Thursday, December 11, 2008

You know its Christmas when ...

... you find yourself screaming "Who lost Jesus' mommy?!? Whoever lost Jesus' mommy is getting a spanking!"

Lucie, the primary suspect in the crime, remedied the situation by pairing up Joseph and the shepherd, which changes the nativity story altogether but also makes it so very California in 2008.

Welcome to the world. Now go home.

Yesterday Lucie tried to put Violet in the kitchen trash can. She didn't get very far on the first attempt, but then ordered me to leave Violet in the road while I walked her into preschool.

Is it normal for the middle child to turn homicidal?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All I Want For Christmas ...

Grayson completed a fast and furious, but three page, wish list for Santa before the big visit this evening. The number one request, which nearly got him boo'd off the big guy's lap, is for a baby brother. In the event that is not going to happen (which it most definitely is not), he agreed to take an Elf. Preference is for an Elf that is good with math and can help him with homework.

Lucie was fired up to see "that Christmas man" and give him a piece of her two-year-old mind. "My going to tell that Christmas man that Christmas sucks," she threatened the entire ride there. Yet when standing at the red velvet knee, her resolve melted like snow and instead she coo'd, "My want a kitty and a candy cane, please."

And the baby, well, she slept like a baby, of course.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Tactics for the War on Terror

One of the pediatric dentists here in town is offering gold coins to children in exchange for each pound of their Halloween candy. The thought of this has been haunting Grayson. Children being forced to part with their precious trick-or-treat booty? Irrational!

We are now 20-days post-Halloween and still talking about it. Out of the blue, he asked me in the car yesterday, "Mom, what do you think that dentist is going to do with all of the candy?"

"I think I heard that he is sending it to the troops in Iraq," I replied.

"Oooooh!" he said, like the light bulb had finally switched on. "So the chocolate can make the soldiers all wild?"

"Maybe," I laughed.

"And the candy will make their teeth all rotten and when they see a bad guy all they'll have to do is smile at him with their rotten teeth and he'll faint!"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Welcome to the world, Baby Girl

The arrival of Violet Louise on November 5th completed our family!

The name Violet was on our short list of naming possibilities, but rose to the top after Grayson's class recommended it blindly. Louise is the pet name my Grandpa Wright gave to me, and it makes me smile to hear people call my little daughter by the same.

More favorite memories:
The epidural paperwork asking if there was a chance I may be pregnant, and then offering to kiss the anesthesiologist when it finally kicked in.

Rushing to pause the raunchy parts of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Weeds" every time a doctor or nurse came into the labor room.

Telling the nurse I was afraid the epidural was wearing off. She took a quick peek and said, "Oops, nope that's the babies head." And then literally laughing the baby out to the Beatles song "Yesterday."

Julie rushing into the room just 5 seconds too late.

Calling Grayson's classroom to announce the birth. When he heard it was a sister, he said "Awww, Shoot." And every girl in the class started screaming. We had the conversation on speakerphone and the doctors and nurses all belly laughed.

Robbie bawling for joy for three days straight.

Grayson saying in the hospital that "she is so beautiful it hurts my eyes" and "the only problem is that I just love her too much."

Lucie giving me her new baby doll in what she deemed was a fair exchange for Violet, and then bawling as she left the hospital after the initial introduction, "But my want to keep her!"

The new baby doll being bigger than Violet.

Lucie chuckling as she watched Violet nurse for the first time. "Huh, huh. Dat baby chewing on your boob! Dat baby not chew on my boob?" She has since changed her mind and frequently walks around the house topless offering to nurse people and things.

The absolute chaos of having all five of us in that tiny hospital room trying to eat a pizza dinner on the bed, the children pushing every button, climbing in the incubator, threatening to harm the baby and disrupt the other patients. And Rob and I looking at each other above it all and wondering what the heck we have done.

Watching the sunrise for the first time with her in our arms while the Foo Fighters sang "Hands on A Miracle."

Staying up until 2:30am trying to pick-out the perfect name. Evelyn? Elise? Camille?

Picking Violet up from the nursery one evening, and nurses had all the newborns lined up in their incubators wearing matching crocheted hats from their senior volunteers. The edges looked like flower petals on Violet's tiny head.

When visitors ooh and aah over Violet, Lucie tells them, "You should get one. They are at the hospital. Just look in the window and pick one out. You should pick a boy."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Little Mommy

The Wagner Four toured the maternity ward last night in anticipation of soon becoming the Wagner Five. Grayson was very somber, sticking to his mantra of "I can't believe you guys are having another Lucie." He appreciated looking at the handprints and matching names on the wall of NICU graduates, and even found a Jesus, whose miraculous birth must have been before the recent remodel as there was definitely no mangers in sight.

Lucie had fallen on her way into the hospital, and was paranoid the entire time that a doctor would discover her injury and force an examination upon her. "Don't let dat lady see my knee," she'd say as she tugged her pant leg a little lower. And since the nurses frowned at jumping on the labor and delivery beds, the tour was of little interest to her 2-year-old mind.

