Friday, December 28, 2007

All I want for Christmas is a CHAINSAW

We just got back from spending the week at Mike's parents' home in Southern Utah. As you can see, Blake got the gift he has been begging for, a chainsaw. He has insisted on carrying it around with him 24/7 since he opened it. (yes that means it goes to bed with him too.)

Now, let's talk about the weather in Utah. I wanted to DIE it was so cold. It was 4 degrees this morning before we left. I really am a cold wimp. What happened to the girl who spent 5 years as a teenager in freezing cold Michigan, and then 4 more years in what I thought at the time was not so cold Utah while I attended BYU? It was pretty much below 20 degrees most of our trip so our snow playing excursions were very short. Even though it was cold, it was also an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful white Christmas. Mike is from a gorgeous area.

We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of sourdough pancakes that big Grandpa made for us. They were delicious. He even made the sourdough starter himself. We will try the recipe at home.
And Mike didn't even complain about being "matchy matchy" in the pajamas that I actually was able to finish before we left for Utah. (wonder of wonders)
Don't you wish you had this yummy box of treats that Little Grandma made for us to take home? She makes the most wonderful penuche I have ever tasted.
And of course we can't forget the 12 hour car ride home today. This choice picture was taken while both of them were crying. Thankfully they were pretty good most of the trip. (what would we do without the DVD player?)
I hope everyone had a merry Christmas. And a big thank you to Mike's parents and grandparents for such a great time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa's Sweatshop

Take a peak at Santa's sweatshop, or should I say Mrs. Claus' sweatshop. What are the chances that 4 sets of pajamas and a Christmas dress for JuJu will be sewn by Friday morning when we leave? I give it about a 10% chance. The real question is, what are the chances that I will be taking my good old Pfaff on vacation with us, and spending all Christmas eve day sewing. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Humpty Dumpty

It all started several months ago when my pregnant friend Rebecca asked if I had ever sewn a car seat cover. I told her no and that it seemed really scary and hard, but I was up for the challenge if she found some material she liked. You see, baby Nathan could not come home in a PINK car seat, so a new cover was necessary.

Honestly this was the most intimidating and SCARY sewing project I have ever undertaken. No pattern, no instructions.....good luck!!! Now this little project would be no big deal for Carol (my oldest sis) who has magical sewing powers and the ability to whip anything up under the sun, but you see I was not blessed with the same talent. I am the type that needs a pattern to tell me what to do and then I can do it.

I had to basically take apart the cover and sun shade thingy piece by piece to form my own pattern and then figure out how to sew it all back together again. Hence Humpty Dumpty. There were many moments (hours) when I wondered if it would just end up looking cheesy and ridiculous.

20 hours later........a new car seat emerged. Now baby Nathan is allowed to be born. I feel like that was some sort of final exam and I think I passed. I'm actually pleased by the way it turned out. Now I can say that I have conquered my biggest sewing fear. I hope Nathan likes it!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Jerusalem Cricket

Even grosser than the fact that I almost stepped on this bug as I walked into my front door yesterday is the fact that my friend (who shall remain anonymous) actually scooped it up to take home to show her children, and even grosser than that is the fact that when we were at this friend's house, we could HEAR this very loud and ugly bug making a horrible scratching/clicking noise in its bug habitat cage thing. Moral of the story, Moms deal with scary bugs and gross things to brighten their children's day.
p.s. Doesn't it kind of look like a bee on steroids and without wings?

