Saturday, July 26, 2008

Happy 24th

I always thought it was the coolest thing to have two firework occasions in July (even if we have managed to miss all firework displays this year, we did get to do Sparklers both July 4th and July 24th). Hooray for Pioneer Day!
We spent the day at the parade, swimming in the backyard and eating Reid's delicious hamburgers and Shirley's homemade ice cream.
The highlight of the parade was a huge Barack Obama puppet float. It was awesome, and my picture just didn't turn out. Now, my vote is still out, but if he promises more puppet appearances I might have to vote for him. It was a hot! hot! hot! day and the parade stretched out just a bit long. But we had good company (Dave and Summer and Summer's parents), and Kenzie was thrilled when someone threw her a sucker.
Mike took half a day off and wished he had taken it all. We've decided no more half-day offs, just full days. Because we always wish it was a full day of Mike. :)
Some pictures:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

True Confessions of a Home Party Addict

Really I hate the things, but I can't stop going, or offering to have one, or buying things at them. Tupperware, Mary Kay, Tastefully Simple, Scentsy, Usborne books, etc.

I hosted a Tupperware party last night, and I had to tell myself (and Mike) beforehand that I would not be lured by the siren call of, "You too can make millions from home and earn 50% off our product if you buy a whole bunch of it and have parties." I am a died-in-the-wool sucker. Here's my personal story of seduction:

It was a dark and stormy night. Stephanie had lots of zits and her tall white bottle of Mary Kay face wash was empty (gasp!) and she had resorted to using Suave lotion as a facial moisturizer (oh! The horror!). Previously her MK face wash had been supplied by a shadowy figure called, "Mom," who required favors in return, not moolah.

She was alone in the big city of Salt Lake, a destitute newlywed, and 'Mom' was faraway. Stephanie didn't know where to turn. She started to sob silently as she popped another zit. No supplier, no money. How could she feed her addiction? How could she face Mike with an unmoisturized, zitful face?
She stopped popping zits and turned to Google. She found a Mary Kay website, and money be danged, she was going to have her face wash. She called the number she found; a soft alluring voice answered. It promised face wash and moisturizer, but the price was high.
Stephanie wondered aloud if there was a way to get a discount-- There was, said the voice, "Just come with me to my unit meeting."
And so it was, Stephanie was lured by promises of fame and fortune, and a 50% discount. (Enter evil music: duhn-duhn-duhn.) Let's not forget the "Stay-at-home" mom appeal. Stephanie was expecting her first little one. Selling Mary Kaye would be the perfect way to earn extra money and still be there for her children. (Swoon!) She signed the contract, spent too much money on inventory, and then, and then, and then: She realized she didn't really like make-up. Now our destitute heroine makes one order a year, mostly from her mom and sisters and wishes she had got involved in blackmarket handguns, or Tupperware.

Why I Hate Home Parties:
1. First you have to invite people. There's the whole dilemma of "Do they want to be invited to this? I don't want them to feel obligated." or "This is an infomercial, not a party, they probably don't want to be invited. But if I don't invite them will they think I hate them?" or "I love________ (fill-in-the-blank), doesn't everyone want some too?" On the other hand, if you've been invited to one, if you don't go will their feelings be hurt? The whole problem is, it's an infomercial under the guise of "Party." People start avoiding me when I send out invites to these parties. (Which I don't do that often, despite my addictions I swear.)
2. Then you have to feel sorry for the person selling it, unless they're one of those .05% that have actually succeeded at their home business-- and they drive a company provided car, have built a mansion, own two yachts, travel the world, and they and their husband have retired on the money she makes. Then you have to be wary of them sucking you into the scheme.
3. I am one of those people who if I go to a home selling party I have to buy something. I feel like I'm not a real friend if I don't. I'm not helping the host get their "La-ti-da HUGE host prize when guests order $1,000 or more in product." And I feel bad if I don't go. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
Don't get me wrong, I actually love most of the things that I buy. I just hate the whole guilt thing that's associated with the home party business. Plus I failed at my Mary Kaye business, so I'm bitter. :)

So anyway, if any of you have been guilted, I mean inspired, by this post into buying some Tupperware to help me reach my goal of obtaining a Potato Storage Container, here's the Tupperware Website. I also make one order of Mary Kay a year, and YOU TOO CAN GET 40% OFF (if I could figure out how to make that text blink and have a popup of a cheesy car salesman come up, I surely would) if you order from me, your defunct and non-make-up wearing Mary Kay consultant.
Please tell me I'm not the only one who has bought into this home party business. What do you sell?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Reflections on camping with children