Until we got to the nursery window. "Dare babies in dare!" she squealed with delight. "Hold me up! Hold me up so I can see dem babies!" There were four babies, all bundled up and hatted and looking like freshly baked loaves of bread, which the nurses were delighted to hold up to the window for us to admire. Rob literally had to restrain Lucie as she kicked and tried to jump through the nursery door. "My want to go in there! My want to rock does babies! My can wrap dem up! My want in there wight now!"

She's been blanketing her dollies and sashaying with them around the house ever since. She's our little mommy; except that she often carries a dolly in one hand and a pirate sword in the other.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I mentioned to Rob that the tree outside the kitchen window was in need of a trim.

Note to self: Rob is not to be trusted with the children's haircuts.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Laying Low

Wagner #5 has gotten fed up with the cramped conditions and decided to leave the nest early.

It started on Tuesday while watching "Wonder Pets" with Lucie and a sudden gush of blood. I can almost laugh now about Rob's initial reaction, walking in from the garage in response to my screaming and asking in confusion, as I stood in a puddle of blood, "What are you doing bleeding like that?" He recovered quickly and took charge and then used his EMT skills to run 3 red lights with our little white van on the way to the hospital. My angel of a friend Julie was on our doorstep in a flash to whisk away the children, and even cleaned up the blood and did the dishes and some math problems with Grayson. Karen fed them, Chris cuddled them, and I am overwhelmed by their TRUE friendship.

I had neither a bag packed nor the presence of mind to give any instructions for packing one, and the only thing that Rob grabbed as we ran out the door was my Easter dress from 2 years ago. Guess he wanted me to look pretty.

The best sight of all was walking into the hospital and being greeted by Dr. Sofici, the doctor who has done sonograms on all of the kids and specializes in high risk pregnancies and whom I adore and trust. He happened to be checking another patient and had the sonogram machine all geared up and waiting for us and was able to reassure us of the baby's health within just a few minutes of arriving. He said that the baby weighs 4.5 pounds and gave me an injection to help develop the baby's lungs rapidly. If we can keep it in for another week, they won't try and stop it after that. So, although we don't know quite what is going on (possible burst blood vessel?), as Dr. Sofici says, "We are ahead of the 8 ball just in case."

Although I'm thankful to be home now, the contractions haven't stopped, which sends me into a minor panic every once in a while, and puts the pressure on Rob to cook and clean and entertain the kids. He told Grayson to get dressed for school yesterday, and Grayson said, "I can't. Mom didn't set out my clothes." So Rob told him to wear an outfit that he's worn before because then we know it matches. So Grayson put on the same clothes from the day before and Rob just shrugged his shoulders and said, "OK, that works." Lucie is still a little traumatized by the blood (she asks about it frequently with her face all squished up) and keeps trying to stick Band-Aids under my dress.

So Baby Wagner, as your mother, I'm sending you back to your room for at least a 6-day time out, with love. Trust me, if history repeats itself, you'll suddenly find it too comfortable to leave and I'll be forced to evict you anyways.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Let us not speak of this again

Janice: Lucie, look at these tiny diapers! They are for the new baby!

Lucie: For me? My want to wear dos tiny diapers.

Janice: No, they are for the new brother or sister that is going to join our family.

Lucie: Dat baby in your belly?

Janice: Yep. Aren't they tiny?

Lucie: There no baby in my belly. Put your baby in Oliver's belly (a schoolmate). Dat baby come tomorrow?

Janice: No, not for a long time.

Lucie: Put those tiny diapers away then. Put dem back for long time and help me make a nicnic (picnic).

My Kids ROCK!

Before Grayson was even born, Rob and I made a pact not to introduce him to music targeted at his age group. This fear of having the radio hijacked by the soundtrack to The Lion King was planted after riding in too many mini-vans with friends and having to yell out conversation over manic versions of Baby Beluga. If we had tried listening to something else, say NPR or even The Beatles, the kids in the backseat would scream until they either passed out or gagged all over the leather interior.

Two kids later and the pact is still holding firm in our mini-van. In fact, both kids often tell us to turn up the volume when we're listening to our music, and particularly love the song "New Shoes" by Paolo Nutini. Like magic, the music can cure the grumpiest of moods just by blasting it really loud and dancing together in the living room.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Goodbye Mills

We've spent the last week saying goodbye to our dear friends, the Mills, who are headed off to Oregon to assume leadership of a church there. Those Corvallis women are going to have to step it up to compete with Kir's lipstick and high heeled chicness! While their friendship with us and between our kids is irreplaceable, Rob and I are holding out hope that any new friends will be closer to the 5-foot mark, thus making us feel less like shrimps who belong at the kid's table. Wishing you sunny days and large houses filled with lots of family time, Mills family!

First Day of Second Grade

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fireworks Make Me Happy

The City of Goleta celebrated Labor Day with the fireworks show they had planned for Fourth of July, but canceled due to the Gap Fire. Grayson loved cuddling on the blanket with friends and the USA tattoos that still adorn his face 3-days later. Lucie enjoyed the snacks (of course) but the fireworks, not so much. "Es a monster fowing scawey wocks dat pop," she screamed for 30-seconds before finding a sweater button to nurse on and falling asleep in my arms.