Monday, December 3, 2007

I just can't do it

A few months ago I inherited a whole bunch of baby food from a friend. There were several "meat" dinners in the lot. I really hate wasting things because I am the most frugal person in the world, but I just can't bring myself to feed Julia any of these processed meat concoctions. I know I know, I have "meat" issues!! Something about it is just so repulsive to me. So, if anyone wants them, I've got several jars.
And while we are on the subject of feeding, Julia is beginning to demand our food. How does a 10 month old know that pureed squash and prunes are inferior to the food on MY plate. She'll throw her hands into the air and shake them wildly while shutting her mouth to her baby food. The minute I give her something from my plate, she puts down the arms and opens up the hatchet.
Oh, and I finally bought a small food processor, and I couldn't be happier. I pretty much just grind up whatever we are eating and then feed it to my plate of course. And yes it is repulsive to me to grind up meat, but at least I know what that meat is as opposed to what Gerber's is.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Wicked Good Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend. We were hosting this year, but don't worry, I got out of dealing with anything directly related to the actual bird itself. Most of you guys know I have issues with raw meat. :) Does anyone else find it deeply disturbing to reach into the raw cavity of a giant turkey and pull it's guts out? I was most impressed by the fact that Mike and his dad DID NOT burn the house down when they deep fried one of our 2 birds. We enjoyed having Mike's parents and his brother's family come spend the weekend with us.

I'm also happy that we finally got to see Wicked after hearing people rave about it forever. We loved it. And of course I loved going to my favorite Thai restaurant beforehand. Go see it if you haven't, and if you don't live here, come stay with us and go see it.

Blake loved loved loved playing with his cousins and especially showing them the flamingos at the zoo yesterday.

What a great weekend!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Because I can

I've often heard stories about small children undressing themselves at inopportune moments and walking around in the buff. Well, today Blake joined the ranks. Thankfully, he didn't take off his diaper, but everything else came off in the front yard while he was busy "working" raking up the dirt and leaves. I am left wondering why kids do this and my only answer is "because they can". Congratulations on learning a good skill Blake.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


While perusing eBay for some church shoes for Blake, I came across the above shoes.Please see description below. Forget the shoes, I'll pay the seller if she agrees to tell me all about pageants for little boys. Is that a whole fascinating subculture or what?

When I ran the Disneyland half marathon a few months back we happened to be staying at the hotel where they were hosting the "Hawaiian Tropics" pageant for little kids. I actually got stopped in the hall a few times when we were with our kids by people wanting to know how Blake had done in the pageant. Hmmm, sorry, no child pageanter here. And much to my chagrin, the pageant was a "locked" affair because you know I tried to sneak in to observe.



Monday, November 12, 2007

Chicken Noodle Soup-Tapatio style

Yesterday it was kind of cold and dreary out (I say kind of because let's face it, it's never really cold here) and Mike was feeling sick, so I decided to make him some homemade chicken noodle soup. Unfortunately for Mike, he got something a little different than what he expected. Mike is not a picky eater and has eaten some pretty interesting experiments that I have tried. He is always a good sport and appreciates whatever random concoction dinner happens to be. But after dinner I have to say that I kind of felt bad for making chicken noodle soup with tapatio sauce and plenty of red pepper flakes for someone who was sick. I just really like things that are spicy and obviously chicken noodle soup is not meant to be spicy. It just tasted so bland when I was making it that I had to spice it up a little. It's a good thing that neither one of my kids has had issues with spicy foods while they were nursing. I don't think I could live without flavor. Is this what Mike means when he tells me that he would have had a very boring life if he hadn't married me?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Murphy's Law

I've been feeling under the weather the past few days. Last night the thing I wanted most was a good night's rest. It took me a while to finally fall asleep due to my constantly running nose. Less than an hour after being asleep I was awakened by a horribly loud alarm clock blaring from my sewing room. Thanks Blake. I guess he had set it inadvertently while playing in there earlier in the day. The next noise I heard was at midnight. Julia decided to wake up and poor Mike tried to coax her back to sleep but alas she wanted the one thing that he couldn't give her. (sometimes she still thinks she is a newborn.) So after nursing her I settled back to sleep only to be awakened a few hours later by Blake screaming "I want Mommy" over and over again. Once again, MIke went in their room and tried to settle him down but alas, he wanted to snuggle with his mommy. (did I mention that he usually always prefers his daddy to me.) Of course his screaming also woke up a very inconsolable Julia who wanted the sleep juice yet again. Blake started crying again at 5:55am and this time both were up for good. Thank goodness i have a wonderful husband who takes the "morning shift" as we call it and I was able to geta little more sleep.
Why is it that this only happens when I am sick. Thanks Murphy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Noah's Ark

