Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Won't you take me to . . . funky town?

I’ve been in a bit of a blogging funk lately. I haven’t felt much like posting, nor have I had any earth-shattering news to post about. Really, my funk has spread out over much of my life. I haven’t felt like working at work, I’m really behind on the housework, I’ve been eating whatever I want, and I haven’t been running very much. I only ran 10.1 miles total last week. I have spent the majority of my free time daydreaming and searching the internet for places to move my family, but then I systematically shoot down every one of them. Usually it is for a good reason though: wages not enough for Ben to stay at home. And then sometimes I start to panic about ME being the breadwinner. Isn’t that the man’s job? I’ve actually only sent one application (to Palmer Alaska), although I’ve filled out others.

I’m not sure what I need to pull myself out of this funk. Usually I love this time of year. I’m such a cold-weather person, and the thought of winter makes me giddy. But this year I just feel blasé about the whole “changing seasons” thing. Actually I feel that way about pretty much everything.

At least my kids are cute.

Yesterday on the way to daycare, Gracelin told me that she was going to grow up to be a princess. My response was, “oh really? Are you going to marry a handsome prince and live happily ever after?” “No,” she said, “I’m going to marry a husband!”


And Bryn continues to be the “potty prodigy”. She went twice last week at daycare, after asking to go. This morning, she woke up with a dry diaper, and after 10 minutes of being awake, she was still dry. I took her potty and nothing happened, so I put her diaper back on. A few minutes later she ran over to daddy with a funny look on her face. “’scuse me” she said, pointing to her diaper. She had peed, and thought she needed to excuse herself. Too cute!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pet peeves

I think I’m a fairly easygoing person. I don’t tend to get bent out of shape too often. But even so, there are a few things that drive me absolutely batty. One such example is when people “ask” as question without really asking. My darling 3 year old does this all of the time. For instance, every night before bed she wants a drink of cold milk. Instead of just asking, “Mommy, can I please have a glass of cold milk” she’ll say to me “mommy, I’m thirsty”. I used to just get her the milk. But I decided a few weeks ago that she is going to learn to ask for what she needs. So now, instead of getting her the milk, I’ll respond with a smart-aleky retort such as “are you making a statement or asking for a drink”. To which she’ll answer “I want a drink”, and then I’ll make her actually ask me for a drink. And she has to say please for it to count. I’m probably instilling in her a whole different set of peeves she’ll deal with some time, but at least she is learning how to ask a question. Yesterday on the way home from daycare, I had turned down the Barbie princess movie to talk on my phone. G asked from the back seat: “mommy, can you please turn up the movie? I can’t hear it”. She’s learning.

Just for fun, here are a few of my other pet peeves. Just because I have nothing else to blog about (y’all know that is completely untrue).

1. Slow people. I have come to realize that there are two types of people in the world: slow people and fast people. Slow people are the ones in front of you in the grocery line who are still putting their wallet away while you’re ready to pay. Slow people are the ones in front of you in line who just can’t seem to make a decision. Slow people are the ones walking 3 abrest in the mall, completely oblivious to the fact that there is someone behind them trying to pass. I am naturally a fast person. I’m habitually on time to everything. I don’t procrastinate. I even walk quickly. And I don’t have a lot of patience for people who have no consideration for those of us who may just be in a hurry (i.e. ME).
2. Grammar mistakes. Ok, I know that not everyone was an English major – but come on people! How difficult is it to remember the difference between their, there, and they’re? Or even more annoying: your and you’re. I went to Elementary school in Kentucky, and even I can tell the difference. The worst mistake of all, is the “errant apostrophe” – when people use ‘s when it really should just be plural. This also applies when using an acronym. It really isn't difficult, but when in doubt, Google it!
3. Redundancy of acronyms. (While we’re on the subject of acronyms) I’m not sure of a great way to say this, but I hate when people say things like ATM machine or PIN number. Don’t they know that the “M” stands for machine and the “N” stands for number? Why bother to even use the acronym if you’re going to say part of the phrase anyway? It’s so redundant.
4. “Not my job” syndrome. I can’t stand people at work who constantly pass the buck because they think something is not their job – or it’s beneath them to do a task. We’re all getting paid to work here. It’s a job. It is supposed to be work. Just do it and quit complaining!
5. Misspelling and mispronunciation of words. I see stuff like this a lot at work, and it drives me bonkers. Its barbed wire, not bob wire. And wrought iron, not rod iron. Gist, not just. Moot, not mute. (OK mom – I love you to death, but I cannot stand the way you pronounce the word PUMPKIN. It is pump-kin, not punkin. Just in case you actually read this, I still love you!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm doing it!

