Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I angered the Karma gods today at Target. It was bad enough that I was there shopping on Christmas Eve, but I figured I was okay because I was shopping for some props for tonight's Christmas Eve service. However,I did the bad shopper thing and stashed an item on a shelf where it didn't belong because I was in a hurry and too lazy to take it back to its proper place.

Bad move.

As I left the parking lot I realized that they had charged me for 3 bedding sets instead of 2. An overcharge of $50! Yikes! I had been in such a hurry that I didn't notice that my bill was wayyyyy bigger than it should've been. Oops. Karma's payback was me having to haul my "too-busy-to-do-the-right-thing-self" immediately back to Target, finding a parking spot, standing in the return line and feeling remorse for not doing the right thing in the first place.

Why does God have such a great sense of humor?


Monday, December 22, 2008

Grand Theft Auto

Travis has been full of bits of wisdom today. Here are two examples:

"Mom, if you don't have a license, you don't have any money. If you don't have any money, you steal a car. Since you don't have your license, you drive it in the wrong direction. Then you'll get a ticket. That wouldn't be good."

Should I be worried that he's thinking about stealing cars and not having any money at the age of 4?

As we were headed to his Dr's appointment in Newport Beach, I proudly showed him the hospital where he was born (Hoag). Travis's response:

"I was born in Newport Beach? Cool! Then I must speak English!"

I won't touch that one with a ten foot pole!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dr. Travis

Travis came home with a bag of Christmas goodies from his friends at school. One of the items was a Superman wand filled with tiny pebbles of gum. As he shook them out to share with us, he gave us the sage advice to only eat 5 or 10 pebbles at a time. When quizzed as to why he gave this statement:

"Because if you do, you'll end up in the hospital like Mommy!"

If I had only known that chewing too many pieces of gum was my problem--that would've saved me alot of trouble!

Dr. Travis Baker everyone...he'll diagnose all your problems for you with one fell swoop of his 4 year old intellect.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just a Note

I don't have much to say, I just got tired of looking at the last post for so long. I'm working on a big "Thank You" post, but that will have to wait for a couple of days. (My brain is working better than yesterday, but not quite ready to put together large blocks of thought yet.) So, yes, I'm alive and yes, I'm doing well. I'm just trying not to do too much...kind of hard to do when you're a mom of 4. So, until my next post...take care and enjoy the sunshine! (For all my socal friends.)


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Too many rocks and too much water

These past few weeks have been fun around the Baker house. "Fun" as in one weird illness after another. Of course we've gone through your typical cold virus's and stomach flu's...but we went a step beyond this time. Let's just say we're giving our health insurance a run for its money at this time. I am so thankful that we have it!

A couple of weeks ago after a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with friends I ended up in massive pain, curled up in bed with a heating pad on my back. I thought maybe it was just a back spasm. Nope. Gallstones. Joy! Since then the pain comes and goes, but it definitely isn't going away. I get my gallbladder laparoscopically removed on Monday morning at 10. Thankfully, it's outpatient surgery and the recovery time is incredibly short compared to the oldfashioned way of removal. The downside is that it's right before Christmas. The upside? I'll be able to eat more than just bread and mushy apples. I've lost weight on this diet, but I'm seriously coveting pizza right now. The word "pizza" alone conjures up images that make me drool.'s that bad. So hopefully, in a couple of weeks I can enjoy a slice of pizza again.

Now the more heartwrenching story of the two...

On Monday morning, I walked into the boy's room just as Travis was waking up. As he rolled out of bed, he gave a pitiful cry and was unable to walk. The poor kid could barely even crawl. My heart totally sank. It was absolute deja vu. When he was 2 he developed a viral infection of his right hip that had the same symptoms--inability to bear weight on his right leg, let alone the ability to walk. Fast forward to this past Monday, I dragged him to the Dr. and of course by the time he got there he seemed perfectly fine. However, when she checked his hips he seemed to wince a little bit, but we thought that was more due to a possible injury of his knee. She told me to get an X-Ray on Wednesday if he didn't get any better.

On Tuesday it was worse. He couldn't even flex his hip let alone walk. When we picked up him he couldn't even wrap his legs around our waists--it hurt him to much to even be held normally. I took him in for his X-rays a day earlier than prescribed and they found excess water on his right hip. By the end of the day he still had his limp but was gearing back to his normal behavior.

This morning he's back to his wildman ways. I'm sure he's going to be okay, but it's aweful to see your kid go from being robust to being completely dependent on you for everything. He has an appointment on the 22nd with the pediatric my honest opinion its a revisit of the synovitis of his 2's. I never realized that having a "cold in your hip" was a real thing. With Travis I've found it be true.

So there you go...I've got too many rocks and Travis has too much water. You can just call him "Tiny Tim" and me well...just don't call me late for dinner after my surgery!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Unkind Surpise

I have nothing more to ask of my boys than this: Please hit the inside of the toilet bowl when you use the bathroom. There's nothing like sitting on a wet toilet seat. Yes. It is disgusting, thank you. To those of you out there who have girls only...consider yourselves blessed. If you have a boy I empathize with you--I have three of them!



Goin' Fishin'

At this precise moment there isn't much to blog about in my life. The kids are wasting their minds watching empty cartoons. Billy is off at work and I'm wasting time on the internet.

Like I said. Not much to say.

I swear each day is like fishing and waiting for a blog story to bite. Some days are slower than others, and occasionally there are days you can't keep up with the catch. Let's just say today has been a kick back and snooze in the boat kind of day. So, on that note, I'm going to go take an actual nap...that's always guaranteed to create some sort of chaotic breakout good for blog fodder. We'll just have to see.

Until then!


Friday, November 28, 2008

Tamila's 13!!!!!!



