Friday, December 26, 2008

The Desire Of My Heart

World peace would be nice. Heck, peace amongst my offspring would be even better. But we all know those things are near impossible. I'm thinking of something much more attainable. I'm thinking of something that I used to have and now I want it back. I'm thinking of this:

Am I crazy? Is that too much to ask for? I've been good. I've been patient. I'm tired of being left behind while the rest of my family goes riding. It doesn't have to be new. Just let it be orange!!! I'm sorry for ever letting it go; my 1999 EXC 125. Please forgive me, KTM!! I'll never switch bike brands again, I promise. And just think how cute our family would look, totally color coordinated:

Orange Bike=Happy Wife, Happy Wife=Happy Hubby.

So that's it. That's all I want. Oh, yeah.... except for the whole baby thing. I want one of those, too. I wonder which one I can talk my husband into first? ............................

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pictures don't do it justice.

We visited my parents yesterday. Our first stop was to see the aftermath of the fire and the damage it had wreaked on their home. I have to admit that when I first saw that the roof wasn't totally gone I thought, "Oh, it's not as bad as I thought." But then I looked inside the garage and I thought again.

Reef said "UH-OH" when he saw it.

Their "garage" was 900 square feet and finished. It was the sales office and model home for their development so it had carpet, walls, cabinets, french doors, etc. It could have been rented out as a studio apartment

The picture to the left looks very much like other areas of the roof. Those areas have been tarped off because they are over rooms of the house that didn't burn as bad as the garage. It was strange standing there, looking up through where the ceiling, then the attic, and then the attic ceiling would have been and seeing the sky. And hearing the rain falling on the tarp was disconcerting. It sounded like you were in a tent.... except you were in a house. Very WEIRD.

This is my parents bathroom, the farthest room from the garage which sustained the "least" amount of damage. You can see evidence of the fire & smoke that were coming out of the vents. Every room in the house has these black water streaks. They're even on the ceilings. Well.... on the ceilings that still remain, anyhow.

This is the bathroom that my mom had been showering in while the blazing inferno was building. Very scary to think how just a few moments could have resulted in a different outcome.

The laundry room is the only thing standing between the garage and this bathroom. I couldn't get a good photo but if you look at the very left of this picture you'll see the doorjam of the laundry room. That will give you an idea as to how charred it got. So much for catching up on the laundry, Mom!

I liken this picture to a soaked audience at the Shamu show at Sea World. This truck being the audience on the front row. But Shamu was the fire and the water was a big fire ball that shot out when the garage opened.

Good thing my sister already had her new car. This truck won't be going anywhere for awhile. Poor thing. They couldn't find the keys to move it out of the driveway.

I took pictures of the inside, too but won't post them. Everything is melted and contorted. There is soot-covered shattered glass all over the seat and floor.

Most things were unrecognizable. Nobody is allowed in the garage at the moment. It's too dangerous. But even if we could go in and sift through the remains, I don't think there would be anything to identify.

But there were a few objects scattered outside that we were able to name:

This gold & white Santa figurine. This lighted wreath.

This yard waste garbage can. This suitcase.

Like the title of this post says... pictures don't do it justice. These pictures look mild in comparison to how it looks in person. And pictures don't capture the putrid smell of smoke that not only lingers in the air but also in your hair and clothes for hours afterward. My stomach was in knots by the time we left from the smell alone.

There was an eerie feeling standing inside this shell of a house. Life used to happen within those blackened walls. Now it is deathly still and dark inside. Almost as if life is at a standstill. No sounds of music or TV. No telephone ringing. No smells of moms yummy cooking wafting from the kitchen. My mom said she feels like she's visiting a gravesite or feels as if she's at a funeral viewing when she goes there. That's a good way to describe it. I was in awe of the damage and carnage that was left in the wake of this fire. It's indescribeable, really. But amongst all of the ash and falling ceilings there are signs of life already striving to continue.

And continue it will.


What happened to the dirtbiking world for the few years that I've been out of it?

So we took the kids up to Hollister Hills to go dirtbiking Saturday. The rainfall has left the ground perfectly tacky. The smell of 2-stroke exhaust was in the air (I LOVE that smell.) It was a beautiful day and we were ready to ride.

But the Blue Bully had a different plan in mind. Yes, the same dirtbike that treated me so abusively during my kids' race a while back. But you know what they say about the abused.... we can't stay away. We always go back for more.

