes, it is my curse).

In any case, don't say I never gave you anything, because etnies is giving you a special deal, too. Just in time for Christmas. Click over to my review blog, Sweet Talkin' to get your deal.

T, who loves to showcase local businesses

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So. How was YOUR day?

For reasons I cannot go into, I neeeeed my dryer! Guess I will be headed to the laundromat tomorrow. Don't ask.

T, who hopes your day is better than mine

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fun with Closed Captioning OR Yes, my son is..unique

click to embiggen

Life with kids is always interesting. We were watching Star Trek tonight and we needed to put the closed captioning on over the noise of the clothes dryer. It didn't work so well, as you can see.

Me: What?? What crazy person typed this?!
JBug: they need some serious spellcheck!
Me: This is not going to work! How can we hear what they are saying?
JBear: It’s ok, I can read it, I speak Idiot.
Me: “…”

T, who never knew my son was bilingual

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

T, who is eating PIE

Monday, November 23, 2009

An apple a day means I drive all the way out to nowhere: Riley's Farm

Recently, I braved the freeways, with my G1 GPS (which, if you don't know, is trying to kill me) and my kids and I went with our homeschool group to Riley's Farm, for an amazing field trip. For those who don't know, Riley's Farm is located in Oak Glen, out by Yucaipa. It takes a little over an hour to get there from North Orange County. The roads are a bit windy, so make sure that you are nice and awake and your windshield is clean!

Once there, it is like stepping back in time. JBear was able to help press the apples and make apple cider. Apparently, the colonists also made hard cider, but of course, we didn't get any of that! The apples they used were a bit too soft, so they didn't let us drink it, since it wasn't pasteurized. As if I would, anyway. That little bit of history is a just a bit too authentic…no dysentery for us! Hard cider helped the colonists as it fermented and created good bacteria. It allowed them to eat all kinds of nastiness that would make us really ill. (you probably don't want to dwell on that).

The kids made candles, dipping the candle in the wax. In colonial times, each candle had to be dipped by hand, over and over, a very time-consuming process. The colonists boiled bayberries to get their wax. Bayberries had a low-smoke level, so they were ideal for candles. We, of course, just buy Yankee candles, and call it a day.

The kids played colonial games, hoop and stick, graces, played with a small hoop and two sticks (see a pattern here?) , and horseshoes. JBear was probably pining for his DS, but he never said a thing.

There was colonial music, as our guide treated us to some beautiful pennywhistle(also known as a "flipple flute" I didn't make that up!) renditions of "Star of the County Down." Since I love The Chieftains, and James Galway, I was only too happy to listen. Yeah, so I am old. Sue me. The kids got caramel apples, and we settled down under the shade of a large tree. The family dog was roaming around, and it was just a really nice place to be.

After our rest, the kids were able to practice writing with a quill. They agreed it would have been nice to be schooled in colonial times. Spelling didn't matter at all, what matter was how beautiful your penmanship was. Of course, that's where we part ways…writing with a quill is ridiculously hard! Once you get it down and your ink is somewhat even, you have to dip again. and, it blotches. Creating quills was a profession taking a skilled artisan. Quills usually came from geese or turkeys. Swan quills were used by the well-to-do. RSVP pens come from Office Depot. Right down the street. $3 for 2. I win.

Weaving was our next stop. Believe it or not, it was a man's job. The women carded the wool, and spun the thread, but the men wove it into cloth. Interesting fact: there weren't many spinning wheels, taxes were too high from Britain. Instead, they used a drop spindle. A simple loom isn't that hard to make. Have you ever heard the term "warp and weft?" It acutally comes from weaving. Warp is the yarn drawn side-to-side. Weft is the yarn drawn up and down. Weaving isn't that hard, and once you get to the end of the row, you go back and do the opposite of what you just did. Perfect for teenagers! And, if she made her own clothes, she would think twice before she just had to have that newest in-fashion shirt. I am so evil.

And of course we left just in time to hit traffic. I drove home, and we were starving. So I stopped to get us some lunch and afterwards, got lost trying to get back to the freeway. One thing about me, I am a smart cookie. But I am crummy with directions. Give me a choice, I will probably go the wrong way, which is a recipe for stress. My Google G1 GPS (which relies on Google Maps) was not helpful, and that made me anxious. I had missed one freeway, and was on another, because in Southern California, you can't get very far without using the freeway. But Google Maps? It didn't even recognize where I was to get me home. I had to call my JPS (JNerd Positioning System) so he could tell me how to find my way back to the place I belong. After sitting in traffic, I finally did pull into the driveway, and we were all pretty tired. We had a lot of fun. But I think we will stick close to home for a while!

