Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Toy Story 3

I haven't blogged much about this weekend. It was surprisingly good, despite my non-stop mystery pains and Derrick's constant working. Derrick picked Grayson up on Friday, and Aimee let us borrow Avatar, which they had out from Netflix. (We've had the movie Broken Embraces for--seriously!--about three months and still haven't found the moment to watch it.) We all enjoyed watching that again, although I missed some of it while I was giving Penelope a bath, and Derrick missed some, too, when he had to go up to his office and respond to some calls.

He's on call (or was until this morning), but we went to the movies on Saturday, anyway, while Penelope played at Grandma and Grandpa's house. (Apparently, she was kind of sad and wistful when we left--which made me sad to learn--and looked out the window after us, but then she perked up when they took her to HEB and got her a red balloon.)

Grayson and I really liked Toy Story 3. He kept leaning over and whispering to me, "Daddy should be watching this!" Poor Derrick got a call twenty minutes into the movie and returned in time to see the last twenty minutes of the movie. Grayson and I enjoyed it, though. Our favorite parts were the tortilla, the monkey, and there was one other thing, but I forget what. Afterwards, he said, "I wish we could have taken someone else with us, and that person could have gone out to work instead of Daddy, and Daddy could have watched the movie."

I said, "But who else could have gone out to work?"

"Dennis," Grayson suggested. "Sometimes he has to work."

"But he couldn't do Daddy's work," I pointed out, "and then he would have missed the movie, too."

"Hmm," said Grayson, "well, then I wish nobody would have had to go out and work."

We had lunch with Mom and Dad who served us delicious homemade pizza and brownies. They also had fruit salad. Penelope discovered that she particularly liked the white, puffy marshmallow fruit. Derrick had to work over there quite a bit, too, but Mom played Uno with Grayson and taught him to play Yahtzee. Later on, Grayson and I played a few hands of UNO, too.

At home, we played lots of Super Mario Brothers for the Wii! We all really enjoyed that. Sunday afternoon, Derrick finished cleaning up the bedroom upstairs. (We'd started one night last week). Then Mom and Dad came over with the entertainment shelf the wanted to give us. After that, we played more Super Mario Brothers until it was time for Grayson to go home. Penelope gets so snookie when he has to go home. She loves her brother so much!

"But You See, I Have the Other Slipper." Memory #11

Cinderella’s Shoe. One of the coolest moments on our trip occurred in Fantasyland. Penelope lost one of her new butterfly shoes. Given her obsession with Cinderella, this seemed kind of fitting to me, almost poetic. How did she lose the shoe? Well, for one thing, she kept undoing the Velcro on that shoe (I think it was the right one) and trying to take it off. She kept this up for about three days solid.

By Wednesday, she pretty much knew how to get rid of that pesky shoe, and it spent more time in my hands than on her foot, I’m positive. During dinner at the Rainforest, the shoe sat beside my giant Icee on the table while Penelope tried to eat crayons and spear her grilled cheese with a knife. Then as we were waiting in line for the Monorail, I suddenly missed the shoe and fretted that I’d left it on the table—but I hadn’t. I found it in the black diaper bag (one we got from the NICU that I was using as a purse) and shoved it back on her foot, but she tried to wiggle it off again while we admired shiny items in the Autopia Winner’s Circle while Daddy and Grayson went to the bathroom.

As we stood in the Buzz Lightyear line, it fell off again, but we crammed it back on her foot after we rode the Tea Cups.

Of course, the shoe fell off again just as I set her up on the carousel horse. Some women behind us helpfully pointed that out to me, but though I was already aware of it, I had decided to wait until the end of the ride because, frankly, while I left both hands on Penelope, the shoe wasn’t going anywhere, but if I tried to get my hands on the shoe, Penelope almost certainly would (go somewhere—as in careening off the horse to a screaming, fiery death). (Okay, well, not fiery, and probably not death, but I have a vivid imagination, and there would have been screaming, and that’s why I decided to defer picking up the shoe.) I was getting sick of shoe wrangling at that point, so after the ride, I just stuck the shoe in my bag and left it there while we waited in line for Peter Pan for forty minutes.

People continued to ask us if we knew that our daughter's shoe was missing for the rest of the night. We did.

The next morning in Fantasyland, Grandma and I took Penelope through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle while Derrick took Grayson to find a bathroom. When Grayson returned, however, he wanted to go through the castle, too. I’m glad he did because he enjoyed it much more than Penelope, and I got better pictures that time, too.
Anyway, when Derrick and Grayson and I came out of the castle, we caught up with everyone else by the carousel. Penelope and Grandma were riding, and Grandpa and Merry were fretting by the stroller.

“We lost her shoe,” Grandpa said.

“No, no,” I told them calmly, because they seemed very upset. “Don’t worry. It’s in the black bag.”

“No,” said Merry, “it’s my fault. I put it back on her foot.”

“Why did you do that?” I asked, as if it were the craziest thing any human being could ever have done. “It goes in the black bag!”

Then I realized how ridiculous that philosophy was and told them, “It’s okay. We’ll just get her more shoes.” I actually thought it was terribly romantic for Cinderella-obsessed Penelope to lose one shoe in Fantasyland while we were in the castle. The moment would have been more perfect only if we’d been in Disney World by Cinderella’s castle.

“Well, I’m glad you think so,” said my dad kind of mournfully. He seemed very regretful to have lost the shoe.

On the way out of the park, we checked with Lost and Found, but they didn’t have the shoe. The guy suggested I fill out a card with my name, address, and a description of the shoe.

“It might be in a lock box,” he said, “and we wouldn’t have emptied those yet. If we find it, we’ll give you a call.”

I expected that to be the end of it.

Then, about three days after we got home, what should arrive in the mail but a small package from Disneyland containing Penelope’s missing shoe—and then I couldn’t find the OTHER shoe, ANYWHERE!!!!! (Derrick just found it this weekend in a Disneyland bag full of dirty clothes.)

Bath Time!

Taking a Bath With Grandma

Penelope's Jokes

Penelope is so cute lately. (Well, she's always been cute. I'm highly aware of that since I'm pulling old pictures from the blog--rescuing them since my computer crash--while she naps on Grandma.) Night before last, I was lying on the couch on Derrick's lap, and she toddled over. First she approached slowly, and then she suddenly zoomed her face right down to mine, opened her mouth wide, stuck out her tongue and started getting closer and closer like she was trying to devour me. Then she yanked her head away and burst out laughing as she ran around in circles. Apparently, that had been a joke!

