Wednesday, October 29, 2008

2 Truths, And a Lie

Last week for work, John had to come up with 2 truths about himself, and a lie. It's sort of some stupid get to know you game that they play, since he's working with people all over the world. Literally, on any given Thursday or Friday, he could be up at 4 a.m. talking to Brazil, or even Dublin. Crazy.

Anyway, it was funny to think of his 2 truths, and his lie, because the lady from some South American country went before him, and her TRUTH was that she was glad her police were doing their jobs and cracking down on crime, because she's only been kidnapped ONCE this year. Apparently, in this country, people get kidnapped a lot on payday, taken to ATM's, robbed at gunpoint, and set free to do it again 2 weeks later. Bizarre, right?

So, if you had to come up with 2 truths and a lie for fun, what would they be? What were John's? Vote on the right side of the page.

Answers next week....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mom's B-day Fun

We finally celebrated my mom's birthday today. I hosted, because apparently I have the biggest house and can have 15 people here without a problem. It was fun. I decided to fondue for dinner, right down to the chocolate fountain. Pics are out of order, but enjoy.

Maddie's first word was "chocwate". Any guess as to why?
Brooke did not like chocolate Twinkies. She just ate the oreos. And Julianne, she just twisted them and licked the middle. Hmph.

Jack and Nate, enjoying dessert. I still don't know if they ate any 'real' dinner. I still don't really care, either.

Maddie does take a cute picture sometimes, even with chocwate on her face, doesn't she?

Maddie as a princess, antagonizing Uncle Wichie with a sword. The chick in pink can hold her own, don't you worry.

The boys. "Playing".

Mom enjoying the cheese fondue, courtesy of Richie.

Everyone Fondue-ing. We had a traditional oil fondue, and also a wine based mix that added such a great flavor to the precooked shrimp. Yum-o!

Who's skewer was whose? I lost 3, and found at least 4 potatoes at the bottom of the pot when I had to clean it.

Sauces and salad and Stephanie too.

The kids, dancing with Anna.

All the Meat. We had pork, regular beef, marinated beef, marinated chicken, regular chicken, and shrimp. Plus potatoes and mushrooms. I also bought a lot of dippies, like sweet and sour, garlic chile, teriyaki, and Thai peanut. I also had Rich pick up a horseradish sauce. So fun!

And of course, the star of the show. The 7 week old, darn near 13 pound moose also known as my favorite nephew.

I enjoyed myself tonight, even though I had a lot of prep and cleanup work to do. I think the best part is that all the kids had such a good time together.
Isn't that what cousins are for? I'm so glad these 5 will be close. They really know they are each other's family, and I am so grateful.
Now, just to get ready for dad's birthday. Who's hosting that one???

This last photo is of Jack and his cherub choir. He sang for the first time in church today, and of course Oma and Opa didn't miss it for the world. Nothing is more important than being there for these guys, and they know it, and love it, and look forward to when they come.

I'm so proud of Jack too. He did so awesome singing about his friend Jesus. I thought he'd get all nervous, but he did really well.
I am so lucky and blessed with such awesome kids.
What a happy, proud, exciting day!

New Car

What's the quickest way to drop 30 grand in a week? Get a deck and a new car, that's how! Neither of which are optional, so, ugh!

We got the Toyota RAV-4. It is essentially my car, since John drives to the train at 4 a.m. and home again after 6 p.m. I actually drive because my job requires me to be doing home visits and I go house to house to house. (Not good when our old car had 107 thou miles, it was 10 years old, and had no heat. I refuse to go thru another winter without heat!)

I love driving this car. It's actually a lot of fun, and the dealership is gorgeous.
They have a "movie room" with stadium seating for 12, a "sports room", a game room for kids, and a full service kitchen. Sa-weet. When do we get that first oil change?
Yes, we have 2 silver cars. I wanted the cute blue model, but John confuses "pale" colors with "Paisley" and he did not want to have a "paisley blue car".
Silver's okay though. It hides the dirt. This car has some sweet features even on our VERY basic model that I'm still trying to figure out. I'll get back to ya' on those though.
Until then, I'll enjoy my cute little crossover!