Either that makes me old, or just teetering on the precipice of insanity. What used to be fights about toys and whose turn it is, are rapidly evolving into who gets the car and whose turn it is to fill the tank. Geepers. Life was much simpler when they were in diapers. They were easier then. A diaper, a bottle and a smile from mom was all they needed. We used to spend our mornings at Disneyland and our weekends with friends. Slowly, but surely the insidious beast of time grew to take those simple things away.

Gone is the free time. We haven't been to Disneyland in two years and couldn't find the time if you paid us.

Gone is the simplicity of their needs...they want to know things about quadratic equations and who the prime minister of India is.

Gone are the cheap days of diapers and formula. In are the days of big random school fees and the draining of my wallet every time they walk in the door.

Gone is the ability to just pick up and go. Now we have to balance everything between schedules and school projects.

I miss the easier days and I know that someday they'll return. Unfortunately, they'll return with a quiet house with just two older people in it looking at each other wondering what to do next. However, I don't think that dilemma will last long:

With abandon we'll hit the road, with our bag full of adult diapers and bottles of fortification, go to Disneyland and actually go on a ride together. We'll congratulate each other on surviving it all and be thankful that we did it together...I hope.

After all, that's 14 years away!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wasted Gifts

We all have our own specific gifts...or shall I say, "ailments": trick knees, bad backs, chronic sinusitis. It's almost as if when we were born God said, "Ah...give him a bad back--those seem to be really popular things to have. As for her, give her bad allergies--it'll keep her humble when snot goes flying out of her nose at inopportune times."

Well ladies and gentlemen...Travis has an specific "gift" that attacks him and only him.

It's the ailment of too long eyelashes.

Every other month or so, we'll hear a shrieking blood curdling scream from somewhere in the house and know instantly what has happened. Travis has poked himself in the eye again with his own eyelash. Grabbing him, we wrestle his hands away from his face and pull the lids apart to pull the offending lash from his eye. When this is accomplished, the whole world goes back to its usual humdrum order and life is peaceful again. (At least until next time.)

I see this ailment as an injustice come the boys always get the long eyelashes? They'll never appreciate the great gift that long lashes are. Guys will never know the agony of finding the perfect mascara or waking up with raccoon eyes...or even worse, poking yourself in the eye with a mascara wand. Sheesh!

Oh well.

I'm sure God thinks it's funny. He does have a devious sense of humor you know.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Austin1, Mom 1

We're tied up now.
Mukasey doesn't have a seizure problem its Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. (A point that Austin brought up this afternoon--he corrected himself.)
I gave myself a point because I deserve it.
He still gets a point because he knows who Mukasey is and that someone in power out there has a seizure problem.
Yes...vindication is mine. I may not be smarter than my kid, but he's still fallible!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Austin 1, Mom 0

Austin loves politics and current events.

He knows anything and everything.

He'll talk your ear off for hours about Russian/American relations...or any other political relation you can think of.

I should've known better to think that I knew something he didn't. Apparently Michael Mukasey the Attorney General collapsed tonight while giving a speech. When I picked Austin up from practice I told him that someone named Mukasy had collapsed. (For a moment I was hopeful that he wouldn't remember who he's good to one up your kids once in a while!) Without a pause he said..."Oh yeah, he's the Attorney General. If I remember right he has a seizure disorder and has collapsed a few times before. I think his first name is Robert."

Hah! He was wrong! The guy's name is Michael! Austin's excuse was that he gets Robert Gates mixed up with Mukasey all the time. Now who the heck is Robert Gates?

(I just looked it up and found that he's the Secretary of Defense.)

Oh well. I guess I tried. Austin 1, Mom 0.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Here are a few things I've discovered in the last couple of weeks:

* Running head first into your Suburban's tailgate will give you a nice headache the next day. Don't do it--it's not worth the pain. It doesn't impress your husband either.

* Anti-Viral Kleenex does not make a good toilet paper replacement. Believe contains citric acid. Need I say more?

* Hunting down a screeching cricket at 1:30 in the morning is not wise--especially when said cricket jumps down your shirt. Not only will you end up with a case of the willies, but now you're too wired to sleep and the escaped cricket will sound even louder with each saw of its legs.

I'm sure there are more bits of wisdom floating around in my head, but whacking my head on the Suburban will keep it that way for a while. (That and getting 4 hours of sleep after being up with sick kids all night.) I'll keep you posted if I learn anything else worthwhile.


Friday, November 14, 2008

R.I.P. Rex

Rex the goldfish apparently couldn't handle the Baker life. He only lasted two days. Thank goodness he cost us a measly buck.

We're holding out on his friend Perry before we buy anymore fish.

So the saga continues...


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nick the Fish

Oh! Dearly departed Nick the fish,
Only four weeks in our house did you exist.

Up in your bowl on the bathroom counter placed,
Swimming circles in your own private race.

Your viewing material questionable at best,
You saw humanity daily on the pot to rest.

Poor Poor Nick the Fish!
Your days were truly numbered!

Whence your food jar fell into your bowl,
No one saw to prevent your deadly slumber.

Your glazed eyes and slacked mouth,
With a prayer we sent you flushing south.

Now that you're gone,
We will press on.
We're not ones to mourn or tary.
Please meet your new replacements...two goldfish: Rex and Perry.

(Bakerpressbox is not responsible for any bad reactions to atrocious amateur poetry.)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Threading the Gauntlet

Don't get me wrong, I love helping out the VFW by buying a poppy, donating food to the Boy Scouts, helping out the Girl Scouts, as well as occasionaly donating money at the store for a good cause. Just don't pounce on me all at once. To enter Albertson's today I had to threat a gauntlet of all four charitable causes. Yikes!

Talk about oversaturation of a market! It caused me to wonder, who should I single out to help? I answered the ethical problem by walking away and not donating to any one of them. I know I'm not a scrooge, but I'm not made of gold either. I can only handle one cause at a time; therefore, I decided to buy a poppy from the VFW tomorrow. However, this decision doesn't assuage the guilt that I have from deserting them all.

