Friday, January 30, 2009

The Couples Challenge

To be honest, I've enjoyed every minute of my challenge-free month. I have returned to my evil ways and eaten at least 6 cookies every chance possible. I have also stuffed myself with chocolate, cinnamon rolls and in a fix, I made a pan of those delicious no-bake cookies (the kind I sometimes don't bother to make cookies out of. The kind I just eat with a spoon from the pan. I mean, no. No. I don't do that. I share them lovingly with my children after shaping them into butterflies and princesses.)

I think my poor body is screaming out for protein and fiber and other nutritious (that was a sneaky word to spell) foods. I have suppressed its pitiful cries, but then it rebels in ways that are inappropriate to discuss in public.
So it's time for another challenge! (As I write this I just consumed a Snickers bar, and I bought a big bag of M&Ms that are calling my name from the kitchen.)

The Couples Challenge! Your task, if you choose to accept it, is to 1.Come up with a team name (with your significant other) and 2. Commit to eating just one sweet a day and 3. Exercise daily. Each team has the possibility of earning 28 points a week. One point for each team member a day for eating well (one sweet=one serving size), and one point each for exercising for 30 min. or more a day. I'll have a blog post every Wed. to collect points (This time it's Wed. because blog traffic is low that day). The Couples Challenge will start on Feb. 4 and run until April 1.

The last challenge I was a firmly devoted believer in no sweets to earn a point. But that's just mean. No sweets? What am I supposed to eat when I celebrate putting the girls down for a nap at the same time? Why in the world would I exercise if I didn't get to eat dessert afterward? During my last challenge I would eat one sweet, and since I'd blown it anyway, I binged away. Personally I think it is harder to eat only one sweet/dessert. So I'm trying for that this contest. We'll see how it goes. Also, I'm doing the couples thing because ummm, because instead of facing off, maybe by working together against everyone else we'll do better.

For a prize, each couple that joins also commits to $5 to the winning couple at the end. Money is a great motivator. So we're going to kick all your butts. :)

Our team name is "Team Awesomeness" and to quote Kung Fu Panda: "It is said that his enemies would go blind from over-exposure to pure awesomeness."

So post your team name in the comments below!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Planes, planes and planes

Do you think that could be the title of a really successful movie? Yeah, me neither. But it is a successful museum here at HAFB.
We visited the museum twice last week (it's free!), once with Kenzie's Joyschool class and once with Mike. I thought we went for the girls, but really we went for Mike.

Mike loves airplanes. His room growing up had every airplane imaginable pasted to the ceiling, with models hanging down from their pictures. He wanted to be an airplane fighter pilot, but chose engineering because he's a family guy. I shouldn't have been surprised by how much he loved the full size planes and informational plaques.

They also have a Learning Center where kids can learn about science with all sorts of fun experiments (balance a ping pong ball on a blow dryer, see those magic birds that balance on your finger, see what happens when you try to hold a spinning bicycle wheel and turn on a sit n spin, etc) You can fly a model airplane, play computer airplane games, dress up like an astronaut/pilot, sit in a life-size cockpit, and Mike yelled excitedly, "They have a F-16 flight simulator?!!!" It really is awesome. Unfortunately Mike was unable to learn how to fly an F-16 (his lifetime dream), because they were closing. The Learning Center is only open Thurs, Fridays, and Saturdays for limited hours. We'll be going back I'm sure.
(And if anyone ever has any connections with F-16 flights and passengers, could you please let me know? It really is Mike's dream to fly in one)

Hannah and I fly a plane together in the Learning Center. Good thing they really only let you guide the plane in a small area, otherwise we would be mourning the loss of another airplane. Oh, speaking of Hannah, she's decided that naps are okay again! (Well, not really, but she is falling asleep in the afternoon and staying there for at least an hour.) After two months of her falling asleep during lunch mid-bite or not sleeping at all, she is napping at about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, making me a happy camper! (And she's much happier too)

A volunteer shows Hannah the ping pong ball floating over a hair dryer. Hannah was not impressed and ran away with the ping pong ball as quickly as she could.

