New kind of religion?

The girls spent the night at Grandma's house last night which meant they attended church with my mom and step-dad in the morning.  Usually, Mom is singing in the choir, so she just drops them off in the little daycare room and they don't actually get much "church" exposure.  Today, however, Mom wasn't singing (which I'm sure has a juicy story attached) so she brought them in with her until the Children's Sermon, after which they went to hang out in the nursery.

At dinner I decided to ask them about the children's sermon, "What did they talk about?"

Sponge it is, then

Anya: I look like Cinderella because I have a sponge.
Me: [blink, blink] Um... what?
A sponge.  You know, on my head.
Me: Do you mean a bun?
Um... what?
The little ball of hair we make on top of your head, that's called a bun.
But sponge is so much more pretty.
Not really.
Yes it is.  Please, Mommy, can I call it a sponge?
You wash dishes with a sponge.  That thing on your head is a bun.
A bun is your butt.
Um... true.
So can I call it a sponge?
: I see no reason why not.


When we switched health insurance last year, I noticed that for a few extra bucks a month, we could add on dental insurance.  Since it was costing us a pretty penny for the girls to get checked and neither Mark nor I had had our teeth cleaned in years, it kinda seemed like a no brainer.  So we signed up.

I went in October, which was deeply unpleasant.  Except for the part where I had to pay at the end.  Because I didn't have to pay.  And that made me happy.

Last month I called the girls pediatric dentist to cancel the appointment scheduled before the insurance came around, telling them that now we had insurance and would be switching to someone in network.

"We take all PPO's, so you don't have to cancel!" I was cheerfully informed.
"Really?" I asked, "That's great!"

So today we went.  When they asked if I wanted to do fluoride, I said I would, only if it was covered.  Same with digital imaging for Anya.  They said they'd call my insurance to check and came back with a happy, "Oh, it's covered!"  So I went ahead with it.

Then it was time to leave.

"That'll be $150."
"Yeah, your insurance covers it 50%, so we need to get payment for the rest."

I cried.  And cursed (just a little).

"When I called to cancel this appointment, I was told you took my insurance and it would be covered."
"It is.  50%."
"But that's not what I was lead to believe.  I wouldn't have done the fluoride or the imaging if I had known. "

The best they could do for me was set me up for a payment plan and send me on my way.

Now.  I get that I probably should have clarified their definition of "covered", but I foolishly assumed that when someone told me not to worry and it was covered that we were talking 100%.  I feel like an idiot.  Also?  I feel like I've been taken.  I don't necessarily think they were trying to screw me, but at the same time, I don't feel they were entirely honest.   And I don't really know what to do.

Mark says I should write them a letter and CC the Better Business Bureau.  But I'd like to hear what you would do if you were me.  Eat crow and pay up?  Try to fight it?  What?  I can't dig through my emotions to figure out what is best.


On the way to school today:
Are we on the freeway?
OK, if I see a red light, I'll tell you to stop.
[big sigh] There are NO reds on the freeway, Anya.
No.  You're free to go.  That's why they call it a "freeeeee way".  Also, because it's a, um, way.
Oh!  Don't stop, Mama! You're FREEEEEEEE!

At school:
Lily read me a book.  Picked up a tiny, simple reader and started reading the text on the page while her teacher stood by and shot me looks.  She needed very little prompting and flipped each page with a sly smile on her sweet face, showing me her new skill.  Her teacher told me that yesterday Lily simply walked up to her and asked if she could read her the book.  Ms. M expected to have to coach her through each word and was surprised with Lil's ability to simply sound out the words. 

I was stunned.

The thing about Lily is this: if she wants to learn something she will not give up until she has it down.  She will practice and practice and practice until she figures it out.

At home:
Then there's Anya.  For weeks and weeks, Lily wanted to learn to snap.  She kept trying and we kept demonstrating and showing her how she was sliding her finger to the outside of her thumb, rather than the inside.  She's getting better and even starting to produce a small, paper-soft sound when she manages to get her finger to slide into her palm.  But she still doesn't really have it.

The other night Anya called Mark in after bedtime and announced, "Watch this!"
"I can't, Anya.  It's dark."
"Then just listen."
And in the dark he heard the distinct sound of our youngest daughter snapping her fingers.  We had no idea she'd even been trying to learn.

I know now that they will learn very differently from each other. 

Lily will work and work and work and get frustrated and show us every painful step in the process of learning a thing.

Anya will watch and listen and turn the pieces over in her mind until she understands how the thing is engineered.  And they she'll simply DO IT.

They're remarkable, these girls of mine.  One seems to be so passionate and organic and artistic while the other is an engineer in training.  It makes me wonder what they will be some day.  How will these methods of learning shape their lives?  I wonder if they'll ever switch methods?  Will they learn from each other?

How do those you love learn?



