Quick Stop in Vancouver

We are in Vancouver for a day before hopping on a cruise ship up to Alaska with my husband’s family. It’s been wayyy too long since I’ve been on a cruise ship so I’m so excited!

Here is my bean with her new short hair.

Short Hair Girl

Driving into Vancouver

Vancouver, British Columbia

Dinner at Cardero’s. Excellent scallops!

Cardero's

The view

Gorgeous

Sharon and I…. the rest of the group refused pictures.
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Walking back

The CityGorgeous city!

Lazy Weekends

Younger child home alone: Complete and utter quiet as he finishes Harry Potter #5 quietly on the couch.

Older child home alone: “I’m bored. Can you play with me? Can we do something? I’m hungry. What about playing a game? Can we go somewhere? Can you invite one of my friends over?”

Both kids home: One is reading (guess which one, duh) the other is circling him… singing, talking, begging, bored, flopping around, and then comes over to us to ask for attention.

Older child is at a four hour play practice with friends. Younger child is at home.

Utter bliss.

(I truly madly adore my older child, btw – haha!)

 

Callie

I had to put down Callie today. It was rough. I’m technically an emotionless person. Well, I’m not. They are there. Buried down deep. I’m happier when they don’t come out.

Putting down a pet is such a good reason to let it all come out though. It’s so sad. It’s terrible. A defenseless little pet, who is hurting, who just wants to be next to you. It’s worse than a baby. A baby will at least scream and cry when it’s hurting. The pets, they just plod along happily until they can’t walk, eat, drink, or poop.

Ugh.

So the last month was rough on her. She started having diarrhea. Throwing up more. I was traveling some so I wasn’t there. It’s terrible having a pet confined to one room too. It’s not a life for them. But when you’ve had her 15 years, you can’t get rid of her when you have an allergic family member.

So my daughter is a little emotional. A lot, actually. I’ve been warning her for the last 6 months that Callie is old. She’s an old lady and it wasn’t going to end well. The last four weeks were bad, I knew they were bad. I kept fooling myself though. Then I was gone for a week. When I came back, Callie was literally sitting at my feet. Usually she sits in her spot. I cuddle with her for the first half hour of the day when I watch the news, otherwise she is on her pillow. Every hour I was in here, she was instead sprawled out next to my feet. So I knew it wasn’t good.

Monday came and I made the appointment. She had a mass. It was in her intestines. She’s too old for treatment and I’m not going to do that to a 15 year old cat anyway. I brought her back home because my daughter made me promise that Callie would come back.

The rest of the day is what you would expect. She was a sweet kitty. It’s very sad. It’s worse that the kids understand it so well now that they are older.

I told my girl it was bad. She knew. I told her in the evening that I was going to take her back and she had to say her goodbyes. Even though she understood, she still didn’t want to get it. So we had to do it several times. It probably could have been done better. Maybe while they were sleeping like we did a few years ago. They didn’t understand as much back then.

It’s a good lesson about the circle of life. It’s important to be nice to people, to be kind, and celebrate life because it’s short and ends quickly.

It’s just sad all around. I think my girl cried herself to sleep. Once my boy figured out what exactly was happening, he shed a few tears too. He was more analytical. He wanted to know how it happened, how she went to sleep, where she went…

Callie

Bye Callie. I hope you are playing with Talis, Crash, and Turbo and having a grand old time over the rainbow bridge.

When Will the Dog Park in Yorba Linda Be Built?

Good question, right?

I’ve been emailing this really nice man since 2011. Mike from the City of Yorba Linda, Parks and Recreation Superintendent. The plot of land in Eastside Park has been set aside for the dog park and they are just waiting on funding.

Since the housing developments have been doing crazy the last year, I guess funding might happen later this year. So fun! Especially since it’s so close to our house.

Chessie is very timid and when we take her to dog parks she just sits and wanders around. However, she has a core group of dog friends that she loves to run around with. We keep her on the leash but she can still play with them. If we can have a safe place for her to play with her dog friends, that would be so exciting!

Come on, Yorba Linda, get the funding together. It was approved over five years ago!

Soccer Update

Well, she finally did it. S tried out for a more competitive team and made it. We basically snuck on, really. Tryouts for that group were in January and we didn’t go because she was in the middle of “ZOMG WTFBBQ IS GOING ON WITH HER STOMACH” time and we didn’t want more pressure on her. Then, we tried out for her organization club in March when she was getting better and crossed our fingers. 25+ girls tried out for the same team and they only took 10 or 11 and had 9 returning players. Double sigh.

