Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In Which I Slay the Hard Water Stains

My one and only Pinterest-oriented blog post. I hope you enjoy it, because it more than likely won't happen again (seeing as how my last blog post of any kind was 8 months ago).

We cleaned out the garage on Saturday (again... will it ever just stay clean?), and I found the second box of glasses that we'd received as wedding presents. We were down to our last 4 out of the original box of 12, so I decided that it was time to have a few more matching glasses in the cupboard.

When I opened, washed, and set them next to the first batch, I saw this:

No, the original weren't frosted. They were gross. We have the nastiest water here in San Diego. You may have visited it while journeying 10 hours down the I-5 right next to the aquaduct that brings it to us. The open air aquaduct. Nice and refreshing, it is (pardon my Yoda).

I've heard that vinegar helps with hard water stains, so I filled up my dishwasher with vinegar instead of  Jet-Dry, which didn't do jack to improve it.

I'd also heard rumor that citric acid will help, and I was desperate and just happened to have some on hand for who knows what reason (I sure don't). I do know that I got it at Sprouts in the bulk spice section, so it wasn't expensive at all. The giant vinegar bottle came from Costco.

I filled up my freshly-scrubbed kitchen sink with hot tap water, about 2 cups of vinegar, and some citric acid. I didn't measure it, but my best guess is 3 tablespoons. I dumped all my ugly glasses in and let them soak for awhile while I fed the Spitfire, returned some emails, gave the Spitfire 3 different sippy cups of liquids, filled some work orders, cleaned up the floor around the Spitfire's chair, helped TS use the potty (successfully!), and then tried to convince TS to give me 5 more minutes of peace instead of screaming frantically. (She didn't.)

About 45 minutes after putting them in the water, I SCRUBBED the glasses with the hard side of my blue Costco sponge, rinsed them (ironically with my hard tap water), and let them dry. The were about 75% of the way there. So I soaked them again for around 2 hours in the same water, scrubbed them again, rinsed them again, and voila!

They're not perfect, but I'll take 95%.

My thoughts: soak longer rather than shorter - run some errands. Scrub them once in the middle of the soak. Invite people over for dinner afterward to brag, or at least to have one less thing to stress about with company on the way.

Pinterest post, done. Carry on.

Or, should I say, Keep Calm and Carry On.

Pin now, read later, ladies. Genius.

Monday, January 16, 2012

While Mom's away, Hilarity will play

The recently-shorn, flea-less Urinator
The Spitfire and I generally go hand-in-hand. We have been apart from each other for no more than 8 hours at a time since she was born 18 months ago. And that 8 hour stretch only happened once.

It was time to get a break. Believe you me.

I've been getting more and more involved in the family business for the last few months as I've felt that I could leave the kiddos mildly less attended at times. Sure, I'd have to leave TS strapped in her high chair watching Cars or Finding Nemo in order to get anything done, but sometimes extreme measures are necessary in order to stay sane. 

I ventured up to a Kindergarten teachers' conference in NorCal to spread the word about a couple of our educational products. I won't bore you with the details of the conference other than to say that it went amazingly well, I had a blast reconnecting with some old friends, and that Kindergarten teachers are some of the most amazing people on the planet! 

As for the domestic side of things, it was quite the experience leaving TS and The Dynamo at home with The Artist for 4 solid days. 

I'd been on the road for about 3 hours when I got a text from TA. "TD's doing the dishes. She says that since you're gone, she gets to be the mommy." AWWWW!! My kids are awesome.

Phone conversation 20 minutes later with TD:

TD: "Hi, Mommy! Guess what! I did the dishes all by myself!"

Yours Truly: "That's great! Daddy said that you're being the mommy while I'm gone!"

TD: (Read with overwhelming enthusiasm:) "YEEEEAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!"

A minute later: "Um, Mommy? I'm a little bit concerned."

YT: (uh oh): "Oh, really? Why's that?"

TD: "TS is drawing on your computer screen again with a pencil."

YT: "Well, maybe you should go tell Daddy."


TD: "No, I don't think so."

YT: "Well, why not?"

TD: "I don't really feel like it."