Last week Jean and I took the kids to the relatively new Noah's Ark exhibit at the Skirball Center. It was amazing. So many things for kids and adults alike to explore, all based on Noah's Ark. Of course the best part was that it's free every Thursday. We will definitely be returning.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

We had fun tonight. We took the kids to Jean's house and Blake went trick-or-treating with his cousins. Of course when he got back and dumped out all the candy the first thing he chose was the yuckiest looking green sucker. Hooray, that means more good candy for me. I'm also happy to report that Blake wore the whole doggy costume without crying-unlike last year!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My dream finally came true

I must preface this by saying that I did a lot of really strange things at BYU. ONe of the strangest was when we all ended up in the home improvement store and I suited up as the Tin Man. My friends used to call me the Tin Man because I was not (and continue to still not be)very coordinated. Ever since then I have wanted to be the Tin Man for Halloween. Well folks, tonight my dream came true. Mike made me my costume and I made him his Dorothy costume. How he ever agreed to do this is beyond me. Throughout the week, I had to "fit" his dress to him several times to make sure I was sewing it right and I almost died laughing each time he put it on.

We had a great time at the Halloween party and I am one happy Tin Man. Now I must be off to see the Wizard.

Isn't Jill the scariest witch ever? I could not stop staring at her.

Friday, October 26, 2007

My Knight in Shining Armor

I just have to say that I have the best husband in the whole world. One of the many reasons why I love him is that he can solve just about any problem ever. He doesn't wait around for something to just solve itself, but is proactive about getting things done. Many women I know have "honeydo" lists for their husbands which I have never really made for Mike because he fixes things before I even know there is a problem. For example, when he saw that our living room was being overrun by toys, he spent all of one Saturday transforming our little coat closet into a fabulous toy closet that hides away all of the junk. When we first became friends 7 years ago I aptly named him the "Projectizer" because he was always doing projects to help people out.
Or take today when I needed to get an appointment with a doctor PRONTO and I was getting the run around because of my insurance. Try as I might I could not resolve the problem, but enter Mike and BAM 5 minutes later he hands me a paper with the time and address of the doctor for an appointment TODAY.
It's like magic!!
I definitely scored in the husband department, and once I post pictures from the Halloween party that we will attend tonight you will really know that my husband is the greatest for going along with my crazy idea.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Here we go again.....

Sorry about the reflection of my sliding glass door, but I didn't want to open it to take the picture of our backyard.
Fire season has come again. Blood red sun, campfire smell, lots of ash in the air, and brown/gray sky. Poor Blake doesn't understand why he can't play outside. Instead we went to the free zoo today (aka the pet store). No running for me for the next few days unless I want to get lung cancer that is.

It always makes me stop and reflect how quickly our lives can change. I feel for the hundreds of people who are losing their homes today as the fire blazes all over Southern California. It also makes me really appreciate all those dedicated firefighters out there.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Playdough and dog food

My very mobile 8 month old consumed the above mentioned treasures during our 9 day babysitting extravaganza. At least that is what I saw her consume. Only she knows what other treats she found in the cracks and crevices of Jean's large house.
I'm happy to report that we are finally back at home for good. It's always nice coming home after we have been away. Blake didn't want to leave his cousins because he got so much attention. We had a great time with the kids. They are good kids and it was fun( apart from getting them to do chores). :)I was absolutely amazed by things such as : 1) the sheer amount of laundry that piles up after just a few days. 2) The gallons and gallons and gallons of milk which were consumed by all of us. 3) The law of entropy. See I did learn something in physical science that applies to real life. Seriously no more than 5 minutes after something in the house was cleaned or straitened, entropy was hard at work trying to undue it.

