Monday, March 31, 2008

My favorite monday


My blogging buddy Tiburon has started another fun blog post idea: My favorite Monday. Every week, there is a different theme, where you post about your favorite something. This week the theme is favorite vacation spot. Since my most "favoritest" thing to do in the whole world is travelling, I had to jump on the bandwagon.

Of all the amazing trips I've taken, the best vacation ever was my trip to Alaska. When I graduated from college, my dad gave me a trip. He and I went for 8 days, and had no agenda. We had a rental car reserved, and flights scheduled, but no other plans other than to experience Alaska. We stayed in hotels when they were available, but we also camped as well. I've always been drawn to wide-open spaces with more wildlife than people, so this really is the perfect place for me.

Our first stop was Denali National Park to see Mt McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. The mountain isn't visible very often, because it creates its own weather and is usually hidden by the clouds. But the day we were there, the sky was blue and we got a great view of the mountain. We were also there at the end of August, and autumn had already come. The leaves were changing and it was breathtaking. This isn't my picture, but its very much what it looked like while we were there.

We camped one night in the park, during a torrential downpour. While we stayed dry, I didn't sleep very well. Every sound I heard in the forrest outside the tent I was sure was a bear coming to rip us to shreds (we'd seen 13 grizzly bears in the park during that day). But it was so much fun.

Our next stop was Anchorage to visit the "big city". One day as we were driving along the Cook Inlet, I looked out across the water and could see a school of whales surfacing. We pulled off the highway and watched the beluga whales for about an hour. It was amazing.

We also spent time in Seward, where I got to camp on the beach under the blaze of the Northern Lights - one of the most amazing things ever.

Another trip highlight was hiking in Kenai Fjords National Park. I know most people who visit the park do so from the ocean side, as a part of their cruise ship excersions. But I'm one of the lucky few who has hiked the trails and glaciers from the interior.

I've wanted to go back to Alaska ever since. I'd live there if I could find a way (the job I applied for a few months ago never even netted me an interview). In fact, my brother-in-law is living there right now, and I'm insanely jealous.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Moab


We took a family road trip to Moab and Arches National Park this week. Mommy had a conference for work, so our hotel and travel expenses were paid for. It was the perfect opportunity for a little family trip.

The drive is only about 3 hours, and the girls did great in the car. In fact, when we finally pulled into the driveway at home the last day of our trip, Bryn didn't want to get out of her carseat. She wanted to stay in the car and I had to convince her we could get out. Thank you awesome DVD player in the car. Saved our lives!

The girls loved every mintue of it - from eating an entire bowl of salsa each one night. . .

. . .to just spending time with each other. They were fantastic!

The first day we were there, mommy actually had to work. So daddy had the girls all day. He took them hiking to Double-O Arch. He started out with Bryn in the backpack, but she wanted to be big and just walk. Amazinly, she did really well. I think my kids were meant to be outside. Then he took them to a super-cool park. They loved it. The best part of it all, is that everyone was super tired by the end of the night. Everyone slept like babies. Good sleeping babies too. I feel more rested then I have in a very long time.





We swam every day with the girls. The hotel had a pool that was 1/2 indoors/1/2 outdoors, and it was heated. The girls would don their swimmies and goggles, and head out. They're both great "swimmers" for being 2 and 3. G is not afraid of anything, and will doggie paddle all around - even into the deep - all by herself (of course mommy and daddy are always right there). She'll also jump off of the side of the pool without anyone to catch her. She can float on her back too. She's so cute. Bryn loves to jump off of the edge too, but still needs someone to catch her.

Our hike on the second day was a shorter hike to Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch. It was only about 1.5 miles round-trip, and the girls had a blast. They love to run through the desert and climb all over the rocks.





On our last day there, we decided to hike Delicate Arch - its one of the iconic symbols of Utah. The hike is 3 miles round-trip, and although the park map lists it as a strenuous hike, it really isn't too bad. Without kids. With kids it did take us almost 2 hours. But they hiked about 3/4 of it themselves, and I was proud of my "hiker chicks".