The other day while driving Lily to school she spied a pick-up truck towing a port-a-potty on the freeway.  "Why does that car have a toilet?" she asked.
"What do you think?"
She thought about it for a moment before the most obvious answer popped into her brain, "I think they're going camping and want to make sure they have a place to go potty!"

Further up the road we spotted a couple of motorcycle cops helping out with the transport of a very large tree.  "Where are they taking that tree, Mama?" she asked, fully expecting me to know everything about everything.
"Well, what do you think?" I once again countered.
The answer came quickly this time, "I think they're taking it to a factory so they can make toilet paper!"

For camping, no doubt.


Tonight after dinner I heard Anya's grumpy (tired) voice say, "HEY, don't call me that!  I will be angry with you if you call me that!"
"What did I call you, Anya?" Lily asked calmly.
Anya shrugged her shoulders dramatically and replied, "I don't know."

I'm thinking we're days away from complaints that her sister is looking at her funny or touching her aura.


What's have you overhead lately?

well, they got the concept anyway

Lily: See this, Anya?  It's a magic coin.
Anya: No it's not, it's a top.
Lily: No.  It's a magic coin!
Anya: Nuh ah, Lily.  It's just a top.
Lily: No, see this here?  It says, "G-A-B-H-O-M-A" which spells "Magic Coin!"
Anya: NO! It says, "H-I-B".  "TOP!"

Hey, what do you want?  They're only two and four.  We'll get them spelling in another six months or so, I'm sure. 

Whiskey *click*

One of the women who works here at CasaBuena is Marta who speaks mostly Spanish.  She took some English classes, but her language skills are somewhat limited, much like my Spanish skills.  We still talk all the time.  Today as her daughter pointed a camera at her I said, "En Inglés, dice 'cheese!'  [pointed at the camera and made like I was shooting a picture].  ¿Usted dice 'queso'?"
"¿Queso?  No.  Dice 'whiskey.'  ¿Por qué 'Queso?'"
I made an exaggerated grin while saying "Cheese" and sweeping my finger across my face in an outline of a smile. 
"¡Ah, para la sonrisa!  ¿Cómo dice 'sonrisa'?"
"Smile." I told her, again making an outline with my finger to drive home the point.  "¿Por qué 'whiskey?'"
She stumbled around the kitchen with a goofy expression on her face, showing me how drunk leads to a great smile for a photo. 
"AH!" I laughed out loud.  "¡Entiendo!"

 And quite frankly, "whiskey" makes more sense than "cheese".  So here, everyone look right at the camera and say, "WHISKEY!" 

Day 1:Self

Great.  Now you're all so much more authentic than you were just moments before.  

For any of you who need it (I know I do on a regular basis) check out AltaVista's Babel Fish for language translation.  If nothing else, it's a kick in the pants to translate your entire website into Spanish, then Spanish to French, then French to German and then back into English.  You won't believe some of the crap you're telling the world.  OR, "It something crap that not to believe it the so-called world."

random bits

 Me: Anya, do you know where my camera is?
Anya: No.
Me: What good are ya, then?
Anya: HEY!  I'm a baby!



Lily: I love my new jean skirt.
Mark: Yeah?
Lily: Yeah, it's really pretty.  Thanks Mom, for my lovely jean skirt!
Me: You're welcome, baby!
She smiles big at both of us, gets up and starts running towards us, arms outstretched for a hug.  I start to unfold my arms for her, assuming the hug is for the person she just thanked.  I'll give you ONE guess as to who got a lap full of Lily.


ETA: Oh yeah, and I signed up for NaBloPoMo again this year.  Even though I will have at least three days on the road where I'll likely have no access.  So I might have already failed before I started, but what the heck.  A girls gotta try, you know!


It's totally off topic for my life right now, but how could I NOT want a pink Dyson?  This from the woman who used to hate the color pink but then had two little girls who adore it, so now I embrace pink.  Turns out I actually look pretty good in the damn color.  And wouldn't I look amazing pushing a pink vacuum around?  Seriously, you're all having an awesome fantasy that involves me in pearls and a 1950's dress pushing that thing around, aren't ya?  If I win, I'll do it and take photos and post them here, PINKY SWEAR!

sarcasm and the four year old

Today when driving home from my Aunt's house I hear Lily say something to me in a flat tone.  Turning down the radio I ask, "What was that, Bug?"
And in the most deadpan, single toned, flat voice I've ever heard she replied, "Gee.  I really love you, Mom." I started laughing so hard both girls joined me with their sweet little giggles.  Then Lily stopped and asked, "Wait.  Why is that funny?"

How can she not know she's already a master of sarcasm?  Or is this just the inevitable when you live with my husband?