At least while you are camping no one expects you to have clean pants (which I never, ever have). The Dorito/chocolate/licorice fingerprints on my pants (I never feed my children these things, but somehow they find their way onto my pants) fit right in with everyone else's dirt and fish guts.
This weekend we loaded up our very small, cramped car (which gets excellent gas mileage), and headed up to Mirror Lake for the Chambers family reunion.
Some memories from the trip:
Kenzie-Survived a trip without the DVD player (Her parents survived too.); Still didn't get to "put her whole body in" because the lake was freezing and her parents were being wimpy; Slept in a sleeping bag, but only for a minute (Somehow she managed to get completely out of it and slept only in a coarse blanket that we had put under her sleeping bag in place of an air mattress); Is convinced that toilets that don't flush are the latest and greatest rage in toilet fashion; Made lots of friends with Mike's cousins, old and young; Loved listening to fantastic stories told by Grandpa; made jewelry with her new friends; found the fairy tree, and her favorite part: "I was climbing up some rocks. Look I have mosquito bites."

Hannah- Impressed us all with her talking skills while she stayed up all night talking to herself. Was absolutely positively in heaven because the Lippert's brought their dog, so she could follow it around and say, "oof! oof!" Told me the fire was "Hot. Hot," but tried to grab it anyway.;Spent some quality time sleeping in an impossible position on Laurie's back. (Thanks Laurie and Stacie for taking her on a walk)

Mike- Packed the car so well that the makers of Tetris should be contacting him soon about inventing a new game. Joined me in the "Gosh, maybe I never was a patient person" club; Had a great time digging up large rocks to make room for our extra large tent; Said, "This is the best meal I've ever eaten" and "I've never been so full in my life" after every awesome meal.

Stephanie--Only swore once (and it wasn't even a real swear word: 'pissed', as in "That really pissed me off," uttered when Mike sprayed her with water in the car on the way home and it dripped into her bra and down her back). Let Hannah fall asleep in her sleeping bag and thought it was really sweet, even after she screamed for a few minutes and woke up the whole camp; Decided camping really isn't that fun; Decided she would do it again anyway.

It was a really well-planned and fun reunion. Thanks Lori and Brad Reeves for planning everything.

Some Moose we saw as we were leaving

Listening to Grandpa's stories around the campfire.

Stacie and Laurie

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Marriage Tag (so late Robyn, sorry)

How long have you been married? We have been married for 6 years. But we have owned our Chevy Prism together for 7 years. :)
How old is your spouse? Mike is younger than I am, and of course that only means that I am more mature and experienced by a whole 3 months. So if I reveal his age, I reveal mine. I guess I'm not old enough to care about the age thing, so we're 29.
Who eats more? More what? I have a bad habit of eating more junk food, and Mike has a good habit of eating more vegetables. Overall, he probably eats more, but when we were dating I consistently out ate him. (I was running track at the time)

Who said I love you first? He did while we were "talking" by the pond at Weber State. I think it was June of 01. We had been dating since April. My response: "Oh. Why?"
Who is taller? Mike. He always complains about how tall the rest of his siblings are, but he is the perfect height for me.
Who sings better? At bedtime with Kenzie, we try to harmonize and both of us end up singing monotone. It really is lovely. Stop by sometime at bedtime for your own personal concert.
Who is smarter? Once upon a time, I might have claimed this, but for sure it is Mike. He says things like, "Steph, it's all a matter of trajectory," and "Do you think it has something to do with the Doppler effect?" I smile politely and try to keep up.
Who controls the T.V. remote? We haven't hooked our t.v. up yet since we moved in (2 years ago). We are total nerds. When we watch our dvds of Smallville (we are currently addicted to season 5)
, we both try to abdicate responsibility for the remote.
Whose temper is worse? Ummmm, that would definitely be me. Kenzie has started repeating, "I just can't handle this. I just can't handle it," which I am chagrined to say, is a direct quote from me.
Who does the laundry? I do. Sometimes. When it gets really bad and we're all out of clean gs.
Who does the dishes? Both. The deal is, if I do breakfast and lunch, he'll do the dinner dishes.
Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? What do you consider the right side of the bed? I sleep on the side with the alarm clock, and I am in charge of rousing the troops.
Who cooks dinner? Whoever feels the hungriest. :) We're pretty good at taking turns.