Although it was in the 70s outside, it was so windy. The last part of the hike is a couple hundred yards along the edge of a clif - not a "you're definitely gonna die if you fall" kind of cliff - more of a "you're gonna get seriously hurt if you fall" kind of cliff. So, we were being extra cautious with the girls. As we came around the corner to where the arch is first visible, a huge gust of wind hit Ben, and almost knocked him off of the clif. The wind was crazy strong there. I think it would have blown one of the girls off of the cliff. Needless to say, we held them the entire time, and didn't venture any further. That is why our hair looks so awful in these pics.



Just a beautful shot of the scenery. I never get tired of the beauty. I know some people think its desolate and barren - but I LOVE it down there. Ben and I talked a lot about how we almost moved down there last year for my job. I'm so sad that we didn't - because I didn't want to leave.

Ok - off to get caught up on everyone else's blogs.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Quick recap

I totally wasn't going to do my Idol post this week. I'm leaving for Moab this afternoon, and I do not have time to be posting. But after what Carrie wrote in my comments about David Cook, I couldn't resisit posting. Last night was so much better than the week before.

David Cook was actually the last to perform, and he sang Billie Jean the old Michael Jackson 80s hit. Although it sounded nothing like the original - it was really good - kind of an emo/rock ballad. Loved it! He's in a league of his own. And I do think he's such a little hottie. He reminds me so much of Chris Daughtry, but (dare I say) even better. And much like CD, I hope David doesn't win AI. He'd do much better with his own album instead of the cheese the winner has to record. He'd make a much better indie rock-type album.

Here's my take on the rest of the group:

Ramielle - snooze. I think she may be in trouble.

Jason Castro - I still like this guy, although he's starting to remind me of Jack Johnson - it all sounds too much alike. I could listen to one or two songs, but never an entire album.

Syesha - I know the judges liked her, but I just thought she was "a'right". Not my favorite style of music at all.

Chikezie - vocally he sounded good, but I don't "get" that genre of music. Not my style at all.

Brooke White - I really like her when she sits at the piano to sing - she's so pure. I'd buy her album

Michael Johns - Loved him tonight. He's proven that Queen songs work for him. I'm glad he got a chance to shine - and I got another chance to swoon. he he

David A - I think he peaked too early in the competition. He was already a seasoned performer, so he stood out at the beginning. But now as the other contestents are improving, he's not. I no longer think he'll win - unless he really steps up his game.

Carly - UGH. Does anyone in the world actually like that song? Horrid! i'm sorry, but she has got. to. go. period.

Kristy - I'm such a cheese-ball, because I love that song. And she did really well.

ANd of course David, who I cannot help but mention again. I want to buy his album. Now. (or at least download it from iTunes)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

I didn't get any cute Easter pics of my girls today :( And they did look oh-so-cute in their fru-fru Easter dresses. Daddy actually had the day off of work, so we were excited to have the chance to go to church as a family for the first time since December. yahoo. But somehow we were running late, so I decided I'd take pics after church (famous last words, right. Are you sensing the foreshadowing?)

So we got to church a few minutes late, just as they were singing the opening hymn. We were late enough that we ended up sitting in the overflow - the gymnasium area at the back of the chapel. On hard metal chairs where it is really super loud (if you're not getting the foreshadowing now . . .)

The girls were being angels, but about 1/2 way through the service, Bryn decided to spit out an entire package of fruit snacks. Since I was trying to save her fru-fru, dry clean only dress, I caught it all in my hands. It was a sticky mess, and I asked Daddy to hand me a wipe from the bag that he packed. His response to me: "you didn't ask me to pack wipes!!" Hello! Do I have to ask you to pack wipes? Isn't that just a given? I ran out to the car, and luckily found 2 or 3 in my emergency stash. It would be enough to clean up the sticky mess. We'd just have to hope she didn't poop (ok - you've got to be catching on to where this is going by now. Or do I have to mention that we'd had Mexican for dinner the night before . . .)