Yup, I had no way to contact TA because TD had his cell phone. Lovely. Flash forward to 10 minutes later.

YT: "How're things going?"

TA: "Good! We're just..."

Lots of muffled yelling and crying.

YT: "Why don't you call me back in a few."

A few minutes later.

TA: "Well, one of your daughters drew all over your computer screen with a pencil, and the other decided to wash it of with a sopping wet sponge."

Lovely. In TD's defense, she was aware that I'd washed off of my computer screen the last time that TS had drawn all over it with a pencil. What she didn't know was that "washed it off" had consisted of a microfiber cloth with just a tad bit of water on it. Not a sponge. Poor little thing got in trouble for doing her best to be the mommy.

Later that day I got this text: "I was just informed that borax tastes good."

Luckily, I was traveling with a pediatrician. Who informed me that borax is probably caustic and should burn pretty horribly going down. Enter the following phone conversation:

YT: "What on earth happened? The borax is in the far back of the cupboard with a big lock on it!"

TA: "Apparently TD has been eating the borax you put into the carpet the other day to kill fleas."

She's almost 5. You'd think she'd know better than to try and eat a mysterious powder I'd spread all over the floor in order to kill something. (You want to see me go all OCD on our floors? Show me a flea. Just one. We are now officially flealess.)

So why did I laugh hysterically when he said that? 

I'd decided at the last minute to use salt instead of borax, for the very reason that my children are completely unpredictable like that. The only other weird mishap that day was TS drinking out of The Urinator's bowl. 

The next two days apparently went by without a hitch. TA cleaned the house from top to bottom, fixed the central vac, scrubbed both cars, and even managed to feed the kids and walk the dog. No one missed me. I was feeling a bit irrelevant.

Then the stomach flu hit.

Yup. TD was up all night with the stomach flu, managing to hit 3 beds dead on, a few bathrooms, and many a trash can. 

Yesterday was a bit crazy for everyone (myself included - 5 1/2 hours of the show and then an 8 hour drive home). At one point I got a call from TA announcing how busy TS is and how you can't look away from her for 5 seconds. She had managed to destroy a box of tissues, a roll of toilet paper, and a box of wipes in record time. Amazing, considering that she doesn't usually have access to any of those. And she drew on the computer screen again.

Relevancy reinstated. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

You Might Be a Toddler If...


The Spitfire's transformation from baby to toddler was explosive, and I ain't just talkin' diapers. Holy cr@p, that kid is insane. In honor of her brazen transformation, I've compiled a list of goings on at our house of late as a result.

You might be a toddler if...

...the daily survival rate of your clothes is inversely proportional to X, if X = clothing cleanliness x clothing cost. This equation is equally valid for preschoolers.

I just ate glitter. are convinced that the tall, white, rectangular box in the kitchen is the perfect place to store important objects, such as keys, shoes, and your sweater. And your hands right before a meal.

...the main rule of your favorite game is to scream suddenly and unexpectedly throughout the day, and the ultimate prize is to destroy the nerves of your caretaker, thereby getting her to start screaming hysterically as well. think that the words "TIME OUT!" mean "keep doing what you're doing, only laugh hysterically at the same time."
One of the safer favorite toys are well aware that flinging food off of your tray is the best way to ensure a snack later on.

Lovely. Another bath.
...your grandparents, who love you very, very much, aren't so sure that they can watch you for more than a few minutes as there's a good chance you will severely injure yourself.'re learning better how to communicate every day. You know that "MEEHH!!!" means "MINE!" "I WANT IT!" and "MORE!"; that the animals that communicate with "GRRRR!" and "RAWR!" are the coolest and must be mimicked constantly; and that high-pitched screams are the best way to get what you want.
"MEEHH!!" finally figured out that "NO!" means "climb higher!" "do it faster!" and "run away quickly!"

...the best way to introduce yourself to a fellow toddler is to smack them in the face.

...any and all "balls" (roundish objects) belong to you, even ones made of glass, and all must be thrown.

"MEEHH!! Don't even think about it!" get hit in the head by a large toy car point blank and quietly glare at the child who did it, just after you screamed your head off when your caretaker set you down.

