Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
I am a planner. So is Liz.
We are going to Disney World in a month! I am a kids at heart, and LOVE it there. Joe and I had the opportunity when we were first married to do an internship at WDW. (really only Joe).
We took off from Utah in our geo metro, stuffed with all our personal belongings, and headed for Texas.This was right before Christmas 2000, so we spent that Christmas here in Texas. After a good 2 week visit, we headed out again, this time for Florida. Florida is about another 24 from Texas. Our belongings included: computer, cat, fan, clothes, pots and pans, toiletries etc. The cat sat on my lap most of the way there. When I got bored I started cutting the hair off its tail, and after a while it looked like this.The first 2 weeks in Florida were miserable for me. I didn't have a job, or a car. I was pretty much stuck in our dumpy little apartment. Luckily we had some nice people in the ward who gave us some furniture, tv, and microwave. I walked to target frequently and bought movies. After applying for some jobs in the neighborhood, Joe found out about an opening at his work.
After a few month there, we got some free tickets do Disney. We were able to visit the parks at night for a few hours at a time. This is the best way to go by the way. So anyways, we are going to Disney with our friends the Judds. It's only 5 weeks away now! I have lists galore and am planning the menu already. Like I said: a planner.
Tiffani and I first me in September 2005. We were both pregnant at the time, and due around the same time too. I remember specifically what the situation was. We were doing some craft at church, and she was going off on something a doctor had done in delivery of her friend's baby. I guess the doctor hadn't planned very well, and ended up doing a T C-section.
I just loved the way Tiffani spoke her mind. I like to speak my mind too. Most of my closest friends in the past have been like that too. The thing that bugs me the most about some people is that they smile and nod at you when you're there, but then talk about you behind your back. If there's something I did that you don't like, tell me. Then I can defend myself, or just agree to disagree. (don't start emailing me with a laundry list of things I have done in the past that ticked you off, it needs to be reported within a week of the incident)
Tiffani and I have kept in touch since we moved from Idaho. She actually moved to Oregon just a few months after we moved away. I was so happy that she didn't leave without me! Maybe we can move to Oregon next! It sure is green there (as seen on our Oregon coast vacation last year). I am super duper excited!!!!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
A snake was sitting there. Just sitting there. Ready to give me a heart attack. I proceeded to take care of the chickens, and all of a sudden I was much more aware of the tall grass everywhere. Surely snakes are lurking everywhere, just waiting for the perfect time to jump on me, bite me, and drag me into the field. Okay, maybe not. But the fact is, I don't know a harmless snake from a deadly poisonous one.
I was really hoping it would just disappear, and so when I didn't see it on the way back into the house I was relieved. Until I almost stepped on it, had another half heart attach/crazy jump. He was hunkering down this time though, with his head down.
I grabbed a rooster that I don't care about, and plopped him right on top of the snake. I don't know what I was expecting. Maybe that the chicken would attack the snake and eat it? Or the other way around? I'm sad to announce that nothing of the sort happened. The rooster just ran off, and the snake stayed hidden.
Ginger likes to play outside a lot, and rarely wears shoes. I was worried that she would go out there and get bitten. So I grabbed what most resembled a stick (a chair leg) and started prodding the snake. Snakes can move! He slithered through the grass and into the pool. Now what?
My first idea was to call my hubby. He's a genius, plus an Eagle scout graduate. I left him a panicked message, but when he didn't call me back within 3 minutes I decided to take action on my own.
Maybe I could poison him! Yes, that would work. So I dumped a few scoops of chlorine in the water over where he was sitting. The granules beautifully drifted down. I was going to succeed. He was coated in white poison. So I went inside.
After a few minutes I wanted to check the status of my hopefully half-dead snake. No such luck. He was sitting happily on the bridge between the pool and the spa. Wagging his little tale. It reminded me of my cats' tails. Maybe poisoning it wasn't going to work after all.
I thought about what expert snake people from the discovery channel do. They use some sort of stick and put the snake in a bag. I just so happen to have a long stick with a bag on the end of it (aka pool cleaner bag). I have caught other flighty animals such as crawdads and frogs with it before, so I grabbed the stick.
At this point the snake was in the bottom of the spa. Perfect. Now he couldn't flee too far. I am happy to say I actually succeeded. The snake was in the bag. I was far away from it, because the pole was long. Where to put it?
