Saturday, May 31, 2008


My grandmother didn't smile very often. And when she did, you remembered what it was you said, took note of the time and place, hoping to replicate that feeling of making someone who didn't smile very often, smile.

When I was ten, my mom took my grandmother and I to see the musical Oklahoma at the Ingersol Dinner Theatre in Des Moines, Iowa. From the title alone, one is made aware that when rolls and meatloaf are served by the Second Act, you're a long way from Broadway. Even at ten I knew singing on haystacks with pitchforks and red bandanas was a little hoaky. But there was something magical about walking into a matinee on a Saturday afternoon, leaving the glaring sun and busy world to escape into songs about wind and true love.

I remember very little about the show. I remember the ingenue in blonde braids and square dancing choreography. I remember ordering a Shirley Temple and staring at the lunch menu, aware that under normal circumstances, we would never spend $10.50 for a hamburger and fries. I remember the red lighting when the haystack was set afire, and love songs that seemed to drone on forever. I remember I wore a dress. I remember fantasizing about being on stage, dancing and singing to an adoring crowd, and most importantly, taking my bow. I remember the theatre smelled like cigarettes, sawdust and cafeteria food. I remember the red carpet and round feaux wooden tables. I remember that my food wasn't worth $10.50 and I remember feeling guilty that my mother spent so much money on lunch.

I remember looking over at my grandmother and the expression on her face. I remember leaving the play behind to watch her. She had the look of someone caught off guard at a surprise party, a look of someone who had left their life and their troubles behind. It was an expression of wonder. I had never seen my grandma as a person, until this point. She swept floors and cooked. She took us to church and to the creek. She gathered bedsheets from the laundry-line outside the farmhouse, holding pins in her mouth. She watered plants and dusted, shook rugs and scrubbed, sewed and fussed. She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a sister. But this was the first time I saw her as just a person, caught up in a story, delighting in song. She had the biggest smile on her face. And I knew there was power in theatre. Even in a silly little show like Oklahoma.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Great Strides - Iowa

We were home for Iowa's Great Strides' Walk.
It was a beautiful day, with a walk around Gray's Lake.
Peeking over Papa's shoulder.
Part of our team.
Froggymama and Froggy sliding down the Superslide for the millionth time.

Uncle Jeffy Pop (aka Jeffy Gecko) throwing the Frog around.

Auntie and Uncle Wich.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Science Center with Auntarctica

Could there be anything more fun for a two-year-old, than a vat of bubbles?

Hours of fun.

Putting on a show with Mommy for Auntarctica.
We should have been nominated for a Tony, it was THAT good.

Legos with Auntiearctica (aka Honka Honka)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Going Green

Flying into Iowa
Thinking of a good wish.
Contemplating the decision.
Going for it.

After trespassing, she went cow tipping.

Panting with Ruby.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Froggydaddy!

Happy Birthday!!!

We miss you and are sooooooo proud of how wonderfully you are doing in school.

--Froggy and Froggymamawifey

What we have here is a failure to communicate

My camera and my dad's computer are no longer on speaking terms.

For some reason, I can't download my photos, which posting until we return.

So far, Froggy has been to Adventureland (Iowa's Disneyland), the zoo, the Science Center, the park, shopping, and Froggy has been nominated "Master Gardener" by my parents, as she has watered every plant, weed, and corn field in the tri-state area.

My sis and I managed to sneak out to two movies (THE VISITOR, and please-don't-judge-me, WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS). And yes, the latter was as awful as it sounds, in fact, it was worse. But we still had a great time.

Froggy has been her adorable self. So here are a couple Iowa Froggyisms:

Froggy plays the piano, turns to my mom with hands in the air and says matter-of-factly, "That's not bad."

Froggy needed a diaper change and I was exhausted so I told Froggy that her Auntarctica LOVES to change poo diapers. Froggy walks up to Auntarctica and says, "You like Poo dipes?"

Today at the zoo, we approached an exhibit and Papa asked Froggy, "What are those?" Froggy answered "Scarlet Macaws." Papa almost fell over. Oh yeah, she's a genius! Actually, I'm such an animal lover, most of our books are about animals, so it's not surprising. She can discern a loon from a duck, and knows that a baby horse is a foal and a baby kangaroo is a joey, a fox has kits, and cows have calves. I imagine she may follow in her Papa's footsteps and become a vet.