Refueling before the next battle've learned that you can get away with anything because you love snuggling up with your mommy to read books at the end of the day. And Mommy's a sucker.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Today I saw a woman vacuuming up the gutter in front of her house. Please tell me that she's the insane one and that my never-quite-clean kitchen is normal, not slovenly. Please.

(Imagine that there is a transition here)

When I said I would post something upbeat before the weekend, I didn't say which weekend. Ha! Gotcha! I meant THIS weekend! I don't have anything upbeat in particular to share (besides The Spitfire's perfect bill of health!), beyond the usual "we did this" and "we did that"s of which my boring blog is (not) famous.

Waiting for the train

The Dynamo, The Spitfire, and I took a train ride with Dr. Grandma to Old Town where we perused wonderful Mexico-themed shops, ate amazing Mexican food, were serenaded by a fabulous Mexican trio, and were lucky enough to become honorary members of the Mormon Battalion (yup, they telepathically recognized our skills with a shotgun). TD even got to pan for gold. AND she talked Dr. Grandma into getting her a beautiful, Fancy Nancy-inspired fan which she later earned by swimming across the pool by herself. Width-wise.
Panning for gold. Real gold! No, really.

Being serenaded. This is where TS learned to say "Ay ay ay ay!"

Told ya.

Speaking of guns, gold, and inspiration, I had a fabulous Saturday at Comic-Con with some girlfriends to support our NY Times Bestselling Author friend, Kiersten White, as she spoke on a panel. It was fun seeing her in her element, and it was even more fun to see just how proud her husband was of her. Not for selling books, but for getting him a free pass to Comic-Con. The crazies were out in full force, as usual, and made me feel as though I were incredibly attractive, athletic, and bathed too much. See photos below.

Some famous hulky guy

Chef Vader

Obligatory photo. The mask didn't come off.


Some famous Vivica Fox lady

Some famous car. It had a fluxx capacitor.

Some other famous gal.

Watch out. I just killed a bunch of people. Or something.
With the ever-impressive Kiersten White

Having survived Comic-Con, we ventured back into the world of traditional summer (in less-than-summer-like 70 degree weather - c'mon heat!) with 4-year-old gymnastics camp all week, leaving me with time to actually cook, clean, and organize. Fun. I did get an ugly old chair spiffed up with paint and fabric, and TD earned a t-shirt through the library's summer reading program, as well as a second-hand Mulan costume through mommy's learning-to-read program. She's very proud of herself.

Gymnastics camp

Giant-headed baby attacks library's infant story time! Run for your lives!!!!

We made sure that the shirt fit.

She's actually convinced that she looks like Mulan.
"The Chair" in all it's made-over glory
 And, to finish off the recap:

Bracing herself for a walk with the Urinator

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The past week has been nothing if not intense. The best way I can think to describe it is as a stark reminder of growing older, of being less than perfect, of our mortality. A lot of good has happened and a lot of fun has been had, but I've had a bit of trouble dwelling on those aspects.

I took my 5-hour-long test on Saturday and am relieved that it is over, but feel like throwing up every time I think about having to actually get results. I'll end my discussion of that now.

I've been dealing with The Spitfire having some (possible) health issues, and am on my third trip halfway across the county since Sunday to have tests done on the poor little thing. The tests have included a trip to Children's Hospital, a place that I pray to the Lord Almighty I will never have to check either of my children into. It's an amazing hospital that has done more good than I can fathom, but it's hard to so much as walk in a door without seeing someone's child in a wheelchair, another attached to an oxygen tank, yet another coughing the type of cough that you imagine only happens in another hemisphere.

Today's test was for Cystic Fibrosis (on pediatrician's orders). I am 99% sure that she doesn't have it, but I had a friend pass away from CF in middle school, and her sister is currently on the list for a double lung transplant. That 1% is really starting to wear on me. Tomorrow we're off to see the gastroenterologist down in SD and next week it's the pediatric orthopedic surgeon (hopefully all with good news for us). I thought I'd handle this better, but something about TS desperately clinging to her blanket whenever she so much as smells rubbing alcohol really affects me. I may have cried a little today.