I thought this time would be different. I thought the hours of greasy, black hands and test-driving down my street was the perfect rehabilitation. We were reunited again and ready to give it another go.

But I guess the relationship isn't worth it. For the Blue Bully anyway. I was bringing up the rear of the pack, watching my little ones closely when Beau went down. I hopped off my bike to free him from the mud pit that seemed ready to swallow the little guy whole. And what do you know? My bike wouldn't start. It quit. Threw in the towel. I kicked it several times, trying to get some sort of reaction but to no avail. The thing sat there like a dud. So I tried to jump start it. Still nothing. So I began to push. When I would get tired of pushing or when I had pushed to a safe place (whichever came first) I would try to start it again. And it did start... a few times. But only to tease, taunt, & torment me. Once it even started and just SCREAMED at me! It was whining at full throttle even though I wasn't touching the throttle at all. And I knew if I let go of the clutch it would speed off out of my hands and over the cliff to a sure death. Now my bike and I might not get along but nothing is as bad as that!!! So I tried to choke it (using the choke lever) and it still wouldn't die down. Finally I shut off the gas and that seemed to do the trick. It just slowly whined down until it was out of steam. Exhausted. Nothing left to say.

Brandon found me and offered to switch bikes but I sent him on his way to take care of our children. This was my fight. I was saying goodbye to the Blue Bully once and for all. No knight in shiny orange armor was going to save me this time. Besides, if I wasn't going to ride, I might as well get some cardio over with and flake on the date I had with the treadmill that evening.

So back to pushing I went. Now here is where my burning question comes in. I repeat:

What has happened to this sport?

Would you believe that of all of the groups of riders that passed by me only 5 stopped to see if I needed help? FIVE!!!! Two old guys with gray hair, one slightly older gentleman with a red hammer mustache, a teenage boy, and a 10 year old girl on a quad. A GIRL stopped to see if she could help!!! Shameful! All the 50 plus other riders that passed by me during those few miles back to my truck just hit the gas upon passing, flinging rocks and mud at me. Oh, did I mention that I was pushing UPHILL?

I thanked these 5 people but politely sent them on their way. Even though I wouldn't take their help it was still nice to know that they offered. And I appreciated that they slowed down before passing me so as not to roost me with debris traveling at high-velocities.

Now here is the clencher. When I was about 100 yards from our truck and at the steepest part of the push (through the stinging sweat that was dripping into my eyes) I noticed two young men looking at me and exchanging words in hushed voices. I thought to myself, "Self, have faith in the human race. These young gents are about to offer some more help. Smile politely and tell them that your camp is just up the road but thanks anyways." So imagine my surprise when they had the audacity to say, "Hey, do you happen to have an extra helmet we can borrow?"

WHAT??? Come again? Are you kidding me? Surely they jest, right? Wrong!

"What?" I asked, even though I knew what they had said. I guess I was giving them an opportunity to re-think their ridiculous request.

"Do you happen to have an extra helmet we can borrow?" they repeated.

"Ummmmmmm..." This is where I was trying to get myself to simmer down and not say what I was REALLY thinking. ".......ummmmmm, no. I'm kind of busy with my own problems at the moment, but thanks for asking."

They had dumbstruck looks on their faces. Could they really be that clueless? I was ready to go spank my boys right then and there just in case they committed any similiar stupid act in the future.

Then our friend rode over and tried to take the bike from me. He must have thought Brandon was the biggest jerk for sitting back at the truck eatting his sandwhich while I pushed. But Brandon knows me too well and knew that I wouldn't give in. I told our friend that I was almost there and if HE pushed the bike back then the bike won. But if I pushed it to the very end then I would be the victor.

I made it. I finished. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! And here's what I did with the rest of my day:

Reef kicked off his boots.

I kicked up my boot-laden feet.

And we cuddled in the back of the truck under the warmth of the sun.
Ahhhhh, yes. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

County Fair Moms of the world... UNITE!!!

I'm married to a "Disneyland Daddy". You know the type:

"Here, have a few cookies before breakfast... we won't tell mom."

"Sure, you can take all of the cushions off the couch and pull all of the blankets off the beds to make a fort. It will get magically cleaned up before our company gets here in 8 minutes. In fact, let me help you."

"Wake-up... I know it's late and mom just brushed your teeth and put you to bed but I have some yummy cinnamon rolls here that I want you to partake of."

You get the picture. I relish in the fact that my kids have fun with their dad and that they forge a strong relationship during their "play" time, but..... what about me? I want to be cool, too. But sometimes I feel like the "County Fair Mom".