My daydreaming is becoming real.

About lunch time today, I got another call from the daycare. I'm beginning to wonder if my kids are ever going to be healthy again. This time, it was Bryn who needed me. So, I headed out to pick her up. When I got there, G had just gone down for her nap, so I took Bryn back to work for a couple of hours. I obviously got nothing done with her there, so we picked up G and called it an early day.

But I realized that I am sick of daycare. I'm sick of the long commute, and always feeling like our lives are going 90 miles a minute. I am really ready to simplify - live off of one income in a small town.

So, I spent the afternoon searching the web. My requirements are specific enough that I only found 2 strong possibilities. But, I polished up my resume, downloaded the necessary applications, and I've got 2 packets ready to mail.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


On Friday night, Ben took me out for my birthday. It was such a fun night, and great to get away for a couple of hours. While we were out, we actually got a chance to talk about grown-up issues. We were jokingly talking about looking for a new job out-of-state that would pay
enough for Ben to stay at home. Well, somehow the joking became somewhat serious. And I've spent all my free time this week thinking about the possibility. In fact, I've even spent some time looking at possible jobs out of the state.

It would be sad to leave our families. Other than my brother, my entire immediate family lives within 45 minutes of us - on both my side and Ben's. We do depend on them very much. But at the same time, it sounds exciting to move somewhere new and different. I moved 6 times as
a child, and I loved being in new places.

I suppose I'm a bit of a romantic. I have visions of us living somewhere remote - and somewhere with trees and mountains (or at least big hills). Somewhere quaint, with character, where there are lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation. But it also needs to be somewhere small enough that we could survive with just one car - and also somewhere with a cost of living low enough to live on just one income.

So, on Sunday when I started my "just for fun" job search, the first job that caught my eye was one in Ithaca working in facilities planning for a certain prestigious University. I even found a house that I want - on over 15 wooded acres. That would definitely fulfill my requirements of living somewhere remote, surrounded by trees.

Since then, I've found 3 other jobs that I am very much interested in. The first is in Montana, working for Flathead County - home to Glacier National Park. I know it would be cold and snowy there, but I actually like the cold and snow - a fact which drove me to search in Alaska.

I took a trip to Alaska just after college, and I've loved it since. I found 2 jobs in Alaska too that I think I'll apply for. One is in Juneau, and while it would be beautiful, I don't know if I could live
there. The housing market looks pretty bleak - most of the homes were listed with photos showing the view from the porch instead of the home itself. Also, there are only 45 paved miles of roads in Juneau, and the city can only be reached by air or water. That may just be a bit too
remote. Although I may apply anyway, just for fun. I also found one working for the county just north of Anchorage, in Palmer, a town where I have actually stayed. Its a larger town located very close to civilization, yet still remote enough to fulfill my requirements. The job pays well, which would be an added bonus. I've already checked out real estate there - its very affordable. I've even figured out where the church buildings are. I think I'll apply for that job too. What
could it hurt.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm it - twice more!

I've been Tagged by Erin (Life in the Nuthouse - again posting from work and can't add links). 


The rules:
A. The rules of the game must be posted at the beginning of your post.
B. Each player lists 6 facts/habits about themselves.
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.


Here's more random stuff about me.

1.                I am terribly addicted to sugar.  I can avoid burgers, fries, chips, and even soda but I am such a sweet tooth.  I always crack up when someone cannot finish their dessert because its "too sweet".  I've never met something that is too sweet.  But, I do not like chocolate.

2.                I consider my girls to be the greatest accomplishment in my life.  They are so smart, sweet, and amazing.  Some days I just feel blessed to be their mommy.