Mike, on the other hand, was very impressed with all the science experiments. Here he is spinning some rings. I'm not sure what that demonstrates, but I'm sure it has something to do with gravity and centrifugal force. (Umm, you don't know what that is? Well, Faith Hill sings about it in "This Kiss. This Kiss." You should know about it)

Here we are standing by some large plane, and if you look very closely behind the girls there's a tiny scale model of it that they built before they built the big one.

Here's Mike and the girls in front of Mike's favorite plane the SR-71, or the Blackbird. It holds speed records that have never been broken. It's been clocked at over 2,000 mph! They don't fly them anymore--something to do with it costing $200,000/hour to fly.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Remarkable Hair

In my never-ending quest to be the perfect mother, or at least a somewhat respectable mother, I have discovered that I need to do my girls' hair every day. Unfortunately, their baby thin, super susceptible to fuzz hair does not do a single back ponytail (my style of choice) very well.
I love hair blogs, and find them bizarrely fascinating (who comes up with these hair styles and then how do they coerce their children into sitting still to complete them?), but my girls' hair is not really long enough to complete most of those hairstyles (nor do my fingers seem to be blessed with the talent of twisting, braiding, nor parting in a straight line their 'lightening-storm-is-coming' hair).
I have found a solution that makes even the worst careening part seem okay--BOWS! I (I mean Santa Claus) found some awesome ones for a great price at Oh So Girly! I love them. I pretty much went crazy, and I could because they were affordable. She was super easy to work with, shipped my bows within a week, and even charges reasonable shipping rates.

(I'm not being sponsored or given any perks for this post, I just really loved her product and prices and wanted to share.)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Home is Where the Steph Is...

Alright, alright. I am sorry to say that I have hacked into this blog. I guess I shouldn't be sneaking in a post to my sexxy (don't worry, not an inappropriate link, just another association with the band who inspired the name of this blog) wife's blog. But I think it's high time she gets a little pat on her back like she is always patting mine, and if I have to hack into her blog and stay up until the wee hours of the morning to do it, so be it.

Steph is the most patient, caring, fascinating, person I have ever met. She is so good to me and our little girls. I don't know how she manages to keep them (and I guess me, too, for that matter) behaviorally proficient. I mean, I take them for 2 hours and I'm at wits end with them ready to lock them in their room until Steph gets home. Steph on the other hand manages to contain potential problems before major meltdowns occur. She is so loving to them as well, always planning little activities for them to do to keep them entertained. One of the girls' current favorites is to be butterflies, which they are very good at.

Steph is crazy good at budgeting her time. Many, many times I find extensive daily TODO lists of hers that would be impossible for me to accomplish in one day, but that she manages to complete mixed in with snacktime, playtime, naptime, stinky-diaper time, etc. with the 2 little rugrats. In fact, she averaged 1-2 newspaper articles a week last year! And that is including the time to go to events, interview, and write the articles. As further proof, may I remind you that Steph was able to finish her Master's degree while she was still working (as a high school teacher!) and while she had a little baby.

Steph does so much for our family unit. Birthdays, holidays, my days off from work, date nights, etc. are all made better by the little finishing touches that she puts on them. I don't think I ever relayed to her how truly grateful I was to her for all that she did to make this last Christmas so memorable. I was trying to finish up with school (I don't know what my problem was--I didn't even have to work while I was back in school!), and she took care of everything. The girls absolutely loved that day.

I love that she loves the outdoors and helps me to be "inconvenienced" by taking the girls on adventures with us as well. The girls are gaining such an appreciation for nature, and I know it is because we are including them in our trips.

The last thing I am going to mention is her laugh. Honestly, if I am fussy or if I had a bad day at work, it only takes Steph's laugh to cheer me up. I love making her laugh and that is part of the reason I find her so fascinating. She has such a clever, witty sense of humor. Here she is showing off that laugh of hers.