About this time, Bryn and G decide they both want to play with the Cinderella magnetic paper dolls. G wins out, and Bryn proceeds to throw the mother-of-all-tantrums. It was a bad one, even for her. And the echo from where we were sitting made her screams reverberate throughout the chapel. Everyone was staring. Daddy took her into the hall, which just made her even madder. Everyone in the entire service was disrupted. So, I went out to help. Daddy literally threw her at me and went to sit down with G. But somehow in the mix of things, he'd failed to notice that she had a poo-splosion. A complete diarrhea blowout that as her threw her at me, was now splattered all over my cute white outfit. I took her into the bathroom and tried my best to clean us up with the few resources I had. She wanted nothing to do with it, and proceeded to commence round 2 of the tantrum. Apparently it was disrupting everyone in the service again (this time echoing through the bathroom), so Daddy came to help out. When he saw the poo-covered state of things, we gathered up our stuff and left. We actually ended up needing baths at home.

Needless to say, we didn't get any Easter pics. And we did look so cute. Maybe next year. . .

Friday, March 21, 2008

Growing old gracefully


For my Flashback Friday picture, I chose an old picture of my family: its my parents and me circa 1975. I suppose technically my sister is in the pic, because my mom was already pregnant here (and yes, I do think I'm only around 2 months old!!!) I chose this picture because I spent the day with my mom today - and it was a good day. I also loved that when G saw it, she wanted to know who Grandma was with! In other words, although its been 30+ years, G could still tell that it was Grandma in the picture.



Here's a picture of her from a few months ago. See how little she's changed. I hope I age so well.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

No good deed goes unpunished



I made the front page of the local paper today. Its really no biggie - I've been (mis)quoted before. Besides, no one really reads the local paper anyway. I was actually trying to do a coworker a favor. When the reporter called the other day, I took the call for her, as said coworker was trying to avoid a potential conflict with this issue. I didn't think it was a big deal at all.

But, apparently this has turned into a heated political issue. And I just took a call from a news channel who wanted me to do an on-camera interview. Thankfully, we have a policy that only the admin department can authorize those types of interviews. And I'm having a terribly ugly hair day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What are you reading?

I wish I could say this post is about adult books. I love reading, but I don't have time for it right now. My biggest issue is that once I start a good book, I cannot put it down until it is finished. Sometimes that means staying up until 3 am to finish. When sleeping in right now is 7 am, there is no way I could stay up that late. So, I'm stuck reading children's books to my girls - which they love. My kids would sit and read books with me forever if I'd let them. And while we have a fairly good selection, I'm getting sick of what we have. G's getting bigger too, and is liking the more grown-up books. So, I bought 2 of my childhood favs from ebay a few weeks ago. For the past few nights, we have read both of these books:




Don't get me wrong - I loved these books as a child and I love them still. But they're getting old. We need some fresh stories around our house. So please, what are your recommendaitons for a 4-ish girl who loves stories?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Idol week 2 report card

I got the kids in bed and laced up my running shoes so I could "multitask" - exercise while watching Idol. Only I just walked (because I'm worried I may be developing achilles' tendonitis) when I really wanted to be running. Perhaps that is what put me into such a foul mood - but this week was not good. There isn't honestly one performance that stands out to me - it was all very "forgettable and safe". (wouldn't I make an excellent judge?) At any rate, here's the American Idol week 2 report card:

Amanda Overmeyer - back in the USSR. This was just ok. I don't really "get" this girl. I give her a solid B.

Krisy Lee Cook - You've got to hide your love away. She's beautiful and has a great personality - but this song was another bomb. She was way "pitchy dawg" and so, so boring. I don't even think this song was in her range - the lower notes were a mess. I think she's going home this week. C-

David Archuleta - The long and winding road. I've never heard this song, but he did very well. He kind of has a Josh Groban vibe about him (his voice, not his look). He's still a bit boring to me though. But he gets an A.

