Monday, December 22, 2008

Icky Sicky

Just a run down of the past few days...

Friday: I woke up real early with sharp chest pains. Tried to wait it out to see if it went away, finally went to the ER to be sure. Nothing bad, just...Costochondritis. Nasty stuff, could be from all that snow shoveling. I sleep all day while Mike drives the kids down to Grandma's for a sleepover.

Saturday: Wake up and my chest feels better. I pop some ibuprofen and decide to go to Costco. Mike and I meet with the guy replacing our garage door. We look and try to decide what we want.

Sunday: I am still sick, now the kids are getting sick. The whole family missed church, and I slept from 9am to 9pm, then from 10pm to Monday morning.

Monday: MAJOR snow dump! Snowed in and can't leave the house. We are still sickies, but had to take Lexi and get two teeth extracted. Merry Christmas Lex! Delivered our Christmas candy. I tasted some after we got home. The cookies were hard and the caramels dried out! What a bummer. So if you had to eat it, and spit it out...sorry about that!

The chest pains have subsided, and the cold is gone. Lexi's awaiting the tooth fairy tonight. I informed her that "due to weather conditions" she may not come until tomorrow. Mike is running down to the store to see if, by some miracle, they have any golden dollars. (that's what the tooth fairy brings)

I sit here, pretty much snowed in. Not having a garage to park in means that I'm not sure I could even get my sweet mini-van out of the driveway. Even if I did, it would never make it out of my neighborhood. Have I mentioned how much I love the snow?...because I don't! I called my sister and she said "Do you have any snow?" She lives about 5 miles East and I knew they had a lot less than we did, but she was convinced otherwise. On the news tonight, our small town reported a whopping...13". The highest in the County! Boy, aren't we the lucky ones!

The satellite dish is frozen over, so no TV today. As long as my Internet still works I will feel OK. Right now I am browsing Real Estate sites in Arizona!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And the 'Mother of the Year Award' goes to...

I will preface this post by saying that I have given myself 4 days to ponder these events. I have also have time to fester a bit, but having gone through it many times in my head...I think I can write this without naughty cuss words. I also worry that sharing this may cause others to think less of me. Before Monday night...I may have thought less of anyone in a similar situation.
I have never been one to put on the face of a 'perfect Mom'. I think that I try to do a lot of things correctly, but who's to say what is or isn't correct? The Lord has a wonderful way of teaching me things...even if I want to vomit during the lessons. I like to rant and rave about not judging others...then I find myself being judgmental and I get a hard blow.
As a Mother, this blow was a big one. If not the least in the top 5 or so. This is my story...

