Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tales From the Kitchen

You may remember about two years ago we made a little movie with the girls called, "The Little Turtle".  It was a crazy weekend where we had to promise treats and ponies to get the girls to do what we wanted.  However, it resulted in a pretty fun little film for all to watch.  Not to long after we did that one, Andy, along with help from the girls, came up with an idea for another little movie.  It took him a while to really get the story down though.  Plus life got in the way, and I wasn't in the mood to be promising treats and ponies again anytime soon.  The last pony took up too much space in our backyard.  Not to mention the smell.  Here we are two years later, and the girls are older and easier to direct, for the most part, so we were all game for trying this again.  

A couple weekends ago, we spent a Sunday filming this next gem you are about to see.  The girls were in fact easier to manipulate without bribing as much.  However, they are still kids acting and damn what a pain!  I have such respect for people who direct kids movies.  You know why some of those movies are so crappy?  Because at some point the direct is like-"good enough!  She halfway smiled, lets move on!!"  You would think that Sonya would have been the easiest since she is the oldest, but it turns out she takes someone, or maybe just Daddy, directing her a little to personally.  We had to stop and give her a couple of breaks.   Georgia would usually do what we wanted, but then she would decided she was over it. Her body would start doing the boneless jelly thing and slide off the couch.  So off we would send her to watch Word Girl for a bit.  Lana, well it turns out Lana might be our little star.  The one who has the most difficult time doing what I ask of her-clean your room, unload the dishwasher-was the one who did exactly what Andy asked her to in this movie.  Sure she would whine, "AGAIN?", when Andy said we had to do the scene one more time.  However as soon as he yelled action she was in it.  There were no tears, no boneless jelly body, nothing but what we asked for.  If she didn't do it the way he told her to the first time, she adjusted and got it quickly the second or third take.  She was so easy!  I was amazed.  Of course she demanded nothing but red M&M's, ten bottles of Fiji water, and two dozen fresh pink roses in her room, but hey, it's small price to pay for great acting.  

We were also fortunate enough to borrow a fancy camera and even a boom mike from a guy Andy works with.  Guess who got to be the boom operator?  My arms were killing me by the end of the day. Good thing I work out.   I also had to be the kid wrangler, prop master,  and craft services.  It was a very long day.  

Andy spent the last two weeks at night editing it and getting it just the way he wanted, which for him is hard, because he's such a perfectionist.  He was finally satisfied with it yesterday and is now allowing me to show it to all of you. Let us know what you think! (Make sure to click the bottom right square to make it full screen.) Without further ado the Dadekians second movie...The Creepy Sandwich.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Gifts That Keep on Giving

The morning of my birthday the girls gave me some presents they had made.  They had worked hard on them for a couple of day before and were excited to present me with them.  I swear they get just as excited for my birthday or Andy's as they do for their own.  I took a pictures of a few of my favorite things they gave me to share with you.

This first one is from Georgia.  It's a garden and the family.  Only she forgot to draw herself, so it's only four people.  Awww Georgia!  The picture underneath are the stickers she made for me.  They have tape on the back so I can wear them.  The one on the right is a Target sticker, in case you weren't sure.  

This next gift was great.  Lana gave me something I've needed for a long time.  It a TV show about talking cats!  Complete with remote.  You know in case I get tired of the talking cats show.  

These next two are from Sonya.  This first one is a pretty flower she drew for me.  She has been drawing these type of flowers quite a bit lately.  I love them.  So creative.  The only flowers I could/can draw are daisies.  

Then there is this one.  Yes, my oldest daughter got me a bottle of wine for my birthday.  Not only that, but a purple bottle of wine she called "Purple Pansy Wine".  Purple is my favorite color.  Does she know me or what?

If you can't read the bottom of the glass it says, "and I could never thank her more for her help and love."  I don't know if she made that up or read it somewhere.  I couldn't ask because I was trying to hard to blink back tears.  So sweet.  

