Sunday, November 30, 2008

a third NaBloPoMo bites the dust!

This is it - my last post of the month. Along with many of my family and friends, I've posted EVERY SINGLE DAY this entire month. Didn't miss a step and I didn't cheat. Something new from my fingers to your brain every day. Did you love it? Do you wish I'd do it all the time?

Not me. The month of November 2008 will go down in the record books. It started off too sad for words and it's just sort of carried on - a little bit of blah goes a long way sometimes.

It's funny that this whole crazy post every day thing happens in November - it's the start of such a busy time in the lives of many, yet it offers a chance to be a bit reflective, thankful and grateful for all that we have, and the chance to share those thoughts and feelings on a silly little blog.

In the last 26 days this little blog of mine got 1380 hits - and I'm pretty sure that they weren't all mine. Don't know if that's good or bad or what, but that is a decent number, right?

Oh, this post isn't going anywhere is it?

I guess I've really run out of things to say. This month just took it all out of me.

Internets, I've got lots to say.

Just not tonight. My blood sugars are a bit out of whack and I'm very tired.

We'll talk soon.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

a bit too crowded but the Monkey had fun!

Seeing the lights in the crowded cold




Seeing the lights in the crowded cold



Tonight we went with some of our extended family to see the lights on Temple Square downtown. The lights are a grand tradition and always beautiful, and we hadn't been to see them in person for years.


Seeing the lights in the crowded cold




Seeing the lights in the crowded cold



Unfortunately, they just came on yesterday and, well, the early bird crowds plus a concert going on in the Tabernacle caused the two hermits in this house to panic a bit at the group induced claustrophobia.


Seeing the lights in the crowded cold



We survived, and had a good time. The Monkey had an AWESOME! time running around, getting lost, taking off his coat, an falling down a lot. He was super good and so well behaved. A night that makes me want to take him everywhere. And, it wasn't that cold, which was good, and it was a clear and beautiful night. Ross wore a full set of long johns, just to be safe and I suppose remained extra toasty for the entire adventure (He must like them because we've been home a little over an hour now and he's still wearing them....fortunately for you all, that is not something I'll take a picture of.).

Unfortunately, I'm a dork and had messed with my camera so much that all the presets were screwed up and not until we were about finished with the light tour, did I finally find my reset button and take a few pictures that weren't fuzzy. Sometimes for being a smart kid, I AM SO DUMB! Luckily Pierre and James had their cameras to compensate for my spaz-ness. I hope that they got some good shots of my boy and my family for me to borrow later.


Seeing the lights in the crowded cold




Seeing the lights in the crowded cold

Friday, November 28, 2008

Merry Christmas to you! Black Friday the easy way! Thank you Dave Ramsey!

3 different titles you say? Yes, but they all apply.

First - Ross is going to pick up his Christmas Present this afternoon. It's a new tv. It's a new huge (in my opinion of course, but not as HUGE as it could have been) flat screen hang on the wall something, something, something tv. That's what he wanted for Christmas. It will hang on the wall in the fortress of solitude...I mean bat cave...I mean basement!

Second - we only got the TV because it was a Black Friday deal. It's original price was WAY OVER our discussed budget for such an extravagant item. Well, my proposed budget anyway. We got it for $600 cheaper than it's original price. And, we ordered it online last night with in-store pick-up today. Sweet! No one had to go stand in a line at 4 am to try and get the smokin' deal. We are smart!

Third - Since May of this year, Ross and I have really been trying to eliminate our debt, live on a tight budget (tight by our standards), and save some money. I'm really proud of us. We've been doing a great job!

We've switched to a cash envelope system for all of our expenditures except bills and gas - they are still taken from the checking account/debit card. Everything else in our lives is cash based (we even have a montly allowance) and when we run out of money - or don't have enough then we must wait.

The best part of this you ask? EVERYTHING we've done since May has been paid for. No credit, no lay away, no interest! All our trips over the summer, our basement remodel, all of our Christmas expenses and the new tv have been paid for in cash. Our debts are slowly being eliminated and we are doing really well.

Not trying to brag here, just wanted to tell Dave Ramsey thanks for the books, the envelopes, the will power and helping to influence our desire to be debt free!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A lot to be thankful for...

Today was a good day. It's nice to have these kind of days. Days where our dad is home, we all sleep in, and just get to hang out with all our family.

There is so much to be thankful for all the time, but today is one of those days where you are supposed to be extra grateful, right? I am. We are.

We are thankful for our family, our home, our community, our jobs, our savings accoutn, our sense of humor, our built in 2 year old entertainment and so much more.