After this current season, I really needed to get her more dedicated coaching. More than the (super duper awesome) volunteer person who was her coach. While so nice and wonderful, maybe not the best season we have had as she did not seem to learn much. So we started looking around.

A separate organization is extremely popular in our area and we had never wanted to switch because we liked the one we were with. We had friends, parents were friendly, yadda yadda. This one has an intermediate level that is not expensive as club but with more commitment, a few tournaments, multiple times with a trainer during the year, and the team stays together for a full year or longer. She needs that. She needs the stability and extra help that I have no idea how to give her.

Tangent: Soccer is confusing. I also hate reffing.

So we tried out. The coach was nice. I loved the trainer. They did extra fundraising to get the trainer on a weekly basis, crazysauce. After he interviewed her twice and came to one of her games he stopped returning my calls. How rude. Seriously. No, I mean, maybe he’s in the hospital. He was sick the last time I saw him. Or, he had a family emergency.

If you tell me you don’t want my kid, I’m going to be an adult about it. But just tell me. Nothing worse than not knowing. I just want to KNOW these things so we can keep making other plans

So a new team was being set up by two competing parents/coaches from recreation and they were holding tryouts. Seven girls trying out for three spots. That was better than 25+ girls. So the day of… Sam develops a 101 fever at school and it went up at home. She was passed out the afternoon.

I was so sad. She was sadder. She moped around crying. I honestly just wanted to drag her over there and make her show up but she made the adult decision that she couldn’t give 100% so she didn’t want to go. We told her we would do recreation again and she would still have fun playing.

After the weekend ended, I got an email that one of the girls wasn’t sure about the team and they were interviewing a goalie and could my girl show up and show off her skills. Yay! So we did. He loved her. He gave good compliments about her technical skills and keeping her eyes up while dribbling. And the other girl’s parents didn’t want to commit to weekends during the fall (apparently Glamis was too important for them). Their loss, our gain.

SO. EXCITED. This team has two dedicated and excited coaches who both have played soccer in their day. They have a third parent who is all set to be the field manager. The few moms I have met seem very nice. They want to start practices immediately because we are the ‘new’ team and need to catch up to our competition.

My girl is going to be so excited to play year-round and I’m so excited for her. I hope she learns so many new skills and has an awesome time with new friends doing it.

16 Minutes

I have 16 minutes to write this. Well, probably about 14 since i walked downstairs, opened a browser, went to my blog, and hit New Post.

Bad dreams, boogeymen, being scared… I keep trying new things for my child to feel safe and sleep in their bed. The newest thing is letting him set my alarm so that I would come back and check in. The first checkin was 11 minutes, the second one is 16. I’m hoping there won’t be a third, but that’s probably wishful thinking.

My sweetie has been depending on their sibling to keep them company through the night. That’s not really fair to the sibling, is it? But we depended on them to do it but finally, I think a foot was put down. It’s a big burden to bear. On the other hand their relationship is just pure wonder and friends. They are going to be such good friends as time goes on. They are 9 and 7 right now and while they argue they are both so good natured, they get along so well. I can just imagine them having dinner together and going out to bars when they are older, haha.

It’s nice to have siblings who get along. I’m sure it won’t be perfect but they can depend on each other if something ever happens to us. It’s a nice feeling. We are so lucky to have so many family members around to help support them too.

All that and I have 11 minutes left. Imagine that. I always work best on deadlines. A full page written in less than five minutes. Why can’t I do that with my work-in-progress book that I’ve been thinking about for two years?

Success: Passed out when I checked!

Our Fabulous Dominican Republican Visit at Villa Gordon

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We researched our next Spring Break vacation until we found the perfect spot in Villa Gordon. Hidden away between Sosua and Cabarete was a little community of 10+ homes, a hotel, and an amazing restaurant all behind a guarded gate.

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This beach house was perfect for our extended family of 11 to visit and hang out for the week. With the four bedrooms off to the left side and the main house with two master suites, living room, dining room, and kitchen was a great place to stay for our first trip to the DR. Watch the videos Gordon sends you before you come, it will help a bit. Recognize that you aren’t going to find those light switches for a few days (the one in the kitchen is in the hallway behind you!). Or figure out how they work… (there is an on button? Duh!)