Last night, she ran all over the place shrieking in our newly clean upstairs bedroom. Then she found Daddy's hairbrush and started taking turns brushing our hair. I wish I didn't feel weird all the time, but I guess somebody's got to.

Random Stomach Pain

We're over at Grandma's house again today. I wish I knew why my stomach keeps hurting. I thought this morning that possibly I was hungry. I think I was, actually. But now we've eaten lunch, so I'm really confused. I can't be hungry again! I think the Claritin may have been an appetite suppressant. I really don't know.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Writing Confusion

I am trying to make one of my books available for download under a penname on amazon, but it doesn't seem to be working.  I thought I might also update the information on my author page and put some more young adult books available for download there under my own name.  Why am I so useless?  I have like ten books I could be doing something with but don't seem to be able to do anything with them.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Exorcist

Penelope is banging her camel noisily into the top of her toy chest (which we just brought downstairs). "Bang! Bang! Bang!" I called encouragingly. "That camel is so disruptive!" She grinned at me and took that as her cue to bang harder.

Earlier she was making this crazy noise at Grayson. It's like a cross between Donald Duck/Dracula/Someone with asthma trying to hawk a lugee. (I have no idea how to spell that, but the internet confirms others have spelled it that way.) She does it at him until it responds, and then she kind of growls and does it again. It's the creepiest sound, but it's so funny. She sounds like a creature of the night.

Have You Seen My Potty?

My back went out, at least partially. But my face is better. Now that I know it is nerve pain, my current theory is it stops when other pain starts because that nerve is just whining all the time, but when another nerve screams, the brain ignores that whiny face nerve.

I don't know what's wrong, but I've got one day left of Advil-taking and am making the most of it. Meanwhile, Derrick and Grayson are playing Super Mario Brothers for the Wii, and Penelope and I are trying to learn potty training. I bought this book for me that encourages you to figure out your child's personality before settling on a method. I think I figured out that book in ten seconds, but that's okay. I think I know how to proceed.

Every time I introduce Penelope to some new concept, I start reading her books about it ahead of time. (I do that with holidays, especially.) So I have this book called Have You Seen My Potty?, but it's pretty vague on why Suzy Sue wants that potty back so badly. Penelope seemed to enjoy it, though, and then she started tooting very noisily on my lap, so I think she at least gets the idea of what Suzy Sue is so desperate to do.



The Cheshire Cat

Yesterday morning, Penelope stole my eyedrops and started squeezing them onto my chest. I was truly baffled until I remembered I'd changed into my Cheshire Cat shirt at bedtime, and it has glowing yellow eyes. "M'ow m'ow," said the cat, relieved to be rid of his dry-eye.

Then last night, as we were brushing our teeth together, Penelope yelled, "M'ow m'ow" again, and I had the foresight to intercept her toothbrush just before it made contact with my shirt. That cat does have an inviting grin that looks like it needs to be brushed!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Penelope says, "Chee!!"

Penelope adores Grayson so much! We were at Grandma's again today. When Daddy came in with Bubby, Penelope went crazy with joy and starting copying everything he did, every sound he made. Then while we were eating our spaghetti and watching Avatar, Grayson yelled out, "Say cheese!" in response to the screen.

Delighted, Penelope smiled at him and said, "Chee!" He ignored her, so she said it several more times. He continued to ignore her because he was watching the movie. Every time he would look up, she'd try to catch his eye and say, "Chee!" with an ingratiating, approval-seeking little smile.

Penelope had a huge appetite at dinner. She ate tons of spaghetti and kept saying, "Mo," her new thing, starting today. I always give her more of whatever she asks for because I want her to get the idea that language works. After dinner, she and I took a much needed ducky bath.

The Sweet Potato Tree

We are growing a sweet potato tree in the laundry room. It is so beautiful. A day or so after we got home from vacation, I gasped and ran out of the laundry room yelling in excitement, "Baby!"

Derrick nearly had a heart attack, but then I explained about the sweet potato. We meant to bake it weeks and weeks ago, but it's just been sitting there on the pantry shelf. I guess while we were on vacation, it sprouted. Actually, it has many flowering branches, so maybe I just haven't been spending enough time in the pantry.

When I showed Derrick, he moved it to the window ledge, so it could get sunlight. Sometimes, I go in there just to look at it because it makes me so happy.


I have such terrible anxiety. Last night, I was sitting with Penelope, and I got so afraid that I am going to die. Derrick was up answering a work e-mail. Things seem less dire when he's there. I am having trouble doing anything. I'm second guessing myself on surgery. It's scheduled now for Monday, July 12th.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shower, Revisited

So if the actual problem is nerve irritation caused by the pain of the contact, the shower thing makes sense, too. I'm so careful to keep everything out of my eyes and nose when I wash my face and hair that I close my eyes and plug my nose. Well, if I'm squeezing the nose, and the right side is all raw because the mucus membrane is worn down, then clearly squeezing the sides of the nose together will, of course, aggravate the pain.

Deviated Septum

So...good news and bad news.

Good News: I have a deviated septum. It's not that clear on one view of the CT-scan, but SUPER CLEAR on another. The left side looks like a black passagway. The right side looks like a line. Derrick went with me. Dr. Thomson let him look up my nose with the blue thing, too. It was even clear to the eye, Derrick said. The left side, he said, looked pink and open. The red side looked really small and very red. So here's the thing--the side of the nasal passage is actually making contact with the septum, and the contact is causing further irritation and making it worse and worse. And then there's a nerve that runs right there, that controls sensation over that whole side of your face. (He told me which nerve, but I forgot.) When the contact happens, it stimulates the nerve and confuses it, accounting for the random pain. I asked him. That nerve has nothing to do with the neck. He doesn't think the issue is related to the endocrine system, either, but he said that pregnancy may have aggravated it, though it's an anatomical thing and has always been that way. I always snore loudly and sleep with my mouth and have drainage. He said correcting the issue might help with that, too. Oh yes, and the allergy test--some people were asking me how a blood test could show allergies. He explained that it's a pretty new test that checks for antibodies in your blood. The test showed that I am allergic to nothing.

