Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dear China, Thanks a bunch! Love, Ashley

I'm a stay-at-home mom.  That means that I should cook nutritious meals, do arts and crafts with my kids, and for God's sake, make their Halloween costumes.  Right?  Umm, wrong.  I cook a couple things and for the most part they are nutritious.  I bake a ton of things that have no redeeming value to them other than they make my house smell edible and they taste like a million bucks.  I do do art projects with the kids often.  Well, not with William.  He's completely disinterested in all things crafty.  But make their Halloween costumes?  That's laughable.  I can't even sew a button on Drew's cute little brown sweater that she wears.  And it's not for having lack of talented role models.  My mom used to make our clothes when we were little.  Clothes!  I just can't imagine.  This falls into the category of magic as far as I'm concerned (along with electricity, modern medicine, and the internet ).

Here is a picture of my brother and me, circa 1980.  Brandon is a terrorist ghost and I am a beautiful clown.  Both homemade.  Both cute, and we loved them.


As Halloween got closer and both kids decided for sure what they wanted to be the thought of making their costumes did cross my mind.  And then when Drew declared she was to be a witch and William a ghost I thought that I definitely should make them.  I mean, those are some easy things to come up with.  That thought was very quickly followed with the thought of purchasing the costumes and calling it a day.  And that's what I did.  Actually, Chris took William to go get costumes while Drew was at school.  I got that kick ass flu that everyone else has gotten so I was out of commission and therefore out of control of exactly what was purchased.  I guess William changed his mind to Batman when he saw there was no ghost costume available.  Chris did a great job of picking out Drew's witch costume.  He did call from the store and asked if I wanted her to be a Celestial Witch, a Glamour Witch, or a Horror Witch.  I said, "Whichever is the least hoochy."  Here are a couple pictures: 

Drew, the Celestial Witch

William, as Batman

Don't be jealous of my totally rad 80's kitchen. 

Lauren's costume didn't fit so I'll go back and get her something else. 

I vow that next year I will make all three kids their Halloween costumes.  If for no other reason I will do it to prove that I am in fact magical capable. 

Wanna know the true horror of this Halloween costume story? These were made in China and sold at Walmart.

So, to the little kids in the sweatshop in China who made the non-hoochy witch costume and the cool Batman costume, thanks a bunch!! 

Happy Halloween!!

*By the way, if your kid comes to my house on Halloween and doesn't say thank you when I give him/her candy, I will snatch it back from them.  Then I'll unwrap it and eat it in front of them.  Please remind your kids to mind their manners, even on Halloween. 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The World Series, 2 years ago - CHA CHING!

If you know me, you know that the Red Sox are part of my blood.  Even though I've never been a huge baseball fan although I grew up in a house that revolved around sports - mainly the Red Sox and Fresno State (mealtimes, weekend activities, whether or not we could speak or we'd be shushed until the play was over...) it still is a big part of who I am.  I learned through exposure, not desire.  I know who and what, not because I paid attention but because it saturated my summers.  As an adult I travel to Cape Cod and Boston every summer with mom to visit and vacation and we always make a game at Fenway a priority.

Two years ago when the Red Sox played in the World Series for only the second time in 86 years we convinced mom to buy tickets.  They were playing the Colorado Rockies in Denver.  She bought 2 tickets to game 3 on a Tuesday and the game was Saturday night.  You can imagine what airfare and the tickets combined cost.  If you know mom, you know that not only do the Red Sox run deeply through her soul but you also know that she doesn't do three things:  take time off from school, spend a shitload of money in one drop, or make huge spontaneous decisions. 

Obviously it would have made sense for my brother to make the trip with her but work and family obligations kept him home.  That meant... I got to go!  Drew was 2.5 and William had just turned 1.  Chris rearranged his schedule to be home and I booked a flight to Denver.  I flew into Denver Friday night and met mom who had flown in ealier that afternoon.  We stayed with one of mom's close friends.  It was a trip of a lifetime. 

The following is an email I wrote to a few friends when we returned from our trip.  When I say it was the trip of a lifetime, I wasn't joking.

