Friday, December 29, 2006

Crap! I've been tagged!

A - Available/Single? Nope

B- Best Friend? Ray

C- Cake or Pie? Cake

D - Drink Of Choice? Iced tea

E - Essential Item You Use Everyday? Toilet paper

F - Favorite Color? Red

G- Gummy Bears Or Worms? Worms

H - Home or Homesick? Home

I - Indulgence? Pedicures

J - January Or February? February.

K - Kids & Their Names? Julia, Ethan, Brady aka Juji, EB, Bunch

L - Life Is Incomplete Without? see B & K

M - Marriage date? 5-27-95

N - Number Of Siblings? 1 sister

O - Oranges Or Apples? Apples

P - Phobias/Fears? Alligators

Q - Favorite Quote: You cannot help another without helping yourself (or something that pretty much means that but sounds a little prettier)

S- Season? Summer

T - Tag 3 or 4 people? Beth, Kim

U - Unknown Fact About Me? If I told you , it wouldn't be unknown would it?

V - Vegetable you don’t like? Green peppers.

W- Worst Habit? Leaving stuff lying around.

X- X-rays You’ve Had? Knees, wrists, dental, and not much else lately, unless ultrasounds count.

Y - Your Favorite Food? Who can pick just one?

Z - Zodiac Sign? Cancer

Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Letters

Dear Family and Friends:

No matter how cheesy or cliche they are, we really do enjoy receiving your holiday cards and letters. It's a treat to watch your children grow up and we marvel at how beautiful they all are. Perhaps it's not necessary to tell us about every single trip you've taken this year, or include a picture of your outrageous mansion that you carved out an entire hillside to build. Nevertheless, thank you for including us among those you send your holiday greeting to. And for those of you who go through the annual trouble to make your newsletter funny and charming, an extra special thanks.

Dear School Mommies:

Enough is enough. Thank you but you really don't need to bring treats for the whole class for every single stinking holiday. You don't need to throw impromptu class parties without giving anyone else the opportunity to participate. Our children don't need one more bag of cookies, no matter how beautifully frosted with each of their names in color coordinated icing, one more little toy and one more cute pencil. While we're at it, you don't need to be in class every single stinking day. Either decide you don't like the teacher and move your kid, or decide to support her and get out of her way. Just because it's her first year teaching and she's got enough to handle with 20 six-year olds without having to manage their pushy moms, doesn't mean she needs you to run her classroom. Besides, you're making the rest of us feel uncomfortable.

Dear Retailers:

It's called the holiday rush. Staff up.

Dear Residents of a Certain Southern California Neighborhood:

It's time to put your homes up for sale. I'm in love with your neighborhood, can almost manage to afford a house in it and love the school my daughter attends there (in spite of certain mommies) and don't want to move her to a different one. I've got 16 combined years of elementary school ahead of me and that is the school I want my kids to walk to. You have a willing buyer. So cash out, move on and move out. After 8 long years, it's my turn.

Dear Nigella Lawson:

I caught an episode of your show on Food Network and decided to make your Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake as my gift to give this year to those on my list who actually merit a home-baked present. While I love the fact that you make the entire thing in a food processor, now that I've made 6 of them I'm wondering if the whole thing is worth it. I think it could've been more chocolaty, and the whole syrup thing results in kind of a sticky mess. Notwithstanding some of the substitutions I made (replacing half the butter with applesauce, using light sour cream when I ran out of regular) for all the fat and calories as well as all the effort required, this should just be a little bit better.

Dear Mailman:

Thank you for having the most sincere and appreciative response of anyone I gave a gift to this year. How gracious and surprised you were to receive just a small tin of chocolates. Your reaction made me feel so great, so thanks. And thanks is really all that's required, isn't it. Because if your reaction to a gift I got you is anguish at the time and expense I willingly and happily expended, it just puts a huge damper on the entire process.

Dear Kids:

Despite the nagging, whining, fighting and messes, you guys have been awesome lately. It has been so much fun to participate in your year-end activities and watch your excitement at all the holiday goings-on. Mommy might have been stressed recently, but she never for a minute forgot how magical the holidays are for you guys. The next few days are going to be a ton of fun!

Dear Everyone Else:

However you celebrate the holidays, I hope yours are filled with all the big and small things that make this time of year so special. I know you're stressed, tired, and still have a ton left on your to-do list. Still, think twice about cutting someone off on the freeway, stealing a parking spot at the mall, or cutting in line at the check stand. Instead, remember that your smile may be the only thing lighting up someone's holiday, so make it big and wide and let them get in front of you for once. Happy Holidays to all!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Chanukah Chortles

ME: Come on guys, it's time to eat some jelly donuts for Hannukah.