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Enjoy the comfy couches outside with ‘Mini’ the sweet, sweet kitty who sits on your lap. The pool gets shaded in the afternoon. You MUST APPLY SUNSCREEN EVERY HOUR!!! The ocean right outside is dangerous but walk to the point on the right (AFTER the big rock) and it’s shallow a good ways out, or go past the 3rd surf camp (10m walk) to where there are no rocks, gentle swells, and perfect waves for your kids. Or if you surf, rent a board! The life guard walking the beach was a bonus!
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Franklin (one of the best parts of the trip) picked us up from the airport and was our taxi the whole week. He has one of the BEST personalities from anyone I have ever met. Always a smile on his face, a ‘no problem’ to anything we ask, and the kindest man you will meet. Johanny and Cathy, our maids for the week, were very industrious and hard workers and… they made breakfast for us EVERY single morning. It was heaven. They made whatever was in the kitchen (and one morning instead of bacon, they made hot dogs – the kids were thrilled – haha!) so make sure your kitchen is stocked. For extra you can get a house-keepers lunch and everything was so good. Ask for the fish, it was ammmmaaazzing but the chicken was tasty too.
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– Have fun walking outside… peacocks, horses, cows, chickens, roosters, etc.
– Ask the guards to build you a bonfire, it’s pretty cheap. Fun experience (but don’t think you can make smores, they make it BIG!)

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Speaking of the guards… it’s crazy that they walk around with a huge gun on their back! They will walk right up and sit at the tables outside or very close to the house. We couldn’t decide if it was strange that they did that, or that they really NEEDED to be that close to protect us! (We never saw anyone bad walking around, FYI.) They were really nice and we had a good time talking to them. Some days they would walk around, and others they would start raking the leaves. I guess they did a little of everything!

Gordon was awesome at all of our questions. He always got back to us right away and had great customer service. Anything you need will be answered right away from him!

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Cons – There always has to be a few cons, right? Here is what I thought.

– Biggest problem was the wifi. There was one password protected account and two free ones. One for the main master bedroom, the other for the rest of the house. The third, I have no idea. The strongest one was the master bedroom and a slower one worked out in the living room. They were not reliable at all. At. All. Chez Arsenio had a much stronger connection and it was sad the way we ran over there to download our email, or a book on our Kindle. One morning the wifi would work great, the next nothing worked at all. We would unplug, replug and it would work for 10 minutes and other days it wouldn’t work for hours on end. There was a day when three of us were sitting on the master bed downstairs downloading books and email as that was the only working spot. One day I was able to do 30 minutes of video Skype conference call in the master bedroom (moved to regular call after it went kaput) and two days later I couldn’t hop on GoToMeeting to save my life (and my conference!). It’s a nice thought to unplug and go off to paradise but two of us had to work a few days to be able to go on vacation, and no wifi is so annoying. When the living room wifi was out every other day, you couldn’t connect to Pandora to play music in the backyard.

– A specific note that there is no wifi in the 4 bedroom villas at all. So watching a movie on your computer at night is out, or downloading email lounging on your bed is not possible. The wifi also did not work in the upstairs master at all. So if it’s important to you, just be aware! There is always the restaurant if you are desperate. :)

– It’s a typical beach house. I say this as we were debating between two properties. One in Sea Horse Ranch which was double the price, and this one. It’s a comfy house and perfect for all of us to lounge in but there is wear and tear in the house. The water filter spout was broken and hard to get water out of. One of the couches outside was a little worn down (like too many people sat in one particular spot). The outdoor plastic chairs and wooden chairs were uncomfortable. The beach lounges felt like you sunk into them and couldn’t get out. It was a VERY nice house, don’t get me wrong, but might need a little upkeep as time goes on.

– Buy extra toilet paper! :) The maids told us we were out, whoops! Had to run to the store after one of our outings.

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– This is not a con to the house but just an FYI that power goes on and off, and the generators pop on and off. I think that’s just typical of the DR!

– Even though it’s filtered water, some of us got a little sick to our tummies after a few days. Just a little annoyance on a daily basis for most of the group.

I outlined the pros above but we really enjoyed ourselves! Be sure to talk to Anne about stocking the house with food. Be very specific as she is a great shopper. Have their chefs come and cook you a meal, or just walk down to Chez Arsenio for dinner. Even just order a side dish to anything you are cooking. We got potato salad for our first night, and our neighbors got garlic bread that we were eying! We loved having the chefs as they cooked amazing things and did all the dishes! We had them out three nights during our stay.

Happy Hour is from 4-6pm at the restaurant and the Arsenio Special was my favorite! Two for the price of one. :)

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Where to Go:
– Monkey Jungle – the kids (and adults!) loved it! It’s about 45m and a really bumpy road at the end. Go!
– 27 Waterfalls – Amazing experience that I personally couldn’t do (kids couldn’t!) but others did and loved. Buy the video option to record your experience, it will be worth it.