T, who is very thankful for convenience

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wanted: 10 minutes peace, but I'll settle for 5..ok make that 3

"Parents are not particularly interested in justice, they are interested in quiet." -Bill Cosby

I am a pretty easy going person, for the most part. No, really, I am. Unless I am tired, and then all bets are off. I can be irritable, easily frustrated, noise sets my teeth on edge. This week, I haven't been sleeping very well. I just got new braces (the clear ego is intact) and they are making it hard to rest. Also, there is a lot going on, and sleep is what suffers. I don't want to make my friends' problems about me… but one of my best Internet friends just found out her husband's cancer has reoccurred, and I am hurting badly for them. Also, another Internet friend is in a hospital ICU fighting for her life back. A good friend is being absolutely screwed over by her ex husband. My daughters have been fighting illness. And me? I am just trying to find some justice, some equilibrium and some peace.

Unfortunately, my youngest, JBean, doesn't understand what "lower your voice," "be quiet, please," "silence" or "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NO MORE NOISE!" means. She has no idea how to do anything quietly. It just isn't in her makeup. Ok, maybe it's the autism, or maybe it's just her, but enough. Her stim is making noise. She sings, constantly. She sings while playing. She sings in the bathroom. She tries to sing while she eats. She sings herself to sleep. And my ears are tired.

I cannot tell you what I would give for silence. And not the silence where someone else jumps in with a request once they hear dead air for more than 5 seconds, either. Gee, do you think that happens a lot around here? Part of autism is not always getting the nuances of the meter of conversation and where it is ok to break in. So there is a lot of stepping on others' words here. The kids talk over one another, and don't always hear each other. And I am just ready for no more chatter.

I am thinking, an hour, maybe two, of just blessed quiet. If you ask her to be quiet, she talks at the level she thinks is quiet, which is just below the decibels of a jackhammer. And she is just about as repetitive. Driving her noise into my brain, until I want to run screaming, into traffic. Now, this doesn't seem like such a bad plan, really. I figure one of two things will happen: 1) a car will run me over and save me from the noise or 2) they will commit me for being unstable.

And really, the hospital is quiet, for the most part. And I would get to lie in bed all day. And the hat factory wouldn't be such a bad place, when you think about it. Maybe I would finally learn to knit. Hats? Either way, the hospital or the funny farm, at least it would be quiet with no more demands. Three square meals a day,that I don't have to cook. Someone taking care of my every need. Time to nap. Oh, don't tell me you haven't thought about it! Hell, that would just about be a vacation. Where do I sign up?

T, who just wants a break

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Help for Anissa

For those of you who read on Feedburner, I wanted to be sure you get this info. I will update with the address of where to send stuff...but I have to run. Still, DONATE HERE for Anissa!

T, who is still praying

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Prayers for Anissa

She helped me eat kittens on Fridays. Well, we didn't actually eat them, we just discussed it. You see, we were annoyed with Follow Friday on twitter, and wanted to come up with something else.

Anissa is a trip. There is no other way to describe her. When I hang with her, I feel like I have been on vacation. On twitter she makes me laugh out loud. I can't drink anything when we are tweeting one another, lest I bathe my monitor! At Blogher she made me snort. Ask her about sex toys. In short, she's awesome. In September, I had the great pleasure of having dinner and drinks with her, Heather, Jim, Lori and Diane, from HP, a good friend of Anissa's. when she was here in town for a Disney event. We had a great time, and some wonderful conversation afterwards. Everything from favorite drink to gifted kids. Because that's what you can expect from Anissa. A laugh, some serious thought, then more laughs. Except for today.

She's a bloggy mogul, Aiming Low was her brainchild. She's a strong mother, she has three children. And Peyton just celebrated ONE YEAR cancer free. She has a lot to be thankful for. But today.

Today, Anissa had a stroke. I know, I was floored, too. There isn't much to tell. She is in ICU, and I will update when I know more. My heart aches for her family, but I know she is strong. She is a survivor. She is my friend. If you live in the Atlanta area and want to help, please check out this link. If you want to do something, and don't know what to do? Please pray for Anissa, and her family.

And Anissa, I am saving you a kitteh to eat.

T, who has a heavy heart

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Friday, November 13, 2009

You want fries with that? Oh wait, I thought I was somewhere else...

Tomorrow, Nov.14th, our church is doing a special Serve Day...about 2,000 of us are fanning out into our community and taking part in various projects throughout the day. My family has signed up to plant vegetation at Brea Olinda high school, to replenish the plants that were there before the big fire last year. We are especially concentrating upon a slope, hopefully to get some anchor for the soil before the rainy season comes.

It is so easy to say that we don't have time to serve. Sure, we are all busy, I know our family is! But to my way of thinking, we don't have time not to serve..if not us, then who?

I leave you with one of the funniest videos I have seen in a long time. This guy's YouTube account is a must-view.

T, who's bringing servin' back, yeah.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day

It's not just family that misses deployed soldiers.