What a great time! Everything worked out very smoothly (and in our favor*) and it was a whirlwind 48 hours. Coors Field is a beautiful stadium and Denver is an even more beautiful city. Lots to do, great restaurants, good looking people. We sat in front of 5 guys, all about my age, all true Red Sox fans. We had awesome seats and we were dressed appropriately so we were never cold (it was 30* at gametime). AND, the Red Sox won. Mom and I both had safe trips to and from. Couldn't ask for anything more.

* Sooo, we were screwed around much of the week by the people from (NEVER use them). Saturday came and we still didn't have tickets in hand. We were told Sat. morning that at 3pm they would be at will call at the stadium. 3pm came, no tickets. I called the guy and he said that in fact that were at will call at his hotel where they (they being this website/broker) had set up a temporary office. We went to pick them up around 4pm (2 hours before game time) and in the envelope w/ mom's name on it were FOUR tickets. Mom ordered (and paid for) only two. We told them there were four but in the hurried atmosphere of their "office" either they didn't hear or didn't care. We didn't have to sign for them or anything, we were just handed the envelope. FOUR World Series tickets 2 hours before gametime. Cha-ching!!

I immediately called Brandon and he urged us to "shop around" on the street for someone who would give us the best deal. Mom and I were thinking that potentially we could get enough for them to pay the cost of the two tickets she actually bought. Two white chicks with two tickets to sell illegally on the street - this was almost thrilling! We approached the first people we saw with a sign begging for tickets (they were everywhere) and he offered us $800 for the pair. We said no thanks and walked away. He called to us and told to us to be careful, that there were undercovers all over the place waiting to take our money, our tickets, and US to jail for the night. We knew that it was true but also that this may be a scare tactic for him to get our tickets for such a low price. Mom and I talked about it briefly and decided that that money would pay for one of our flights AND that since the half-chipped gold tooth on the guy pretty much insured that he was not an actual cop, we may as well be safe and just make the transaction. He pulled out an enormous wad of cash, counted out $800 and handed it to mom. She gave him the two tickets and we walked away.

Those two tickets were for the seats right next to ours so we couldn't wait to see who actually was going to sit there and how much they paid for them. Clearly the two guys who bought the tickets were not baseball fans and they were going to turn them around to someone else for more money. Nothing lost for us (or mom I should say) but we were still anxious to see what suckers paid more for them. Those two seats sat empty the whole game!!  We figure the only two things that could have happened are: those guys got caught trying to sell them on the street or they couldn't get rid of them.

The guys behind us and the family next to us both saw people getting arrested on the street before the game for scalping tickets. I think we were pretty lucky.

If there is a moral (or two) to the story it is this: Live life BIG. Step out of the box sometimes. Money needs to be spent responsibly but if you work your ass off for what you have and do nothing to really enjoy it, it's not worth doing. Also, when good fortune comes your way, shut up and don't ask questions.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flashback Friday

I browsed a couple pictures and there were some good ones of a family trip to Pixie Woods but then I came across this.  This brightened my day.  Maybe because now this scenario would look very different.  Today it would be Drew hollering at William that he's singing too loud, then it would be William screaming at Drew that she doesn't know the words, then it would be Drew yelling at William that she doesn't like the stripes on his shirt, then it would be me turning off the music because they can't get along, and then... well, you get it.  Ahhhh, the good ol' days:

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

In this video William had just turned 2 and Drew is 3.5.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A family curse

Chris thinks I'm a snob.  Some may even call it being a bitch.  I call it following the laws of language.  I cannot stand incorrect grammar and punctuation.  It's a curse.  If you have an eye and an ear for it you know what I mean.  It screams at you when someone speaks poorly.  And business signs that have mistakes??  Oh, forget it.  You can kiss my business goodbye because if you aren't smart enough to know that there is no apostrophe in lattes than I seriously don't want you making something I'm going to ingest.  I know that some people weren't taught and I can understand that I guess.  My biggest issue is with two groups of people:  teachers and people who are responsible for publishing material.  