Sigh. I guess you can't win them all.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cheap Entertainment

On a whim the boys and I made paper airplanes this evening.

They've been playing with them non-stop for the past hour. No major fights have broken out. No one has lost an eye. No furniture has been broken.

I like this.

To top it off, they cost less than a penny a piece. If only that's all they wanted for Christmas I'd be set!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Austin has won the battle. Last night Billy and I started to fall asleep on the couch at 9:30 while Austin was still typing away at the computer working on a presentation for English. Knowing we were beat, Billy and I didn't even put up a fight and went to bed at 9:40. 9:40! We've given up on trying to outlast him--there's no way we'll ever win.

When did we become the snoring old parents on the couch? By the time they're all gone they'll already have us trained to eat our dinner at 5 and sleeping by 8. Not only have the kids taken my waistline they've taken my nightlife as well.

Kids these days...


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Splat Dejavue

For those of you who are faithful readers of the Baker Press Box, you may remember a post from last January entitled "Splat!"...otherwise known as Travis' famous sneezing incident. (Just in case you didn't catch it the first time, here's the link.) Well, today I encounted "Splat!" dejavue.

Travis was a bit under the weather the other day with a sinus headache and a mild fever. His eyes were getting a bit puffier as the days went on, but there was no evidence of least not until this morning when I sat down at the computer. Apparently he had taken it upon himself to sneeze all over the keyboard, leaving yellow slimy goo behind. Unfortunately, I didn't discover this fact until I put my hands on it.


There was no denying what the evidence claimed, Travis was my culprit. So now we have a disinfected keyboard and Travis is feeling much better. I, on the other hand, will never look at my keyboard the same.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Behold Travis's New Obsession


Kurt Goble is my son's newest obsession.

Not the man himself, but rather what to get him for his birthday. (Which is in August by the way, in case you didn't know.)

Every time he sees a commercial for a Barbie or Bratz product he comes shouting to me exclaiming that he wants to get Kurt one of those for his birthday. This pattern has been going on for the last 24 hours.

Perhaps this is retribution for all of the princess birthday cards Kurt's given my boys over the years?

Hmmm...I wonder.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Where We've Been...

Nope..contrary to reports the Baker family hasn't dropped off the face of the earth--it just seems like it! To date this is what we've been up to:

--Getting old that now we use a pill box to keep track of all our supplements. Yikes!

--Playing hookey from work and watching baseball on a Sunday morning.

--Watching a rocket launch from Vanderburg while standing on the bridge at Bolsa Chica...hoping the serial killers weren't out yet (after all, it was only 7:30 at night).

--Clearing out the wildlands in our back patio.

--Going to the pumpkin patch for the 3rd time.

--Work, work and more work.

--Enjoying the fact that Austin got to work in the JV/Varsity Bullpen as a Freshman. :)

--Learning that our daughter is tenacious and will stand up for herself as needed. Very cool!

--Hearing that Billy's sister had finally received her referral for the adoption of a 21 month old boy from Ethiopia.

--Last but not least, the most time consuming of them all...keeping up with Travis.

It's not an awesome blog post full of great theories and thoughts about life, but merely and update. Enjoy it for what it is!


Saturday, October 18, 2008


Hello...My name is Laurel and I'm a blog slacker.

I apologize.

I will post something absolutely enthralling and utterly world changing--

Just not today.

Until then!


Thursday, October 2, 2008


I miss Fall in Oregon!

Things I miss:

-The crunch of the grass under your feet as you walk to school after the first frost.
-Beautiful fall leaves and the smokey smell of them being burnt. (A country thing.)
-Football games where you were actually cold enough to bundle up for them. Cold enough that you could watch the frozen spider webs float eerily like ghosts over the field.
-Apple orchards and fresh cider.
-The anticipation of the coming winter...staring out my window every night at the streetlight willing my eyes to see the first flakes of snow.
-Occasionally trick-or-treating in that said snow. Or at least traipsing about town collecting candy with 2 layers of clothes underneath your costume to keep warm.
-The smell of freshly baked cookies. (It's way too hot to bake right now.)
-Ditto for the warm comforting soups and fresh bread.
-Using the wood stove for the first time of the season.

Yeah. I know I sound like I'm whining. I do love living here down in Socal by the beach. It has it's marvelous blessings...but every Fall I find myself pining for the change that the season brings. Trees are supposed to change colors and the weather is supposed to become brist. Oak Glen can substitute once in a while, as well as trips to Big Bear...but they're not the same.

So for those of you who still live there...enjoy a day for me!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Counting Change...

Yesterday I was in a rush at the grocery store. Since I was at Albertson's I knew I was already doomed the second I walked in the door. (Their reputation around here is this: sllloooowwwww.) I grabbed my two bottles of soda and surveyed my check out options. Shock! There were minimal lines at three checkstands. Quickly I chose the quickest and most competent looking cashier.

I should've known better.

The elderly lady checking out in the front of the line was mulling over whether $2.21 was a fair price for a bag of tomatoes. She had the cashier weigh the bag and give her the price (with and without the Albertson's club card.) Granny pondered the price and sighed...eventually giving in. She dramatically pulled out her change purse and started dropping random change on the counter leaving the checker to count it out for her. When there wasn't enough she slowly pulled out her purse again and threw more change on the counter.

I'm usually a pretty patient person at the grocery store. Checker's have to deal with alot of bad behavior, but unfortunately I was getting irritated by this point. I was willing to stick it out though because there was only one other person in front of me who only had a case of beer.


The girl in front of me fumbled through her wallet for her ID for the beer. After she retrieved it the checker scanned her beer and asked her if she had her Albertson's card.

The girl gave a look of utter confusion..."Ah, What?"

"Your Albertson's Card."

"Oh...hold on."

She pulls out her cell phone and calls her friend using her best dumb OC accent.

"Um...yeah...I'm at Albertson's. What's your Albertson's Card number? Yeah...they need your card number. I don't know...what is it?" Repeat.