Yeah, the county fair is cool.... but only for a short time. It's fun.... but the fun doesn't last. How in the world does the county fair compete with The Happiest Place On Earth?

And the county fair doesn't get to stick around that long either! What's up with that? Disneyland doesn't go ANYWHERE. It's a mainstay. Permanent. A big yellow smiley face on the North American Continent. Everyone knows about Disneyland. Most people barely notice when the county fair is in town.

Last night we brought the bunnies inside so they don't freeze to death. Disneyland Daddy let the kids walk around the house with them, wrapping them up in blankets like little babies. I found bunny pellets randomly scattered on my floor. GROSS! So I put those bunnies back in the box and set the box in the garage. COUNTY FAIR MOM STRIKES AGAIN!!!

Disneyland Daddy wants to take the kids up to the hills to play in the snow tomorrow morning. Now I understand that we NEVER get snow here and this would be a fun thing to do... but to be late to school for it? On the day of their Christmas program? No. COUNTY FAIR MOM STRIKES AGAIN!!!

Tonight while delivering Christmas treats my kids were bickering. Then they dropped the bomb on me that they needed a certain shirt for the Christmas Program... which is tomorrow. So we rushed around in hot pursuit of needed apparel. I thought I would be nice and let them stay up late to watch the finale of one of our favorite shows. The bickering continued. I warned them several times. But after the WWF Smackdown that went down in the local Target store....... you guessed it......COUNTY FAIR MOM STRIKES AGAIN!!! (In his defense... Disneyland Daddy was nowhere on the scene. He would have shut the park down if he saw what was going on.)

Disneyland Daddy delivers his discipline with a very calm, collected, soothing voice. Even with a hint of a smile. (Then turns to me and says apologetically, "Sorry you had to see that.") County Fair Mom simply goes "carnie" all over those kids.

But here is proof that the county fair can still be fun.

Here is County Fair Mom and kids laughing hysterically at Pioneer Woman's burps.

Here is County Fair Mom doing handstands with kids on the beach.

And here is County Fair Mom trying on ridonkulous hats with kids. (Yes... I said "ridonkulous"... the use of that word alone should be a testament to my fun-mom potential!)

So who knows... maybe someday I'll be upgraded to LegoLand Mom or something. But until that bless-ed day comes, I want to hear from you! If you've suffered through this post long enough to still be reading, consider this a TAG! You now are under blogging obligation to dish on your best (or worst) County Fair Mom moment! Get to posting my fellow carnies.... get to posting.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nativity Creativity

I've busted Reef several times for setting aside the figures of this set and using the backdrop as his own personal Hot Wheels garage & tunnel. And I have to hand it to him; he hasn't done it lately. But now the figures get re-arranged on an almost daily basis. I never catch him in the act. 3 year olds are too smart for that. But I cracked up when I saw his newest rendition.

Apparently everyone is lining up to see Baby Jesus.... starting with the animals. I'm assuming that the oxen were first and are now leaving since their rear-ends are pointing directly at the Boy Child's head. Next come the sheep followed closely by their ever-diligent shepherd. Mary and a wise man are tied for fourth while the next 2 wise men queue up nicely in a calm and orderly fashion. And humble Joseph brings up the rear.

I only noticed this new display when Reef requested that I get the play Nativity set for him. (Thus named because it's the only nativity that I actually ALLOW him to play with.) So I set it on the table unaware of the new visitors who would arrive on the Bethlehem scene.

Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can.

Spins a web, any size, catches thieves just like flies.

LOOK OUT... here comes the Spiderman!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I really should be wrapping presents. Or finishing up homemade Christmas gifts. Or mopping my floor. But I feel the need to blog.
So I will share with you (and my posterity) a few interviews that have gone down in the past few weeks that I would hate to forget. Starting with this one.
So before Thanksgiving Mercedes lost a tooth. It came as a surprise since I only knew it was slightly wiggly just a day or so before. And it wasn't one of her front teeth either so it's not even noticeable. She's 9 going on 16 so I think she kept her enthusiasm curbed. But deep down she couldn't wait to turn that tooth into cash. So she went to bed that night without so much as a whisper about the tooth. Why should she remind us? In all her 5 years of losing teeth the Tooth Fairy hadn't let her down before! Imagine her surprise the next morning when the tooth box on her nighstand held nothing but.... HER TOOTH!!!
"Silly Mercedes," I covered, "why would the Tooth Fairy even look on your nighstand? She was probably searching frantically under your pillow, the poor thing!"
That night, it happened again. Not the slightest whisper about the tooth she was whisking off in a plastic bag (so it wouldn't get lost) to tuck tenderly under her pillow. Well, imagine my horror the next morning when I heard her making excuses for this forgetful fairy. "My bag slipped down and was under my back. She probably just didn't have the strength to pull it out from underneath me." (I know.... I can hear your heart breaking for my Sweet Little Thing from here!)
Now Mercedes is a very smart girl. Something was amiss in the Soward's household... she just knew it. And I'm sure she tried to dismiss any doubts but logic is something she just can't ignore.
Later that afternoon she came into our room to sit us down for a talk. She wanted answers.