I guess I got some pretty great gifts for my birthday.  Although, nothing will ever beat the gift of those three girls.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Miss Goodie Two Shoes Turns 39

Today is my 39th birthday.  39.  T-H-I-R-T-Y N-I-N-E.  Next year I will be that other number.  The one up from 39.  So I will try and enjoy this last year of my 30s.  The funny thing is I don't even feel like I'm 39.  Half the time I still think of myself as 29.  Maybe 31, but certainly not almost-you know.  I don't know why 40 (Aaahh!  I said it!)  is freaking me out, but it is.  I will try to get over that in the next year I suppose, because really it's only a number right?  And, and as my Pop-pop used to say "beats the hell out of the alternative!"  He was so right about that.  Or maybe not, because who knows what's after this?  For now I want to be here though, and 40  is still youngish these days.  At least if I compare myself to my parents.

Anyway-in honor of my birthday I thought I'd share a story about myself from a birthday 30 years ago.  It is a story I completely forgot about until just recently.  It came back to me when I took a look at Lana's little feet a couple months ago.  I realized just how tiny and NARROW they were, especially in the heel.  Her foot looks like the small letter v.  She has a few pair of "slip-on" type shoes, but they always seemed to be too big on her.  They were constantly coming off her foot.  I thought we just had the wrong size, but no, her toe was were it should be.  Then it occurred to me.  When I was a kid all I wanted was a pair of "slip-on" shoes.  I could never have them though, because my heel was so narrow and I would constantly step out of any I tried on.  I had Lana hold up her foot for me and sure enough-the letter v.  Poor thing.  Like she's not tiny enough and still wearing a 5T,  now she can't wear certain shoes.  That was when I remembered my 9th birthday.

As I said, all I wanted for years-or maybe months because who knows how long time is at that age-was a pair of shoes with no buckles or straps.  A grown up pair of shoes that I could just slip on and off my feet.  Then on my 9th birthday I finally got a pair.  Now I can't recall why I was able to get this pair.  I don't know if my feet grew or if my mom just found some that actually fit me.  Either way, I was ecstatic when I opened my present that morning and of course I was going to wear them to school.

At the time, I went to a private Catholic school, so we had to wear uniforms.  The only thing you were allowed to wear that was your own were your shoes, and I couldn't wait to show off my new ones.  I walked onto the bus and showed all my friends.  I got to school and paraded around the classroom for all to see.  They were my new shoes and they were awesome!  AND-bonus-they didn't come off my feet!  I couldn't be happier and I was definitely obsessed with them.

I was the kind of kid who always listened and did what she was told.  Especially at school.  My girls are the same way.  As much of a pain in the ass as they can be at home, at school they are angels.  I never caused problems and NEVER got in trouble with the teacher.  I always paid attention and got good grades.  I guess I was a nerd or maybe a goodie two shoes.  Every day the teacher would read to us from a chapter book and we would all sit on the rug to listen.  I loved to listen to her read us stories and never had a problem paying attention.  Usually.  That day, however, I had a distraction-my new shoes.

As I sat on the rug, my legs tucked to my side, I admired my new grown up shoes.  They looked so great!  And look how the slipped on my heel, off my heel, on my heel, off my heel.  I guess I hadn't realized I was playing with my shoe and completely ignoring the teacher until she called me on it.

"Kristi," She said.

I stopped mid heel slip.  She wasn't talking to me was she?  I looked up and she was indeed talking to and looking at me.

"We all love your new shoes," she told me.  "But you need to pay attention to the story and not to your shoes, ok?"

A couple of the kids around me giggled, I slowly nodded my head and turned about ten different shades of red.  I had gotten IN TROUBLE!   ME!  IN TROUBLE!  And on my birthday no less!  Because of my most beloved present!  I was horrified. 

It was the first time I had ever gotten in trouble at school and looking back it really wasn't even that big a deal.   Although at the time, I remember how mortified I was.  I honestly can't remember if I wore those shoes to school again.  I'm sure I did,  though because they were so cool.  They slipped on!  And off!

