Friday, October 29, 2010

500 posts!

Wow, who knew that four years after I started this blog, I would have reached my 500th post.

I'm not a very good writer when it comes to diaries like this. When I was growing up, I always wanted to keep an old fashioned teen book diary, the kind with a little lock and gold edged pages (inspiration: Anne Frank, of course) but I could never stick with it. Whenever I would re-read previous diary entries, they always seemed so... dumb.

I love scrapbooking but find it hard to keep up with actually making pages, printing photographs and adding embellishments. I enjoy receiving letters but don't write too many. I write full time for a newspaper for work, but that's not the same kind of writing as blogging. So this blog, which I began to keep our family and friends posted on Huffman happenings, is the most consistent form of memory-keeping I have ever done.

There aren't many of you Planet Claire readers out there. But thank you to the few that do check in now and then (and from all over the world, oddly enough). Sometimes I think about giving up this blog. Like other moms there are so many other things to do in a day. It's hard to stick with it sometimes. But I keep coming back. So, cheers to me for reaching 500 posts. May there be 500 more!

Planet Claire

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Go Giants!

My husband may be the biggest Giants fan of the family but the Littlest Huffman seems to be the runner up. Here is a sign (front and back) she made for the playoff games, and now World Series. Go Gigantes!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Who Whoooo made that cool Owl head?

My coworker Kelly is a very, very creative person. He makes sculptures of faces, draws and paints. This is his Owl Head halloween costume.

It's made of paper mache which I think is one of his favorite materials to use. Note inside structure so the Owl head will stay in place when wearing. The black part around the irises is made with that needlepoint mesh so Kelly can see through the eyes but it looks opaque at a distance. Clever!

When I took this picture at work I had to promise to "embargo" the Owl until he posted pics on Facebook. Well, the embargo is over. Well done Kelly!!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Homecoming girls.

Our oldest girl is only 16 so every dance she goes to is another adventure of dresses, hair do's and dinner plans. These days many girls go as a group instead of paired up boy/girl. I'm ok with that. Here are some pics from her high school homecoming in Napa. Some of the girls have quite the fashion sense.
(Notice how little sister jumped into the picture at the end.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My KIND of snack!

You know how you find a new snack that you just love and can't get enough of? Well, this is the new "it" snack for me. I think it's called the KIND fruit and nut bar. I got my first taste of a KIND bar when my friend Agi let me have one that she had stashed in her car.
I was starving and we were miles from any food (it's true, we were in the hills between Santa Rosa and Calistoga without both food and cell reception on our way to a 5th grade volleyball game!)
Anyhoo, after tasting the KIND bar that Agi kindly gave me (hee hee), I was hooked. I have since bought several different KIND bars at Starbucks, which is where I suspect Agi got hers, and then Raley's.
This is my KIND of snack bar. Yum.

Monday, October 18, 2010

And the winner is...

Surrendering to Motherhood

by Jennifer Huffman
Napa Valley Register | Monday, October 18, 2010

Many of us will be voting for our favorite political candidates in the coming weeks. But I’m competing in a different race. It’s called “The Most Embarrassing Mom in the World.”

It’s easy to become “The Most Embarrassing Mom in the World.” Any mom is eligible and mothers of all ages can apply. Here are just a few of the many examples of how you too can compete for this title:

• Pick up your child after a middle school dance wearing your pajamas and slippers.

• Go to Back to School night and tell each teacher a different “funny” story about your teen. When you get home tell your teen about all the great conversations you had with her teachers.

• Friend your teen on Facebook and “Like” everything they post on their wall. Friend any of your teen’s friends on Facebook. Post photos of your teen on your own Facebook page and tag her in the pictures.

• Sing out loud to any song on the radio when your children are with you in the car. “The Most Embarrassing Mom in the World” candidates get bonus points if you continue to sing at a stoplight with the windows rolled down and another car next to you.

• When listening to the radio, ask your tween if Flo Rida is a boy or a girl. Ask if he really was born in Florida. Look it up later on Wikipedia to double-check.

• Cheer really loud for your daughter and her teammates at her volleyball or other sports games. Wave wildly and clap your hands when she hits her serve over the net. Yell “Good try, honey!” if it doesn’t make it over the net.

• While shopping, pick out a dress that you think would look “really cute” on your teenager/tween. Insist she try it on. Make her model it while you take pictures of her in the dressing room with your cell phone camera. Post them to Facebook.

• Recommend a certain pair of shoes that look “comfortable” to your teenager or child. Tell her how “practical” they are. Suggest you share the shoes.

•Talk with any of your teenager’s friends without clearing it with your teenager first.

• Ask your elementary school student if she has to go “potty” in front of her friends.

•Ask your teenager/middle school student if she likes a certain boy at school, then approach parent of said potential love interest at a PTA meeting and introduce yourself. Exchange e-mail addresses with the other parent.

• Visit your teenager’s high school for a parent teacher conference. Find your daughter in the cafeteria and say hello to her during lunch break. Ask her why she’s eating a Slim Jim instead of something “more healthy.”

• Try to take your ninth-grader’s picture at the school science fair.

• When your teen has a friend sleep over, show the friend photos of your daughter as an infant/toddler/preschooler. Be sure to mention you used to dress all three of your girls in matching outfits. For double points, pull out more photo albums.

• Try to hold your tween’s hand when crossing the street, ideally in front of her school or any other public place.

• Wave to your teen across the crowded parking lot at a football game and shout her name over and over until you get her attention and so she can see where you are sitting.

• Talk about your child’s messy room or hygiene habits to another parent in the school parking lot.

• When your teen starts giving you attitude in public, say “PLEASE DON’T TALK TO ME THAT WAY,” loud enough so everyone around you looks over.