Teachers, c'mon.  Children learn not only what you say but how you say it.  I don't want my children sitting in a classroom where their teacher tells them that they did really good on a test.  Ugh, shivers.  And please don't say, "Where did you put your homework at?"  Even William, who just turned three, knows that putting at at the end of a sentence is incorrect.  I have a hundred more examples but I'll stop.  I will teach my children to speak correctly and not rely on teachers to do it obviously but it's confusing when an educator speaks poorly to kids.  Practice what you preach.

Ok, the biggie.  BUSINESSES.  There are countless mistakes made in publications and advertisments and every single one is inexcusable.  All of these places have people whose job it is to edit the work before it is printed.  Like, that's their job.  The only thing they have to do.  And things still go out with incredible mistakes.  Here is one example from American Eagle:

Here's a closer look:

I know.

Chris and I went to a great fondue restaurant for my birthday.  Here is part of their menu:



An endless four-course dinner including cheese fondue appetizer, gourmet salad selection, main entrée choice with seasonal vegetables, and chocolate fondue dessert . ~ 48 per person

Now seriously.  If you are an upscale establishment and you charge $50 per person for a meal, you certainly should know that you only use apostrophes to show possession, not to make a word plural.  I mean, really.  I said to Chris as we left, "I cannot believe we just had a $150 dinner at a place that thinks there should be an apostrophe in ENTREES."  He muttered something under his breath but was too afraid to say it out loud.  I think he said, "I'm thrilled to be married to someone so smart and perceptive."   That's what it sounded like anyway.  Although an eye roll usually wouldn't accompany such a statement I am convinced that's what he said.

I sent an email to the restaurant and told them what a lovely time we had... and that there is a terrible punctuation mistake in their very fancy leatherbound menu.  No response.  If I get one, I'll update.

When I say this is a curse I mean it.  And it's one that my brother, my mom, and my aunt all have as well.  Ugh.  It's tough to be so smart and perceptive.  At least I'm in good company.

Here are a few things I thought I'd pass along.  I love them both.

This is the Valentine's Day card I got from my friend, Jen Y. and from my brother:

 The End. 



Monday, October 19, 2009

Hello! I need a little help, please!

My kids argue.  ARGUE.  And they fight.  FIGHT.  And it makes me want to pull out my hair.  Or have a drink.  Or sell them on ebay.  I am so over doing the whole, "Drew, don't kick him.  We don't use our feet when we play." or "William, you're gonna snatch her bald if you keep pulling on her hair like that.  Please stop."  Now I'm ready for the, "Grab your sneakers, I'm taking you to the firestation in Oakland and I'll let daddy play referee for day." or "If you come out of your room I'm going to take your books away for bedtime tonight."  I mean really - who does that?  Who threatens to take BOOKS AWAY FROM A CHILD?  I do, that's who.  I need to hit 'em where it hurts and I'm running out of options.  

It occurred to me this morning that I may have one little trick left.  It's worked in previous years, although this year's circumstances are a bit different.  Last year it worked to keep the kids from leaving their shoes in the livingroom.  This year I need it to work to keep them from killing each other.  Or... well, you know what I'm thinking.  Ok, so here it is.  And it's freaking genius:

Hello.  No, that's not a greeting, it's his name.  His name is Hello and he is our Elf.  He comes out every December 1 and he is Santa's informant helper.  Every night he flies back to the North Pole to report to Santa how the kids behaved that day and then he flies back.  Every morning he is in a new place in the house so part of the fun is the kids having to find him.  They rush downstairs like it's Christmas morning just to see where Hello is that day.  I can say throughout the day, "Ohhhh, what do you think Hello is thinking about what you're doing?"  and the fear of God Santa races through their being.  It's brilliant. 

I'm thinking that since I am already so tired of being the peacemaker, I'm going to let Hello come visit us a little early this year.  

In case you're wondering, the Elf was named by Drew.  When we got him I asked her what she thought his name was.  She replied, "Um, I think his mommy calls him Hello."  And so it is.  Hello.

You can get your own Hello (or whatever you choose to call him).  I know lots of stores carry them now.  Ours was a gift from Aunt Debbie three years ago and she found it while on Cape Cod.  Since then it's gone into major stores.  Or you can go here: 

And I'm convinced that if Hello can't whip them into shape, no one can.  Well, maybe the firefighters at Chris's station.  'Cause that's where I'm dropping those little curtain climbers off if they don't knock it off. 

