Thursday, December 16, 2010
Thank you Pointe Digital for this awesome opportunity. I am such a cheapskate that I would never even think to buy a family video or even a professional photo shoot, but now I see that it really is a bargain for the awesome memories it captures.
This is the best Christmas gift ever!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I don't want to brag or anything, but I am kind of a big deal in the online deal finding community. That's right! Well, normally I am not, but today I am! Usually I go to sites like freebies2deals, or pinchingyourpennies, or fatwallet and peruse the deals and reap the benefits of buying things at screaming deals. But yesterday on my own volition I went to walmart.com to check prices on the Barbie movies. Low and behold they were a screaming deal! Some of the movies were as low as $3.50 a piece! Yeah sure normally you can find a Barbie movie here or there for five bucks but ALL of the Barbie movies were in the $4-6 range. So, I thought I would do a favor for humanity and post the deal on the fatwallet forum. And then all of the sudden my email inbox was flooded (well, two emails) from fatwallet saying I won all of these awards and that my deal was one of the hot deals of the day. So yeah, you should go buy a Barbie movie for all of those near and dear to your heart and be sure you go to ebates first so you can get it even twenty cents cheaper ; ). And be sure to check out the "Best Deals" page today on fatwallet...look for the picture of Barbie...and then look for the itty bitty text at the bottom that says "thanks to fatwallet member kadagagaba". That's me, *kadagaba.
*kadagaba is a nickname affectionately given to me in highschool when someone figured out my initials would be kdgb if I married Blaine. Random I know. I stick the d in there so as to not get myself mixed up with the Russian Mafia.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Notice any glaring omissions? Like, say, our youngest two children?! Yeah. It's been a while. But the good news is that now you can say GOODBYE! To that picture because I WON A MAJOR AWARD from Pointe Digital!
I am beyond thrilled! They do an amazing job! Amazing. Seriously one of my bigger regrets in life is that I got married before they started doing wedding photography/videography.
Pointe Digital is owned and operated by some life long friends of mine, the Orgills. I love the Orgill's! Julianne was my same age and my best friend all growing up. We lived two houses away from each other and there was always something exciting going on at their house. I have vague recollections of her brothers lighting fireworks inside to see if they could make it all the way outside before they went off. See, exciting! Julianne's mom would plan the best birthday parties for her kids too. At Julianne's birthday we were always doing something creative, most notably was the year that we chased a chicken around because she had tied five dollars to the chicken's leg and whoever caught the chicken got to keep the money. They Orgill's had a whole zoo of animals, from dogs to guinnea pigs and chickens and rabbits. I remember they even taught me how to hypnotize a chicken too. They also had the worlds most incredible tree house, complete with a TV inside. I remember many an early evening spent hiding in Julianne's closet because friends weren't allowed over after her Dad got home from work and sometimes I wouldn't make it out in time so I'd have to wait for a prime opportunity to sneak away. When Julianne's older sister went on a mission I remember reading her letters and hearing all about how she had found a little turtle (or frog? or lizard?) or something and kept it in her pocket every day for her whole mission. Cool right? Roseanne would take us toilet papering too. Talk about a cool mom!
The Orgill's are everything a person could hope for in a large family. There are six kids alternating boy/girl/boy/girl all about two years apart. As kids they would all clog in their coordinating outfits at the fair and other functions. They are just so darn cool! Even now they get together and have dance parties and talent shows.
It's my dream really. To have a big, supportive family who all love each other and stay close even as they get older. The kind of family who wants to get together and sing and dance and laugh.
We're off to a fairly rocky start here though. Gwen and Bentley fight like cats and dogs, all day every day. They drive me crazy. Is it their personalities? Their age gap (just three years...but is that too far?), the fact that they are boy and girl? I have no idea where I went wrong, but man I see my dream of our family talent shows in fifteen years going up in a blaze of smoke. So...any ideas for how to make my family more close knit? How to foster love and happiness and reduce the amount of choke holding? I would love to hear fun things your family did together, and things you do together now to stay close.
Anyway, kind of a scattered post but I want you to take three things away from it.
1. The Orgill's are AWESOME.
2. I WON A MAJOR AWARD!
3. You should have Pointe Digital take your pictures because they do an amazing job! Check out their new website www.pointedigital.com and stay tuned for our photo/video shoot!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Gwen's assignment seemed simple enough - a three minute presentation on corn farms. And certainly it would have been simple enough. Except that the parent designated to help her with this project was Blaine. And the last presentation Blaine gave in the world of academia was a two hour presentation on Field Programmable Gate Arrays designed to process digital images in real time to find roads as part of an autonomous driving system blah blah blah yadda yadda *yawn*. He spent over six months researching and testing his programs and theories, writing thirty page papers and designing websites to support this project.
So you can see the problem right? Asking someone who is used to giving thorough, intense, groundbreaking presentations to rooms full of engineers to create a simple and succinct presentation on corn farms. Well, it would be like asking Shakespeare to write the script for a Velveeta commercial. Or having Pdub do a guest post on this blog. You get the picture--overqualification.
This unexpected reaction wasn't because I had asked him to help on her project; he was eagar and willing to help. But man, the stress! You wouldn't think someone with his experience and qualifications would be so terrified of a three minute report!
They worked on it. And worked on it. And WORKED on it some more. They went to a corn farm, they went to a grocery store to find all of the things that used corn as an ingredient, they made a poster, they rehearsed and memorized, they colored and googled.
Blaine had the kind of parents who stayed up until unearthly hours helping him do posters for school projects, I had the kind of parents who consoled me when they found out I only got a 4 on the AP physics exam (as they assumed it was out of 10 or 100...either way a 4 didn't seem too hot). Both of us wound up on full tuition scholarships at BYU, so there is no real saying which way is the right way. Lucky for Gwen she has one of each. One who will stay up late doing posters, and one who will pop the popcorn and deliver it to the hard workers before she goes crawling back to bed.