I thought that maybe this is some kind of water snake, and we have the perfect spot for such an animal. Our lake. I climbed over the pool fence, stick in hand, always watching that snake. He wasn't able to slither out, and I safely put him into the lake. Aren't I handy and resourceful?
Update After talking to my husband I am now even more freaked out. He asked me whether its head had a "jawbone" looking face, and it did. Apparantly that means there's a good chance it's a poisonous snake. His guess was a water moccasin. I googled it, and this is what I came up with. Scary!
The Water Moccasin is a very venomous snake, one of the most deadly in North America. It is highly dangerous to people and their pets. If you should ever encounter one of these snakes and think that it has bitten someone, seek medical help immediately.
The Cottonmouth Water Moccasin
There is only one North American poisonous water snake - the Cottonmouth Water Moccasin! Not to be confused at all with its many nonpoisonous neighbors, this snake is a pit viper in the same general family as the Copperhead and the Rattler.
This dangerous semi-aquatic snake is truly an aggressive reptile that will stand its ground or even approach an intruder.
If only he would have been home. We could have killed it, with a shovel, gun, or other "fun" method (according to him). Instead, I dropped it off a few feet from the house, just so he can come back and bite my baby. And the hospital is 30 minutes away!
When I was in high school my parents imported a lot of different foods. Root beer from America, tiny cereal boxes from England, and Weetabix from England.
I never dared to dream that I would be able to find my dear old friend Weetabix in Texas. I had lived in America for 10 years, and never seen it before.
It turns out that I haven't spotted it before, because it's considered an "organic" product here. I don't buy organic stuff. Not because I don't think organic products are better. For some reason I don't believe the organic food box labels half the time. I mean, how can pasta sauce be organic? They still have to add preservatives to it to make it last. And organic laundry soap? I bet you could find some. Since I don't shop for organics, I don't usually go through the sections that have all the organic stuff. Well, at target, there's a small section in the cereal isle that has yummy cereal. Not that sugary air puffed stuff. This is where I spotted Weetabix. I think I in shock a little at first, then came sheer joy.
What is all the fuss about you ask? Weetabix has the wonderful quality of filling me up. Filling me up with just 1 serving that is. Have you ever looked on the side of a box (of anything really), and find out the only reason they can claim "100 calories per serving" is because the servings are the size of 5 crackers, 1 cup, or 1/2 tsp?
So for a measly 160 calories (including milk) I have a full belly for at least 3 hours. Plus, it's good for me. All that fiber, protein, and healthy fat is a great way to start my day. And it's just plain delicious.
There is an art to eating Weetabix though. It's real easy for inexperienced Weetabix eaters to ruin the whole thing, and make it taste like card board. Since I love all my readers, I will share my secret (and only) way to eat it right.
- Choose a shallow, but large enough bowl to fit 2 biscuits side by side (not too large)
- Place 2 biscuits side by side.
- If the cereal box has any loose crumbs, arrange those ON TOP of the biscuits.
- Sprinkle a little bit of "raw sugar" on the top. This is optional, but makes it oh so much better
- Now, before you get out the milk, make sure you have at least 10 minutes set aside to actually eat.
- Pour the milk NEXT to the biscuits. Do not, I repeat do NOT pour it over the biscuits.
- Pour quickly, and just enough to where the milk level is just 1/4" below the top edge of the biscuits.
- It might be tempting to let the milk soak in a bit, and then add more, but resist that temptation.
- Find a comfortable chair
- Enjoy the perfect mixture of crunch, sogginess, and sweetness.
When I am standing in that cereal isle I have to mentally restrain myself. I want to grab all the boxes they have, just in case they decide to stop carrying it. At $3.49 a box, I can't really afford to stockpile 50 boxes of it, but I grab at least 3 each time, just in case. Weetabix is worth it's every penny, and 1 box lasts me 12 days. That's a lot longer than the $1 cereal boxes I get for my family!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Here are all the kids right before Winter and Sterling went to the bus at the end of the driveway. The picture is kind of bad, because I had it on the wrong setting, and didn't realize it until they were already gone.
It's fun for me to see Winter and Sterling walk down our long driveway together. They look so cute! Sometimes they fight, but usually they play with rocks and look at the cows until the bus arrives.