ETHAN: Woo hoo! Jelly donuts! Mom, do I like jelly?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Merriest Place On Earth, Brought To You By Grandma Goob

It's been about 6 months since the Pearl family's last Disneyland trip and a couple of weeks ago, the alarm went off reminding us that we were due for a return trip. Actually, this particular time we'd been planning it for about 6 weeks. What made this trip extra special was that we left poor little Mr. Bunch home with the fabulous Grandma Goob (what is it about our family and these strange nicknames?). Although we certainly enjoyed our last trip in July, this time we had in our favor the two components that determine the success of any day at Disneyland: small crowds and great weather. Plus leaving the baby at home gave us a lot more freedom and a lot fewer feeding and changing stops. This day was perfect.

We started the day as if it was any regular school day. Julia was mildly alarmed that we were running late, but didn't think it was strange that all of us were driving her to school since my car was out being serviced. When we dropped Brady off at her Grandma's, she was a little confused but even then she went along without asking too many questions. Soon she figured out that we were definitely not heading for school but didn't know where we were until she saw the signs as we exited the freeway. Her reaction was also perfect. We got a whole lot of "I Love You"s along with proclamations that we are awesome parents. She has since changed her mind about this a couple of times, but never for long.

Ray had to work when we first got there, so the kids and I licked lollipops as we rode the train all the way around the park. By the time we got back, he was almost finished with his conference call (damn cell phones can reach you even at Disneyland) and we headed for food and ride after ride after ride. We wisely decided to skip Toontown, which gave us time to do other things. Ethan loudly protested every ride because it was too scary, then when we ignored him and dragged him with us anyway, he walked off bragging about how brave he was.

Not having Brady with us meant that we could go on some of the rides with height restrictions so a highlight of our day was taking our kids on Splash Mountain for their first time. We were so excited that the line, which can take up to an hour and a half, was only about 10 minutes long. Well, duh! You get soaking wet and it was 50 degrees out! No wonder no one wanted to ride it. Poor Ethan got soaked but he was a trouper through the whole thing. Our scaredy cat kids also loved the Haunted Mansion, decorated in all its holiday glory.

Of course, the holiday decorations and fireworks did not disappoint, and the pin collections continue to grow. It's A Small World is as magical as ever. There must be a million light bulbs in that ride, but they're almost superfluous: the real light in there comes from the eyes and faces of the children riding the boats. Ethan hasn't stopped singing "It's A Small World" since we got back, and I know how he feels as he belts it out, as loud as he can, with pure joy in his voice.

One thing I discovered for the first time on this trip was the Disneyland Baby Care Center. Thanks to the folks at Mouseplanet I learned about this great resource for families traveling with babies and toddlers. Located just off Main Street, this quiet, well-equipped facility has everything you need for feeding (nursing, bottles, even pumping) and changing diapers, even little baby toilets for the potty training set. Way to go Disneyland!

For better or worse, we live in a town where kids have a lot of stuff, do a lot of stuff, and go to a lot of places. Many of my kids' schoolmates travel extensively, with annual trips to Hawaii, Disney cruises, and the like. Because of logistics and finances, we have cut down heavily on travel in recent years. However, it means a lot to me to be able to take our kids to Disneyland fairly regularly and hopefully create some great happy memories for them. It was special to be able to concentrate only on the big kids with no baby care duties. To be honest, we all needed that. Once again, Disneyland came through and got our holiday season off to a very merry start.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hannukah Humor

Overheard from Ethan, while reading A Blue's Clues Chanukah at bedtime tonight:

"I like regular pancakes and chocolate chip pancakes, but no potato pancakes. Ew."

Soon he will learn that sour cream is just one more little Hannukah miracle.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Forget the Superbowl, the Olympics, or any other major sporting event you can think of. Around here, what matters is the the UCLA-USC football game. And after being on the losing end for 7 straight years, the Bruins finally beat those arrogant Trojans 13-9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What makes the victory even sweeter is that USC was headed to the National Championship game, unless they lost to us. It just doesn't get much better.

Nobody, but nobody thought UCLA would win this game. I sure didn't. USC, with its Heisman trophy winners and National Championships in recent years, is just too good. But the great thing about this rivalry is that stats and records don't matter. Often, it's the most important game of the year for both schools. Add to that the local media, the hoopla, and alums from both schools everywhere you go in this town and it is a huge deal!

Here's to a great game and entire year's worth of bragging rights. Let the trash talking begin!

Oh, and have you seen who's leading the basketball polls?