It's funny how memories like that will just come back to you like a slap in the face.  I had totally forgotten about that until I started looking at Lana's foot and realizing how narrow it is, just like mine was.  Thirty years ago.  I think more than anything, I can't believe it's been THIRTY YEARS since I was 9.  I swear it was only about 10 years ago I was that age.  But here I am.  The good news is, I can totally wear a pair of slip on shoes now and there is nobody who will yell at me for playing with them.  So I guess getting older isn't all bad.  Can you all remind me of that when I start to have a panic attack next year at this time?   

Monday, April 15, 2013

Little Parrot

There are many times while raising kids when you hear your own words come back out through them.  Sometimes it is good and sometimes not so much.  Like when Sonya was almost two years old and yelled the word "Crap" at me once.  I realized in that moment that what  I thought was my innocent word I used to replace my bad words, did not sound so innocent coming from a two year old.  

The other day Georgia and I were in the car on the way to pick Lana up from Kindergarten.  There was a woman in the middle of the street trying to cross to the other side.  This was nowhere near the crosswalk, but in the middle of very busy N. Hollywood in Burbank.  I noticed her, and thought to myself that it wasn't the best thing for her to be doing, but didn't say anything.  I didn't need to because from the back seat I heard Georgia say,

"Dat's not smawt wady!"

I kinda giggled to myself.  This is something I'm sure I have said in a similar situation at some point.  In fact I could hear myself along with her saying the same thing in that moment.  Then she felt the need to point it out to me.  

"Mommy, dat wady is in da middle of da stweet!  Dat is NOT smawt!"

"You're right Georgia," I told her.  "That isn't smart, but you are a smart girl for knowing that." 

Then she said, "Damn, right!"  

What? I guess that word isn't as innocent as I once thought either. But hey!  At least she's repeating some good things!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

An Evening With Beethoven

Last Tuesday evening as I was leaving with the little girls from ballet class, I saw this guy standing in the middle of the parking lot.  

 I immediately stopped my car got out and looked around to see if someone was going to come running after him.  I assumed he had just gotten away.  There was nobody around, except a man playing with his son in the park about 50 yards away.  I got his attention and asked if it was his dog, but he shook his head no.  Now I didn’t know what to do.  Lana and Georgia were in the van flipping out.  

“Mommy! Who does he belong to? What are you doing with him?? Don’t just leave him there!!”

This was mostly Lana.  Anytime a neighborhood dog gets loose for some reason, Lana always spots it and yells for me.  Then I have to got outside and wrangle it back to whose backyard it escaped from.  If I try to ignore that a dog is running around in our front yard, Lana just about loses her mind.  

“Mommy!  The doggie will get squished by a car!!  You have to put it back!” 

This happens more often than I can tell you with multiple dogs on my block.  My neighbors really need to look into getting better locks on their back gates.  

So there I was looking at this little doggie trying to figure out what to do.  I briefly thought about  leaving him there, but I just couldn’t.  He would get squished by a car he was so little.  I approached him with my hand in a fist for him to smell me.  He was scared, but didn’t growl or back away, so I just picked him up.  He was completely fine with me doing that and he was so light. I could tell he was a sweet dog even though he was mostly a Chihuahua, a type of dog I am not usually a fan of.  He looked like he might be mixed with something else though.  Miniature Pinscher perhaps?  Either way, he was a good dog, and he appeared to be well taken care of.  So he had to belong to someone.

I put him in the van, much to the delight of the girls, and left.  Then I tried to figure out what the hell to do with him.  I had to pick Sonya up from Girl Scouts, run home feed everyone dinner, and get out the door to have Sonya at her baseball game in just over an hour.  There was no way I had time to deal with a stray dog, yet there I was.  

I texted my friend, Cecelia, who volunteers at the Burbank Animal Shelter on the weekends.  I was thinking, maybe he was chipped and the owner was out looking for him.  If I could find out, then I could have this little guy home before bedtime.  

