Friday, January 29, 2010

525,600 minutes

It's amazing how much things can change in a year.

This little girl is the sunshine of my life. She came as a total surprise. I wanted to hit the "undo" button, but boy was I wrong. This girl has brought me so much joy and happiness in just one year of life, I can't imagine how much I would be missing out on if she weren't here. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Ivy Jane is the best mistake I ever made.

I simply can't get enough of her.

Isn't she gorgeous?

Happy Birthday my dear Ivy Jane!

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Surfs Up

I think a keychain says a lot about a person.

And I didn't particularly like what my keychain of nearly twenty years was saying about me.

Back when I received the keychain as a souvenir from one of my parents trips many years ago, it was a symbol of happiness, youth, hope...that kind of thing.

And "not that there's anything wrong" with what it symbolizes now, it's just that I am not particularly qualified to be carrying such an icon on my person at all times.

I am much more qualified though to have this new, super hip, gnarly keychain...

Ronjons Surf Shop baby. I've been upgraded from a rainbow to a surfboard, let's hope that surfboards will forever and always symbolize the beach, good times and sunshine!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Luckily Wayne did get a picture of me scuba diving, and it may just be the hottest picture of me ever. But I digress, scuba diving rocks!

Imitiation is the highest form of flattery

In the spirit of Janssen's "tell me what to read" blog posts, I think you should tell me what nutty froo froo thing I should do for the month of February....should I ditch teflon as Janssen suggested? Buy only organic produce? Buy a prius? No fast food? Eliminating food dyes? Eight glasses of water? Any simple ideas of little things I can do would be appreciated. My goal is to stave off disease, make our lives healthier, reduce waste, that sort of thing. So, um, don't leave me with chirping crickets here!

Duke Nukem

Hi, this is your friendly neighborhood aluminum-free deodorant wearing fence sitting granola speaking. My new thing is that I am morally opposed to microwaving plastic (thanks Allison!). And I just wanted to let you know that I found a sweet deal on glasslock tupperware at Costco, this set was $30!

So not only are nasty plastic chemicals not going to get in my food, but no more stained tupperware. It's a win-win.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The "vis"

I know it might be hard for you to believe, but I haven't always been as cool as I am now. That's right. In Junior high I wasn't on any sports teams or cheerleading squads, I was on the journalism staff (as a photographer, that's right, I taught Ralphie everything she knows), and on several of the "academic teams" (you know, Math & Science, English & Social Studies). Our uniforms were sweaters. Social suicide, I know, but dang it was fun! I was also on the environmental club (*ducking thrown tomatoes*), and even (brace yourself ) the space club.

That's right, space club. And would you like to know why I risked the very little dignity I had in Junior High and joined the space club? Why I went to weekly meetings and planned fake space missions with even bigger geeks than myself?
It's because Eric Fenstermaker informed me that at the end of the year the good people in space club got to go scuba diving, in a real live swimming pool.

The idea was exhilarating. I always loved the ocean, ever since I got that Lisa Frank pencil box in elementary school that had Orcas on the cover. Admittedly they were hot pink and purple sparkly orcas, but that is far beyond the point.
I wanted to see the ocean. Well, I didn't just want to see it, I wanted to be in it! Adding to my fascination was the release of the film "Free Willy". Good grief. I was obsessed with the ocean. I was going to be a marine biologist, I was going to live on a shack on the beach and spend my days on a research boat diving with whales and dolphins. I was going to have long curly sun bleached hair. It was quite the fantasy really, and space club was my only realistic "in" to that world.
It's a discouraging thing to be an aspiring marine biologist in a landlocked state where the most fascinating water species is the brine shrimp. But, I had a dream. And I would do anything I had to do, including spending many hours in a fake rocketship made out of two by fours.
I think the space club advisor knew that some people maybe only joined space club to go on the scuba diving trip. So in order to go it was required to attend something like 90% of the club activities. So I was there man, I was there for everything. I would never let a little social suicide ruin my chance to live my dream.
If memory serves me correctly, I think our scuba diving trip got cancelled at the end of the year. Not sure, but pretty positive. Wish I kept in touch with all of my space club buddies, but I am pretty sure they are all astronauts by now. Either that or institutionalized.
Anyway the dream was still vibrant in my heart but as I grew older and more realistic I began to realize that being a marine biologist, oceanographer, underwater photographer or even SeaWorld garbage taker-outer were not realistic career choices for me.