Mr. Misunderstood

As previously mentioned, my schedule is ca-razy. Mostly, life involves running to speech and school. Maddie has her little 2 year old class and BALLET which she LOVES, and I have signed Jack up for gymnastics, not without a protesting heart attack from his father (because REAL boys don't do gymnastics, they do baseball, LAME). Jack loves gymnastics, and so do I. It is an all boys class, taught by a nice young guy, and we all know there aren't enough positive role models out there for those boys! Plus, it totally wears him out. Best money ever spent.

Nate, well, Mr. Misunderstood gets his swim lessons in, and speech 2 hours a week, and he and I get to spend quality time together in the afternoons while Jack is at school, and Madders naps.

Sometimes though, not napping after a full day takes its toll on Nate. He is a total couch potato, and he loves his sleep. Combine the two, and well, you have a fun photo op. (Yes, Keri, Maddie is Nekkid. She just likes it that way.)
Nate likes to bake with me. He also likes the "ball game" which is the Cranium Cariboo game. I highly recommend it, as it's a ton of fun.

He was very serious about these rice krispie treats. Even after burning his paws at least twice.
Nate's my little shopping buddy too. He's just a fun kid. He's also the funny kid. Even when he has 'burgers' coming out his nose, and I tell him to wipe, he'll retort "You go wipe your burgers mom!".
I'm not looking forward to bailing him out of jail for throwing keggers at 17, but he's just so funny sometimes it's hard to keep a straight face. I know, I know, the crap he pulls now won't be funny in a few years from now, but he truly has a good heart, and is always thinking of others, that I think deep deep down he's maybe part angel.
But poor Nater tater will always be Mr. Misunderstood, so I work that much harder to just "get" him. Maybe I overcompensate. I hope not.
However, if you know I've gone out of town and you see my driveway full of teenagers and beer, please let me know. He will be THAT kid...the funny popular one.
Who has Maddie inviting all her hot friends over.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Try to Keep Up, If You Can. And, If You're "Trying", You Probably Just Can't

One of my favorite t.v. shows out there right now is Brothers and Sisters. The reasons are many. 1.) Rob Lowe. He came on after I fell in love with the show, but he's a total added bonus. 2.) Rachel Griffiths (Still in love with her from her "6 Feet Under" days, and 3.) You can't beat Sally Field. Boniva lady got game.
Aside from the acting on the show, which is top notch, the family interactions totally remind me of my own "brother and sister". Sure, we aren't millionaires with a successful wine buisness whose father cheated on their mother and married to U.S. senators, BUT, if you ever watch the show, and you watch their family dinners, interactions they have with each other, well, it could make a person (namely me) feel as though their life is scripted.
Case in point. Saturday we got to attend my cousin Erin's wedding. We had so much fun. Steph had her obligatory ONE glass of wine and was, ummm..."happy". The 3 of us continued through the evening (at dinner especially), laughing at one another, poking fun, drawing out hidden truths (also often done on the show), and trying to see just how many of mom and dad's buttons we could push.
I almost feel sorry for someone looking in. It's like we have our own language. John and Craig have given up trying to keep pace, they just sneak in funny little comments and asides here and there. Poor Anna's head was swiveling. John has said that since the day he met us, we've been fighting. But see, he's wrong. We're not really 'fighting'. This is how we communicate. It is open, honest, and we all still love each other at the end of the day.
Ever see the show? Whenever one sibling tells another sibling a "secret" cell phones start buzzing to let everyone else in on the "secret". We kinda do the same thing. There's a lot of "I thought I told you not to tells..." without any real compunction or anger behind it.
As I said before, we had fun. I could make fun of my brother's faux hawk (Beckham wannabe) and he still took me out on the dance floor. My buzzed sister and I stayed on the floor for the couples dance, you know the one where the DJ tells you to get off the floor if you've been married, 5, then 10 , then 15 years etc. etc. We were in the top 5 for sure, because we figured we'd been together 29 years.
We also invented a new dance. Sure we busted out the good ol' "lawnmower", and the "shopping cart" and the "sprinkler". But we were inspired as our rhythmically challenged dad pushed Grandma on the dance floor in her wheelchair. Dad can't dance on a good day, throw a wheelchair in front of him, and well, he was kinda running people off the road so to speak. So our new dance for the next wedding is titled, "Dad running over Stephanie with Grandma's wheelchair". You need to see it to get the full effect. Trust me.
I hope I get pictures from Lea and my sister soon (e-mail ladies). We were all pretty and the boys were effectively gelled and we make a nice looking 10 some for sure. But if you happen to attend or be near us during a function and you can't keep pace with us, don't worry it's not you. We're kinda crazy, and we like it that way.
Did I forget to mention I looked up my sisters skirt in the bathroom.....
Another blog day, another blog story......

