Friday, December 31, 2010

The Final Hour...

Well we have entered the final hour of 2010 here on the pacific coast. 2010 has been a year of much change for all of us Tomatos. The past two weeks have been nice and quite---one might ask how having two children undergo big surgeries could be considered quite---but in my life it is. We have been blessed to have two very postive outcomes. I am excited about what lies ahead in 2011. But then I have always been one that loves the promise of something new and unexpected. I guess that is what I love about ringing in the new year. The excitment of what lies ahead. What road will we travel? What decision will we make? I have already given the yahoos the heads up that I have some new ideas up my sleve, First up...their daily, and weekly chore/to do lists. Tomorrow it starts...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Little Toy Trains Live...

Today FuFu and HooHaa had their Winter Concert at school. It was everything one I could think of in a winter concert. It was jam packed with parents and grandparents and was standing room only. There must have been over 1500 people in attendance-easy. I guess they start filling up the gym two hours before the performance. All of the kids wore their holiday best. Here is the snippet of the kids signing my favorite song. Once again, it made me cry. I only wish that Noley and Tobbers could have the same opportunity. Their Winter concert was Wednesday night with about 40 people in the room. How two school so close in proximity can be sooooooo different still does not cease to amaze me. I want all of my yahoos to share the same good experience. I will post footage of the outstanding band performance shortly.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Uh we are kids"

Noley: (said while brushing teeth) "hey Tobbers what are you using?"
TObbers: "mom bought new toothpaste"
Noley: "why does she always buy kids toothpaste?"
TObbers: " Uh that would be becuase we ARE kids"

The funny thing is ... it IS regular toothpaste just in a small tube :-) It gave me a chuckle this morning to hear them.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Little Toy Trains...

So little bunny FuFu comes home today from school and asked me "mom, do you know this song?" Uhh "I don't know...can you sing it for me FuFu?" "it's about trains mom" "Oh trains?" I said. Yes... So she starts out and by the sixth word she had me in tears singing along with her. I had not heard the song in over 40 years. It was always one of my favorite Christmas songs that somehow I had forgotten and here was my little bunny FuFu singing it me....

Here it is sung as I remember it...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Little Baby Bunny FuFu

Look what arrived in my email today. A baby photo of little bunny FuFu. This is the youngest photo we have of her and it is precious. This is the finding ad that her orphanage ran in the local paper saying that she was found. It is what they call a "finding ad" All infants that are placed on the "adoption tract" have to run ads in the local paper before the orphanage can start the process to get their files ready for adoption. The ads state the time date and place where the infants were found. I am seen many different finding ads for children in China. Some times there are many more than this number listed. It is sad, but when you look at it that these are the children who soon be one their way to finding forever families, it gives me hope.
Can you spot our little bunny FuFu?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pickles and What?

Well as many can surmise, in the house of tomatoes, there is always something a little unusual lurking around the next corner. Here is what little bunny FuFu made herself for breakfast this morning..(she actually declared it last night while being tucked into bed). Pickles, Pretzels and Salami...Hummm sodium, sodium and a little more sodium on the side. Now that is a breakfast. Who needs sugar cereal when you can have SALT.

Yesterday Candles Today Roses...

Yesterday Ms Canoley wanted to eat dinner by candle light...this morning I wake up to find her eating breakfast with a single rose.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Say What?

Yep that is right... somehow I won Kumon parent of the year. I had no idea. Not sure if it is becuase I correct the most Kumon pages or have the most kids enrolled. But nonetheless I got a shirt and some recognition from my yahoos.

Friday, October 22, 2010

a year ago...

A year ago we were in China packing up and getting ready to head home with a very big souvenir---HooHaa. We had fully planned on this first year being a tough transitional year. After all everything you read tells you that adopting an older child is HARD and trying. Well, thank God this little guy never read any of those books because these past 12 months have been a joy.

This guy has weathered a lot in the past year and has made some incredible strides. He has gone from knowing nothing in English and having had no schooling whatsoever to being top of his class. His first grade teacher was shocked to learn that he had only been here in the US for a year. She had no idea that 12 months ago he had no language and now is one of her best students. He is a kind boy that is well liked by many. He is always willing to help out and has quite a quick wit and humor. He has a passion for singing, dancing and basketball. He has an amazing ability to concentrate and focus and considers himself to be quite the snappy dresser.