But when Blaine went on his mission, I was all the sudden left with vast quantities of free time and a decent amount of money, and, as luck would have it, no friends. So, the obvious thing to do was to get my scuba diving certification.
I talked my brother-in-law, Wayne, into taking the certification class with me. So every Wednesday night for several weeks we would drive to Murray High School and take a two hour long class to get our certification.
It was awesome. Except the time I forgot to turn on my air tank. That was not so awesome, but luckily my dive buddy, Wayne, caught me before I jumped into the water without air. That's what good dive buddies do.
The class culminated in a trip out to Blue Lake, Nevada. This was in January, mind you. Jumping into the middle of a lake in January is not an exciting thing to do, I'll tell you that.
I completed the certification and couldn't wait until I could go scuba diving in the ocean. You know, the warm ocean. That's not to say that diving in Utah or Nevada lakes isn't fun. It is, in as much as not being able to see a blasted thing in the murky freezing water goes.

The thing about having a scuba certification is that you need to go once every two years to keep it current. I got my certification in 2001, and I haven't been scuba diving since....2001.

I thought about trying to figure out what I needed to do to go diving on this trip, but Blaine wasn't all that excited about getting a certification, and it would be kind of spooky to go by myself. (Note: if you ever want to go scuba diving don't ever watch Open Water, not even the edited version *shudder*)

So I didn't worry about it. But then on the cruise Wayne went diving in the Caymans (one of the best places in the world to go), and I was stuck with the ten billion other snorkelers, up on top of the world. Looking down on the most fascinating things but not having the lung capacity to go down and take a good look at them.

But in Cozumel when I was renting my snorkeling gear I saw that they had an hour long shore dive for just $30 more than what my gear was going to cost me. I told them I didn't have my card, but that I was certified and they let me go! Wayne came too.




It's amazing how you can walk out to the water and waves are splashing in your face and you start to feel panicky but then you drop down beneath the surface and everything is calm and serene and...amazing!

We saw rays and eels and thousands of fish. We went in a cave (which is when I nearly died from an anxiety attack!), but it was SO awesome and I saw a fish that was the same size as me! We saw lobstery looking things and crabs, we saw lots of snorkelers, forty feet above us...the schmucks!

And so now I am bound and determined to become a marine biologist again. Or at the very least go diving more than once a decade. I want my kids to dive. I want Blaine to dive. I want to be the kind of family that dives. Alllllllll the time.

I want to own scuba gear.

and most importantly, I want to live in Cozumel, or Grand Cayman (not Jamaica so much).

So *fist up in the air* who's with me?

*wouldn't it be awesome if the picture on this post was actually a picture of me diving? Dang Target! Our underwater camera wouldn't work. And also...this diver is in the correct diving position, with arms placed calmly at your sides or clasped together in front of you....I looked more like a frightened flamingo or something with my arms flapping all over the place, but still...

Monday, January 25, 2010

A world away...

It's been a rough day. Our flight got in around midnight last night. We crawled into bed at 1:30AM at Blaine's parents house (bless. them.), Blaine woke up early and got to work and I loaded up the children (with the help of Blaine's mom!) and drove the lot of them home. There's been lots of crying, lots of fighting, and about two hundred poopy diapers.

Blaine is working till 11:00PM tonight

Gwen just peed her pants and while I was busy cleaning that up Bentley disrobed and relieved himself on my pant leg.

It's hard to believe that only 56 hours ago I was sitting in a beach chair with sand in my toes and with this as my view.

I had an amazing trip! I can't wait to write about it! But I've got urine soaked laundry to do and two very naughty children in the tub. Very. Naughty. Children.

I still love them though. I'm not denying that...but I may have loved them more from a distance.

: )

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Set Up

It may have been hard to tell from my generally happy overtones over the past several months, but I really kind of regret moving from Texas. Sure it is great here and all, I love being around family and the mountains, but overall I think Austin is where I want to be. I know, you're shocked, right?

So the thing is, I was planning a trip for the middle of next month but my travel companion has had something come up and we are probably not going to be able to make it. So sad, right?

But, we are flying in to Houston on Saturday at noon and don't have to be on our cruise ship until Sunday at like 1 in the afternoon. So I had this crazy idea to rent a car so we could drive to Round Rock and visit our peeps (and certain shaved ice stands) for a crazy 24 hour whirlwind trip.

But now that I am getting closer to the actual date, what was I thinking? What do I think I am going to do, just show up on peoples porches and hug them and then move on to the next person? Good grief. It's kind of a ridiculous plan.

But, I do want to check in on my Texas house (or do I...?), and I am aching to see my Texas friends, but am I just setting myself up for a collassal return to depression? Is visiting the place I so love and miss going to do nothing but drag me back into my sorry state of depression?

But if I don't go...what's a person to do with 24 hours in Houston? And how could I possibly get that close to seeing my friends and not actually do it?