We are thankful that we are surrounded with family and friends who love us and want to be parts of our lives and help take care of us when we need it.

We are thankful for grandparents and posterity and ancestors and the legacy's that generations past have left us.

I am thankful that I got to prepare some dishes for Thanksgiving today. It made me feel good to contribute and help out.

I am thankful that my brother is an almost 14 year old giant. It's good to know that I'm not the biggest member of the family and even though he's not quite as tall as me, at least his feet are much, much bigger. A 47.5 in european sizing in fact (that's a 13 for those of you that aren't up on your euro shoe sizes).
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I am thankful for good lip gloss and hair cuts and tall jeans and funny little boys. Also thankful for warm weather so I don't have to wear socks. I am thankful for books and learning and truth and honesty and integrity and justice when I find it.

I am thankful for my husband who several times today told me that "I won the lottery" when I met and married him. I suppose he's right, but i'd say he won the lottery, too. And, if for no other reason (but there are many more, promise) I am thankful for him, because he helped me to get my sweet baby boy - who never ceases to amuse and entertain and give me kisses.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

a late 22 months

Last night we took the Monkey to HSM. No, not that musical but a real one - put on by real high school kids. My cousin was Gad, one of the brothers in Joseph and he did a great job. Good job Travis!

Both my boys struggled until the showed started but seemed to do well. Good thing there was a camel! Afterwards, my dear mama reminded me that I'd forgotten to do my monthly post about said Monkey. *Gasp* Oh no!

Here it is, a couple of days late.

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A couple of weeks ago I sat my little family down on the couch to do our family Christmas picture. It was a bit more painful that I'd thought it would be but thank goodness I know how to photoshop heads and bodies to put everyone's best face forward. While we were waiting for Ross to get ready (isn't it funny that we're always waiting for our dad, not me, the mom) Elliott and I engaged in an impromptu shoot. He loves the camera remote control and I love him.

See.
testing the cameras remote control
Can't you see the love in our faces!

This boy of mine seems to bounce lately between sheer ecstasy at being alive to absolute terror at the realization he is my son. We have good days and bad, like any other crime fighting duo, but I'll definitely take the good over the bad because the bad are usually full of boogers and sobbing because I won't let him stand inside the refrigerator ALL DAY LONG!

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I have decided that my boy is the smartest almost 2 year old in the world. Yesterday at "the red bullseye" he was so precocious and cute with the check out clerk that she asked him, "How old are you? Are you four?" Um, no. Not four. Just brazilliant.

My boys vocabulary is skyrocketing - I cannot even tell you how many words he's saying right now, or letters he's spelling, or numbers he's reciting. His new favorite letter is G - I think for SUPER GROVER, but it could be for something else.

He finally says Haley, much to the delight of his favorite auntie and can I just tell you nothing sounds as sweet as please, thank you, and help mama when it comes from this little boy.

We're starting to outgrow Blues Clues and move into full length movie obsession. Finding Nemo or A Bugs Life are viewed daily, sometimes more than once in our house. It's okay though - he loves them! And it's so fun to watch him watch his shows.

Right now Elliott is in super helper phase - he drags his little red IKEA chairs all over the kitchen so he can be right in on the action. He toasts his own bread, washes his own dishes and when the cub scouts come over to make cookies - he gets up to the counter and sneaks cookie dough when no one is watching.



Even if he doesn't sit in a shopping cart anymore and has to touch every single item in the grocery store at least once before he can leave - i love him. Christmas will be so fun this year. The meltdown while leaving toys r us last week - and the following 30 minutes of sobbing are a testament to how dedicated he is to his toys.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Help! I need something new to listen to...

Okay - so I'm not a real music hound, never have been, but I like what I like...

That however, seems to be the problem right now. I am in a music rut. A recent overhaul of my itunes and a raid of the CD's in the basement has left me desperate for some new tunes to listen to.

I need suggestions for new music - but not just anything crazy, funky, groovy or cool..or even stuff that is played on the radio. That's not really my style. Je prefere mellow calm background music. Nothing fanciful or religious or completely instrumental, just calm and happy and peaceful sort of stuff.

Here's a short list (no particular order) of what I already listen to every day on shuffle. If you have a suggestion that fits this vibe please send it my way.

Guster
Sting/Police
James Taylor (young, not old)
Iron and Wine
Death Cab for Cutie
Glen Hansard
The Shins
Belle and Sebastian
Pete Yorn
The Weepies
The Beatles (covers of Beatles songs)
The Beach Boys
Nickel Creek
Peter Bjorn and John

Now is your chance to offer suggestions. Please help!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I should leave him home alone to watch his team lose more often

Elliott and I had a football party last night with my mom and sister. We had a great time and watched our first full televised football game of the season. Yeah, we really watched it - the whole thing. And cheered, and yelled, etc.