The Bad News: The only way to fix a deviated septum is, of course, surgery, which is kind of expensive (not really that expensive, but expensive for us), and will mean I can't lift anything over ten pounds for a week or take Advil for two weeks before the surgery! Because of the Fourth of July, our anniversary, Christina's wedding, and Sasha's nunning, we are thinking we will schedule the surgery for late August. Surgery is a pain, of course, but it's much better than having MS or a thyroid problem (though I'm still going to get that checked).

Meanwhile, Penelope had a delightful time watching "Super Why" with Grandma on PBS. They did other stuff, too, but apparently, she really liked "Super Why."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Tease

Penelope is such a cutie. Now when we brush our teeth, she yells, "SPUH!" when she wants me to spit. While I was changing her diaper for the night a few minutes ago, she grabbed my old camera and held it up to her face. "Chee!" she instructed me, so I smiled and said, "Cheese!" She was pleased.

We were eating lunch at Grandma's today. After a while, Penelope started offering her grapes to me. She fed me three pieces--but then she started being coy and just teasing me with the grapes and yanking them away. I guess once she had me hooked, she knew I was hers to toy with. She was so amused by this activity, and so was Grandma.

Then at dinner tonight, she started feeding me grapes again. "Um mum," I said.

I thought she was saying, "Mama," in a funny voice, but then I realized she was saying, "Nana." She was feeding me grapes in hopes I'd give her some more of the banana on the cutting board.


I often have a problem after taking a shower. I just had an idea--what if it isn't soap or shampoo getting in my eye--what if it's that I have to tilt my head back to rinse my hair. Maybe it's a nerve thing. It is ALWAYS worse after a shower.


I've been reading up on ms.  It causes pain and numbness periodically on one side of the body.  It worsens with rise in body temperature.  It causes pain with optic movement--but then I remembered that both optometrists said my optic nerve looks healthy.  That doctor at UT sent me a warning letter when I stopped seeing her, but a specialist had already found the problem with a broken vertebrae and found the surgeon.   Maybe I have lingering whiplash from falling on my head.  I am hot a lot, but maybe I have a sun burn.  It is hot.


I am so frustrated and confused.  What is going on with my neck/throat? If it is from holding Penelope that isn't fair.  If I don't pick her, she will think I don't love her.  She won't understand.  She always rides on Mommy.  I hate waking up.  Every night I hope things will be better in the morning, but they never are.  Derrick gave me a back rub last night which helped a little, but that's frustrating too because it suggests to me the ENT will be able to do nothing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Frustrated Again

I don't mean to be negative all the time, but I feel horrible. My life would be so wonderful if only I weren't in chronic, inexplicable pain. The idea of the pain almost bothers me more than the pain itself.

I made an appointment for the ENT to have a CT scan Thursday instead of next Thursday because of the stabbing eyepain.

This evening, we all went to daily mass at St. Elizabeth's--which we all liked very much (at least Derrick and I did. I didn't get a chance to talk with Mom and Dad, but they appeared to like it). One thing, though--when we first sat down, one man coughed violently for about fifteen minutes and seemed unable to stop coughing. Derrick pointed out that he seemed perfectly healthy otherwise, probably had a residual cough, and was probably bothered by the heat when he first sat down. I freaked out, but he managed to calm me down.

Okay, then when we got home, when we got in the house, I suddenly noticed that my face didn't hurt at all any more--but my throat did, and the worst pain was coming from the right side of my upper neck and the soft place back along into that ear. It will not go away. If it is from holding Penelope, why did it not hurt at the time? If it is from freaking out, I would like to say that is not fair. What is going on?

Now I'm really scared that the ENT will find nothing wrong because maybe the problem is really a pinched nerve--but that doesn't explain the swelling in my face. You can actually see puffiness on the right side of the nose. I actually think my face might still hurt, just the pain in the neck is worse and masking it. I am just so tired of being in pain.

I have this deep worry this is some kind of Freudian thing, and I'm doing it to try to get away from Penelope. I hate that idea. The thing is, she's so sweet. Even when she kicked me last night, she only did that because usually I get so amused when she says "kick" and kicks, so she was trying to cheer me up by showing off. She's so beautiful and always happy. And I love to hold her. How can holding her for just a few minutes result in some kind of pain? I can't just not hold her. She won't undestand that. And I held her on my right side AND my left side, but only the right side hurts.

Another troubling thing is the place in my foot that spontaneously started hurting and then stopped after a week or so is now at least partially numb.

Mom's Story about the Line at Knott's Berry Farm

There was this old-timer w/ a white beard (looked like an extra in a John Wayne movie) standing right in front of the reservation "chick." No one else but him and Merry and I was there. He tells her, "Three for chicken dinner."
"You're not in line," she rebuked him.
The man turned around and looked at me and Merry. We looked around too and back at him blankly in response.
"Where's the line?" he wondered out loud.
We wondered too and were more than a bit mystified. ???
The reservation chick was determined that there was INDEED a line and that we should be standing in it and proceeded to form a line for us out of several of those elastic-banded, portable posts that they use for amusement park and other attraction lines.
"There," she said with a satisfied eye looking at her finished, portable rectangle.
So the 3 of us turned around and proceeded to walk back around each post, the man in front, until we ended up in the very same position in which we had started. (If the man had been carrying a Golden Goose, it couldn't have been funnier!)
"How many?" asks the reservation chick.
"Three," says the man.
"And you?" she asks Merry and me.
"Three too," we dutifully reply.
"Come right around here and walk up those stairs," she directs us.

At least, there was a very tasty, Knott's Berry Farm Chicken Dinner w/ Boysenberry Pie for afters waiting for us at the end of this very unusual, makeshift, had-to-be-there line. And that had to be the WEIRDEST experience in a dinner line that either Merry or I had EVER encountered. You just don't have vacation fun like this every day!


My eyeball hurts so badly today. I feel like Satan is scraping it with a razor--well, okay, that's melodramatic, but still it hurts so much, and visibly you can't even tell that anything is wrong. I understand that people sometimes get sinus infections, but it doesn't make sense ALWAYS to have one. I don't even have any symptoms on the other side. I'm so frustrated. He wants to do another CT scan when I go back next Thursday. I'm pretty sure it will go away on Wednesday next week. Then the scan will look normal, and I'll never get an any help.

