Christmas Snow In San Diego

What happens when you sneak off to the snow after Mass? You freeze your tushie off because you’re inappropriately dressed. Little kids don’t care about cold and these guys don’t care about the cold.

This is what snow looks like from Shelter Island in Point Loma. However, these are the Cuyamaca Mountains and we went to the Laguna Moutains which are directly behind them.

img_3283Ready……..Aim……

img_3284FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

img_32771Once Gavin figured out how much fun it was to throw snowballs at daddy, it was very difficult to get Gavin to do anything else.

img_3286At four o’clock I shoulder axe and in the afterglow, I link a line of shadowy tracks across the tinted snow………

img_3289Hey! Where’d everybody go? Ooooh, they’re off to make yellow snow.

img_3291Here’s Graham hoping he can roll himself into a giant ball and as he rolls, he gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger till he can wipe out an entire village.

img_3282It’s getting waaay too cold. Time to come home and decorate the tree.YAY!

img_3298The kids decided to make their own decorations because our ornaments were too hard to locate. Graham and Madeleine strung popcorn and Madeleine made lots of ornaments and put ribbon on the tree. Garren and Gavin hung some toys that my Aunt Lee brought from her house for them.

Madeleine made a special note for Santa

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Tonight we’ll take our kids to a party and then we’ll  introduce the kids to the, “Midnight Mass”. I loved it when I was a little girl. All the carols sung, the Nativity scene, the joy, the anticipation of Santa coming the next day,  the candles and everyone dressed so beautifully. I realize that’s a shallow reason to love the Mass, but that’s how I remember it as a little girl.

I can’t wait to put them to bed afterwards and listen to them sleep while pjdaddy and I (well mostly pjdaddy) put together Christmas toys, wrap presents, fill stockings and listen to Christmas carols.

Dang! I’m getting excited!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Barenaked Ladies- ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”/ “We Three Kings” Medley Feat. Sarah McLachlan. One of my favorites.

Christmas Cheer

Come on guys, we’re gonna go Christmas caroling. Won’t that be fun?

Do we get paid for it?

Um, yeah, that’s the Christmas spirit.

We do?

NO!!! How is that spreading holiday cheer if we get paid? We sing outside people’s homes to bring joy to them. We do get cookies and hot chocolate afterwards, however.

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pjdaddy with my mom and graham and madeleine. Garren is with, who else? Mariah.

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We had a pretty good crowd show up. It’s funny because we went down the same neighborhood my youth group and I used to carol on when I was a teenager. There was less of us back then, so we were able to be towed on a flat bed and sit on bales of straw. Very cool.

There was probably about 100 people there on this night and it was neat to see all the people come out of their homes so they could listen to us sing. One house, that just happened to be my Godparents’, knew we were coming and had hot cider and brownies waiting for us.

img_3137A photo of the crowd with my family

img_3138Here’s everyone scattering because of cars. Bruce, the guy with the guitar is my old youth group leader and one of the kindest souls you’ll ever meet.

We finished and went back to the church social center for cookies and hot chocolate. It was  a lot of fun. I’m hoping  that it’ll be a good memory for my kids and when they’re older maybe they’ll pass on the tradition to their kids.

Kare-Kare’s Graduation Pics

I’m very proud of my sister. Yesterday was her graduation from the San Diego Sheriff’s academy. I used to think I wanted to follow in her and my dad’s footsteps, but after seeing all that she went through, I’ll pass.  I guess I’m a big wimp after all. Well that and I don’t think I’d pass the background check. Curse you Summer of ’97!!!

img_3151Here’s my family in the theatre waiting for kare-kare’s graduation to commence. pjdaddy, gavin, looking lazy eyed, graham, madeleine, my niece mariah (she lives with us now)  and garren sitting on mariah’s lap because there were no extra seats and because he has a mad crush on her.

img_3163Here’s our dad pinning  the badge on my sister. Our dad graduated from the Sheriff’s academy at the age of 60.

img_31641I LOVE this picture. Look at the pure, unadulterated joy on her face.

img_3167After she got her badge it was time to get sworn in.

img_3168_1Here’s kare-kare’s son watching his mommy get sworn in. I’m pretty sure he’s flashing gang signs in this photo. She’ll have to keep an eye on him.

img_31821After the graduates were sworn in, we were treated to a slideshow of their time in the academy. Here’s my sis being pepper sprayed. Oh man what I wouldn’t have done to have been given that opportunity when we were younger.

img_32021Here I am weaseling myself into a couple photos with my sis. There’s Graham to my left and if you look real hard you can see pjdaddy behind my dad’s head to the right. Next to my dad is my cousin Jo-Jo. If that’s not how you spell your name Jo-Jo, I’m super sorry.

img_3200I’m proud of you kare-kare. In fact, I even love you, well, >< much anyways.