Ross was home alone watching the game. That's the way we planned it. In almost 6 years of being married, we've never been in the same place to watch "the big game". It works for the best. We have ground rules (no taunting phone calls and no rubbing in after), but basically, that's just what we do.

And...while home alone it seems that my husband, like a true BYWoo fan (Sorry Ross - but you know I'm right), gave up on the game shortly after half time because he was convinced it was over. (To be fair however, my dad and brother left the Utah v. Oregon game early because Utah was sucking and then had to hear the ravenous cheers as they were walking to their car).

Anyway, while home alone with a losing team he cleaned the basement, all the bathrooms, straightened up Elliott's room and even did some touch up painting.

Thank you! We should do yesterday more often.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Go Utes!

I wasn't going to blog (because I really don't care that much and it's the only football game I've watched all season)about it BUT......that was frickin awesome!

6 interceptions
big win
conference champs
BCS busting

and my monkey has learned to say.....

GO UTES!

and right now - -everyone in my family (aunts...uncles...cousins) are calling each other to celebrate.

sorry Woss.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Toddler Friday: Woss!

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My boy is funny. Yesterday we had a great day. Such a good day in fact that it pretty much made up for the rest of the week where it was a whine fest...who whined more I'm not sure, but I'll say he did.

I'll try to get this on video later, but you'll just have to trust me. About a week and a half ago, my sweet little Monkey apparently decided that yelling "dada" or "dad" wasn't enough to get his father's attention. So he took to first names.

For example. Last night both boys were upstairs as I was cooking dinner. They were running around, playing and then apparently, the dad disappeared for a moment because I heard at the top of the Monkey's voice, "WOSS!"

Elliott was calling his dad by his first name, minus the R because apparently R's are hard to say.

I find it hilarious. Makes father and son more like friends, right?
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

A chance to give a little bit

At the beginning of October, I decided it was time for the women in my ward/neighborhood to do something outside of themselves - outside of taking each other dinner and watching each other's kids. Those are valuable volunteer efforts but I wanted to see some real acts of service.

So, because it's what I do, I fired off an e-mail to the Relief Society Presidency suggesting a service project for the ladies to work on. The RS pres. loved the idea and sort of put me in charge (not really, but I guess I spear headed the whole thing).

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The Project? Really, it's just feeding my addiction, but I've tried to get all the ladies in the ward to make knit hats. We are going to donate them to the homeless shelter and I really hope that we end up with a ton of hats.

I am currently working on my 11th hat since the first weekend in October. Three of them are keepers with people already in mind, but the others are to donate. I just love knowing that I'm taking the time to make something that another person needs and will hopefully find valuable. It's one of those warm fuzzy feelings you get when you do acts of service and it's great.

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Our deadline is December 10 and we asked that each woman in the ward make 5 hats. Do you want to help our cause? You need a loom (I've got some extras) and some yarn and a hook. I can give instruction or you can figure it out on your own. It would be awesome to see this be an even bigger project.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

For a rip off, it tasted pretty darn good

Last night we went to Chadders. A new one just opened up by my parents house.

Chadders started in American Fork UT (I think) as a direct rip-off of my beloved In-n-Out burger. The place is such a rip off that In-n-Out has actually sued them.

Regardless, we are burger and fry lovers and decided to give the place a go.

And...it's like an 80% duplicate. The fries were perfect (even with fry sauce) - the burgers okay. Ross was disappointed that they copy cat didn't put pickles on their burger and I was extremely disappointed in the bun. It wasn't toasty enough and by the last bit of my burger, the bun was a bit soggy and there wasn't any burger left.

We didn't use the code words - before "animal style" could come out of our mouths the girl taking our order asked us if we wanted grilled or raw onions. The grilled onions were even the same as In-n-Out - small little onion squares.

Copy cat or no, I'm sure we'll be going back fora quick burger and fries...it's not quite the original, but by golly, when the original isn't around, I guess we'll cheat and go to the fake.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

a few pet peeves

you know how sometimes things just bug you? yeah, me too. Here are a few of mine as of late.

