Friday, May 30, 2008

Instead of a heart a cash register, instead of a brain a bottom line

*just as a note, I stole that title from Janssen (thanks dude)

We are having a garage sale tomorrow. I have no heart. I am an anti-packrat. I hate keeping stuff around that we are not using, but I also am pretty sentimental, especially when it comes to the little piggy tail wearing girl that lives here. I didn't have much to sell for our garage sale and I made the mistake of tearing open all of her old clothes. The mom in me wants to keep every little thing that she has ever worn because I remember vividly what stage in life she was at and how cute she was. The realistic, heartless, part of me wants to sell it all because, well at the earliest we will have another baby in nine months, and at the more realistically earliest we will have another baby in about two years and nine months. IF that baby is a girl (50/50 chance) then that girl will have to be about two before she will fit in all of these cute clothes, so that is about four years at best away. If the next one is a boy, then it could be seven years away, and then we will be done having kids. Especially if we are on a boy streak (not that there is anything wrong with boys). Anyway, at that point I will be all girl starved and wanting to go get cute little dresses. Plus, by then we may have gone the way that the media predicts (to quote seinfeld "in any movie in the future, or if people come from another planet, they're all wearing the same outfit. I think the decision just gets made 'alright everyone, from now on its going to be the one piece silver suit with the V- stripe and the boots. That's the outfit. We're going to be visiting other planets and we wanna look like a team here" ). Not to mention the fact that a lot of this clothing was purchased during our Minnesota stint, which is like the antithesis of Texas. No one wears fuzzy pajamas here. You'd die of heat exhaustion in your sleep.

Anyway, so I kind of think we should just sell it to someone else while it is still usable. BUT IT IS SO SAD. I feel like I am selling my little tiny eighteen month old Gwenie. Luckily though most of the stuff is sweaters and long pajamas that probably no one will want.

What would you do?

Excellent Question

I couldn't help but notice on today there was an excellent reader question. The question was worded so eloquently, it was like reading a beautiful poem. It was such a beautiful, thought provoking question that I would be remiss to not direct you immediately to the site so you could read it yourself.

Alright, alright, it was my question; and it wasn't that beautiful, but I feel a tiny bit famous being featured on another blog :)

Here it is.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

If I had a million, er 25 million, dollars!

Okay, I am going to really botch this up but I'll try.... Blaine's uncle works with people and businesses helping them to donate their money wisely to organizations, charities etc. Anyway he worked with a couple in Austin who recently donated twenty five million dollars to UT. So.....Curt (Blaine's uncle) talked to these people and told them how we live in Austin and asked him if he would let us come and tour his house. WOW. So then Blaine's uncle sends me this man's work number and tells me to call to set it up. I am a little nervous because, well..... a) I've never talked to a millionaire (billionaire?) before and b) I hesitate to call Blaine at work, imagine my hesitation to call this guy at work.

Nonetheless, I will do it and I am excited to think that we might be able to meet these guys! Does anyone have any advice for phone etiquette when calling wealthy people? Or any advice for keeping Gwen from breaking anything in his house that would require the rest of our lives to pay back the damages from??

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The best days of my life

I am working on cleaning out our garage (yes, I have been working on this for a year--yeah I know, I know, we have only lived here a year). I opened a box and came across my old high school journal. My old Junior High journal has been floating around the house for a while (hence the whole Bryce C. incident), and it is fun to pick up occasionally and glance through. I had to laugh when I opened my high school journal; on the first page there was an index, and I had written

12-9-1998 My very first kiss
1-31-1999 The prophet came to stake conference
2-28-1999 The perfect prom date
7-31-1999 My first "I love you"
8-21-1999 My first complete rejection from someone I love

Wow. That's intense, and just a few short weeks after my first I love you. It was all so sad and traumatic and hard to go through. I wish someone would have told me that life, indeed, was not over; and that things would work out. Whether or not with Blaine, they would have worked out. It wasn't the end of the world, but boy did it ever feel like that.