I love you Steph! And the girls love you, too! You win an all expenses paid trip to the luxurious Cafe Rio tonight!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Today I lost one of the most valuable and precious things to me in the world-- nap time. Not my own nap, but Hannah's.
I feel demoralized and defeated. (And perhaps a little overdramatic)

Monday, January 19, 2009


For some reason carrying a 30 pound child on my back through the snow exhausts me. It reminds me of the good ole days when I backpacked. Back then my pack didn't stink so much, because there were no dirty diapers nestled cozily next to the granola bars. (Next time I offer you a granola bar, beware)

Mike had today off, so after Joyschool (which I would have skipped, but I was in charge), we headed off to Snowbasin to show Mike the Yurt.

Right now, I'm going to wax ecstatic about Joyschool. I love it. I love it. I love it. Today we talked about Goals, which they might have got some of it, but we also danced, ate granola bars (the non-contaminated kind), and jumped on paper plates across the room to the couch. We also played with origami frogs. Oh yeah. When was the last time you folded up one of those little hoppers? They rock.

Anyway, back to the yurt hike. Kenzie has been excited to show Mike the Yurt since we went on Wed. with my friend. She was also excited to show him the tree stump she went potty on last time we were up there. Ahh, the joys of childhood. She was slightly disappointed that Tracey wasn't coming along. Tracey is fun and more patient than we are.

The hike went well. Mike carried Kenzie, all of our water, supplies for hot chocolate, and survival gear (in case we got mauled by a cougar or stranded for days just outside the luxurious Snowbasin lodge). I carried Hannah and fruit snacks.

The snow was super packed down (i.e. snow shoes not necessary, but still adding to our "we're rough and rugged" look), and we met a few people on the trail. One guy passed us as we stopped to make sure Hannah's beloved puppy was wrapped in her mittened hands, only to be surprised when we caught him at a junction later in the trail. Apparently he took the long route (or so he said. I'm pretty sure we're just super fast hikers. Being motivated by whining and marching songs helps).

It took us about 40 minutes to hike in and it was a nice day. Mike was in a short sleeve and I was sweating away in my fleece. We managed to forget Hannah's coat, but Kenzie's is a two-piece (unlike a bikini this implies more warmth, not less), so we unzipped it and they shared.

At the Yurt we made a fire, found a new potty spot for Kenzie (someone had peed all over our other spot. The nerve.), and the girls played happily in the "house". The whole way to the Yurt Hannah kept saying excitedly, "House! House!" "That's right," I would say, "We'll get there soon." And then she would order me to tell her she looked cute.

Mike singed his eyebrows and eyelashes getting a fire started in the stove (the wood wasn't very dry), and then we drank lukewarm hot chocolate and ate oranges. We managed to placate the girls all the way out, and keep them warm in the shadows of the setting sun by wrapping my scarf around Kenz, and my shell around Hannah. When the trail headed downward, Mike and I ran, crashing into each other, making the girls laugh hysterically.

I also played "motorboat" with Hannah until I wheezed out a new version of the rhyme, "Motorboat, motorboat go so slow. Motorboat, motorboat, go so slower. Motorboat, motorboat stop and rest while you gasp for air." I think that should become a new classic.

Since children I've had to change my idea of a good hike. A mile and a half is a great distance. The sound of silence is meant to be broken with quacking noises and songs (or crying and whining). Treat breaks are mandatory. Camelback nozzles are meant for chewing and should be bought by the dozens.

Sometimes though, I still catch a glimpse of what I love about hiking. The scent of the pine trees, a quiet moment where I can hear my shoes crunch. The feel of doing something not too many people are doing. And when it's over, when I ask Kenzie what her favorite part of the hike was, she says, sweeping her hand in a grand motion, "All of it."

(No pictures because a 30 pd child was on my back, and my camera just felt too heavy to bring along.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Last minute cancellation

Exhaustion has pretty much overwhelmed the Chambers household, and since I didn't get any positives on the Cheesecake Factory, we're canceling.

I am so sorry if you planned on attending. If you were going to come leave me a comment and I'll make it up to you, somehow. I'll mail you a piece of homemade peanut butter cheesecake. (No pretending you were going to come just to get the cheesecake)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A yurt is a yurt of course, of course

The key to a good winter hike with toddlers is to carry them and bring lots of food. And leave your expectations at home. Don't forget it will take 3 times as long as you think too.

