Saturday, March 17, 2012

Their Futures Are So Bright...

...they gotta wear shades:

The only thing missing from our Spring Break was some cousin time. Thankfully, these two showed up in town unexpectedly, and Owen and June were happy to drop everything to hook up with Keely and Kaden...even if it means shopping (Owen's least favorite activity besides toenail trimming).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Don't Have a Grandson with a Dog Collar

So, we've disconnected our cable. As Owen saw Michael unhooking all of the wires, Owen put two and two together and begin to bawl "Dad, but Dad, you won't have a grandson with a dog collar! Believe MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, not that commercial! You won't have a grandson with a dog collar. Don't take away the cable!" (to have his problems, right?)

Today, when June scratched him, he expressed concern that he would "wake up in a roadside ditch" if I put a bandaid on him. (If you ignore commercials, click the links)

Um, exhibit A that we might have been watching too much TV?

Dropped off the cable boxes today; not regretting it one bit.

PS: Geometry teachers, these would be great when doing logic, conditionals, and properties at the start of the semester.

I'll Wax Your Gibbous

Owen makes up a lot of stuff, but the past few weeks, as the first graders have been studying the phases of the moon, he kept talking about the Gibbous phase (both waxing and waning). Did I fall asleep in elementary school science that week? I'll fess up to my ignorance, but here he is, schooling me via Oreos. I found the Oreo lesson online when I was educating myself so I can have a conversation with my child about science. I bought the Oreos because they were calling my name.

The young scientist in process (with a future Indiana Jones scratch thanks to a sister who is getting the hang of defending herself):

For your reference (and mine):

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Purse, My Life

Know I know why the Capital One saying is "What's in your wallet?" To ask about a woman's purse would take too long.

How that for catharsis?

If my purse is any indicator of my current life state, it's no wonder that I feel a little discombobulated.

Let's see if you can play armchair psychologist and give me some insight on what these things say about me:

a lot of free kids' meals coupons to local restaurants
at least 3 mechanical pencils
school ID
travel Kleenex
green wallet
party favor bag
iPod car adapter (no, not iPhone)
eyeglass case
coin purse
beaded bracelet
lipsticks and glosses
trash receipts

How do you men do it with just a few pockets? Oh, that's right, you ask us to hold stuff for you in our purse. What of my purse stuff is Michael's? I'll never tell.

And who knows what else is under that pile? Sadly, this was a week ago, and I put most of this right back in there. Here's to Spring Break, a little R&R, and, maybe, just maybe, a clean purse!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

What Happens at Sushi's House...

You've seen the shirts for toddlers, "What happens at Grandma's, stays at Grandma's"? Well, what happens at Sushi's, gets on her iPhone for all to see. On our CA trip, I scrolled through Mom's and Michael's iPhones and emailed myself a few of my favorite pictures of FOOD and FRIVOLITY.

Sushi is a cook with gourmet skills; June just eats Vienna Sausage from the can.

Nothing says "235 years of America!" like a giant carbohydrate covered in dyed icing.

Clowning around with Sushi and Opa at the circus. Fun fact: every year as a kid, we went to 2 events. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in March (for my birthday) and the Ringling Brothers Circus in July (for my brother's birthday). Maybe next year, June and Gordon can join in too!

Does this hat make me look ridiculous? Or is it the nose? Or the lanyard? Or the oversized program? Or the boomerang? Or the Spiderman umbrella hanging off my wrist? Or the fact that I look pissed at my grandma for even daring to take this picture that proves I am one spoiled kiddo?

Would you like some hot chocolate with your whipped cream?
Triple cherries, say what?!
This one was out with Michael, but who says the grandparents are the only ones who get to treat the kids? Here's the mega muffin at the Snooty Pig.

Oh wait, I think we've gone too far. Nothing like the Fat Face app to put things in perspective.