It was actually a good reality check. Some things seem so big and so hard and so trying at the time but hopefully five years from now I will be able to look back and realize how not a big deal it was. I think we like to call that "eternal perspective".

Anyway, I am sure more will come as I read through my journal (which certainly can't take long seeing as how I only wrote once a month--- at best!). I think my entry about being so sad that Blaine had left on his mission was followed, on the next page, by the entry that I was engaged to Blaine (if only those two years had gone as quickly as that made them seem!).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A little secret

You may not know this about Blaine, but he is actually a pretty big deal. He has his own IMDB entry, and really it is his. He's been in movies. Okay, okay, he has been in a movie, but that is still more than I have been in.

The movie came out while he was on his mission, and oh boy did I watch it over and over because if you looked hard enough you could catch a small glimpse of his leg as he sped away in a milk truck.

It's been tough being married to a celebrity, always being in his shadow etc., but I've learned to cope well.

It's officially winter!

And what I mean when I say "it's officially winter" is that it is officially summer. I am still trying to wrap my mind around the idea that in Texas you stay inside during June, July and August (and I would argue May and September) and spend the winter outside playing.

It is just killing me to sit inside on these days that are looking absolutely gorgeous. I tried to take Gwen to the park yesterday around 11:00AM but the slides were too hot (borderline melting) and the swings were too hot, and pretty much it was just a miserable experience. For our own safety we were forced to stop on the way home to get ice cream.

The last few days have been in the upper nineties and with the heat index (what does that mean, humidity?) the feels like temperature is in the lower 100's. Ouch. It is May. I am used to nice moderate temperatures.

I just need to adjust my mindset. Instead of freezing my buns off from October to April in Minnesota or Utah, my buns get toasted here in Texas (which really I guess is preferable).

This whole problem is magnified by the fact that I have a borderline albino infant. This kid fries up real nice with about three minutes of exposure in the sun. Gwen has never had a sunburn in her life, ever. Not one. Bentley so far has had about ten bad ones. I should post a picture of their two legs together. Gwen looks like a Hawaiian goddess and really, Bentley looks like a cute little white person who should not be exposed to the sun ever.

Any good ideas for keeping kids entertained during these hot hot hot days of May?

This is pathetic....

I am having a serious case of writers block for my blog. I just haven't been doing enough entertaining or embarrassing things lately. My days mostly consist of fighting with Gwen. I am having a really hard time with her lately, like, a really hard time with her; as in if there were a slot open for five day a week preschool that opened tomorrow and cost a thousand dollars a month I would sign her up. Anyway, that's another post for another day. As a result of this lack of a life I haven't posted. So I thought I would steal a TAG I have seen floating around to help jolt my blogging brain.

What is his name? Blaine

How long have you been married? Five years and three months

How old is he? 26, but he is closer to 27 than I am ;)

Who said I love you first? Mmmmm. It was probably a tie. We were really dorky teenagers and said lots of codewords for "I love you" without actually saying it (like "you're the coolest" and that kind of stuff). I think if memory serves that he actually said the words first, but I was only about ten seconds behind him. If it redeems me at all I know I actually did love him first, even if I didn't say it first. [Don't make me pull out the journal entry where he said I wasn't much to look at again, it's just painful].

Who is taller? He is, by a full foot.

Who sings better? Considering I got boo-ed off the stage on the easiest level of judging in Karaoke revolution I am going to say that he is. That and, I don't know if you have ever really heard Blaine sing because he is really good. Especially when he is rocking out on the piano (I'm serious!).

Who is smarter? Well if we are talking about the "who knows more about two-bit-four-word-dual-access-register files, oscilloscopes, GPI express card slots" and all that mumbo jumbo then definitely he is. However, in the more practical sense of figuring out how to get from point a to point b, pay the bills, and cheat the system then it's me ;).