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Five Things I Hate To Admit

I've been tagged by Keri, so I now have to post on "Five Things I hate To Admit". This is hard, but I'm going to try. Even if I don't 'tag' you, you can write in the comments anything YOU hate to admit. I'm curious anyways.

I officially tag (whether you choose to write to me publicly or privately is up to you):
Cheryl, Julianne-when you get home from Disney, Ummm, Leslie-AKA Mom on the Rocks, and Jen K, and Aunt Eileen. In turn you will all tag five people,he he he.

1.) I hate eating, food, or anything that has to do with a meal. I do not enjoy feeding my children because it's either a battle or a disaster, and they're always trying to eat on my lap or off of my plate. I do not live to eat, I eat to live, and if I happen to miss a meal, so be it. It works for my piece of mind. I also berate myself every time I put the fork to my lips, or eat anything. How much fat is in this? How much will I have to work out to burn it off? Eating is a total mind f**k for me, so if I can avoid it I do. Lots of issues going thru the teen years, self-esteem, etc, etc. This is a VERY personal thing that I'm just realizing and it's coming to light is hard, so no negative comments.

However, I DO make my family sit together and eat dinner everynight, because I find that togetherness important. Except I'm usually running around getting milk, or refilling a plate or what have you. Sort of like in "The Christmas Story" when the kid says, "My mother hasn't eaten a hot meal in 9 years." That's my favorite part.

2.) I wish I could be one of those super skinny, super organized, super moms. But things just don't work out that way. If I can't be super skinny due to genetics, I'd take super organized, but I seem to work best when frazzled. I'm not sure why.

3.) I secretly point out kids in a random crowd that could probably use some type of therapy. I don't always TELL people, but I file it as useless information in the back of my head. Bad habit I'm trying to break.

4.) I don't like smelly people. Or when people smell. I have a hard time working out at the Y when the buff big daddy wanna be's are trying to be cool and they walk around and stuff but they STINK!

Straight from an experiment on pheromones, I don't mind John post workout. He doesn't have a
stink per se, but I don't know how to describe it. I suppose it's why we're married, our body chemistry works. Except for when his feet stink. That's just not pleasant for anyone in a 6 mile radius. But feet gross me out too, so I guess it's all related.

5.)I am dreading the appointment I have on the 30th to check out some medical "issues". I'll blog on it more later, because it's a very sensitive topic right now. I'm pretty sure I'm going to wind up having a very 'degrading' surgery, but I'll just talk about that when I'm ready. Don't worry it's nothing major. Just, uh, gross.

And that is all that I can soul search and find that I hate to admit to right now.
Anyone care to offer up their own ideas?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ode to Absentee Parenting

Sunday I took the kids to my moms right after church. I did a total dump n run, ran to the winery, and headed home. I was hoping John would have cleaned the master bathroom for me, but no, he made beer instead. Sigh...nobody's perfect.

We had such a great time though. We haven't been alone together with nothing to do in way too long. I decided that the bathroom can stay dirty, and since it was 85 degrees out, we went on a bikeride, and hiked thru some nature, about a mile or two from the house. I spotted a small snake crossing out path, a few deer, and some praying mantisis. John was being eaten alive by mosquitos.

It is the only time in my life I'm grateful to be a chronic anemic. Skeeters don't bother me. They must know my blood is no good.

We got home and went out to dinner. Just burgers, and beer, and kid free. We came home and walked through our neighborhood, which is totally decorated for Halloween. If this is how the neighbors do what I consider a low grade holiday like Halloween, I can't wait for Christmas. I can't wait for Christmas anyway, but throw in a decorating gung ho subdivision, and I have found my bliss.

We came home after our walk, and literally crashed. He went to work at 4 the next morning, but it was so nice not to have to get up in the middle of the night to put a crabby kid back in their own bed, or lay down with another one who heard a noise and is scared, or what have you. Heck, it was nice just to get up and go to work. I had no one to get ready but me, and that was so awesome.

