Monday, September 24, 2012

Three Fish, Two Fish, One Fish

*note: this is a pic of a caterpillar on one of our hikes, not the fish the story is about :) I'm not that gross!

This little man turned 5 last week. I remember when I was pregnant and found it I was having a boy I kind of panicked. Boys are scary, mean, and disgusting. At least that's what I had gathered in my experience. But then Bentley came along and (after seven months of non stop screaming) proved me wrong.

Bentley is the funniest, sweetest boy you could imagine. He is the only one of my kids who shows any inkling of remorse ever. The only one who will apologize ever. And the only one who cries for things besides physical injuries. His bottom lip quivers when he knows you are disappointed. When he falls down and gets hurt if you ever apologize and say, "oooooh buddy, I'm sorry!" his immediate reply through the pain and tears is, "It.....*sniff* ....wasn't....*sob* ....your fault!".

After the movie theater shootings in Colorado, Bentley noticed that the flags were flying half-mast. He asked me why. I told him the story and he was visibly upset about it. And for days, maybe even weeks afterward at random times he would just say, "that is so sad what that man did at that movie theater". And ever since he will notice the flag half mast and ask what sad thing happened.

He gets sad if you forget to give him his goodnight kiss.

Basically, the kid feels. And honestly there are times when I think that maybe Gwen doesn't. I love her, you know I do, but comparing the two kids the contrast is stark! You could offer that girl $20 to apologize for something and she wouldn't do it (Blaine would tell you she gets that from me! Hmph!)

So for his birthday we got the boy some fish. It was really cute as I sent him on a scavenger hunt to find the fish. He was so excited when he found them, and even though he's never implied in any way that he had an interest in fish, he jumped up and down, "it's what I always wanted! A FISH TANK!".  After consulting family and friends he named the three fish Pa, Teddy, and Lightning. I had gotten two cheap-o goldfish and one bigger one (two whole dollars, I know, my generosity knows no bounds!).

A few nights after his birthday he burst in to our room in the morning and sounded like an episode of Little House on the Prairie gone wrong when he exclaimed, "something horrible has happened to Pa!" And after giving Pa a couple of hours we concluded that indeed he had gone the way of all the earth, and was not just sleeping as we had dared to hope.

I was impressed at Bentley's coping ability. We flushed Pa (which I realized later I should have done in private, all the kids were very perplexed by it). It came up every once in a while ("that was horrible what happened to Pa!"). But no tears were shed and we pressed through the pain.

Not 48 hours later it appeared that Lightning was fighting to stay belly-down. And sure enough we woke to "something horrible has happened to Lightning!". Flush.

Well, Teddy was still going strong and he was the expensive one anyways. So all was well. Occasionally Lightning and Pa were mentioned, but not extensively. That was maybe two or three days ago.

Then in the middle of the night last night Bentley burst in to our room in hysterics. I was sure he had either a) wet the bed or b) Teddy was toast. Through his tears I learned that neither was true. Teddy was alive, the bed was dry, but oh the tears! The compulsive sobbing, the likes of which I've only done in times of extreme distress. He wailed, "Ohhhhh it's just so sad what happened to Lightning and Pa! Teddy is so lonely! He's all alone and he doesn't know what happened to his friends!". This went on for...well, nearly an hour. In fact there were still sniffles and tears as he hopped on the bus to school. It was a powerful reaction and I wasn't sure how to handle it! Has the poor guy been up the last two nights thinking of how awful the whole experience was? I feel really bad that I didn't set him down and make him talk about his feelings. I had no idea! I figured he kind of understood that goldfish just don't last.

I don't know you had to be there I guess, but this kid. He feels things. He's so sensitive to the feelings of others, both of the human and aquatic variety. And I think whatever girl gets him for a husband is going to be one lucky, well cared for lady.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Isn't It?

I've long professed that I never got "the talk" when I was young. I felt grossly ill-prepared for growing up and definitely for getting married. The more I think about it the more I realize that maybe I did get the talk and because it was so traumatic I just blocked it from my memory entirely. Either way, I feel determined that my kids and I should have an open dialogue about that kind of thing and that I need to start breaking the ice with Gwen.

I'm not exactly sure but it seems that it was around second grade that boys started saying things that might require some sort of an explanation to kids of the more innocent variety. So over the summer I was bound and determined to get the dialogue started.

So I did my research and found some recommended books, then one day found  one of them ("It's So Amazing") at the library and brought it home amidst thirty other books Gwen and the kids had chosen.

Of course I wasn't prepared to actually read it to her at that point. >> I << was going to read it, get a grip, come up with a plan and then we would read it together. Foolproof.