Who is more stubborn? Here it is, all my personality defaults revealed: I am totally stubborn. Sometimes I pretend I am not stubborn and do it my way anyway.
Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? I'd like to copy Robyn here: I am NEVER wrong. Especially in matters of dimensionality and measurements.
Whose parents do you see the most? My mom won't believe this, but my parents. Although we live close to both and get a healthy dose of both families.
Who has more friends? Is this some sort of contest?
Who has more siblings? Mike wins this one with two brothers and three sisters. I have one brother and two sisters.
Who wears the pants in the family? I like pants, but sometimes I wear dresses.
Now if you want to be tagged, I tag you.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blisters, Snakes and Dirt, Oh My!

Mike and I tested our vow to live life inconveniently with a hike w/ the girls this weekend. On Saturday we hooked up with the King family and took Kenzie and Hannah up to the waterfall in O-town. This is about a 3 mile round trip hike and wouldn't have been that inconvenient except for our decision to not carry Kenzie. Hahaha. This is Mark carrying Kenzie down the last part of the trail.

The hike started optimistically when a 12-13?? year old girl saw us traipsing through the parking lot with our caravan--two babies in packs on dad's backs and two blondie girls and their moms--- and asked us where we were going. "Up to the waterfall," we said.
She gave that perfect teenager look of skepticism and said, "You do realize it's like an hour hike, right?"
We smiled politely and headed up the trail. An hour? Who was she kidding? It took us approximately 2.5 hours to reach the top.
Rusti and Kenzie entertained each other for awhile, throwing rocks, looking at Rusti's lip gloss (a must-have for any serious hiker), and with Kenzie saying, "When we get there I'm going to put my whole body in cuz these are my swimming clothes." While I tried to warn her that it might be a little bit cold, she insisted.

We meandered, and it was fun. I tried not to have too many expectations of Kenz, and I think that might have been why it was a successful trip. Licorice and fruit snacks kept the girls going for awhile and then we tried distraction. Kristin and Rusti forged ahead and discovered a snake, much to Kristin's dismay.
The snake was a good distraction and kept Kenzie going for a little bit, but she had started telling me her shoes were too tired to walk anymore about 20 minutes into the hike. Slowly but surely we prodded her along and she actually did really well. Not as well as Rusti, who walked the whole way without any carrying and (I kid you not) no whining, but still it was encouraging.

I carried Kenzie a little ways up the top (Mike was carrying Hannah the whole time, and sometimes Kenzie as well) and her face was classic when she saw the waterfall! She was amazed. Then she refused to put her feet in because it was too cold and kind of whined a lot the rest of the trip. So much for her whole body theory.

Hannah fell asleep and loved putting her feet in, after the initial shock of the ice cold water wore off.

When we got home I took off Kenzie's shoes and she had a huge blister on the back of her left foot. Poor girl. No wonder she whined. I'll have to find some different shoes for her when we hike again.

Sometimes I wonder if we are giving our children a healthy love of the outdoors, or just cultivating a deep-seeded hatred of it-- I can imagine my teenage Kenzie giving me that perfect look of teenage skepticism/'you are so stupid' and saying, "Mom- you and Dad totally made me hike all the time when I was so, like, little. I am, like, so totally, NOT hiking anymore." Except she'll text it to me, because teenagers don't really talk anymore. They just text.

We finished off the hike with a Farr's ice cream cone. It was good times! Thanks Mark and Kristin for being good sports with us!

When I told Kenzie she did a good job and asked her, "Did you have fun? Will you go hiking with me and Dad again?" She smiled (probably satiated by the bubble gum ice cream cone) and said, "First I will take a nap, and then we can go hiking again."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It's Hannah Time! (A proud Mommy gush)

My sweet large-headed child! Yesterday was Hannah's 15-month appointment and I am happy to report that her head is as large as ever! At 47.7 cm she's in the 93%. Which brings me to a question. Why in the world do they measure heads? I guess it's just another way to make sure they are thriving, but it reminds me of how they used to measure knowledge by head size. If so, Hannah is a genius! I will attest to that.
So some other facts and brags about Hannah: She is 31 and 1/4 inches (75%), and she weighs 23.11 pounds (65%). Hannah is walking and running all over now! She is also crashing into things with wild abandon. Her latest fall came when she was running out to show me some crayons (which she wasn't supposed to have), and she fell face first into the edge of the filing cabinet. Ouch! That left a mark.
She loves to bounce her little bum in a cute baby dance, loves books, and loves (unhealthy) food. Whenever I stand by the snack cupboard in the kitchen she runs over and squeezes between my legs, lifting her arms and grunting that "uh uh uh" I want grunt. Hannah only has four teeth (top front two and top front bottom) but she eats everything.

Hannah knows about 10 words. I tried counting the other day, and I keep thinking of more. But my favorite is when she says, "Shhh! Shhh! Shhh!" (that counts as a word, right?) and tries to hide under a blanket. She'll hold her finger to her lips when she says that and I just laugh and laugh. She also knows the following words: hide, woof, duck, ball, side (for outside), mommy, da, ant, dog, kitty. She signs "eat" and "all done."