My heart aches for all of the children over the age of 4 that sit in orphanages waiting and waiting for a family that may never come. Statistically these children will not find a home. That breaks my heart. I wish the "professionals" out there that write the books on adoption would write one that talks about all of the older adoptions out there that are not fraught with angst and trauma.

HooHaa we are happy to have you as our son. You make us very proud.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Boys Will Be Boys...Scouts that is...

Here is a great photo of three Rowe scouts getting ready to go work the annual pancake breakfast

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Help Wanted: Inspiration Please

I need some inspiration. Something visual to stimulate my senses or maybe more like bring me to my senses. I am acutely influenced by the visual things around me. I realize I am quite simple minded person, if it looks icky --- I feel icky. Right now in my house everywhere I look is visual chaos-loud visual static-that in your face not pretty stuff and it is draining me. I get this way from time to time. Those that know me well, know that this feeling is typically a warning sign for impending paint brushes and furniture moving. But...I have painted and painted to the point where I am going to loose square footage in my home if I continue and there is no new way to move the furniture as I have tried them all. I am feeling stuck with the need to change but no immediate path or resources to execute it. I am in need of a new source of inspiration for my surroundings. I keep trying to play this game with my self where I am not me and what would I tell me to do if I asked for ideas...and of course the answer is to start with removing half of the belongings in the home...Any suggestions?

Friday, September 17, 2010

We're not in Kansas anymore...

So today while driving home from school, Ms Canoley asked me a question about our neighbor as we drove by his house. She said "Mom, I have a question... how can that guy (our new 30 something neighbor) have gray hair and be so buffed at the same time" WHAT???? I said... Canoley "yeah, how come that guy on the corner has gray hair and be buffed? makes no sense?.... I mean he HAS GRAY HAIR"
Me: Uh Noley, how come a nine year old girl is noticing a buff neighbor? She replied, because his shirt is always off.... uh yeah Noley that IS my point!
Oh my... what AM I in for?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why Zhu Zhu Pets are EVIL forces of the Devil...

So this morning, while I was sorting laundry I shoved a load clothes into the washer and was suddenly startled by the strange muffled sound of a rodent. Given that the laundry room IS the room that once housed a very large family of RATS (prior to our occupancy), I am accutely sensitve to the sound of unwanted houseguests. I stopped and listened and heard nothing else so I figured it was coming from the Ivy (another evil from the devil) outside the window (which also houses many a large RODENT).

I walked back down the hall to get another load of clothes from a childs room only this time to have the sound come directly from the clothes in my hands... I drop the clothes on the floor and BAM! they start moving... Well I screamed so loud, I think I woke up every person on the street. I ran into the dining room only to be followed by the rodent...a ZHU ZHU pet RODENT. The thing was chasing me...all the while sqeaking and talking. I pick up the RODENT and through him outside into the back yard (yikes, and I wonder where my yahoos get that?)

I take the load of clothes and finish loading the washer only to hear once again the muffled sounds of a RODENT...I look down and there again is a ZHU ZHU pet sqeeling from the bottom of the laundry basket. I was very very temped to toss him in the washer. If I knew for sure he would not leak on my white load of clothes he would spining around and around at this very moment.

I am NOT a fan of ZhuZhu pets. I believe they are evil forces of the devil that are packaged as cute little hamsters that when left to their own devices set out to drive parents crazy when the kids are at school.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Salvete!, New School and a Budda

We are officially into the new school year. So what does that mean in the house of Tomatoes? Well for those of you that know us it always means something new. Heck, why do the same ole thing more than once right?

Salvete! - The past couple of school years we have spent covering the history of the world at home. Since we spend so much time in the car, I love that we can use the car time to learn something--and the history has been great. This year we are going to add something new to our car learning time---Latin. I bought on Ebay the Prima Latina program and will spend the next nine months slowing working through the DVD/Book. I was surprised how both Nols and Tobbers liked the first lesson. I think they got a charge out of knowing half of the words already. MeiMei however is less impressed, as she still fancies herself a French girl.