Since the bus doesn't always arrive at the same time, they often have to wait at least 5-10 minutes. The one day I don't send them out early, the bus is bound to get there early. So, I send them out, and they wait. For now that's not a big deal, because the weather is still nice, but as soon as it gets colder, or rainy, I'll have to start driving them to the end of the driveway and waiting there with them for the bus to come. I'm not complaining though, because it sure is nice to have someone that picks them up and drops them back off. It saves me a lot of time and gas. Plus the kids have a lot of fun on the bus. Any time I try to drive them home, because I happen to be at the school at the end of the day, they throw a fit.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Now that Winter is in 1st grade, she has homework. Well, I'm not sure I can really call it homework, but that's what her teacher Mrs Scoggins calls it anyways. Winter will have books sent home with her to read as homework. Then I am supposed to mark on the reading log whether the book was easy, moderate, or hard for her to read. Predictably, todays book was super easy. See, Winter is an awesome reader. She will even sit and read the Book of Mormon all by herself (although I doubt she understands much of what is going on). She pronounces words better than some ward members do in Sunday school.
The other homework she has is to practice reading and spelling words. They will have tests at the end of the week. Here are this week's words:
I think Winter knew how to spell that stuff about 8 months ago. I guess she didn't get an 'academic excellence award' for nothing last year.
This year I plan to be a lot more involved at the school. It was kind of hard last year, because I had 2 kids at home. This year, I plan to maybe trade babysitting with someone in the ward on a regular day (unless we get a foster kid, and then that wouldn't be possible).
I know that Winter is super smart, and I just need to make sure that she gets challenged. Maybe I can get her into some special classes, although that might not be until later grades?
On Friday night I took him to the school to meet his teacher. Ms Watson is such a nice lady! She is really good with kids. I don't think she has any kids of her own, but she sure knows how to talk to them, treat them, and deal with them.
She was so cute, she made these little gift bags for the parents "survival kit".It had tissues in there, as well as hugs and kisses chocolate. As you can see my Kleenex 's are still closed. Personally I don't know why people cry when their kid goes to school. I know that Sterling is in good hands, and he gets to learn so many new things. But I sure enjoy the chocolate!
When I walked outside, I heard another mom say that her child cried every day for a week her first year. Sterling would never do that. He is so excited.
I thought I would dump him straight in the pool (so to speak) and let him ride the bus home. Winter picked him up from his classroom (she's right next door) and took him to the cafeteria where the kids wait for the bus.
I haven't seen such a happy Sterling since he bought his bionicle.
Tomorrow Winter and Sterling both get to go on the bus both to and from school. So fun! (although tiring for me)
Sunday, August 24, 2008
The only downside to school is that I have to start using my alarm clock again. Oh, how much I hate that thing. It doesn't matter that happy songs play when it turns on, the fact is, it arouses me from my precious slumber. It won't be too hard in the beginning, because it will at least be light outside. But then come the days of November, December, January, and February, where it seems like that little black box is waking me in the middle of the night.
If only I could go to sleep at 10pm. I know that if I do that, I have less problems in the morning. But nighttime is so liberating! It's a time that Joe is off work (unless he's in Chicago), and we can just spend time together. Also, somehow the local TV networks know just which shows I will get addicted to, and play as many of those as possible.
Another summer has flown by, and I am again a year older. This year I might actually be able to help out at school, since I just have Ginger at home. I would love to go to the classroom and help out, and see firsthand how my kids are being edumecated.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
A guy in my dance class had asked me out several times. I can't remember his name, so I'll call him Bob. I wasn't remotely interested in spending any time with Bob, so I declined his offer. Then I felt bad. I should at least give him a chance, right? So I agreed to go out with him. We would go to a movie. Couldn't be too bad right?
Bob planned to take me to a movie. He had some sort of gift tickets, and they were for the afternoon movie, so we went early. I was fine with this, because it would mean that I would be home early too. We got to the theater, only to discover that the movie was more than he had thought, and he didn't think the ticket would cover the price. The problem: he had no money.
The first mistake he made, was to ask if I had any money (now looking back, that wasn't so horrible to ask, but back then, I was insulted). I didn't. I never took my purse on a date. So we left the theater, and headed to his apartment. He was going to get some money to make up the difference for the ticket price.
I was mortified when he pulled out a big old jar (or old gumball machine) full of pennies. At this point I was wishing I did have some money. Bob knew it would take him a while to count the money, so he turned on a movie. The titanic. One of my favorite movies at that time. I had never enjoyed that movie less.