I think Gwen is off to a healthy start. Her presentation was today and she nailed it (or so I heard from Blaine, who took the morning off to go and see it). I am really proud of Gwen.
But I am even prouder of Blaine. I may complain that he isn't a good handyman(did I ever post about the shelves he built me?). I may say he is the girl in this relationship (he cried in Mission to Mars people). He may be more afraid of mice than me (you should have heard him scream the other day when we saw one in the garage). But he really has everyone beat in the fatherhood department. And if we are being honest, that's about the biggest and most important department there is. He took on as much stress for a three minute report on corn farming as he did for his own senior project. That's the sign of a quality father right there.
So here is to my electrical engineer husband, who stayed up until who knows how late with his six-year-old to make sure she was overly prepared and qualified to give a three minute presentation on corn farms; all while I was
Monday, November 15, 2010
I thought I would share with you some salad making tips. Since becoming the salad maker I have learned two things about what makes a salad great 1) lots of "stuff" and 2) a special dressing you make especially for your salad. These things always please the peeps.
I think I aquired my title of "Awesome Salad Maker" by making Ralphie's Avacado Feta Salad.
Here's the recipe, I love it!
1 package of baby greens (I love the big package of baby greens at costco, and only like $3 for a weeks worth of salads)
1/4 C chopped red onion
1/2 C chopped walnuts (raise your hand if you hate walnuts! Me! I use pecans! or almonds)
1/3 C crumbled feta or blue cheese (raise your hand if you hate blue cheese! Me! I always use feta, and for some weird reason I prefer it grated instead of crumbled. You can get a big ol' pack of feta at costco for cheaper than anywhere else)
2 tsp lemon zest
1 apple - peeled, cored and sliced
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced
4 mandarin oranges, juiced (I use half a can of mandarins and squish them with a potato masher)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 t lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
salt to taste.
This is a surefire crowd pleaser!
Then a few weeks ago Katie came to dinner and brought an awesome salad, and it took two weeks of harassing her but I have finally secured her dressing recipe for you! This got RAVE reviews last night. Rave.
2T Red Wine Vinegar
3T sugar or honey or agave ( I used more like 2)
1/2 C Olive Oil
1/2 t dry mustard
1/2 t salt
1 C strawberry or raspberry jam
mixed greens from Costco
apple - peeled, cored and diced
candied pecans (recipe forthcoming!)
Seriously, it was amazing.
So, if I am making a sweet yummy type dressing I use a medley of any of the following
spinach or mixed greens
If I am wanting a salad with just plain old ranch dressing (which I loooooove) (hey maybe Janssen will post her homemade ranch dressing recipe....mmm? pretty please?)
Then I use whatever type of lettuce I have, I always get something fancy in my bountiful basket
snap peas, cut in smaller pieces
green or red peppers
and, here is a little super salad maker tip for you...if I am doing a non sweet salad - I always salt and pepper the whole salad. Always. It makes a big difference for me. So now you know.
But please still assign me salads if you invite me to a party. It's kind of my thing.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
PPS Can this count as my post for Sunday? Is that cheating?
Why am I posting at such an unearthly hour? Mostly because of red peppers.
See, I hate going to the grocery store like every. single. day. Hate it. Dragging the three kids, telling them no to all of their requests while we are at the store, so on and so forth, so much work for one or two items. So today I sat down and made a menu for the upcoming week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday if you must know). And I was going to do all of the shopping today so I wouldn't have to take Things 1, 2, and 3 with me and so I could go the entire week next week without stepping foot in the grocery store. This was the plan.
At about 2 PM Blaine took Gwen and Bentley off in search of a corn farm (she has a report...bleh, I thought I was done with reports for life!), and I took Ivy to get an *oil change. After the oil change we ran to Costco to purchase a bunch of the items on my grocery list, meticulously made from my carefully planned menu, then I was planning a quick trip to the other grocery store to get the things that I didn't need in bulk.
But I ran out of time! See, I had a girls night planned with Laurie, my long lost BFF. We were going to go eat, shop and watch Inception. So I figured I would just stop at the second grocery store after the movie.
Girls night started, I had buckets of fun. Inception was sold out when we stopped to pick up our tickets TWO HOURS before the show began, so we got tickets for Wall Street instead (not worth my dollar and a half.....at all). We ate our dinner and did our shopping and watched our painfully long and in depth and kind of scattered movie. Then we talked in the car for a while. Then finally around 11:20PM I made it to the store.
Merciful Heavens! You would think the Apocalypse was coming tomorrow! The store was packed, the shelves were barren, the lines at checkout were a mile long. It was a nightmare! I eventually found most of the things I needed (except for Red Peppers, Strawberries and bacon - well they had bacon, but it either was laced with gold or there is a major bacon shortage in Utah because hot diggity--- $4 for a pound of bacon? No way). I stood in line forever. While standing in line I noticed a vintage Dr. Pepper in the cooler near the register. It was calling to me. Dr. P made from real sugar. I needed it. It was my reward for standing in line for thirty minutes without killing anyone.
The whole time in line I debated about whether or not I would stop at a different store on the way home to purchase the remainder of my items. It sounded hard, I was tired....but I had my list and my goal to not go shopping next week. It was a dilemma indeed. As I walked to the car I decided that I would just go home, and get the other items I needed on Monday.
I get to the car, buckle up, sigh a big end of day sigh and crack open the DP.
It freaking exploded. All over me, all over Blaine's car, on the steering wheel, on the seat, everywhere.
Alright, I'm covered in pop. No problem, I've been covered in much worse things. I'll just clean it up when I get home.
I get on the freeway and go about one mile before I am forced off of the freeway because the ENTIRE freeway is closed. Shut down. Nada. Nill. Zip. No freeway.
There is a quote I once heard that inspires me often in situations like these...
'When life hands you lemons, squirt lemon juice in your eyes without blinking, just to show life you don't mess around".