December Nights at Balboa Park

I’ve always loved Balboa Park, noooo, not the part where the men hook up for sex in the public restrooms, the part with the museums. Back in my early 20’s they had one museum a month free. Aside from the beach, this was a fun activity for a starving college student.

Another thing that’s really cool about Balboa Park? “December Nights” It was called, “Christmas on the Prado” when I was a kid, but it’s still the same. Santa, The Nativity, The Christmas lights, hot chocolate and holiday cheer.

Pjdaddy and I took the kids Friday night. It was wonderful. We took a 2nd cousin who’s 5, not sure if he’s “removed” or anything because I don’t know how all that cousin stuff works, and we went with some long time friends. We brought the cousin thinking he’d play with Garren, but it turns out he developed a crush on Madeleine and spent the evening walking into walls and being silly to make her laugh. At one point we were in line to see The Nativity and he and Madeleine were having a deep discussion about what were to happen if they got lost, he told Madeleine, “I will never leave you. I am a boy and it is my job to take care of little girls if they get lost.” The people behind us thought it was hysterical. I did too. 

They had an ethnic food fair and an International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. My kids got to try soda from Sweden, a chocolate dessert from Scotland and my non-adventurous children ate hot dogs from America.

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You know how many shots I went thru to find one where I didn’t look like a complete and total lard ass? And no, I have no idea why pjdaddy felt the need to spread his legs SOOO freaking wide. Although he has impregnated me 6 times. IYKWIMAITYD. Here’s our family Christmas photo taken in front of a big tree they light up every year. No, it didn’t dawn on me to actually get a picture of the tree.

Our kids got a picture with Santa. We waited in a long line to see him. Interesting how well behaved kids are when they’re in line to see “The Great One”. I didn’t have to behave as I already knew I was getting coal. They have it set up so you can see Santa, but if you want a picture with him, you have to pay $5. Of course if you don’t pay to get a picture with Santa, you get stink eye. I got a whoooole lotta stink eye as kid, after kid, after kid, after kid, after kid went and sat on his lap and my friend Laurie took their photo. In all 6 kids got their photos taken. Santa told them to hurry up and get the show on the road. If he’d actually asked him what they wanted for Christmas he prolly would have told them they’d shoot their eye out, or something to that affect. He did look like Santa however, so I’ll give him that, but that’s it!

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I’ve never seen Gavin so fascinated with anything as he was of Santa. Unfortunately I didn’t get the photo, but he turned and just stared into Santa’s eyes with pure awe. Santa took every photo with his mouth open. Cotton mouth anyone?

Here’s Graham finding out I want him to sit on Santa’s lap.

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Ha, just kidding Graham. You can stand next to Santa.

Poor Garren was starting to not feel so well and wound up looking like crap in his Santa photo. To make it up to him, I’ll post a picture of him at the train museum.

Madeleine insists on having me take photos of her eating all the time. “Mom, take a picture of me eating this.” Mom, take a picture of me eating this.”  I freaking hate pictures of me like that. I picture people thinking, “no wonder she’s chunky, she doesn’t stop eating” . “She’s eating in every picture.” ” COW!”  Issues much?

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My Godmother, Shirley, was kind enough to buy ALL the kids hot chocolate and a ginger bread cookie.

All the museums were free that evening, but the kids were getting pretty worn out by this time and wanted to go home. There was however, one museum that was required visiting as far as I was concerned. The Train Museum. Garren and Gavin are obsessed with trains and I would be a fool to not hit this place when it was free.

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Poor kid looks miserable doesn’t he?

We found out too late there was a beer garden, but all in all it was a wonderful evening. Oh, and it turns out they still have free museums on the first Tuesday of the month, but it’s even better now, all the museums are free that day.

Did I mention I’m glad to be back home?

Home, Sweet, Home

Now that I have my foot in the door at my parental’s home, it’s time to take over make myself a little more comfortable.

Our new home is my parent’s garage till we get settled and till pjdaddy starts working and then we can see where we go from there. There’s a hiring freeze at his old job here in Lakeside, but they’re weasling him back in, so it’s a bit slow to get started. Worst case scenario is one month. Totally ok. I’m adaptable.

Right now we’re nestled cozily between cement mix and a saw, but pjdaddy is working hard weatherizing the joint for us. (if you’re nosy like I am, you can click the picture to make it bigger)

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My oldest two kids had their first day of school on Monday. Not on purpose mind you, we went for a tour and the principal asked them if they wanted to stay. Believe it or not, they jumped at the chance. This is the school I went to as a little girl.