After Bob finished counting, we headed back to the theater. We went up to the window, and found out that his ticket worked just fine, even without the 300 pennies now bulging in his pockets. Relief set in, when I realized I wouldn't be further humiliated when he pulled hands full of pennies out.
At this point, I thought the date couldn't get any worse. I was wrong. As we were walking in the theater, I spotted no one other than the cute dancer, Kevin, that I had had a crush on. I didn't want to be seen with this other guy!! So I ducked passed him, and into the movie. After the movie was over, I couldn't help myself, and went over to say hi to Kevin against my better judgment.
In retrospect, this was probably also Bob's worst date ever. I can't imagine finally going out with a girl that has rejected you several times, get to the theater without enough money, ask her for money, having to take her to your apartment and let her see you only have pennies to spare, get back to the theater only to find out you didn't need those pennies in the first place, and then having to stand by as she talks to some other guy. I don't know who was worse off, me or Bob?
Monday, August 18, 2008
Anyways, I guess I can still kind of do a post about our first year in Texas, so here it goes:
1. We lived with my in-laws for 3 months
2. We made a fun trip to Europe
3. We celebrated both Thanksgiving, and Christmas at my in-laws
4. We have seen all but 1 of Joe's siblings (Josh is in the navy, but getting out next month Yippee)
5. The kids love and hug great grandma. At first, Ginger wouldn't be touched with a 10-foot pole by here.
6. We bought our 3rd house
7. We pretty much gutted the whole house
8. We went from having no pets, to having an average of 40 animals
9. We moved from a postage stamp lot, to 21 acres
10. Now 2 of my 3 children go to school
11. Joe has traveled more this last year, than the past 3 combined. So much for moving to Texas to minimize travel!
12. We have gathered with many cousins
13. The heat hasn't knocked us out (yet)
14. We have really started missing: mountains, friends, greenery, accessible outdoor activities, free time with Joe
15. Things we don't miss: noise
So, here we go into our 2nd year in Texas. I hope we will be more productive in regards to our home renovation, and get to have Joe around more. We also have a dream to start our own company, and are getting started on that! (on the side)
Friday, August 15, 2008
Moving from house to house a lot as a kid, helped me to learn not to get too emotionally attached to things/stuff. I cleaned out my room and got rid of things that I didn't use anymore. Somehow, this skill has left me. I guess when you don't practice enough, any skill will diminish.
When I look at something, debating if I can get rid of it, I ask myself: Do I need this? No. Will I need it in the future? Maybe. This maybe is what's so hard for me. I'll give you a perfect example. I have a pair of skis sitting in the shop. Will I use them here in Texas? Never. But what if we move to Colorado (our dream location), then I'll be using them all the time. So, is it better to keep them for years and years, store them, move them, so IF we relocate, I can have them? Or is it better to get rid of them, have space, and less clutter, and buy new ones IF we relocate? I don't have the answer!
Do you ask yourself the "what if?" question when you clean out your house? What can I do to help me get over that syndrome? I mean, there are obviously things that you can't just keep buying over and over, and only use a couple of times a year. Like camping gear, sewing equipment, Christmas decorations, children's clothing in all size, books. Now books is a whole other thing. I would like to donate about 80% of our books to the library. The fact is: we never read them, and probably never will. There are a few exceptions like camping guides, parenting books, and other hobby books.
Part of the problem of stuff is that we have plenty of space to store it all. If we bought a house today, that is half the size, we would HAVE to get rid of a bunch of stuff. That's when it doesn't matter that you might use that board game 10 years from now, or the 10 year old paint as touch up. Maybe the solution is to start reading lots of de-clutter books. Get me motivated. I am also open to any advice you might have. What has helped you get rid of that "what if" item?
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Joe has been out of town again this week -coming home tonight--. This week has been better than last. It has helped a lot that the weather has been a lot more bearable, so the kids spend more time outside. Also, I spent all day Tuesday reading this great book: Twilight. I had read about it on Nancy's blog, as well as some other, and heard it was good. I couldn't put it down! Now I need the second book! I don't know how long it will take to get it from the library... hopefully not too long.
Joe moved his gun cabinet to our other closet, so now I have space for another shelf for food storage. Today, Anja and I went shopping (grocery mostly), and included Ikea in our route. Earl watched Ginger, so she could take a nap; Thanks Dad! Winter and Sterling had to wait for a while before they could get into the kids' play area. It didn't seem that full to me, but what do I know? So after about 20 minutes of "beeping" (the kids make beeping sounds), the buzzer on our little receiver went off, and they got to play.