Internally I scream. I grabbed my bottles and the checker graciously pointed to checkstand waiting there.

I was in and out of checkstand #5 in less than 1 minute. As I exited the store the girl was still on her cell phone trying to get her friends card number. (For those of you who don't just put in your phone number. That's it.)

Kudos to the checker for not losing it: I would have. But seriously people? What happened to the art of counting out your own change? Or the miraculous art of having the information before you approach the counter? Or even common sense?



Friday, September 19, 2008

Baker Oddities

Both Billy and I've been down with Strep throat this's been alot of fun. Being sequestered to my bed, I was forced to view my family from a distance and discovered some oddities about our family.

Here are some Baker originals:

--Our three youngest children will only eat applesauce with a straw. Yes, you heard me right...a straw. Travis will cry if you try to give him a spoon. We can all thank Tamila for that one.

--Aaron and Travis prefer their milk with crushed ice...they will not touch it otherwise. (And to think my mom was perturbed about that when I was younger! Ha! Who's winning now Mom? :)

--All four of our kids will sit through endless reruns of The Brady Bunch and Home Improvement. Funny thing is...Billy and I rarely watched Home Improvement when it was on. I have no idea how they got addicted to that one.

--We don't eat dinner on Sunday nights...we eat popcorn with cheese and apples. That's balanced, right?

--We live a mile from the beach, drive the coast several times a day, but only set foot on it once or twice a year.

--One of our kids is a nudist (I'll let you guess!)who loves to sing Motley Crue lyrics and the Brady Bunch theme as he runs around the house stark naked. (Yes, I am worried about his precious soul!) Another throws up immediately at the thought of a vegetable (no joke) and is a germ freak. Our second child is our canary in the mine: Broken bone? First to break it. Bug bites? first to get bitten. Stitches? Yep, she wins. Maybe she'll be a doctor someday. Our oldest is not quite as entertaining...but if you need someone to consult with about the current political situation in Ghana he's your man.

Those are just a few of our oddities...what are some of yours?


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Here you go...

Finally, the picture everyone has been waiting for. Travis Baker in his cowboy boots. Note the mask...this is a new accessory added for the fall. (In reality its a stretchy book cover that Tamila converted into a mask.)


Friday, September 5, 2008

The Return

You all can rest easy now...Travis has returned to his favorite shoe of choice: cowboy boots. For awhile there, I know many of you were concerned that he had shed his tradmark footwear in favor of flip-flops. Not so. With the advent of the school year he has rediscovered his first love. He trotted off to his meet and greet at the preschool this morning wearing his trademark uniform of cowboy boots and shorts.

Life has returned to normal and I couldn't be happier!


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

3 Down 1 to go...

Well...the inevitable happened. Summer has ended and school is back in session. At this precise moment Travis and I are pretty much staring at each other wondering what to do. Okay, fine the reality is this: Travis is entertaining himself quietly on the couch while I prepare to reacquaint myself with something called "housework".

I could wax nostalgic about how sad I am that the house is quiet, but that would be a partial lie. I won't miss the bickering, the TV blaring Nick in the background and the constant whining. I'll be able to go the grocery store without spending my time denying outrageous food requests with every turn of the cart. Rides in the car will find me with my music cranked up and no interruptions. The computer will be mine without a fight between the hours of 9 am-12 pm. My house will stay clean for three hours longer than it does in the summertime (I say three because Travis will only be in preschool for three hours a day.)

What makes me sad? The fact that my kid's don't need me to hold their hand anymore. Austin bailed out of the car this morning with a wave. Tamila did about the same. Aaron skipped all the way to school singing about how excited he was to go. When it comes to Travis's turn on Monday, I'm sure he'll shoot through the door of his preschool and never look back. Their independence makes me proud and a bit sad. It does make me wonder though, are they really that excited to be back in school or were they ready for summer to be over too? Hmm...


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Recording vs. Live

99% of the time that I am behind a soundboard it is for the purpose of mixing something live and in real time. I love the pressure of having to "get it right" the first time. There is an immediate sense of satisfaction that goes along with hitting all of the right cues and making something sound good during the course of our services.

From time to time I do get to record some projects. When I say record, I mean lay down some vocals or maybe some acoustic guitar tracks. Jeff, our student life worship leader is laying down some demo tracks as I write. Acoustic Guitar (AGT) Vocals (VOX) and right now I am listening to a sweet snare drum that he is playing while I record it. It is about the fifth time we have laid it down. Sometimes we have to do it again because my gain settings weren't right, or his rhythm was off, or he wanted to lay a safe version down. I even move the mic around until I get it to sound just like I want it to. I like not having the pressure of having to get it right the first time. There is a creative aspect to recording his demos that doesn't always happen when mixing live.

Here's to more demo projects, good vocals and better microphone technique.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Here we go again...

Today is officially the last day of summer vacation in our house. Austin is the first kid to head back to the daily grind tomorrow with his first day of highschool. Being the jock/brain that he is he has a zero period that starts at 7 and a heavy load of honor classes. I'm getting tired just thinking about the late nights that I know are coming and I'm not even the one who'll be doing all the studying!

Tamila and Aaron start back next Wednesday. Travis follows the Monday after. We will have all four kids in four different schools...all with different start and end times. ACK! I have a feeling I'll be wishing for the good ol' days of summer when all I did was shuttle two kids around town for summer classes instead of four.

So, in honor of this last day of summer I'm going to do nothing. Nothing spectacular at least. The last day of summer will go out with a whimper: grocery errands, haircuts and a trip to the dentist. Vacation is officially over and I'm already missing the lazy days that went with it.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Hmmm...Is this Justification?

I've had a debate raging through my head for years. It was brought upon me by my mother and her family traditions. The debate? Pie. Not the debate over which flavor is best or whether it is an appropriate replacement for a cake, but whether or not it can be considered a breakfast food. heard me right. Breakfast and dessert all rolled into one.