3.                I've struggled with my weight my entire life, and have to be so vigilant to keep the weight off (being a sweet-tooth doesn't make this very easy).  I also have a voracious appetite, and always feel hungry.  If I could have one wish in life, it would be that I could eat whatever I want and still be skinny (petty, I know)

4.                I love nature and the out-of-doors.  I'd live outside if it were practical.  And yes, some probably consider me a tree-hugger, liberal environmentalist, etc.  But I'm no so fanatical about it either.  I do drive an SUV after all.  I would love though to live in a small, rural town - perhaps in the mountains - where I could hike and run on trails, and ski to my heart's content.

5.                I love to be by myself.  While I love my family and friends, there are some times that I just long to be alone.  That is probably the biggest challenge of motherhood; I always have someone at my heels.

6.                I don't consider myself to be very talented at anything.  I have several interests and activities that I participate in, but nothing where I truly excel.  I often joke that my talent is in making others look better.  I actually have a fairly healthy self esteem though.  I just know who I am (and what I'm not).



I also am answering a tag from Tiburon (Shark Bait).

All about my Hubby!

What is his name? Ben
How long have you been married? 6+ years
How long did you date? 8 months
How old is he? 30 (I'm 3 years older!)
Who eats more? Usually me (like I said, I have a voracious appetite)  Although I eat more healthy foods
Who said I love you first? He did
Who is taller? He is.
Who sings better? Me - he sometimes sings off-key
Who is smarter? Difficult question.  We're both smart in different ways.
Whose temper is worse? Mine for sure.  I tend to blow up easily and then I'm over it.  He rarely get mad (just quiet and pouty)
Who does the laundry? Ummm - I guess both of us.  We're so behind right now though, that I'm tempted to say that neither of us does.
Who does the dishes? Usually me.  I've got some OCD tendencies when it comes to having a clean kitchen
Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Him
Who pays the bills? Me
Who mows the lawn? Him (I'd love to, but he says that it's a "man's job".  Sheesh)
Who cooks dinner? Whomever gets home from work first
Who drives when you are together? He does, unless we're on a road-trip, and then we share
Who is more stubborn? Me
Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Him - he hates to argue and will say he is wrong just to end the fight.  I only admit it when I actually am.
Whose parents do you see the most? Probably mine, but we see a lot of both (since they live less than 2 miles apart)
Who proposed? He did
Who is more sensitive? He is - sometimes I joke that I'm more like the man and he's more like the woman
Who has more friends? Him - I'd have more friends if I actually made an effort to be a friend.
Who has more siblings? He does - 6 kids in his family, 3 in mine
Who wears the pants in the family? Hmmm - I hate to admit this, but I do.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Marathon photos - finally!

(Apology in advance for anyone with a slow connection) We made it to St George on Thursday afternoon. This is the view from our balcony - it was so beautiful down there and the weather was perfect.
We played around on the balcony and let the girls get some of their energy out, while we waited for the rest of our group to arrive.
I like this picture of G. She's so pretty.
Bryn and Grandma

I was grateful that Bryn could pull herself away from her busy baby schedule and join us. That girl had a phone to her ear all weekend. (sometimes 2) My sweet girls and me - I love this pic.
The first morning there, we headed out to Denny's for breakfast. There was a wait, and while we were sitting there, the girls became obsessed with the game full of stuffed animals. You know the one - they have them by the front door of every Denny's in America. Its a big container of stuffed animals with the mechanical arm you have to maneuver and grab an animal. My girls were so enthralled by it. There was a man playing the game, and he was really good. On his first try, he got a cute stuffed dog - and he gave it to Bryn. She was super excited. Then, he got a purple cat for G. They were in love. He was such a nice man.
My little cheerleaders with their "tats". Too cute.