Michael Johns - A day in the life. This song started out great and ended well too - but the middle was horrible. I still really like him (and have a super big crush)- I hope he gets the chance to really show his voice before he goes home. At least that won't be this week. B+

Brooke White - Here comes the sun. UGH. I love this girl, but this week was horrible - from the yellow dress to the song with only 5 notes. She's safe, but I only give her a B-

David Cook - Day Tripper. I don't know this song either, but he did ok. It was bit on the "butt rock" side of things, but he knows who he is. He's a great performer and I do love his voice. Plus I think he's a hottie! A-

Carly Smithson - Blackbird. She's not typically one of my favs, but she was tonight. I actually really liked her. Great vocals and performance. (even if she is a broken bird who has just learned to fly) A

Jason Castro - Michelle. I did not get this song, and the French made it awkward. But it was actually one of his best vocal performances. He's too cute though, and he's totally safe. B+

Syesha Mercado - Yesterday. This was the best performance of the night for me. A couple of pitch problems, but otherwise fantastic. A

Chickezie Eze - I've just seen a face. Holy crap - where do I begin? Why would anyone who has never played the harmonica think they could just pick it up and play it. I don't think the vocals were that bad, but the song was just weird for me. Was it county? I agree with Julie - "Chickezier" fits! B

Ramiele Malubay - I should have known better. She was uncomfortable and amateurish. And horrible in her lower register. Bottom 3, but she's safe. C+

What did everyone else think? Did I call it right?

Who peed in my wheaties?



Ok - I know that phrase is meant for being in a bad mood, and I'm really not in a bad mood. But I wanted to post that picture. I think it is hilarious (if someone is really offended I'll take it down - just let me know). But check out his right hand - did you notice that he's flippin-the-bird at first glance? I'll bet not - you were too distracted by the poor kid's nether-regions, huh?

I've been a bit distracted lately too. Maybe scatter-brained is a better term. Like yesterday for example: I took the entire day off (I had to - it was a floating holiday that I would either "use or lose") and had plans to "get caught up on things". But first, I opted for a nap - and 3 hours later, I woke up only because the phone rang. It was Ben calling, and he wanted to know if he had woken me up. Ha ha. I decided to go on a run. My long run for the week is 10 miles, and I was hoping to get it out of the way on Monday. But I cut things short because my achille's tendon was bothering me. I'm only 3 weeks from the 1/2 marathon, and I didn't want to risk injury. So, I had the rest of the day to clean the house, but I just wandered around trying to decide what to do. Had I just picked a room and gotten started, I would have made progress. Instead, I got a little bit of something accomplished in every room. And then I took another nap. At least I got caught up on my sleep.

And speaking of sleep, I need a vacation. Tiburon posted a great link on her blog showing a map of the US and all the states she'd been too. Following her lead, here's my map:



create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide

Apparently I've only been to 75% of the states - I've got some travelling to do. Maybe to New England - I think I'd really like it there. I've also never been to Hawaii. Anyone wanna take a trip with me?

I've also been too distracted to post a meaningful post. I totally bombed on the Day in the Life I'd wanted to do. And I totally had a post yesterday in honor of St Patrick's Day complete with pics of my shamrock tatoo that I got in my 20s (I'm not kidding peeps - I'm 1/4 Irish). But those posts are saddly sitting in cyberspace, just waiting to be posted.