Back in May, I’d come home to Lakeside for the funeral of a very dear friend, when I was upstairs in the room the reception was to be held, I looked down on the schoolyard watching the children running around at recess wistful in the knowledge my children would never have the opportunity to run around throwing paper airplanes like these kids were doing. Or so I thought, BOOYAH! (yes they were throwing paper airplanes around, how cool is that?)

God works in mysterious ways. Seriously. There’s no way this could have all come together except thru God’s hands. Pjdaddy and I brought the kids to the school and we were able to get a scholarship for the two of them for 3 months. That’s about the time it’ll take to get some sweet, sweet moola flowing in again, hopefully. They have a used uniform dealie and today I’m taking the kids to get their uniforms for this woman who keeps them for the school. Aw, I forgot to mention it’s a Catholic school, hence the need for uniforms. Oh and what better time to start at a private school than December? Hello? Christmas plays and programs and goodies and children’s choirs? Oh be still my beating heart.

Funny thing about where we’re living is my parent’s have another house on the property that they just rented out TWO WEEKS ago!!! Is that too funny or what? It’s the house I grew up in and my parents are renting it to my cousin and her hubby. If only we’d known we were coming sooner huh? Course they’re really cool people and they have a 5 year old boy that Garren will have a good time playing with. Or hate each other like my cousins and I often did when we were young because we were together too much. It never lasted long.

However, rumor has it my cousin’s hubby hates spiders. Wouldn’t it be just awful if that house suddenly became infested with spiders? hhhhhhmmmmm? *cough, uh, um………just teasin coz, you know I love you.

My two little ones are used to having the big TV on the wall, apparently they feel they can’t see it now because we’re borrowing the one in my mom’s guest room till pjdaddy can install ours in the garage.

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They’re trying to edge each other out to get the best spot in front of the TV.

[UPDATE] as I was writing this, pjdaddy went to drop off his application for his new job. The main manager Jim was there and he pulled him into his formal interview on the spot. We’ve been told he starts December 29th. YAY!

I’m so excited to be in my hometown again. I’m like a dog and have had to pee everywhere to mark my territory again. The old frozen yogurt shop I used to visit, the best Mexican food place, the park, my aunt cathie’s house.

God is good. Life is good. Pjdaddy and I haven’t always, meh, let’s be honest here, we pretty much hadn’t ever worked as a team in our relationship, but after a long arduous road, we’ve come together and it’s funny how life is coming together as well.

[UPDATE] I spelled cozily wrong. It’s fixed now.

Dere’s Uh Alligator In Dere

We finally made it home to good ole Lakeside, Ca. I drove in with the 4 kids about 2 hours after Thanksgiving had begun. I was really freaking happy to get to see all my family in one spot on return from my sojourn.

It’s funny the things one takes for granted in one’s environment. I remember when we first moved to Florida, pjdaddy and I were trippin’ on how flat it was. Not a hill in site. There was one area in our community called Fort Caroline Hills. HAH! Look at the picture of it.

This is the equivalent of a speedbump in California.

He and I missed the mountains. We missed the view, but mostly we missed the snow and snowboarding. We were really excited to leave the First Coast and return to the Left Coast.

When driving about town I don’t let the kids watch DVDs in the car, because I want them to look at the scenery. The drive across country was completely different. I packed every DVD we owned in the van. I was not going to listen to “are we there yet?” for the entire 2338 miles. DVD players in the car rock. The kids were strapped in their seats and I was able to force musicals down their throat for a good portion of the trip. These kids will be exposed to the classics if it kills me/them. Yes we watched Monsters Inc. but they wound up loving, “The Sound of Music” and “My Fair Lady” and “Annie” and “Oliver”. It was fun to show them that the nun in the first musical mentioned also played Mary Poppins in another movie. I even got to introduce them to Abbott & Costello. They were a huge hit. I’d never have been able to get my kids to sit down and watch these flicks any other way.

On the trip out to Florida years ago I’d bought the two oldest disposable cameras so they could take pictures of their trip and to give them something to do. I found them undeveloped as I packed for our reverse move. I learned my lesson not to develop their photos after I paid for 24 pictures of Tom & Jerry on TV.

I had this fantasy that we’d pull over at rest stops and have little picnics with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cheese sticks, hard boiled eggs, yogurt and juice. I was going to save money and we were going to eat relatively healthy. Hah, yeah right.