Monday Night was the Annual Spanish Immersion Christmas Concert. Someone (and I don't know who, so I'm not being specific) had the genius idea of having the concert at the Mall.
Ahhhh...the Mall. Now...nothing against shopping malls, but I only step foot in one if it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. So I take it back, I have a lot against the Mall. It served as a great 'hang out' place to meet boys in the 8th and 9th grade. Having the right clothing from the Mall could make or break a person's social experience.
As an adult, the Mall is nothing but an overpriced maze filled with weirdos and scantly clad bimbos. Oh! and all the cities MIL*'s.
I have issues with people walking around slow at Walmart...OH MY GOODNESS, the people at the Mall are not there to shop, or even get from one place to another, so they just STAND in the way. Not even moving!
At Christmastime, the Mall is the ONE place I will not go. I cannot even drive through the parking lot! When I got the paper that the concert would be there...I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth. The evening didn't have the potential to be turn out well.
So the huge 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade classes are supposed to perform in an area the size of my Living Room! There are three rows of steps...which holds about 1/3 of the students. We are all Mormon families...the concert is on a Monday Night. So it's a given that there are two parents and at least 4 kids for every student performing. Even if it wasn't Monday...WE'RE MORMON! There is bound to be million of us, with a million little kids.
There was a dance group performing before us. So we were told to be quite until they finished. Well guess where the performing took place? Right next to the Mall's play area! Did you say quiet?! HA!
Mike took the kids over to the big Tree and play area. I walked a few steps over to the dance group to try and get in early for a good spot when Cori started.
The dance group went fifteen minutes into our time, which really got under my skin. It might not have so much if it was something besides dance. I won't rip on the hobby of dressing up little girls like streetwalkers. These girls were changing costumes between performances right there on the side of the stage area. I looked over to see a NAKED little girl! I directed my friend standing next to me in her direction. My friend said "Are you kidding? She is too old to do that!" She was probably in...2nd or 3rd grade! I hope that Mom is proud...because someone might need to remind her of that when her daughter has major 'being naked at the Mall in front of a million people' psychological trauma!
Mike came over with Addi and Lexi stayed playing with Sophie. Mike took Addi so she wouldn't get trampled by the mass parents with cameras. Being the aggressive natured person I am...I inched my way as close to the front as possible. When the dance team finished, I got right up close in the very front. I was sitting on the floor front and center. Well, as luck would have it...Cori was not even close to visible. So I stood up and tried to stand in the row behind me where parents were standing. One of the joys of being 5'10" is that people don't see over you very well. I got a tap on the shoulder because a Grandma behind me couldn't see her granddaughter. (Cry me a river!) I just wanted one picture of her singing! I saw Mike standing in the back, a good 5" above everyone. (It sure is easy to find him in a crowd) I figured that he might be able to get a picture above the crowd. such luck! I was frustrated and bothered, but I settled with knowing that I had pictures from the Thanksgiving Concert...that would have to do.
Mike had Addi with him and said that Sophie and Lexi were playing. I couldn't see in the back and they were only singing the second song. I went over to get Lexi and Sophie, I figured maybe they would want to get a treat. Lexi came running around the corner, I stopped her and asked "Where's Sophie?" she shrugged her shoulders and said "I dunno". I said "Didn't Dad tell you to watch her?" I asked "He said to check on her once in a while." So I asked "When was the last time you say her?" she responded with "I dunno?" So I snapped at her to "help me find her" I walked over to the play area. There were a TON of kids and I remember she had a purple sweater on. As I glanced over the play area, I didn't see the sweater. I started looking in the hidden areas, and I even went inside the big tree to look. I started to feel my heart pounding so hard, all I could hear was the pounding in my ears. I ran to Mike and told him I couldn't find her. He ran over and started looking. I snapped at him with "She's not here! Look somewhere else!" I ran completely around the entire area and Mike ran through the neighboring Department Store. I thought I was going to throw up. I'm sure I looked like I was on drugs. I don't even remember people being around me, or hearing anything around me. I felt so lightheaded.
I knew I had to tell a Security guard, even if it meant we had to stop the concert. Maybe she was with a family we knew? Maybe they were looking for us? These thoughts were only the few rational ones in my head. Everything else was telling me that she could be gone! I could never see her again! This was a perfect opportunity to take a child!
I saw a security guard and ran across the hall. I tried to form words. I said something like " kids..." He looked at me and said "Do I have kids?" being a smart ass, "Yes, I have three kids" Mike was right at my side and I wanted to punch him, or tell Mike to punch him in the face. I had tears in my eyes and I said "Have you seen a little girl...a lost little girl?" Then he said "Sophie?" Oh, it felt like my insides fell out on the floor. I took a deep breath, and it felt like I hadn't taken one in the past five minutes...which felt like five hours! He said she had taken off running down the hall, away from the play area into the main area of the Mall. He took her to Customer Service.
I ran down the hall practically pushing people out of my way. I saw her sitting at the desk, coloring. She was so happy and content with two older women. I asked "How long has she been here?" one of them answered "Almost ten minutes" both of the older women gave me disappointed looks. I don't blame them, I'm sure they had almost ten minutes to decide what kind of mother I was. They said that Sophie had told them her Dad's name was Daddy and her Mom's name was Momma.
I held her like a baby and walked as fast as I could to the car. Mike followed with Lexi and Addi. Cori was still at her program singing to all the other parents listening.
I was so mad! Mad at Sophie for running away like that, mad at Lexi for not keeping an eye on her, made a Mike for thinking Lexi could watch her, but most of all mad at myself. I had been so caught up in getting a stupid picture that I could have lost my child!
I sat in the car...not speaking...crying. Sophie was crying because she wanted to go back and play. Lexi was crying because she felt responsible and as she said "I am just a kid! I can't be that responsible!" and she was right. Addi was crying because everyone else was crying and I wouldn't speak to anyone.
When the concert was over, Mike grabbed Cori and came out to the car. Poor Cori had absolutely no clue what horrifying events had just taken place. I did my best to tell her what a good job she did. (even thought I had heard nothing) and Mike told her what had happened.
As we drove home in silence, I thought about all the many mistakes I have made as a Mother. All the things I wish I hadn't said, or the things I wish I had done differently. I thought about how many times my kids drive me nuts, and I want to pull my hair out. How I even will complain about them, and wonder if I should have waited to spaced them out farther.
What I learned on Monday night is that my kids are my LIFE! I don't know what I would do if anything happened to one of them. And even if I wish I did things differently...I am so grateful I've gotten to do them. I may not do things right, but at least I've had the chance. If ANYTHING happened to one of them I would want them to know one thing...more than anything else. I LOVE THEM MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD! They are a part of me. Having that feeling tonight really made me know how great that love is.
I still struggle thinking about this whole experience. As nauseous as it makes me, I don't ever want to forget that feeling. I don't ever want to take a chance of being in that situation again. I have been trusted with these precious children and I hope and pray that I will be a better Mom. I realize that at any moment, I could lose the opportunity to have one of my precious babies. They are the greatest gifts and blessings I have been blessed with. I hope to never take that for granted, and love them everyday of my life!