So, there is my distracted, meaningless post for the day. Coming soon though: American Idol recap. I'm not excited for more of the Beatles' stuff, but I'll watch anyway. What can I say?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spontaneity

As I went through my old pictures for today's Flashback Friday post, I kept coming back to this one. It really isn't an old picture, but I love it. I do think it is an extrememly cute picture. But I mostly love it because of the memory associated, and the one word that sums it all up: spontaneity

Those of you who know me, know that I am a planner, both by profession and by nature. I love order and schedule, and sometimes I'm afraid to do something without significant planning beforehand. So, you can imagine how I felt when on our way home from Sunday dinner at my parent's house a few days before Christmas we drove by this particular lot and Ben decided to turn in. He announced that we were getting out, and I responded by "I'm only wearing slippers. Its almost bedimte. I don't have a coat." He didn't care. I borrowed his coat, and we got out. We had driven by numerous times during the month of December, and noticed that they had a Santa and some real reindeer. It did look like fun. And on this particular night, we were the only people there. Santa was so friendly, and he spent about 15 minutes with my kids. He told them all about the reindeer, and they even got to pet them. It was great fun, and one of my best Christmas memories. It was fun to be spontaneous.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Just a little bit obsessed

Ok - I'll admit it: I'm a huge Idol fan. I've never actually made a blog post about a TV show before, but I'm not sleepy yet. And since I just finished running to my DVRed show, I'm going to feed my obsession for a few more minutes. Mostly Ben and I watch because its fun to make fun of. We love to see if we can guess what the judges are going to say, and to see how lucid Paula is. But I suppose that I watch too because there really are some talented people on the show, and its fun to see how they'll do.

We keep hearing the "buzz" that this is the most talented group they've had, and while I haven't been an Idol follower since the beginning, I tend to agree. There really are some great performers. Here's my favs:

David Cook
This guy is definitely my favorite - I've liked him since the beginning when I saw his audition. He has the greatest rock voice, and I would definitely buy his album. Besides the fact that he's pretty good eye candy as well. I loved his version of Lionel Richie's Hello. Seriously, he made that song sound good. I hope he goes far, but doesn't actually win. (just like Chris Daughtry) He'd make a great rock album, but not so good with the whole cheesy AI album vibe.

Brooke White
I think she is amazing. I love that she's not afraid to be herself, and she has the most amazingly pure and clear voice. She's also a talented musician, and has played the guitar and piano on stage.

Jason Castro
I love his dreads. And I love how he's so shy and awkward in his interviews, but once he starts to sing he transforms. I think he's a very emotional performer, and I love his style - I'd definitely buy his album too.

Michael Johns
He makes me swoon - I don't know if its his Aussie accent or sexy hair, but I love this guy. He reminds me of the bands in the 90s that I just love. That is still my favorite era of music, and he seems to have just stepped right out of there. I do think that he's struggled a bit, and hasn't quite found his "song" yet. But I snooped around on youtube (obsessed anyone?) and found a great song called Q that he and his band did. I LOVE this song, and really hope he gets to record it. I'd buy it.

And I suppose I support the hometown kid, David Archuleta. He's pretty good I guess. But I don't know if I'd like him as much if he wasn't from here. I do think he did a phenomenal version of Imagine, but since then I've been a bit unimpressed.

There really isn't anyone that I cannot stand this year, although I do have a difficult time not imagining David Hernandez performing in the gay bar. I also have a difficult time getting excited about Carly. I know the judges have her all hyped, but I'm not so excited. I do think its going to be a fun year, and the guys are definitely better than the girls. I'm hooked.

And my prediction for who's going to be sent home this week:

Bottom 2 will be Syesha and Kristy, and I think Syesha will leave. Sorry girl. Anyone wanna wager?

Monday, March 10, 2008

The many faces of Brynlee




As if getting up Monday morning after we've "sprung ahead" wasn't difficult enough, Bryn decided last night that she didn't want to sleep. At 2:30 am (or was it 3:30? I can't remember which of my clocks had been put ahead at that hour) she decided she didn't want to sleep anymore. The problem was, that I REALLY did want to sleep. Really! I'd gone to bed with a migraine, and I knew that a good night of sleep was the only thing that would keep me from waking up with the headache in the morning.