Truly, I love living back close again because now these treats are spread out to about once a month vs consecutive days of a 2 week visit. Talk about some detox whenever we'd go back to LA or Fresno. Whew. Also note, June is growing into these treats. Right now, a Tic-Tac from Sushi's purse will do the trick.

Other random iPhone catch ups:

Owen's birthday at school (with both grandmas there!)

June deep sea diving in Sushi's tub:
June at the pumpkin patch. My favorite part of this photo is the sign.

Now this reminds me to hijack Grammie's phone and see what the kids have been up to at her house!

Favorite Grandparent Quotes:

I don't intentionally spoil my grandkids. It's just that correcting them often takes more energy than I have left. ~Gene Perret

Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting. ~Author Unknown

Grandfathers are for loving and fixing things. ~Author Unknown

On the seventh day God rested. His grandchildren must have been out of town. ~Gene Perret

With much love and appreciation to our parents, thank you!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thankful for California

Christmas came early for the McArnolds this year. Instead of exchanging gifts, almost all of us* traveled to California to spend Thanksgiving week with friends and relatives. *Steph had an exam at nursing school that could not be taken at any time but the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. That's my first (and hopefully, only) "BOO...HISS" that I've ever said towards the University of Texas at Arlington.

My little family flew to LA 3 days early to catch up with friends from our Pasadena years. We were able to see Bert perform in the final weekend of "Don't Hug Me! I'm Pregnant", worship with our friends at Agape Christian Church, and spend time with my teaching friends from my 5 years in Glendale. I did not spend enough time eating Armenian pastries, and we are growing accustomed to the feeling of walking away from our visits with tears. There is never enough time.

As we drove past our old neighborhood after church, the waterworks began for me. Owen tried to console me with, "You know, I used to see my friend Riley EVERY day in kindergarten, but now I only see him at recess. It's tough, but I know he's still my friend." Not too bad Therapist Arnold; a little bit of his dad in him after all. :) All of that to say that those 5 years were so extremely formative for me as a wife, teacher, friend, and mother. I am so thankful for the friendships and experiences shared in community there.

These days flew by quickly, so I only managed 2 photos. One of June on the plane
and the other of June and Owen with their favorite lap in all of California...Auntie Rae's. If words could express my affection for her, I still wouldn't write them here. Too much to say, dear friend!

Off to San Diego! All of Mom's family migrated from farms east of Dallas to California after WWII. They plopped themselves down a couple of blocks away from the Pacific Ocean, and her idyllic tales of growing up at the beach begin there. Owen did not hesitate to reacquaint himself with the ocean...he rolled up his pant legs and then proceeded to wade in up to his chest. He looked like a loon walking down the boardwalk with no pants and a hoodie afterward, but then again, there's no dress code on the beach either.

June's issue with dirt extends to sand. She stayed in her stroller, even complaining that her wheels were getting dirty. :p But she and Gordon did have some buddy time while they were parked on the beach with one of the best views in the world.

We checked in with Uncle Mo and Aunt Linda on day one because if Uncle Mo doesn't see those rascals within hours of a plane landing, you will hear about it! The kids loved playing with Aunt Linda's walker, and Uncle Mo engaged himself with each of his great-grand nephews and niece.

Day two found us ready to hit La Jolla beach, where Mom lived from junior high until her odd choice to move to West Texas. Nothing like Abilene, TX to make you miss home your freshman year of college, right? Owen wore proper swim attire...kind of. It is the last week in November and the water was ICE, but it IS a swim suit.

The Cove links me to some of my dearest memories of my grandparents. When I would travel there in the summers, they would walk the path along the cliffs or through town every day. The breeze, the grass, the sea lions, and the grandfather in a seer sucker suit and straw grandmother with pearls and silky pants. To see Gordon crawling through the same grass, Owen playing on the same beach, and everyone gawking at those sea lions was a sheer treasure.