And a special thanks to Cosby (the dog) for licking up all cheerios, spilled milk, and other food treasures. It was pretty amazing that I never had to sweep under Julia's spot at the table. (but don't get any ideas, because I am not buying a dog)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oh, but HE is great Mr. Hitchens

I have always felt a desire to try and understand why people think the way they do, especially people who have vastly different ideas than me. It fascinates me to see how and why people come to the conclusions they come to about things like religion, politics, and life in general. When I heard a most obnoxious man and I mean obnoxious (Mr. Hitchens) being interviewed on NPR one day about his most recent book, I knew I had to read it. And I did. It was a somewhat difficult book to read both because of his rantings and ravings about ALL religions and also for the fact that I had to use a dictionary to look up many many words that I had never heard of before.
In a nutshell I learned from Mr. Hitchens that I am a fool for being so naive to think that there is a higher being who actually cares about my life. I think he actually refers to it as being "arrogant" for believing that there is a God who does indeed care about us. His oversimplification of religion was simply astounding. Big vocabulary words Mr. Hitchens, but maybe you should study up some more.
Sorry Mr. Hitchens, but I'm not planning on converting to atheism anytime soon. I'll stick to my "arrogant" belief that there is a God who does indeed love me and wants the best for me. Oh and p.s. YOU are the one poisoning everything.

Monday, October 8, 2007

6 kids and a Dog

The past several days we have greatly expanded our little family. Due to my sister traveling to Spain, we are now the parents of 6 kids and a dog for the next little while. Most of you know that I really don't like dogs although I am trying really hard to tolerate Cosby. It is a little hard for me when I see him licking JuJu's face and JuJu squeling with glee. Don't get any ideas JuJu, we are not getting a dog...ever.

2 days worth of laundry for our family of 8. WOW Mom, how did you do it with 7 kids?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Cantaloupe Alamode

Certain food items are very good alone but are yucky together. Please see exhibit A above for one such disturbing concoction. The name of this not so tasty treasure is cantaloupe alamode and the components of it are a big slice of cantaloupe topped off with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream. This was the dessert that we were often offered as children at my home but I have never heard or seen it anywhere else. I think my siblings liked it but I never did. So my question is, have you tried cantaloupe alamode or did my mom make it up? I just don't think that cantaloupe belongs with ice cream. But then again I also don't think most fruit belongs with ice cream so I know I'm the weird one.
As for Mike, he has heard me talk about this dessert for years now so he finally decided to test it out. He thought it was good. Try it for yourself but don't blame me if you don't like it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

If Only I could have been there.

This is a day late and a dollar short but such is my life. I don't always make it to post when the topic is hot. Nonetheless........

I really wish I could have been at Columbia University on Monday to hear the crazy man (Iran's President Ahmadinejad) speak. What was the best part?...hmmmmm...he said so many ridiculous, incredulous things I just don't know which one to pick. Was it his insult to University President Lee Bollinger's honest introduction in which he said that in Iran they were polite to visitors? Yeah so polite that they throw them in jail. Or was it when he said that, "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country."? The list could go on and on.

I loved how President Bollinger told him that he was either "brazenly provactive or astonishingly uneducated" to deny the Holocaust.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Do I miss working?