Whose temper is worse? Mine. For sure. Undoubtedly. I may not have the actually red head hair but my mother is a red head and definitely passed on that fiery temper (thanks a lot ma). I have to say though I think my temper is rubbing off on Blaine and I feel really bad about that.

Who does the laundry? Me. I have a funny post about that for later (see the blogging juices are starting to flow).

Who does the dishes? Me. He would if I ask and sometimes without me asking, but I would say that 90% of the time I do. It used to be more even, but ever since he started working like fourteen hour days it's been me :). Speaking of that, I really was under the impression that engineering was kind of a 9-5 job, what is this 6:30AM-7:30PM business?

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Okay, get ready for your jaw to drop.....we don't have sides of the bed. We just switch, not every night, or even every week, just every once in a while. I think it is because I get super grumpy when woken so if I fall asleep he leaves me be. Also we don't even necessarily sleep the same direction on the bed. You know like sometimes we lay from side to side instead of top to bottom (that is the advantage to having a really big king size bed that is almost square shaped). Weird, I know. Really I think we are just too lazy to rotate our mattress so we rotate ourselves instead.

Who cooks dinner? Me. He used to once in a while and then I noticed that every time it was a variation of the same thing, and I teased him, and then he stopped making dinner. I'm sorry! Actually sometimes I beg him to make food from Spain, he's really good at that. I love to cook though so I don't mind this one.

Who drives when you are together? Me. I don't say that with as much confidence as I used to, but for our whole marriage I have usually driven. Most of you can probably attest to me being a horrible backseat driver. I love driving, hate being a passenger. He hates driving loves being a passenger. I am good with directions, he's not so good. I can't sleep as a passenger and it scares me how quickly he falls asleep (to the point that I think he could fall asleep while driving). I don't know why it freaks people out so much that I drive. I got a lot of guff about it when we first got married. I like to drive. I know how to drive. Why wouldn't I drive? Especially when he doesn't like it?

Who is more stubborn? Me. For sure, it comes with the temper.

Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Blaine; but I know when he does it really bugs him if I don't immediately admit to being wrong too. He's a very sweet guy who hates confrontation. We don't go to bed mad because he wouldn't be able to sleep, he stews over it and feels so bad. Me, I could sleep like a log.

Whose parents do you see more? They are about equal and always have been. They live about half a mile away from each other. Blaine's family is a little more intense (with more family meetings and reunions and parties and structure), so probably hour-wise we have spent more time with his, but of course I would get real mad if we went up and didn't see my family at all. So we would usually at least swing by.

Who has more friends? Friends have always played a bigger role in my life than I think they have in Blaine's. Blaine was the oldest and always had siblings and cousins around. I was the youngest and if my brother was around he was probably plotting some way to torture me (I'm more serious than you might imagine), so I sought my solace elsewhere (uh...Laurie's house). So in my opinion my friends are my family. Laurie is my sister. Ralphie, you are my brother. Etc.

Who has the most siblings? We have the same. 5 kids in each of our families. So you'd think that we would probably want to have five kids in our family, it being the tradition and all, nope we want WAY more than that.

Who wears the pants in the family? Boots and Swiper.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Finally corroboration !

It was a slightly windy and sunny evening. One might have been deceived into thinking it was the perfect evening for a run. Blaine was in his running clothes on the way out the door when I hollered at him to wait while I checked the weather. I knew severe storms were in the forecast (I always know...), but it looked so darn nice outside. I checked the weather and to my surprise find that we were under tornado warning. Let's clarify, a tornado watch means to "watch out" the conditions are favorable for a tornado. A tornado warning means that a tornado is imminent and has either been spotted or that there is extreme rotation in the thunderstorm. Okay that has happened once or twice in our county since we have been here (warnings are usually issued by counties). I referred to all of my weather websites and found that this particular storm was supposed to track right over top of us! It was a big storm, but the particular part that was going to track over us was the part that was rotating. Um. Yikes.