  • The person who thinks my cell number is a fax number and continues to call and call and call. FOR DAYS! Don't they get it? I. am. not. a. fax. machine.
  • The person in my home (not me) who insists on putting those IKEA bag clips on everything. I promise that a carton of pop corn seasoning that sits on the counter top doesn't need a clip.
  • It took me a while on Saturday but I cleaned off an entire counter top in the kitchen. It looked gorgeous. Today it's a disaster again. How does that happen so quickly?
  • Why people think that sticking their flyer in my door is somehow not a solicitation. Um, it is. I have a big sign that says "no soliciting" and that's what you are doing. If I were of a confrontational sort, I might fling the door open and yell at the next person who does that.
  • A peanut sized, incredibly small bladder.
  • I eat to fast.
  • Today, when the Monkey ate his corn dog he tore off the breading and sucked and slurped the hot dog like it' was a Popsicle - I almost threw up.
  • Poor customer service and Old Navy's lack of cute, festive pajama bottoms. Don't they know that it's a family tradition to get new bottoms on Christmas Eve and the men in my family don't need jammies with cammo and deer heads?

Monday, November 17, 2008

A two part, very long post: Part One: To eat or not to eat? Part Two: Am I nice enough?

Part One:
On Saturday night Ross and I went out to dinner sans Monkey (Thank you Aunt Haley). We were supposed to do dinner with his parentals but his dad was sick so we took the opportunity to go out...do you call that a "date?" Um, sure...okay, whatever.

At dinner we planned out our Christmas agenda (who will we visit when), figured out some gift ideas and had a generally nice time. We didn't argue with each other once - which is rare - and it was nice.

On our way home to pick up the boy though, the argument started. I'm not sure how or why, but (not in a mean spirited way at all) we started discussing with vigor our son's eating and food habits. It got a bit heated at times and I still don't know where the discussion came from, but I wanted to let the Internet know that my boy is as good or better an eater as any other almost two year old and he gets enough protein AND - he doesn't just eat fruit snacks all day long.




This morning for breakfast he ate 1/2 a banana, some pop tart and some crackers. Yes, not the best or most nutritious, but that's what he wanted. You see, were in this phase where he insists on picking his food out himself and who am I to argue with the king arguer? I'm not so I let him.

For lunch today he at a corn dog (it's my mom's fault, she introduced them and he loves them) - baked not fried, a few french fries, also baked, and grapes. That's a lot for such a little guy, don't you think?

Yesterday he ate pasta salad and pickles and ham, and cheese, and bread and olives and anything else he could get his little hands on.

Here's the question though - a lot of you out there that read this blog have kids the same age or about the same age as my monkey - the 18 months to 4 set. Are your kids picky eaters or do they just cooperate and eat whatever you give them?

I told Ross that all kids this age put up fights against food and gravitate to their favorite snacks, etc. and he says that isn't normal. Thoughts?

Part Two:
We had an appointment with the stake president. Our stake split a month ago and yesterday Ross was asked to accept his old calling back. He did. Extra blessings from voluntary church service are good, right? Right.

The new SP doesn't know us at all so we chatted a bit. I was distracted through much of the conversation because my boy was wandering around looking for a garbage, emptying all the diapers out of his bag and throwing pez all over the floor. A bit stressed out.

At one point I was asked to say something "nice" about my husband. As I was distracted and a bit upset at an earlier incident (Ross let Elliott take a huge chunk out of a cake that I took to the claustrophobic open house yesterday and it left me a wee bit agitated) so even though I don't really remember what I said - I apparently didn't say anything nice, and mentioned the cake incident in a manner I thought was humorous.

Ross didn't think so and got mad at me in the car afterwards. And brought it up again that evening. Sorry Ross.

He says I never say anything nice to him.



The boy that I married almost six years ago is a very good dad. He is a hard worker and a dedicated parent, husband, and church member. He tries to balance all his different hats regularly and generally does so very well.

I love to watch the husband and the Monkey greet each other every day when Ross comes home from work. They both light up and their excitement to see each other often makes the day seem right. I love that he takes over in the evenings and that I am free to spend some time by myself with my own thoughts, and that he puts Elliott to bed every night and gets up with him if he wakes up...I don't think that there are many dads who do that.


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He is good and honest and trustworthy and opinionated and smart and talented. He takes care of his parents and our little family...he even goes outside when it's cold to do stuff I want him to do with little or no complaint. I can only image how difficult it is to be married to me - and he seems to like it, sometimes. As anyone in my family would attest - that's worth a medal right there.

Everyday I look forward to our online chats about nothing and everything while I'm working.

Sometimes, he even rents movies that I want to watch.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

nothing to blog about

that's right. You read it here, first. I have nothing to blog about.

I am claustrophobic a bit though. And just got home from an event that was so crowded I got nervous and stepped outside.