Eeeeeeasy Tiger!

A good sign it might be time to lay off the weight training?

When your snow shovel breaks before your arms are done!!! And then the teenage neighbor boy, shoveling two houses down, says..."Dude! That's an awesome snow pile!" (Because it comes up to my chest)

But... hey!... No snow on MY cement!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Messy Roads

I HATE messy roads and bad weather! I sit here knowing that I will not leave my house unless necessary, and even then...I will try to avoid it still!
Mike and I were able to go to the Jazz game Saturday night. It seems that EVERY Jazz game we have ever gone to has been in bad weather. We went with Mike's Boss and his wife, they drove. (thank goodness) We had a very nice dinner before the game and 18th row seats. It was a ton of fun! I love that Mike and I have things like that in common. I love to watch basketball... especially when you're so close you can see the players sweat dripping off their ripped arms!
We got to go back to the dinner area during half-time for popcorn, nachos and drinks. We also met up with my sis and her date.
It was a great night, the only thing better would have been the Jazz actually winning the game! But it was a great game nonetheless.

On the way home I started getting questions about my childhood and growing up. During dinner, the fact that my kids have only one grandparent came up. With the details for Mike's parents deaths and the question of how my Dad died. This is always been an awkward question...not for me, but always for the person asking. Suicide is not in the same category as an accident, cancer, or any other illness. While I do believe it is a result of an illness, it is still very different. Mike's boss was very polite and it wasn't near as awkward as it could have been. But on the drive home, more details came up of my family situation and my past.
I have no problem answering questions or telling people about me. It does make me feel sorry for Mike. The consensus I always get is "how did you turn out normal?" with a look of surprise. I wonder if they look at poor Mike wondering why he signed up for a lifetime of wacky issues and insecurities!
Here's my how I see it...we are all drivers. God gave us cars...some got Porches and some got Geo Metro's.
Before we are given our own cars, we have to ride with someone else. This person teaches us, or doesn't teach us, how to drive. We watch this person and this is where most of our instructions come from. When we are given our own cars, some of us are dropped off to start on older bumpy roads with potholes and higher hills, and others begin on brand new smooth roads. The truth is...there will be hills and valley's for all of us.
Most of us pick up passengers along the way.
Some of us have maps...which I believe are the gospel, and some don't ever get a map, or have one and choose not to look at it. We can't control the weather or other natural elements.
We can fill up for gas...which I think is going to church, praying, scriptures, etc. There are different grades of gasoline...that is our choice. Sometimes we figure it is always worth paying a higher price for the best...and sometimes...some of us...settle for less to save a few bucks. While saving seems good at the time, we regret it in the end. It affects our performance.
I feel that the destination for us all is the same, we just each have our own road to get there.

My road began real bumpy. As a passenger, I was dropped of too early. I was kind of kicked out of the car as it was still moving. As a passenger, the bumps were beyond my control. But then there were the bumps I created for myself. I realize the bumps I chose, and I don't blame anyone for those but myself. I also realize that for the crazy road I didn't choose...I started as a passenger with people who might not have known how to get off that road.
I guess I just want to preface all my answers with "but I promise that I AM normal, kind of" I think that any part of me that is normal, is due to certain choices. I have learned such an appreciation of the gift of free agency. There is a MAJOR reason we had to learn to use our agency, and that is why we are here. Everyone makes wrong choices, even if they are trying to make the right ones. I made many wrong choices knowing they were wrong. But I also made some good choices, despite the wrong ones.
I think that's why we can never label people. Just because someone drives a Porche does not make them better then a person who drives Metro. For all you know, the person driving the Porche has a real hefty payment each month and it straps them. Maybe they can't even afford to use premium gasoline. The person in the Metro might have the car paid for, and can then afford to not only use the best gas and take good care of their car, but has financial security for a much happier life.
Nobody is bad, regardless of the car they drive, and those on bumpy roads don't want to be there. They may act like they do, but they don't! Maybe they were passengers on a bumpy road for too long to know any different. Or maybe people have labeled them and they don't feel they deserve the better road. People can make a wrong turn and find their way back to a smooth road. I think that for me...I was blessed with some good shocks. I knew that things didn't have to be so bumpy, and at some point I slowly steered off that road.
Having the big bumps so far behind me now, also makes me realize that there are other dangers on my road. I think that if I take my eyes off the road, like to look at the other cars around me too much, I can easily steer off the road or crash. The same goes for speeding or reckless driving.
I also try to be aware of the passengers I have. I don't want them to look back and wonder why their ride with me had so many bumps. I want them to know the dangers, but appreciate the choice they have. Ultimately, their road will be their own choice. I will try to be a good leader, and I will hope they follow. But if they have that point I can only provide shocks. I will be able to tell them what I learned from the bumps in my road. I think it is important to teach them, and remember myself, that whatever the conditions...the road leads home. The potholes, the hills, the bad weather...all teach us to be better drivers on our roads. We would never learn anything without all of that. We don't know what types of weather or terrain are ahead of us.
Don't ever judge a person by the type of car they have been given, the roads they have driven on or might still be driving on. Some of us didn't get Driver's ED and somehow found our license in a Cracker Jack Box one day!
And coming from a person whose ridden a really bumpy road in some real crappy weather...if you know someone on that road, try to help them out. You may not be able to get them off the road, but you can show them encouragement...which is a real good set of tires. And I think that unconditional love is...well...great shocks!