No such luck.  The shelter was already closed for the day.  We were going to have to keep him for the night.  That was going to be fun with the cat, and Andy, who is not really a dog person, and my girls who were already pleading,

“Can we keep him??”

I was thinking the same thing though, because he was so sweet.  We got home and Mercury took one look at him and decided to hate him.  He stalked him for a while and when he realized he was actually bigger than the dog, decided to start chasing him around the kitchen and the living room.  The dog would turn to bark at him from time to time.  It was quite a scene.  So I sent the girls  outside with the little doggie, who they had decided to name Beethoven. 

I’m sure most of you are thinking right now that they named him that after the movie about Beethoven the dog, but no.  They’ve never even seen it.  They named him that because my father-in-law mistakenly (and I’m pretty sure jokingly) calls Mercury that.  So they decided Beethoven would be a perfect name for our dog.  (Their second choice was Jupiter which I personally liked.)  Yes, they thought he was staying despite me telling them many times that he probably had a family that was looking for him, and we needed to find out so he could go home.  They didn't care what name someone else had given him, he was now Beethoven.  

As they were outside playing with him and carrying him around the yard-because he let anyone pick him up and carry him-I called Andy to tell him the situation.  He sounded a bit annoyed but I reiterated "What could I do??!  I couldn't just leave him there!".  He understood, as long as he went to the shelter in the morning.  FINE, WHATEVER!  

I did want to find his home though, so it was the best option.  Since he and Mercury had not become fast friends, I took him with us to Sonya's baseball game where every person there ooohed and aaahed over him and how cute he was.  I told the parents the story and let them know if they heard of a missing dog to contact me.  I put it on Facebook -the King of all happenings on the internet.  By the time we got home from the baseball game I still had Beethoven in tow.  

Mercury continued to stalk him so I decided to put him in Sonya's room for the first part of the night.  Then he slept in our room at the foot of the bed, on Andy's side no less, for the second part of the night.  We shut the door so Mercury would leave him alone.  Now, had we decided to keep him, I would have made them hash it out and I'm sure after a day or so they would be over it.  However since he would hopefully go home the next day, there was no point in putting anyone through the cat/dog anxiety.  

Unfortunately the shelter didn't open until 10am, so I decided to take him to our vet instead and find out if he had the chip.  Turns out he did!!! YAY!  He did have a person he belonged to!  He was chipped!!  All I had to do was wait for them to call me and come claim him and he wouldn't  have to visit the shelter.  

Yeah, except I forget people suck.

I waited for a call, and waited.  After a couple hours I called back the company that does the chipping and talked to them about little Beethoven again.  The woman put me hold to call the owner.  I was hopeful in that two minutes of phone silence, but those hopes were dashed when she came back on the line to tell me the owner said she gave that dog away to someone else a while ago.  I called bullshit.  Well in my head I did.  Then she asked if I wanted the (ex) owner's number to call and talk to her about it.  To say what?  Why the hell would you give such a sweet dog away and did you really give him away or did you leave him in the park you heartless bastard?   No, the only thing to do was head to the shelter and drop him off.  Unfortunately, I had no time to do that before I picked up the two little girls from school.

Who would give up this little guy?

When they saw Beethoven was still with us, they were understandably excited.  The "is he staying?" questions started.  They weren't thrilled when I told them that he was going to the shelter after we had our lunch.  I had to make sure to do it before Sonya got home.  I didn't need three crying girls on my hands.

After lunch, we drove the five minutes to the Burbank Animal Shelter while Lana and Georgia cried in the backseat about wanting to keep Beethoven.  I felt bad.  I wanted to keep him too, but I knew Andy wasn't interested and I know how much work and expense taking care of a dog can be.  I wasn't prepared to try and take that on at the moment.  Not to mention Mercury still wanted to eat him when we left.  