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– Cabarete – We didn’t venture over to Cabarete until later in the week and we promptly went back the next day. AMAZING BEACH. Sitting in the sand, having a drink, eating at the restaurants while watching the kite surfers was so cool. The kids loved the waves because it was shallow far out but the waves were gentle. Their favorite place. I really want to go back with my best girlfriends and spend a few days just on that beach.

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– Puerto Plata- We had Franklin drive us out there to the rum factory (so cool for the kids and tasting for us!) and a little sightseeing. We were in a 14 person van and kind of hated it, and we aren’t really sightseeing people… but it was fun.
– Golfing – The men went out golfing and had a grand old time.

Otherwise, just hang out on the beach and at the pool! Perfect vacation and we had such a good time. I would highly recommend Villa Gordon to anyone.

I did a bunch of reviews at places on TripAdvisor too, so friend me over there :)

Glee Goodbye

#GleeGoodbye

Six years of one of my favorite shows.. The pilot was amazing. I still get chills listening to Rachel & Finn sing ‘Don’t Stop Believing’.

Yes, the finale was sentimental and sappy with the flash-forwards. Will everyone always rise to the top, achieve their dreams, or be happy at the same time? No. No, that rarely happens with a group of friends. But I still liked it anyway.

I still got chills seeing the flash-back to Finn singing and teared up seeing his picture up on the wall.

The dedication to Mr Shue by Rachel at her Tony win was so awesome. I wish every student at every school would find a teacher that believes in them and pushes them to be their best. What an amazing utopia to believe in.

“See the world not as it is, but as it should be.” A beautiful quote. While the last two seasons of Glee haven’t produced any amazing songs to add to my “Glee Playlist”* (yes, you know I have one!) and the storyline has been a bit ‘meh’, I did appreciate that two hour finale.

Thank you Glee for making me smile every week and have goosebumps rise up when I heard something amazing.

* I lied, I think I’m going to go download Rise Above by Darren Criss now. The harmonies are freaking amazing.

““We will rise/We are young we are the dreamers/We will fly/When the world will not believe us/We will rise above the ashes/Before this whole life passes us by/You and I.””

March Meeting for Brownie Girl Scouts

We finished up our Water Journey and cookie season was finished up, thank god for our cookie moms! We sold almost 2,000 cookies and had a great profit. We went over buying memberships for Girl Scouts, our Jr outfits with the profits and new sweatshirts.

I saw the cutest rhinestone sweatshirts at an event and another Mom had some sparkle shirts that she liked so we asked the girls and they decided they liked sparkle better. We did some voting and then decided to get some color options and prices before we proceeded.

Then we voted on our beach sleepover and I tried to have the girls decide what they wanted to do. Here are some of the questions I asked them. They decided on a theme, a few activities, and that they wanted pasta for dinner and strawberry shortcake with ice cream for dessert. Yippee!

 

Do we want a Theme? Possible ideas – Get Patrols together to organize.

  • Movie theme
  • Western
  • Superhero
  • Science
  • Pajama Party
  • Ocean/Beach themed

 

What will we do?

  • Beach
  • Snack
  • Dinner
  • Games
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Songs
  • Skits? Stories?
  • Movie
  • Dancing (what songs? Songlist?)
  • Breakfast
  • Scouts Own

 

Snack

  • Fruit * Crackers * Cheese

Dinner – Go Out? Or Buy and Eat at GS House? Or Make Food at GS House?

  • Johnny Rockets – Kids Meal is $7.01 including drink – $84
  • Subway – $6 sandwiches – $72
  • Pizza – $15 per pizza – 12 girls – $45
  • Make homemade pizzas
  • ?? Other dinner? Tacos? Hamburgers? Hotdogs?

Dessert – S’mores? Ice cream sundaes

Breakfast – ? Eggs, pancakes, waffles, cereal

 

 

 

Session Four – Five – Six – Seven of Brownie Water Journey

We did several sessions of our Water Journey in October, November, and December.

Yes, I know I’m posting this in March. I suck at updating, okay?

However… the end result is so fabulous and I can’t wait to share it! First, here is the only picture I took of our November meeting.

Eating Snack for Water Journey

Yum, food. I’m kinda hungry. Look at our cute mason jars though? See? Saving water.

So basically the girls talked about how they wanted to ‘Take Action’ or advocate and tell people about how to save water… and they voted to become famous by filming a commercial.

Awesome.

We were on board. I love computer work anyway. So we talked and voted on that. Then they brainstormed for ideas on how to save water. My co was soooo amazing at this step. She is a teacher. So she is awesome at all the steps, actually.

