Friday, November 30, 2012

Oh the rains came down, and the floods came up...

Monsoonal downpour: check.

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High winds and downed huge tree in the neighborhood: check.

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A ton of leaves getting blasted off those trees from the high winds: check.

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All of those leaves clogging the storm drain right in front of the house, holding back the rushing water and creating a lake in my front yard: check.

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Husband at work: check.

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One drowned rat of a woman raking out the storm drain and trying to keep the flood at bay: check!

After clearing the drain:

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The water receded away from the house. Phew!

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I raked out those drains in the rain last night, too. I can only imagine how bad it would have been if we were away!! My husband is on his way home, so he gets to go out and clean that drain next time while I soak in a hot bath. And sip hot chocolate. And then take a nap. It's been a long shift!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Happenings

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You know how it's October, and then all of a sudden you find yourself hurtling down a steep holiday hill, with event after unstoppable event flying past in quick succession?

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Wheeee! Here we go!

This last week we had Thanksgiving at the station,

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my husband REALLY cleaned the garage,

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I started the nursery project for this little man —

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who is currently still sleeping next to my side of the bed in his little bassinet.

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(That was a serious purple in there from the previous owners. These pictures don't do it justice. My daughter's room looks neutral in comparison!)

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We went Christmas tree hunting,

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and decorated the tree. It's not easy finding yellow Christmas decorations. Yellow is the color that Christmas forgot. Poor under-represented yellow. I salute you.

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Up next week: finish the nursery, try to get some Christmas shopping in before it's too late to have it delivered, clean the house, have house guests, do the Christmas cards, shampoo the carpet stairs, and enjoy as many holiday events as I can cram into my schedule. Plus Nutcracker rehearsals. And my husband will be gone for the majority of the week, so no help there. Oh, and I need to create the bulletin board for the church nursery. Plus the whole being a parent to four children thing.

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Once it stops raining (it's been raining all day and is supposed to keep rain for the next 5 days), I want to do some decorating outside. I want to make a big bow to put over the door. So yeah — more projects. Doesn't hibernation seem like a legitimate alternative about now?

Just think, it's not even December yet!!

Hard to believe, amidst all of this winter stuff, that the days start getting longer again in only three weeks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Winter in California

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Winter in this part of California is like fall and spring combined. Leaves get tired, turn vibrant colors, and fall.

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The bright red leaves land in grasses that are going through a reverse transition. The grasses start out dry and brown, burned by the hot and dry summer. In winter, the rain brings the grass and the moss back to life and the ground grows more fresh and green and alive as the months pass.

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We don't get snow usually; the clouds are a blanket that keeps the air from turning too cold for that. But we do get frost and freezing temperatures on nights when the clouds go away.

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The lake, starting to rise again and attracting migrating birds, makes that chilled air damp. It seeps into everything.

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The sprinklers get a break, but the lawn mower still needs to be pulled out. I have become a bit desensitized to the smell of freshly cut grass. I remember how much I loved that scent after a long winter. Now it's like a perfume that you no longer notice on yourself because you've been wearing it all day.

Our "Holiday Dummies," as my husband calls them:

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The sun seems to take longer than normal to slice through the horizon at this time of year. I don't know if the angle of the setting sun technically makes evening last longer, or if the cold air carries the light differently, or if I just notice it more because sunset now happens before dinner, at a quiet time of the day.

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Whatever the reason, the atmosphere spends a long time in shades of purple and pink in the late afternoon.

Here's a picture of the road leading down to our little valley that I took the other day.

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Winter here is, in a word, gloaming.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Happy election day! Here's a CUTE clip of the baby to help ease tensions.

My baby is at the loveable stage where he entertains himself with the new sounds he discovers. :)



Have a happy day, all!

Friday, November 2, 2012

This Is Halloween

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This year I had a little fireman (again), a zombie, and a zombie princess vampire. I also had a big fireman for the second half of the day! It's amazing how much smoother Halloween goes with him around. :) Much better than getting that dreaded "honey, I've been mandatoried today" call. Much, much better.

What I didn't have this Halloween was my good camera. Not for any good reason; I just got so busy I didn't take it out. So this year's festivities were commemorated in cell phone pictures, that were taken when the day was mostly done. But that's one reason we went with the phones we have — their picture-taking capabilities. Not the greatest in low-light situations, but it'll do.

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My first grader is trying really hard to be scary here. That's a whole lotta cute mixed in with your scary there, kiddo!

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He keeps referring to his costume as the "complete zombie." As in, "what are you this Halloween?" "Me? I'm a complete zombie," he replies. This is because that was the title of the costume as it was written in the ad he looked at. Actually, I didn't even buy the "complete zombie" costume. I ended up getting a different one. But no matter — he still calls it that.

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I am just not on the ball this year. The only reason why we have any decorations out at all is because my daughter made me do it.

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She kept asking to decorate, so I finally got out a few things from dollar store trips past and let her set them out. The kids randomly scattered the scarecrows and foliage on the front porch.

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Dad manned the pumpkin carving this year. The kids drew faces on their pumpkins before they were cut out. Because they were sitting on the floor looking down on the pumpkins, they drew the faces toward the top. Which ended up being endearing; the pumpkins look up at me as I pass them, and it makes me smile. Then I pass a random sprig of dried fall leaves stabbed into a bush by my 3 year old and I smile some more. Which is good; I can use the boost, my baby has an abscess that is bothering him and I haven't slept well the past few days. (We went to the doctor and got him a prescription, so he's on the mend.)

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Here's a picture of him on a day before he got all grumpy and abscessy, in his stripy Halloween "costume." Oh — I know — instead of his mom completely failing to get him in a costume this year, we'll say he was a Halloween candy cane. Sure. That's what he was. I meant to do that.

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Never mind the fact that he didn't even wear this outfit on Halloween! But we'll pretend he did. Seriously, I feel badly that I don't have a costume for him on his very first Halloween. I'll be up late tonight feeling badly about that. I wish I were kidding.

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I took the older two to a party before trick-or-treating, and was running late the whole night — hence the lack of costume for the baby. And the relatively small cash of candy since it was late by the time we made it out and most of the lights were out. Oh, and I missed the Halloween parade at school because I didn't want to take a fussy baby out in a crowd. :( So, the day didn't go quite as planned, but we got the main parts of it done.

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After we got home, we did the annual removing of pants, candy sorting, and flomping on the floor.

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I'm still lobbying for the day after Halloween to be a school holiday!!
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