And, although I'm far removed from him, a dear friend's father-in-law died unexpectedly yesterday from an aneurism.

Life is short and completely unpredictable. Hold tight to those you love, and make sure that they know it.

**I promise to post something more lighthearted before the weekend. I just needed to do a little bit of public therapizing.**

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Today's Funny

Today is funny, but this is about my funny thought for today.

It's funny when you find a cheerio stuck in the folds of your baby's neck when your baby hasn't eaten cheerios in weeks. It's even funnier to find a big chunk of crayon in there.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Back during the ol' Cal day, my roommates and I had a hilarious joke. The 8 of us weren't exactly known for our domestic skills, so it was kind of a big deal when one of us would successfully make a craft, iron a shirt, or bake brownies.*

Essentially, whenever any of us came out of a domestically-oriented project in one piece, someone would inevitably congratulate them for being domesticated.**

"Heehee," would come the response. "Yup! I can pee on the paper!"

Well, my former student self, you'd be proud of my newly organized spice shelf! Behold:

And, from another angle:

I bought those bottles over a year ago (on sale, with a coupon - double dealin', oh yeah!) with the intention of organizing my spices AND being able to buy them fresh from the bulk bins for much cheaper. But the new spices sat in a wadded up bag in the back of the shelf for longer than The Spitfire has been with us. Until yesterday when I got a hankerin' to fix it. And fix it I did. Go me!

And speaking of domestication, here are two things that do NOT fit into that category:

It's official! The Urinator is no longer trying to eat TS! They can now be friends.
Thanks for reading - I've gotta run upstairs and finish up my sewing project!

*Except for the time that one of the girls intentionally put ethylene blue in brownies she baked for her sister whose science lab was doing the pee-in-a-cup-and-analyze-it lab the next day. Hilarious!
**See "*". The victimized sister wasn't too pleased.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Teacup Baby

Not to brag (that's a lie - I want to brag), but the Spitfire is so adorable that strangers are always coming up to me and telling me what a good job I did making her. True story.*
*I know you're already annoyed with me. But I don't particularly care. Sorry.

She's even adorable when she's exhibiting her newfound talent of tantrum throwing. Loud screech, throw back head, twist body, and fling arms around, smacking everything in reaching distance. She also has another newfound talent - cupboard excavation:

You have to understand how deceptive her looks are. She's hovered in the single percentile digits for height and weight her entire life. To see such a little bundle be so destructive can be disconcerting for some, so hopefully the above photo didn't send anyone into a coma of confusion.

A few more thoughts and photos to round out my homage to TS in anticipation of her first birthday next week. First up, her love of food. Our "teacup baby" (as The Artist calls her) can eat a baby twice her size under the table.

Wow, that statement evoked a very different image than what I intended. Let's try that again.

TS can easily eat twice as much food as a 99th percentile baby and in less time. She's a pig. Favorites? Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, carrots, peanut butter, sweet potato, avocado... Pretty much anything she can get into her mouth. Except egg and squash. She'll eat dog food (and she has - ew!), but she won't eat squash. I wouldn't be surprised if she were winning hot dog eating contests someday (though I would be disgusted).
Happiness is a messy, pint-sized Spitfire
All that food brings us to one of her next favorite things to do:

The high chair nap is a favorite.  If she's in her crib, she'll take a couple of 2-3 hour naps a day. If she's anywhere else (except her high chair), she'll take zero. Vacations (what-cations?) are not a good idea with this one.

As I've previously shown you, TS LOVES the beach. She's such a water baby who happens to also like the taste of sand. Especially when her daddy is in charge of her.

Next favorite place? The park. But only if she gets a turn in the swings. Swings = baby happy place.

TS has an overdeveloped sense of stranger danger. She generally likes people, so long as she can like them from the safety of her Mama's arms. However, she does have a list of people whose arms she'll leap into when she sees them: Gramma, Nana, Grampa, aunts & uncles (most - won't mention the no-gos for everyone's sake), the occasional big, strange man (not good), and especially Papa. She's a big-time Papa's girl.