Okay, this is the doppler radar image. You see how the storm has a little tail (ie "hook), where the diamond at the base of the arrow is? That is where the rotation is, when there is strong rotation in a storm the winds are so high that the rain actually wraps around the tornado (hence the stillness that precedes the tornado!). Okay well that little hook rotation part is the part that was on a crash course with the part of the city we live in.

The storm wound up not being so scary. I mean, it was scary, but we were safely gathered in our closet with our flashlights, granola bars, weather radio, blankets, and even the dogs this time (much to Blaine's dismay). I had enough forewarning and it seemed imminent enough that I even had time to barricade our closet with our couches.

I know it sounds insane, but my philosophy is that if we are given the time to prepare, we may as well prepare as much as we can. I would rather have to put my kids to bed late and move my couches back the next day then lose a kid to a tornado. You know what I mean?

Don't worry, we even had our bicycle helmets on. I know. Crazy.

As the storm passed over us we could hear the hail pounding the windows and the porch. The storm had produced hail 4 inches in diameter (that's really big folks), but in our city it only got to about baseball size.

It was so long before I let anyone leave our closet that we didn't really get to see the hail. I don't think ours was quite so big....from neighbors I have heard it was about marble size.

Anyway---the good news is that since I freak out and hide in my closet during all severe storms (it used to be ALL storms, now I am so relaxed that it is just severe storms :) ), that we are all used to it, we know the drill. Gwen thinks it is fun. We keep toys and blankets and all our emergency supplies in the closet, so there is no last minute freaking out.

This particular storm was so bad though that my neighbor came and pounded on my door to warn me (which was really nice of her and it made me realize that I am not nearly so thoughtful since I had been in my closet for a good hour before hand). Lots of other people from the area have blogged about the storm too (ie the people who I stole the images from---thanks Chelon!), so it wasn't just me this time. That feels great!

We are alive and well though, and now that we have been through the eye of a storm hopefully my tolerance for bad weather will increase!

The end :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Blog

I know, you are thinking "she doesn't write in her old blog, why would she start a new one?"

I asked myself the same question

Here it is

Friday, May 9, 2008

Has anyone seen Max?

Okay, is it just me or does Blaine's little brother Max look a lot like David Archuletta (I am confident that if it were not 1:30AM I could have even found a picture of Max wearing a similar outfit and in similar lighting and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fear Not!

Wow, I am amazed at the overwhelming response I got to making my own enchilada sauce (of all things!). You guys are so funny. The main thing I have learned is that enchilada sauce is just tomato sauce + salsa + water + whatever spices you have on hand (cumin, pepper, chili powder, etc.). The biggest thing about making your own sauces it to just not be afraid. Look online for what the basic ingredients and proportions are, but then dabble around with the spices. It makes it hard to share recipes since I never know amounts, but it is so nice to not be afraid to make something even if I don't have the right spice. I used to follow recipes meticulously but the more experiment the better cook I become. The other night I was stressed because I didn't have cottage cheese and I was making lasagna for a sick family in our ward. I didn't have time to run to the store. So I substituted with sour cream mixed with egg and milk and Parmesan instead.. It was weird but it totally worked and I liked it better than the cottage cheese!

The salad dressing I get the most compliments I made up myself one day because I had leftover strawberries. I threw them in the blender with some balsamic vinegar, salt, olive oil (only a little) and some sugar.

I live by for ideas and then change things up to make it my own. Here is a link to an enchilada sauce recipe that I think is the first one I looked at. When I get brave I am going to try the one on here that calls for semi-sweet chocolate chips in it, weird huh? Anyway, here is the link and if you are not using this site I do not know how you have survived. If you only have broccoli and ketchup left in your fridge you can plug them in a search and it will pop up like ten recipes that include those ingredients and that are rated by star level. It's awesome. Oh and I always read like the first ten comments on a recipe because they usually include some great modifications to make the recipes better and give me ideas for experimentation!