I suppose it started eons ago on a morning after Thanksgiving. My mom's Mom (otherwise known as my grandmother) probably let her eat pie for breakfast because she was too lazy to make a healthy one. Let's see: Fruit? Check. Pastry? Check. If the pie is pumpkin you get bonus protein points for the eggs and milk.

See where I'm confused? Okay...maybe not. I do know that it's bad for you, but when a freshly baked sweet smelling pie is just sitting there on the counter enticing you to partake of its goodness in the name of's really hard to resist. Justifications start rolling around in the brain mulling over the nutritional positives and discounting the bad.

Really, I thought I had this issue beat years ago...until this morning. I made a pie last night for dessert later today. The boys sensed it's presence the second it came out of the box and have been hounding me ever since. (A frozen pie at that...they must be desperate!) They've come forward together as a group named: CUBS (Combined United Brothers) petitioning that pie is a breakfast food and forever will be.

Let's see who wins: I have a feeling that it'll be the pie.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Fish Killer

Ah, my dear friends and faithful readers. Let me spin you a tail of a dark night filled with blood and horror. It started out innocently enough when six children, ages 4 to 15 decided to fish off the dock at Big Bear Lake. The full moon was shining brightly as they cast their lines out in hopes of catching a beautiful trout or even a bass. They wiled away their time with lively chit- chat and childhood games. Their excitement reached new levels when Annie's line began to move. Annie had caught a fish. Being the daughter of a fisherman she dutifully set the hook and fought the fish. 15 minutes later she reeled it in close enough to the dock where Austin caught it with the net.

That's when the children called the fish killer in.


Annie was excited about her trophy fish. Nobody wanted to touch I did. I got messy and removed the hook due to the citified nature of everyone else there. After the small operation, I stuck my finger through it's cheek and gill so Annie could take pictures with it. (I was holding on to it of course...everyone else was too squeamish.) She beamed with excitement when we measured her fish at 3 lbs and 21 inches. She couldn't wait to call home and tell her parents all about it.

You ask, what type of fish was it? Annie's beautiful trophy fish?

A carp.

A nasty stinky carp.

She wanted to keep it. Being a good friend I obliged her. The following video will show you what happened to the carp that night and terrible end it came to. (Note: after the brutality we froze the fish to show her mom the next day. Two days post mortem it became lovely crawfish bait. That's another story on another day.)


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Checking In

Yes...we're still alive.  The Baker clan is holed up in Big Bear.  Our internet has been spotty at best.  (That's what happens when you pirate your neighbor's Wi-Fi...but then again, if they didn't want to share they would've put a password on it!)  We also had glorious plans to post pictures of our vacation every once in a while; however, we left the card reader for our camera at home.  Therefore, I have once again pirated something-- someone else's Big Bear pic off the net.  I apologize to those of you who are offended by my devious'll get over it someday!  (Love to you all.)

Highlights to come:
  • Video of me clubbing a fish.
  • Pictures of various and assorted children swimming in the lake.
  • Stories about Austin and his Joker impression.
  • Stories about crazy nights and neighbors.
  • Pictures of Austin night fishing.
  • And incessant whining about our traumatic 36 hours without the internet and presently 6 days without Tivo.  We're hoping that we can make it to day 10 without any major emotional damages from the lack of Tivo.  :)  Life is rough out here!
We'll be back in town Thursday.  Until then...Take Care!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In Case You Ever Wondered...

What happens to your sand castle after you leave the beach:

A family of moochers comes along and pretends that they built it. To continue this farce they even take pictures with it...claiming it as their own.

As soon as the pictures are taken, along with the credit for building it...their desconstruction team kicks into action. They take painstaking efforts to destroy your castle grain by grain.

As the afternoon fades so does your sand castle. It dies an excruciating death of being raked by little fingers and longs for you--it's original creator. Alas, you never return to bring it back to it's former glory.

Now, don't you feel guilty about leaving it in the first place?


Monday, July 28, 2008

Too Close for Comfort

Within ear shot.
Austin had a baseball tournament in San Diego this past weekend. The last game on Sunday took place on an oddly shaped field with bleachers that were 4 feet from the fence. In other words, we were literally breathing down the player's necks as we watched them play. Everytime your child stepped up to the plate or caught they were privy to all the things you would normally say about them in a game. Oops!
On deck
As I watched Austin play I wisely held my tongue. Until he came to his first at bat. Many of you already know, but Austin is a ball magnet. He gets hit 2-3 times a tournament while at bat on top of the bruises he obtains while catching. (Austin is #4 above, as well as the catcher in the other two pics.) The Colts, the opposing team, know he likes to crowd the plate. So what do you do with a batter who crowds you? You brush him back with some chin music of course! The pitcher hurtled one at Austin's head. The ball sizzled as it flew. Thankfully, Austin dropped back and was okay.

I wasn't however.

Since I don't normally sit so close, I usually don't get an up close and personal view of my son's head being used as a target. I couldn't hold my tongue on this one and spontaneously ripped out, "Hey! That's my son's head that you're aiming at! I know he's a ball magnet, but...seriously?".

Austin was a dutiful son and ignored my comment, but I knew he heard what I had said. The other mom's around me chuckled because we knew that I was busted for saying anything. With the next pitch he crowded the plate once again and took a pitch off of his left shoulder. The ball smacked meatily. Austin dropped his bat and trotted to first base.

After it was all over I asked him if he had heard me. He smirked and said, "Mom...I was fine. I wasn't going to let him hit my head."

Yeah...whatever. I carried that head and the body it's attached to for 9 1/2 months. I washed it when it was dirty. Paid for it's upkeep through dental and Dr. visits. Helped it's brain grow through nutrition and schoolwork. Hugged it when it was crying. You could say I've become pretty attached to it over the years.

Therefore, I reserve the right to make a fool of myself in front of others. However, the next time we sit so close I better wear a muzzle. :)

Austin's team brushing back a batter. Touche'!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Someone to watch over me...