Fine. You know what, this detour is taking me right by Macey's. That's perfect. I will get my shopping done after all.
Except the detour was about to let me on a little bit before Macey's, but I decided to stick with my plan and drove the extra mile out of the way to get my shopping done. Macey's is open 24 hours so I'll be in and out and in my bed in no time.
Exept I got to Macey's at 12:05AM and while it is, indeed, open 24 hours it is not open on Sundays.
So I persisted on the backroads, to the next grocery store. Also closed at midnight.
And so here I am. It's 1:16AM and I am red pepperless. And I missed a day of Nablopomo. But can't you give a girl who is covered in soda, was diverted off of the only freeway, and who was rejected by not one but TWO supermarkets a break?
* I am not a woman with much brand loyalty. I normally go the cheapest route, but when it comes to getting oil changes I will now forever and always go to grease monkey. Let me count the whys...1)free popcorn, hot chocolate and soda while you wait 2) they put a carnation and a mint on your dashboard for you 3) free car wash 4) always at least a $7 coupon 5) they're nice and do a great job 6) They don't bug you about repairs and such unless you actually need them and finally 7) I SAID FREE HOT CHOCOLATE! Seriously, getting the oil changed has become this frazzled mother's day spa. I especially like the Grease Monkey in Pleasant Grove, FYI.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Here's to a better day tomorrow. A little more patience, a little less anger, and hopefully a smiley that will last the whole day through.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Anyway, as your personal "go to" person for what's hip in society I feel like it is my solemn obligation to share the best of Youtube with you.
So.....I just saw this one today...and for the first time in my life I am not the one millionth plus person to see the video!
I LOVED it. What a brilliant idea. We could make so many awesome videos using this format!
Um....also, I really really have wanted to share the Antoine Dodson video with you but I hesitated because, well, the subject matter is heavy, but really....it's a really funny video. If you happen to live under a rock and have not seen it yet then I must apologize for failing to share it with you.
First you have to watch the news clip, which is not so funny ...
And then watch this video, and have a nice laugh....homeboy.
And the great news is that money made from purchasing the song on itunes goes to Antoine. I love it, "e'er"body wins.
Excuse me, I have to go and hide my husband. :)
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I thought you would all be curious about my plan for the day, so please enjoy the following itinerary...
7:30AM Free Grandslam Breakfast at Denny's (795 calories)
9:15 AM Free Starbucks hot chocolate (330 Calories)
10:00 AM Free bowl of Penne Rosa from Noodles for brunch. (810 calories, wow, could have gone my whole life a lot happier if I had not known that!)
11:30 AM Free sub from Firehouse subs for lunch (690 calories) (not sure which sub to get yet, any ideas?)
12:30 PM Free second lunch from Rubios - free fish taco platter! (700 calories)
2:00 PM Free Early afternoon treat from Coldstone (approximitely 700 calories, depending on mix in)
4:00 PM Free meal at Tucanos for supper(the trick here is going at 4 before it is technically dinner and therefore whatever sap you get to do the "buy one" part so you can "get one free" only has to pay $15 instead of $20) - the calorie count up here is left to my wild imagination, but I'll go with (1300 calories)
6:00 PM Free meal at Benihana - again, only guessing on calories here (900 calories)
7:00 PM finish up the day with a free scoop of ice cream from Baskin Robbins. (190 calories)
9:00 PM Die of cardiac arrest
And since my caloric intake for the day will be over 6,400 calories I think I will call it quits at that point, and save my free sonic slush, free $15 at the happy sumo, free meal at Rodizio as well as my free burger at Ruby Tuesdays for another day.
I guess I better start kicking my zumba up a notch eh?
A lot of these deals you may want to sign up for before hand, like a month or so before since they mail your postcard. Also a lot of them you can use throughout the entire month of December. So do yourself a favor and eat well during your birth month. Very well, indeed. Oh and when you get your coupons and eat free in your birth month, consider it a little birthday gift from me. Because as we all (especially Ralphie) know, I stink at sending birthday presents. Happy Birthday!
P.S. I totally have a bum email address for all of these places that I only check if I am expecting something. I use this email address for facebook and goodreads too so that I am not bombarded with emails all day long. It's nice having it so I don't get updates from these restaurants for the entire year, but you better bet I will check on it every day in December!
P.P.S. Here's hoping that my parents don't read this post so that when I "treat" them to Benihanas for their birthday they won't know I did it for free.... : ) (Yep, totally signed them up for it).
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Until I realized that on a cruise I would still have to put my kids to bed, deal with their snarky attitudes and hear them complain about eating fillet minion. Then I started thinking about taking this cruise as an 8th anniversary celebration with just Blaine (and any other people over the age of 25 who wanted to join us).
So the four day cruise turned in to a seven night cruise.
This one, to be exact
I am totally excited. Besides the minor hurdle of finding some poor sap to watch my kids, we are set! I haven't actually purchased the cruise but I fully intend to.
And then I go and check the news this morning and...
Our cruise ship is on FIRE.
Ahem. Wow. Is that a sign? Because...it kind of seems like a sign. Actually though....the passengers are getting full refunds AND sent on another cruise for free AND are being reimbursed for transportation costs. So they can start my cruise ship on fire any day! Preferably a day towards the end of the cruise though....
*as a note, my parents were scheduled to go on a cruise on 9/12/2001. They were supposed to fly out on 9/11/2001 but their plane was unavoidably delayed by about a week (as you may recall). The cruise line issued those passengers unable to make it to the embarkation port a voucher for a new cruise. It took about a year or two for my parents to reschedule the cruise. So they finally got it figured out, go on the cruise, and then there was some sort of pandemic on the cruise and my mom spent the entirety of the cruise very ill (as did like 70% of the passengers). So they were issued another voucher to go on another cruise later. I can't remember how long it was till they used that voucher, but man, it was probably like 2007, talk about having a hard time getting on a cruise!