New School - Noley and Tobers are still at School of the Hood. HooHaa and MeiMei are at the new school. We are very happy with change and am hopeful that Tobbers can make the move over something this year. Two schools, two start times and four different curriculum's---ah doesn't that sound like fun?

a Buddha - Yesterday we signed up the kids for Sunday School. I decided we needed a little more divine intervention with the four kids and after a lot of research we settled in on sending them to a program that will teach them to be honest, kind and to be a good citizen. When the kids went to WholySpit, they were exposed and reminded of the presence of God and about being a better person daily. Since that departure, we have been working on these things at home but for some reason we have been some hick-ups in this area. I had looked into the Church where the Yahoos went to vacation bible school "Ocean Camp" this past summer since the kids loved the program, but when I learned that it involved mostly bible drills, I knew that was not quite what I was looking for....learning about the bible was fine with me, but I did not want that to be the only focus. So I decided to step back and look at the big picture and decided on sending the entire family to Dharma School. I can hear the questions already... Oh my ***** they are converting their children into Buddhists!!! No, we are simply learning about the teachings of Budda. Just becuase one goes to a Dharma school does not mean they are a signed sealed and delivered Buddist. And yes, one can still believe in God and Buddha. The first classes start next Sunday and will conclude in May. I am hopeful that a weekly reminder of selflessness and peace will benefit them in the long run.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Five Days Left...

Well we are rounding up the end of summer. We are down to five days left before we launch into the new school year. At the beginning of summer we (the kids and I) of things we wanted to do , visit or accomplish this summer and I have to say that we have successfully accomplished about 75% of the list. Noley mentioned the other night that she was very happy to have made the list and to see many of the items checked off (Oh she is my girl) but that she was disappointed that there was one item that was on the list she really wanted to do....go to a drive in movie. We have never taken the kids to a drive in. So I think in honor of this being the the last weekend before school starts, we will take the Yahoos to a drive in tomorrow night. We pack a picnic dinner and load them up just like when I was a kid. Please please please let there be something tolerable at the drive in.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

They're In!!!

I got the call today while scouring T-Town for cheap fabric for the girls sewing projects. I could hardly contain my joy. Set B has been accepted to the new school! 2 in and 2 to go.
It looks like this year will start out similar to last years schedule with two separate drop off and pick up times. The set B will start at 8am and set A will start at 9pm. Thank God the school are only about 3 miles of traffic free streets apart.
I'm so excited for MeiMei and HooHaa. I only wish Canoley and Tobbers could have the same experience. Oh well, with time they too will move over. They are a little sad about being left behind, but they understand that it is a numbers game and eventually they will move over as well. Canoley understands that she will be the last yahoo to move over. And like a typical tomato kid, there were first to point out that this means double of everything---two fall festivals---two holiday parties---two of every school event.
The new school goes through to 8th grade. So it looks like we can plan on being there for a while. I cannot wait to say goodbye to the old "hood" school. But I will contain my joy and keep my negative thoughts to myself. Just because I do not like it there, I know there are those that drink the Koolaid and think it is just swell. For those that want a refresher of my first opinion of our soon to be departed "hood" school can read blog post from 2008 - Spetember 3rd. ( I tried to post the link but either I am too stupid to figure it out or my computer is not coorperating...I like to hink it is the latter.
Please let me put this chapter of my kids life behind us...or at least half of it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

13 days and counting...

Yep, only thirteen days left till school starts back up. We have covered a lot of territory this summer both geographically and academically. All four yahoos are ripe and ready to jump into their next school year.
Still no word the new school front. I feel like a stalker with the principle. As it stands right now, my gut tells me we will get one yahoo in and then another in later in the year. I'm saying prayers that we get Tobbers switched and to my surprise Noley has requested to move as well. Gee all four kids are happy to leave the hood school---what does that say about the past two years? So the big question is when will we get the call and what Yahoo will go first. Guess is in kinda like the Tomato Family's Sophies choice.
Until then, I am trying hard to be optimistic about starting school and not be so negative. Every time I get an email from old Hood school, I get acid stomach --- not a good sign. I want so bad to be GONE...Ring phone ring...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mom..I think I am Molting...

MeiMei: Mom I think I have a problem
Me: Huh? What problem?
MeiMei: I think it is time for the weather to change
Me: Huh? I thought you said you had a problem
MeiMei: I do have a problem
Me: okay so that is the problem
MeiMei: I am Molting...
Me: You are WHAT?
MeiMei: Molting...Mom...I am Molting
Me: Molting?
MeiMei: yes, Molting just like the seals we saw on the beach last week when the weather changes
Me: Oh I see...may I see?
MeiMei: yes, I am Molting all over my feet and so is HooHaa.
Me: (examining said feet) Yep Honey, you are in fact Molting. Don't worry just like the seals you have new skin underneath the skin you are shedding.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thank You Cokie for 12 great years...