Things have been getting better here. I made a friend ( I think) and it is amazing how that can make the world of difference. I don't need a bazillion friends, just like one or two, and it's amazing how the world can turn into a cheerier place. So that's good. Plus I am most certainly looking forward to summertime. It was hard to come straight from a Texas summer to a Utah winter. We had a good month in there of nice weather, but it was a month where we were in temporary housing without any stuff, plus I was in a funk, plus Blaine was new at his job and had no vacation days. One of the main things we were looking forward to about living in Utah was not having to use all of our vacation days to come and visit Utah. I am kind of looking forward to three day camping trips, fishing on Saturday mornings, and being able to go on little trips with my family even if Blaine can't come with us.

So...there is a light at the end of this move induced funk I've been in, am I just hurting myself by going to Austin long enough to just stir the dust that has recently settled?

Would you do it? Would you go and just try to visit as many random friends as possible or would you go explore scenic Houston? Decisions!


I really wanted to post about the mutant cheerio we found in the box this morning but some fool ate the darn thing before I could take a picture. Let me just tell was awesome. Looked like a piece of penne pasta. I hope whoever ate it sure enjoyed it, but since I can't bring you a picture of the penne shaped cheerio, I'll write about something else, equally awesome.

I embrace the internet. I love the internet. Love it. And one thing I especially love about the internet is the ability to read reviews. I have a deep seeded trust in the opinions of the masses. I think that is why I am so willing to try so many recipes from but hesitant to try any from a plain old paper cookbook. I need reassurance, from many many people, that the thing I am going to try is going to be worth my time.

We even bought our mattress online. Never sat on. Never saw it. Just bought it, based off of the reviews of the good people at And I think you all know how I feel about my mattress ( I want to link to my post about my mattress but can't find the durn thing). Needless to say the masses have hardly ever let me down.

So our vacuum cleaner sucks. Figuratively. Literally it doesn't suck at all. Horrible piece of machinery. We bought it after we had been married about six months. Cost us about thirty bucks. I didn't care back then about the masses or what they thought. Oh how misled I was!

So seven years later our vacuum doesn't pick up anything. Actually I bet it hasn't picked up much for about six years now, but between the dogs and the never seemed to be a big problem.

The thing is, now my kids are old enough to break in to the pantry at will. And when you've got the stomach flu and have locked yourself into your room for one meager moment of solace, and your hungry children are left to forage for themselves from the pantry, well... bad things happen.
Saltines, everywhere. In every room, on every surface, in every hole, everywhere.

My vacuum wouldn't even pick up one crumb.

I have some Christmas money. I was ridiculously close to buying a Dyson. I've heard great things... Plus through my deal forums I heard of some good deals. But the thing was still going to cost me over $250, and for a vacuum? Really? I've got mouthes to feed here people. Lots of em.

So I started searching for lower cost options and found two vacuums for under a hundred dollars that were getting rave reviews.

I decided on this little number. Now, if sixteen hundred and forty one people rated this vacuum and it still gets four and a half stars....well dad gum, I'd say it is worth my $76 to check it out. Even if it requires the use of vacuum bags (what is this the stone age?). But ohhhhhh baby! Hoover Tempo U5410-900 where have you been all my life?!?

And why is it important that I tell you this at 1:19AM? Not entirely sure. Other than I am trying to NOT write what is really on my mind, which is something like...

"Aggggggggggggh! I have to get on an airplane in like 54 hours and I want to cry my eyeballs out!".

See, talking about vacuum cleaners is way. WAY. WAYYYYYY better than another "I'm afraid of flying" rant.

So go and read reviews and rejoice in the masses! Just don't follow them if they start jumping off of cliffs!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

La Mer...

I know you have all been waiting on pins and needles for my list of resolutions. It's kind of tricky because I am not setting any until January 25th. Well, I guess that is not true, I have a different set of resolutions for January 16-January 24th 2010

* I will NOT die in an airplane crash, or be involved in any hostile terrorist takeover, or experience anything more than extremely mild turbulence which will likely rock me to sleep for the flight.

* I will not count calories, nor will I hen peck Blaine about counting his calories.

* I will go scuba diving in the real live ocean and will not get eaten by a shark or forgotten by the scuba diving company and left out in the ocean to die a mysterious death.

*I will eat dessert every night

*I will go dancing with Blaine at least three times a week

* I will not miss my children. I will not not not. I've been wanting a break from them for like five years and I will not ruin a perfectly good trip by being concerned for their welfare. This resolution is going to be particularly hard.