But Brynlee had other plans. She wanted her blankie. Then a drink. Then a song, and another song, and another and another. Then she wanted her back scratched. UGH. The demands went on and on and one. And now that she can get in and out of bed by herself, there is no way for me to make her stay. I refused to let her sleep with me - especially since I was already sleeping with Gracelin because Ben was snoring. So, I resorted to lying on her floor and singing to her until she fell asleep.

The kid is 2 years old for goodness sake - when is she going to sleep through the night?

I swear - Brynlee is the most difficult child and the most wonderful child all at the same time. Its like there are two people in her one little body. Here are a few facts about her:

She is so sweet, loving and kind. And she really is happy. She smiles and sings all of the time - and her cute little singing voice it just about the most wonderful sound ever.

Brynlee is also social and friendly. She says hi to everyone - in the store, at church, at restaurants. And she LOVES to talk on the phone. I don't know any other 2 year olds that can carry on a phone converstation, but she can. Its hilarious. She really does love people. I think I could learn something from her as far as how to treat people. She is so living and kind. She's worried about feelings, and can really sense when someone is sad. She'll tell me all the time that someone is sad - she can tell just by looking at them. About a month ago, we had gone to dinner at Applebee's as a family. There was an older grandma-type lady eating along at the table next to us. Bryn was so worried about her. She kept smiling and waving, and finally had to run over and talk to her. She just didn't want the lady to feel lonely. And when I lie her down at night, she'll say "Mommy. Are you happy?" I'll tell her that I am, and she'll respond with "I love you too!"

And she's smart - maybe too smart. She knows the alphabet and can count to 20. She knows the words to about 20 different songs. She knows all her shapes and colors. And not much gets by her. At her 2 year old check-up 2 weeks ago, the doctor asked me if Bryn had started stripping naked yet. At that point she had never done that - but she did the very next day, and every day since then. I'm sure when she heard him ask, the little lightbulb went off inside her head, and she realized that is might be fun to be naked. She understands everything.

She's also strong and coordinated. She loves physical activity, and can't wait for her gymnastics class. She also loves to run and run and run. That girl is all about motion. On Saturday we went to a bike store. She saw a cute little bike just her size, and wanted it so badly. The man working there let her take it off the wall and she rode it around the store about 100 times.

She's a girl - a princess - a diva. She loves clothes and shoes. On Friday she needed new shoes, so I tooke her to the shoe store to buy them. It was a real shoe store and when she walked inside, with her shrill little voice, she excitedly exclaimed to everyone within ear-shot (which were quite a few people): "I LOVE SHOES!!" She was in heaven, and wanted to try on everything.

She isn't intimitated by anything, which right now is a curse. I'm sure one day, that may be her greatest trait, but there is nothing worse than a toddler with no fear. I have to constantly be on guard to make sure she's not doing something dangerous. There aren't too many kids who can pick on her either - I worry she may be a bit of a bully. We were playing at the park with some friends. She and another little boy who is only 3 weeks younger than her were under the slide. His mom and I couldn't see them, but we could hear them. Suddenly, one of them let out a shrill scream, and his mom and I rused over to intervene. I think by the sound of the scream, we were both pretty sure that he was picking on her. But Brynlee had the kid by his neck, and was shaking him - and he was the one screaming like a little girl.

She is strong-willed, which again, is not a good thing in a 2 year old. I have decided that the majority of her tantrums come when she doesn't think she's getting her way. So, I've had to devise ways to get her to do what I want while still making her feel like she's doing what she wants. Its a very tricky thing. But I'm getting more devious.

She gives the best hugs and kisses.