Then went home early.

The food was alright though.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

it's that time of year...

There are many a house in my hood right now with their Christmas lights up and on every night. I've tried to take pictures but Ross won't slow down the car...he doesn't want the neighbors to see us mocking.

Even though I'm a scrooge around the holidays I do enjoy gift giving. I like gift receiving too, but as I get older that really just doesn't matter all that much - seeing other people open gifts definitely takes the cake.

My December issue of Real Simple came in the mail the other day. I love the monthly quotes in this magazine (that could be the only reason I subscribe). This month's quote was perfect for me.

A gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and at the right place, and when we expect nothing in return.
-Bhagavad Gita


Isn't that great - it really helps to put gift giving and the holidays in perspective for me. I always try to give people good gifts - usually with a sentimental twist. Most of my family can usually expect some sort of photo project every year and if I can give something that makes someone cry (like my Dad) then I've definitely hit the gift jackpot.

This year though, I'm really struggling with those great, personal gift ideas. I find myself just wanting to purchase stuff for people, and get the shopping and wrapping out of the way. As it stands now, I already have the majority of my gifts purchased. Yes, I know it isn't even Thanksgiving, but I'm ready for the whole holiday season to be over already.

I think it's a little more than scrooge that's getting to me though. I'm getting old (*gasp*) - I am 30 after all, and in the last few weeks I've been feeling super claustrophobic in my own home. We have too much stuff! Way more stuff than two adults and a little monkey need on a day to day basis.

Today we've started an unofficial purge - one of those days where you start going through every drawer, nook, cranny, and closet to eliminate the clutter and simplify the life. We've made some progress but there's still a long road ahead.

With that in mind - the thought of buying (and even receiving) more stuff is a bit daunting. Ross leaves 99% of the holiday shopping up to me and I've decided that this years theme is minimalism. Sorry to those of you expecting great things from us - we may not deliver and we might buy you food. I told my sister this morning to just give me a homemade coupon book for Christmas full of things she'd be willing to do - like, um, babysit? Seriously, that's all I want. Haley - did you read this? You don't need to buy me anything!

I'm excited however to see how the Monkey responds to the holidays this year. I want to buy cool and neat things for him to see and open on Christmas day in hopes that I can catch that pure joy and excitement on "film". He is such a good boy, and so animated and cuddly that I'm sure his jaw will just drop if Ross and I actually get him one or two of the items we've been thinking of. Nothing out of control - I mean of course every almost 2 year old needs his own ipod, right? But, something that he'll love.

And hopefully the pictures that I take of him on Christmas morning will be worthy of enlargements and frames - and that sentimental memory preserving photo gift I long to give.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Toddler Friday: He can read?

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As I mentioned briefly yesterday, this boy of mine is taking to letters and "reading" like a duck to water. He has a few favorite letters (M, E, O, T) but we're working on recognizing a few more.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Something to complain about

It's almost halfway through NaBloPoMo and so far I still haven't missed a day. yeah for me, right?

I'll admit though, that the first part of the month - the posting came pretty easy - there was a lot going on and I felt the need to write. Now that we're halfway through though, I'm running out of ideas...thus, this post.

We watch a lot of children's programming on local public television stations. I obviously don't enjoy all the shows that the Monkey does, but I go along to get along. It just makes life easier sometimes if that familiar little monkey or super reader is on the televizzle.

Here is my big issue though - RERUNS! I get that the programming is funded by the government, grants, and regular old folks who actually donate to public television but what is with all the reruns? Over the summer I figured that the same episode of Curious George running back, to back, to back days at a time was normal, right? It's the summer and if all the regular tv shows are in reruns thus be the kiddie shows on PBS.

But it's now the fall, and it seems that we're still stuck in the rut - the black hole of reruns.

I cannot stand Curious George. That mischievous little monkey is the most annoying bad example on television for the impressionable almost two years old set. Maybe it's that monkey that is making MY MONKEY be such a stinker these days...if the monkey can get into the fridge and go to the store by itself on the tv then why can't my little boy pull everything out of the pantry, right? What makes that more frustrating is that I have to see George do the same things over and over again...how many times do we have to watch him try and figure out how to keep the cows out of the wild flowers? I think that even Elliott recognizes that we've seen certain episodes one million times.

Do any of you other moms find this annoying or is it just me? Another example. Elliott loves Super Why - we're just really getting into letters and when he sees some of the 6 or so he recognizes on the screen he yells "yeah" and claps his hands - problem though. We watch it every morning at 9 am right before the bath tub. It's part of our routine and I like routine. Every morning this week though it's been the same episode, Momataro the Peach Boy. Oh how I'm sick of the peach boy.