*as another note, I guess my days of "taking my chances" and cruising without a passport are over. Though I have to say, being unavoidably detained in any place that a cruise ship visits doesn't sound so bad to me. I can really see myself starting a new life in Belize., or Cabo San Lucas, or ....
Monday, November 8, 2010
I can barely type that without my brain imploding. So I thought I would assess the situation in my closet, and doing so I realized that there is something that you all should know about me. Most of you have probably noticed already, but for those of you with an untrained eye I'll just say it - my entire wardrobe consists of thirteen identical shirts in varying colors.
I know, right? Stacy and Clinton are rolling over in their proverbial graves!
I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but I guess I just found a type of shirt that I felt comfortable in and then.....went for it, really went for it.
I'm not proud of this little fashion crisis of mine, I'm really not. But what is a girl to do? Remember how I lacked a mentor to help me navigate through things like puberty and make-up? Same holds true for fashion, and now I just feel hopelessly lost. So yeah, I will not be taking the 30 day outfit challenge this go around, but there's always next year, right?
P.S. I will totally not be offended if you nominate me to be on What Not to Wear. Here is the link for how to submit my name. I'll even provide the frumpy pictures of myself for you. And I am also willing to fly for this occasion, that's how dire this situation has become.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Blaine was nice and always told me I was a good cook even back in the days when we were first married and my dinner rotation consisted of three recipes I learned from my mom and a wide variety of cold cereal.
At some point in life I mastered the art of making my mom's chocolate chip cookies. It was a proud day, and actually it is a proud day that I got to relive about seven times since every time we moved across the country I would have to relearn how to make chocolate chip cookies in our new elevation.
But that was about it...chocolate chip cookies, a handful of newly acquired recipes, and so on. Then when I moved to Texas and showed up to my first social function with a plate of cookies I was a little embarrassed. Ralphie and Janssen had brought amazing delicacies, I can't remember exactly what, but they were good...and they looked way more impressive than cookies. Knowing Ralphie and Janssen they probably even had special serving dishes for their culinary masterpieces.
I knew that if I were going to fit in I would need to step things up a notch. It was then that I discovered www.allrecipes.com. I love that website. I still love it. I love the star rankings by the recipes, I love the viewer suggestions, I love that you can do a search based on the last three ingredients in your fridge and that it will find something for you to make. Love it. And eventually through the grapevine I heard of new cooking blogs and branched out and tried new things.
And all of the sudden I realized that I really like to cook. I'm not always good at it, for example two nights ago for a family function I served key lime soup that, at one point, was intended to be key lime pie. I have all sorts of disasters on a daily basis, but when I succeed......oh man, nothing makes me happier than getting a nice compliment on a meal.
A few posts ago I discussed things that people say that change your life. Well, one time while visiting Texas my Mother-in-Law and I decided to make bread. Even though I had branched out and really started to love making things like dessert and dinner...bread still baffled me. I had tried, oh how I tried! My bread usually turned out like something between a brick and loaf of flour flavored chalk. I don't know what the problem was. So I asked my Mother-in-Law to help me make bread. And I was scared out of my ever loving mind. Anyway so we are making the bread, and the bread is sitting in the Bosch all in one hard lump spinning around (which is where things always started to go wrong for me), and she told me to add more water. I was concerned because the recipe did not call for more water. Anyway, in a profound moment that completely changed my baking life she said, "It's just bread dough, it's nothing to be afraid of". It's just bread dough. It was a total epiphany. I could add more water, I could add more flour. Gosh I sound like a freaking moron, but that....that... is when things turned around for me in the bread department. I stopped being afraid of bread dough.
And soon I was the one bringing rolls to important functions, and one time Janssen said she didn't normally even love bread but she loved >>my<< bread. And obviously that compliment meant a lot since I am still talking about it as we approach the two year anniversary of the compliment : )
So for today's nablopomo post I am just going to throw out a plug for my recipe blog (thanks fo the idea Jo!)
I started it a couple of years ago. It's not really a pretty blog. I don't always post pictures, but I post real recipes. Ones that I actually use, and I tell you what I change about them. If there are funky ingredients in the recipes it is because I actually have those funky ingredients and recommend you get them, but really there aren't even too many of those. I tell you what I change about the recipe, what I substitute, what I omit, how I would do it better the next time. And you can post there too, I would love it if you did.
I just tried some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins from there today, posted by a friend of a friend, they were absolutely delicious.
So anyway, hop on over if you like. And if you feel like you've got recipes to share shoot me an email and I can add you to the list of contributors, I would love to see what you are eating for dinner and try it myself!
And for Pete's sake, if you try a recipe and like it leave a comment, it makes me (or whoever posted the recipe!) feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
And if you are overwhelmed by the selection of recipes, here are some of my favorites to help you get started....
Let's see here, for dinner how about...
Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Broccoli and Bowties
Italian Beef Sandwiches
Santa Fe Veggie Wraps
Black Bean Soup with Cilantro Lime Cream
Pesto Pizza with Feta and Pine Nuts
Or if you have no regard for calories you should definitely make this alfredo or this one.
And, since you don't care about calories, go ahead and try these dessert recipes
Magic in the Middle Cookies
Chocolate Eclair Cake (um, you could so make this one low calorie!)
Andes Mint Brownies
And for breakfast don't forget to try Blender Pancakes or German Pancakes
And don't worry, if you are counting calories know that I always am too (well, sometimes more than others). And I post lots of healthier recipes as well. Like light lemony chicken.
And this always gets lots of attention at parties, and this will just knock your socks off.
Let me know in the comments if you want to be added to contribute!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
And I usually throw something dumb in there like, "yeah so if you ever want family pictures I would love to take them so I can practice!" But the thing is, no one usually takes me up on that kind of offer (because they all know my history as a photographer). But then one day my sister in law did.