The other night I went to ask Austin a question when I noticed that his Gecko, Fernando ('Nando for short), was watching him intently. If you look in the tank on the right you can see him perched upon his rock. Nando sat there and watched Austin do his homework for over an hour. Apparently he wants to fulfill his Freshman health requirement too.


The Works of Travis Baker...The Early Years

Travis has been obsessed with taking pictures recently. I don't know if it's just the camera or if the kid actually has a good eye. Who knows? These are just fun to look at because you see the world from a 3 year olds point of view.
Note: These pics weren't cropped any form or fashion.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Catch of the Day

Although sick, Austin is apparently still a prodigious bug hunter. Sitting at the computer he caught this sucker as it flew in from the patio. The Japanese Beetle (and yes, I know that's a misnomer...I can't find the real name for it. Everyone I know just calls them that.) They are really pretty to look at with their green iridescence, although scarey if they buzz past your face unexpectedly. Right now the poor guy is sucking on his cucumber slice hoping that we release him. No worries there! It's cleaning day and his release hour is coming up soon.
Edited to add: I finally found out what it is. The Fig Beetle. (or the Green June Beetle.)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Travis and the Camera

The other day Billy and I ran an errand up to his uncle's church in Montebello and onto Hollywood. Travis was the lucky kid who got to tag along. Looking at these pictures you'd think he had a terrible time. Quite the opposite--the only reason he looks depressed in these pictures is due to the face that I have the camera and not him. He's been tearing it up with the camera lately and didn't want me to use it. I told him if he posed for the pictures I would give it back. He grudgingly obliged. (I'm so mean!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


When I was 12 I would listen to my sister's Journey Frontiers album whenever I could. (Always on the sly of course). I remember sitting in our den with my headphones plugged into the record player. To make the sound even better I would crank it up loud and crush them against my head to feel the whole depth of the music. I would listen to the album over and over again praying that I wouldn't scratch the record. It's a wonder my sister never killed me!

Fast forward 25 years I finally got to see them in concert. It was well worth the wait. The split second they started into "Separate Ways" my heart was ripped back 25 years to that little girl in the chair. Closing my eyes I was there. Seriously it was a dream come true. Arnell Pineda, their new lead singer, ripped through the songs not only sounding like Steve Perry, but one upping him in overall performance. (Blasphemous, I know...Sorry Noelle!) It was hard to believe, that the Journey I knew and loved was there. Not the sad band that it had become in the last 10+ years. With Pineda their trademark sound is back as well as their style and energy.

They'll be at the Greek in September. Billy and I are thinking about taking the older kids with us. Not only for their continuing education in 80's music but so Billy can hear it in a different venue. He was dissapointed with the sound. (Of course, he's a sound're only happy when you're mixing the show.) I, on the otherhand, was totally happy and enjoying my youth once again. I'm almost afraid to go back again because it may not feel the same. We'll just have to see.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Quiet Bliss

Our lives have slowed down enough for one day that there isn't anything to blog about. Austin is off at practice. I have no soap box rants about crazy drivers or even a humorous story about Travis to muse on. (Who, currently, is sleeping on the couch draped across the top cushions like a cat.) It is the calm before the storm though, UGSFAW is looming in the near future. With UGSFAW comes early mornings and energy filled days. For now though, I'll enjoy the relative calm of Tamila strumming the same three chords on her guitar, Billy and Travis snoring and the cool ocean breeze.


(P.S. After writing this post I realized the music had stopped. Tamila is now asleep on the couch with the guitar in her arms. Aaron and I are the only one's awake. Can you say "Ice Cream" break?)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Driving Irony

Irony as viewed from the driver's seat:
  • Posting a bumper sticker on your car that reads: "Friends don't let friends eat farmed fish" while your hand dangles a cigarette out the window. That fish is out!
  • Dramatically flipping off a driver with not only a fish on the back of your car, but a Christian bumper sticker to boot.
  • Narrowly avoiding an accident by suddenly slamming on your brakes because your legally texting while driving. Legal. Can you believe it?


I've viewed all these things and more in the last week. Seriously people. Actions speak louder than words, laws and bumper stickers.

I'm off my soap box now.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This is for Curtis

Curtis, Austin and Laurel
Sing by the Sea tour...1994
We've been looking for this picture for a while now. Tamila, our family record keeper found it tonight. 14 years have gone by in a flash!

The Lazy Days of Summer? Nope.

Oh how I long for the relaxed days of the school year when my schedule didn't look like this:

  • 7:15 am... Take Austin to School/Baseball
  • 7:45 am... Take Tamila to School
  • 12:15 pm... Pick Tamila up from School
  • 12:30 pm... Pick Austin up from School/Baseball
  • 1:45 pm... Take Austin back to Baseball
  • 4:00 pm... Pick Austin up from Baseball
  • 5:15 pm... Take Austin back to Baseball
  • 7:30 pm... Pick Austin up from Baseball

To top of yesterday's madness there was a dental appointment for Austin at 1 pm. Four fillings later and a very numb mouth he showed up at his second practice 30 minutes late. Then he was up until midnight doing homework. Never mind his fatigue status...what about mine?

Seriously...I can't wait until school starts again to slow down this madness.

(P.S. Note: Tamila is in Beginning and Advanced band this summer while Austin is taking his Freshman health now as well as two baseball camps for highschool along with his usual travel team practice schedule. How's that for a run-on sentence?)

--Laurel...AKA The Chauffeur

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Canada, eh

This is Gab and Shane at the labs for Ross Switching in Ottawa, CA. Gab speaks five languages and has been in the video business as a TD for 28 years. He definitely knows his stuff. I was proud of myself for keeping up with the conversation most of the day. It was about 3 before I started getting a little lost as the discussion turned to a "keyer on the aux". To some that may sound simple, but it got pretty complicated pretty quick.