* I will see dolphins

* I will see sunsets

* I will not catch the swine flu

* I will have a week to remember, in a good way

* I will stay up late and wake up early

* I will visit the midnight buffet

* I will go to shows

* I am going to love this!
See, these resolutions might lead to my ultimate demise if I set them for a whole year : )

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sharing Time

You know, sharing a house is the way to live. It really is. I mean, in a perfect world I would be in the upper half of the house, but for now I am quite content here in my basement. Except for the little mouse infestation "situation". Really if it weren't for the mice and the beastly commute I would say our living situation couldn't get much better. House sharing, of the non rodentia variety, is the wave of the future.

First off, the house we live in in general is just a sweet house. The very first basement we ever lived in was about 300 sq ft big. You could sit on the pot while cooking your dinner and making the bed. Seriously. Now this, this is a nice basement. Square footage-wise, it is bigger than our Texas house. The kitchen is one of the biggest, nicest ones I've ever had the priviledge to cook in. Cupboard space galore. Nice carpet, and so on. And because technically we are living in a mansion (they had it listed for sale when we moved in and were asking over $450,000 - pretty sure), we live in a nice, established neighborhood. And all of these, including all of the utilities (internet and cable!) for a hundred dollars less than our mortgage alone was in Texas.

Now aside from the actual house we are living in, the actual sharing of the house is a huge perk of living here and one that I didn't even think that much about when we signed on.

First, a little disclaimer, I am not entirely sure our upstairs neighbors are as delighted with the situation as we are. I mean, we have to tromp through their house every time we park in the garage, we are definitely on the receiving end of this little relationship.

For ease in communication I will call our upstairs neighbor "Kristi". It's convenient because that is my name, but as luck would have it, it's hers too. (now that has never caused any embarrassing situations, like for example if Kristi's husband, Matt, came home from the store and said, "Hey Kristi, I got you some Dr. Pepper!" it's not like I would leap to my feet and thank him profusely for it before realizing that I was not the Kristi for whom he had purchased Dr. Pepper or anything, because that would be embarrassing.). But, personally, I think it's a pretty sweet situation for all involved.

For starters Gwen and the little girl upstairs, Maleah (I've only called her Meleah about ten billion times), are best buds forever. They would play from dawn to dusk if given the chance, and many times they are given that chance. It's insanely convenient to have a best friend upstairs to play with. They run up and downstairs all day long. Kristi and I co-watch them. It's freaking awesome. It's sad times at our house when Maleah is gone for the day.

And sometimes if I need to run to the store Gwen stays here and plays, and that makes my life about a thousand times easier.

Secondly....hello, best friends for us right upstairs too. Last night I was upstairs playing Mario Wii until unearthly hours with good friends without either of us ever having to leave the comfort of our own home. It solves the age old problem of adults wanting to stay up late hanging out but having kids that need to get to bed. Every Thursday night we eat dinner with our friends upstairs and watch The Office and 30 Rock, all the while with our babies snoozing and our big girls playing princess. Sometimes we play Settlers of Catan till unearthly hours too. Did I mention they have like a 500 inch tv? Seriously.

Thirdly, between Kristi's house and mine we have three ovens. Three. This has cut my bread making time down by a third. Likewise, two fridges....sometimes she's out of eggs, sometimes I am, but there's never been a time that we both are.

Third and a halfly- when Blaine was gone for the night there was no need to fear, plenty of people upstairs to hear me scream if bad guys came. Not to mention the two man-eating dogs they keep upstairs (I used to say that jokingly about our dogs, these dogs are seriously gigantorian)

Fourthly, they go to Costco at least once a day, sometimes like four times (; ) ). How nice is that that if I need milk or something there is a guaranteed Costco run?

Fifthly they have extra room in their deep freeze, and they let us use it.

Sixthly, their vacuum works and ours doesn't, so they let us use it.

Accidentally go somewhere and leave a candle burning? One phone call and the flame is extinguished. Forget to Tivo your favorite show? Never fear! Need to run up the street real fast and don't want to pack up your gaggle of children to go with you? No problem! Run out of diapers? Presto!

Not to mention the regular benefits of renting in general: dishwasher break? Who cares! Lawn need to be mowed? Not my problem! Sudden move across the country? See you later!

And so on and so forth. Communal living is very, very awesome.

So I think when Blaine and I buy a house again (which I don't think we will ever, buying a house was probably the worst financial decision we ever made!), we will buy an extra huge nice house with a very large basement apartment, because having lived this lifestyle, I can't see myself going back.

I don't think it would work with any two random people. If it were family it might feel too intrusive, if it was a friend you already were tight with it might be weird. We came in to this not knowing our upstairs neighbors at all. They have their lives, we have ours, but we share a house, and it rocks.

Now...what to do about these pesky rodents....and that pesky commute!