As requested, here are a few images of Shelby's Princess Extravaganza. We are all in serious trouble come puberty. Holy Pinkness Batgirl!

Nail Painting Station.

Medieval Smackdown in the Inflatable Castle.

The Royal Family in full effect.
What was I thinking?
(Thankfully, my awesome husband never questions the insanity I subject him to. He's such a good sport.)


Curmudgeoned Cabbie

I can't tell you what time of the early morning it was when we pulled up in front of my house on Saturday. We had made an (albeit drunken) appearance at every teenaged drinker's watering hole in SLO. Almost arrested, nearly robbed and all in the span of 4 or 5 hours. When the cabbie announced our total (cuz I couldn't focus on the red digital lights to READ it) we all rummaged around our pockets for cash. $45... My darling husband, who out drank every 21 year old in the bar -combined - tonight, pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket, "Here's ... FOUR."
Uh, oh. I came up with pocket lint and D offered a $20.
Queen of the obvious, "We need more money!"
Leaving the most lethargic one to hold the cab, D and I slow motion ran towards the house. He to his suitcase, I to Shelby's piggy bank.
When we returned, John was dozing in the back seat and we piled in on either side. I clutched a bill in my hand while D offered another twenty dollars. That's ...well, you do the math. I certainly was in no shape to. I drew forth my cash..."Here's a (holy shit, oh no) DOLLAR."
The cab driver stepped out of his vehicle.
I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto.
John sprang to life and started harassing the cabbie, "What are you doin' man? Get back in your cab!"
D moved fast, running back to his suitcase in the guestroom before a brawl broke out on our quiet street.
"Here's another twenty!" I heard him heave as he shoved it into the cabbie's hands.
The next thing I remember was waking up to a crying baby at 6 a.m. Ouch.


The Princess Extravaganza

I have hated the color pink my entire life. I didn't even fully embrace it when my first daughter was born. But something snapped when John and I found out we were having another girl. It was like I could only see through rose colored, make that blinding hot pink colored glasses. I pulled out all the stops: pink walls, pink cabinets, pink sheets, even their toothbrushes had to be pink.
You get the picture? I have done nothing short of create two tiny (albeit pink) monster daughters. And the next part of this story just goes to show that I've brought this all upon myself...
Shelby turned four this week. She proclaimed that her party would be all things princess. And no boys were allowed. Not even her favorite boys (I named them multiple times to be sure she would not be disappointed when they did not arrive at her party dressed in drag). She answered with militant confidence. I had to convince her that her own grandpas and father were allowed. "But it's a princess party, mommy! No boys allowed. Just princesses."
"Can they come if they dress as princes and kings?"
She had to think about it! This kid is tough. "Okay."
The day arrived and I had graduated to Princess Party Planner Extraordinaire. Princess Castle Bounce House. Princess Tiara Decorating Station. Nail Salon table. Tiered cupcakes doused in hot pink frosting with even hotter pink frosting ribbons. Whoa. Step Aside Madonna Inn, this princess party is outta control.
Not only did we uninvite boys, but I even uninvited the princess guests' parents. That's right. Princesses only. No moms, dads or sibs allowed. Shelby told everyone who would listen that she was having a "Drop Off Princess Party". Grandparents arrived in costume, John and I wore velvet capes, I even donned a tiara and my wedding dress. What is WRONG with me???
So there we stood, a band of idiots with a handful of parentless toddlers in a cloud of pink princess dust. I am a certifiable nut job.
The positives: I spent the day with my daughter and her friends, bouncing in the bounce house, painting her nails, adjusting her crown. The girls, all 7 of them, did not know each other and played magnificently well together. Not one tattle tale or exclusion issue to note. I had the unique experience of wiping four princess butts in a row during a trip to the bathroom ("Panties down, gown up. NEXT! Panties down, gown up. NEXT!") I picked olives out of one princesses pasta salad. I chased down one escapee on a tricycle. I helped Shelby open her gifts. I even read her each birthday card. I enjoyed my day with my daughter at her party with her friends.
Lessons learned: 7 girls should not be in one bounce house at the same time. It was like watching a medieval smackdown. 3 hours is exactly 30 minutes too long for any child's birthday. When you host a princess party, expect to be treated like a maid in waiting (tie my shoe, pour me water, fix my nails, change my dress, wipe my ass). There is nothing regal about this role. 7 girls is just enough to keep track of who didn't eat, who needs to go to the bathroom, who's tiara is missing. I did not get a chance to drink a beer or eat lunch. My mother in law brought her camera and printer and diligently pumped out and posted a whole wall of photos to document our day. Parents and princesses were invited to take a few photos home with their party favor bags. Very cool! I did not get to chit chat with many parents until after the party-this was intense but rewarding to know that I had focused on my child and her guests for the past 3 hours.
I would call the day a great success from my standpoint. And mark my words, there will not be another princess extravaganza in my life again for a very long time. I'm Completely Princessed Out!