Since I live close to Ikea now, I can go through the store much quicker. We stopped in at the cafeteria for a quick lunch. I love a $1.99 luch of meatballs, fries, and a drink (kids menu).
After lunch, I knew what I was looking for, and found it pretty fast. I bought a Gorm shelving unit, with 2 extra shelves. That should put the shelves close enough to each other, but not too far apart, as to waste space. I was also tempted to get those cute kids' cutlery, but then realized my silverware drawer is overflowing already.
I also found a new binder for my coupons. I had been shopping around online, to try and find one that has a zipper. I have the problem of coupons wanting to fall out. We found out that Sam's club that one that would be just perfect. After transfering all my stuff, I have to say it's pretty full! It's cool though, because it has 2, 1,5" rings, instead of 1, 3". I can have my food coupons on one side, and all the others on the opposite side. And the binder is bright green, so if someone tries to take off with it, I'll be able to track them down!
Now we are hanging out at my in-laws house, just waiting for Joe to come pick us up. I thought it would be nice to spend some time here. Liz and Earl went out to dinner with some friends, and I've been doing my blogging. Now I better get the kids in bed, so they won't be too grumpy tomorrow. (11 days until school starts)
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Today is women's gymnastics. It really is amazing what these girls women can do. I almost like it when they mess up, because it shows just how hard it really is. Whenever I am watching it, my kids ask: how can they do that? I don't think they can grasp the idea that these ladies probably train 6 hours a day for the past 13 years, to be able to do this stuff.
Joe hasn't found a manager in Chicago yet, so I'm settling in for another week without him. But at least it's been a little cooler here, so we have been able to do some more things outside, so that's been nice.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I have been feeling the baking itch the past few days, so today I decided to try out a new bread recipe. Even though I usually prefer to make the kind of wheat bread that you only have to let rise once, I decided to try out the triple rise variety. Supposedly the most rises, the better the taste. I grabbed some whole wheat from our food storage, and got to grinding. Both Winter and Ginger were very interested in the grinding process. We ground the wheat about 3 times, and they enjoyed seeing the wheat turn from berries, to flour. The first mixture (yeast, flour, water) is rising right now, and almost ready for additional ingredients. I hope the bread turns out!
Sunday, August 3, 2008
After he was done fixing the water pipes, he moved right onto working on our Geo metro. He is pulling the whole engine apart, and thinks we need to get new head gaskets. What can this man, NOT do?? He was on a role, so after dinner we worked for several hours together hanging 2 ceiling fans that we bought like 2 months ago. I love having a fan in my bedroom, so I can keep the AC a little higher, and still feel cool. We didn't finish until 11.30pm, at which time we just crashed! Poor Joe had to be at his church meeting at 7.15am, and now is off to another week in Chicago. I don't know where he gets all his energy!
Saturday, August 2, 2008
All the kids participated in the library's summer reading program. They earned their circus tickets that way, and yesterday there was a big celebration at the elementary school. There was food (hot dogs, cotton candy, cookies, chips, popcorn, soda), games, and LOTS of prizes. I think there were about 40 kids, and they all got a prize, and some 2. These were good prizes too! The average cost was probably about $10. Somehow, each of my kids got to have 2 prizes! They have been having a lot of fun playing with their new toys.
Friday, August 1, 2008
We arrived an hour before the show. They let everyone go into the arena, and look at some of the animals and performers up close. The kids even got to try out some costumes!One of the elephants painted a picture with a brush and paint. This is where I was a little disappointed. I have seen videos on youtube, when the elephants made paintings that were awesome, trees etc. These were just smears, really.My favorite parts of the show were the tigers, although I have to admit I was secretly hoping the 10 tigers would decide they had enough and eat their trainer. No such thing happened, but there still was plenty of adrenaline involved.
I guess I am cruel, because the other part I enjoyed a lot was when 2 guys were on this spinning wheel, and they were on the outside of it, up 50 feet in the air, and the thing spun faster, and faster. At one point it looked like there was no way they could run fast enough to stay on it. They did though, so that was good.
We had a late night, because Joe didn't come in from Chicago until midnight. We slept at his parents house, so we wouldn't have to drive quite as far. It's nice to have him back!