Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mike's first day of school

So everyone else got to do a post about their babies going to school and how sad it was (or how happy), so I felt all left out, until I realized my Baby--Mike-- has started school and I can do a back-to-school post!
This is Mike's last semester at the U and then he will be a died-in-the-wool, pocket-proctector-wearing, confusing-explanation-of-natural-phenomena, Engineer. Actually, he already is that, minus the pocket protector. In December he'll have earned his Master's degree and will be just one degree (an Institute of Religion degree) behind me. :)
I wish I had grabbed the camera to capture his first day, you'll have to settle for this picture of him trying out for the Sexiest Toupee Ever.
Something (no I can't remember what) was happening on Mike's first day of school, so we didn't properly celebrate, but on Mike's second day of school, Kenzie, Hannah and I dropped him off at the train station (Hooray for FrontRunner and a free University pass). I'm happy to report that there were no tears, he promised to play nice with the other students, and he packed his own lunch. Good job Mike!!
When he returned that night at 5:00ish, we ruined our dinner by greeting him with chocolate chip cookies and milk (an idea stolen from my friend Kathryn) and he told us all about his classes: "Embedded Systems" "Fourier Optics" "Holography" and then a class to write for the "Host." It was like listening to scary stories in a foriegn language.
I think they should teach a class for Engineers called, "How to Dumb Down What You Are Doing so Your Wife and Friends Can Understand." Apparently that is not something they offer. Actually we had an understandable conversation about how hard his classes might be, what his teachers were like and his prospects for lab partners. I love the cookies and milk tradition.
Mike only has classes on Tues and Thurs this semester, so we will probably get to see a little more of him in the mornings! HOORAY! He'll still have to do a lot of homework on his off days, probably by hiding in the basement, but he doesn't have to leave at 6:00 a.m. to get to work.

Speaking of work (and in desperate need of a transition), the DPC strikes again! I finally decided to paint it black and distress it. Actually, it's already distressed, you know, where I sanded through the veneer (and then viciously kicked and hit it when I found I had ruined it). I am done sanding. I am done stripping. (Insert stiffled giggles and snorts and jr. high humor here.) Now I am ready to paint.
While I was stripping (more snorts) the last piece of the piano, the key cover, which was a difficult four sided affair, I thought about making a lovely do-it-yourself home video to share with you all, but what with all the swearing and running from the room screaming when I accidentally got some on my arm, it wouldn't have been very family friendly. Just kidding. I actually didn't think I had the right sort of outfit or a cheerful enough attitude to make one of those "DIY" videos that I watch on HGTV.
My goal is to have the DPC painted by no later than September 27. (I have to work during naptime and at nights) So, someday, if I manage to paint the piano rather than pour gasoline on it and light it on fire (with my double jogger), I will remove the plastic sheeting from my living room (a lovely decorating feature that wins friends and influences people), get my carpets cleaned, and post some pictures of it. That is, if I can remember how to reassemble it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

El Cheap-o

Technically I guess I would be "La Cheap-a", but then again, I wouldn't be saying cheap if I were truly speaking Spanish. I wish I could speak Spanish, but I can't so I'm forced to add "o's" to English words and pretend.
So I don't speak Spanish (even with a minor in it), but I do posses the talent of stealing items from people's garbage cans.
You know those really cute Little Tikes cars that every child of privilege owns? Yeah, well we own two now. We're moving up in the world. I found one at the thrift store--Wait--I mean, at Toys R us, where I only buy new toys for my precious 'you're-worth-every-penny' and a ridiculous -return-policy children.) The other Little Tikes truck came from a garbage can. (Maybe we're not moving up in the world, just down into the garbage can.) I was out for a rare early morning run, and a mile from home I spotted this truck upside down in a garbage can on the street. It was early, so traffic wasn't surging, and I stopped, curious as to why someone would throw away a valuable and coveted item. The wheels worked, so I pulled it out and the only thing wrong with it was a hornet's nest (unoccupied at the moment) and a bad attempt to paint it white. Nothing I couldn't fix.
So yes, I rolled it home. I only wish I could share with you a picture of me running a mile with a little black truck. It was early morning, so I even had an official-looking reflector vest on for awhile, until I took it off and hid it in my little running buddy's interior. I think my girls should give me some sort of prize for subjecting myself to this humiliation for them.
On my way home I had nightmares about the people who formerly owned the truck sending out flyers that would read, "Would the crazy person wearing a reflective vest who stole our truck out of the garbage can please return it? We were just trying to teach our son a lesson, and now he cries every day for his precious truck."
I would have knocked on their door and asked if I could steal it from their garbage can, but it was 6:00ish in the morning. I don't know if they would have appreciated that.
It was in their garbage can, right? It would have just gone to waste if I hadn't taken it. And I totally cleaned it, twice. Besides Kenzie threw her arms around it (after it had been sterilized and the bad paint job removed) and declared, "I love this truck!" And she did love it--for about two minutes and then it was a small plastic bag that she could fill with water that she played with all afternoon. I did not steal that from someone else's garbage can. She found it all on her own.