Monday, December 15, 2008


It is actually finished...printing as we speak.(except that we are not speaking) It will arrive in time for Christmas! I will enjoy sleeping again.
The cover was my last project. It was a total 'mental block' moment for me. I originally put a picture of my Grandpa and Grandma on the front, but it just wasn't 'doin it' for me. (probably won't use Grandpa, Grandma and 'doin' it' in the same sentence EVER AGAIN.) I settled on the idea of a classic stock photo, something generic. After deciding I couldn't pay money for a picture of a fork...I thought I could take a picture of a fork myself!
I walked away from the computer...all haggard and frazzled to get a fork. I grabbed my camera, entered the kitchen and THERE THEY WERE!!!... sitting all sexy-like... staring at me like two amazing golden trophies, singing "Hallelujah" as a duo of angels! (enter the choir singing)...

My beautiful Salt and Pepper shakers that my Grandpa made for me last year!

I could have kissed them and I think I did...The answer to my huge dilemma of what to put on the cover!!!
Having finished this project, I honestly feel like I've received an academy I'd like to thank all the fam who contributed recipes...all 147 of them. Special shout out to those who submitted pics with their recipe. Priesh-'E'-'H'-ya! And super thanks to Addi and Sophie who's Mom had to sit in front of the computer for a few weeks instead of playing with them. I promise to make up for it these next few weeks!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oompa Loompa Doopity Doo

"Candy Factory" is what the kids call this time of year, when we bust out the holiday candy making. Since my favorite 'candy making' store has gone out of business, I always worry that I won't find what I need. Luckily, a store still carries my favorite chocolate so for the time being we are still good.
Each year it is so fun to see the girls participating more and more in this tradition. Mike always reminds me how expensive and time-consuming this is (not the most cost effective way to have holiday treats) but it's a dying skill, and I hope my girls will make these recipes with their kids someday.

This was our Saturday morning. Rockin' the Christmas music, singing and dancing. I just love how sweet and helpful they all are. Sophie is still a bit young to help, but she sure participates in the eating of the candy! I'm hoping that next year she'll be old enough, and patient enough, to get involved.

This year we busted out caramel dipped pretzels, choco-covered peanut butter creams, and the all-time favorite choco-covered mint creams. We also made the traditional caramels, and the girls wrapped them in wax paper and some in foil. Mike helped with the wrapping, and it went pretty quick.
We still need to dip the pretzels in chocolate and drizzle them. We have to make glass candy, maybe lollipops, and that should be it.

The girls love to see all the candy out on the wax paper...they say it's just like the beginning of the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I guess that means that they are Oompa Loompas! Or maybe they are the kids with the golden tickets. Because when this crazy lady gets old...I'm gonna need one of them to take over the factory.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Writing and Thinking Quirks!

Latest struggles...
1. Ending every post tile (and most sentences) with exclamation points!

2. Wanting to spell out emphasized word phonetically...whoop-ty-doo

3. Mis-typing word verifications for blog comments, duh! Seriously... sometimes it takes me 3 or 4 tries. Maybe that is a screening process for people like me...if you can't type in the simple letters you see, people probably don't need to know your comment!

4. And here is an issue I've had for a while now, probably since third grade...I cannot use the following words correctly...


I sit and look at it for a minute. I think of about 20 different variations in my mind and then settle on something and figure there are others who are in my same boat. So I need to have some type of education on the way these word sound and how they should be used. Honestly, I feel like a bit of a shmuck admitting that!

5. I've been checking my email Inbox WAY TOO OFTEN. Like every hour or so. Why? I'm really not sure. I feel like one of the obsessive compulsive people who have to lock the door ten times in a row. The funny thing? I really don't email very often. I usually check my email once a week or so. I send out an email every other week or so (usually answering 'get to know you' emails from family or friends) So what in the world am I looking for in my Inbox every hour...I have no clue! It's like I'm playing the lottery...yeah/yah/yea/yay...yep, I'm loosing it. And even though I have a million other things to do...I somehow fit in the time to make a quick check.