When Hannah is pleased with herself she purses her lips in this little "oh" like ,"hey I am so cute/good/smart, huh?" Don't bother helping her eat/drink because she has developed an attitude, and she can do it herself. Unless she can't and then she "uh uh uhs" at me until I do it for her.
When Mike comes home she runs to the stairs (which are gated of course) and then runs back to me, and runs to the gate until he comes. She'll give him a kiss, complete with the "smack."
Her favorite toy is the little tykes car and the swing in our backyard. She loves her blankies--she has about five that we can rotate, but her new favorite is to spread out the yellow duck one that Grandma Vickie made and read books on it, or cuddle it.

Speaking of cuddling, Hannah loves her stuffed puppy (also a present from Grandma and Grandpa Hansen), and she holds it to her cheek and says, "Ohhh! Ohhhh!"
Which, cheesily enough, is what my heart says whenever I hold my sweet baby. They grow so fast!

Monday, July 7, 2008

What I learned on my Summer Vacation

1. Those cute swimsuits with skirts that cover that really ugly whale-like part of your leg still require shaving in the nether regions, as the skirts float out in the water, exposing said area.
2. Traveling with children requires patience, candy, bribes, and a video player
3. It is still a good idea to have a baby wear a diaper, even when playing in the lake.
4. I could never be a Native American or polygamous wife, living in some communal area.
5. Actually, having to cook only once on this trip was really, really, really nice. Maybe I could do the communal living thing.
6. Happy memories will overcome the reality of trips with children, and I will attempt trips with them again.

We went to Bear Lake this past weekend with the Chambers. Mike's grandpa owns a cabin up there and they have been going every summer for as long as Mike can remember. I love Bear Lake. I love the memories I have of relaxing in the sun, doing puzzles, playing games, eating like kings! That was before children. Now with 5 grandkids, all with the same naptime, and one big sleeping area, it is a little more stressful.
We left Thursday night with the brilliant idea that the girls would sleep on the way there. Ha! I have heard about people using Benadryl to drug their children for trips, and now I understand why.
The next day, Mckenzie loved the water and beach and wanted to stay all day. We played in the sand, we played in the water. We avoided (mostly) sun burn and had a great time. Hannah was not so excited about the water, but did enjoy eating lots of sand. The next day was a repeat. Kenzie had tons of fun playing with Kandelyn, going for a ride with Grandpa on the 4-wheeler and going out to sea with Grandpa and Kandelyn in the tube. Hannah ate more sand and had a great time. Mike and I got to enjoy some runs without the girls, and we got to take some naps!

I still love Bear Lake, it's just different than how I used to love it. Now I love it because it's a chance to have all the Chambers together, and it's a chance for Kenzie and Hannah to play with cousins (or, in Hannah's case to learn self-defense from cousins), and it's a nice opportunity to get out of the house.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What a Lovely Sandstone red

When I noticed drops of blood on the piano, from my own hands, I realized that perhaps this whole refinish a piano project is a little much. That was when I leaned back into the soft cushion of plastic drop cloth (that is such a lovely decorating piece), and let tears make paths in the red dust on my cheeks.

One thing I am really good at is taking on too much. I do it constantly. I must be addicted to the thrill of stress or something equally insane. Really this refinish a piano is too much. First of all, why did I choose a piano for my first refinishing experiment. Why not a dresser, or a table, or even a small stick? Second of all, I have never used a sander before. Perhaps fine wood was not an appropriate starting place either. Look I've ruined it:

Third of all, no one in their right mind sands a large piano inside their home.
Mike and I spent Friday and Saturday sanding the Dread Piano Chambers. The DPC is quickly becoming a much hated and maligned object of furniture in our house. Mike is such a kind soul. He sanded both days and only once, when I cried, admitted that he too hated the DPC and would gladly pay someone to take it from our house.

We are amateur sanders, so despite the fact that I covered everything in sheets, a fine red dust pervaded the house. We spent about five hours cleaning after we vowed that we were done sanding the DPC, for better or worse. Of course, there are still spots on the DPC that refuse to sand off. Then there are the places where I've ruined it. After all this stupid work, I'm just going to have to paint it black to cover up my mistakes. CURSE you DPC! CURSE you!

Not a staged picture, I swear. I turned around and both girls were sitting next to each other, reading books. This lasted only long enough to snap a picture. (Notice the ever constant presence of the looming DPC in the background. Forever ugly. Forever taunting my incompetence)