Penelope kicked me in the throat last night, mostly in the bottom of the left tonsil. Just when it had stopped hurting--she did it again. My mistake! I can't believe I let her do it twice! Then just before bed, she splashed milk into my right eye. It felt gritty and ached all night. I wondered if it would be red this morning--nope. It looks just like the other eye, but it is on fire with pain, and the nose area hurts, and the temple hurts. Stabbing, stabbing, constant pain. I don't understand. I'm taking Claritin, using Nasenex, and I've had six Advil since 10:00. Nothing even diminishes the pain, and it's present in all positions, when it used to be mostly just when I sat down. I am so frustrated. Luckily, we are at Mom's, so I'm not alone with Penelope.

She's so sweet. She was laughing in her sleep this morning for a long, long time. Then at lunch, I was telling Mom how Penelope always yells, "PUH!" when I spit while we brush our teeth. Penelope grinned at me. "Puh!" she said.

"Yeah," I told her. "You know what I'm talking about."

"PUH," she agreed with a grin.

A couple of minutes later, she squirmed down, toddled over to the table, and then came back to the kitchen and put her arms up to me. When I picked her up, she was chewing on Mom's turquoise pen.

"Uh oh!" I said. "Did you find a pen?"

"PUH!" she said happily, handing it to me.

"Ohhh!" I realized. "You found me a puh, didn't you--because you heard me saying I wanted one?"

Penelope smiled and gave me the puh.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend at Grandma's

We had a delightful weekend, mostly consisting of my mom cooking wonderful stuff and me complaining about sinus pain.  The right side of my face near my eye hurt unbearably all weekend--well more of a constant, dull inexplicable, frustrating pain.

Friday night, Mom and Dad got back from Sante Fe and had us over for blueberry pancakes and eggs.  Saturday afternoon, Mom made seven layer dip using Aunt Julia's white beandip recipe (or as swype wants to rename her, Ain't Judas).  We watched a House marathon on Bravo, and I got so hooked.  In one, a patient waiting in the clinic grabbed his face and started running around screaming in agony.  "Look, Sarah, it's you," Mom joked, which everyone found very hilarious.

Sunday, Mom made fried chicken dinner--so good--and we all watched Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.  Penelope started cutting a canine yesterday and has been somewhat of a grumpydoodle today.  She got mad this morning because I decided to self publish one of my books on amazon for kindle downloads.  That took twenty minutes of my focus.  During this time she ripped off a dirty diaper and threw herself on the changing pad with a defiant glare at me, like,"This is your fault."  We need to start potty training soon, but I'm nervous because I don't know how.

I never know if I have sinus problems or a neck injury.  But I am in the mood to reread Harry Potter.  Tuesday night, we are thinking of going to daily mass at St. Elizabeth to see what it's like since it's not too far from our house.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Good Memory # 10

10. “There was no jet.” On the way home, I was feeling much better than I had on the drive out, and we were making much worse time (not related to my state of health). During some of our long, long, long drives that lasted through the heat of the afternoon and late into the night, we whiled away the time telling jokes. Grayson started it. He wanted to tell “cross the road” jokes. The thing is, he never had a punch line. He’d make Derrick and I guess the answer each time, and our guesses were basically punch line auditions. Meanwhile, every time I told a joke, I could only seem to remember the punch line, so sometimes the set up turned out much funnier because I was kind of making it up as I went along. A couple of Grayson’s jokes did have an actual answer. This was his favorite and mine. “Why didn’t the jet cross the road?” Answer: “There was no jet.” Woah! (You have to say that in a Keanu Reeves voice.)

Good Memory #9 (I really have more than ten)

9. “Arkey Arkey!” and “Oh no!!!” Somehow we delayed eating until we were all about to die on almost every single day of the trip. I’m not sure how this happened. It wasn’t intentional. Wednesday, we Rayburns slept in while the Jetts were up and out fairly early. We considered eating in the hotel for breakfast, but I thought since we were going to Laguna, we should probably head out first and eat there or on the way. Then Derrick looked up Laguna online, and we decided we might have a hard time finding a spot for Grayson to swim, so we piled in the car heading for Huntington instead.

After our stop at Target, it was mid-day already, and everyone was starving! We were taking the long way to the beach (through lights) because it was the most direct. The children were very noisy about their hunger. Then Grayson remembered he’d left a mostly empty bag of cheese puffs in the front seat. I handed those back to him and broke out the pretzels for the rest of us.

Soon Grayson had moved onto pretzels, too. Penelope would yell, “Oh no!” when she ran out. She insisted on having one for each hand, so I was constantly leaning backwards to give them to her. After a while, Grayson graciously took over. I’d hand him a bunch of pretzels, and he’d feed some to Penelope. She then decided to feed some to him, too, and stuck them in his mouth.

At one point, Grayson stuck two in his mouth like tusks, and started clapping his hands and saying, “Arkey! Arkey!” (his impression of a walrus). Eventually, “Arkey! Arkey!” became code for more pretzels—but he neglected to tell me this. So for a while there, he was just screaming, “Arkey! Arkey! Arkey! Arkey!” over and over from the back seat, and I was hungry and in pain and tuning him out, because I didn’t know he was actually trying to communicate. Finally, Derrick looked at me and prompted, “Arkey!” like I was an idiot for not responding. After I finally figured it out, he told Grayson, “You’d probably get pretzels faster if you’d ask for them instead of saying, Arkey!” But, of course, walruses can’t say, “May I please have more pretzels.” When I was paying attention, “Arkey,” worked, but I would zone out a lot. Meanwhile, Penelope’s, “Oh no!” almost always worked. When I was trying to get her to say something else, Derrick said, “She’s probably noticed that saying ‘Oh no’ works—better than arkey, anyway.” The walrus hung around for the rest of the trip.

Merry's Memories (Annotated by Sarah)

Some of my favorite disneyland memories
1. You thinking about jumping out of the closet

I had forgotten all about that! I think it happened Wednesday afternoon after the beach. We left before they did, and Derrick took Grayson down to the pool (as promised) while I gave Penelope a bath before Rainforest Cafe that night. I was wandering back and forth between the rooms when I suddenly got the idea, "I'll bet they'll be coming back soon!" Then I heard them in the hall and peeked out the keyhole. For some reason, I was in this really giddy mood, so I thought it would be hilarious if I hid in the closet and jumped out to surprise them. But then I thought, No, I really might scare someone. So instead, I just opened the door for them and jabbered enthusiastically through the opening door.