"Is the Tooth Fairy even real?"
"Well, Honey, why wouldn't she be real?"
"I don't know. I have a hard time believing that tiny humans are real."
"Well, YOU'RE a tiny human....."
"No, I mean a tiny human with wings."
"Well, er.... if there isn't a tiny human with wings collecting your teeth then who do you think it is?"
"YOU guys. I know it's you."
So after a few chuckles, tons of hugs, and a thousand apologies for the forgotten tooth... she knew. And she accepted it with a happy grin. And **POP** a little bit of innocence broke through the barrier of our blissful bubble taking a bit of my heart with it. And although the interview immediatley continued onto bigger, redder, jollier things (if you know what I mean) I feel it imperative to tell you now that YES, the Tooth Fairy finally visited that night. A shameful, wingless, big human still kept care to tiptoe into that precious 9 year old's room and quietly drop a guilty handful of change on top of that tooth box on the nightstand.
And what was found next to said tooth box? A map of where to find the tooth! She's smart, I'm telling you. She knows how to work it. Here... have another dollar. Sleep well, baby girl. xoxoxoxox

Saturday, December 6, 2008


My husband has a mistress. Oh, yes... I know about it. And he knows I know about it. But does that stop him? No. But I wouldn't ask him to stop either. You see, this relationship has been going on for some time now. 19 years to be exact. There is so much history between them but does it cause me any jealousy? Absolutely not. And although I am his wife I don't feel that it's my place to ask for it to end. I was fully aware of all the details before marrying him. I knew what I was getting into but decided to become Mrs. Sowards anyway.

Have we met? Yes, we have. The three of us used to have a lot of fun together. Before children, that is. Oh, we still enjoy our time together but now during our visits I feel the need to shield our little ones from any possible dangers. What? You think I'm crazy for allowing my children to have any knowledge of this? Judge as you will but I think it's harmless. In fact, I hope our kids will find just such a relationship someday.

And the children and I aren't present during ALL of their visits. We understand their need to be alone sometimes. But it's after these "unsupervised" visits that I look forward to his return the most. He comes home a different man than when he left. He's happier, more patient, more..... fulfilled.

I thought you might like to see a picture of this mistress. Due to the sensitive nature of this relationship I cannot tell you exactly where she's located. (We wouldn't want just anybody showing up for a piece of the action.) But here she is in all her beauty.

Mistress, meet my friends. Friends, meet...... my husband's favorite surf spot.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


So here he is. A personal trainer's wildest dream come true. But hands off... he's only 3.

Yes, Reef loves the protein & spinach fruit smoothies. They've been somewhat of a staple in our house for almost a year now. I can't get the older kids to touch 'em let alone look at 'em. Their abhorrence for anything green and healthy sends them fleeing from the kitchen as soon as the lid comes off of the Vita-Mix. (Could they be running for the phone to dial the CPS hotline at this abusive behavior from Mommy Dearest?) But with Reef I have to fight for the larger portion. Especially when it's PB & Banana w/ chocolate protein powder. (No matter that it turns a sluggish gray-green color.)

This was just leftovers from a fruit platter. Your run-of-the-mill, anything goes, drop it in, blend it up, drink it down smoothie. Not the greatest but it was still good. And just so you know, I usually put our smoothies in a cup... he drank all of his and couldn't wait for a refill........
Move over Mr. Olympia, this kid has been working on his abs! He's discovered (all by himself) that he can stick out his stomach really far then suck it in like a vacuum. I noticed him doing it at the beach recently. It's very impressive. Just one more thing for our little monkey-boy to entertain us with. I wonder from whom he got his desire to make others laugh???? (but Brandon still doesn't believe Reef's a chip off the old block!!)