Bryn loved her "tat"
The runners wanted to carb-load the night before the race, but it was also my sister's birthday - and she had her heart set on steak that night. So, we all sacrificed and went to Ruby River. (where I still ate tons of bread and a giant sweet potato, so I got my fill of carbs). We'd only had our meals for a few minutes, when the fire alarm went off. At first the servers told us to stay in our seats, but after a minute they evacuated the restaurant. It was really cold outside, and after a few minutes, the manager came back and told us we could go back inside. But the alarm was still going off, and I was worried about it damaging my kids hearing. So, a couple people went back inside to box up the food while the rest of us waited outside. As we were leaving, the fire department finally pulled up. My sister got her pic with a cute fireman. We teased her the rest of the weekend that they set off the fire alarm lighting the birthday candles on her cake.
Me before the race. I look tired - not a good way to feel before a marathon!
This is me coming up to the finish line. I look even more tired.
Me, my brother, and HL after the race with our finisher's medals on.
My battle wound - an extremely sore and swollen ankle. I'm still not quite sure what I did to it, but its feeling better after a week of RICE, so I suppose I'm ok! I actually ran 2 very slow miles yesterday. I feel like a slug not running this week, but I want to make sure I'm recovered. I feel great though!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Little pumpkins

A couple of nights ago, we took the girls to a near-by pumpkin patch. They loved riding in the wheelbarrow, sitting on the tractors, playing in the corn maze - but their favorite thing was walking out into the patch to find the perfect pumpkin. I wished I'd dressed them up cuter, because it really was the perfect place. We still got some good shots though.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Marathon Mom

I've put off blogging about my marathon, because I wanted to include some pictures - and perhaps a video of me crossing the finish line. But the pictures and video are still on the camera at home. I want to write about it before I forget all the details. So, here's the story, and the pics are coming soon.

Saturday October 2, 2007:
The day began early, at 3:30 am. I was so tired, as the girls were sick and didn't sleep well the night before. I was also sharing a room with them (and a bed with G). Needless to say, I was super tired. Matt, HL, and I were out the door by 4-ish. We made a quick stop at a c-store for their pre-run coffee ritual, and then made it to the bus pick-up a little after 4am. We got right on the bus, and after a few minutes we were on our way. It was still pitch black outside, and the ride seemed to take forever. The race began way up in the top of a canyon, and the road was steep. With each passing minute, I got more and more anxious. I couldn't believe I'd be running back. The drive alone seemed to take forever.

We finally reached the start line. It was really cold up there - I'm sure in the 30s. Luckily, there were bonfires where all the runners could huddle around to keep warm. I was grateful to be one of the fatter runners, because I think I was able to handle the cold much better than most.

I always get nervous before a race, and this one was no exception. I think I made 2 trips to the port-o-potties and one out to the bushes before people started lining up at the start line. My plan was to follow the 5:30 pace team - my goal was just to finish under 6 hours, so I went towards the back of the pack to find the group. I decided to make one more pit-stop before the race started, so I ran to the outhouses. Unfortunately, all the Advil I'd stuck in the pocket of my shorts fell onto the floor. There's no 10 second rule in an outhouse - that stuff was unfortunately gone.

I came out of the potty to find that most of the runners had already started, and I had no idea where the pace team was. So, I just started running. It was rather anti-climatic. It felt good to finally be moving my stiff, cold legs, and I was struggling to keep my pace slow. I just wanted to run, but I knew that I needed to save myself. As the sun came up, the sky was gorgeous, and it felt so good to be alive. The first few miles flew by, and I was amazed at how good I felt. At mile 6, there was a time clock - it read exactly 65 minutes. I found out later that it took me 7 minutes to cross the start line - so I had run 6 miles in less than an hour, which is really fast for me. The first 7 miles were all a gradual downhill, and they just flew by. I didn't stop running once - I even ran through all the aid stations. I also made a friend, although I never asked her name. She was from Arizona, had 4 grandchildren, and was running her 1st marathon also. I enjoyed talking to her, but she stopped at the aid station at Mile 7, and I kept going.

The Mile 7 aid station was in a valley called Veyo, and from there, the road made a steep ascent - for the next 4 miles. I finally had to walk a bit, as some of the hills were very steep. Pretty much everyone around me was walking too, so I didn't worry too much. For the next 4 miles, I alternated running with walking (although still mostly running), but I knew I needed to save my legs. Approaching mile 11, as I was going up the last of the steep hills, the 5:30 pace team passed me. I tried to keep them in my sights, but I felt myself losing steam. I even popped a couple more shot blocks, but never caught back up.