And the pictures, to everyone's astonishment, turned out alright. I mean, I'm no Ralphie, no Meleah, no....anyone who is actually a photographer. But I was kind of bustling with a little sense of accomplishment.
And then Laurie asked me if I would take her family's pictures. And some of them turned out alright too.
But also.... some turned out like this...
Friday, November 5, 2010
It can be for good or bad too. I remember once at a Young Women's activity I was being a little rambunctious. We were walking around in downtown Salt Lake City and looking at the Christmas lights. I don't remember what I said or did but one of the leaders snapped around, looked right at me and told me I was being annoying. She probably didn't think twice about it, but boy, that sure changed things for me. The tiny sliver of self confidence that I had at that time was shot. Completely gone. I didn't want to show my face in her class the next Sunday. So I stopped going to Young Women's altogether for a while, and I started to think of myself as annoying. I am certain that people had probably told me I was annoying a million times before and it had never bothered me but for some reason, this time it stuck. And I know it is silly that it hurt so much, but silly or not doesn't really matter when you are 13.
Remembering that instance horrified me when I became a leader in the Young Womens program. I was so careful about everything I ever said because I was never sure when something would stick. I think about it a lot as a mother too.
I can think of other things that people have said too. Things they weren't meaning to say to alter my way of thinking. But things that did.
One time while sobbing to Ralphie about being so sick (and pregnant) and feeling so ugly she told me "you know, you just gotta get up in the morning and shower and do your hair, everyday, even if you don't feel like it". That was asking a lot at that point in my life, and I was pretty darn perturbed that she would say that to me. I could barely walk without vomiting three times.And even if I spent hours getting ready each day I surely couldn't look half as amazing as she does. But it made me realize that I have no right to complain about feeling ugly if I'm not even trying to be presentable. And so now, I shower. I do my hair. And it's certainly a lot easier now that I am not pregnant : ) But on days that I just don't want to get ready mostly on the pretense that no one will even see me that day, I still do. Because Ralphie said that thing, that one time.
I remember in highschool my friend Jed, when asked how he was doing, would respond, "it's my best day ever!". He'd say it with such enthusiasm that you almost had to believe him. I've caught myself using that answer a lot of times, it is fun to see how people respond to it. It really does give you a unique perspective on life when you take on that approach.
What I really wanted to talk about today though was something that Laurie said a long time ago. We were in the same married student ward and she was called to visit teach a girl named Jen. I was a little bit intimidated by Jen. See, at the time, I was the furthest thing from a granola that you could imagine. Not only would we eat *Cookie Crisp for breakfast, sometimes we would just eat plain old chocolate chip cookies! I thought homeschoolers were ... well, insane. And you would have had to pay me a million dollars to even consider cloth diapering. And birthing without an epidural? I would rather rip out my own eyeballs. I knew all of those things were admirable and good, but I simply had no interest, whatsoever, in doing them. And the thing about Jen was....she did, or wanted to do, all of these things. She wore her cute little baby in a sling, was knock out gorgeous, super healthy and into organic stuff, etc. I figured if she got to know me, and knew that I ate cookies for breakfast and placed my order for an epidural when I was only 5 weeks pregnant etc. that she would try to convert me, or judge me, or just think I was less of a person. So I never really bothered to make an effort to get to know her, I figured we were way too different to get along well. Since Laurie and I were pretty similar I figured things would pan out that way for her.
A few weeks later I asked Laurie how things were going with Jen. "Great!" was her response. I was puzzled. I asked her "but...well...what? How are things going great? Doesn't she make you nervous?" Now it was Laurie's turn to be puzzled. "Nervous? Why?" "well, because of all of her nutty granola stuff..." Laurie just kind of chuckled and was like..."I just laugh with her about it! She knows I don't do that stuff and she doesn't care. She doesn't take herself too seriously. She is so nice!".
My brain kind of imploded. I don't know, I guess I had just always assumed that people who were better than me....would act....better than me. So....I got to know Jen. And guess what? I love Jen!
I am so grateful for her friendship and I kind of get sick when I think about the fact that I could have missed out on a marvelous friendship just because she did things a different way and we didn't agree on somethings ( My feet are firmly planted in the epidural camp!! Firmly!)
So. Freaking. What. if you do things differently. People are awesome. People who you don't think you have much in common with, are awesome, and they will probably think you are awesome too. This seems so commonsense to me now, as I am sure it does to you too.
I am so grateful for Laurie's little comment "I just laugh with her about it". Empowered with that attitude, and realizing that people don't care if I do things differently or don't care about the same things they care about, has allowed me to be friends with all sorts of people that I normally would have just shrugged off as not a good match.
So, go on...if you are reserved don't be afraid to talk to people who love a good debate. If you eat mac n' cheese every night, don't fear the aspiring chef. If you need a cherry coke to make it through your day, don't worry about the person who only drinks water (and I've gotta say I am so with you on this). If your midsection has seen better days, fear not the supermodel. And for pete's sake, if someone homeschools - - it doesn't mean they are freaks, they'll still like you if you ship your kid off to boarding school (I have one foot on each side of the fence here). And all the while just think about how you will be able to laugh about your differences, and learn from each other. You don't have to change. They don't have to change. It's a beautiful thing, really.
*I use this example because when Blaine and I did our first shopping trip as newlyweds he approached me in the aisle ashamedly holding a box of Cookie Crisp, he looked up at me and asked if we could buy them. I said "sure!" and threw like three more boxes on top of them. He explained to me that his mom had always said that "we don't eat cookies for breakfast" which I laughed at and responded "wow, sometimes my mom would actually make us real chocolate chip cookies for breakfast!". So we've always had a good laugh about eating cookies for breakfast.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
What I am trying to say here, is that I never learned how to be a girl. Really, I didn't. I mean sure, I would sneak off with Stef at recess and discuss the intricacies of menstruation. But I didn't exactly have anyone around who I could mimic- learn the ins and outs of being cool, of boys, and most importantly of things like make-up.