She's also mastered advertising.  When we went to Disneyland and did their Halloween Time* Trick or Treating thing one of the candies was these things called "Kissables", which are basically Hershey's answer to M&M's.  We let her have a small handful, which she reverently carried with her through Downtown Disney and all the way to the car, eating slowly and carefully.  She likes to savor treats for fear she may never see one again.  When we were well on our way home she asked, "Mommy?  What are these?"
"They're chocolate." I replied.
"But usually when I eat chocolate, it melts in my hand.  These didn't!"
Mark couldn't help himself, "Did they melt in your mouth, not in your hand?"
Sensing a trap, "Uh, yes."
She just didn't get why we were laughing so hard. 


In other news, Anya has decided to add extra syllables to words.
Blanket has become "ba-lank-a-let"  (Lily used to call them "grankets")
Bracelet has become "ba-race-e-let"
Necklace has become "ne-leck-a-lace"
and my personal favorite, Chocolate has become "Cho-lock-a-let"

Is it wrong of me to keep offering her chocolate just to hear her ask for more? 



*When you click the link for Halloween Time, take a moment to glance at the photo on the upper left of the page.  Flip through the event photo gallery as well and lemme know if you recognize anyone.   Not that I'm promoting anything.  Just saying you might see someone there you've seen before.  That's all.

what we're talking about

"Mommy's 'puter?" Anya asks.
"Where's Mommy's computer?"
"Der!" She exclaims, pointing in my general direction.
"Over there?" I point towards my shiny, whirly thing as it sits on the dining room table.
"No.  Mommy's 'puter right DER!" patting my head emphatically.
"Here?  In my head?" I mimic her pat, tapping myself on the top of my curls.
"Yeah.  Dat's Mommy's 'puter!"


Mark walks through the living room with a plunger over his shoulder, heading for the girls bathroom.  "You know what they call me in Mexico, don't ya?"
"El Rey de plunger!"
I'm thinking he mean "émbolo" since "plunger" isn't actually a Spanish word.  But he's cute for trying.  And in all fairness, I had Bable Fish on my side.


We're constantly trying to come up with a name for our funky two acre property.
Mark suggests "Morning Wood." Just guess how he thought it up.


And don't worry.  We're not leaving Lily out.  She's still making jokes


Kid logic

Lily: Mom!  Can I wear this earring?
Me: No.
Lily: It's the kind you just clip on, so I can wear it.
Me: Nope.
Lily: WHY!?
Me:  Because last time I let you wear those they made your ears bleed.
Lily: [shrug] .... So.
Me: So I'm not going to let you wear earrings that make your ears bleed.
Lily: They're my ears.
Me: Not until you're 18, they're not. 

I have a feeling I'll be having this conversation about a thousand times between now and 2021.

Lily’s head

Lily’s head has been up for lots of discussion lately, what with the tick thing and her curls drawing more and more attention. You see, there are only two shows that we record for Lily: Sesame Street and Little Einsteins. I’m sure you know of the former but the later may be a bit unfamiliar. Basically it’s a Playhouse Disney show where four little kids, Leo, Annie, June and Quincy go around the world in their rocket and solve missions using classical music and art. Her favorite character is four-year-old Annie who is a cute tiny blond in pigtails. Lily is therefore OBSESSED with having her hair in pigtails these days and it is so freaking cute, I often think part of me is going to burst as I gather her curls up and wrap them in the "bubber band' she is holding up for me. Coincidentally, the first day she asked me to put her hair up was the day the tick attached to the nape of her neck so spotting it was way to easy. Always nice when fashion is practical.

She’s also decided that for her birthday this year, she’d very much like to have a helmet, sending me into fits of giggles and chorus after chorus of the Bobs tune that goes, "I've got my helmet on/ Nothing can do me wrong/ I've got my helmet on/ Ya-da-ba-da-ba-da-ba-da-ba."

Yes. It is the "Ya-da-ba-da-ba-da-ba-da-ba" that makes me so very giddy.

But seriously, Mark told her she could ride the scooter once we got her a helmet, so it’s all she ever talks about anymore. "When I’m three I get a helmet and get to ride BIG bike and the scooter and I’ll be three and my birthday is coming and I’m going to get a helmet and get to ride a BIG bike..."

Do they make helmets that you can stick pigtails through? Because that would be awesome.

'Member that?

Lily: 'Member that, Mommy?

Me: What, Lily?

Lily: 'Member when I was born?

Me: Oh, yes. I remember it well. Do you remember it?

Lily: Uh huh.

Me: Really? What do you remember?

Lily: We went to the store.

Me: Hmmm, and then what?

Lily: And then we went on the airplane.

Me: Huh? I don't remember that part.

Lily: I do. It was fun.

Me: Glad you enjoyed it!


I had a margarita with dinner and since I so rarely drink it made my cheeks flush red and my whole body hot. I felt a little silly as we approached the car and when I fell off the curb, it was pretty clear I needed to not drive. Mark took the keys and we headed for home. Traffic slowed down approaching our exit and we started talking about what would have traffic in such a snit at 8pm at night.