6. I also have discovered my true and undeniable love of...That's didn't miss really is "..."

There are my theory's:
I think that maybe this cold weather is affecting my brain cells. Half of them are frozen. I'm hoping they thaw in the spring. I read a quote once...'you shouldn't let your mind wander, it's too little to be let out by itself.' I think I may have let it out to wander and it's freezing it's ARSE off!

I also wonder if that trying to diet during the holidays is driving me crazy...literally! My brain runs on sugar and caffeine. (and the occasional Fish Oil) Thanks to Diet Dr. Pepper the caffeine part is taken care of. Maybe the lack sugar is causing mental blockage. Hum? Skinny or smart? I think I'll take skinny. If it really is the sure explains a lot about skinny girls. KIDDING!

It's probably just my insanity sneaking out again...darn it. I try to keep it together, but now and then the crazy gets loose. I think I'll try sleep, and maybe a some sugar...but not at the same time of course.
Have you heard that researchers discovered that chocolate produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana.... The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two, but can't remember what they are.
ha ha...hah hah...hay hay...hee hee...hardy har har!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Lickety Split!

Mike's family party was on Saturday night. In previous years...we have ALWAYS been late! We really struggle with being on time to anything, but for some reason we cannot ever make it on time to his family's functions. Part of the issue is that we are traveling down to BFE. It only takes us an hour...yeah, an hour each way.
The dinner is 'pot luck', however every time I have tried to bring something, it ends up cold or spilled in my car. This year I wised up and brought chips and salsa. Everything seemed fail proof this year. We were determined to get there in time!
It was all going great when...accident on the freeway! Huge one! So, of course, we were sitting 40 minutes in a parking lot on the freeway. Well, at least we had a better excuse this year.
We show up and everyone is done eating! We are only 30 minutes late, and seriously they are all done. (When you take socializing out of the dinner it goes pretty quick) I don't think even half of the family showed up this year. We were in a big cultural hall and hardly anybody is talking to each other.
By the time I get all the kids food, drinks, and situated...I get a plate. Now, trying to watch what I'm eating, I don't get a very large plate. I'm thinking I can try some of the food, and go back for what I can. As I am maybe 5 minutes into eating the food gets taken away. Clean up is in full force! Forget who has or hasn't snooze, you loose. Now in my defense, I had pretty much starved myself all day so I could indulge a bit.
I make a mad dash to the table and grab anything they still have left (not much) then poke my head in the kitchen to sneak what I can as they cover bowls and rinse out dishes. Honestly! Not a good combination for me...I'm starving, I sat in traffic for 40 minutes on top of driving an hour, now I'm not even getting to eat! Watch Out!
In previous was difficult with little kids because their parties would go on and on. Santa wouldn't show up until after nine o'clock and then there was two gift exchanges. Well, I shouldn't have complained. Now we show up, there is no talking, you are given a short window to stuff your face with whatever you can grab, and then the tables are gone! They literally put away the tables while you are still sitting at them! No lie!
Santa showed up at seven o'clock and the kids' gift exchange took maybe 5 whole minutes. The adult gift exchange used to be a fun... talkative... joking around type deal. This year it was like pulling teeth. Everyone just took a gift (if they were paying attention) and that was it. The floor mops were out, things were gathered and we were out the door.
It was funny that this thing used to take so long. All I can think of, is the ladies running the show now have a baby in their family, so maybe their child's bedtime is considered. (we were rude a few years ago for even bringing up the fact that it was hard to have our children out past 10:30 or 11:00) But why nobody talks to each other? who knows what that's about? The only word I could think of all night...awkward! Really really awkward! I don't know what we would have done if Mike's siblings didn't show up. Not only did we make up half of the people there...they are the only ones who will carry on a conversation with us.

Santa came and the girls loved it! To my girls, he came with his reindeer, straight from the North Pole and they couldn't have been happier! They sang with him, sat on his lap, whispered in his ear, Addi even gave him a picture she drew.

It was fun to see the kids with Santa! It was also great to see Mike's Grandma. She has slowed down quite a bit in the past couple years. We don't know how many more Christmases we will get to have her, so it's great to see her with Santa! She is so sweet!

The good part is, besides getting to stop and eat dinner on the way home, we could drive home in plenty of time to get the kids to bed even earlier than a school night!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Give me a Gee Ennnnn Ohhhhh!