I mean, sure, I tried to mimic my mom, but when I did that I wound up shaving off an eyebrow and cutting my eyelashes off. Still not sure what happened there, but I was just trying to do something that my mom did.
What I lacked was someone two or three years older who was infinitely cooler than myself, who could be my mentor, and I simply didn't have that.
The moral of the story is that the locker room at the gym baffles me. There are people in there primping and prepping in ways that I never even imagined. People probably think it's a bit odd to see me gawking as they pucker up and apply layers of make-up, but....I still don't know how.
Basically what I am getting at here is.... I saw someone blowdrying their eyelashes yesterday. And I don't understand why. Is this something I should be doing? I am kind of panicky about it because I can sense a revisiting of the whole "shave the eyebrow" incident, only this time involving fire and eyesight impairment rather than just social suicide.
What else am I missing out on? And for the love, will someone just invite me over for a sleepover and teach me the fine art of putting on eyeshadow? I'm 28 years old, I think it's time I know.
*What is a horse chestnut you ask? The most ridiculous, pointless, stupid kind of nut there is. It's like a poisonous nut wrapped in, basically, the thorniest, pokiest, weapon like shell. We had a giant horse chestnut tree out back which rendered our backyard completely useless. Give me fire ants any day. Apparently it is tradition in our family to pass on a horse chestnut tree start to your posterity while on your death bed. It's totally beyond me. Not only will I burn the start if I ever get one, I will also take the opportunity (probably before memorial services are even complete) of destroying my parents tree. Whew...I've got some pent up issues here.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Anyways, I can't believe six years have passed. The days go slow but the years fly by when you have little kids running rampant in your house.
I have a few tips for you when planning your child's first real, awesome, amazing, invite your friends birthday party.
1- That rule about only 50% of the people you invite showing up? Not always true. Sometimes 100% show up. Which is really, really, really awesome unless you forgot to count your actual kids when shopping for the goody bags. See, while the kids were making a craft they found a note sent from Tink (her signature was even all sparkly guys!) sending them on a wild scavenger hunt, filled with laughs and giggles and squeals of delight. Until those squeals of delight turned to screams of terror and rage once the booty was found and Blaine casually threw in there "oh...uh...looks like Tink didn't bring enough treasures for Gwen and Bentley....but that's okay because we are going to go open Gwen's presents now which are WAY better than these little dinky things" MAYDAY MAYDAY *boom* there went the party - at least for our kids. See it wasn't just that their lame-o parents didn't prepare well. Tinkerbell, her perfect self, forgot them. Yeah, it was bad. So yes, over-prepare your little hearts out. And your kids need goody bags too.
2- If you are making fairy pens and the birthday girl herself is clamoring for your attention- even if three hundred kids are in line for you to help them with their pens and you are kind of having an anxiety attack thinking about all of the glitter you will be picking out of your teeth for the next month - take the time to help the birthday girl. First, preferably. Because if you don't, you may finish the craft and notice that the birthday girl is AWOL, and find her in her room, in her closet, sobbing, because you don't love her. She doesn't care about the $100 of supplies, she doesn't care about the stress of cleaning, she doesn't even care about your shortened lifespan from glitter inhalation. You simply do not love her if you do this to her. And good luck getting her out of that closet. Good luck indeed.
3- Now, for a positive note...you remember the emotional breakdown that was Bentley's dinosaur cake?
I vowed to purchase a Costco cake for the next party. But when push came to shove, I simply cannot spend money on a cake. I can't do it. Impossible. But two glimmers of hope here 1) Bentley STILL talks about how awesome his big dinosaur cake was ("it was the BIGGEST DINOSAUR CAKE I EVER SEEN"). It looked like moldy frosting mixed with cake chunk vomit, but he loved that thing. Tells everyone about it, still! and 2) Luckily I had purchased four boxes of Tink fruitsnacks for the party and there were pictures of all the fairies on the back of the box. So I cut them out, stuck them on toothpicks and stuck those toothpicks in the cupcakes and BAM, fairy cake. Total smash hit. And also, I used a cake mix and premade frosting. It was almost sacrilegious for someone who loves to bake to do that, but you know what? It was so much easier. Maybe when those little kid taste buds are refined I will spend the time to make an awesome cake, until then though I am passing the buck to my good friend Betty Crocker.
All in all the party was a success. She eventually came out of her closet. Played the games (boy howdy we let her go first in everything!), she loved the attention, loved having her friends over, loved everything. I was glad we made the effort to have a party for her while fairies are still magical. What a fleeting, sweet, awesome time of life it is!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Gee...I'm kind of pulling a blank here. This could be a long month if I already don't know what to say on day 1!
How about I just tell you three random things? Okay good.
1- LOVING Zumba. Actually no, I just love the gym period! I think I go to the gym for different reasons than most people. It is a little humiliating when the child care center people ask where I will be for the two hours and I say "Well, (*nervous chuckle*) actually I will just be in the hot tub, and then the steam room or... no wait! The sauna, I'll definitely be there......agh, I don't know, I might go to both of those" I may as well add...."anywhere but where people are actually sweating....ewww!" Ha, that's not entirely true. I do go to my zumba class (which I totally looooove!) and every now and again I straddle ye olde elliptical machine. But man, that gym is worth the drive even if I just go there to have my children entertained while I shower (avoiding incidents like these), and the best part is I have to drag my kids kicking and screaming out of the child care center. They freakin' love that place. Many tears are shed by all parties as we drive away from the gym. As a side note, I may have to start working the night shift at 7/11 to cover the cost of the membership, but it is a sacrifice I am completely willing to make. I think having a membership to this place totally would have staved off last years major depressional funk I was in. Just sayin'...