In honor of the veterans who have served and are serving... Here are some reunions that may be just as important:

T, who says maybe I want a dog

Monday, November 09, 2009

Coffee is good, but good coffee is great!

This Friday night was date night with my husband and we found ourselves in a little-known coffee house in Fullerton. Down a small alley on a not-well-traveled side street off Harbor Blvd. is Max Blooms Cafe Noir, a newly opened treasure. Entering into the store is like going back in time.

Part museum, part coffee house, the love of 1940's era is everywhere: from the vintage photos of Fullerton, the antique typewriter as well as the antique piano that is still played in the establishment today, the joint oozes atmosphere. You expect Mickey Spillane to step out of the shadows any minute. Mixed about with the authentic film-noir era movie posters, you will find an eclectic collection of movies for sale. It's a sort of rental system, buy the movie for $15, and they buy it back from you for $12. A bank of theatre seats faces a television and a shelf of books ranging from "Husband-Tested Recipes," an old paperback cookbook from the era, and a ton of books on old films and directors. It's the kind of place you can spend some time exploring. There's even a map to point out pieces in the collection.

Everywhere you look is a testimony of the labor of love that is Max Bloom's. And the coffee? Oh, the coffee!

Like nothing you have tasted. Roasted personally by owner Stephen Sprague, it is smooth, and toasty without a hint of bitterness. I am still dreaming of the amazing mocha latte I had. It was perfect. Smooth, creamy, with a touch of chocolate, and in a mug, no less! My husband had the regular coffee, and it was just as good. And where can you get a cup of joe for $ .89? Coffee is a passion for Stephen, and it shows.

Coffee is serious business. He explained to me how to make the perfect cappuccino, and why they don't travel well. (the perfect capp is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk and 1/3 you can't make it to go). He can make you a latte, though. And it will be the best you have ever had.

And, with bakery treats and a refrigerator stocked with old-fashioned sodas, they have something for everyone. But don't forget your wallet, because Max Bloom's only takes cash.

If you are tired of big-chain coffee, maybe you need to stop in and see Max Bloom.

Max Bloom's Cafe Noir

220 N. Malden Ave

Fullerton, CA 92832

(714) 871-2600


become a fan on facebook
currently doesn't have much a web presence, but as soon as they do, I will update.

T, who loves coffee

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Here I thought I needed to buy a bucket, as well...I have GOT to get my hearing checked!

The chanting from the backseat was making me crazy. Here I was in stop-and-go traffic (after all, I live in Orange County, what else would it be??) and my littlest one was going on and on about something she found important and I found vaguely irritating. Halfway listening, I asked her, "What?" "Mommy, can I have a walrus?" I pondered for a moment...say what? So, she repeated herself, "I want a walrus! I want a walrus!" Now at this point, you are probably saying to yourself, if you are halfway normal, "A WHAT?" But not me.

Used to bizarre requests because my son is the Master of the Non-Sequitur,
I simply responded, "Where would you put it?" My daughter answered me: "Why, in my pocket of course!"
"I don't think there are any that small?" Again, remember, the majority of my attention was on the road and the cars in front of me who do really stupid things when we are all trying to get home. But also, in my defense, I have been known to say things like:

"Get your feet off the ceiling!" (my son has a loft bed) "NO you can not have a hot air balloon, quit asking!" "Your butt is for sitting on, we don't want to see it!" "I am pretty sure no matter how hard you try, the cat isn't going to play the piano."

So, I was in the ballpark here. Then: "Wait, you want to put a walrus in your pocket? It would have be a pretty big pocket!" "What? No, mama! I don't want a walrus, I want allowance! A walrus. That's just silly."

Yes, and I pretty much wrote the book on Silly.

T, who needs to pay better attention

What's the silliest thing you thought you heard, lately? super-awesome walrus shot by Ralph Lee Hopkins

Lookie what I did!

Ok so you heard about my new bloggy (ad)venture, Trampled with Zebras, and totally have no idea what it means, right? Well, I wrote an explanation over at OCFamily about it, so go read it! Then comment, so I don't feel like that kid in the cafeteria who ends up sitting by herself at lunch! Ok? Thanks!! [mwah!]

T, who appreciates you, really I do!

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

We are (OC) Family

I just want to get this straight. I do live in Orange County, CA. Not the Orange County with the multi-million dollar houses. I don't live behind a locked gate, sipping vodka martinis in a hot tub. I haven't had any "work" done, besides the standard semi-exercise to keep my butt from sagging to my knees. I like yoga, and I flirt with Pilates, mess about a bit with karate, but don't have a personal trainer, and certainly not one with a six-pack named Del or Hans or Antony. I own a scale, but I never look at it. I would rather poke out an eye than to let anyone near my face with a syringe full of toxin, image bedamned.