I can't believe our trip is almost over. As always, it goes by too quickly. So we'll savor the next few days.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sweet home...Iowaaaa!

We made it! But I will never fly with Northwest Airlines again.

The flight attendant supervisor told me at the gate that I needed to check Froggy's respiratory vest. I said, "It's a $16,000 piece of medical equipment," and she said in a nasal, bitchy voice, "I don't care how much it costs!" It finally came down to her not understanding that Froggy had her own ticket and was allowed a carry-on.

The experience with this airline was so incredibly frustrating, I can't even go into details. Do you ever have moments with people where you just want to scream, "Are you HUMAN?" This woman must have been reptilian, because I can't imagine warm blood running through her veins.
Anyway...I'm home. It's Iowa, green, beautiful, and my family is here. Froggy is adjusting to the jetlag, we walked with the Great Strides Walk on Saturday, celebrated my sister's graduation (she's officially a therapist, even though she's been my free therapist for years!), celebrated my cousin's b-day, and went shoe shopping. Ahhh, heaven.

We have a favorite Italian Restaurant in Des Moines, and even though they are closed on Sundays, my aunt "J" convinced them to open for an hour tonight to bake some pizza pies for us! Yes, our family has clout when it comes to food. It was wonderful and I've already gained about five pounds. My sis took the entire week off work, so I can't wait to catch up with six months of sister gossip! Woo Hoo. Froggy is having a ball. Every little thing she does is rewarded with huge laughter and praise from my family. She is definitely the star of this Iowa show.

Pictures will be posted soon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Great Strides 2008

My camera batteries pooped out so these were the only photos I captured of Froggy and her best friend Hummingbird on our Great Strides Walk. But our friend took photos, so I'll post those soon.

Froggy and I are going to Iowa on Friday, so we are crazy busy getting all her meds, equipment and toddler "things" ready for our travels. With our fundraising, Mother's Day and now traveling, I've been working 18 hour days, getting everything ready. Whew, I'm ready for a vacation!!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Pearly Whites and $16,000 Pull-ups

Guess who went to the dentist today?

It wasn't fun, but it was worth it.

This afternoon Froggy decided to wear her respiratory vest as a diaper.

Fortunately she had a real diaper under there. Can you imagine that uncomfortable call to the vest company? Yes, I know it's a $16,000 piece of equipment, and not a pull-up, but it was really cute. I'm sorry for the doo doo.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Miss Saigon

Hummingbird's family invited me to see Miss Saigon with them at the Redondo Beach Playhouse. It was wonderful. What a sweet and tragic story.

The race car is done...almost.

Is this cool or what?

Grandpa J. finished the car! But after riding it, we noticed some minor adjustments. So it's back to Grandpa's mechanics shop for a little tweeking.

Froggy loves her car and we took it for a stoll down the street to Hummingbird's house, where her dad was equally impressed. So fun. Now we just have to find a parking spot in our apartment.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Happy Birthday B. Boy!

One of Froggy's best buds, "B" boy turned 2! His parents had a lovely party in their backyard. It was, even with many, many toddlers, relaxing and fun!
Froggy was IN LOVE with their cats. This is Oscar. And despite his expression, he was soooo good with her and let him pet and pet and pet, and smooch and chase him for hours.
Froggy was introducing a monkey to Oscar. He was unimpressed.

Funnels in the sand. Soooo fun!

All of Froggy's friends are remarkably kind kiddos. I'm so thrilled that her toddler buddies are such sweet little people. And their parents are equally wonderful. How lucky are we!!! I can't imagine better friends, I really can't.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Froggy Ride

I was afraid Froggy would want off this 'big kid' ride, and have to endure two minutes of amusement park terror...

But no...she loved it. Our little thrill seeker screamed with glee.
These pictures were taken a couple weeks ago at the Green Apple Festival on the Santa Monica Pier. Ziggy Marley and Taj Mahal played, and Froggy rode the big boat, the submarine, the Froggies, the airplanes and the Carousel. As you can see, she had a great time.