2- Man I sure did a fine job of complaining how miserable I have been the last year, but I have neglected to mention how much better things have gotten since about June. We are loving our new place. Love the house, love the neighborhood, love the ward, love the view, love the carpet, love the high ceilings, love love LOVE IT. Seriously. Within two months of being in this ward I was invited into a BUNKO group (thereby making it official that I am, indeed, a Mormon woman- and incidentally I made my first jell-o today, no joke!), a preschool group, a dinner swap group, and so on. Things are going way better. And aside from loving our new place our new renters have been completely fab. At least I am assuming, I mainly just judge from the fact that they actually pay the rent, and so far my neighbors haven't called to tell me about giant dogs terrorizing the neighborhood children and such. So, I am taking it as a sign. I also like that they have their own website (www.cowboysyndicate.com). I dunno, it's cool. So yes, things are going better (knock on wood). The summer was good to us, now I am just bracing myself for the cold, dark, freezing, abysmal winter....but we'll tackle that when we get there (I'm considering buying a happy lamp, is that weird?)
3- Kindergarten is kicking my can. Seriously. I had no idea it was so hard to have a kid in school. Good golly it's only three hours a day but it is a black hole that is sucking every second of our lives. It's a good thing though, I love to be busy, but I feel like I owe a big fat apology to every one of my friends whose kids started school earlier than mine did. I thought you were lying when you said you were busy. I thought you were big fat stinkin' liars. But I get it now. Sorry dudes. On the other hand Gwen is loving Kinder and learning a lot and has a cute little friend Sam who gives her flower sillybands and gave her a Tinkerbell pez for her birthday. I totally dig Sam and I've never met him, but .... come on! How cute is the five-year-old boy who gives girls flower sillybands at recess. Be still my heart! It's so cute.
Whew good! I managed to eek out three things. I hope my Nablopomo lives to see another day. Maybe I will tell you about the day a few weeks ago where I had to fish Gwen's wallet out of a duck pond. That was excitement I tell you.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Lots of good things have come from Facebook, I scored a sweet train table from my childhood friends older sister (like that would have happened in an era before facebook), have been alerted to awesome deals on diapers from old highschool friends, have been inspired from quotes posted by a friend of my family that I haven't seen in two decades, and I've kicked Gretchen's trash on WordTwist more times than I can count ( :) ) .
But the best thing?
Is when I log on at night and see an update from a deal website telling me that I can print off a voucher for the local pumpkin farm. I bought two vouchers for $2.50 each. Each voucher was good for two pumpkins, any size! So for five dollars I got four giant pumpkins and one medium pumpkin (which they threw in for free), and we will have a years worth of pumpkin seeds.
Seriously, these are BIG pumpkins.
Sometimes I really hate technology. But today, I really love it.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Every. Single. Time.
My kids a brainiac, she's been very interested in reading and spelling since before she was three. But she can't do a summersault to save her life. I thought soccer would be a prime opportunity to teach her about teamwork, foot-eye coordination, endurance, rules, etc.
And I am sure it taught her some of those things. Or at least it would have if we would have made it to a practice or two.
But the greatest lesson? It was one that she taught everyone on the soccer field the day that she realized one of her friends from our old ward was on the opposing team.
And she ran around, in the general vicinity of the ball, but smiling and trying to hold hands with her long lost BFF.
It was so cute.
And I hope that putting her in soccer won't ever change her. She already knows the important thing. A friend is a friend, no matter the team.
Good job Gwen! I've never been so proud as when you would run by me a big thumbs up! And when you would try to hold hands with your teammates and sometimes your opponents, it made me far more proud than scoring a goal ever would.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
We were having a pleasant enough conversation, discussing whether or not the gym was worth the exorbitant monthly fee, when his five-year-old came up to me and said, "you have pee on your head"
I was astonished! What a rude thing to say! Who the heck is this kid? Little twerp.
But then the dad looked at me, did a double take and said "oh my gosh you have pee on your head!"
Well, the apple apparently does not fall far from the tree.
But then the dad said with an increased sense of urgency "Seriously there is a BEE on your forehead!"
and then it all made much more sense.
And I probably looked like a maniacal idiot jumping around and splashing in an attempt to get a bee and possibly pee off of my forehead.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Sure I'm probably not as awesome as I was three kids and thirty pounds ago, but I've been told I've still "got it".
I've heard all the craze about zumba, an ultra hip way to exercise to awesome music. Pretty much it's just like an hour long dance party. Seems perfect for a would-be dancer, such as myself.
We are doing a two week trial of Lifetime Fitness (ie Heaven) and last week I went to their 6:15PM Zumba class. I was stoked.
I got there a few minutes early and nervously started chit chatting with the two others in the room. They seemed nice enough. As the clock struck 6:15PM all of the sudden the room was packed- wall to wall- and here's the kicker, there was not a slightly overweight person in the room (myself excluded). I had to go and double check the schedule to make sure I wasn't in some cheer practice for the Dallas Cowgirls or something.
I noticed a few things right off the bat, besides me weighing the most in the room, I was also the only person wearing a baggy t-shirt. Excuse me, but isn't a baggy tshirt like required gym attire? I had no idea that I was supposed to be looking...like....gorgeous. Secondly, I was the only person without a water bottle.
So, in walks our Zumba teacher
And with nothing but a wink and smile she starts dancing furiously.
I feel really bad for the one man in the room. He was probably hoping to catch some hot booty shakin' but somehow he wound up next to me. And I collided with him on more than one occasion. It was especially awkward when we shimmeyed around in a circle.
I have never been more relieved to see the day care people walk in with the dreaded white board of shame (with your name on it meaning your kid is either inconsolable or poopy). I think that is the first time that the people in zumba had seen the white board because I was obviously the only one in there who has had the pleasure of bearing children (trust me, I saw a LOT of tummies in there).
The moral of the story? Zumba is awesome. Zumba is hard. I need new, sexier gym clothes, and now I know that that business about me being a really good dancer, it's total crap.