Consumer Reports: Local Dining

Our friend, D, blew in from Australia for nearly two weeks to stay with us and do some work with John. He was the perfect guest. He did the dishes, entertained the baby, and when propositioned with a choice for dinner or entertainment his usual response was, "I'm easy."
Knowing that he lives a fast paced single life in Melbourne, we did our best to gather our children and jump into the fast lane for a few days to keep the action up to pace. Our first weekend with D, we hired a sitter and road bikes to a local favorite for dinner. We took him to the beach. During the week we alternated dinners out with homecooked meals, hit SLO Farmer's Market, the Margarita Festival, and did a night out at the bars in SLO with every 21 year old in the county (talk about feeling OLD).
Subsequently, I learned a great deal about our local restaurants along the way...
SCHOONERS in Cayucos: If you can't sit on the upstairs ocean view patio, Do NOT sit downstairs. Despite the cozy booths that provide the perfect coral for your children, the risk is too great. We witnessed (hopefully) one rat that traveled around the ceiling along criss-crossed beams above our table. He was readily available for viewing when we pointed him out to the waiter. And he looked like he was busy gathering for a large family hidden somewhere in the ceiling. The waiter looked the rat in the eye and then guffawed. He said something about "these old buildings"....we later guffawed at our $150 bill while the rat looked on. Not the audience we expected.
SHAWN's ON MAIN in Morro Bay: GREAT food, good ambiance (if the owner/chef's new baby isn't in a mood-he's typically in the building with a sitter or on the waitress/owner's hip while she pours your wine). Service is very good, just be sure you do not bring kids because dinner is multiple courses, slow and relaxing. Not the scene for a 4 year old. If you happen to ride your bike there, be sure to lock it. There's a bike rack directly outside the restaurant window. We lost our lock so we mangled the three beach cruisers together in hopes of slowing down a brazen thief. We gazed out the front window at the end of our meal and watched a drunken fisherman stumble by, grab my bike with the baby seat on back and begin pushing it away. Shawn, owner/chef, who is built like a Mac Truck with the face of a bulldog blew through the front door and gave the thief a quick description of where the bike may be shoved if he continued walking away. Like something out of a cartoon, the sailor turned around, dragged my bike back to the rack and sweetly apologized as he bumbled something about thinking it was his. We thanked Shawn and rode home. Shawn called the cops.
VIENNE VIE in SLO (next to F. McClintock's on Higuera): I cannot say enough terrible things about this restaurant's food. It is worse than bad. We ordered 6 appetizers to share. The descriptors on the menu were grossly misleading. Some italian words like Precente Bruschetta or Carnelo Mostretta. My favorite was the Capreso Bread with fresh mozzarella, herbs and garlic butter which arrived as a half frozen bread loaf covered in rubbery string cheese. The Prawns a la Vienne were so rubbery, my starving shrimp loving toddler tried one, chewed it for 20 minutes and then refused to eat another. They were obviously frozen cooked shrimp, that the teenage chef then microwaved in a plate of butter in hopes of improving its flavor. Gross. The bruschetta arrived on a thin layer of blackened carcinogens with sliced tomatoes doused in dried herbs. What? You get the point. Bad. On the upside, there's a full bar and the bloody mary's are tolerable. The outdoor seating on the street and out back under a raised canvas ceiling provide pleasant ambiance. And the servers are friendly.
TACOS de MEXICO in Morro Bay: A perfect hangover fix. Plenty of chips and salsa with every meal. Lots of cheese and lard, yummy delish. And no meal priced over $6.
TACO TEMPLE in MB: Perfect in every way. Recommend the house fish tacos and the awesome carrot cake. Great place for kids-fast service, crayons and coloring sheets, $2.50 kid meals.
After having two men around the house, I've decided polygamy may be the way to go. Three adults and two children makes family life run much more smoothly. Especially when eating out.