Shane and I arrived at LAX yesterday at 7:30am (Thanks CT). We finally made it through TSA and boarded our plane at about 9:40am. Because of a mechanical delay we were told at 11 am that the crew was going to go get lunch and we should do the same. They would decide at 12:30 what to do about the flight.

During that time, Shane on his phone, while in the line for customer, able to get us transferred from our United flight to one on Air Canada. We walked very quickly from Terminal 7 at LAX to terminal 2. We had to recheck in and then go through TSA all over again. We made it in less than an hour and were able to board the flight headed for Montreal. The time was 1:00 pm.

We made it to Montreal and then into Ottawa without any other issues, arriving at about 10:45 pm local time. We went to get the rental car and found out that our rental car location closed at 10:00 pm. Thanks to the nice man at Budget we secured a vehicle and made it to our hotel, the Brookstreet, where we checked in and then went to find food at about midnight. We ate at a place called Tim Horton's. Donuts and Milk. . . what a healthy blessing.

We then returned to our hotel and slept before going to training this morning. Oh yeah, our luggage was here when we returned back from training today. That's right, our luggage did not make it with us, so with an Air Canada overnight bag to freshen up with, we wore the same clothes for the second day in a row. We are now wearing clean clothes and are enjoying having our luggage.

From Canada, good night.


Monday, June 23, 2008

The Cement Bench

Behold the cement bench. The culmination of my frustration with the craziness that is the end of the school year. How did it get this dubious honor? Let me tell you...

As soon as May hit so did the end of the school year madness. Never mind the fact that school still had 6 weeks to go, the parties and end of the year celebrations rolled into full gear. I was influxed with masses of permission slips for field trips and reminders for parties. There were trips to Yosemite, Knott's Berry Farm, Disneyland, the Beach, UCI, and bowling to name a few. Picnics, field days, bike days and surprise after school hours parties for creepy volunteers who spent their whole year in the classroom...devoted to knowing everything about you and your kid. (Okay, fine--not all volunteers, just the one in my son's room who knew me all to well for having met him only once. To top it off he volunteered to drive my kid to a birthday party. I firmly said "No." *Shiver* I digress.)

Not only did I sign for these trips, but I also paid for them. I also paid for teacher appreciation gifts and other assorted the tune of about $700. Public education? Free? I don't think so! Granted these were all great things and wonderful experiences for my kids--but my mid 30'ish brain fog struggles to remember anything so crazy from when I was a kid. We went on field historical sites. Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm weren't on the menu. Neither were the astronomical fees.

Which brings me to the bench.

I thought I had finally made it through to the end of the year with my reputation as a good parent intact and my child's image untarnished.

Until I read the paper that was crumpled up in the bottom of his backpack...found 4 days after the last day of school. It was a note asking for an "optional donation of $10, $15, $20 or more" to pay for a teacher's gift that had already been made and purchased.

The gift?


What the ????????

I was incredulous as I read it. I couldn't believe my eyes. Someone had the audacity to go out and purchase a cement bench to the tune of $220 and was now asking everyone to pitch in and pay for it. The letter talked about how we all new of the wonderful bench and the amazing volunteers who had been caring for it since it's purchase. (I'm not really did say that!) Honestly, this was the first time I had heard of the glorious gift's existence. The words dripped sweetly off the paper describing how the kids had tenderly and carefully made commemerative tiles that were grouted to it. (Gag!)

So now, I'm a deadbeat parent who doesn't chip on ridiculous teacher's gifts. My child is to be looked upon in pity. I, myself, am severely frustrated about how out of control this whole end of the year thing is getting. The emotional, physical and financial costs are getting more out of hand every year.

Next year, count me in for the standard field trips. I will dutifully attend all of the end of year parties and picnics that take place during school time. However, I will not be paying for any cement benches.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

A New Post. . .Finally

I am finishing up my packing as I prepare to fly to Ottawa, Canada tomorrow. One of our new products at the church is a switcher made by Ross. Shane and I are leaving in the morning to be trained at their headquarters in Ottawa.

My kids Austin, Tamila and Aaron rode their bikes to the Accetta's this afternoon. That is about five miles from our house. I was very proud of all of them, especially Aaron. He is only seven and did a great job. Austin led the way, Aaron followed and Tamila brought up the rear.

Aaron lost a tooth this week.

Tamila began summer band. She is playing the flute in advanced band this summer as well as learning to play the Tenor Sax in beginner band. She will march in the 4th of July parade with her middle school band.

Travis wants to grow his hair out again and told me I could take food on the plane, but I could not make a mess. He is also "swimming" underwater now.

Austin starts summer school tomorrow. He is taking a Health class in the morning and then has summer baseball camp at the high school.

Laurel is still my loving, beautiful, supporting wife who keeps tabs of us all in a way that only she can.

Stay cool in So Cal.


Monday, June 16, 2008

My Favorite of the Week

I found this photo last week and it just made me smile. Hopefully it makes you smile too!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Graduation in 4 Minutes

The 8th graders at Marine View Middle School were asked to write an essay or poem reflecting on their time in Junior High. Austin's was selected to be presented at their commencement. He did a wonderful job, speaking very confidently. Thanks to him for wearing a concealed microphone. That made my audio so much better. His friends did think that he was "wearing a wire" was pretty cool.

You can also see and hear him receive his diploma and a couple of other short speeches. I left the last clip, because as always he is quick to take his cue to exit and make sure the kid behind him is following.