We walked into the shelter and I started telling the women behind the counter my story about finding Beethoven and how sweet he was.  Then one of the women turned and looked at him and said,

"Oh, I know that dog! There was a woman in here yesterday trying to give him up, but she was from Toluca Lake and we told her we couldn't take him."   Then she shook her head in disgust as she realized what the woman had done.  

"I swear I found him in the park," I began.

"Oh-I believe you," she assured me.

Then I realized also what had happened.  See-the Burbank Animal Shelter is technically a no-kill shelter in that they won't kill an animal just because it's been there a month and they have no room.  Eventually, if an animal has been there for over a year or two, they tend to get stir crazy and go a little nutty being cooped up in a cage for most of the day.  So if they get to that point and are deemed unadoptable, then they will have to put them down.   However, they get a LONG chance before that happens.  Most of the other shelters  just don't have the room and will put a dog down after a month or so.  Because of this Burbank Animal Shelter will only accept animals from Burbank residents only.  Or if someone just leaves a box of kittens in front of their door as someone did with Mercury and his sisters and brothers.  

Since the woman who tried to give up Beethoven, did not have a Burbank address, they wouldn't take him.  So her solution was to drop him off in a Burbank park, where some sucker would pick him up and either keep him, or take him to the shelter.  Hi.  I'm the sucker.  

Now there were two thoughts here, the first one being "well at least she tried to get him into the good shelter."  The other one, however was "HE COULD HAVE BEEN SQUISHED BEFORE ANYONE GOT TO HIM!! I CAN'T BELIEVE SHE LEFT HIM IN A PARK!!"  What is wrong with people?

I shouldn't judge.  I don't know anything about this woman and her life and why she had to give up this dog.  It certainly wasn't because he was aggressive, because he was one of the sweetest dogs I'd ever met.  Especially for being part Chihuahua.  I've met some pretty nasty, snarly, ones in that breed.  But if you are going to take on having a pet, you should know you are taking it on for at least 15 or so years.  It's not something fun to just have until you get bored with it.  It upsets me the amount of animals that are in the shelters across the country.  Did no one listen to Bob Barker??

Well, after handing over my license for them to write my information down and signing a form, we left Beethoven behind in the very capable hands of the people at the shelter.  The woman I was talking to was great.  She assured me that they would have no problem adopting him out, because he was little and sweet.  

"I know you guys name the dogs while they're here if you don't already know their names, I said.  "Is there anyway you can name him Beethoven?  My girls have been calling him that since yesterday."  

She told me if they couldn't get in touch with the owner to find out his real name she would make a note of it.  Then as she picked him up to take him in the back she said,

"I should have just taken you yesterday, little guy."

"Yes",  I told her, "but at least now he went through the proper channels."  Not to mention it gave me something to write about.  

The girls were upset again when we got back in the car, so I took them to get the one thing that makes everything better, ice cream.  They did feel better after that but even now, a week later, they are still talking about Beethoven.  We didn't even have him for 24 hours! 

 I have to admit I kinda got attached too.  I do want a dog.  And I know the girls do.  All I have to do is convince the husband.  Or just sneak Beethoven back in and pretend he's been here the whole time. Andy doesn't have the best memory, so it's a possibility.  As long as Mercury doesn't try to eat him we should be all good!

Before school they wanted a picture before he left.  

Quick footnote: Anyone living in the L.A area looking for a great little dog, the Burbank Animal Shelter will have him up for adoption on April 15th.  I would love if someone I know took him.  Just promise me you will name him Beethoven.  (Or Jupiter)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I have another video for you!  I have a story about something that happened over the past 24 hours, but damn I am having a hard time these days finding time to write.  Perhaps tomorrow.  In the meantime...Sonya made this video a couple months ago.  We were discussing dinner and what she was going to have with the soup I was making.  You will see she insisted on both options, until she realized if the arguing with mommy didn't stop she wouldn't get the one thing in this world she obsesses most about.  DESSERT!  (And again-you get to hear my lovely voice become increasingly annoyed.  I hope if nothing else it makes the rest of you nagging moms not feel so alone.)