Screw that. We went thru McDonald’s and Jack in the Box’s. I even made them, yes I did, I’m gonna say it, are you ready? Pee in cups. I couldn’t believe it when my dad wouldn’t stop for us to pee on trips and we had to go in cups, but because I’m a kinder, gentler person than my dad, I at least stopped the car. It’s soooo much faster that way.

Luckily we had some fake internet friends Sohos and Count, who graciously allowed us to stay at their home in Houston. They couldn’t have lived anymore on our route if they tried. Hopefully we became real friends after meeting them even though I did steal their USB cord. It’s in the mail, really. Course Count is the man who told my children that if they sang, 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” really loud 3 times in a row they’d be able to fly. I only still love him because he took my kids fishing off his parent’s dock. Sohos couldn’t go because she has to work. She needs to quit so things like that don’t happen in the future.

 

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The kids had a blast. I wanna have one of those in my backyard.

img_3003How many times have I told you NOT to eat the bait?!?!?!

Graham put his bait to good use.

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Oh you don’t want me to take your picture Garren? Ok, I won’t. Oh hey wow, look at the bug mommy has on her camera lense!

img_3018SNAP!!! Gotcha sucka.

Count even took us on a little boat ride. Gavin was freakin’, well for about a second.

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We stayed in Houston for two days to wait for poor pjdaddy to catch up as he was still in Jacksonville painting over tiny hand and footprints on the wall to make our home rentable.

So off we go on the rest of our trip. Our friend Dan Coffey, who seems to show up every time we move, ready and willing to help, showed up again. Weirdest part is he never knows we’re moving……he just has bad timing. He even helped us on our original move from Arizona to Florida following us across country driving our rental truck. Dan followed us this time as well. He coincidentally had to be in California today.

In addition to my “side of the road picnics” I thought I’d have, I also thought I’d take a picture of my kids in front of each state’s welcome sign. It was dark when I left Jacksonville, so it was dark when I hit my first state. Alabama. I didn’t see the sign till too late and there was no way I was gonna make a U-turn and unload the kids for a photo op. Oh well, nother idea down the drain.

About the time we made it to New Mexico, I realized my bottom 3 children had either never seen a mountain or couldn’t remember ever having seen a mountain. What a weird thought to me. The mountains I cherish so much. I was cracking up at how amazed they were at something I took for granted my entire life. My mountains.

We’ve been getting settled in. We’ve taken over my poor parents home until we figure out what we’re gonna do and where exactly we’re gonna settle here.

I took my kids to the park playground I loved as a little girl. There happens to be a lake there and I couldn’t get my kids to go near it for nothin’. I couldn’t figure it out till Gavin points to the lake and says, “Dere’s uh alligator in dere”. It took forever to convince them there weren’t any alligators here in San Diego County.

I’ve been trying to go everywhere and visit everyone since I’ve arrived. I feel like a dog. I need to pee on everything. You are my territory and I will mark you.

On one of our trips today, my bottom 3 kids started gagging like crazy. My daughter said, “oh mom, what’s that smell?”. It dawned on me that I have not smelled that particular smell ever in Florida or even in Arizona, but smelled it often in my hometown growing up. It was a skunk.

Welcome to California kids. It’s good to be home.

The Pajama Momma Family Is Going Home [UPDATED]

We’re going back to San Diego. We’ve had a good run in Florida, but the pool market has run it’s course and we really, really, really miss SoCal.

Pjdaddy had an awesome job here in Jacksonville and we’d like to thank the pool company for hiring him and “hellfire” and her husband for leading him to this wonderful opportunity in the first place, but it’s time to go home. One of pjdaddy’s old companies didn’t have a job opening, but they wanted him back so badly, they “created” one for him. We’re very excited to have been given this opportunity.

I am sooooo freaking excited to go home. I’ll miss my “hood” and “Ms. D”, but I’m not allowed to call her “Ms. D” anymore cuz it’s a totally lame name. She’s “lil hot momma” and that’s the truth. It was a blessing to have met her because she made the last few months here palatable. “Lil hot momma” is fun…………in fact, it’s her fault you guys don’t see me on the net much anymore. Blame her. Sorry to throw you under the bus like that “LHM”, but seriously, it’s your fault.

Anyhoo, we’ve had 3 full years here and I’m done.  I look forward to introducing my kids to the crazyness that is my family.

We’re packing up the house, leaving Friday or Saturday and hoping the property management company can find someone to rent our house. I expect to be home in time to consume every single pie my mom has made for Thanksgiving dinner. Sorry kids, find your own pie.

Then:

alligator

Now:

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for shame, for shame, I didn’t include Garren’s buddy in the photo so I updated it with Drewsicle. Look how sweet he is.

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