The stolen toy garbage truck was only part of our exciting weekend. We also refinished the deck, refinished the swing set (another item that was cheaply obtained. Although not from a garbage can, from, and went to the Aquatic center.
The refinished swing set. Now we can invite the neighbor children over and their parents won't have to warn them to stay off the "sliver" machine.

Oh yes, one more thing-- I would like to thank my sister Shaelynn for letting me pretend I was cool and go to the Jack Johnson concert with her and her roomies. I had a great time and tried not to dominate the conversation with stories about boogers and babies.

One last item: My camera is dying. Any recommendations on a good camera? I'm looking at either really cheap and good and small, or really large and expensive. I can't decide if I should move up to an SLR or stay with a point and shoot. Any advice??

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Van Down by the River

I love vans. No seriously. Most of my friends have vowed never to be "mini-van moms" because I guess vans are uncool or something. I am not a hip mom. I am a practical mom. Vans are practical and so cool.
The van pictured above is my mom and dad's van. It is not my ideal van, but it has a lot of memories tied up in it. I have traveled around the world (well the Western States at least) in this baby! One of my favorite memories is yelling at Jared when he farted that he "saved it all up" just for vacations. Now I can add singing hearty renditions of "The Ensee-Weensie Spider" and "Where is Thumbkin" to my favorite memories. (I already had exciting singing memories in the van, but the songs weren't so juvenile)
Last week, while Mike was on a business vacation to Ft. Walton Beach in Florida, my mom, Shaelynn and I took the girls to visit my Grandma in Kennewick. It was a really really really long drive. We left at 9:00 a.m. and arrived at 11:00 p.m. I think it is a feat I will not repeat (ha that rhymed). Next time I will break the drive up into two days.
Kenzie summed it up best when we arrived and were getting her ready for bed. "We drove and drove and drove and I cried and I cried and now we are here and I am sooo happy!" She said it in a very melodramatic voice, with a perfect 'primary president tone' on the "I am sooo happy" part.
A long time ago Mike and I decided that our children would appreciate the scenery and interact with us during car drives. On the way home from Washington, I decided that plan only worked in theory. Whoever invented the portable dvd player was an angel from heaven. I think Kenzie watched 5 videos. I did make her take a break to play "Animal Sound Bingo"

Enough about driving. We had a great time and ate great food(made by my Grandma, who is by far the world's best cook), and left too soon.
Here are some pictures which sum up the trip:
We stopped for lunch at Shoshone falls in Idaho. When we rounded the corner and the falls came into view Hannah got so excited she kicked her little feet and yelled "Ta-ta-ta-TA DAH!"

These are the seatless toilets at the fabulous Shoshone falls bathrooms. They made me feel very uncomfortable. It seems like a good idea, but then, it seems really weird.
My Grandpa and his pet duck. Everytime we visit he has something interesting to show us. I think the pet duck is now my favorite. It even tops the fart machine he demonstrated for Mike and me one year.

Shaelynn, Kenzie and Grandpa swinging at the Sacajawea Park. One night we took a picnic dinner there and it was really cool. Lewis and Clark camped there. Shaelynn and Kenzie, looking fabulous in front of an educational sign at the park.

Yeah, I look way cute in this picture, but it's the only one I have of most of us. My mom was standing on the walkway trying to balance her crutches in the bouncing water.

My camera is dying. All the pictures at the waterpark by my Grandma's house were blue-ish weird. We had a great time at the waterpark. Shaelynn tried to push me in, but it was Kenzie that really got me all wet.
The requisite really awesomely cute self portrait. Why is it that Shaelynn and my Grandma look so cute?