I'm still smiling from the old-fashioned joy of gathering with neighbors on a blanket to ooh and aah at the nighttime sky. And to collectively groan at Enrique's musical choreography: "I could be your hero, Baby!"

What NOT to name the baby

In our continuing struggle to come up with the perfect but not overused name for baby #3, the siblings have selected Ellabella for a girl. Which is preferable to the Coolio they have chosen for a brother.

While we were thankful for any possibilities last week during a little pre-term labor scare, I'm glad to have a few more months to continue the search.

Es Scawey

Although by no means a comprehensive list of the things that terrify our little Lulu, following is a sampling of the random fears which cause overload and eventual shut down. Of course, each scream just about breaks big brothers heart, preventing him from touching baby sister with "scawey" object more than, say, six or seven times.

"My no like .... dragonflies, lizards, trees with star-shaped leaves or droppings of any kind, pool grout, black cats, Christmas tree lights, fireworks, balloons ...."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lunch Safety Net

With second grade in full swing, I thought I'd post these speedy and healthy fallback menus for stuffing the lunch boxes and getting out the door on time:

MENU A: Turkey sandwich, applesauce, cereal bar
MENU B: Grilled cheese, trail mix, banana
MENU C: Soup, banana bread (or cheese and crackers), orange/apple
MENU D: Hummus and pita, yogurt, strawberries/grapes
MENU E: PB&J, string cheese, graham crackers

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday Driver

Rob and I enjoyed a little sunset cruise in the open air Porsche this evening, but the screams from the backseat dampened the mood a bit: "My no like dis wind!"

Baby Boy Turns 7

Less Viva, More Fiesta

One year later, and Lucie still doesn't care much for the confetti-laden fiesta eggs. Her brother, however, continues to delight in her terror. Some things never change.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Nine hours of Shakespeare in three days, and still thirsting for more. Images above were from the weekend finale, Midsummer Night's Dream, hilariously staged in the 60s and 80s. Comedy of Errors and Othello weren't bad either, but the 8:30pm start time required Starbucks fortification.

Hobart's Bluff

The view from Hobart's Bluff, high atop the Pacific Crest Trail near Ashland, Oregon. (Pregnancy disclaimer.) You should have seen the dandelions -- they were the size of dinner plates!

Doggie Style

I have the worst luck with dogs. There's the three or four who've tried to make our home their own. And failed.

Most memorable is the time Rob drove me two hours to test drive a 65 Chevy pick-up truck, and while the men did the proverbial "kicking of the tires," the pooch owner did some territory marking of his own -- on my pant leg. Rob, who saw the offense take place, gave a gruff reprimand to its owner: "Your dog just pissed on my wife!" Which is, to this day, one of my favorite quotes and, no, Rob did not buy the truck.

Now after a day of delayed flights and missed connections and quick re-routing, I found myself starving and driving through the sleepy town of Klamath Falls, Oregon. There wasn't a Mc-anything in sight - only a tractor repair shop connected to a 6-patron grill. While the hamburgers were sizzling on the grill, I checked out the latest in John Deere. The guard dog greeted me at the entrance with a cursory crotch sniff and then climbed aboard for a hello hump. Rob waltzed in just as the dog was lighting his post-coital cigarette. "What's up with the red rocket?" he asked with a nod. "I need a t-shirt," I said. "I just got humped in Klamath Falls."

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Highlights from the Herrema family reunion in Yosemite ...

(1) The view from Glacier Point.
(2) Rocks that were just MADE for climbing up to Bridalveil Falls.
(3) The talent show.
(4) We saw deer; Lucie saw giraffes.
(5) Noah's affection for Lucie's pink purse, and her evil revenge with his blankie.
(6) Winning at Uno.
(7) Brian's barbecue'd stirfry.
(8) Grayson's countless pool tournaments.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Robin Hood

I'm jealous of all the unique experiences that Grayson is having this summer in camps. Long jump, hula hoops, pogo sticks, basketball, soccer, and two weeks ago it was archery. Now he'd like a bow and arrow for his birthday. I fear too much for Lucie's safety to honor that request, but still think his 'hockey smile' is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen ...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Modified Fourth of July

Since we had to be home by 4pm to avoid the road closures, Fourth of July activities this year were restricted to a morning parade and carnival in Montecito (where the air was a little bit cleaner), followed by a barbecue no-electricity-needed dinner with neighborhood friends.


While they haven't sounded the all clear yet, we are certainly feeling a lot safer these past two days. Some of the evacuation orders have been downgraded, the sky is more gray than black, and the wall of ash has turned into a light dusting. Even the electricity spends more time on than off - although tonight we are barbecuing pizza due to the outage. Lucie laughed to see Rob mowing the lawn in a face mask and goggles (I guess he wanted the house to appear inhabited to firefighters): "My daddy's nose is funny!"

Now the clean-up begins...