Sorry it took a couple of days. I had some technical difficulties.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Graduates

Austin and Christine have been friends since they were both in diapers. Along the way they've shared alot of similarities: Grandpa's who argued together over Sierra Christian Service Camp, both were/are catcher's for their baseball and softball teams, a love for politics and having to deal daily with a large group of siblings.
Now they can add graduation speaker to their long resumes.
We're proud of them both--congrats you two!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Growth at the Plate

Saturday was the last day of Aaron's Little League season. I was seriously surprised when he expressed sadness over the end of what seemed to be the neverending season of 2 hour long mind numbing games. (At this level of play everything moves in extreme slow motion.) There were times when I watched him in the outfield and marveled at the fact that he hadn't passed out in boredom. I was close to that just by watching! He also started out the season throwing the ball in a high rainbow like arc that would drop 10 feet short of its goal...therefore, his coach nicknamed him "Rainbow", a name that stuck till the end. (Personally, I never appreciated the nickname...but he didn't mind. I love innocence!)

By the the end of the season that rainbow-arc and lack of distance were things of the past. The kid developed the skills to flatten his throw and reach his goal. Batting was up and down, but he learned how to take a pitch and wait a pitcher out. More often an not this waiting led to him being hit by the pitch, but he learned to take it like a man. In fact his last game he took one off the wrist and chirpped out "I'm alright!" and ran down to first. Keep in mind this is the kid that has this incredible verge of death scream that comes out when he gets a paper cut. That alone was a massive improvement.

So, I guess what I'm saying is this: for all of it's pain, long suffering and extreme boredom, this Little League season helped my son grow emotionally more than ever keeping him home and comfortable would ever do. It was more important than getting hits or getting the out everytime. We're all proud of him.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Zach and the Boys

This one is for Zach.  Memorial Day found us in Murrieta, CA.  While Austin was warming up between games Travis, Aaron and Zach Gibson hung out at the park.  I don't know who had more fun Zach or the boys.

Zach, thanks for coming to the game.  Austin's team lost the second game and I am glad you were not there.  If you had been, I know you would have yelled at the umps for their interpretation of rules.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Travis' Magic Whistle

Travis was a good boy last week at Target and got a "Magic Whistle" just like this one as a reward. He generously shared it with Haley. Apparently he was more that just generous with the whistle...he was generous with his germs too. The day he shared it with her he came down with lovely case of strep-like crud. Now Haley has come down with it too. Oops.

So much for sharing.

Haley, we hope you feel better soon!

(Side note: Even though it came back negative for strep...the Zithromax has knocked out the nasty bug. Also, it seems as though Tamila is working on her own case of it. What fun! Anyone else want to use the magic whistle?)

(Side note #2: Get yer' minds out of the gutter people!)


Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Animal Type: Rat
Last seen: Saturday night, 5:30 pm
Where: Unnamed to protect the innocent (but not my home!)
Number of pests seen: 4

Yes 4!

I pulled a bag of cardboard blocks off of a top shelf. When the bag hit the ground I noticed 3 holes on the side (along with a big pee stain.) I was concerned.

I was very concerned when the bag began to move on its own.

Out popped the first rat and ran under the cupboard.

I screamed.

Out popped the second rat as I dragged the bag to the door.

I screamed again.

Out popped the third rat as I opened the door.

I ran out of screams and just jumped around with the heebie jeebies.

Fortunately the fourth rat had the wits to wait until Austin drug the bag to the dumpster.

I've had enough of the rats, mice and bugs this spring. If its bad now I can't imagine what spider season will be like in the Fall.



Thursday, May 22, 2008

Meet The Grandparents

The Grandparents: "Morgan" and "?"

Apparently Travis has a family that we don't know. He came home with pictures that he had made at preschool celebrating his grandparents: grandma Morgan and unnamed grandpa. That's all great a good, however, his grandma's names are Rosa and Sandra. His grandparents live in Texas and Michigan...the last time he played in the snow with any of them was when he was a year old. As for the fishing and swinging that's anyone's guess. He has gone fishing with Dr. Gus in the past...maybe that's who he's focusing on?
It is sad if you think about it. He only sees his grandparents maybe every other year if he's lucky. Hopefully, when our kids are all grown up someday, we'll live geographically closer than our parents so we can bug them to death. That way our grandkids will know firsthand about grumpy grandpa Billy and their favorite

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How to Impress your friends and Co-workers

Practically pass out and puke in front of them.

It works everytime.

I know...I tried this technique today.

My apologies to all of those involved.

...who's feeling better now and prays tha
t it never happens again.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


The world can be at ease now...the water is now back on. You no longer have to avoid the Baker's due to contamination concerns. I'm happy and so is my paper cut!


For the lack of water I can't:
  • Flush the toilet
  • Wash the dishes
  • Make a decent lunch
  • Wash clothes
  • Keep my preschooler's germy hands clean.
  • Wash my hands.
  • Do a myriad of other chores that require water

Due to the lack of water I've had to:

  • Use rubbing alcohol to clean my hands...with a paper cut! OUCH
  • Feel grimy due to lack of shower
  • Go and buy water from the store so I can wash my dishes.
  • Ration how many times my kids flush the toilet...a type of retro I choose not to remember fondly. (If it's yellow...let it mellow. If it's brown flush it down.)
  • At 9:30 am, dress Travis and myself, wander all the way around the block to check our water valve. Only to read a notice that said: "Water will be shut off from 9 am to 5 pm on Tuesday due to authorized plumbing repairs." Um, thanks for not letting me know. Apparently, since my door is out of's out of mind too.



Monday, May 19, 2008

So Cal Baseball

Austin and his team finished a tournament in San Clemente yesterday. The temperature was in the low 90's and he caught 16 of the 20 innings they played over the weekend. I am always amazed at how he doesn't wilt in those kind of temperatures.

Long story, short, his last at bat was a last inning, two out, down by one run, bases loaded at bat. I couldn't deal with that kind of pressure. He smoked the first pitch down the third base line just foul. That told me he was looking to win this with his bat and not tie it with a walk.

After staying in for a few more pitches he swung at a pitch and hit a little blooper over the short stop and everyone thinks "He did it!". The short stop sprinted back and made an incredible diving catch to end the game. I was glad he had the ability to keep competing in that kind of situation. I would much rather he and his team lose like that rather than giving up and letting the other team win.

Next Week: Temecula