It's been really great lately in that once in a while my kids will actually do something together. It requires a lot of begging and usually ends in tears and violence, but for brief moments I catch a glimpse of cooperative play, and it's a Godsend.

On a particularly hectic day I pleaded with Gwen to just read a book to the other kids. I offered money, candy, etc. Eventually she agreed and I went about my business preparing dinner. I kind of zoned them out but a few minutes later I remember hearing her read the phrase, "it's so amazing!". It took a little too long for me to process what was happening (being that my seven-year-old was about to inadvertently have the talk with my three and four year old). When it finally did click I pounced on Gwen, grabbed the book. My wide-eyed children (wide eyed from my behavior or from the content of the book I will never know!) were extremely confused. And poor Gwen. I had to explain what the book was about and how I had gotten it for me and her, and then Ben and Ivy felt all cheated that she got a special book and Gwen ran off all blushing and horrified and I am pretty sure will never look me in the eyes again.

And...yeah. Set the tone perfectly for that open and honest dialogue I was hoping for. Whoops.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Are You There Fuji? It's Me, Kristi.

For as much as I love to read reviews, I don't write them often. Once in a while I will get on yelp and just go for it and review every place I've had a positive or negative experience. For the most part, however, I just go with the flow, I don't murky the water.

But this time, things have gone too far.

As you may recall, on our recent cruise I had the chance to go scuba diving. It. Was. Awesome. In preparation for the occasion I purchased an underwater camera from amazon. I wasn't expecting amazing, award-winning photographs, I just wanted a simple keepsake to show posteriety.

Blaine has been gone a lot lately. Usually Wednesday afternoons through late Friday evenings. Usually by about Friday afternoon things would be falling apart and I would be at my wits end. By Friday nights we are usually in full meltdown, myself included.

It was on one such Friday night about three weeks ago that I took my underwater camera to be developed. I had first talked to Walgreens. They could have it done in an hour, but the cost was $12, a little steep for my taste. I was close to Wal-Mart anyways so I took my camera there. Turns out Wal-Mart was the same price and it would take three days to be developed. Since I wasn't in a particular hurry to get my pictures and since gouging my own eyeballs out with a pencil sounded preferable to taking my kids back to Walgreens, I just dropped my pictures off, with the promise that they would be back by Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday afternoon came and went. Wednesday, Thursday ("sorry they must be delayed from the holiday"). Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday....they placed a call, apparently my camera order had never gone through. They put it in again, it should be back within a day or two. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...she places a call in to Fuji who says their machine was broken when the placed the order, she'll place it again, it should be in within an hour. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday....she calls again and apparently they had just canceled my order for no apparent reason. So finally, two weeks and change late, I get a call that my pictures were in. I was a little peeved, but they said there wouldn't be a charge, so...whatever. I get my pictures tonight and the majority of them look like this...

and some like this
and a couple like this
I'm no professional, but using an underwater camera is not exactly brain surgery, is it? So I figured there must have been a problem with the processing. No worries, they gave me a disc. So I pop in the disc, and to my surprise see the major quality difference. The pictures on my disc look like this...

Now, I saw many things in the crystal clear waters of Cozumel, but I did not see these people. In fact, I've never seen these people.

So, I can't decide who I should be more frustrated with. Wal-Mart? Fuji (the developer)? Fujifilm (maker of the camera)? Needless to say I am kind of frustrated with them all, and I kind of wish I had one of those blogs that was popular enough that someone at Fuji would come across it and send me awesome things to compensate for them being dumb. And maybe send me on another trip to Cozumel, where I would be certain to buy a different brand of underwater camera so that I could have something by which to remember my once-in-a-lifetime experience by. Oh and I would be certain to get it developed at Walgreens.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Many might think that the actual best part of a vacation is the vacation. Not me! I much prefer the week before the vacation. When you are exhausted and stressed and think, "man, I could use a vacation!" and then you  remember that it is only a matter of days until you will have one. Yes, the best day of a trip is the day before the trip, that's what I say. Once you are on the trip you are too worried about how quickly the time is going by and if you are making good enough use of your time.

But this post isn't really about vacation. Don't worry, my cruise was probably the best vacation I've ever been on in my entire life. Loved. Every. Second! Especially those precious seconds spent underwater!

This is a post about Seattle, Austin, San Deigo and Salt Lake City.

Blaine has been jetsetting recently around the country interviewing at firms for his second summer internship. Something you should know about law students second summer internships is that the firms they intern at are likely the only ones they will get offers from (if things go well).