Today, we're back into the grind. Morning preschool, rush to speech, rush home, eat lunch, rush back to get Jack to school, go back to school (usually have to wake someone up from a nap), and pick up market day. Somehow in all my crazy schedule I'm supposed to make meals and keep house. I'm still figuring that part out. I COULD cut something out, but what? The choices are speech and school, and I think they're both pretty madatory at this point. Grr...

Here are some phun photos of the kids just being kids. Even when I'm crabby and tired of cleaning up after them. They're still pretty fun to be around.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Really, I Have No Problems, and Honestly, Neither Do You

When writing this blog, I have been many things. I have been witty, charming, salacious, egregious, tired, complaining, real, and always tongue in cheek. Today, I am serious. And lengthy. Be prepared.

I'm going to make a long story short. I work with a woman, under the age of 40. She has 2 young kids, maybe 7 and 9 years old, along those lines. Three weeks ago she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. Last Thursday, she found out the cancer has metastisized into her lungs, and is now considered a Stage 4. I do not need to extrapolate and point out what this means for her, her family, and anyone who knows her. I myself am not super best friends with her, we are coworkers and since I work on Saturdays, and she works other days, I don't ever see her. I do, however have a tremendous amount of respect for her, and have enjoyed any interactions I've had with her over the past five years.
She works out feverishly, with Yoga, and Pilates. She eats only organic, healthy food. She works hard and up until recently was fairly healthy. And now....well, and now.
She is keeping a blog via the Caring Bridge website, and be prepared with an entire box of tissue if you read what she writes. Her spirit is amazing, as she ends every entry with a "What I learned today" segment. If you have a chance check it out, and if you can, offer support. She blatantly asks for prayers from anyone and everyone, whether she knows you or not, in the hopes that God will answer someone.
I think what gets me the most about this entire situation is how close to home it hits. It could be anyone, me, any one of my friends, or any one of my relatives. Sure my grandma had breast cancer, and her sister died from it. In my mind, my great-aunt went thru it in the 70's and didn't have treatment options, and my grandma is old. Old people get sick. Insert now the fact that my dad's sister is a survivor...not so old anymore. Recent treatment options...Insert now my dad's buddy's wife had a double mastectomy before 40...Insert my good friend from Book Club, who is also a survivor, and her youngest daughter is in maybe 3rd grade??? Insert a young woman with 2 kids and again under 40 and my previous ignorance regarding my aforementioned and since revised thoughts on "Breast Cancer and Who Is At Risk" gets a swift kick in the ass.
I hear these stories, I see these women flourish, and I really have to think I don't have so very many problems in this life. I am blessed.
I also feel and hear a small calling to do what I can to support these amazing people. I will continue to do my Danskin Triathlons to raise money for breast cancer, and beyond that, whatever I can on a personal level. Maybe this is part of my purpose in life, I don't know. But I'll do my best to help erradicate this disease, because while we all have our soap boxes, we all also know someone affected by breast cancer. It's not some weird rare disease. It has become, unfortunately for most, a simple fact of life.
And I for one, would like that to change.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

She's following In MY Footsteps

Not too long ago, John and I were talking about Maddie when I mentioned how cute she'd look in her little tutu's. He informed me that she would NOT look good in tutu's, but would look very cute in her softball uniform. Hah. Truth be told, she probably has the build of a gymnast, tiny and strong, but I'm sooo hesitant to put her in a sport rife with injury, even though I'm sure she'd love it.

Ballet is very important to me. It defined my childhood, along with tumbling and acrobatics (Not to be confused with gymnastics, which I also did, but I prefered the contortionist work of an acrobat). Itasca was a pretty small town growing up, and all of us girls who were friends did Miss Marla's classes, and we did Swim Team, and we did Brownie's/Girl Scouts together. We grew up together and it was a blast. I hope she is as involved and makes friendships like the ones I had. It was a pretty darn good childhood. (And well rounded to boot).

She would keep jumping up and yell out "BALLET!!!". She thinks she's the bomb. How cute is that leotard? If you're in the market for one, I know Target has them cheap, but I got this one super cheap at in their clearance section. It didn't even cost $12.

The tutu is from Tante Lynn. It's part of a fyfly (butterfly) costume, but it works well here.

Yes, you can see her ribs. It drives my mom nuts. I can't help it. The little carnivore DOES like to eat her meat!

Look at the bows as she does her twirlies. I love it.

She loves ballet, but wished she was on the muddy playset with the boys. I guess I can never win!