She's an even bigger sister girl. The Dynamo can get this kid from zero to hysterical laughter in no time flat. I love it so much. I hope that this lasts well into the "hey-she's-wearing-my-jeans-again-without-asking" phase. Wishful thinking?

And, to finish us off:
This photo is representative of my experience parenting: I have no idea what's going on here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cure for the "MOMMY!!!!"s

Summer just isn't the same when you're an adult.

Okay, summer just isn't the same when you're spoiled and live in a Mediterranean climate where it averages over 60 degrees in the winter, but just go with it, will ya?

Ahem. Summer just isn't the same when you're an adult. My February is nearly identical to my July. I still have bills to pay and laundry to fold. And a Urinator to walk [grumble grumble...].

That is, until you have small children who start attending some type of school. In our case, 9 hours of preschool a week. This means that I will now have 9 extra hours each week for the next 12 weeks to fill with things for The Dynamo to do. Easy, right? It's only about 108 hours.

From what I understand, children's attention spans are equivalent to 1 minute for every year old they are. TD is 4 years old. (108x60)/4=1,620 activity switches this summer. No, I'm sorry. ADDITIONAL attention switches this summer.

I was considering investing in a pile of movies, when I realized that having TD watch movies all summer doesn't help me because it will result in a whole lot of "MOMMY! Why is the rat wearing a white hat? MOMMY, what is it? MOMMY! Isn't he going to spill sauce on it? MOMMY, why doesn't he? MOMMY, why is he grabbing the man's hair? MOMMY, why is he so skinny? MOMMY! What's going to happen? MOMMY, that mushroom looks yucky. MOMMY, why did he get zapped by lightening?..."

I'm hyperventilating thinking about it. Give me a minute...

Okay, on to the solution: Our Family Summer Fun List!

TD and I made a list of about 85 things we can do this summer when the whines hit. I'm thinking I'll share it with you, just in case you, too, get hit by a whine wall this summer. Some of these things are specific to the San Diego area (it would be hard to watch a grunion run in Utah), and some of them are specific to our family. And many of them are complete stretches (I can't imagine we'll actually be able to pull off a Cardiff Kook prank at 3 am with a baby in tow). But perhaps you will be inspired.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Don't worry - it's on its way in

This morning, I woke up to The Spitfire doing just that. Barfing all over my chest and hair. Which got me to thinking: I haven't done a blog post in awhile.

I actually almost wrote one about the butterflies we metamorphosized, but the big fancy photos were frustrating the H3!! out of me so, alas, that post is going to be lost to time. And I've decided that it's going to be iPhone photos from here on out.

The last few weeks have been a chaotic blur. Honestly, all I really remember is a tornado raging around me with a lot of noise, sand, body fluids, and laundry littering the air all about. Most notably, we've had about 15 relatives (broken up into 3 distinct groups) in town, maybe 4-5 trips to the beach, a baby with a temperature hovering between 102 and 105 for 3 days (it has since settled down into a beautiful, full-body roseola rash), a solo (me and 2 small children ALONE) trip to Disneyland where we got to go on the new Little Mermaid ride before it was open to the general public, The Dynamo hitting up Legoland TWICE, a couple of pool parties at our house, Wacky Tacky day at preschool (see photo), and laundry (I'm averaging 11 loads per week).

She picked her own outfit. No playing in the World Cup for her.

Cousin pile!

And I sewed an awesome yoga mat bag for my SiL for her birthday. I should Etsy those things. Nope!
Mustachio cupcakes for SiL's bday. Guess what flavor.

The Artist donning his Mustachio.

My favorite memories of the past couple of weeks, however, involve my adorable daughters giggling. Even when The Spitfire is horribly sick, The Dynamo can really get her going (typically right before TS barfs everywhere). For example, in the car on the way back from Disneyland (again, I'd like to emphasize that I was by myself with two small children), TD was repeatedly hitting herself and TS with a plastic cup resulting in bouts of laughter like nothing I've ever heard before. Good thing, too, because everyone was beyond exhausted and, to be honest, I was expecting screaming the entire way home.

Not that particular day, but it gives you an idea of how tired we were leaving Disneyland
I'm going to end on that happy note because the smell of The Urinator is starting to singe my nostrils.