Happy cooking, please let me know of any successes (or failures for that matter!)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Part-time Granola

So, I love being a part-time granola. I am really getting in to it. I get all of the benefits of being a full time granola; great food, better for me stuff, increasing self-reliance, etc. and none of the hard things that come from being a full-time granola (ie bearing children with no medication, making my own clothing, etc).
If you haven't checked it out already you really need to join , they recently had an article talking about replacing one item that you normally buy with something homemade every week. I've been participating and it is very fun, and very fulfilling. I am now a whiz at making my own bread (pictures to come soon!), and I am getting the hang of making my own baby food, and I am scouring around looking for ideas of what to take over for next week. I've also recently realized how easy it is to make things like spaghetti sauce and enchilada sauce and taco seasoning from stuff I have on hand; whereas before I would have avoided making enchiladas, simply because I did not have enchilada sauce; or avoided making salad because we had no dressing. My own sauces and dressings are so much better than what can be purchased in a store, I LOVE IT!
Today the post on backyardfarming was about CSA (community supported agriculture). I went to the site and read all about it, I am in love with the idea. Seriously. The whole concept is that you can buy a share in a farm and reap a weekly harvest from the farm. You support local farmers and get the benefit of fresh, organic, delicious, home grown produce weekly. The coolest thing ever is that some farms near me have work-shares available, where instead of buying a share you can work off a share. So if I commit to going in every Saturday for four hours, I get a share of the crop. I LOVE IT! I could learn so much. I really want to get in and "get my hands dirty", and see if I can learn a thing or two about farming while I am at it.
I did the calculations and if I am able to get a work-share on the farm it would be the equivalent of making $10/hour. That is an excellent deal! You may not know this about me, but I used to be a professional cucumber and squash picker and for that I only made about $2.35 an hour. So $10 an hour, plus time away from the kids, plus fresh produce, is like mind boggling. I am very excited about this!
So, I encourage you to taking your own little steps to becoming a part time granola. Let me know how I can help, it's really made life more fun! It would be more fun, however, if Blaine would concede to let me get a backyard flock of chickens.

P.S. Minnesota friends, I checked and you have so many good options for a CSA. You lucky little devils. Oh, Utah friends, not looking so good for you. Texas is okay. And Oregonians, it makes me sick how many options you guys have.

Monday, May 5, 2008

In my previous life...

I think my calling in life may be to become a professional dog groomer.

Or there is a slight chance that instead maybe Ralphie's calling in life is to be a photographer. It's got to be one of the two.

Really though....when we took the dogs to get their hair groomed it cost EIGHTY DOLLARS. Gag. I've never spent that much to get my hair done. This haircut (thanks to Sheyenne!) cost me absolutely nothing (unless you count two hours of my time and two outfits now covered in fur, and a really messy kitchen), and it looks nearly as good! And the great news is that as long as I only put photos on here that Ralphie takes you will never know the difference because the girl is a whiz at photoshop!

And it has to be said, Sheyenne is awesome. I sent her an e-mail asking her if I could borrow her dog clippers, thinking that in say a week or two I would mosey over and get them, and before I made it downstairs to get a drink of water she was at the door with clippers. That is a true friend.

In other news, it has been exactly one year today since the Bassett's arrived in Austin. It has gone by really fast! I miss Utah though. Lots. And Oregon. And Minnesota.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Thanks Sam!

The long awaited tax rebates are starting to roll in! We got ours today and since I destroyed the economy I feel that I have a personal obligation to spend the rebate just like they want us to. It's a stretch from me because I am a saver and a hoarder, so I would love to just tuck it away in our savings account, but...... I guess I will just have to get this.

No, not a tummy tuck and a nose job (and hair extensions, etc.), the swimming suit.

And a swimming suit is no good unless you are going to use it on one of these...

in January. Wanna come? If we just get five more couples we can get a discount :)
Are you spending or saving your tax rebate?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It's a big world...