Hello, Hello! 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sweet swinging and psycho mom

Ok, so if you don't have children you have a right to say, "OMG, seriously?  Who cares about the first time on a swing?"  If you do have children, especially if you've had your last one, you get this.  I think.  Or maybe I'm psycho about this stuff.  Come to think of it, maybe I am a little.  I mean I did PLAN on putting her in the swing, hence the camera on-hand.  Hmmm.  Ok, so either way you can't deny that this is sweet.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Friday, October 16, 2009

Flashback Friday

A couple of the blogs I read do what's called 'Flashback Friday'.  You look through your ginormous stash of online pictures that you've taken of your children and find one (or four) from a year ago this week.  In doing this I realized a couple things:

* The kids are getting so big, so grown up
* Our world was so different a year ago without Lauren
* William was so much more blonde 12 months ago than he is now
* I remember taking these on some of the first outings I'd been on when I felt WELL.  I was finally no longer pregnancy sick right about this time last year.

Here are my favs that I came across:

This was at a pumpkin patch in Livermore.  William has that mom-has-the-camera-out-again smile MASTERED, dontcha think??

Here's Drew in a pile of corn kernals.  It was as awesome as it looks.

William looks like such a baby here.
Ignore the date at the bottom of th picture.  It's incorrect.

My favorite picture

Happy Friday! 
Hope you have a rollin' in corn kernals, runnin' through a pumpkin patch kinda day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Christmas card rating system. I know. It's terrible.

My friend Amanda and I are soul sisters in so many ways.  We both have a deep love for Massachusetts, big guys from Buena Park, and taking pictures of our kids.  We also have have a love (dare I say obsession?) for Christmas cards; choosing the right format/background, getting the perfect picture (nearly impossible with children), to-letter or not-to-letter, etc.  She saw this on a blog that she follows, thought of me, and sent it along.  I knew I must post this on mine because I so could have written this myself.  Actually, I really wish I had.  I know.  It's terrible.  I'm thinking that some of you can feel me on this, though. Right?  Right??

•Card received: +5

•Card received before December 1st: -1
•Card received after December 25th: -1
•Card is pretty, and looks nice on wall: +3
•Card is glittery: +1
•Card does not contain card, but only letter, so there is nothing to put up on wall: -3
•Card is e-card: -5
•Card includes photo or is photo card: +5
•More than one photo: +2 each additional photo
•Photo is non-Christmassy so will look good on fridge all year: +1
•Photo is Christmassy so increases holiday feeling of card: +1
•Red-eye causes family to appear possessed by evil Christmas spirit: -1
•Photo was taken on beach this past summer in summer clothing, so family looks chilly against winter pattern of card: -1
•Photo includes dogs with glowing eyes who seem poised to eat humans: -1
•Card includes letter: +5
•Letter is informative and interesting: +3
•Letter describes child as "amazing" or "already an avid reader at age 3!": -3 each
•Letter is so braggy and saccharine-cheery, I wonder why I associate with these people: -3
•Letter is so very braggy and saccharine-cheery, it crosses over into comical and becomes fun to read aloud in an unkind tone of voice: +2
•Letter is a sermon disguised as a Christmas letter, and contains pious hopes for our country, for mankind, and for me personally: -5
•Letter mentions details of gross surgery: -1 or +1, depending on entertainment value
•Letter contains thinly-veiled family gossip: +3
•Letter contains information that should have been told earlier: -2
•Card includes check: +5
•Large check: +10
•Card includes announcement of pregnancy: +10
•Card from Christmas Card Friends contains surprising news of baby born since last card sent: +10

Courtesy of Swistle,

Fa la la la la, la la la la!

Monday, October 12, 2009

34 feels pretty damn good, even if I'm only 18 hours into it

Chris kissed me this morning and said, "I've never kissed a 34 year old lady before."