2. Penelope eating my funnel cake.

Lucky Penelope got two funnel cakes that day. Merry and I were both eyeing them longingly in the line. They looked so good I had Grayson pose for a picture while we waited in the interminable line to order burgers at the Hungry Bear. (I have never seen the Hungry Bear so crowded!) Merry ended up choosing the one topped with strawberries, and sharing it with Mom, Dad, and Penelope while Grayson, Derrick, and I were getting drenched on Splash Mountain. Then when we joined them after the ride, Derrick treated me to the brownie topped funnel cake I'd been dreaming about since lunch. I let Penelope share that, too. (Mom was not thrilled, because apparently she'd just cleaned off her face from the last funnel cake.) Penelope was having a very tasty afternoon!

3. Riding Space Mountain with you and Dad. Both of you were funny.

Another one of my own good memories is riding rollercoasters with Merry, so I'll blog about this one later. I have quite a lot to say about Space Mountain!

4. At Knotts Berry farm with mom when they told us to stand in an imaginary line. Her laugh was so infectious and real. Like seriously?

This sounds like the funniest thing ever when Mom tells it, and it's extra funny because she found it so funny--kind of like in college how Dog Show on SNL seemed so much funnier because Christy was so inexplicably amused by it. I'm going to make Mom write out an account of this, so I can post it.

5. Falling out of the matterhorn?

Our ride did seem extra jerky!

6. Watching mom and dad walk penelope across the beach. It was very touching. I realized how much our family has changed and was a deep moment.

I was busy drowning while this happened!

7. Grayson falling asleep on me

That made my list, too, so I'm going to blog about it later!


Since we got home from the trip, I've been brushing my teeth in the downstairs bathroom, where I keep Penelope's toothbrush. This means we can brush our teeth together. She's big on holding her own toothbrush now (though her technique is questionable). I hold her in my arms in front of the mirror while we each brush. The funny part is, every time I lean forward and spit into the sink, after a one second delay, Penelope leans forward and yells, "PUH!" She's so cute. Her toothpaste is less foamy than mine, so she doesn't really spit anything out, but I guess she admires my technique.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Last night, I couldn't get Penelope to sleep in the chair, so I said to Derrick, "Let's just take her up awake, okay?"

Derrick had fallen asleep on the couch, but I did get an answer.

"Otay," Penelope piped up with a winning smile.  She toddled over to me and reached her arms up.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Penelope's Surprising Sentence

Penelope's recent "oh no"ing fetish has been worrying me.  In the bath tub today, she stood up with a duckie in each hand and moaned, "Oh no!" for five minutes straight.  I was starting to worry she has some disorder.

"What is wrong?" I asked her.

Suddenly, she threw the duckies into the water.  Squatting to fish them out, she said, "U feh dow, duck."  Then she lifted them in the air as she stood and yelled, "Up! Up!  Fy! Fy! Kak!"  Then she made another Donald Duck noise.  There then followed another five minutes of incessant "oh no"s.

Maybe she does it because they solve problems on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Maybe all my stressed out freakouts are to blame.  My neck hurt so badly when I got home from the ENT.  A couple of hours ago, I expelled A LOT of blood unexpectedly like on the day I called the ambulance.  It was disconcerting, but the neck pain stopped.  What can I say?  Oh no!


So the ENT said it was a virus that inflames the nerves.  It is excruciatingly painful and apparently responds to Valtrex, though it is not caused by the herpes virus.  That made me think of when I had the horrible eye pain in February that became horrible face pain.  The optometrist said that it could be allergy to the eyedrop or a virus that spread when the steroid suppressed the immune system.  It might even explain the pain in my foot.  Maybe it is herpes 6 like Penelope's roseola.  But why does it keep flaring up?  Meanwhile, he doesn't think the constricting tube thing is an allergy.  He ordered an allergy panel blood test, and I'll get the results in 5 to six days.  Maybe he can fix it with a balloon.  I see him again July 1 at 10:15.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dinner at the Rainforest Cafe

Memory #8

8. My T-shirts. I love getting T-shirts from destinations. That’s what I prefer to wear all the time (because I am mentally five years old. Before we left, when I was at the Adidas store in the Outlet Mall buying shoes for the trip, I found this awesome pair of multi-colored pastel high tops that reminded me of Punky Brewster. I really wanted to get them. Derrick was so relieved when they turned out to hurt my feet). Anyway, I love T-shirts, but we didn’t really have a big souvenir budget (to say the least). I’ve been eyeing the shirts that say “Happiest Place on Earth since 1955” all year on the Disneyland website, so of course, I bought one of those from the store in Adventureland on Monday afternoon. Then, that night in the Star Trader, on the way out, saw the cutest shirt of a storm trooper eating a Mickey Mouse fudge pop. Chocolate was smeared all over his face. The caption read, “Get a Taste of the Dark Side.” I loved it (although Merry at first thought it was poop and was confused about my choice). Seeing that I was in love with this shirt, Derrick told me I could go ahead and buy it. Then Tuesday, Mom saw a cute Cheshire Cat shirt in the Hollywood Backlot of California Adventure and offered to buy it for me. They only had a large and a 2X. I’d been buying Extra Large (but my first shirt turned out to be too big through the arms and the large actually fit, though I still always look pregnant when I carry Penelope). On Thursday, I saw an adorable Fantasyland shirt on a stand by the castle, and Dad said he would buy it for me, but it didn’t fit. He said he’d get me a different shirt, and Merry found me the coolest one after we got off Space Mountain. Its black with the Flying Saucers on the front in green. I never dreamed I’d get so many shirts! I love them all!

Memory #7

7. A parade coming by during Alice in Wonderland. After a very frustrating series of text messages between Mom and me (neither of us were getting them), we all ended up in the Alice in Wonderland ride late on Monday afternoon (except Dad because he was waiting with the stroller to guard Penelope’s balloon). I always get excited about Alice in Wonderland because it was Merry’s favorite ride when she was little, so I love it for that reason and always think of her when I ride it. Penelope seemed to enjoy the ride, too. For once, no one was trying to kill us or laughing maniacally in the darkness. (Snow White and Pinocchio had short lines, but were a scary start to the day.) Anyway, there’s a part of Alice when your caterpillar comes out of the ride into the open air, and you wind around the track outside to the ride’s lower level. Just as our caterpillar emerged into the open air, a parade float came by, only a few feet away from us. Several of the characters (Wendy was one, I think), waved to us enthusiastically, while looking right at us with big smiles. I waved back. Penelope seemed happy.