This afternoon Kitty Hospice came and put Cokie to sleep in my arms while we were sitting in the back yard. It seemed like the most kind way to go. Her cancer had gotten pretty bad and was clearly making her nuts to not be able to scratch and dig at it. We adopted Cokie from the pound 12 and a half years ago to kill the palm rats that liked to visit our old home. It did not take long to understand why Cokie had been tossed into a mail box---she NEVER stoped talking. 27/7 this cat talked. It got so bad she had to spend many a night sleeping outside. Cokie was the kind of cat that did not understand she was a cat. If she could have found a away she would have crawled up inside of me and lived. She was a good protective Mamma kitty. She took stray Ivy in at two weeks old and treated her like her own. She taught Ivy how to climb trees and catch mice. When I was one bed rest with the twins, cokie would sit and amuse me by training ivy with real mice that she would bring into the house and let free so that Ivy could learn to catch them---well I'm sure you can figure out who was trying to catch them---ME full on preganant with twins and NOT being able to bend over let alone move. I would often trap the renagad mice and leave them until Linjit or Mr T would come home. Cokie was a good kitty and the longest Kitty I have owned. I will miss her loud sratchy meow as she greeted me each time I saw her. We laid her to rest under the shade of the lemon tree. I wrapped her in the very baby blankets she loved to sleep on so many years ago. I am sad. I never thought she would be the first kitty to go...with five cats, two of which came with the house...I thought Liz's cats (the two that are older and I am not attached to) would go first...

I have a great photo of her that will always remind me of her outgoing personality--a photo of her sitting on the shelf in the exact same pose as the cat cookie jar she was sitting next to. I wish I could find the photo to post. But inside I will post two that I have at hand. One shortly after we got her from the pound being held by KC and one of her sleeping inside the fruit bowl that she LOVED to do while I was working...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Not a Good Summer for Kitties...

Two months ago we had a very sick Ivy kitty. This month it is Cokie. I thought she was attacked on the ear by whatever had attacked Ivy. I treated the ear and her with antibiotics with no signs of improvement. In fact things just seemed to be getting worse. She would not leave it alone. We took her in and the vet said cancer. We were able to get a second opinion on the spot and that vet also said cancer. So we brought her home and have given her the royal treatment for the past three weeks. I have been in denial but have had to face the truth. I kind thing to do is put her to sleep. She is not her usual chatty obnoxious in your face non-stop self. She is quite and reserved and that IS NOT our Cokie. I can see that she is not feeling well. It breaks my heart. I have had 17 cats in my life and have NEVER had to put on down. They have always just mysteriously disappeared.
I found a vet that will come to the house and put her to rest while we hold her in our lap. I liken it to Kitty hospice. This Monday will be a sad day in the Tomato house. Noley and Tobbers are quite sad but understand why we need to do it. They can see how bad she looks and how lethargic she is. FuFu and HooHaa are too young to understand.
I have never had a cat live as long as her. I rescued her from the SPCA along with her kitten Mimi. I learned right away why she was dumped in a mail box with her kittens---she NEVER stopped talking---24/7 this cat would follow you around talking. She has been a very good kitty and had tolerated alot from 4 kids.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ear She Goes....

Today marks a memorable day for Miss Canoley. This morning she passed her Kumon test with flying colors and moved on to the next level and to celebrate her success she opted to get her EARS PIERCED. I myself had to wait till I was 13 and it KILLED me. I never approached the subject but a couple years ago her friend Avers got hers done and every since Ms Canoley has been thinking about it. About two months ago she asked us to go ahead and do it and we suggested waiting till her 10th birthday...she offered up moving up to the next level in Kumon (which places her one year above grade level at school) and I said Okay. So off we went to the mall. Me, Noley and stuffed kitty for holding on to. I know she is growing up and getting bigger but it was reassuring to me that she is still a little girl as she happily walked through the mall with stuffed kitty in hand.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dudes in Sweatsuits Dance with Ducks

Okay so I have NO idea who the heck these dudes are, but this video is funny and the ducks and geese in the backround about split me in two.