Finally, Turkey Day! I'm all for tradition, but this year it was nice to do something a little different and yet, still familiar (Unlike the year we had Del Taco for Thanksgiving dinner in Pasadena...that was just odd). We were able to eat the Thanksgiving meal at Mo and Linda's retirement center, and they did an AWESOME job! Uncle Mo and Aunt Linda are now in their 90s, but this is their first year to not live in that same bungalow they built in Pacific Beach more than half a century ago. So it was all of our first time to experience the center's Thanksgiving meal. Here we all are...dressed up and enjoying the dining hall. PS: That is not "The Dude" from The Big Lebowski movie...that is my Uncle Jerry (who secretly loves it when people do mistake him for Jeff Bridges' character).

And because my parents are not in enough of these pictures:

Michael and Lee are also conspicuously absent from many pictures too. I think that's a good thing. They were busy wrangling kids, riding bikes on the beach, and surfing. I was able to go on a great walk then stop on the beach to think about the week's events. As I sat on the continent's edge, listening to the waves hit the shore as the sun glittered off the sand, I couldn't help but recall this verse from Ezekiel:

Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east. The sound of his coming was like the roar of rushing waters, and the whole landscape shone with his glory.

It was a beautiful moment in a long and satisfying trip.

Summer Reading and Beyond...

I compiled this list mostly for Kelly S. I like to steal from her reading lists, but for anyone else looking to curl up with a good book over your break, here's what I've been reading since this summer:

The Centurion’s Wife

The Hidden Flame

The Damascus Way, all by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke

I enjoyed this trilogy, but I LOVE historical fiction. My fascination with early Christianity AND the Roman empire means that these were right up my alley.

First Light

Second Touch

Third Watch

Fourth Dawn

Fifth Seal

Sixth Covenant

Seventh Day

Eighth Shepherd

Ninth Witness

Tenth Stone

Eleventh Quest, all by Bodie and Brock Thoene

Okay, I'll admit that I end up reading a lot of series. If a book has a follow up, I must continue reading. Even to a fault. Unfortunately for me when I began the AD Chronicles, I didn't know there were 11 (!) books. I also didn't know that one of the last books would be dedicated to Sarah Palin. But, let's not hold that against the authors. Some books were better than others, but I really appreciated the imagination it took to develop some of these minor characters in the Gospels. I don't think I'll ever consider the leper or the shepherds, in particular, in the same light again. All Zionist politics from the Thoenes aside, a good series overall.

The above books were my summer. I felt that with going back to work, I had to get all my reading in while the days were long...and when I could take a nap the next day after staying up too late reading.

Now for my school'll notice a trend away from the first century and in to dystopian fiction. That's my other guilty pleasure. Who wants to read about some unattainable utopia when you could get lost in the dysfunctions of human attempts to create viable and long-term societies? The Suzanne Collins and Michael Grant books are both in the young adult genre, but the Grant books I would save for a high school kiddo with an ability to discern and discuss the choices made by the central characters.

The Hunger Games

Catching Fire

Mocking Jay, all by Suzanne Collins (can't wait for the movie adaptation of this trilogy)




Plague, all by Michael Grant (book 5 due out in April!)

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory

(a brief relapse into historical forwarding to the 16th century, of course. Another Gregory book is my next read)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl who Plays with Fire

The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, all by Stieg Larsson

I won't be watching any of the movie adaptations of the Larsson books. One thing I appreciate about reading is that my mind tends to limit the amount of visualization I can do without having nightmares. If a scene is particularly graphic or gruesome, I can only imagine it as far as my fears will let me. In a movie, the scene plays out, presumably, as the director intends and that is often farther than my nerves or thoughts would prefer to extend. To sum it up, the Swedish title to the first book is translated to read "Men Who Hate Women"...I think that original title better illustrates a lot of the scenes that I'd rather not replay or have in my mind again. Still, Lisbeth Salander filled my first 3 days of Christmas break, including a last minute trip to the library to check out book 3.

Suggestions for 2012?