Come on local public television broadcasters...show us something new! Please!

For the sanity of moms every where.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

a little photoshoot

The mom of a really photogenic and beautiful family in my neighborhood asked me to take her famiy's pictures this past Saturday. We met by the lake as the sun was setting and it was the perfect divesion from the sadness of the morning.

Hopefully, the family likes their pictures, but I was really happy with a lot of them - they turned out great. At least I thought they turned out great.

Have I mentioned that I love taking pictures? Yeah, I do.





Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to....

Yesterday was my grandmas brother's 80th birthday. My grandma devised an elaborate plan over the weekend to throw her brother Blaine a surprise party.

We all met at my aunts house at the designated time....waiting. The food started getting cold, conversation was a bit stalled as we were waiting for my grandparents and Blaine to arrive.

My grandma called.

She had just gotten off the phone with her brother.

He forgot that he was supposed to come out for dinner. Instead, he was ready for bed.

No surprise party for him!

He is 80 after all.

We had a good party anyway...sorry he missed it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Home before dark? I'll let you know

See that guy in the picture? The one with the super adorable little boy on his shoulders?


Yeah, that one. I'm married to him and like, 97% of the time that's a good thing.

That guy though, the one I married almost 6 years ago - he has a girlfriend...

No it's not what you think. His girlfriend is his job. Let's call her boart. Sometimes it feels that he lives in his cubicle like George Costanza did on that one episode of Seinfeld where he'd hide and sleep under his desk.

Well, the two of us argue all the time about how much he works, and what a real 8 hour work day is. You see I think that if you leave the house at 7 am and don't get home until 6:30 - even with a longish commute - that's more than 8 hours. Somehow - he always disagrees with my math. Whatever.

Regardless - today is the day he has promised me all that will change. There is no longer a 45 min. commute as an excuse. Ross' offices moved buildings today to a location that - even on a bad day - is 13 minutes from our front door.

Wonderful, right?

I hope so.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad-e-o



Yesterday was my dad's birthday. It was a rough day for him. I'm sure that he never thought that on his 54th birthday he'd be speaking at his mother's funeral. He did a really good job yesterday - in spite of his tears and what he thought were ramblings of an oldest son.

One thing that my dad said really stuck out to me. He said that speaking on his birthday wasn't what he'd wanted for a birthday present - but that knowing his parents were reunited for the first time in 42 years was the best present he could ever receive.

I love my dad a lot. He is a good dad and a good grandpa - always ready to lend a helping hand and rescue us in good times and bad. He is one of Elliott's favorite people. He always wants to know where "papa" is and when I say, "I don't know, where is grandpa" Elliott always says "work."

We're celebrating his birthday today with a Mexican Fiesta at my house for dinner - and at least just speaking for myself - some pretty lame presents, too.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saying Goodbye

My grandma's funeral was today. The viewing last night. I thought that I was done crying until I had to stand up and talk. Composure was an ellusive friend but I made it through. We all made it through - strong and poised and together as one big extended family. We all probably cried more than expected, but with such beautiful words, fun memories, and amazing music it just couldn't be helped.

My Grandma is so happy right now. Knowing that seems to make everything just a bit better. Today i got to meet family I hardly know and friends of my grandma's whom loved her dearly. I shook some of the softest elderly hands I've ever touched, and received some of the sweetest hugs I'll ever let anyone give me.

Sitting in my quiet home now, I finally feel a peace that I haven't felt for days. Hopefully we'll all sleep well tonight and hopefully we'll continue to be the close knit family that we've always been.

I am grateful for my family who is always hungry and ready for a burger - no matter the time or the circumstance, we do as we have always done.
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I am grateful to my sweet little cousins Jacey and Max for taking such good care of my Monkey these last two days. He loves you both and wants you to move in and play with him every day.


I am grateful for the kindness and generosity of others. I've never seen such beautiful flowers in all my life - and am so pleased I got to bring this arrangement home. It's as big as my kitchen table.


I am grateful for a mom and a sister who are so much like me - yet were so different at the same time. And, our love of patent leather.


I am grateful that I married a good man who watched a grumpy baby while I talked and cried. For his support and love - and for a good little monkey who just amazes me every day...and sometimes eats his cake like a puppy.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Toddler Friday: Didn't you know, anything can be a train

scentsy train

Can I just tell you that sometimes I love my monkey more than I ever thought was possible. Yesterday morning he didn't want to get dressed so we were just hanging out downstairs while I was cleaning, straightening, throwing away junk and vacuuming.