We be Jamm'n

So when I look back at my childhood summers spent with my Nonnie, I think of three things.... sewing using my grandmas scraps of fabric, playing in the chicken coop with my cousin Kathy and picking berries along the river to make jam and pies. So in the spirit of Summer, I decided to take on one of my childhood memories--making jam. Since what I remember was quite labor intensive, I chose the easy route. Strawberry Refrigerator Jam - no cooking involved.
I had marked the calendar with "Jam Day" not telling them what it meant. I let them guess--not one had an inkling that it was actually "jam". One thought we were fixing something that was jammed and another thought it referred to pajama day and Tobbers thought it has something to do with dancing to Bob Marleys "jammin" song.
All of the yahoos participated and chopped away four pounds of strawberries. We ended up with twelve jars of strawberry Jam (that was more like preserves) perfect for pancakes, making strawberry ice cream and eating it right from the jar.

Monday, July 5, 2010

65 days left...

We have entered our third week of Summer with a bang of a 4th of July Party on the Block. We had fireworks out the wazoo and only managed to catch one five year old on fire ummm that is her dress. Thankfully, her parents were invloved and close by and managed to removed the smock a la flambe without a trace of burns involved.

This week the girls are off to Chinese Culture Camp or at least I think they are. I received what I belive is confirmation of their attendance but it is all in chinese so who knows. They might be playing in a ping png tournment for all I can tell. They boys will be haning with me as I try and figure out good places to go that are of no interest to girls.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

81 Days of Summer Break

Okay so I must say that when I actually calculated the exact number of days of summer I felt a little overwhelmed with what seemed like a never ending void of time...with fighting and screaming as background noise. So then I stepped back and decided to look at it as 11 weeks of summer and all of a sudden it did not seem so daunting.

Today marks day 69. Not so bad as we mark our mid way point of week two. SO far so good. Of course, I can say this easily because I spend the first week of summer in bed with 104 fever hallucinating for days with absolutely no memory of the first six days of summer. Around day seven, I started coming around feeling like I has been hit by a truck and a whole lot lighter than when I started the summer. I think the kids decided they like sick mom the best. Sick mom does not care if the TV is on toon tv all day. Sick mom does not care if kids play DS, while playing the wwii. Sick mom does not care if you have cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sick mom does not care much about anything because sick mom is comatose and oblivious to everything.

So I sat down with the kids and made a summer wish list of things we would like to do this summer. So far we have made strawberry jam, home made ice cream, and joined the rec center for the water slides.

We have two big trips planned for the summer. End of July we are heading to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas to see the Titanic exhibit. Along the way we will be stopping to see the airplane cemetery in Mojave desert and hoover dam. In August we will be traveling down the coast to the Central Coast for a week at the beach. We won the trip at the HS auction last Feb and will be taking advantage of the prize. But no trip would be complete without tying it to something of historical or educational significance (since we will have a captive audience in the car) we will be starting in San Francisco and hitting the California Missions, that are dotted down the coast. I figure with the yahoos going into fourth grade this will come in handy for them and allow them to see missions close up and personal...and maybe decide which one they would like to report on.

I have booked us a pretty jammed packed summer down to the day. That includes a daily list of activites for the kids an my work sandwiched in. Tomorrow 7:50am sign up for swimming lessons at the rec center.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Once upon a time there was a wise man
who used to go to the ocean
to do his writing.
He had a habit of walking
on the beach
before he began his work.

One day he was walking along
the shore.
As he looked down the beach,
he saw a human
figure moving like a dancer.
He smiled to himself to think
of someone who would
dance to the day.
So he began to walk faster
to catch up.

As he got closer, he saw
that it was a young man
and the young man wasn't dancing,
but instead he was reaching
down to the shore,
picking up something
and very gently throwing it
into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out,
"Good morning! What are you doing?"
The young man paused,
looked up and replied,
"Throwing starfish in the ocean."
"I guess I should have asked,
why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"
"The sun is up and the tide is going out.
And if I don't throw them in they'll die."
"But, young man, don't you realize that
there are miles and miles of beach
and starfish all along it.
You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely.
Then bent down, picked up another starfish
and threw it into the sea,
past the breaking waves and said-
"It made a difference for that one."

Years ago, like about 25 of them, I bought a pair of starfish earrings. They were large, gold and very gaudy a la palm beach. I loved them back in the 80's and 25 years later I still do. Guess I've always been a little sentimental about Starfish.