Memory #6 Aunt Merry

6. Watching Merry crack up at the boat driver’s jokes on the Jungle Cruise. Those who know my sister can always tell pretty easily when she’s faking interest, and when she’s genuinely amused. Looking at my pictures on Derrick’s laptop, she was like, “I don’t make that face, do I?” Mom and I told her, “Yes, you make that face all the time. That’s a classic Merry look.” His jokes were funny, and he delivered them well. In general, all the Disneyland employees were exceedingly friendly and those performing got very into the roles. In California Adventure, by contrast, most employees sounded like they were killing time while waiting to die of a slow-acting intestinal disease. I had a lovely conversation with the guy in the Indiana Jones store and with the woman working the counter at the Hungry Bear.

Top Ten Memories #5 by Sarah

5. Riding the Monorail into Tomorrowland on Wednesday night after dinner at the Rainforest CafĂ© in Downtown Disney. By the time we got on, it was almost 9:00. I told the man looking at hand stamps that we hadn’t been in the park yet that day and showed him our tickets. For some reason, he thanked me—maybe for having the tickets out. I was confused about why he was so grateful to me for not having been into the park yet. Anyway, I’ve never ridden the Monorail at Disneyland before, so this was exciting. Penelope’s nose was running (because she was cutting a molar), so we were only going to ride Peter Pan and leave. But when we got off, we all had to go to the bathroom. Some employee told my mom that Tomorrowland had no bathrooms, but he was clearly insane. Someone directed us to the Winner’s Circle behind Autopia where we took turns in the restroom. While we were waiting for Derrick and Grayson, Penelope got attached to this spinning light toy with Tinkerbell on top. She loved to feel her ponytail as much as the spinning lights. Derrick let her get it, and Grayson picked out one with Lightning McQueen. Then we happened to catch the fireworks and walk right onto Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters. That was a blast. You shoot with a gun and steer the car (rotate it) with a joystick. I turned it around a couple of times at first to show Penelope Daddy and Grayson in the car behind us. My mistake! Penelope caught on very quick to how to make the car turn around to see Daddy and Bubby. While I was trying to shoot the targets, she was working the joystick, turning the car around and around with wild abandon. Then we rode the teacups and the carousel and finally Peter Pan. The line was so long that by the time we got to the ride, Penelope was fast asleep. “Here we go,” said Peter Pan, “off to Neverland!” “I think Penelope is already in Neverland,” said Derrick.

Top Ten Good Memories by Sarah #3 and #4

3. Penelope’s ecstatic reaction to the rides in A Bug’s Land on Tuesday afternoon, particularly the little spinning Lady Bugs and the flying snack cups. She laughed throughout both rides and seemed to find it delightful that she was spinning around while looking across at Bubby. I have never seen such a look of joy. I got several pictures. We took her on the Tea Cups Wednesday night, but I think the spinning got a bit overwhelming because she was leaning back and staring up at the lights, and it was night time. She went into kind of a trance, and Derrick decided to slow down. Other favorite rides were the carousel (which she conned everyone into taking her on a million times) and the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage on Monday night. She was absolutely glued to her porthole, riveted through the whole ride. The instant the ride ended, she slumped over and fell fast asleep.

4. Grayson buying the storm trooper uniform in The Star Trader Monday night after Star Tours. “Can we buy something in here?” he asked. “Do you know what you want?” I asked him. “Yes,” he replied and went right to the costume. He’s wanted it for two years. The cashier pointed out that the Jedi knights were the good guys. “But they don’t have guns,” said Grayson. He dressed up in the costume every evening and every morning. Mom and Dad later bought him a gun, to complete the look. Penelope, meanwhile, loved the pirate sword he bought in Adventureland. Every chance she got, she walked around the hotel room with it. (She loved to wonder from room to room.) “That’s Bubby’s sword,” I said to her one day. “Yes, but when I have the sword,” Daddy vocalized for her, “then I pretend that I’m Bubby.” Penelope scrunched her nose at him with a knowing grin, like he’d gotten it exactly right. (Note: My mom got the best shot of Storm Trooper Grayson, and I don't have it on this computer yet.)

Penelope Meets Mickey Mouse, Donald, and Pluto

Sarah's Best Moments #1 and #2 (More to Follow)

Best Things That Happened On Our Trip

1. Penelope meeting Mickey Mouse. When we entered the park Monday morning, we headed straight down Main Street for Fantasyland, but we got sidetracked right away near the Main Street Mad Hatter because Mickey Mouse abruptly showed up on the sidewalk, and a line for pictures began forming. Penelope (who had been sort of confused up till this point) really lit up to see Mickey. When we stood beside him to get our picture taken, she kept smiling and reaching out for him. “Oh,” I said. “Do you love Mickey?” Hearing that, Mickey drew a heart in the air, and Penelope was charmed. Then Donald Duck showed up a few feet away, and we hopped into his line. I thought she’d be even more excited about Donald given her obsession with duckies, but in the line to meet him, she was still staring over at Mickey. Every time he’d smile or wave at someone, Penelope would smile and wave at him coyly and make excited little jabbery noises. We missed Pooh, but we did get to meet Pluto Tuesday morning in A Bug’s Land. She was pretty excited about that, too.

2. Wednesday. (It was one of those 24 hour happenings.) I’ll start with the Beach. After two long days of theme parking, and lots of time in a big group, we were really excited to spend a relaxing day at the beach, just the four of us. After talking to the concierge, we decided to try Laguna, but chickened out, thinking we might have trouble finding a sandy spot where Gray could swim. Next we decided to go to Huntington Beach to accommodate Grayson’s obsession with surfing. When we got in the car, we were greeted with an unsavory aroma—more of a stench, really. An old bottle of milk from a convenience store had been left in the car, come open, and leaked all over the floor mat. After baking in the enclosed car for three sunny days, it smelled pretty gross. Actually, for going to the beach, it wasn’t so bad. The car smelled very fishy. It seemed fitting in a way. On the way out, Derrick stopped at Target to get Grayson a pair of flip flops. After ten thousand years, he came back with a blue pair that looked kind of small. “The sizes are all weird,” he said. “Try these.” Grayson shoved them on his feet. “Yeah, they fit pretty well,” he decided—except the entire back of his foot was hanging out. They were about three inches too short, but he decided he didn’t need flipflops, so we just went.