This boy of mine loves to smell things and knows which drawer we keep the scentsy stash in. On his very tippy toes he got them all out, one at a time and gently set all his scents on the floor.

After smelling them all together, I left my monkey to his own devices and got back to work. Things got quiet and I peeked around the kitchen counter and found him on the floor...with his scentsy train....saying, "choo choo" and pushing them every so slowly towards the wall - where they later crashed.

It was just what I needed this week to melt my heart a bit and make me smile - remembering that I love being this kids mom!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The pure joy in a good burger

I like to consider myself a bit of a hamburger eating professional. While a lot of families would eat sandwiches, mine would go get burgers. Even today on a Friday night you could find any number of family members both immediate and extended at a local burger joint (Hires, Crown Burgers, the Training Table), enjoying the fare.

In Tahoe we ate at a place called the Burger Lounge - can you say mighty tasty? I had the BBQ bacon burger with fries tossed in fresh garlic and chopped parsley and Ross enjoyed the "el camino" with grilled chilies and other stuff. If Elliott hadn't have been melting down I'm sure that our burgers would have been even better but they were still pretty awesome.

In recent months 5 guys has made an appearance in good old slc and we are big fans in the Griswald household. You just can't beat Cajun fries and made to order exactly how you like it burgers. For a few months now we've done our best to spread the word and get invited on burger runs as often as possible.

However, on our way home from Tahoe we planned a special detour in Sparks, NV for our beloved In-n-Out. After enjoying our burgers and fries to a degree that is almost sinister we decided that In-n-Out burgers, animal style of course, are the kings, the shiz if you will, of our burger world. There is just something about that toasted to perfection bun, the grilled onions, special sauce and overload of lettuce that can almost bring a burger lover like myself to tears. And, when my monkey will eat a burger and when all three of us can eat to contentment for 13 bucks...it truly is perfection.


If only the franchise would move in a little closer to home. It's a pretty expensive habit when the closest joint is 6 or more hours away.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My little Picasso

Yesterday afternoon I was crazy enough to break out the water colors. After about 30 minutes of baby paint chaos and 5 beautiful paintings by my boy and one by me, we retired the paints for another day.

I want to be the mom that's cool with messes and disorder and creativity but I'm not. The monkey was mixing colors, going in the wrong order (paint then water then paper, not water then paint then paper) and painting himself.

It took many deep breathes, but I had fun, too.





Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Legacy

I've been thinking a lot in the last 24 hours or so about that word - Legacy. What it means, how we use it, and what we create with it. The definitions I've found are really lacking, but here's a good start. Legacy: anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.

My dad told me yesterday that it was my grandma's wish to have me speak at her funeral. She only requested two people to do so, and I'm one of them. Why, I have no idea but I will do as my grandma wished. It is my job to be the first speaker and do the eulogy/life sketch.

I know a lot of people probably just read the obituary for something like this but not me. I know that my grandma expects great things from "the golden grandchild" and luckily I've got a few days to try to do her memory justice.

Here's the question I'm dealing with right now: How do you sum up the life, rather the LEGACY of someone who was so important to you, in 7 minutes or less?

I don't know. I'll figure it out.

Right now though, I cannot get this song out of my head. It doesn't appear to have anything to do with my grandma, but I've been humming the melody in my head since Sunday evening. I woke up singing it to myself this morning. It's calming and beautiful, and sometimes, isn't it crazy how a song just fits and fixes?



Did you listen? There are some lines that are so powerful, I just cannot stand it. Right now, I'm stuck on this part:

You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sometimes you're just sad and there isn't anything you can do about it.

It's funny how this blog can sometimes be my voice - let's me express in the typed word what I cannot express verbally on my own.

My "Grandma P." passed away this morning. I haven't stopped crying since yesterday afternoon in Battle Mountain, Nevada. My heart is broken today, but my spirit is buoyed. I loved my Grandma more than I can express in words and am devastated right now that she's gone. But, I am so thankful for my faith, and the strength I feel in knowing that she is enjoying the greatest reunion in heaven right now and one that she has been looking forward to for so many years.

melanie and justin091

My Grandma was one tough cookie and I am so lucky that I got to have her as my grandma for 30 years and that she got to know her crazy monkey great-grandson Elliott. Up until a few months ago, my grandma came to every Sunday dinner at my mom's and it makes me happy to know that she got to hold Elliott while he screamed as an infant - watch him take some of his first steps, start talking, and turn into the crazy almost two year old he is right now. Knowing that she will get to watch over him from heaven....that's good.