What great ladies! I was really nervous to have everyone over, but it all went well. In Christmases past, I think a nice dinner and gift exchange was the agenda. Well, with the economy I wanted to be sensitive to every body's situation. I know that for us, Christmas this year is not as big as other years. It seems that December spending gets out of control pretty easy, so I thought that others might be in the same boat.
So I decided on an "Ugly Christmas Sweater" party. (oddly enough, a week later I was invited to a similar i was glad I would have something to wear) We all brought White Elephant gifts to exchange. Something old, used, or just needs to be taken to D.I.
We had such a blast, and everyone rocked their sweaters! There wasn't a winner...which is probably good, since they were all so ugly. The best ones for me, were the sweaters people borrowed from their Mom's. Of course, you're not going to tell your Mom you are in need of an ugly Christmas sweater. So there are these poor Mom's /Aunt's lending out their favorite Holiday apparel, without a clue that it will be laughed at and made fun of. Kind of sad!...but hey, it sure makes for some good laughs! Mindy made her own sweater, complete with flashing nipple lights!
I have to thank my sis-in-law, who let me borrow a hideous sweater vest, turtleneck, broach and matching earrings. Too funny!

Some of the awesome gifts we walked away with included...a fart machine (can be found at Target), a farmers video on manure, used musky bath set, slippers made from feminine hygiene products, a sweet homemade picture frame, a HUGE can of Stagg chili (from camp), and needle point ornaments. I know there were other great ones...that's all I can remember tonight.
Mike took pictures for me, and when I suggested a 'funny picture' we for some reason, got in a pyramid...umm...too many ex-cheerleaders I guess. But it is quite a funny picture to see all those grown women climbing on each other to form a pyramid...ha ha!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tis' the Season to be Jolly!

We did our holiday decorating...and we got it all done the day after Thanksgiving. Every year it seems to get better. I'm not going to be one of those old Grandma's who pull out a hundred boxes of Christmas decorations to fill every corner, but it's definitely accumulating. I try to throw out the old when replace it with something new. I love my Grandparents...but helping them decorate year after year...I have promised my self that I won't keep adding boxes to my collection of festive decorations.
I do not believe in 'yard art'. (no offense to those who do each their own!) You will never, I repeat never, find lighted and or moving figures or animals of any kind, no blow-up stuff, and none of the trees in my yard with ornaments or lights. Call me Scrooge...but it will never happen. It was a real stretch to put the graveyard bones and headstones out this Halloween. I think it stems from my childhood, living across the street from a crazy eclectic lighted house. They had random lights...colored strands, white strands, blue strands, etc. Some of them would blink, some would not. The blinking ones never blinked in sync with each other. They would be strung around random windows, partially around random trees, across different parts of the roof...all connected in a line. (Just trying to describe it makes me feel like I need an Excedrin!) Eventually different 'yard art' was added ruined Christmas lights and outdoor decorations for me. As fate would have an adult, I live in a lively neighborhood where much of the season's celebrating happens on every one's front yard. The irony! I am actually grateful, because my kids love it. They look around wishing their house looked like the neighbors. So I owe my neighbors, big time!
If you drive by my house, no, we are not JWs. We DO celebrate, just not on the outside. The tree is not in the window and there is no lights of any kind. I WOULD be able to handle evenly spaced, white lights...but I can't afford to pay someone to do that for me yet...maybe someday!
In October, I got a great coupon from one of my favorite decorating stores. It expired at the end of the month and I was determined to use it on something. Well, after seeing the fantastic trees they had at good prices I had an idea! Mike of course said he didn't think we 'needed' a new tree. (Technically, who really 'needs' a tree. The entire commercialized Christmas decorations are not necessary. )
This meant it would have to come out of my food budget. I gathered the girls and asked them what they thought. They thought that eating mac-n-cheese and spaghetti for two weeks was a darn good trade for a new Christmas tree. So after two weeks of carb loading...we made the purchase. I have fallen madly in love with the concept of 'pre-lit' trees. I could kiss the genius who figured that out! I don't want to sound boastful, this year was my first experience with a pre-lit tree, but honestly...LOVE IT! A drawback of getting a bigger tree...not having enough ornaments. I figure I have many years to accumulate tree stuff. (see...there's that accumulating factor again, that's what my December nightmares are made of)

The girls love it even more than I do. It was always a dream of mine to have a tall tree. My grandparents always got massive trees (real trees) and it seemed so magical as a child. We spent many Christmases with them, and I still think of their house when I think of Christmas. All the kids would sleep on the balcony Christmas Eve...waking up to such an amazing view of the tree and filled stockings! Consequently, I have a balcony for Christmas Eve sleeping, and have now invested in a big tree. It's kind of strange how I find myself re-creating my favorite childhood experiences for my kids. It seems that most of what I do is based on whether or not I like it growing up.
On a side note...speaking of she my child or what?
I should dig and find a couple pictures like this of me, almost the same age. I love that those weird traits get passed down. Maybe my long lost relative performed in a traveling circus...maybe one of my great-grandchildren will perform in a traveling circus. There's got to be a reason we are made so strangely flexible, come to think of favorite childhood toys were my stilts! (there's got to be something to that!) I'm not sure what I enjoy more...that she gets such a kick out of herself, or the holes in her tights for both her big toes. That a girl!