I am not a Lady of Leisure. I have three kids, and they keep me hopping. I load my own dishwasher, and can't rationalize paying someone else to clean the hair out of my tub when I am home all day. (if you want to, that's cool, I just have that liberal guilt thing that plagues me). I don't play tennis, or belong to a country club. But I am still an Orange County resident, and proud of it. Orange County is a place like no other.

That's why when Suzanne asked me to be an OC Family mom blogger, I said yes. I am thrilled to be part of the new OC Family mom bloggers (and one dad!), from all over Orange County. We'll write blogs on the site, so visit us regularly! We are moms who work, play and live for real. I'm representin' North OC! Where my homies at? Fullerton, holler! My blog over there is called Trampled by Zebras, and anyone who deals with special needs will understand that often that's how life feels. Come join me!

These women (ok, the guy, too) are hawt, happenin' and here to stay. Check em out. And check out the new OC Family mom blogs. You can be part of the movement, too! They offer blogs for moms (and dads!) as well.

Below is a link to all of the personal blogs:

Allison @ Green Mom
Adam @ Reluctant Stay at Home Dad
Andrea @ Hip Moms Who Work
Anna @ Working Mom
Arceley @ Daytripping Mom
Beckey @ Hippo Brigade
Caryn @ Rockin' Mama
Ciaran @ Momfluential
Debbie @ Peace, Love & Momminess
Julie @ Angry Julie Monday
Kelly @ According to Kelly
Kristen @ New Mom
Lorna @ Calif Lorna
Marcie @ Suburban Mama
Marisa @ Generic OC Witty Blog
Marcy @ The Glamorous Life Association
Suzanne @ Alive in Wonderland

our beach shoot was done by Dana Sipper, of Sipper Photography. She's amazingly talented, and even managed to make me look good!

T, who promises not to sing the "We are Fam-i-ly" song

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Monday, November 02, 2009

When did teenagers start pushing thirty?

Wonder why the kids on Glee look so good? It's because they are not kids at all!

I am not some giggly teenager (but I do have one, though giggles are far and few between, maybe a "SQUUEEE" once in a while). That being said, I discovered an artist that I like, the song has potential, it is catchy. It just so happens that the song is by Mark Stalling, who plays Puck on Glee, the breakout new dramedy on Fox this season. Turns out Mark was in a band, called Jericho, and they have an album. Sadly, this song is not on the album. But I'll keep trying. This song seems radio-worthy to me. See what you think. (also, if he makes your heart go pitty-pat, don't fret...he is actually 26, playing a teenager...whew!)

Lea Michelle, plays Rachel, is 23
Cory Monteith, plays Finn, is 27
Chris Colfer, plays Kurt, is 19
Kevin McHale, plays Arty, is 21
Jenna Ushkowitz, plays Tina, is 23
Dianna Agron, plays Quinn, is 23

No wonder our teenagers are so insecure, when they are being compared to actual adults! It took me years to "bloom" and it really wasn't until after high school that I came into my own. I guess if they actually cast young, awkward kids the show wouldn't be as interesting, since their perfection in performing is much of it's appeal. Still, we don't have to like Hollywood's practice of casting adults to play teens.

T, who admits to watching glee, and will probably even buy the cast album

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

We didn't even have to smell anybody's feet!

I have always liked Halloween, I suppose it is the theatre diva in me. A holiday that let's me get all dressed up like somebody else? Gimme more a dat! So this year, I toyed with the idea of Sylvia Plath (who apparently liked to bake) and a Lolita Goth, but figured it would just freak out my already-freaked-by-Halloween daughters. (also? as a teen, do you really want your mom to dress as a goth? Few things are probably scarier than that..a real horror show) So I nixed that idea, poured myself a drink and just decided to go easy this year.

This is the first year that JBear came up with his own costume, completely. He did a good job, I think. He used what was around the house, and didn't ask me to buy anything. And Littles (JBean) decided to put a new twist on her costume. Of course it was a princess (it is always some variation, the little girly-girl fashionista, I guess) but this year, she was a "Warrior Princess Elf." Go JBean!

(this house had actual blue light, it was hard to get a good picture)

The kids were very polite, and there wasn't one autism moment all night. (Thank God!) There was a tiny bit of balking at the unknown haunted house (we went around it) but for the most part, JBean found she enjoyed herself, despite her earlier trepidation.

I even got into the act. As you can see, I had to defend my chocolate! Just tell me one thing? WHEN did it become ok to pass the bucket as a parent, in addition to the bucket your child is using?? I saw more moms, and some dressed up and trick or treated at my door! Gives new meaning to "tricks" now doesn't it? Don't they understand that as a parent, it is their job, nay, their duty to help their children dispose of their haul? In other words, eat your kids' candy, don't beg at my door for your own! What? You really cannot afford to buy your own Fun Size at Target?

Honestly, what is this world coming to?

T, who gave more treats than tricks this year

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