We were planning to go to Huntington Beach but ran into Newport on our way, so we just stopped there. After not eating at the Crab Cooker (which I have recorded elsewhere), we headed to the beach. As we were parking the car, I was saying, “It is really nice to have some time just to ourselves.” Abruptly, Derrick interrupted by saying, “There’s your mom!” It was so uncanny! Mom was standing right next to our car. We’d left the hotel at different times, with different iteneraries, and somehow had ended up arriving at the same part of the parking lot, at the same beach, at exactly the same moment.

This worked out well for me because I got to go into the ocean with Derrick and Grayson while Penelope ate Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies and tried to feed Aunt Merry sand. She went in the water a bit, too, of course, but Derrick, Grayson, and I were the only ones who liked to crash into the waves, sometimes getting swept under by them.

When we left, we saw the meter maid walking towards us. Our parking meter had expired literally three minutes too soon, so we had a $53 fine, but we were all in a good mood.

This Seemed Like a Cute Picture When We Took It

But now Derrick and I aren't so sure...

Funnel Cakes by the Mark Twain at the Hungry Bear

Mom and Dad's Ten Best List

1. Dad: Telling Penelope HIS version of "Nellie-locks & The Three Bears," and her reaction to it.
2. Penelope's joy when she saw the Minnie Mouse doll.
3. Penelope's joy seeing Small World.
4. Dad: Being attacked in his bed by an official Star Wars storm trouper.
5. Bkfst w/ Merry in LeBrea Bakery downtown Disney & at Stagedoor Restaurant Frontierland.
6. Feeding Penelope strawberry funnel cakes.
7. Taking Penelope on King Arthur's Carousel--twice.
8. Sharing French fries & Coke w/ Gray-swan while playing "which hand is it in?
9. Seeing the way cool Fireworks!
10. Getting so many Kodak moments to review together each day.

11. Big Bag of Carmel Corn.

One more worst thing: tepid showers
One more best thing: hotel pool

Mom and Dad's List of 10 Worsts

1. Thinking I lost my ticket Day 1, when it was in my bra all the time!

2. Daddy "forgetting" his ticket in his other pants & shuttling back Day 2!

3. Daddy says, "D Agony of D-feet!"

4. Finding a "butt ugly, nasty stain" on our bed spread!

5. Heat & Crowd on Day #1

6. Monsters, Inc.-side of CA Adventure being shut down at start of Day 2.

7. Hungry Bear restaurant cashier giving Merry a hard time when she tried to use Dad's card to buy lunch.

8. And THEN the Duck dripped water on her head. (At least we HOPE it was water!)

9. A tourist dropped litter on ground while he waited for group Astro Orbiter. Penelope was upset. Pointed at the litter and said to Gpa, "No! No!" And she kept pointing until Gpa picked it up & threw it in the trash can.

10. A little general disorientation from not visiting for a long time, and specifically, I looked for Carnation in it's old location by the Castle before finding it & Rayburns halfway down Main Street.

Lists of Delicious Foods

1. The coconut shrimp skewers and macadamia encrusted mahi-mahi at The Rainforest Cafe Wednesday night. I also loved the spinach artichoke dip with rainbow chips and my share of the chocolate volcano. Best of all, though, was the giant rainbow Icee. Penelope enjoyed eating two bananas and whipped cream, spearing her grilled cheese with a knife, and gnawing on a banana peel, my cheetah and Grayson's lizard (that came underneath the giant Icees), and, of course, her red and yellow crayons. (She was cutting a molar that night, and her nose was "running away!")

2. Aunt Julia's white bean dip (put out the fire in my throat) and homemade Navajo fry bread. She also did a great job of crumbling the bacon on Mom's baked beans.

3. The brownie and whipped cream covered funnel cake we shared at the Hungry Bear Restaurant Monday afternoon while we watched the Mark Twain, Columbia, and Explorer Canoes after Splash Mountain. Penelope liked it, too, especially the "whippy cream."

4. Clam chowder in a freshly baked sour dough bread bowl at the Pacific Wharf Cafe, near the Boudin Bakery overlooking Paradise Pier in California Adventure. We ate there for brunch Tuesday and Friday. Penelope loved to eat there, too, because the Kids' Power Pack came with apple slices, string cheese, Goldfish and yogurt. Grayson and Derrick had yummy turkey sandwiches. On Friday, female mariachis serenaded us. When one saw me taking a picture, she came over and posed--which Penelope found highly suspicious. Grayson liked to watch me toss bread all over the place trying to snap pictures of birds. Despite my messy efforts, the only thing I seemed to attract was the (negative) attention of the guy sweeping up the pier.

5. Not Having Lunch at the Crab Cooker on Wednesday. I was so excited when Derrick made an offhand comment about a place called The Crab Cooker being on the Google map on the way to Newport Beach. I remembered going with my grandparents--such a great place for photos. Their Manhattan chowder is famous, and though I strongly prefer New England, I was willing to down Manhattan for the photo op. We used Grayson's quarters to park behind the restaurant. (By a stroke of good luck, he remembered that Derrick had stuck them in the center console.) By another stroke of good luck, there was nothing on the menu but fish, which Grayson refused to eat. I'd already gotten the pictures (even one with the menu), so we walked across the street to a place I'd spotted called The Original Pizza. Fresh hot cheese pizza just out of the oven and a pitcher of ice cold Pepsi beats fish any day! And Penelope thought the Pepsi was gross and refused to drink it, which made me happy! While we waited, a woman asked for a spoon and seemed awfully put out that they didn't have one. This all made sense when I watched her trying to feed her nine month old sweet potatoes with a fork.

6. The Fettuccini Supremo at Buca on Thursday night with my parents.That was Merr's choice (smart girl). Fettuccini, grilled chicken, broccoli, and peppers in a creamy Alfredo sauce. Penelope preferred to eat it off my plate, one purloined noodle at a time.Even though we had to wait an hour and a half and Grayson's eyes hurt from too much swimming under water, that was still a great meal. The ravioli and the meatball from the spaghetti also hit the spot, as did the pan fried mozzarella. (Penelope liked that, too.) The white pizza Derrick and I shared Sunday night was quite yummy, too! And the best part about Buca? Huge bottles of San Pellegrino--a love letter to my sore tonsil.

7. Any Coke imbibed in Disneyland. I'm not a huge fan of Coke, but it always tastes like Disneyland, possibly because I associate it with my Uncle Jim. I also like the smell of cigarettes in Disneyland, and if I'm in some scenic sunny place (say Rubio), I love to drink Coke and sit with smokers and say, "This reminds me of Disneyland," as my friend Amanda can confirm.