I knew I just had to keep the 6:00 pace team behind me.

I was still feeling good at mile 13, but was starting to feel some wear on my body. The prospect of running 13 more seemed very daunting. But the clock at the Mile 13 aid station read 2:45 (minus 7 minutes of course), and knowing that most people run a negative split (when the second half is faster than the 1st) I thought 5:30 was a real possibility.

The route started going down hill. At about Mile 14, my grandma friend passed me as I'd slowed to down a couple more shot blocks. But I flew by her on the steep downhill portion from Miles 15-16. I was very excited to get to 16, because there is a big spot there where spectators can view and my family had talked about being there. But they weren't there, and it lowered my spirts a bit. I was really starting to feel fatigue too. I started giving myself mini goals: next road sign, next rock formation, next aid station, etc. When I'd meet that goal, I'd press myself to meet the next goal. I was still mostly running, but I'd slowed a lot. 10 more miles seemed so far.

About Mile 17, I came up to an old man who seemed to be struggling. He was coughing a lot, and I asked him if he was ok. He told me that he just had a tickle in his throat and he'd be ok. This was his 16th time running St George, and he was going to be fine. I asked him about the huge hill I could see ahead, and asked why I thought the race was all downhill. He laughed and said that the hill wasn't as steep as it looked. (it looked quite formidable to me) Then he was off.

The hill ended up being Mile 19, and that is where I started to really struggle. My knee was giving me problems, and I could only run a few yards before the pain would force me to walk. I got passed by an ambulance taking some poor injured/sick runner, and I thought how nice it sounded to be in the back being taken care of. But I forced myself to keep going. I stopped at the next aid station for some Icy Hot on my knee, and it helped quite a bit. My grandma friend finally passed me here for the last time - I never saw her again.

I also started having some stomach problems, and had terrible cramping. I was never so happy to see anything as I was to see the port-o-potty at mile 21. I dashed inside, and spent a bit too long in there. The rest did help me though, and I felt my energy renewed a bit.

The next 3-4 miles were "gently rolling" hills, but they felt relentless to me. I was really struggling, and the only thing that kept me going was the thought of the finisher's medal - I wanted one. At one point, a lady at the aid station told me "its all downhill from here" and I thought that I'd rather do anything than run downhill. By now, I was pretty much doing a "power walk" with a bit of running. My legs were thrashed, and all I could think about was sitting down. I kept up my "mini goals" only now they were much shorter.

Mile 23 finally took us into town. There were a lot more spectators, and it helped my energy level quite a bit. At one point, a handicapped girl was clapping and cheering. She told me that she was everyone's personal cheerleader, and that she'd been in the same spot all day. She really touched me, and I struggled to keep the tears back. I knew I didn't have energy to run and cry. Another volunteer asked if I was ok - I probably looked like I was having a seizure or something.

At Mile 24 (2 more miles to go) I asked a volunteer how many more blocks to go. He told me 8 (which I later found was more like 18) but that renewed my energy. By this time, it felt like a death march, and I could only run about 10 steps before I had to walk. At Mile 25, they had icy towels, and they felt so good. I noticed that many of the runners around me had friends and family running along side them. One man was leaning on his wife so much that she was practically carrying him.

I finally saw the balloons of the finish line, and was able to work up a jog. I started looking for my family, and when I finally saw them I started bawling. I had to stop running, because I couldn't run and cry. It was too much effort. I finally managed to run across the finish line. The clock said 6:05, but I knew I'd started a few minutes late. I just hoped my final time would be under 6. But I felt so good: I had finished a MARATHON!

I got an ice cream sandwich at the finish line, and went to look for someone I knew. I found my family, and my girls wanted to be held. I cuddled them both, as we walked around looking for everyone. Matt and HL finally showed up. He had really struggled, and only beat me by 20 minutes. HL had finished at 4:13, and waited a long time for us.

I found the booth to have my chip scanned. The printout said: 5:58:07. I had beat my goal - by less than 2 minutes - but I had beat my goal!! We decided to get the girls back to the condo, as they were sick, hungry, and tired. We stopped by McD's on the way back, and I got the biggest diet coke. It tasted heavenly.