So the stockings are the chimney with care. Here's hoping hoping St. Nick will SOON be there!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A brain full of mush

I feel like such a glamorous and 'put-together' person...hardy har har! I am the farthest thing from it. As I clean off the pictures from my camera, I realize how sad my life is. Sad in way which is considered not glamorous. But the fact is...I love my life. I wouldn't change it, well, maybe some of it!
In my defense. I have been a real slacker lately. (or all the time) The joy of being a manic person is that when I'm feeling good I take on incredible projects. On my bad days I can hardly brush my teeth, but on a good day I can hike Kilimanjaro!
In October...on a good day...I decided to publish a cookbook for my Grandparents. I asked all of my relatives to submit family recipes, or request recipes which held memories of their childhood. I put November 1st as the deadline to submit, which meant I didn't get them all until the second week of November. So the past two weeks I have don't want to know how many hours...trying to compile 139 recipes into a cookbook. What was I thinking?
The good news is that I will wrap it up tonight. I will hopefully feel this weight lifted, and I told Mike to remind me of this cookbook EVERY TIME I even mention the slightest hint of a new project. The other up side, is that each time I actually have to finish something I helps me create boundaries for myself. I have little memories of feeling overwhelmed by something I totally chose to do. I bring it upon myself.
As soon as I get over my anger toward my mouse and keyboard...I will be a better blogger. (and a happier person to live with)

Our Thanksgiving Feast! I was impressed with the spread. I took this one and only picture of Thanksgiving. Can you tell I'm on a diet? No people, just food! So pathetic.

This is the Preschool field trip to the Library. I could not show a better comparison of my two little girls! All the kids were following the Librarian around to a cute song. Addi took the opportunity to star in her very own motion picture titled "I am the biggest Drama Queen!" What a goof ball. Her teacher and I would just keep snapping pictures between laughs.

This would be my sweet Cori as a Native American in her school Program. She's a doll! The only natives surrounded by Pilgrims...I found it sort of funny! Had it been literal, she would of showed a thing or two to those invaders of her land. She would have kept them all in line.
They performed for the school the day before this. When she got ready for school, she asked "Is the program at 9:30 am or pm?" I said " like 30 minutes." She broke down in hysterics! She said that they had NOT done their best yesterday and needed more practice. She did not want to perform for the parents without more preparation. She was very disappointed that people did not know what they were doing, or heaven forbid, made MISTAKES! I convinced her to go to school, to do her best, and to let everything else go. "You cannot control what other people do or do not do. You are awesome! You will be great no matter what!" She sang her heart out and was the most beautiful angel. I love her so much, and I worry I've ruined her. I've put too many expectations on her and she already has a fear of making mistakes. I feel so inadequate, and hope I can redeem myself. She deserves better!

On a funny note...this is her chore chart. This is what she handed me this week. I was a bit taken back by what I saw. This picture shows just one corner of the chart. There was more written, like "I love Money!" and "I am rich!"
I pay her allowance for these chores, (yes...I pay them to read. there is an explanation for that, I will have to get to that someday) and apparently money is a great motivator for her. Her husband will love the fact that she pinches all her pennies and asks the price of EVERYTHING...even if somebody else is paying for it. Looks like we have a topic for Family Home Evening. Love her!
On a side note, the girls opted to be full tithe payers this year. (a proud moment for Mike and I) Lexi paid up right before our settlement with the Bishop. We are walking down the hall at church when Lexi says, in her loudest voice,"So, Addi...did you hear? I LOST ALL MY MONEY!" I shushed her...and reminded her that "You did not LOSE your money, you paid your tithing." She says "Oh yeah...that's what I meant." That's what I get for having a proud moment. Again... hitting those Family Home Evenings pretty hard this month!

Speaking of hitting something hard...These are my wonderful garage doors. Which are even more wonderful now that I know how expensive they are! It's true that you do not fully appreciate things until they are gone, or you have to replace them. I also didn't fully appreciate the luxury of parking in a garage. When I have to run the kids to school, in my pajamas...without shoes...and without a bra's rather embarrassing. (and extra cold) You would think it would make me get dressed...nope.
Here's the story.
I was sitting in my driveway, waiting for the girls to get home so we could run errands. We had been out all day, and I didn't get to grocery shopping. I was waiting to grab them and head to the store, already bothered that it was the Monday before Thanksgiving and dragging 4 kids through the crowded store would not be a joyful experience.
I had been sitting in my driveway for over 5 minutes. I was making my grocery list, and dropped the pencil on the floor in from of me. I leaned down to pick it up....and POW! My face slammed into the steering wheel...HARD! I look up to see my garage door in my windshield. I had my foot on the brake, and didn't realize the car was in drive. I always put it in park when I pull in my driveway, sometimes I realize my foot is on the brake still, but it is always in park. Argh!
Mike said..."I'm glad the airbags didn't deploy"...I agree, then he adds "because they are expensive to fix!" I quickly add "And I would have broken EVERY BONE IN MY FACE!!!" He says "Oh yeah...that too."
So we are hopefully replacing them this week. The top panel had to be replaced a couple months ago (which is why it is still white) and we hadn't painted them yet. Now we may have to replace the whole thing! Just the bottom three panels are $2500, and then the cost of painting them too. And we don't know if we can paint them without also painting the third car door, or the paint will not just gets better. The pictures don't look as bad as in real life. The door will not open, and the wheel of the door is busted off. Merry Christmas!
The guy who gave me the estimate tried to make me feel better. I said "Who runs into the FRONT of their garage door?" He said he had just come from a similar estimate...only the car was being stolen and it was put in drive rather than reverse. I said "Ummm...that really doesn't make me feel better." Then he said "A lot of first-time drivers will pull in the driveway and get nervous. They will step on the gas instead of the brake." To which I walked away mumbling "you can stop...that really doesn't make me feel better... sorry I brought it up."