8. The cookie dough waffle cone from Burbank Ice Cream in California Adventure on Friday. This was extra delicious because I smashed it all over the sidewalk while trying to get a perfect picture of myself eating it, and Derrick told me to get a new one even though I was making a heroic (and messy) effort to eat the smashed one. This was a rare moment of tranquility. Penelope was asleep and the three of us were eating ice cream in the flowers while waiting for Playhouse Disney Live On Stage to start. The churro I had near Grizzly River Rapids on Tuesday was also good, but I was trying to gobble it down fast since our fast pass window for that ride was only five minutes after our window for Soarin' Over California.

9. Candy from the Candy Palace on Mainstreet on Thursday. I took Grayson in. Derrick said, "He can have whatever he wants," so I got whatever I wanted, too. Grayson chose this fill-your-own pixie stick from a machine and filled it with blue powder that spilled all over the backseat of the car Saturday near Las Cruces. I got a bag of saltwater taffy and two family sized containers of fudge and English Toffee. Grayson was big on helping eat the taffy. Derrick and I liked the yummy toffee best, but Penelope's heart belongs to the "fudgey." I keep finding the package all over the house. She keeps stealing it off the table, but she doesn't know how to get it open.

10. Chicken Teriyaki at The Lucky Dragon at California Adventure Tuesday night. The flavor was just right, but the best part was watching Penelope dig around in the white take-out carton with her spoon.

11. Possibly the best meal of all...Thursday we had the good sense for once to begin our day in the park with a meal. The Jetts who beat us to the park were already eating at the Stage Door Cafe in Frontierland, so we Rayburns stopped for breakfast at the Carnation Cafe on Mainstreet. Such a delicious breakfast--and table service, too, with plenty of crayons to eat for an appetizer. Derrick and I both got iced mochas, mine with hazelnut. Penelope loved her scrambled eggs and strawberries, and she ate my banana while I helped myself to her potatoes. Grayson got mini-Mickey waffles and graciously allowed me to photograph them, freeing me up to order what I actually wanted to eat--eggs, honey ham, and cheese on a warm croissant. Derrick had apple pancakes, and we all loved every bite. We should have started out with a big meal every morning! The only downside was that Penelope was afraid of the waitress.

12. Lunch at Ft. Stockton Pizza Hut on the first and last day. I'm a fan of Pizza Hut because of the salad bar. I like a mix of croutons, cheese, Chinese noodles, ranch and creamy Italian, and if possible, pineapple. On the way up, Penelope ate all my salad--especially the cheese, peaches, tomato, cucumber, and broccoli. On the way back, I got an all you can eat
salad bar, and she just threw everything all over the floor and got hungry later. But I had Mountain Dew for the first time all year and got like three refills, so I didn't care. Grayson and Derrick enjoyed the pepperoni pizza, though Gray preferred hand-tossed to pan.

13. McDonald's apple dippers--virtually the only fast food Penelope will eat. Grayson and all of Penelope's toys enjoy them, too.

14. Welcome Home Dinner at La Margarita in Round Rock. Bean chalupas are so good, but Penelope was being kind of snookie and didn't want her taco or her beans. Just tortilla. Iced tea, fresh tortillas, and queso were all delicious.

15. Stuff I Didn't Eat But Wanted To: Dole pineapple treats in the long line outside the Tikki Room, Frozen banana at the CA cart that only took cash, Monte Cristo sandwiches at the Blue Bayou (next time!).

More Buca

Buca For Dinner

Penelope was really happy to get to the hotel to see Grandma and Grandpa. Grayson was pretty excited to see Aunt Merry and hopped right into bed with her. They had already eaten at Knott's Berry Farm, but we were starving, so we walked across the parking lot to Buca di Beppo where Derrick and I got a four cheese white pizza, Grayson had fettucini, and Penelope had fun playing with her straw. She was very happy to be there until a waitress spoke to her. Then she freaked out and had to come sit by me, which was convenient because that way she could steal my food and my straw more easily. We ordered her a little cheese pizza, but she didn't seem to want that. She ate our pizza instead. She was most interested in the straw.

Dinner with Aunt Julia and Clan

(Penelope is so cute. We're watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, the episode where Donald helps some ducks migrate. Penelope is running around with one of her little rubber duckies from the tub. She's making him soar through the air, saying, "Kak kak kak!" as she runs in circles.)

Uncle Jason Shows Grayson Foreign Currency

In anticipation of second grade in the fall, Grayson is working on learning money, so Aimee sent him with some cash for souveniers and also ten dollars in quarters. He really liked the quarters and kept showing them off the whole time. Penelope also thought they were pretty awesome. Of course, she likes everything Bubby says or does.
When he showed his uncle the quarters, Jason pulled out all kinds of foreign currency from all over the world. Grayson was impressed.

Almost There...

Below: The gas station by the wind farm. Penelope dropped her hippo under the car while I was changing her diaper in the passenger seat. Grayson had to retrieve him.

Below: No doubt inspired by me, Penelope kept stealing the thermometer and taking her temperature.
Below: She adores Grayson so much, and she also discovered that she likes pretzels!

On day three I felt better--mainly because I insisted on feeling better and was quite excited about Disneyland. My throat still hurt unbearably in the one spot on the right side, but I was kind of giddy, and Derrick was forcing me to stay extremely hydrated by practically dumping Perrier down my throat.
Driving across the desert was really fun. I was jabbering a lot, but I can't particularly remember what I was saying.
More in the morning. Some toodle doo will not go to bed...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mesa Morning

Below: Grayson enjoyed playing Gran Torismo Prologue and watching the amazing graphics at the beginning of Final Fantasy XIII. Penelope wanted to be back where Bubby was, but she kept wandering off and getting into trouble.

Below: We all went to I-Hop for breakfast. The air in Mesa was so dry (not good for tonsilitis)! But it didn't feel that hot to me. The flowers were blooming, and everything was quite beautiful.

Below: Penelope really enjoyed that both her cup and her shirt had letters. She kept trying to find matching letters on the shirt and cup.

Below: I ordered Penelope this smiley pancake because I thought she would enjoy it. She wasn't very interested in the pancake, though. She ate the bananas and the strawberries, and then decided to help herself to my breakfast instead.