The past few weeks I have seen a few old friends and the question that has come time and again has been, "do you miss your job?" It's not the kind of question that I can answer with a quick yes or no. I loved my job. I worked as a school social worker at a middle school ,dealing with all the truant kids. It was fascinating, challenging, entertaining at times, never dull or boring, and I believed in the work I was doing. When I had Blake, I went down to working one day a week. That worked well for the first year after Blake was born but then I got pregnant again and decided to stop working entirely. I thought I would be really traumatized by not working. My job wasn't just a job to me, it was who I was, Amy the social worker, and I was scared to loose my identity.
But I gotta say, staying home full time has been so wonderful and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am so glad I was able to work for 5 years in my field and I hope to return someday, but for now this is who I am and what I do. Of course I miss the kids and all of the stuff associated with my job but I get to be with MY kids all day and teach them all of the things that I think are important. How great is that? I have 2 little sponges that I get to fill each and every day. Some days, when I want to pull my hair out because my little creatures are driving me bonkers I remind myself that at least I get to be the one with them and not someone else. I think about the alternative of me being gone all day and not getting that time with them and it makes me cringe. And when I look in on them as they sleep I cannot help falling in love all over again no matter how difficult the day has been.
So here's to staying home. Here's to deciding when I want to get dressed each day instead of rushing out the door at 7am. Here's to a life filled with playing outside, changing blow outs, singing the hokey pokey, story time at the library, park days, and reading the same book 100 times a day. :)

p.s. the answer to the question in the last post is 2 years 5 months.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How Long?

Here's the question of the day. How long did it take Blake to use up the above shampoo?

a) 5 months

b) 1 year 5 months

c) 2 years 5 months

Saturday, September 15, 2007

CAMPING-All fun and games until you become "that guy".

Last night, we had our third annual camping trip with Jean and her family. We camped at Leo Carrillo which is right across the street from the beach. It was a beautiful day and we were all charmed by the amazing starfish that we found in the tide pools.
Dinner was great, thanks to my dutch oven potato cooking husband, and we enjoyed sitting around the campfire. And then it became time to retire for the night and MY CHILD SCREAMED his lungs out at 10:30 pm because he didn't want to put his pajamas on. Mind you, there are many other campers VERY NEAR to us. I was mortified to be "that guy with the screaming kid". Once he was finally subdued, it was Julia's turn for the spotlight. She woke up crying 3 or 4 times in the night and so I became the all-night all you can eat buffet. Not much sleep happened on my side of the air mattress.
So tonight I am grateful that my children are asleep in their own room, that I get to sleep in my own bed and most importantly, that I don't have to be "that guy". Until next year that is.
p.s. Mike informed me before this trip that he thinks we should go camping 4 times a year. hmmmmmm...what do you think?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Who are those water aliens?

Tiffany, Nikki, and I participated in the Malibu Aquathon yesterday morning and it turned out to be a very fun experience. Several months ago I was online looking for upcoming races and saw this one. I had never done an "aquathon" (swim and run) before and decided that it would be a fun adventure. Of course I didn't want to do it alone so I cajoled the above friends into doing it with me. I felt like an alien wearing a swim cap, goggles, and a wet suit. I had never ever swam in a race before, let alone a race in the ocean so I knew I was in for an entertaining experience. We swam a half mile in the ocean and then came out, changed, and ran a 5K. I can't wait to do it again next year. The day was beautiful and what better place to spend it than at the beach. I didn't even pee my pants when I was running. And I even won a pair of socks in the raffle afterwards.

But wait, there's more. After the race we went to the UCLA vs. BYU game and had a great time. As an alumna of both universities I knew that I would be happy regardless of who won. Turns out the Bruins came out on top. I dressed Julia in UCLA gear and Blake in BYU gear. Julia celebrated by blowing out her entire outfit at the end of the game.
But let me make a confession. After going to numerous football games I must say that I still don't really have a clue as to what is going on. Watching a football game is like listening to a random foreign language. Kind of fascinating for a few minutes until the ADD sets in.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Happiest place on earth-or Hottest place on earth????