I do love her, and wouldn't trade her for anything. But some days, she makes me so tired. And when i think what life is going to be like for me when she's a strong-willed, unintimidated, friendly diva teenager who loves to hug and kiss, my blood runs cold. I think I'm in serious trouble.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Flashback Friday

Here I am, totally jumping on the bandwagon because I've loved looking at other's old pictures. I don't have a scanner at home right now, so I had to upload a picture from shutterfly. Lets hope it works:



Here is Ben and I on our honeymoon. We're in Cozumel, and we had just gotten off of the ship, where they took our cheesy picture with the "natives". Other than the fact that the front of Ben's shirt is tucked into his shorts (and it makes him look a bit queer), I love this picture.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Top secret recipe




My hubby would KILL me if he knew that I was posting this - although he got it from a girl at work, he swears that he's got some big secret. It may or may not be the exact recipe that Cafe Rio uses for their tomatillo dressing. But if its not, I cannot tell the difference. Neither can my kids - they beg for this stuff. We make quesadillas with those great tortillas you get from Costco (the ones that come as dough, and you have to cook yourself that taste as good as Cafe Rio's). And contrary to popular belief, there is no crack in this stuff!

Anyway, enjoy:

Cafe Rio Tomatillo Dressing

1 pkg Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch dressing
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tomatillos
1 clove garlic - minced
1/2 cup of minced cilantro (just the leaves - no stems)
1/2 tsp lime juice
1 small Jalapeno (seeds removed)

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. I think it tastes much better if you let it chill in the fridge for a day before consuming. Obviously you can use it as a salad dressing, but my kids prefer to just dip quesadillas into it.

And just in case you're not familar with the goodness that is Cafe Rio (oh how I pitty the poor soul), don't worry - I don't even like Ranch dressing, but this stuff is so good!

Edited to add:

This is a tomatillo. I find them in the produce section, usually by the jalapenos. They are a bit smaller than golf ball size. Hope that helps!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Busted!

Let's just move on past that pity party, maybe to a funny story . . .

Last week, daycare announced that they were going to donate all the lost and found items at the end of the week, and they set things out so that we parents could go through it to retrieve lost items. There was literally a mountain of stuff, mostly clothes, to dig through. Three different times I dug through the pile, hoping to find the pants, shirt, 100s of pairs of socks, panties, swim suits, and towels that we have lost there. (and yes, I do label everything, but somehow it disappears, hence the reason we only take grubbies there now) I was completely unsuccessful in finding even one of my missing items. The mountain had dwindled quite a bit, but there were still lots of items.

On the day before the donation was to take place, I made one more attempt to find anything that belonged to us. Again, I was unsuccessful. There were lots of towels in the pile; however none were mine. But I figured since it was all going to be donated the next day anyway, that I would simply replace my 2 lost towels with 2 others. I picked out 2 from the pile that I thought the girls would like - one had Hawaiian flowers and the other was a Dora the Explorer towel. Both were also labeled with names of kids who no longer attended daycare. So I knew I wasn't taking away something that someone else would miss. I put the towels in the back of the car and headed to work.

That night when I picked the girls up, Gracelin looked into the back of the car and saw the Dora towel. I don't know what made her look back there - somehow she has radar for that sort of stuff. Kind of like when she found the bike I'd carefully hidden in the garage for her 3rd birthday. She just loves new stuff (my little diva) and when she saw that Dora towel, she was estatic. "Mommy!" she exclaimed, "did you get this towel for MEEEEEE?"

"Yes sweetie, I did," I replied, "I got it for your swimming lessons that start next month."

She was so happy, and laid the towel over her lap like a blanket. I just let her think it was new. I didn't want her broadcasting to her friends and teachers that her mommy took stuff from the donation pile. Not that I think what I did was wrong or anything, but I was still a bit embarassed. Ya know?

Gracelin continued to love the towel the whole way home. She would lay it out so she could look at the picture, and then inspect every inch of it. Suddenly, she noticed that there was another name written on the tag.

"Mommy! Why is there someone else's name on MY towel?" she demanded.

I didn't have a good explanation. "I don't know sweetie."

Then she added, "And why is there a hole in MY new towel?"

I looked at her face in the rear-view mirror. She had figured things out and had a look of disapproval. DOH! I'd been caught - she knew it and so did I.