I consoled myself and my inconsolable child (the reason for the white board) with a trip to chick-fil-a. And then we got home to find that our house had nearly blown up while we were gone. So, in a way, zumba saved my life.
But more on that another day...
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Like how the week after Blaine opened his first checking account we were sitting at his kitchen table doing homework (wink, wink! No for reals though, we were!) and I saw a twenty dollar bill laying there. I snatched it before he could see and told him I thought it would be "so cool" for him to write me a check that I would be willing to give him a twenty dollar bill if he would write me a check for $18.60. Blaine's not one to turn down a profit, so he quickly obliged.
Once I had the check in hand I burst in to laughter. I told him he had been bamboozled and that the twenty dollar bill wasn't even mine, it was just sitting on the counter. He turned furious so quick, snatched the check out of my hand and made darn well sure I would never be able to cash it.
But I SO got him. Zing!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
"Something special is going to happen on September 11th" he'd say. He wasn't sure what, but he knew it would be something big.
As the day approached I kept egging him on... "it's almost the big day!" or "you better watch your back, it's coming!" that sort of thing.
Then on September 11th 1998 I was sitting in my kitchen when the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find a package. In the package was a box of oreos. But it wasn't just a regular old package of oreos, it appeared as though I was being asked to Homecoming.
In all the oreos I found slips of paper, each with a letter on them. It took a while but I finally figured out that the papers were giving me an email address and a password.[I should point out here that email addresses weren't totally commonplace at the time, and also I had a pet dinosaur (I'm SO OLD!)]
I logged on to the email dress and found a message in code. . .
A little background info. Blaine and I became friends in the beginning of 10th grade. I was always boy crazy. I have a journal from that time of life and at the end of each entry I listed the top 5 guys I liked. The list order changed daily. The same five guys would stay on for a while then some would slip off and others would enter in (Bryce C. and Richard S.) usually hogged most of the room on the list, but there was one guy who was always on my list. He wasn't always on the top, but at least he was always there. And I referred to this guy as my "constant".
Apparently in an email in late August of 1998 I confessed to Blaine, in code (obviously), that he was, in fact, my constant.
Anyway the decoded email in the mysterious inbox read...
Be still my heart! A real love confession! And not only that, but he thought it was "appropriate" that it was 9/11. He knew something life changing was going to happen on September 11th and a confession of love, er.... "like", for me, was it!
And so it began. We always had a little kiss at 9:11PM if we were together. It was our little secret..."happy 9:11!" we'd say with a wink and a smile.
[Ironically enough, precisely one year later on 9/11 Blaine took me up on a hike and commenced to rip my heart out and throw it in to a blender, but I digress....]
We've had good 9/11s, we've had bad 9/11s (see note above). And we all know that September 11, 2001 was NOT a good 9/11. And after that, it almost seemed wrong to celebrate such a devastating day. It seems downright sacrilegious to wish Blaine a "happy 9/11" and certainly we get weird looks from anyone who overhear us.
But anyway, September 11th is a day of mixed emotions for me. But it all started as the best day of my life.
For 9/11 this year we went out to Olive Garden and got a never ending pasta bowl. Then we drove up on top of a mountain and he read me his "Do You Remember" letter. The Do You Remember letters are a tradition we have for our anniversary (Feb 14th). He takes a lot of time and makes a big list (22 pages this year!) of memories. He was really busy this February so the list had to wait this year till our other anniversary, September 11th. When I heard that he was going to read me the list, I asked him not to. It's been a really hard year for me (you may have noticed!). I've never been so stressed, depressed, boggy, and sad as I have this past year; why on Earth would I want to relive it? But you know what? He took my hard year, and our hard experiences, and put them in such a beautiful way, and he found so many positive things about our year and brought them to the surface.
And that's what Blaine does. He can take the dark and the dismal and the depressing, and find the good and the funny and the happy.
Just like last week when I was an emotional wreck after TWO failed attempts to make cookies for a family function. I was out of patience, out of eggs, out of butter, and it nearly seemed I was out of my ever loving mind. I hucked a tomato across the kitchen, dumped out a double batch worth of "wasted" cookie dough in the garbage and told Blaine I was refusing to go to the family meeting. He looked at me, bewildered (we had just had a really fun afternoon laughing and talking), and, refusing the urge to call me insane, instead just insisted that he was making the cookies, without eggs and without butter and without a recipe. He insisted that he would do it and that we would go to family meeting and that he would tell everyone he wanted to surprise me by making the cookies. I think he put in about a half a cup of vanilla. I've never laughed so hard. And usually I am stubborn enough to still be mad at him and the world when I am in a mood like that, but for that day I stepped back and saw that he was just trying to make things better. He knows I'm not crazy. He knows I have bad days, bad years. But if he can make it better he will. That's love.
Happy 9/11 Blaine, I am so glad that you like me (a lot).
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
It's been around for a long time, we have used it many many times and have always been happy. It's much like groupon (but better since there are several deals available all the time). They mostly have Utah things but recently I noticed a lot of Arizona deals as well.
Today they opened a new deal for JCWs, a yummy burger joint .0001 miles away from my house. I can get a $25 gift certificate for $12.50, booyeah! One thing I really like about citydeals is you have the choice to pick up the certificate or have them shipped to you, they are real certificates not printable vouchers, it makes me feel less cheap when I am giving them as a gift!
Check them out! They have passes to Cherry Hills, Cowabunga Bay, Classic, etc. They also have discounted movie tickets, restaurants, spa services, carpet cleaning, etc. I love citydeals! As always tell them I sent you!
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
You get a jar, you put a slice of fruit in there, make a funnel out of paper, put it in the jar and voila - you have a fruit fly death trap. Or a fruit fly catch-and-release trap. Your choice.
Being the bountiful basket consumer that I am, I always have piles of fresh produce on the counter and fruit flies are a major problem. Five minutes after setting up this trap I had caught twenty fruit flies. Hope this little contraption will make the harvest season a more pleasant one for you!