• Suggest your 10th-grader take a sweater on a school field trip to a San Francisco museum. Tell her to “stay with her group” while at the museum. Make her promise to call from the bus on the way home.

• Make your children listen to your “Best of the ’80s” New Wave music CD in the car on a two-hour volleyball game road trip with all their friends. Tell them all about how cool life in the ’80s was.

• Suggest your tween make friends with another classmate that you think seems “really nice.” Ask your teen why she doesn’t hang out with her best friend from third grade any more.

• Write a regular column for the local newspaper about your three girls. Smile sympathetically when your teen tells you she is embarrassed because her teachers ask her if her mom is “that” Jennifer Huffman. Save copies of your column so they can be embarrassed in the future as well.

The judges for “The Most Embarrassing Mom in the World” will be my three daughters, ages 10 to 16. Using a cringe factor, they will rank the level of embarrassment from each incident to award the title.

May the most embarrassing mom win.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bookmark it!

Friends Peta, Ellen and Lily visited last night for a little Halloween craft fun. We made magic potion bottles and towards the end of the evening the girls went bookmark making crazy. I had forgotten how much Halloween craft stuff I had accumulated. It's hard to resist a good skull sticker!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Last week I bought this retro styled banner at Target. "I can junk this up for sure," I said to myself. Check out the before and after. It's hanging at my desk at work :)

(First two pics are "before" the rest are "after")

Friday, October 08, 2010

A turtle tail.

A few months ago Annabelle adpoted these little red eared slider turtles. Normally they live in spacious tank in her room but today she cleaned the tank which means the turtles spent part of the day in a temporary home... the bathtub.

I think the turtles like to look out Annabelle's window. If I come into her room too fast, they startle and scatter like crazy to hide from "the intruder." Sorry guys.

FYI: That's not poop floating with the turtles. It's food.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The team.

After four years of playing, Allie's volleyball team is about to finish their last season together.

Imagine an overhand serve coming your way at what appears to be 20 mph. These girls not only serve them up, they actually return the ball as well. It's been so fun watching them learn that overhand serve but also digs and spikes and all those other fancy moves. That goes for the players on the other teams as well. We may not know them by name but we know how they play. I know a few players that the local high school teams will be very happy to have on their roster.

Allie might not have been the star player but these girls really worked as a group, and cheered each other on as a team. I have never been more proud of them. Go Gaels!

Monday, October 04, 2010

A "new" car -- the column

‘What kind of car do you want to get?’ my husband asked me.
I had no idea. Before our minivan met its untimely demise in early September, I hardly noticed other kinds of cars on the road. Who cared? A car was a car was a car … that is, until I didn’t have a car anymore.
Little cars, big cars, SUVs, Smart cars, hybrid cars, fancy cars, and really plain cars. Not only was I car-less, I was clueless about what to replace our car with.
Something shocking occurred to me as I started mentally car shopping. My husband already has a bigger car good for family vacations, and hauling Christmas trees and girl scouts, and our days of car seats and strollers are gone. I might not actually need another minivan.
Hold on a minute. No more minivan? A minivan is pretty much mom’s right hand. A minivan is the Swiss Army knife of cars. Cupholders, folding seats, seatbelts and storage galore -- minivan means mom. Mom means minivan. What’s a mom without her minivan?
Snap out of it, I told myself. You have to get a new car. Use your imagination!
I went the fantasy route first. If I didn’t need a minivan, how about a Mini Cooper? I could see myself zipping around town in a royal blue Mini with a British flag painted on the roof. Or how about a snappy BMW SUV? An eco-friendly Prius?
The girls started weighing in. A yellow VW slug bug, one said. With a sunroof! And the vase for a flower!
I’d hardly thought about car colors in years but now I couldn’t stop thinking about colors like bright red, sparkly green, mint blue, and icy white. And how about the insides -- leather, heated seats, computerized navigation with instructions from an English accented assistant, and a back-up camera!
Reality set in, meaning the car payment. Heading to Auto Row one Saturday afternoon we narrowed our list down to one or two smaller sized SUVs and four-door economy models.
I had no idea how high-tech cars had become since we bought the minivan in 2001. These days, cars are filled with computers that answer your phone for you, tell you who is and isn’t wearing a seatbelt and can probably order a pizza at the same time. It’s like driving a very expensive computer on four wheels.
As we arrived at the third dealership that the day. That’s when I saw her — a smaller wagon with a hatchback. Oooh, she was beautiful. Sparkly white with a tan interior. Low mileage. One previous owner. Within our price range. It was love at first turn of the key.
We drove her home that afternoon.
I forgot how much fun a new car is. It’s like having a new boyfriend or girlfriend. You want to spend all your time with her. You want to take her with you wherever you go. You look back at her when you walk away. You want to show her off to your friends. You take her to church on Sunday. You hope your parents approve of her.
The rest of the family is equally smitten.
‘Can you come pick me up?’ texted my daughter at high school. ‘And bring the new car?’
Our other daughter requested we drive through the school pick-up line instead of parking as usual.
I want my friends to see the new car, she said.
My husband asked to take her with him on a three-day business trip. I think it’s serious.
I still get a little sad when I see someone driving the same car as our old minivan, but I guess I’ll get over it eventually. You can take the minivan from the mom but you can’t take the mom from the minivan.

Surrendering to Motherhood appears every other Monday in the Napa Valley Register.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Jennifer and the Giant Pumpkin!

This is just one of the giant pumpkins grown by Register readers this summer. (Click here to see the day we gave away the seeds.) That's me in the third picture trying to get my arms around her. This big momma weighs more than 1,400 lbs and is on its way to a pumpkin beauty competition in Elk Grove, I believe. Now that is SOME GOURD!