So there is the week of Thanksgiving, in a nutshell. The actual order was...
Monday...garage, massive grocery shopping
Tuesday...program and field trip, cleaning my entire house, making pies, and prepping food
Thursday...Thanksgiving, and then extended family
Friday...making a mess of my house trying to decorate, more extended family and my braking point!
And every night putting at least 4 to 5 hours into the cookbook. I have been sleeping from 3 am to 8 am every night now for a week. (so if you get a comment from me after midnight, don't be afraid.)

I feel like I have only written down things which make me sound ungrateful and selfish, but it's honestly how my week went. Which means I probably am very ungrateful...which is why I am so glad I could read friends thoughts of gratitude and family love. I will stop roasting my family and hang up my "sorry for myself" for a while. I would promise to lay off the Debbie Downer posts, but I'm not sure I'm good at hiding my emotions well enough. I will be better at writing the good things in's just not near as interesting, or therapeutic to get off my chest.

Oh, oh, oh, I forgot! Don't ask me how in the world I could forget this! There were the infamous naked pictures on my camera from two weeks ago. Those images burn into my brain, I am shocked I could forget.
The whole weight loss thing has been truckin' along. Slow and steady. I decided to take pictures...NOT TOTALLY see if there is progress. What I see looking back at me can be very different than a photograph of myself.
If I ever get super duper, unbelievably skinny...maybe I would...well, no, I would never show these pictures to another living soul. I may someday reveal numbers if...well, no, I don't think I would do that either.
Mike has always taken these pictures for me, but this time I set the timer and took them myself. (which I really have decided I prefer) and I keep them in a special, secret folder on my computer. Which usually makes me paranoid, but where else do you keep them? I figure if some poof thief decided to steal the would serve him right! Those pictures would have a greater affect then any community service or jail time!
Anyways...Mike was looking for a certain picture on the camera and I realized I hadn't taken those images off. I usually IMMEDIATELY take them off and erase them off the memory card. So right as I realize that...Mike says "Did you take pictures of yourself?", that's my overweight twin sister I lock in the basement and take picture of when I am bored in the afternoons. Yep!
Now obviously, having been married as long as we could there be any surprises, right? right. So here's my favorite part...he asks "So, who took these pictures?" WHAT?!? My insides are dying of hysterics! I know that he's not worried about ANOTHER person taking pictures of my sexy weight loss progression. Ha! Oh honey...did I forget to tell you that I signed up for a profession photo shoot of me in my bra and underwear? Yes! I did an ad for stretch marks and saggy boobs!
So, just to play with him, I said "Babe, YOU took those pictures, remember?" Now this is what a great husband I have...he said "Really? I did?" and confidently I say "Yes you did!" Now he actually said "Oh. Okay."
Baaaaaah! I am dying, partially glad that images of seeing my slim and trim, sexy self doesn't stick with him the way it sticks with me. But I guess you've been married a while when your husband can't remember if, seven days ago, he took scantly clad pictures of you or not. Ha! It was still silent, but I could tell he was deep in thought. I just couldn't help it, I busted up!
He jumps right out and says "I didn't take those, huh?" I can't produce words, still laughing way too hard. "I knew I didn't!" To which I had to say "Yeah you did...that's why you had to ask...and then wonder a bit!?" He of course started laughing, all the time defending himself. As the laughter quites into silence, without emotion he asks" So...who took the pictures?"
"HONEY!!! Who do you think took them?" The poor guy says "Umm...did you use the self-timer?" Umm...that would be correct!!!
Heavenly Days I love that man! I can tell you, 10 years ago those kind of pictures on our camera would have been an entirely different story. And trust me...he would have remembered if he took them or not! Now it seems that naked pictures are as shocking as pictures of the kids at the Library. How I love growing old with my favorite person in the entire world!