On the way home (already?? It was a short trip), we found the cutest park in Burley, Idaho of all places. I couldn't believe how much fun it was.

So, if you're ever in Burley, Idaho visit this awesome park.
Well, that was a lot of pictures, and a long travelogue, it was almost as long as our van trip. We were glad to get home and see Mike again. We missed him on our trip and fondly thought of him during meal times by exclaiming, "This is the best meal I have ever had."
Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for entertaining us and letting us eat all your delicious food and put yucky diapers in your pristine garbage can.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mullet phobia

Hannah got her first haircut this week. She was developing what I fondly refer to as a baby mullet. Mike is ever so sentimental about haircuts, and I have to tell you, I just don't understand. It's hair. It looks bad. It must be cut.
I'd been threatening a Hannah haircut for some time, but had neglected my duties as a mother, and she developed the B-mullet.
I don't have a better picture, but she was starting to look like an eighties hearthrob. Adorable still, but lacking in style. So I lopped off the mullet on Thursday. When Mike came home he said, "You cut her hair, didn't you?"
"Yes, she had a mullet."
"Why? She's too little for a haircut. Do you have some sort of mullet-phobia?"
Yes. I have mullet-phobia. There you go. I think it stems from a couple of bad haircuts I got when I was going for the "Meg Ryan" look. Now you know how to torture me--just threaten a mullet.
Here is another bad picture of her new haircut. You can't tell, but she no longer has a b-mullet. For more mullet fun, join the Mulletia.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Behold the Glory of the Smore

Sometimes my brain leaves me. Only for short periods, but nevertheless, it likes to take a vacation now and then. (I guess I'm not giving it enough time off in between my intellectual pursuits, such as games of 'Memory' and re-readings of Bernstein Bears)
This weekend I planned a camping trip for my brother and sisters, and it was one of those weekends where my brain decided it wanted nothing to do with me and my plans.
Yes, brain, I would like to congratulate you on almost foiling our plans. I say 'almost', because despite the fact that I did not make a reservation (this is where brain deserted me. No one takes camping trips on the weekend up Logan canyon, do they?), and I did not have a pre-planned meeting spot (another brain desertion-Surely they have cell phone reception up a steep canyon with high mountain walls.), we managed to find a spot, find each other and have a marvelous time.
The children behaved like adorable little kittens. Hahaha. They behaved like themselves and I lost all my patience yet again. However, I'm going to remember the highlights:
1. It was fun to see everyone: Jared and his girlfriend Pam (hmmmm, or are they secretly married???), cute pregnant Alisha and Dustin (who decided to go on a diet right before we broke out the Smores, poor guy), Shaelynn, who found her own way, and my mom, who mostly sat in a chair and tried to fall in the fire a few times (due to a pulled hamstring).
2.The girls went to bed without a peep. In fact, Kenzie demanded to be put to bed, even forgoing a Smore. To whom does this child belong?
3. Hannah loved tossing things in the river (and I only had small heart palpitations when she kept leaning, leaning, leaning over the bridge to see where they went). Kenzers also loved tossing sticks in on one side of the bridge and racing to the other side to see them. That was definitely my favorite.
4. After Direct Sunlight Smores I finally got a real Smore and it was a doozy. My marshmallow was perfect and peanut butter cups are now my favorite Smore accessory.
5. 6:00 a.m. is a great time to wake up. Really. I promise. I love it. So does Hannah.
6. We got to have yet another, "Dark Knight" conversation. Since we watched it on Wed, it has been one of our favorite topics of discussion. Too dark? Well-acted? Is Two-Face alive? Why did they pin it on Batman? Did it push Heath Ledger over the edge? Did you like laughing at the non-funny funny parts?
7. I really love it when everyone's pants are as dirty as mine. (Well, almost as dirty)
8. Jared and I were kind of brave and jumped (jumped=walked out gingerly bitterly complaining about the cold) into the First Dam. It was Dam cold. (Sorry I couldn't resist) Kenzie was the bravest and she finally got to "put her whole body in," an experience she has been waiting for since we hiked up Waterfall canyon.
9. No bears attacked us, we got to sit around a fire, and when the cars weren't speeding by, I could hear the river. I love the sound of water. I guess camping is okay.