Mark: Maybe there’s an accident?

Me: Could be.

Lily: Accidents are funny!

Me: No, accidents are BAD.

Lily: Bad?

Me: Yep!

Lily: What you say, Mommy?

Me: An accident is where two cars… or more. Wait, there could be only one car. Does there have to be a car? I mean, if a plane crashes, they call that an accident. Ummm…

Mark: Having a little trouble there, hon?

Me: [giggling] Hey, I can do this!

Lily: Huh?

Me: Think damage and injury! YEAH! That’s an accident!

Lily: Mommy funny, Daddy.

Mark: Yeah. She’s a scream.

What do today?

Lily: What do today, Mommy?

Me: What did you do today, Lily?

Lily: Kiki and J have lunch.

Me: Yep, and did we go to the library for story time?

Lily: Yeah! Kids. Stories.

Me: And we saw Athena and Olivette and Porter and played with the books.

Lily: Yeah, Porter. [pause] Man came to house. Lily cried.

Me: The man from the gas company came and turned on the heat for us. Tomorrow we can have hot showers and won’t have to be cold!

Lily: Lily not scared.

Me: You did cry a little, huh. You were tired and wanted mommy to come back from talking to the man and showing him the water heater.

Lily: Yeah [fake cries], I cry like that.

Me: Yep. And did Mommy yell too much today?

Lily: Yeah. Mommy tired. Go sleep, Mommy?

Me: I have some work to do, but yeah, I need more sleep. I’m sorry I yelled today.

Lily: Lily yell too.

Me: Yeah, you did get a little upset too. Maybe we all need more sleep.

Lily: Anya [which she pronounces On-nah] sick. Mommy hold Anya and hold Lily and Mommy say, “It OK. I know, baby.”

Me: It was a hard day for all of us. I’m missing Daddy.

Lily: Miss Daddy. He work. Home soon.

Me: In a couple of days. I love you.

Lily: I lub you.

Me: Hug and kiss? [I get both] Tomorrow we’ll have a better day and you’ll get to go see Grandma and Grandpa for a while.

Lily: YEAH! Mama and Papa! [giggles]

Me: Goodnight, my lub.

Lily: Sleep, Mommy.

Me: An excellent idea.

Gender confusion

Lily: Anya a girl?

Me: That’s right.

Lily: Ily a girl?

Me: Yep, I have two girls.

Lily: Mommy a girl?

Me: Mommy’s a girl.

Lily: Daddy a girl?

Me: Nope, Daddy’s a boy.

Lily: Daddy a boy. Mommy a boy?

Me: Nope, Mommy’s a girl.

Lily: Daddy?

Me: A boy.

Lily: Yeah, and Mommy’s a girl!

Me: That’s right! One more time, what’s Daddy?

Lily: Daddy’s a MONKEY!

Me: You got that right, kid.

Nose Monkeys

Said with all seriousness and a slightly concerned expression on her face:

Lily: Mama, there’s a monkey in my nose.

Me: A monkey in your nose? Would you like me to get him out?

Lily: Yes, please.

Me: [I stick my big finger in there and fish around the best I can in a tiny toddler nose] Did I get him?

Lily: Yes?

Me: Not so sure, hmm? Why don’t we go get a tissue and see if we can’t blow that monkey out.

Lily: Kay.

And you know, who am I to say that it wasn’t a very small monkey in her nose?

welcome to the farm

We have some new words to add to the mix. Lily now says "Moo." And we forgot to mention that she has a couple of other animals down pat. She now can have this conversation:

Mark: "Lily, what does the dog say?"

Lily: "ARF ARF" (only it sounds more like she's been punched in the tummy)

M: "What does the kitty say?"

L: "Meow" (very convincing... I've been fooled before on this one)

M: "What does the cow say?"


M: "What does the frog say?"

L: *blink* *blink* as she stares silently at you.

I'm trying to get him to try duck with her, but he's a big fan of frogs, so I think this will be his angle for a while.

She also says a handful (ha!) of words using sign language. She can ask for num-nums, say please, thank you, more/give it to me!, water/food, and is on the verge of getting airplane down. She's pretty good at letting you know what she wants these days and gets very frustrated when she cannot make us understand. New words and signs are coming to her pretty quickly now and I don't know about the rest of you, but I find it thrilling. She has the cutest voice and I can't wait to see what she thinks about things. OH! and she was saying "Go" according to my mom, as in "let's go outside" or "I want to watch the mixer go." Haven't heard this one myself, but am looking forward to it.

Nothing else too exciting or interesting to add today. Am working at the moment; well actually, I'm eating lunch while typing, but AT work. Things are slow, but as long as we can bring in enough money to pay those working for me, I'll be happy (as will be the Marketing Director who is my boss). Anyone doing anything interesting?