I guess next time I steal from the donation pile, I need to cover my tracks a bit better.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I'm in a really bad mood

Wow – who knew that so many people loved ghost stories? I’ve always had a fascination with all things other-worldly, and stuff like that doesn’t scare me. I have had a couple of other encounters that I’ll have to post sometime soon. I really love reading other’s stories on their blogs – like PW’s stories. I like too how she posts them in segments (Black Heels to Tractor Wheels anyone??) to keep the suspense. Maybe I’ll start posting stories in segments like she does. But not today – today I would like to whine and complain for a bit. And let me apologize in advance for venting a bit – but I really need to get some stuff off of my chest.

I am typically an easy-going person, and tend to take life in stride. But lately, I’ve been feeling rather blasé about life. I hesitate to term my feelings as “depression” but I’m definitely feeling blue, and I’m not sure why. I just have a general lack of caring about things. It’s even affected my blogging – I just don’t feel like keeping up like I normally do. And I’m even ashamed to admit that it has carried over into my parenting. Yesterday I lost my temper with the girls about 100 times, and really they were just being typical kids. Their behavior definitely didn’t warrant being yelled at by mommy.

I think it has a lot to do with my husband and his job(s). Last week he worked about 80 hours, and when he wasn’t working, he was either asleep or out with friends. And really, his going out with friends doesn’t bother me all that much – some days I think I’d rather have him gone than home. But I am tired of feeling like I do everything by myself. I’m tired too of hearing him complain about his job, but being unwilling to do something about it. He’s gotten several leads lately on great jobs, but he never acts on them – and then he gets annoyed at me for asking him about them.

Now that I start thinking about it, I think a lot of my feelings are my general unhappiness with our current family situation. I really want to pull my kids out of daycare, and I don’t see a way. Bryn has been crying when I drop her off almost every day. Then, last night Gracie woke up crying – she’d had a nightmare about daycare. I almost had her calmed down and back asleep, when she suddenly realized the next day was a daycare day. She started crying again, verging on hysterical, because she didn’t want to go to daycare. I guess I’ve always taken comfort in the fact that my kids seem to like daycare. But lately they don’t like it at all. I just keep thinking that if we’d stayed in our house in Lehi, that Ben could be a stay at home dad, and my kids wouldn’t have to go somewhere they don’t want to be. (our mortgage payment was like $700 there). I don’t know if that would be a better solution or not, but since hindsight is 20/20, it seems now like what we should have done.

I would like my neighbors better too if we hadn’t moved. I’ve been in my new house for over 2 years now, and I cannot say that I have one friend in my neighborhood. And because we’ve been sick or snowed-in every Sunday for the past month, I haven’t been to church since January. And not one person has called or come by to check on us. If I thought before that I was being snubbed, there is no denying it now.

I really would put my house up for sale tomorrow if I thought it would sell, and I suppose that would serve two purposes: I could move to a new neighborhood, and I could buy something dirt cheap so that maybe we could live on one income. Maybe I should try. It wouldn’t hurt to put it up FSBO to just see what type of interest we have.

I just need to find something to pull myself out of this funk. Even running isn’t doing the trick. Ever since being sick last weekend, I just feel lethargic. I went for a long run on Saturday, and it hurt. Of course, it was the first time I’ve run outside in 4 months, and a huge storm hit while I was out (I think the temp dropped from 58 to 38 in the course of an hour). But the whole time I kept asking myself why it is that I enjoy running so much.

Maybe I need a vacation. I have a conference for work at the end of the month in Moab. Its 4 days, all expenses paid. Before I even told my work that I could go, I made sure that Ben cleared the time off at his job so that we could go as a family. His boss cleared the time off, so I went ahead and had my work pay for my registration. Well, today he called and said that his boss changed her mind – he no longer can have those days off. So now I’m stressed – my job has paid for me, so I can’t back out now. But what do I do with the girls? UGH! Why does life have to be so stressful?