I took the girls on a hike today--in the snow. I carried Hannah on my back and Kenzie rode in a sled, pulled by my friend. (True friends pull your kids in a sled and pretend they aren't annoyed by the children's whining/bossiness. I'm sorry I am not a true friend to anyone. Look closely, that's Kenzie in that sled) She tried out some kid snowshoes but that lasted all of 2 seconds as she decided they were "hard," and saw that a sled had been prepared.

Her Highness Kenzie was being pulled up a hill, laying down all comfy cozy when she commanded grandly, "Guys, guys. Let's rest for a minute."

My friend, Tracey, is an awesome hiker and always goes out and does these really fun things. So when she said she knew of a Yurt up by Snowbasin and said we could come, I jumped at the chance to find out where it is. (First I tried looking all over the Internet, but apparently the Yurt's location is all hush, hush.)

It took us an hour to hike in, and this place was so cool. For some reason they call it a "Churt" but the only reference to "churt" that I can find anywhere is some town in England. So I don't know what the forest service is smoking. Perhaps they have a lisp, or maybe they speak Russian (where the word originated) and know we're pronouncing the y all wrong. Anyway, it's a yurt. And it's an awesome one at that. A yurt is a tent-like structure, but it's a little bit more sturdy and permanent, and you can stand up in it. This yurt had a nice big picnic table, a small wood burning stove and a sleeping mat. (Umm, I would probably bring my own, as nice as they are to provide that one)

We made a fire in the woodburning stove, had lunch, and Tracey made some hot chocolate and popcorn. She had all sorts of fun things for the girls. Kenzie had a great time spraying colored water on the snow, drinking the hot chocolate and eating the popcorn. She asked, "When can we bring Daddy? On Saturday? Tomorrow?"
Hannah wandered around the "house" contentedly. She played in the snow some, but was more interested in staying warm and eating all the treats I brought.

The way out also took an hour, but if you're not pulling a sled/carrying a 50 pound pack of child (maybe I'm exaggerating, but only a little) on your back then I imagine you could go faster. The last 15 minutes seemed like an hour themselves as Hannah decided she'd had quite enough of the adventure. Even a rainbow chip granola bar couldn't soothe her. Her boots kept falling off and I think her feet got cold. Note to self: Buy kids non-itchy wool socks and figure out something to keep boots on.
Also, my camera was not having a good time, and all I could get were these five shots. I'd turn on the camera, quickly snap a picture of the closest thing and then it would turn off.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Hannah-nator

The advantages a large head affords:
You can wear large hats.
Once upon a time, you would have been considered very intelligent.
You appreciate buttons on shirt collars that give a little squeeze room.
You never have to wear a turtleneck because you can't squeeze it over your noggin.
When they make a bobble head doll of you, it will look accurate, not freakish.
In wrestling matches with your sister you can always cause tears with the tried and true head bump.
Hannah has all these advantages and more.
This week I took her in for her doctor's appointment where she charmed everyone by crying consistently and refusing to let go of me.
They did manage to get a few measurements and I am proud to report that her head still averages right at 96% with 49.25" She is also 28 pounds (85%) and 33.5" tall (50%).

Her current hairstyle is reminiscent of Harry in Dumb and Dumber.
Other Hannah facts:
Her longest sentence has been: "Don't Spill the Beans" while we played a slightly different version of the game than recommended on the box, called, "NO Hannah! Don't Eat the Beans!"

Just this week she has started putting two words together. My personal favorite, "Don't Like! Don't Like! Don't like!" Uttered in extreme terror over a toy truck that sometimes freakishly makes garbage truck noises without any prompting.

She agrees with everything I say by nodding her head solemnly and saying, "K." Then she does what she wants anyway.

She also says all the time, "Look, look!" And shows me some fabulous trick she has learned, like turning pretzels and marshmallows into "suckers."

She loves Kenzie. She tries to do whatever Kenzie does and be wherever Kenzie is. Some of their favorite activities are food storage tea parties, dancing with their dollies and singing, piling all the toys in the crib and playing together.