We've loved this summer working for the small local firm that Blaine worked at. They are flexible, nice (did you know apparently a lot of badgering and yelling happens in the patent law world? Not at this firm!), we've loved it. They pay a little less to start out, but the potential to earn is higher than most places. There is a lot of flexibility to work from home, or from anywhere, so potentially we could live anywhere in the country (I vote Hawaii!). But, in honor of strengthening Blaine's resume we figured it would be in our best interest to try something else out next summer. A bigger firm where Blaine would have the chance to try some litigation (as opposed to just prosecution).

So before the rejections and offers start coming in I am having a lovely time trying to decide where we should go. Will all of the aforementioned places even be options? Not likely. But that's what's so fun about the "week before". There is no actual decision to make yet, so it's not stressful (we all know how much I like to stress over a big, or little, decision). I'm just doing some soul searching about where I want to spend my next summer and potentially the rest of my life :)

There are lots of factors to consider aside from the actual cities themselves. Like, say, the firms.

The Austin firm is hands down the best opportunity (namely because he could practice prosecution and litigation for his entire career).

The Seattle firm is very prestigious. It's on the sixty second freakin floor of the largest building in Seattle. Frankly, it makes me sick just thinking about riding the elevator to visit Blaine in his office!

The three Utah firms all seem great in their own respects.

Blaine is just on his way to San Diego now, so I don't know what to think about those firms.

But, which firm is best is Blaine's prerogative. We would be flattered and honored to receive an offer at any one of them.

What I have to decide is where I could spend the rest of my life.

Seattle: I LOVE the Northwest. LOVE. I went on a roadtrip there in highschool and just fell head over heels in love with the green, mountains, ocean, crisp air, all of it. I've never seen somewhere so pretty. I thought I had died and gone to Heaven as I wandered through Pike's market and saw the fresh flowers and vendors. Recently I emailed with a friend who lives on an island in Pudget Sound. An ISLAND. I could live on an island.  Yes, yes I could. But the big question on my mind is -- could I handle the rain? I love feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin. Rain doesn't bother me, especially when it is not accompanied by scary storms (ahem, Austin). For reference sake though...there are 50 sunny days in Seattle a year. Sounds nice right? Well...there are 300 sunny days in Austin. Anyone lived there? Can I be happy with dreary skies and raincoats long term?

Austin: Well, I think we all know how I feel about Austin. Love. But..."you can't go back home". I wouldn't be able to slide back in to my once loved life there. I'm a different person now, my friends are different people, it would be way too super weird to try to fit back in to my old life. So I'd probably live in a new part of town. So I find myself asking if I really loved the place or if I really loved the people. And if there is a chance that I could find some awesome people again. I think I really did love the place too. And Blaine assures me that were we to settle in Austin we would install a storm shelter :). The problem with Austin is that it is SO freaking far away. I can drive people. I like to drive. Roadtrips are the bomb, but 24 hours...that's along road trip that I have done many times. And while I think that "quality" time with our families would definitely compensate for "quantity" time with them, ugh that drive. (No offense New Mexico - Hi Liz!- but I've traversed your barren freeways one too many times I think!). So, moving to Austin would definitely require me to get over that pesky fear of flying (which, are you so proud that I flew a bazillion times this summer?).

Utah: Utah has really grown on me. It took a couple years, but I'm pretty happy now. For starters we just moved to Saratoga Springs and holy Hannah--- Utah's never looked so pretty. I don't know, something about living over here makes the mountains look bigger and awesomer than other places. I feel like I'm living in an amphitheater of gorgeousness! My one complaint though? Snow. Ick. I. Hate. Winter. Fall and Spring are fine, but if I could be stuck in an eternal summer I would be. Weird right? As I've often said, life is too short to live somewhere cold.  I can handle chilly, I think I could handle rainy, but I'm plum whiny and miserable November- March here :).'s a nice thing to visit, a pain in the rear to live in.

San Deigo: The obvious right choice right? Warm! Ocean! Manageable drive to visit family! Tourist destination (ie family would want to come see us!). Gorgeous! Okay, aside from the fact that I know nothing of the firms in San Deigo--- wow, it's expensive. Like crazy expensive. Like we would probably never ever own a home (which...hey, buying a house the first time wasn't necessarily our best decision ever). So I guess I worry about being able to afford to live in a nice, safe neighborhood if we go there. Anyone lived there? What do you think? Is the weather worth the cost?

Yes so it is all fun and games to mull over where I want to live right now. Certainly when there is actually a choice to be made it won't be fun anymore. I'll be a ball of nerves and panicky and stressed. So I'm enjoying it now while it's all just talk. Where would you choose?