Today was great for a hundred reasons. I could list them, you know, like you do when you're writing a thank you note to your Nana when you are eight years old. "Thank you for the blah and the blah and the blah...". I won't do that although I will say that I got so many heartfelt and thoughtful gifts. And by gifts I don't only mean those that you physically open, I also mean those messages on email and 'Happy Birthday' songs that you get on the phone (I got FOUR!). This was the best birthday in recent memory. A peaceful, love-filled day. Thank you to those who played any part in it.

A few pictures to summarize the day:

And just in case you're wondering... yes, the cake and frosting are homemade and yes, it is fantastic.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


William is in his Rugby shirts:

It's getting dark earlier:

And these are all over the backyard:


Thursday, October 8, 2009

I am soooooo not above bribery

I was so lucky for four years and six months.  And then it happened.  Drew realized that she could actually come out of her room during "quiet time".  She's not dumb, she knew she could physcially get out of her room but she knew better than to try.  The rule was (and still is) that during quiet time you DO NOT come out of your room.  Both Drew and William have a clock in their bedrooms and there is always a given time.   Quiet time always begins like this:  "Have a good nap.  You may not get up until your clock says THREE THREE ZERO." or something like that.  Well, I think she finally realized that that is bullshit.  She's done with just staying put.  And trust me, she's set up like a queen in her room.  She has a bookshelf that is full of books and one shelf is strictly for activities.  Activities like coloring books, preschool activities like dot-to-dots, tracing letters, filling in numbers and letters... you get the idea.  Not to mention the multiple art kits from which to choose.  And it's not just activities, she also has a CD player and a CD collection which rivals mine.  She is fluent in CD changing and the workings of the player so she really is good to go.  Oh, and I completely forgot about the huge drawer of dress-up clothes and the view from her room of the entire cul-de-sac.  She's like the honorary mayor of the cul-de-sac and never fails to mention when someone drives into their driveway, when the mail gets delivered, or if there is a cat meandering in the street.  She has enough in there that could keep one busy for weeks and weeks.  In the last 8 weeks or so she has been coming out of her room and she just stands at the landing of the stairs.  She's usually naked or in some sort of costume so it's still a little creepy.  I'm used to quiet time being MY time and the presence of a little person in drag at the top of the stairs still scares the crap out of me.  Nothing has seemed to work to keep her in there and I will not allow quiet time to end.  I need that time.  It is for EVERYONE'S well-being, trust me.  And it's not as if I require her to stay in her room for hours, it's usually an hour and that's it. 

*I should mention here that William is still in love with naps and he sleeps a solid two hours or more daily so this does not involve him - I have this issue with him in the morning however.  We have the same rule in the morning that the kids can't get up until 7:00am.  Drew's good to go on that part.  He's the morning getter-upper and she's the quiet time getter-upper.* 

I needed to think of a way to keep them in their rooms (him in the morning until 7am and her in her room for quiet time) that would be effective for both of them.  Since both love stickers, I figured I'd go that route.  Here's my solution:

Drew decorated her own sticker chart and William, well, William needed a little help so that is his sticker chart decorated by moi.  Each time they stay in their rooms until the given time, they get to pick a sticker.  The exciting part is that they get to put it wherever they want on their paper.  For some reason having that freedom is very exciting to them.  You can see that Drew has three stickers and William now has two.  They have a chance to earn two a day (morning and quiet time).  Once one has 20 stickers I promised to buy these cheap super cool rainboots.  We're only on day two of this.  So far, so good. 

Drew's choice:

 William's choice:

It all comes down to this.  MY time is MY time.  Don't mess with it.  And if you do, I'll have set up some elaborate sticker rewards system to preserve it.  The End.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Things that go bump in the night...

...or not.  Apparently both kids suddenly have monsters under their beds.  William's makes noise but Drew's doesn't, she just knows it's there. He's a silent monster.  I know this is not super creative but it's my solution to this ridiculous super scary problem.  It's called the Monster Mist and tonight before bed we'll spray under each bed.  I sure hope this works!  I know, you're dying to know if it will, too.  Hold on to your hats, you know I'll report back.  BOO! 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Virgin blogger

First post on my first blog - I figured I'd start out small and easy. Kinda like that girl to the right, there. Small and easy. Check back, I'll try and keep you up on the daily nothings of the Peters household. Here we go!



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