Hannah also loves grabbing one of whatever Kenzie has and running away as fast as she can. Kenzie does not like this game. Hannah is also really good at eating all of her snack really fast and then asking Kenzie to share. Kenzie is very generous to her.

Just today in the car she started counting and counted all the way to ten! (It's that large brain she has in her large head, I tell you.)

Hannah hasn't eaten anything too dangerous lately, but she keeps me on my toes. I have her to thank for keyword hits on this blog that include, "three-year old ate too much toothpaste." and "effects of eating petroleum jelly," or "is it dangerous to eat vaseline?" (as long as you can still breathe. . .) My personal favorite, "Vaseline: is it ok for consumption?"
If you haven't signed up for googleanalytics, you really should, just to read what keywords people use that bring up your blog.
Side note: "asking my wife to do the can-can," "mentholyptus dog poison" and "fat people's dirt snake" as well as "are you excited for the end of the world?" are keywords that apparently bring up our blog.

Now, we'll return to our previously scheduled posting:
Hannah is also a great singer! Ever since she was a baby she has crooned to us and now she sings ABCs, Happy Birthday and a number of others. She always demands that we sing "I am a Child of God" by irreverntly, but adorably yelling, "God! God!" (She is quite the little potty-mouth, since her "xs" still sound like "ks" (fix it! fix it!) and her "Rs" are not very pronounced in "fork")
Dear, sweet Hannah. We love you! Your squinchy smile and fun laugh keep us happy!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Conversations with Kenzie

"Mommy, why don't you live with your mom anymore?"
"Well, I grew up and got married to Daddy, and now I live with you guys and Daddy."
"Well, when you grow up it's time to move out and go to college (shameless plug) and then you can find someone to marry, and then you live with them. Why? Do you want me to go live with my mom?"
I hear sniffling in the backseat so I flip my rearview mirror down to see Kenzie's face all screwed up in sadness.
"Yes? What's wrong?" I say all concerned.
"I will,*sob* I will miss you when I'm married."
"Ohh! Don't cry." (I'm stiffling laughter, but flattered as all get out.) "You can still come and visit me. We go and visit my mom, Grandma Vickie, all the time, don't we? Do you think she misses me? Or do we visit a lot?"
"Okay." She processes this for a minute as we drive. "I will like my prince though. And we will dance and get married, and I will bring him to visit and I will say, "'This is my mom.'" And I won't miss you when I'm married." Slight pause. "How will I get my married dress?"
Ahh yes, the truly important thing, the married dress. She's got priorities.

Kenzie and Kandelyn practice their dance moves at Aunt Laurie's wedding. They're getting ready for that prince, you know.
Kenzie used to want to marry Cooper, but Cooper informed her that he was marrying someone else, so now she is convinced that our neighbor Tayson is the one for her. After the above conversation she said to me, "Mom, I will marry Tayson." And then she got all happy and said, "And Tayson already knows you!" (I blame Disney. I always try to tell her that falling in love takes more than dancing in the forest with strangers. I guess at least Tayson is not a stranger.)

Kitchen repainted and some other pictures that finally blogger decided it could upload.

Don't judge me. I had to have a clean kitchen to paint it, but immediately after the paint dried I had to go back to using it, so it's messy in the after picture.

Before, everything is clean but our fridge.

After, everything is messy. We didn't really do anything drastic in here, just a fresh coat of creamy paint. I think the empty milk jug next to the blue tape is so existentialist. So really, my kitchen is not dirty, it's just part of my theme. (And I'm not an existentialist. I just like that word)

I love our new color on the doors. I'll probably paint the inside of the entryway door this color as well. Now, I just have to pretend that I can decorate and hang things up.

Kenzie and I had a butterfly day, thanks to her new book, "Fancy Nancy; Bonjour Butterfly." We made crape paper butterflies, had butterfly shaped sandwhiches, and of course, dressed up like butterflies. I'm thinking antennae may have to become part of my regular hairstyle.