Lately I've felt like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. Or the weight of Mars if you are going strictly on the color of the planet in the picture. I liked a lot of the other pictures better but it's really find to hard an image of someone carrying the world where they are actually clothed in more than a loin cloth (actually very few even had that!). Since this is a G-rated blog, I don't have a rippling six pack, nor loin cloth, I decided this guy was more like me than the others. Not very many women are carrying the weight of the world on google images either. Perhaps I will have to submit my own image. Anyway....
The reason? I am pretty sure I brought about the demise of the economy. Practically by myself, but with a little help from people like Janssen. I feel so overwhelmingly guilty about it and I have been trying to change, but destroying the economy is really a hard habit to break.
My most recent act of sabotage came yesterday. My nice neighbor, whom I used to fear, is a Mary Kay salesperson (the reason for my fear). I used to shy away from going to her parties or taking her up on her free facials. I'm not really the makeup kind of person. Somehow I missed the sleepover in Junior High (or is it elementary?) where everyone learned how to put it on and what looks good, etc. [as a note I think this may have also been the same sleepover where they watched the long version of Pride and Prejudice, because I never really got why that was cool either.....see, it's little comments like this I've learned, that generate comments, though I am sure most for that little statement will be negative;)].
Anyway. Never have known how to put on makeup, never really thought I needed it. Wash my face with Good ol' Irish Spring, or - if I'm feeling extra luxurious - lever 2000. I am pretty sure that the lotion I use on my face (brace yourselves) is regular body lotion, not face stuff (nearly killed off the Mary Kay lady with that one).
Somehow though (I believe it was getting called in to Young Women's and for the first time feeling out of place..) I realized that it is about time I start wearing makeup, or at least washing my face with something that has not also washed Gwen's behind. So bring on the Mary Kay lady...
She did a whole facial, makeup, spent hours on me. I looked hot (uh....I tried to say that with enough conviction because I didn't really look hot, but I looked a little better than normal). So I was going to buy the stuff. Then she whipped out her little pamphlet. It's a good thing I keep a defibrillator around for just such an occasion (Seriously, a blog of an elementary school reading level would not use the word defibrillator), because my heart stopped beating in my chest. If I were to buy the whole setup of stuff she had me use I would have to refinance our home! If I were to buy the bare minimum of stuff I lived it would be over $100. Gasp. Yikes. Sigh.
I cannot spend money. Can't do it. Tried. This is where I brought about the demise of our economy. In general, I feel like I MAKE money on the economy. I buy clothes on clearance at and search for coupon codes usually getting an additional 30% off and free shipping. I buy Gwen shirts, using this technique, for about $1.50. You can't tell me anyone made any money off of that. Especially when I got $20 free to use at Kohl's with my purchase and then wound up returning most of the stuff I ordered anyway (um, they sent size 14.....and pinstripped capris, not quite what I thought I had ordered).
I use sites like , ebates (if you join today we both get $10!),,, (hint, if you go to ebates first you get 15% cash back from which means with a coupon code you can usually get a $25 gift certificate for like $4.00; or a $10 one for $1). I go to garage sales, etc. all to make sure I get the best deal.
So what do I do as soon as my neighbor leaves? Go and see if I can get the stuff for cheaper. Someone in my city is selling all of her Mary Kay stuff for 60% off retail. Hello? Awesome. Also on ebay it is a lot better deal.

I am ridden, RIDDEN with guilt because this lady took all of her time to show me how to do the stuff, and I am sneakily trying to get it for cheaper; because honestly, I cannot stomach spending a hundred dollars on makeup. She's my friend though too, so I'm going to see her all the time and she is obviously going to see that I am wearing makeup. What to do? Should I just suck it up and pay the big bucks (she makes 50% commission, FIFTY PERCENT! I'm tempted to become a Mary Kay lady...), or should I just like buy one thing from her and then get the rest off of craigslist? Should I give up and stop wearing makeup completely? Please. Tell me what to do. I am in angst.
P.S. I just spent a long time trying to make this look like it is not all one giant paragraph and it is not saving my edits. I am sorry.