I went back, took an ice bath, a shower, and a nap. Then I ate whatever I wanted. And other than a swollen and sore ankle, my soreness has been tolerable. Today is Wednesday, and my legs feel pretty normal. I think I may try running tonight. I'm already planning my next race too. I think I may be addicted to this.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

money saving ideas

Lately I've been really into finding ways to cut costs, save money, and make extra money (for obvious reasons - Ben's new job only pays half of what the old one did, and money is tight). At first it felt like a chore. But now, its actually becoming fun, and I think I've come up with some creative ideas. Below I've posted some of the things I've come up with, and I'd love for all my readers to post their creative money saving/making ideas.

1) I have supplemental insurance, that I never use. I spent an hour yesterday pulling out all my old insurance information from last year and filing claims. I think I should get about $500 back. Yipee! I can pay for Christmas.

2) Like all the Gecko commercials say, I called around for insurance quotes. I settled with another, lesser known company, but it is going to save me $480 a year.

3) I called the mortgage company and set up a 2 week billing cycle. They claim it will save close to $15,000 over the life of the loan.

4) I found out that if I pay my daycare early, I save $20 per child per month. I'm also going to see if I can work there on Fridays for a reduced daycare cost.

5) I stayed up till 11pm last night listing baby stuff for sale on ebay.

6) I've been trying to do medical research studies, but I keep getting denied. The latest one paid $250 for only 2 medical visits - and I got a free flu shot with it. But I didn't qualify. Maybe one day they will want me.

7) I've been printing out coupons from on-line retailers. With lots of searching, I've found some good ones.

8) I've been doing on-line surveys. The site I've gone though gives you points for taking surveys - and I can save up points for cash. Right now I'm up to about $50. I also have been going on another website that pays me to click on their offers. It takes awhile, but I have enough right now for a $50 gift certificate.

9) Of course I have always been beyond frugal. I wash my hair with $.99 shampoo, buy generic products, only buy what we need, etc. We're definitely not the most stylish family on the block.

Anyway - I'd love other ideas. So please, if you read my blog and you're doing something to make/save money please let me know. I need all the $$$ I can get right now!

Monday, October 01, 2007

"Baby" talk

Bryn is saying new words everyday, and she is such a riot. I suppose that technically she's still a baby, but you'd never know it by listening to hear speak. I just want to document some of the cute things she is saying for posterity, because those things are too quickly forgotten.

Yesterday in the car, she was counting. From the backseat, I hear her slowly counting:

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 -5 -6 - chicken

G and I broke into a fit of laughter - I could barely drive. Only later did I realize that to Bryn, the words "seven" and "chicken" are pronounced in much the same way.

Yesterday, she was far too excited to be getting dressed. As soon as her clothes were on, she wildly ran around the house exclaiming "shirt!" "pants!" - which really isn't that funny - until you realize that she pronounces them "shit!" "plants!" - with perfect diction.

Whenever we meet someone, whether it be someone we know or a stranger, Bryn has to make the introductions. She'll point to me and say "das a mommy", then to dad, "das a daddy", then to g "das a Gacie", and finally she'll pound on her chest and proudly proclaim "Binney".

Lately she wants to go to bed, and will cry for her "bees" (bee blanket) so she can lay in bed. And all of a sudden she's become such a wonderful sleeper {{KNOCK ON WOOD}} that I just lay her down, say good night, and leave the room without another peep. Sometimes in the night though, she'll wake up. She'll call from her room funny things like "I need a mom" or "Binny need dink". Usually all I have to do is take in a drink of water, and she'll go right back to sleep. And its really only once or twice a month - so she's gotten better. (it makes me wonder if she was just waking up to nurse because she wanted me - but that's a whole other post)

I love my little monkey. Her tantrums are getting better too, and she's so loving and sweet. She gives the best hugs ever (and that's saying a lot, considering she's competing against G). She loves to eat too - especially spicy food and beans. She'll drink salsa right from the dish. Bryn is a funny girl, and I really think she's got a crazy sense of humor. She definitely keeps our family laughing.