After we had ideas, we broke them into pairs and they each took their idea and wrote a script for it.

Then, I took their individual scripts home and massaged them a little. JUST a little.

Then we filmed.

Here is part of that filming process.
Water Journey Commercial Filming took at least two meetings. It was so much fun though! Yay for our school for letting us use the library. We tried outside and we couldn’t hear a word. Half the words you couldn’t hear since we didn’t have any microphones or anything so THANK GOD for the 400% volume level in iMovie.

We really wanted to be DONE with the water journey. It works for awhile and then we get super bored of it. But the video is done… I’m asking permission from the Girl Scouts of Orange County Council to put it on their main YouTube channel and our principal agreed to show it at the school-wide flag salute later on in March.

So I really had to get that thing edited and done. We showed it to the girls last week and they approved.

Along with the comments of “OMG, so EMBARRASSING” and “The whole SCHOOL is going to see it?” and “WE ARE GOING TO BE YOUTUBE FAMOUS”.

Totally.

Once it’s up, I will post a link here. I wish I had more funny out-takes but I added a small section to the end. It was filmed from three devices and while I ended up with all the end versions, I think some of the mistakes were deleted. Bummer. I should have shared my ‘vision’ of out-takes and actually tried to film the girls goofing off more…

But what happens when you have 12 girls goofing off in school and you only have an hour? Lots of ‘SHHHH’ and ‘MY HAND IS UP’ and clapping to get their attention and tell them to behave. Ahh well.

I still love my last minute of out-takes. Even if they aren’t very funny.

I’ll post it soon!

Session Three – Wonders of Water Brownie Girl Scouts Journey

Session Three happened back in October. Yes, I KNOW I’m posting this in March but you are reading it, aren’t you?

Awesome.

So… file this one under I LOVE meetings run by my co-leader! Go co-leader, go co-leader, woot, woot, woot…

Ahem. Sorry.

So we got those little raindrops that were in the adult book journey. Then we made three posters so the girls could rotate in groups.

Poster #1 – We Love Water

Poster #2 – We Save Water

Poster #3 – We Advocate for Water

Water Journey Posters Water Journey Posters for Skits

There is, uh, no pictures of the finished posters. However this worked really well. We had a cute snack, we used our mason jars for whatever we ate (I don’t remember now).

They cut out the letters, pasted them on the poster board, colored them… and on the ‘We Advocate for Water’ filled out the squares that was their promise of what they would do to save water.

On the raindrops they wrote in what they loved about water on that poster.

Cute Brownie Girls

It worked really well! Then we finished up some no-sew blankets for our local cat foster program who we worked with when we were Daisy’s.

Making Blankets for CatsPerfect meeting!

Commenting

ARGH… I am so irritated by my theme. The place to put comments just disappears! Then I reactivated my theme again, checked, it was all good… and I check it today and it’s gone.

So I’m at this boring theme for now to figure it out later. Sheesh! But thank you to the people stopping by and leaving comments (mostly on my Girl Scout stuff), I need to update on the end of our journey!

Death is Calling

I’m a little addicted to TV shows right now. I’m still reading at a good pace (250+ books this year, woot!) but oooh, there are some darn good shows on this year!

I made the mistake of watching three shows with deaths in them that just floored me. The high end cable shows are really pushing the envelope, I love it.

Newsroom – Why, oh WHY are they ending this show? It is fabulous. I had it on during the day when I was doing some excel work and I was hypnotized. Cramming some amazing storylines into the last 6 episodes of the final season and the ending of episode five just killed me. I kept thinking, oh yes, I knew that was coming. Oh, he will be fine. And then that last line… BOOM.

Revenge – Then I watched the last episode of Revenge. I knew someone was going to die, they were talking about it. I was thinking it would be the obvious person who spoke some good French and might be easily cast off. But nooooo. NO, that would have been too easy. WHY? WHY DID YOU DO IT, REVENGE? I was crossing my fingers for them!

Homeland – And then continued the next day to an extremely tension filled episode of Homeland. Did it seem short to you? It seemed really short. I need more. I actually need more cute little Dev from Smash, who is the ISI head guy to get it on with Carrie. Come ON DEV. I need more Dev screen time. Or Peter screen time. Because Peter is awesome. But Dev is mysterious.

Doing these week by week is killing me. I want to binge watch on them.

But speaking of binge watching… I need to start on The Affair, Nashville, and watch the last two seasons of Son’s of Anarchy and The Good Wife.

So much fabulous TV, so little time.