Yesterday I ran the Disneyland 1/2 marathon with my friends Rachelle and Julie. I was very excited to participate in an event which started and finished at the "Happiest place on earth". The course was very flat so I assumed I would do well. What I was not expecting was that it would be 80 degrees when we started at 6am. (and that was just before the sun was rising) By the time I finished it was easily 90+ . It got up to 109 in the afternoon. It's NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THIS HOT IN THIS PART OF CALIFORNIA.
I was also not expecting to pee my pants around mile 8. I should have more pride than to admit this but what the heck, I wet my pants and there was nothing I could do about it. Although I have heard about this happening to runners, this has never happened to me and I was so mortified. It wasn't that I just didn't want to stop to use a porta potty, NOPE, all of the sudden I felt my bladder start releasing. That was fun.
Yeah, no personal record for me. And I was so hot when I finished that I forgot to have Mike take a picture. It wouldn't have been pretty anyway.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Who wants to be these guys right now?

Weird news this week. Let's see, a senator who was arrested AND PLEAD GUILTY to disorderly conduct in a bathroom stall now saying he is innocent, and Owen Wilson, a COMEDIAN, attempting to kill himself. And people want to be famous?
Your thoughts please......

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Please no teddybears........

I DREAD getting professional pictures taken of my children. It always ends up being a painful experience. Case in point- Friday's appt. at JCPenney. We got there on time only to discover that the elevator leading to the correct floor was not working. The saleslady suggested that I could take the escalator (hmmmmm a double jogging stroller with 2 under 2 and an escalator, I don't think so). I had to go on a 10 minute excursion to reach my destination. I had already told them on the phone that I would not be bringing nor needing "props". As a rule I think props distract from the cuteness of babies. But of course, they didn't listen. After 10 minutes of dancing around the photographer (and being exposed to her back side every time she moved) trying to make Julia smile I was ready for the session to be over. But wait, how about some props? When I said "No thanks" she told me she was going to use a cute little teddy bear because her manager was coming in that day and apparently managers want to see pictures with props. Hence another 10 minutes was spent trying to make poor little JuJu smile for pictures with a mangy teddy bear that I wasn't going to purchase ANYWAY. Then I waited for half an hour for the pictures to upload before being shown all sorts of cheesy teddy bear pictures superimposed with words like "love" on them. Once again, I do not like my pictures to have ANYTHING in them besides my children. Of course the lady also tried to sell me the great package deals ranging from $59-159. I left spending $13 like I always do after choosing 2 poses that IMAGINE THAT did NOT contain teddy bears. But don't worry, when I go back to pick up my pictures they always print out a few more poses to try to sell me ...just in case I decide I really do want that teddy bear one.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Our Trip

Last week we went to Monticello (pop 1,800, alt. 7,000 ft-that made for fun runs) for a family reunion with Mike's family. We did some fun things, some scary things, went to the county fair and rodeo, and spent a lot of quality time with his family. The above picture is one of the most scary things I've ever done. Repelling down a 180 ft rock. I thought I was going to wet my pants when I stepped over the edge of that monster.
I was extremely fascinated by the above quilt at the County Fair. The lady took all of her scraps over the years and made them into these cool flowers. I wish I had "skills" like that.
Oh the animals we saw at the fair. Mike got to reminisce about his days raising sheep for the county fair. Blake got to know his cousins on Mike's side. Good times for them. That picture was taken at Mesa Verde, CO Native American Indian dwellings ruins....does that make sense.
Grandpa and JuJu at Grandpa's new "ranch house" that he and Grandma built. I love that man. I'm so glad he's my grandpa-in-law.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Birthday to our family

Today is our anniversary. 4 years!! I decided to start a new tradition. I made a cake to celebrate our family's birthday and each year we will add one more candle to the cake. I think it will be a fun way for our children to participate in celebrating this day.
Before I got married I often heard people say that they grew to love their spouses more with each passing year. I have to say that that is so true. I married the most wonderful man in the world and I love him more and more everyday. Sometimes I am amazed and overwhelmed by just how much he knows and loves me. He seems to be able to read my every thought. He makes me laugh, cherishes me AND he changes diapers, wipes snotty noses, and loves his children. Does it get any better than this?