This is Mike, enjoying his "vacation" by letting blood rush to his head as he fixes the car. Good job Mike!An impromptu tea party. I still haven't put the bucket of joint compound away because it's so dang cute to watch Hannah and Kenzie sit on it and pull themselves up to our bucket of rice for a table. Who said food storage can't be fun? (And she can't get the lid open on the mud to eat any, even if it is one of her favorite snacks. I checked.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy Birthday! I mean, New Year.

We had a great, (and picture free, whoops) New Year's Eve. I am the type of parent who says, "Let's have a pretend midnight and put the kids to bed at 9:00 p.m. And then let's go to sleep too." Mike is the type of parent who says, "This is a special occasion; Let them stay up. Come on." I know he is implying that I am lame, but oh well. I admit it, I am totally lame.
But I am also influenced by peer pressure and laziness (two wonderful qualities that I should make New Year's resolutions about), so the girls stayed up really, really late. Kenzie behaved admirably, happy to hang out with Caleb and Kandelyn (whose parents actually put her to bed, aren't they mean? :). She watched a lot of movies, got to put together a cool elephant on a stick (thanks Cristina and Caroline), and read some stories. Mostly I'm not sure what she did, because I was busy schooling everyone in Dance, Dance, Revolution. Yeah, you missed out on my mad skills. Cristina did take me to task a few times (especially on the hard ones) and Jared (my new brother-in-law) beat me a couple times too, but because my self-esteem is low, I'm claiming the title of UNCONTESTED DDR CHAMPION.
Hannah was good until about 10:30ish. Then she pretty much melted down and went to sleep in a rage of tears.
The next morning she slept until 10:00 and Kenzie slept until 11:00. Good thing, because I slept until 9:59.
We had a good time with everyone who came over to Mike's parent's and loved hanging out and catching up with friends and family.

On Friday, we watched the Utes game at Eli's parent's. Yes, we're old enough to have parties at our own houses, but our parent's houses are just so much better equipped. Eli's mom had tons of new toys and Kenzie and Hannah had a blast with Caleb, Leah and little Eli.
There I tried to put Hannah to sleep but she refused, so we had another late night, but after 20 minutes of crying in the dark (Not me, her, because I was pretending she would go to sleep), she was happy to be awake, so I was fine with her not being asleep. Part of my parenting philosophy is, "If you cry too much, you need to go to sleep, immediately. Otherwise, you can probably stay up on special occasions." (Yeah, I just made that up. I do that all the time in parenting, just make things up)

It was a wonderful two weeks of holidays--Mike took some vacation time and got a ton done, and it was really, really nice to have him around a lot. Thanks to him I have a cool exercise bike program set up in the garage, a lock clicker for the car (Hooray, hooray, hooray! Now I can stop swearing (not really bad words, just little ones) when my hands are full and instead just press a little button), and our kitchen is painted.

Now we're just trying to adjust to our regular schedule and put away all the cool stuff we acquired. I can't believe it's 2009.
I should do some sort of year end recap, but here comes that laziness again. Maybe next nap time.
P.S. Curse you Blogger. This post is picture free because of your dumb uploading problems. Not because I neglected to take pictures.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Goodbye Contest, it's been nice

So, to quote Supertramp, "Goodbye Contest, it's been nice; Hope you find your paradise." Anyway, if you don't know that song, it's playing in my head and I just read the lyrics for the first time in my life. They seem a little immoral, but our contest was not immoral. It was awesome.
Anyway. . . I had 10 points this weekend, nothing perfect, but I was confronted by cheesecake and pretzels dipped in homemade caramel and chocolate--two things (among many) that I cannot resist. Report your last week in the comments.
Thus ends our chocolate challenge! Good job everybody.
The prize is a week stay in Hawaii!!!
I wish. So really the prize is two movie tickets. Second prize is one movie ticket.
This has really motivated me and given me something to put in my sidebar, so thanks everyone.
I plan to start another contest soon. Details will be forthcoming.
Also, Natalie had an awesome idea to have everyone who participated invited to a night out, so contest participants are hereby invited to meet me for dessert (bring a loved one, sure) on January 16 at the Cheesecake Factory at 7 p.m. Hope to see you there, and happy eating and exercising everyone!