As a kid, my grandma tried to teach me to crochet - to no avail. She would try to teach us to cook, sew, and participate in all the arts she loved. I never quite got the hang of it and heard "Oh Honestly! Annabelle" more times than I could ever recount. That's where this blog's name comes from, you know. From my grandma.

Before I got married, my grandma helped me with my party favors. I spent the whole night with her just talking about Ross, and work, and life and listening to her stories about my Grandpa and work, and life. The conversations blur now, but the memory is there. When she came to watch us open presents after we were married she told me a story that I'll never forget. My grandpa, when they were still newlywed's expected my grandma to have a fancy dinner prepared every night, even though she was working too. Once night she'd had enough and when she got home from work, she threw a roast in the oven and told my grandpa that they'd eat in four hours. They did - and he never bugged her about dinner and often fixed it himself from then on out.

Losing someone that you love so much is so hard. Especially for me - the giant, crying, weepy baby. Every family's got one and between me and my dad - all the tears are covered...i think we even steal them from other people.

My Grandpa died when my dad was 12 - he (my dad) turns 54 this week. My grandma spent all that time as a widow, raising her children and taking the best care of her family. I can only imagine how sad she had been at times in her life when she needed my grandpa for a hug, or a comforting word, or a good laugh, or a shoulder to cry on. But she moved on, pressed forward, and lived an amazing wonderful life.

I am so happy that I was a part of it - that I've got some of my grandma in me - and that right now, she's getting that hug from my grandpa. And if she's smart, which I know she is, she won't let go for a really long time.

I love you grandma.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

We're leaving Tahoe, but not without some parting thoughts

Lake Tahoe is an intersting place. The whole reason we're even here is because Ross' Dad is a big Marriott guy and he had a hotel stay/listen to our time share speech that he wasn't going to use so he gave it to us. We originally planned to come in August, but canceled at the last minute and backed up to this weekend.

Yesterday the weather was pretty much crap from the time we woke up until late in the afternoon. Cold, rain on the verge of snow, and a little bit miserable. So after breakfast at Ernie's Cafe where Elliott had a complete meltdown (yesterday we ate at Bert's cafe (where Elliott also had a meltdown) - they are directly across the street from one another, how funny is that?) we decided to head on down to Carson City for some kiddie entertainment.

We discovered that there was a Children's museum in the state capital and thought that would be a good morning diversion before heading back for our time share deal. Well guess what - yesterday, Nov. 1 was Nevada statehood day and there was the biggest parade blocking all the roads I've ever seen. When we left the city 3 HOURS LATER, the aprade was still in full swing and most of the on lookers bloody mary's had been drunk. I guess that's the best way to watch a parade - maybe the next time we go to one, I'll arrive plastered and keep drinking.

Anyway, the children's museum was about what we thought and even though it was a bit cheesy - it was the best $10 we've spent in a while for an hour of monkey entertainment.






After a major traffic jam to get out of town, and some dogs dressed as lions, we got back to Tahoe in time for our presentation.

First, Elliott was very good - once he spilled his apple juice and put half eaten pretzels back in the bag. Second, our cruise director Bobbi looked EXACTLY like Ross' mom.

Connie on the Dolly Steamer
The only difference was that she seemed a tad bit older and her hair a bit more flat. Otherwise she was Connie's long lost twin - same face, height, hair color, type of glasses, mannerisms and I'm sure Ross' mom has an outfit similar to Bobbi's in her closet. They were so much alike it was a bit creepy.

Unfortunately for her, we cannot afford to fork out the equivilant of a car payment a month for the next year or more to pay for a vaca rental at lovely Tahoe. Fortunately for us, after sitting through the one hour presentation, saying "no thank you" offering to give Bobbi "10's" on her eval we walked out the door with $100 to spend as we wish on our last night.

Score.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

First day of NaBloPoMo! We're still on vacation

Yestreday while driving around I wanted to try and get a family picture. But of course, my family cannot quite handle such an endeavor. Here was our first attempt - with me holding the camera:
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Don't all three of us look grand?

Then Ross was loading Elliott into the car so I thought I'd try and shoot a wide angle of all three of us:
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Just me wind blown - I thought that we'd be able to see them.

The third attempt was in the little town called Incline Village on the beach - Oh wouldn't a beach shot be great? I even brought my remote control so we wouldn't have to ask anyone to take our picture...only problem was we couldn't quite figure out the remotes range and Elliott just wanted to chase pigeions and play in the sand.
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Maybe today we'll try it again.

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